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6 Ways Your Brain Attempts To Sabotage Your Goals & Dreams

Joel Brown

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Now we know that you should never make excuses for not sticking to your goals, and we understand that from time to time you will have your valid reasons, but what if it is not really you to blame for your failures and that your brain is actually out to sabotage your hopeful plans?

Well this article here explains the 6 ways that your brain plays tricks on you to sabotage your goals and dreams.

 

1.) Your brain can hurt your goals by fantasizing too much

Would you believe that fantasizing is the #1 way your brain can unintentionally ruin your goals?

It seems unlikely, right?

The thing is, the proof is in the pudding (or in this case, the research): psychologists have found that while positive thinking about the future is broadly beneficial, too much fantasy can have disastrous results on achieving goals.

Researchers tracked the progress of how people cope with four different types of challenges.

As an example, in one of those challenges (trying to find a fulfilling job), those who had spent the most time fantasizing performed the worst in a variety of critical data points:

  • they had applied for fewer jobs
  • they had been offered fewer jobs
  • if they were able to find work, they had lower salaries.

Why?

Why could fantasizing about a positive end take a turn for the worse?

Jeremy Dean, a psychological researcher at UCL London and the owner of PsyBlog had this to say about the researcher’s conclusions:

The problem with positive fantasies is that they allow us to anticipate success in the here and now. However, they don’t alert us to the problems we are likely to face along the way and can leave us with less motivation—after all, it feels like we’ve already reached our goal.

It’s one way in which our minds own brilliance lets us down. Because it’s so amazing at simulating our achievement of future events, it can actually undermine our attempts to achieve those goals in reality.

Our poor brain is thus a victim of itself.

Again, this is not to say that visualizing goals is necessarily a haphazard strategy for achieving them, it’s just that we need to be aware of the dangers of excessive fantasy.

Instead of being entranced with what the future may bring, we need to learn to love the work here and now.

Enjoying our day by day progress and realistic ‘checkpoints’ is a much more practical way to create our future; getting lost in grandiose dreams that focus on the ultimate end is not.

As they say, don’t give up on your dreams, but don’t fall under their spell either.

 

2.) Your brain procrastinates on big projects by visualizing the worst parts

Procrastination, of all of the things on this list, is likely the most recognizable: everybody realizes that they procrastinate from time to time, and it’s something we are forced to battle with every day.

How can we fight this persistent opponent?

Interesting research from Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik (of whom the Zeigarnik Effect is named after) reveals to us an interesting tidbit about the human mind: we are better at remember things that are partially done.

Ms. Zeigarnik came to this conclusion by testing the memory of folks doing simple “brain” tasks like puzzles or crafts.

She then interrupted them and asked them to recall (with specific detail) the tasks that they were doing or had completed.

She found that people were twice as likely to recall more detail about the tasks they had been interrupted in than in the tasks they had completed.

What does this have to do with procrastination?

Before we get to that, know this: in a study by Kenneth McGraw, participants were given a very tricky puzzle to solve with an “unlimited” amount of time.

The thing is, all of the participants were interrupted before they could finish, and then told that the study was over.

Guess what happened next…

Despite being told they were done, nearly 90% of participants continued working on the puzzle anyway.

What both of these studies teach us is that when people finally manage to start something, they are much more inclined to remember the task and finish it.

The Zeigarnik Effect and the subsequent McGraw study assure us that the best way to beat procrastination is to start somewhere… anywhere.

Our brain has the habit of envisioning the impending huge workload of an upcoming task.

It also tends to focus on the most difficult parts or sections, and this is where procrastination begins to set in: as we try to avoid the “hard work”, we find ways to skate around it and trick ourselves into thinking that we’re busy.

Just starting though, triggers our brain in a different way.

It’s the same way that cliffhangers are utilized to keep us coming back to our favorite TV shows; we’re primed to remember the last episode because the story was interrupted, and our brain wants a conclusion.

It’s the same with your tasks: start, and your brain will overcome the first hurdle.

This seemingly small milestone appears to be the most important one to overcome if you wish to defeat procrastination.

After starting a task, your brain will be more enticed to finish it to it’s “conclusion.”

You also tend to see that it’s not as big a mountain as you initially imagined, and that the work involved in completing this task won’t be so terrifying after all.

 

3.) Your brain will “abandon ship” at the first sign of distress

Anyone who’s fought the good fight with dieting will likely recognize this phenomenon.

Envision this:

You’re on a diet, and have been doing well for about 2 1/2 weeks, but you know your defenses are at risk.

To make matters work, you’re having dinner with friends tonight.

Instead of the healthy meal you could have made at home, you’re forced to use a restaurant menu.

The problem is this: At the bar before dinner, you had a little “cheat” moment by ordering snacks and drinks, after all, you’re with your pals tonight, right?

You know that those drinks and snacks, combined with the bread you had before dinner, leave you with one option to stay a bit over your caloric intake goals: you must eat a salad.

The thing is, your brain is yelling out “BURGER!”.

Instead of finishing the day a tad over your 2000 calorie goal, you order the burger with fries and don’t look back.

The crazy thing about this scenario?

It’s much more than a momentary act of weakness: psychologists have observed that this is much more likely to happen as a result of you missing a previously set goal.

Specifically, in research by Janet Polivy and her colleagues, people who were actually on diets were tested with pizza and cookies.

In the study, two groups of participants (those on diets and those not dieting) were told not to eat beforehand and then served exactly the same slice of pizza when they arrived to the lab.

Afterwards, they were then asked to taste and rate some cookies (I’m getting hungry already : )).

The thing was, the experimenters didn’t really care about the cookie’s rating, they just wanted to see how many people ate.

This is because they tricked some of the participants into thinking that they had received a larger slice than the others (using framing and false information). This was to make them believe that they had most certainly “ruined” their diet goals for the day.

The result?

When the cookies were weighed, it turned out that those who were on a diet and thought they’d blown their limit ate more of the cookies than those who weren’t on a diet.

This doesn’t paint the true picture though: they ate over 50% more!

On the flip side, the dieters that did think that they were in their caloric limit ate the same amount of cookies as those who weren’t on a diet at all.

Truly, our brain is geared towards a call of “Abandon ship!”, whenever we come short of our goals.

Don’t let this happen to you!

The best way to combat your brain from signaling ‘Mission Abort!’ after you’ve missed a short-term goal is to re-frame what just happened.

Yes, you did fall short or maybe mess up this time, but remember the progress that you’ve made.

With the diet example, you could look at all of the “good days” you’ve accumulated thus far: even if you fell after only a few days of starting your new diet, it’s still an accomplishment to have started one and to have set long-term goals for yourself.

Short-term lapses in your end-goal is not like a bad apple spoiling the bunch: you have gotten things accomplished so far and you need to stay focused on the long-term, not become distraught by a single mishap.

Research tells us that this is the best mindset to take for misfortune and failure in general: your progress and achievements go so much farther than that slip-up; don’t let your brain convince you that all is lost!

 

4.) Your brain loves mindless busywork disguised as progress

How fitting that this should be posted on a site that relates to social media!

One of the ways in which your brain continues it’s trickery is through busy work: work that gets “something” done, but not something that produces any measurable results.

In fact, research by John Bargh and colleagues reveals that our brain just loves to become robotic and to even mimic people out of habit.

