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Success Advice

Do You Have To Be Ruthless To Be Unbelievably Successful?

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Be Successful Donald Trump Richard Branson

I had  a discussion a couple of weeks ago with a group of friends, where the question of “Do you have to be ruthless to be successful?” was raised.

Just before writing this article I personally believed that you don’t have to be ruthless at all, but you may have to step over or around some people along the way to get to your end goal. It just depends on what you do in the process to get there. I also thought about it a little deeper and began to think, well, what does it really mean to be ruthless? And do successful people who have faced the battles and adversities in the business world see this definition in a different light?

Let’s check it out…..

The definition of Ruthless is:

ruth·less
ˈro͞oTHləs/
adjective
  1. Having or showing no pity or compassion for others.

Some synonyms of ruthless are “cold-hearted”, “merciless”, “pitiless” or “manipulator”. Do successful people look at manipulation differently to those who are unsuccessful?

In a survey run by “Business Brilliant” author Lewis Schiff, 9 out of 10 self-made millionaires agreed that “it’s important in negotiations to exploit the weaknesses in others.” Only 1 in 4 middle-class people took the same view.

What about being taken advantage of?

1 in 3 middle-class people agreed that “in negotiations, I expect people to try and take advantage of me.” 2 out of 3 self-made millionaires, on the other hand, expect others to try taking advantage.

This extends to their behavior, too. Half of the middle-class people in one survey agreed that “when making business decisions, it’s important to consider how the other side will view me.” On the other hand, only 2 in 10 self-made millionaires agreed with the same proposition.

Now, here’s the interesting thing. This same survey also broke down respondents by how rich they were. After all, there’s a difference multimillionaires and simple millionaires in their bank accounts — and it also looks like there’s a difference in their thinking.

97 percent of self-made multimillionaires believe that “in business dealings, it’s not my responsibility to ‘look out’ for the other person’s interest.” On the other hand, only 85 percent of self-made millionaires agree… and among the middle class? A mere 25 percent.

Now, we could go on and on with this. Questions about Machiavellianism, gaining advantages over others, and the like all produced similar results. This does not, however, mean that successful people are actively out to screw others. They understand better than anyone that reciprocation and sticking to their word is key to building trust and long-term relationships — the most profitable kind, after all.

Still, it is possible to be successful without being ruthless. After all, even among multimillionaires, there were a few percent (very few) who did not agree with ruthlessness in business dealings. Looking at some well-known examples, we can see there’s clearly a range of personalities at work. The degree to which ruthlessness is necessary for success varies.

Donald Trump Ruthless To Be SuccessfulBusinessmen like Donald Trump occupy one side of the scale. They make careers — and images — out of their ruthlessness. “Be brutal,” Trump has said:

“Be tough, and just go get them.”

Why is this? For one thing, real estate is a notoriously ruthless business. There is a finite supply of valuable land. Indeed, the limited supply of land is what allows men like Trump to make their millions. With the “you must lose for me to win” aspect so clearly visible, it’s no surprise that a Trump attitude rises to the top.

 

Richard Branson smile to be successful entrepreneurThen we have the Richard Branson’s of the world. In a column for Entrepreneur Magazine titled “Nice Guys Can Finish First,” Branson explains he finds it counterproductive to be ruthless. When people feel they’ve done well dealing with you, they tend to come back, and give you more business later.

Sure, some people have observed that even Branson has a ruthless streak, which he chalks up to having to make “tough calls.” But just as important is a look at what Branson does — his Virgin empire is highly innovative, and customer service- and image-oriented. Branson makes his money by creating a positive atmosphere where creativity thrives… a far cry from Trump’s land deals.

 

But…. there is one thing to keep in mind..

Even when looking at ‘nice guys‘ like Branson. While Branson is less aggressive at the negotiating table, he’s still competitive, and highly determined. Where he ‘looks out’ for the other person’s interest, he’s still doing it to help himself. He wants the other person to come back and do business again in the future.

Therefore, rather than saying you have to be ruthless to be successful, it might be more accurate to say you have to be energetic and extremely determined. Unless you’re in real estate, it seems like the ruthlessness (which is indeed a very common component of success) isn’t about aggression or ‘screwing over’ the other guy. Rather, it’s a by-product of going after your business goals with single-minded determination.

People who are ruthless for the sake of being ruthless tend to leave behind a trail of burned bridges, and sometimes end up in court (or even in prison). Both Trump and Branson have survived dozens, probably hundreds of lawsuits against them.