I shouldn’t have to tell you that this is disastrous to achieving long-term goals!

This busy work is often a mechanism our brain uses in cohesion with avoiding big projects (mentioned above): instead of diving into the difficult tasks we KNOW we should get done, we’ll instead float around doing semi-related (read: barely related) menial tasks to make ourselves feelproductive without actually getting anything done.

Here’s the thing: you’re not going to build a thriving business or a successful blog with that kind of busy work.

It takes doing the hard work and it takes deliberate practice, there’s no way around it.

The thing is, your brain knows this, that’s why you have to remind it remind yourself that the challenging stuff is often the stuff that produces the results you desire.

Also remember that you can fight that procrastination by just getting started.

When you look back at what you’ve gotten done by the end of the day, make sure you’re proud of what you got accomplished, don’t let your brain ruin your goals by diverting you from what needs to be done!

 

5.) Your brain gives you a false sense of time.

Your brain says: “Relax, you’ve got plenty of time for this project.”
The reality: You are straight-up terrible at estimating how long it will take you to finish tasks. You’ll almost assuredly underestimate the time you’ll need.

When they started building the Sydney Opera House, the blokes in charge were all like, “No worries, mate. She’ll be done by 1963 and this $7 million budget should cover things nicely. Throw another shrimp on the barbie.” (Note: I am paraphrasing here.) Then they proceeded to tear through the $7 million faster than a kangaroo chasing a boomerang (fun with stereotypes!). The iconic building finally opened in 1973—ten years late and $95 million over budget.

You tend to underestimate how much time projects will take for you to complete. It’s called Planning Fallacy, and it’s why Afternoon-You looks at the to-do list made by Morning-You and says, “Were you under the impression that I am some sort of goddamn superhero or what?”

Psychologists think your overly optimistic planning is caused by a combination of wishful thinking and how you view similar projects you’ve done in the past, which is to say you subconsciously take credit for the progress that was made but blame outside forces for delays. The last article took so long to write because your computer crashed, your neighbor was playing “Rhythm Is A Dancer” on his damned guitar again, and you got stuck in traffic on the way to an interview. Those things weren’t your fault and won’t happen again, you say. But they might. And if they don’t, other time-sucks will show up to take their place.

Solutions:

  • Your brain isn’t as bad at determining how long it will take someone else to complete a task. You’ll overestimate in most cases, but it’s nothing compared to the wildly overoptimistic standards you’ll set for yourself. When you need to determine a time frame for a project, imagine someone else will be completing the task and your guess will be closer to the truth.
  • Planning Fallacy is going to tell you that writing your book will take, oh, maybe two weeks if you stop for meals. As always, it lies. For a goal as complex as that, the only way to get a remotely accurate estimate is to break it into the individual steps it will take to achieve it. Besides, it’s scary as hell to see “write novel” on today’s to-do list, but breaking it down into steps like “research alpaca breeding standards for book” or “write chapter seven” turns it into something that’s finite, specific, and easier to wrap your head around. Make a list. Write down how long each step will take. Add ’em up.
  • Make a note of how long similar tasks have taken, but don’t adjust for distractions or problems caused by outside sources.
  • Identify potential snags. Assume they’ll happen.

 

6.) Your brain is not good at “winging it” when it comes to planning… ever!

Every night before I go to sleep, I like to write a simple “to-do” list that I group into two categories.

I put some in category ‘A’ (must be done tomorrow) and some in category ‘B’ (must be worked on or done in 2-3 days).

I do this because when I sit down at the computer to do work without a plan, I tend to fall flat on my face.

My so-called “work time” turns into the not-so-productive “check email time” or “browse Reddit” time; nothing of any importance gets done.

It seems that I’m not alone!

In research by Gollwitzer and colleagues, the subject of “if-then” plans was discussed in relation to how we set and stay consistent with out goals, and the results are not surprising but reveal a lot of insight into how our brain reacts to planning (and even some great tips).

The thing is, researchers found that not only do well laid plans seem to get accomplished more often, but planning for failures along the way (“In case of emergency…”) helps people stay on task under duress.

Let’s continue our diet example from above.

Say you did have that lapse and go over your calories for the day.

Instead of “winging it” and letting your brain crumble to it’s likely response (discussed above), you should have a backup plan ready to know what to do when failure strikes.

This could be something like: “If I go over 2000 calories in a day, I’ll finish the day as close to 2000 as I can, and then the next morning, I’ll go for a 15 minute run as a ‘penance’, make sure I eat an extra healthy breakfast, and then continue the rest of my day as normal.”

You are likely no stranger to feeling ashamed about getting off track, we’ve all been there.

Having those “In case of emergency…” plans help us to have a game plan in case we do falter, and including a small ‘penance’ like I discussed above can help us get over it quicker.

If you failed on your diet for a day and then ‘punish’ (again, just with a quick run) yourself by running in the morning, you can go about your day knowing that you got what you deserved, instead of sliding down the slippery slope of guilt through the rest of the day.

So remember to include an “If-Then” plan for your next big goal, you’ll be able to beat back your brain’s guilt over slipping up now and then and you won’t have to ever “wing it” in case something goes wrong!

 

And here is a bonus little meme from the good fellas over at Runt Of The Web that I am sure we can all relate to:

annoying songs brain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an article by Gregory Ciotti, founder of Sparring Mind.

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

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Wojciech Krotoszyński

    Mar 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    This is absolutely : “…a how to overcome my personal work problems guide.” -> Though I wouldn’t have read it if it wasn’t for procrastinating another task I have to do.. :p

  2. andrea

    Nov 4, 2013 at 12:18 am

    This article is just brilliant! Keep up the good work!

  3. Chris

    Oct 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    so the question then is how can we retrain our brains to work for us instead of against us?

  4. Brain Hater

    Oct 27, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    That’s the reason I bang my head against the wall to discipline it. Now I’m going to bang it more

  5. Suriya Choudhary (@Supriyakc85)

    Jun 4, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Really, really nice article that explains us how our brains play fools with us! I have jotted these down to be constantly ‘aware’ that these don’t come in my way of success.

  6. Erica Roberts

    May 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Actually, I always OVERESTIMATE how long I will take to finish a project and end up finishing ahead of time. When I was much younger I underestimated it.. but then I learned..

  7. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides

    Jan 6, 2013 at 2:48 am

    These are some great tips. I always make sure I have a plan. When I lay down in bed at night, I’ll do a quick run through of the things I want to do tomorrow. It helps me to be more productive.

  8. Dianne McLaren

    Dec 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Great tips …. Very interesting I will definitely share.

  9. Tim

    Nov 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    All of it true. I can relate to the entire list and have experienced all of them in my business. The hard part is retraining your brain to work in the opposite.

  10. Tammy

    Nov 19, 2012 at 2:01 am

    This is great! I just had to share it!

  11. Mary Gudzenovs

    Nov 15, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Brilliant. thanks. Will share this a link to this on my blog. And start practicing these tips!

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Success Advice

Is Fear of Failure Keeping You Stuck in a Lifeless Job? Here Are 5 Things to Do

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stuck in a job you hate

Are you stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you and you can’t seem to find a way out? Chances are that your fear of failure is holding you back. You constantly dream of change, but the dream is quickly replaced by worse case scenarios or self-doubt: What if you don’t find a better job? What if you don’t stand out in a competitive market? What will others think if it doesn’t work out?

At the end of this line of reasoning is the conviction that you’re not the only one who’s not satisfied, and that’s just how life goes. After all, bills won’t pay themselves, right? So you keep toiling away, increasing your level of self-dissatisfaction while quietly hoping that things will somehow improve on their own.

Fear becomes the self-imposed obstacle that prevents you from taking the steps that are necessary for the change(s) you long for. I can recall numerous times in my life where I gave in to my fears and compromised with my goals and desires to play it safe. I was stuck and my dream life and career felt so out of reach. The voice of my inner critic showed up every time I attempted change, to convince me I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have enough to shift.

So how do we overcome the fear of failure, so we can propel change? By removing the notion that change is a threat. Our ego thrives on fear. Its sole purpose is to keep us safe and protect us from taking risks. When we perceive a threat we activate the part of our brain called “amygdala” and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Our simple survival mechanism limits our potential by overemphasizing the fear of failure. Fight or Flight takes hold, but growth does not. We survive, but we don’t thrive, and therein lies the problem. We crave meaningful work that doesn’t drain us, but fulfills us and makes us happy. So how do we take the leap?

Here are 5 life hacks that helped me overcome fear and land a meaningful career:

1. Recognize the desire to change

It serves as a clear sign that you should do something about your situation. Don’t fear it, embrace it. It’s an indicator light in your personal console telling you that you urge for more because you can achieve more. Don’t ignore the blinking light, pay attention and start asking why it’s on in the first place. Trust the urge to start exploring what that might be with the initial intent of finding answers.

“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.” – Steve Harvey

2. Examine your fears, then challenge them

Write them down and face each one of them. This will help you really reveal where they come from. Recall that your ego and its survival mechanisms will over inflate these fears. Pop the balloon by grabbing a pen and asking yourself what is there really to be afraid of.

3. Put it in perspective

Seriously, what is the worst that could happen? If you’re not fulfilling your Plan A, then you’re already living out the downside scenario. Focus on what you’re grateful for, and count your blessings – they’ll still be here no matter if you fail or succeed, as well as the people who love you. The opinions of the rest don’t really matter. You’ll find that it is even easier to bounce back from failure than suffering from the inertia caused by fear. But, this takes courage.

“Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it is a part of it.” – Arianna Huffington

4. Be courageous

All you have to do is try. And the best way to try is through practice. Getting over your fears takes self-training, like a muscle that you need to exercise to build strength. Be intentional about putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Commit to challenging yourself and you’ll see that you’ll learn to bounce back quicker than expected. Your fear will lessen, and your confidence will build as will the resilience needed to enact change.

Arianna Huffington has a great quote to remind us that “Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it is a part of it.” Failing is an inevitable part of the process, so you may as well get it out of the way and face it with courage. But there’s failing, and then there’s taking the risk of failure in the pursuit of self-actualization. In other words, be smart about it by…

5. Creating a plan and executing in small steps

I know you might be thinking: “All of this is great, but I can’t just quit my job and design that meaningful new career.” And you probably shouldn’t. You have to strategize and prepare a plan. That way you can start moving forward with confidence (see #4 above). Shift the focus from the worst case scenario to a step-by-step plan. Then go ahead and explore, learn, ask for help, talk to people, save money, consider the bigger picture before you finally take a leap of faith.

Finally, think of what you’re not willing to give up for the change you want. Often these things keeps us stuck. We dread starting over, we’ve come a long way, so we resist breaking up with the person that don’t make us fully happy, with the lifeless job or a toxic friendship. We’ve invested in these things and they’re familiar and easy. Adjusting to the new and parting with the old is difficult.

Shift the perspective to a mindset of learning and growth. In reality no experience is lost or meaningless. You only add to it, and build more from it. That makes you more resilient and brings your personality and skill set to new heights.

Is fear of failure keeping you stuck? Please share with us below!

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Success Advice

It’s So Easy To Find The Negative in Everything. But What’s The Point?

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Last week, I posted a photo on LinkedIn that showed Keanu Reeves and his generosity.

The post went semi-viral, and people really loved it.

Well almost everyone. There were the 1% of haters.

The highlight of the post is that Keanu takes the train to a lot of places with normal people like you and I, and is not into fancy things. He’s donated most of his money to good causes including leukemia.

The haters wanted to tear Keanu down because how dare he own a house in LA (allegedly).

 

Being right is not the answer.

Whether Keanu does or doesn’t still own a house in LA doesn’t matter. Trying to always be right can force you to be negative. You end up adopting the mindset that everybody is wrong, and you’re smart – and the world is just one big lie.

This mindset can slowly create a self-destructive nature to the way you do life.

 

How do you know you’re 100% right?

There are no absolutes in life. Not everything is as black and white as you think. Maybe Keanu had a house and sold it. Maybe the house doesn’t belong to him. Maybe he shares the house with three Air Bnb travelers and so technically the mortgage is shared.

You just don’t know everything.
Google and Wikipedia are often wrong.
Focus on positivity instead of always being right.

Keanu Reeves on the train.

 

This negative way of thinking serves no one. Least of all you.

Negatively tearing people down all the time is affecting your own mindset which equals your success in the long term. It may seem like an innocent comment that you’ve written on someone’s post, but it shapes the way you think. You can’t help not be affected by trash talking good people like Keanu.

When you stand up and want to work on your goal, you end up being drained of energy from all the negativity you’ve put out.

“If you want to get mad, get mad at your goals and why you haven’t achieved them!”

 

Use your time better.

Don’t you have something else to do other than commenting on social media? Instead of fact-checking the entire world, you’re better off switching off social media and chipping away at your dream. If you love cars, spend your time there. If you love art, create some.

Focus on creating and not consuming.

 

Your network suffers too.

Your habit of being negative and wasting your time worrying about Keanu’s financial stats is repelling good people out of your life. People are watching you shoot your mouth off and are subconsciously thinking “Maybe I’ll leave this person alone. This doesn’t feel good.”

As humans, we want to feel good. Being positive feels good and you attract the right people. Slamming people on social media to make yourself feel good makes everyone else feel like garbage. If you wonder why you have no friends or your current friends suck, this is part of the reason.

The good news is you can change it. Focus on the positive.

 

Remember your EGO.

Finding the negative often occurs when your ego is out of control. Your need to be right is linked to the idea that maybe you think you’re really smart. Your ego being too big contributes to your need to correct people and be negative.

“Your inflated ego and your negative mindset are in love with each other. Break them up – for good!”

 

***Final Thought***

This is not a post about social media and trolling. If you thought that then I’m sorry.

My aim here is to get you to remember why you do what you do. I want you to focus your time on being positive and fighting the raging tsunami that is negativity which we’re all having a daily sword fight with.

Positivity is power. Positivity is success. Publish positivity.

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

10 Things We Can Learn From the Incredible Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs was one of the greatest visionaries and pioneers of the 21st century. He wasn’t an engineer, did not completed his college degree, yet he was able to turnaround the near-bankrupt Apple into the most valuable brand in the world. He not only transformed one industry but several others such as mobile phones, computers, and movies.