On the other hand, there are plenty of successful people who make the “tough calls” without necessarily hurting others. That’s what Netflix Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord did when she fired a third of the company’s 120 employees so the company could keep going — yet she still hears from many of them, and considers them good friends.

What is your opinion on being ruthless to get to the top? Please share your views in the comment section below.

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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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Georgy

    Oct 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    The main concern for me would be how others would feel after doing business with me. I wouldn’t want to burn bridges that could be needed at a point in the future.
    However, the need to make tough decisions come into play and i believe it can be done graciously without making enemies.
    People can be ruthless and when it comes to a point where push comes to shove ; its important to hold your ground and see that a fair deal is made. i would pick the Branson Style anyday

  2. Mark

    Feb 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I Once had a competitor who initially appoached me as an ally but later u turned, renaged on our agreement and tried to steal my customers, But I did not get angry or try to retalliate, My business was built on trust and customer loyalty and I was confident I could just keep serving my customers the way I always had and they would stick with me, He closed a couple of months later, My business is still thriving and that was 10 years ago. Branson style honesty and customer service is the way forward for many business sectors. + the money you m,ake you can take home with your head held high!!

  3. Enzo

    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:09 am

    It really comes down to whether, metaphorically, you would break someone’s arm to make money. Or have someone do it for you. I have no doubt that greed is the worst sin one can commit.

  4. Rohan

    Jul 2, 2014 at 1:16 am

    I think being ruthless means that you don’t care about the other people not that you want to hurt them.

  5. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I don’t believe you have to be a jerk to be tremendously successful. However, I do believe that you have to be focused, determined and have conviction. At times, that can be taken as being a jerk; but it’s very different than intentionally trying to harm someone emotionally, physically or financially.

  6. ed

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    it also depends with ones temperaments you wont just do things simply because it calls for it or rather because someone had his/her way thorough such means, the inner being dictates a lot wit respect to whats outside

  7. Naomi@business start ups

    Mar 31, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I am a bit of both ‘Trump’ and ‘Branson’. I think you need to know when to allow which personality trait over rule the other during different situations.

    But personally the ‘Trump’ way is so common. ‘Branson’ illustrates a new type of business man which more people can relate and respect.

    A lot people think if they can’t become a ruthless, bridge burning, step over anyone kind of business person then you won’t be a success.

    Branson proves different

    Thanks Naomi

  8. Thomas K.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    My boss can sometimes be one of these types of people. However, his bark is worse than his bite. I think it does take some bit of ruthlessness to obtain the best possible outcome. In my opinion, it is the art of knowing how much to push and when to not be so stringent.

  9. Jason White

    Mar 25, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I’m driven, passionate, and believe I related to the “millionaires” viewpoints expressed in the survey, however feel that Branson’s philosophy of doing business resonates with me more-so than Trumps. Well I just recently accepted a position in Denver to make a career change to Commercial Real Estate. According to this article, I just might not have what it takes to make it! Here’s to hoping the good-to-great qualities prevail!!

  10. Troy in Las Vegas

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I was trying to think of other highly successful people and all the thoughts, well almost all, where people I would not want to hang out with because they just seem like A-Holes which, to me, goes hand in hand with being ruthless. Marc Cuban. Robert Irvine. That guy married to the Kardasian girl. Murdoch. Wynn
    There are the exceptions… Bono, Branson, Tony Robbins. These are the people we should strive be be like.

  11. Rafael Aziz

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Its a tough world out there, Your surrounded by others who will take from you without thinking twice. So you must be able to do the same. But never hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it. But also that doesn’t mean not to wipe out your competition.

  12. Mathyou

    Mar 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    A quote from my favorite movie, A Bronx Tale: “At the end of the day, nobody cares.” It is not comforting, but it’s true. When all is said and done, everybody is going to do something to help themselves out, instead of helping you, if they have the choice.

    So be ruthless. It may sound rude and uncaring but in business there are not many real friends, all that matters is money so if you are in position to better yourself or someone else, choose to better yourself because that is what the guy next to you would do.

    I don’t believe “good guys finish last”, “bad guys finish first”, or vice versa. I believe “the ruthless guy finishes first.”

  13. carol thornton

    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I am of the Branson line. Sometimes ruthlessness is required, but the way one portrays it is important. I want people to come back to me so I am going to be careful in how I use it and how often. If I can get what I want by others means, I will do that first.