Here are 10 life lessons which everyone can learn from Steve Jobs and apply to their lives:

1. Always focus on the positive & let go of the negative

Steve Jobs went through many ups and downs in his life. He was given up by his biological parents for adoption. Such an event could have easily pushed him into the negative; however he chose to focus on the positive in life. He loved his adopted father and mother and he also found the things which kept him happy and positive (i.e. computers).

You should also utilize the power of positive thinking. Don’t become the person who always sees the glass half-empty. Just focus all your energy and dedication on the positive things in your life. If something is negative, it will always drain your energy and you would not be able to live your life to the fullest.

2. Travel the world and learn new things

When Steve Jobs was 19 years old he visited India, and he said in multiple interviews that his travels helped him broaden his perspective. The journey to somewhere far away from his land expanded his thoughts, and opened his mind to unlimited possibilities.

We should also travel more in order to experience the various cultures and lifestyle of people living in different corners of the world. You will not only experience new things but it will also broaden your horizons.

3. Always take a calculated risk

Steve Jobs was a risk-taker, and this set him apart from his competitors. Hardly any CEOs would have agreed to develop a new product which would cannibalize/decrease the sale of the company’s top-selling product. But, Steve Jobs took the risk to develop and market the iPhone when the iPod was their top selling product.

The iPhone cannibalized the sales of the iPod but the iPhone made a huge profit by dominating the emerging smartphone market. In order to move forward, we have to take risks in life. But we must make sure that the risk should be calculated.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

4. Be wise in the company you choose to keep

Steve Jobs always hired and surrounded himself with great minds. He hired Steve Wozniak because he knew that he was better than Jobs in building computers. Some of the more prominent people who worked with Jobs were John Lasseter and Tim Cook. These people helped Steve Jobs to achieve massive success in making Apple the most valuable brand in the world.

You should learn to surround yourself with great people in order to achieve success. Don’t let your ego get in the way of who you choose to interact and work with.

5. Learn from the failures and keep moving forward

In 1984, Apple fired Steve Jobs. He could have chosen the option of feeling depressed about it but he took it in a positive way.

At Stanford’s 2005 commencement address, he said;

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

We should also not fear failure because it is not the end of the end. We should treat failure as an opportunity to improve oneself.

6. Do only what you truly love

While addressing the students and faculty members of Stanford University, Steve Jobs said  The only thing which kept him going while facing challenges and obstacles was the fact that he was doing what he loved. He also said to find what you love both in your professional and personal life.

If we do what we truly love then we do that particular work with complete passion. We don’t make any excuses for not giving everything we have.

7. Learn from others

When Steve Jobs was in high school, he attended lectures at Hewlett-Packard. Before the age of 21, he had already worked for HP and Atari. He worked there and learned what these companies were doing and he implemented those strategies at Apple.

You too should learn from others. If you don’t see any results while working towards a certain goal, then you should take advice from the experts in that field. Sometimes, a little help is all you need to achieve success.

8. It is never too early to get started

Steve Jobs was still a teenager when he was working with HP and Atari. At the age of 20, the young enthusiastic entrepreneur had started Apple Inc. He was young daring man open to new ideas thus who he focused all his energy on the company.

If a young entrepreneur starts a venture at a young age, then he doesn’t have much pressure. After a certain age, you are more focused on your family or career at some other company. At a young age, you can take risks professionally as you are are more free to fail and restart.

9. Obstacles are the opportunity to succeed

Steve Jobs and Wozniak were the co-founders of Apple Inc. While they were developing the first Apple computer they ran out of money. They could have given up on their dream of building a computer but instead, they choose to thrive. Steve Jobs sold his van and Wozniak sold his graphing calculator to raise some money.

Learn to see your obstacles as an opportunity to succeed. If you really want to do something, you will always find a way to complete it. Once you have this mindset, then nothing can stop you from overcoming your obstacles.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs

10. Always remember you are not immortal

While addressing the students at Stanford University, Jobs said “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because of almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Whenever you feel depressed, confused, embarrassed or have any negative feelings, only remember one thing; you are not immortal. You will be dead soon, so instead of feeling depressed make sure that you utilize every second of life.

Though Steve Jobs has passed away, his legacy will be with us forever. He was an inspiring human being who was and is respected by many. The way he lived his life both personally and professionally is commendable and if we can learn from his teachings, then it will definitely help us in achieving success in life.

Which one of these 10 qualities of Steve Jobs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

How I Work Smarter: The Practical And Really Dumbed Down Strategies.

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Working Smarter. Productivity Hacks

I’m somewhat of a productivity freak. I like having time.

Time allows me to work smarter, and so I protect it like a rare and beautiful diamond. If you want to steal my time, you better be prepared for one hell of a battle. I’d happily give up money before I would ever give up time.

Here’s how I work smart and how you can do the same:

 

I take the stairs.

While everybody is lining up for the lift or going 1 meter every ten minutes on the escalator, I take the stairs. It keeps me fit and I get where I want to go faster. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy so get used to taking the stairs and doing some physical work.

 

I keep it simple (decision fatigue).

Water instead of wine/soft drink/coffee etc.
One big goal at any point in time instead of a to-do list of goals that lead nowhere.
One email address instead of multiple inboxes.
One computer and one phone instead of a Fitbit, laptop, phone, tablet and Apple Watch.

“Vanilla options are easy and low fuss. Decisions fatigue you”

 

I have lunch before midday.

Lunch can be done in 15 minutes. The trick is to buy or make your lunch before the rush. Standing in lines and getting frustrated is unnecessary. Get some time in your day back by doing lunch earlier. I recommend 11:45. With the extra time you gain back, try adding in 10 minutes of meditation.

 

Leave the car at home.

When I go to the city, I leave the car at home. By the time I get into the car, battle against the seven seas that is traffic and then get parking, I could have already been there by train or equivalent. This transit time also becomes my portable learning time. I use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead of having to think about driving.

 

One day a week in isolation.

Being alone with your thoughts and complete silence, once a week, makes you mega productive. A few moments of quietness are far more valuable than hours of busyness and noise. In complete isolation, you have no choice but to focus and complete your goals.

 

I use tiredness to do housework.

People hate tiredness. I love it. Tiredness tells me to stop working on my goals and do the things we all have to do like housework. I don’t need any energy or inspiration to do housework so why waste my high energy states on it?

Having said that, I aim to eliminate tiredness. This is a work in progress and requires exercise combined with an excellent diet. Until then, housework I love you!

 

Notifications are turned off except for SMS

That word “notifications” feels like grand larceny. Companies used to steal my time through notifications and now I’ve declared war on them. When you’re powering through a task, the last thing you want is an interruption in the form of a notification.

That small amount of time you spend getting distracted takes you out of the zone and away from the focused state you’re in. Go to settings and turn off notifications – especially Facebook.

 

I don’t play computer games.

As a kid, I loved computer games. That’s why I know to stay away from them as an adult because they are designed to get me to fight someone else’s mission. There’s no such thing as a quick game. Games are designed to keep you engaged and continually challenge you.

 

I get up before everybody else.

Yes, sir! I get up when it’s dark so I can do the big stuff first. Before the rest of the world can wake up and distract me, I’m getting my game on in the early hours of the morning. I really think you should wake up early. If you ignored everything else I said and just woke up early, I’d be proud.

 

I tell myself no before saying yes.

Yes has become a first world disease. You can’t work smart if you say yes to every offer that comes your way. That’s why I tell myself no first, and then try to convince myself of yes. If I can’t convince myself, I say no. Auto responding with yes answers will make you busy.

 

Busy is not smart.

If you think you are busy, and you verbally say so regularly, you’re not working smart. Busy is dumb. Busy will cripple your time and make your mindset go into meltdown. Humans can only focus on a small number of things so stop being busy!

Tell people the truth. Say no more. Guard your time. Avoid the trap of busy.

 

I chunk down big tasks.

If I have to give a big speech then in the same week, I move away any other big goals that might distract me. Too many big goals all in a small space of time can become overwhelming quickly. Stick to one or two big goals at a time and you’ll achieve a lot more. Less is more.

 

I own less stuff.

That way I don’t need to worry about maintaining things, securing things, thinking about objects, spending money on things I can’t afford. Sell, sell, sell yourself out of living the dumb life.

“Stuff does not equal progress; personal growth does and money can’t buy that”

 

I invest in dumb stuff.

With almost no knowledge, anyone can invest in index funds and not have to worry about the burden of trying to predict the next biggest thing. In reality, this strategy will probably beat all of the people who waste their lives away trying to be fortune tellers.

All I do is buy low-cost index funds of major economies like the USA. I invest the same amount each time so I’m not affected by the rise and fall of the stock market. Thank you, Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet for this strategy.

I don’t have video streaming.

Time looking at a screen is better spent reading a book. Fictional TV shows are not teaching me about life. Reading biographies, books about life lessons and the latest research in human psychology does that for me. One up on mediocrity and cancel your subscription.

 

Simplify your subscriptions.

Here’s the thing: Subscriptions equal time.

Companies have moved their business models to subscriptions because it helps keep you engaged and addicted to what they have to sell because you’re paying a recurring fee for it. Delete as many subscriptions as you can. I have one for my meditation app, one for the gym and one for my writing software.

 

Delete apps from your reading device.

Okay, so I do use Kindle which means that there is a temptation to look at apps. Delete apps from your reading device so you can actually read.

 

I take summer holidays when everyone returns to the office.

In Australia, everyone goes away in December and January. I take my holidays when they return to work. This means:

– More time in the office when it’s less busy
– Cheaper flights and accommodation during low peak times
– More chances to step up to leader roles while others are away

Everything is just less busy when you holiday off-peak.

 

I avoid junk food during major goal weeks.

This week I have a public speaking competition. I need all the practice I can get which requires energy. That’s why, in big goal weeks like the one I’m in right now, I cut out junk food. Energy equals time. Do a cheat day to celebrate at the end if you must.

 

I split my resources like this.

– Travel
– Necessities like food, clothes and rent
– Money for family and my girlfriend
– Unplanned indulgences (cheat day)

A balanced life requires resources (money). Splitting your money across these four areas allows you to work smart. You only have to work dumb when you waste your resources and therefore have to work ten times harder than you need to. When in doubt, less is more.

 

Stimulants are neglected.

Coffee only makes us get the jitters and be nervous. I find when I’m on coffee I become more fearful. My relaxed state disappears.

 

I do regular breaks.

We’re not machines. I do regular breaks of trampoline, walking, and eating fresh food in-between hours of writing on the weekend.

 

I outsource stuff I’m bad at.

If I do things I’m horrible at, I do them badly. This stops me from working smart and can cause negativity. That’s why I outsource stuff I’m bad at wherever possible.

 

I get enough sleep.

7 hours works for me. You have to sleep otherwise you’ll get tired which will cause negativity and a poor quality of work. This “sleep when you’re dead” tend is a fallacy.

 

I value you my time.

I’ve placed a very high dollar value on my time. Because I consciously value it, I’m always reconciling how much time I have. By valuing your time, you become aware of it. You can’t focus on something you are not aware of.

 

I do phone first, instead of coffee catch-ups.

LinkedIn sends me multiple requests a day for coffee catch ups. Most of them don’t state any valid reason for the catch-up. Now if you just say no to them all you could be missing out on the gift of socializing, learning new things and meeting people you can do business with.

The hack I use is this: Always do the first conversation via phone. That way you can tell if there is value or a need for a coffee catch up.

Second hack: do a video call instead of an audio-only call. Video lets you see the other person and connect better. It’s more personal and you’ll quickly figure out if you need that coffee after all. I personally don’t drink coffee, so these sort of catch ups take me out of rapport with the other person from the start.

 

Happy partner, happy life.

I spend less time arguing because I do stuff that my partner wants to do even if I don’t. She does the same. This way everybody wins and I don’t need to waste time arguing and lighting a fire under my mindset that causes me to want to evacuate to the world of temptation (coffee, Netflix, games, useless crap).

 

I cheat on my phone regularly.

That’s right! I sleep around with any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone.

“The small glass window of my phone feels like such a tiny part of what the world has to offer. I choose to look out of the window of life instead and see limitless possibility”

 

I do exercise to boost my mindset.

Being smart is only possible when you have a positive mindset served on the side. Exercise has helped me relieve stress and get back to feeling good again. Do it.

 

I don’t allow people to steal my time.

People will gladly rob you of your time and waste it. They do this primarily because they have their own selfish goals, or they’re bored with life and wasting your time makes them feel better. Prosecute these time thieves’ by telling them your expectations and referencing your calendar if you have to.

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

Is Fear of Failure Keeping You Stuck in a Lifeless Job? Here Are 5 Things to Do

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stuck in a job you hate

Are you stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you and you can’t seem to find a way out? Chances are that your fear of failure is holding you back. You constantly dream of change, but the dream is quickly replaced by worse case scenarios or self-doubt: What if you don’t find a better job? What if you don’t stand out in a competitive market? What will others think if it doesn’t work out?

At the end of this line of reasoning is the conviction that you’re not the only one who’s not satisfied, and that’s just how life goes. After all, bills won’t pay themselves, right? So you keep toiling away, increasing your level of self-dissatisfaction while quietly hoping that things will somehow improve on their own.

Fear becomes the self-imposed obstacle that prevents you from taking the steps that are necessary for the change(s) you long for. I can recall numerous times in my life where I gave in to my fears and compromised with my goals and desires to play it safe. I was stuck and my dream life and career felt so out of reach. The voice of my inner critic showed up every time I attempted change, to convince me I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have enough to shift.

So how do we overcome the fear of failure, so we can propel change? By removing the notion that change is a threat. Our ego thrives on fear. Its sole purpose is to keep us safe and protect us from taking risks. When we perceive a threat we activate the part of our brain called “amygdala” and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Our simple survival mechanism limits our potential by overemphasizing the fear of failure. Fight or Flight takes hold, but growth does not. We survive, but we don’t thrive, and therein lies the problem. We crave meaningful work that doesn’t drain us, but fulfills us and makes us happy. So how do we take the leap? (more…)

Vanya Lazarova is a certified professional coach, specializing in helping people create their life's work by starting with purpose and authenticity. She loves writing, reading, psychology, philosophy, arts and all forms of self- expression. She co-founded a personal development podcast called "The Coaching Journal", where she offers thought provoking concepts to empower people intentionally design the life they want to have. You can find more about Vanya and the work she does on her website www.LiveAuthentic.net and at her podcast The Coaching Journal.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Wojciech Krotoszyński

    Mar 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    This is absolutely : “…a how to overcome my personal work problems guide.” -> Though I wouldn’t have read it if it wasn’t for procrastinating another task I have to do.. :p

  2. andrea

    Nov 4, 2013 at 12:18 am

    This article is just brilliant! Keep up the good work!

  3. Chris

    Oct 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    so the question then is how can we retrain our brains to work for us instead of against us?

  4. Brain Hater

    Oct 27, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    That’s the reason I bang my head against the wall to discipline it. Now I’m going to bang it more

  5. Suriya Choudhary (@Supriyakc85)

    Jun 4, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Really, really nice article that explains us how our brains play fools with us! I have jotted these down to be constantly ‘aware’ that these don’t come in my way of success.

  6. Erica Roberts

    May 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Actually, I always OVERESTIMATE how long I will take to finish a project and end up finishing ahead of time. When I was much younger I underestimated it.. but then I learned..

  7. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides

    Jan 6, 2013 at 2:48 am

    These are some great tips. I always make sure I have a plan. When I lay down in bed at night, I’ll do a quick run through of the things I want to do tomorrow. It helps me to be more productive.

  8. Dianne McLaren

    Dec 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Great tips …. Very interesting I will definitely share.

  9. Tim

    Nov 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    All of it true. I can relate to the entire list and have experienced all of them in my business. The hard part is retraining your brain to work in the opposite.

  10. Tammy

    Nov 19, 2012 at 2:01 am

    This is great! I just had to share it!

  11. Mary Gudzenovs

    Nov 15, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Brilliant. thanks. Will share this a link to this on my blog. And start practicing these tips!

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Success Advice

Is Fear of Failure Keeping You Stuck in a Lifeless Job? Here Are 5 Things to Do

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stuck in a job you hate

Are you stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you and you can’t seem to find a way out? Chances are that your fear of failure is holding you back. You constantly dream of change, but the dream is quickly replaced by worse case scenarios or self-doubt: What if you don’t find a better job? What if you don’t stand out in a competitive market? What will others think if it doesn’t work out?

At the end of this line of reasoning is the conviction that you’re not the only one who’s not satisfied, and that’s just how life goes. After all, bills won’t pay themselves, right? So you keep toiling away, increasing your level of self-dissatisfaction while quietly hoping that things will somehow improve on their own.

Fear becomes the self-imposed obstacle that prevents you from taking the steps that are necessary for the change(s) you long for. I can recall numerous times in my life where I gave in to my fears and compromised with my goals and desires to play it safe. I was stuck and my dream life and career felt so out of reach. The voice of my inner critic showed up every time I attempted change, to convince me I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have enough to shift.

So how do we overcome the fear of failure, so we can propel change? By removing the notion that change is a threat. Our ego thrives on fear. Its sole purpose is to keep us safe and protect us from taking risks. When we perceive a threat we activate the part of our brain called “amygdala” and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode.

Our simple survival mechanism limits our potential by overemphasizing the fear of failure. Fight or Flight takes hold, but growth does not. We survive, but we don’t thrive, and therein lies the problem. We crave meaningful work that doesn’t drain us, but fulfills us and makes us happy. So how do we take the leap?

Here are 5 life hacks that helped me overcome fear and land a meaningful career:

1. Recognize the desire to change

It serves as a clear sign that you should do something about your situation. Don’t fear it, embrace it. It’s an indicator light in your personal console telling you that you urge for more because you can achieve more. Don’t ignore the blinking light, pay attention and start asking why it’s on in the first place. Trust the urge to start exploring what that might be with the initial intent of finding answers.

“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.” – Steve Harvey

2. Examine your fears, then challenge them

Write them down and face each one of them. This will help you really reveal where they come from. Recall that your ego and its survival mechanisms will over inflate these fears. Pop the balloon by grabbing a pen and asking yourself what is there really to be afraid of.

3. Put it in perspective

Seriously, what is the worst that could happen? If you’re not fulfilling your Plan A, then you’re already living out the downside scenario. Focus on what you’re grateful for, and count your blessings – they’ll still be here no matter if you fail or succeed, as well as the people who love you. The opinions of the rest don’t really matter. You’ll find that it is even easier to bounce back from failure than suffering from the inertia caused by fear. But, this takes courage.

“Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it is a part of it.” – Arianna Huffington

4. Be courageous

All you have to do is try. And the best way to try is through practice. Getting over your fears takes self-training, like a muscle that you need to exercise to build strength. Be intentional about putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Commit to challenging yourself and you’ll see that you’ll learn to bounce back quicker than expected. Your fear will lessen, and your confidence will build as will the resilience needed to enact change.

Arianna Huffington has a great quote to remind us that “Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it is a part of it.” Failing is an inevitable part of the process, so you may as well get it out of the way and face it with courage. But there’s failing, and then there’s taking the risk of failure in the pursuit of self-actualization. In other words, be smart about it by…

5. Creating a plan and executing in small steps

I know you might be thinking: “All of this is great, but I can’t just quit my job and design that meaningful new career.” And you probably shouldn’t. You have to strategize and prepare a plan. That way you can start moving forward with confidence (see #4 above). Shift the focus from the worst case scenario to a step-by-step plan. Then go ahead and explore, learn, ask for help, talk to people, save money, consider the bigger picture before you finally take a leap of faith.

Finally, think of what you’re not willing to give up for the change you want. Often these things keeps us stuck. We dread starting over, we’ve come a long way, so we resist breaking up with the person that don’t make us fully happy, with the lifeless job or a toxic friendship. We’ve invested in these things and they’re familiar and easy. Adjusting to the new and parting with the old is difficult.

Shift the perspective to a mindset of learning and growth. In reality no experience is lost or meaningless. You only add to it, and build more from it. That makes you more resilient and brings your personality and skill set to new heights.

Is fear of failure keeping you stuck? Please share with us below!

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Success Advice

It’s So Easy To Find The Negative in Everything. But What’s The Point?

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Last week, I posted a photo on LinkedIn that showed Keanu Reeves and his generosity.

The post went semi-viral, and people really loved it.

Well almost everyone. There were the 1% of haters.

The highlight of the post is that Keanu takes the train to a lot of places with normal people like you and I, and is not into fancy things. He’s donated most of his money to good causes including leukemia.

The haters wanted to tear Keanu down because how dare he own a house in LA (allegedly).

 

Being right is not the answer.

Whether Keanu does or doesn’t still own a house in LA doesn’t matter. Trying to always be right can force you to be negative. You end up adopting the mindset that everybody is wrong, and you’re smart – and the world is just one big lie.

This mindset can slowly create a self-destructive nature to the way you do life.

 

How do you know you’re 100% right?

There are no absolutes in life. Not everything is as black and white as you think. Maybe Keanu had a house and sold it. Maybe the house doesn’t belong to him. Maybe he shares the house with three Air Bnb travelers and so technically the mortgage is shared.

You just don’t know everything.
Google and Wikipedia are often wrong.
Focus on positivity instead of always being right.

Keanu Reeves on the train.

 

This negative way of thinking serves no one. Least of all you.

Negatively tearing people down all the time is affecting your own mindset which equals your success in the long term. It may seem like an innocent comment that you’ve written on someone’s post, but it shapes the way you think. You can’t help not be affected by trash talking good people like Keanu.

When you stand up and want to work on your goal, you end up being drained of energy from all the negativity you’ve put out.

“If you want to get mad, get mad at your goals and why you haven’t achieved them!”

 

Use your time better.

Don’t you have something else to do other than commenting on social media? Instead of fact-checking the entire world, you’re better off switching off social media and chipping away at your dream. If you love cars, spend your time there. If you love art, create some.

Focus on creating and not consuming.

 

Your network suffers too.

Your habit of being negative and wasting your time worrying about Keanu’s financial stats is repelling good people out of your life. People are watching you shoot your mouth off and are subconsciously thinking “Maybe I’ll leave this person alone. This doesn’t feel good.”

As humans, we want to feel good. Being positive feels good and you attract the right people. Slamming people on social media to make yourself feel good makes everyone else feel like garbage. If you wonder why you have no friends or your current friends suck, this is part of the reason.

The good news is you can change it. Focus on the positive.

 

Remember your EGO.

Finding the negative often occurs when your ego is out of control. Your need to be right is linked to the idea that maybe you think you’re really smart. Your ego being too big contributes to your need to correct people and be negative.

“Your inflated ego and your negative mindset are in love with each other. Break them up – for good!”

 

***Final Thought***

This is not a post about social media and trolling. If you thought that then I’m sorry.

My aim here is to get you to remember why you do what you do. I want you to focus your time on being positive and fighting the raging tsunami that is negativity which we’re all having a daily sword fight with.

Positivity is power. Positivity is success. Publish positivity.

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

10 Things We Can Learn From the Incredible Steve Jobs

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Steve Jobs

Steven Paul Jobs was one of the greatest visionaries and pioneers of the 21st century. He wasn’t an engineer, did not completed his college degree, yet he was able to turnaround the near-bankrupt Apple into the most valuable brand in the world. He not only transformed one industry but several others such as mobile phones, computers, and movies.

Here are 10 life lessons which everyone can learn from Steve Jobs and apply to their lives:

1. Always focus on the positive & let go of the negative

Steve Jobs went through many ups and downs in his life. He was given up by his biological parents for adoption. Such an event could have easily pushed him into the negative; however he chose to focus on the positive in life. He loved his adopted father and mother and he also found the things which kept him happy and positive (i.e. computers).

You should also utilize the power of positive thinking. Don’t become the person who always sees the glass half-empty. Just focus all your energy and dedication on the positive things in your life. If something is negative, it will always drain your energy and you would not be able to live your life to the fullest.

2. Travel the world and learn new things

When Steve Jobs was 19 years old he visited India, and he said in multiple interviews that his travels helped him broaden his perspective. The journey to somewhere far away from his land expanded his thoughts, and opened his mind to unlimited possibilities.

We should also travel more in order to experience the various cultures and lifestyle of people living in different corners of the world. You will not only experience new things but it will also broaden your horizons.

3. Always take a calculated risk

Steve Jobs was a risk-taker, and this set him apart from his competitors. Hardly any CEOs would have agreed to develop a new product which would cannibalize/decrease the sale of the company’s top-selling product. But, Steve Jobs took the risk to develop and market the iPhone when the iPod was their top selling product.

The iPhone cannibalized the sales of the iPod but the iPhone made a huge profit by dominating the emerging smartphone market. In order to move forward, we have to take risks in life. But we must make sure that the risk should be calculated.

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

4. Be wise in the company you choose to keep

Steve Jobs always hired and surrounded himself with great minds. He hired Steve Wozniak because he knew that he was better than Jobs in building computers. Some of the more prominent people who worked with Jobs were John Lasseter and Tim Cook. These people helped Steve Jobs to achieve massive success in making Apple the most valuable brand in the world.

You should learn to surround yourself with great people in order to achieve success. Don’t let your ego get in the way of who you choose to interact and work with.

5. Learn from the failures and keep moving forward

In 1984, Apple fired Steve Jobs. He could have chosen the option of feeling depressed about it but he took it in a positive way.

At Stanford’s 2005 commencement address, he said;

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

We should also not fear failure because it is not the end of the end. We should treat failure as an opportunity to improve oneself.

6. Do only what you truly love

While addressing the students and faculty members of Stanford University, Steve Jobs said  The only thing which kept him going while facing challenges and obstacles was the fact that he was doing what he loved. He also said to find what you love both in your professional and personal life.

If we do what we truly love then we do that particular work with complete passion. We don’t make any excuses for not giving everything we have.

7. Learn from others

When Steve Jobs was in high school, he attended lectures at Hewlett-Packard. Before the age of 21, he had already worked for HP and Atari. He worked there and learned what these companies were doing and he implemented those strategies at Apple.

You too should learn from others. If you don’t see any results while working towards a certain goal, then you should take advice from the experts in that field. Sometimes, a little help is all you need to achieve success.

8. It is never too early to get started

Steve Jobs was still a teenager when he was working with HP and Atari. At the age of 20, the young enthusiastic entrepreneur had started Apple Inc. He was young daring man open to new ideas thus who he focused all his energy on the company.

If a young entrepreneur starts a venture at a young age, then he doesn’t have much pressure. After a certain age, you are more focused on your family or career at some other company. At a young age, you can take risks professionally as you are are more free to fail and restart.

9. Obstacles are the opportunity to succeed

Steve Jobs and Wozniak were the co-founders of Apple Inc. While they were developing the first Apple computer they ran out of money. They could have given up on their dream of building a computer but instead, they choose to thrive. Steve Jobs sold his van and Wozniak sold his graphing calculator to raise some money.

Learn to see your obstacles as an opportunity to succeed. If you really want to do something, you will always find a way to complete it. Once you have this mindset, then nothing can stop you from overcoming your obstacles.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non successful ones is pure perseverance.” – Steve Jobs

10. Always remember you are not immortal

While addressing the students at Stanford University, Jobs said “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because of almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Whenever you feel depressed, confused, embarrassed or have any negative feelings, only remember one thing; you are not immortal. You will be dead soon, so instead of feeling depressed make sure that you utilize every second of life.

Though Steve Jobs has passed away, his legacy will be with us forever. He was an inspiring human being who was and is respected by many. The way he lived his life both personally and professionally is commendable and if we can learn from his teachings, then it will definitely help us in achieving success in life.

Which one of these 10 qualities of Steve Jobs is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

How I Work Smarter: The Practical And Really Dumbed Down Strategies.

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Working Smarter. Productivity Hacks

I’m somewhat of a productivity freak. I like having time.

Time allows me to work smarter, and so I protect it like a rare and beautiful diamond. If you want to steal my time, you better be prepared for one hell of a battle. I’d happily give up money before I would ever give up time.

Here’s how I work smart and how you can do the same:

 

I take the stairs.

While everybody is lining up for the lift or going 1 meter every ten minutes on the escalator, I take the stairs. It keeps me fit and I get where I want to go faster. Nothing in life worth achieving is easy so get used to taking the stairs and doing some physical work.

 

I keep it simple (decision fatigue).

Water instead of wine/soft drink/coffee etc.
One big goal at any point in time instead of a to-do list of goals that lead nowhere.
One email address instead of multiple inboxes.
One computer and one phone instead of a Fitbit, laptop, phone, tablet and Apple Watch.

“Vanilla options are easy and low fuss. Decisions fatigue you”

 

I have lunch before midday.

Lunch can be done in 15 minutes. The trick is to buy or make your lunch before the rush. Standing in lines and getting frustrated is unnecessary. Get some time in your day back by doing lunch earlier. I recommend 11:45. With the extra time you gain back, try adding in 10 minutes of meditation.

 

Leave the car at home.

When I go to the city, I leave the car at home. By the time I get into the car, battle against the seven seas that is traffic and then get parking, I could have already been there by train or equivalent. This transit time also becomes my portable learning time. I use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead of having to think about driving.

 

One day a week in isolation.

Being alone with your thoughts and complete silence, once a week, makes you mega productive. A few moments of quietness are far more valuable than hours of busyness and noise. In complete isolation, you have no choice but to focus and complete your goals.

 

I use tiredness to do housework.

People hate tiredness. I love it. Tiredness tells me to stop working on my goals and do the things we all have to do like housework. I don’t need any energy or inspiration to do housework so why waste my high energy states on it?

Having said that, I aim to eliminate tiredness. This is a work in progress and requires exercise combined with an excellent diet. Until then, housework I love you!

 

Notifications are turned off except for SMS

That word “notifications” feels like grand larceny. Companies used to steal my time through notifications and now I’ve declared war on them. When you’re powering through a task, the last thing you want is an interruption in the form of a notification.

That small amount of time you spend getting distracted takes you out of the zone and away from the focused state you’re in. Go to settings and turn off notifications – especially Facebook.

 

I don’t play computer games.

As a kid, I loved computer games. That’s why I know to stay away from them as an adult because they are designed to get me to fight someone else’s mission. There’s no such thing as a quick game. Games are designed to keep you engaged and continually challenge you.

 

I get up before everybody else.

Yes, sir! I get up when it’s dark so I can do the big stuff first. Before the rest of the world can wake up and distract me, I’m getting my game on in the early hours of the morning. I really think you should wake up early. If you ignored everything else I said and just woke up early, I’d be proud.

 

I tell myself no before saying yes.

Yes has become a first world disease. You can’t work smart if you say yes to every offer that comes your way. That’s why I tell myself no first, and then try to convince myself of yes. If I can’t convince myself, I say no. Auto responding with yes answers will make you busy.

 

Busy is not smart.

If you think you are busy, and you verbally say so regularly, you’re not working smart. Busy is dumb. Busy will cripple your time and make your mindset go into meltdown. Humans can only focus on a small number of things so stop being busy!

Tell people the truth. Say no more. Guard your time. Avoid the trap of busy.

 

I chunk down big tasks.

If I have to give a big speech then in the same week, I move away any other big goals that might distract me. Too many big goals all in a small space of time can become overwhelming quickly. Stick to one or two big goals at a time and you’ll achieve a lot more. Less is more.

 

I own less stuff.

That way I don’t need to worry about maintaining things, securing things, thinking about objects, spending money on things I can’t afford. Sell, sell, sell yourself out of living the dumb life.

“Stuff does not equal progress; personal growth does and money can’t buy that”

 

I invest in dumb stuff.

With almost no knowledge, anyone can invest in index funds and not have to worry about the burden of trying to predict the next biggest thing. In reality, this strategy will probably beat all of the people who waste their lives away trying to be fortune tellers.

All I do is buy low-cost index funds of major economies like the USA. I invest the same amount each time so I’m not affected by the rise and fall of the stock market. Thank you, Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet for this strategy.

I don’t have video streaming.

Time looking at a screen is better spent reading a book. Fictional TV shows are not teaching me about life. Reading biographies, books about life lessons and the latest research in human psychology does that for me. One up on mediocrity and cancel your subscription.

 

Simplify your subscriptions.

Here’s the thing: Subscriptions equal time.

Companies have moved their business models to subscriptions because it helps keep you engaged and addicted to what they have to sell because you’re paying a recurring fee for it. Delete as many subscriptions as you can. I have one for my meditation app, one for the gym and one for my writing software.

 

Delete apps from your reading device.

Okay, so I do use Kindle which means that there is a temptation to look at apps. Delete apps from your reading device so you can actually read.

 

I take summer holidays when everyone returns to the office.

In Australia, everyone goes away in December and January. I take my holidays when they return to work. This means:

– More time in the office when it’s less busy
– Cheaper flights and accommodation during low peak times
– More chances to step up to leader roles while others are away

Everything is just less busy when you holiday off-peak.

 

I avoid junk food during major goal weeks.

This week I have a public speaking competition. I need all the practice I can get which requires energy. That’s why, in big goal weeks like the one I’m in right now, I cut out junk food. Energy equals time. Do a cheat day to celebrate at the end if you must.

 

I split my resources like this.

– Travel
– Necessities like food, clothes and rent
– Money for family and my girlfriend
– Unplanned indulgences (cheat day)

A balanced life requires resources (money). Splitting your money across these four areas allows you to work smart. You only have to work dumb when you waste your resources and therefore have to work ten times harder than you need to. When in doubt, less is more.

 

Stimulants are neglected.

Coffee only makes us get the jitters and be nervous. I find when I’m on coffee I become more fearful. My relaxed state disappears.

 

I do regular breaks.

We’re not machines. I do regular breaks of trampoline, walking, and eating fresh food in-between hours of writing on the weekend.

 

I outsource stuff I’m bad at.

If I do things I’m horrible at, I do them badly. This stops me from working smart and can cause negativity. That’s why I outsource stuff I’m bad at wherever possible.

 

I get enough sleep.

7 hours works for me. You have to sleep otherwise you’ll get tired which will cause negativity and a poor quality of work. This “sleep when you’re dead” tend is a fallacy.

 

I value you my time.

I’ve placed a very high dollar value on my time. Because I consciously value it, I’m always reconciling how much time I have. By valuing your time, you become aware of it. You can’t focus on something you are not aware of.

 

I do phone first, instead of coffee catch-ups.

LinkedIn sends me multiple requests a day for coffee catch ups. Most of them don’t state any valid reason for the catch-up. Now if you just say no to them all you could be missing out on the gift of socializing, learning new things and meeting people you can do business with.

The hack I use is this: Always do the first conversation via phone. That way you can tell if there is value or a need for a coffee catch up.

Second hack: do a video call instead of an audio-only call. Video lets you see the other person and connect better. It’s more personal and you’ll quickly figure out if you need that coffee after all. I personally don’t drink coffee, so these sort of catch ups take me out of rapport with the other person from the start.

 

Happy partner, happy life.

I spend less time arguing because I do stuff that my partner wants to do even if I don’t. She does the same. This way everybody wins and I don’t need to waste time arguing and lighting a fire under my mindset that causes me to want to evacuate to the world of temptation (coffee, Netflix, games, useless crap).

 

I cheat on my phone regularly.

That’s right! I sleep around with any activity that doesn’t involve looking at my phone.

“The small glass window of my phone feels like such a tiny part of what the world has to offer. I choose to look out of the window of life instead and see limitless possibility”

 

I do exercise to boost my mindset.

Being smart is only possible when you have a positive mindset served on the side. Exercise has helped me relieve stress and get back to feeling good again. Do it.

 

I don’t allow people to steal my time.

People will gladly rob you of your time and waste it. They do this primarily because they have their own selfish goals, or they’re bored with life and wasting your time makes them feel better. Prosecute these time thieves’ by telling them your expectations and referencing your calendar if you have to.

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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