  14. Nikola Gjakovski

    Mar 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Well, being ruthless can lead you somewhere. I think as soon as there is truth in the agreement (no aside mambo jumbo) there can be ruthlessness included. We are all selfish and we need to be ruthless sometimes. However, it has no clear formula of (how to be a millionaire), but to execute our vision, one way or another.

  15. sian

    Mar 25, 2014 at 5:05 am

    If one were to propose that being ruthless has no place in the pursuit of success and continued growth, then such belief would reciprocate a belief that the sun does not illuminate the moon. Totally fallacious. Moreover at times we have to be ruthless even with ourselves, pushing ourselves to go the extra mile to make the inches count. So being ruthless in my view is a must; nonetheless it has its place.

  16. lordvito9

    Mar 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I personally you must walk the line carefully. Give to much you will have nothing,too soft you will be ripped apart. But too harsh there is no trust,and how long can that last?

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Success Advice

My Giant Imaginary Billboard Would Say This: The Stories You Tell Yourself Come True.

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We’ve all played the game where we try to think of a message we’d put on a metaphorical billboard that costs us nothing.

The point of the exercise is to try and find out what one message you would share with the world that could change the game for all of us.

I racked my brain trying to think of mine. There are so many messages I want to share. Finally, I figured out what mine would be.

The message I would put on a giant billboard is:

“The stories you tell yourself come true”

 

The stories you tell yourself.

The reason I chose this powerful message is that it’s the one thing that has changed the course of my life. When I began telling myself a new story, everything around me appeared differently. I genuinely believe that I am going to change the world in a big way and create positivity.

You have a recurring story running through your own brain that you’re probably unaware of. The story might be one like this:

– Life is hard, so I better relax tonight.
– I need to make more money so life will get easier.
– Why do these disasters always happen to me?
– Why is it so hard to make a living?
– Why can’t I find my passion like everyone else?

These stories are all built on a lie. These stories focus on inaction and that will get you nowhere.

 

The stories you tell start with a question.

To improve your story, you first need to start by asking better questions. Questions that limit you will destroy your success. I’ve found the best questions to ask yourself have the following elements:

– They’re big and audacious
– They mention the phrase “Changing the world”
– They’re open-ended
– They assume the best, not the worst
– They’re not of a selfish nature

Write down some questions that will help you create a new story for your life.

 

You’re going to be repeating this story a lot so it might as well be good.

These stories play over and over in our head every day. You might as well have a story that’s interesting and makes you feel good don’t you think?

I don’t want to hear nonsense playing in my head on repeat. There’s enough of that in day-to-day life already.

That’s why my story says the following:

– I will inspire millions of people
– I will be healthy so I can have energy to do what I love
– I will have a life full of challenges and no matter what I’ll find the positive
– I will be fearful and that means I’m excited
– I will help others because that’s the true wisdom of life

 

What you tell yourself over and over becomes your reality.

Your life becomes what you tell yourself over and over. Change that pattern and insert a new story, and if you’re patient enough, you’ll become that new story.

Not overnight. Not in 60 seconds. In a few years probably.

So tell yourself things that are going to inspire you to do the extraordinary. Don’t fill your head with deadbeat ideas like “I’m not enough.”

You are bloody enough and you can be a bloody ripper of a person if you put your mind to it and tell yourself clever things.

The whole “Life Hacking” sport has become everybody’s favorite TV station. The thing is you don’t need to hack anything if you tell yourself the right stories.

 

Translation of “The Stories You Tell Yourself”

This line is a bit hocus pocus when I think about it. If I were to transcribe this phrase, I’d say that the stories you tell yourself stem from one idea: YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

All the stories I just shared with you that I tell myself are stories of believing in what I can achieve. If you don’t believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to take a chance on you? There are so many distractions nowadays so for anyone to give you their attention, they have to believe it’s going to be worth it.

Believing in yourself is centered around one idea: You’re going to back yourself even though you don’t know the outcome or the steps you necessarily need to move forward.

Believing in yourself is a belief in the reality of uncertainty.

Uncertainty takes courage and that means crushing fear. All of these fundamentals of life that I’m sharing are not new things that you’ve never heard. These pillars of life are interconnected.

“When you fall in love with uncertainty, you tell yourself that you’re confident, strong and can deal with obstacles. This creates a fortress around your mind that protects you from outside, negative forces, telling you a different story. It’s how you avoid the opinions of others and back yourself”

 

5 years ago…..

I told myself a story that I was going to crush my ridiculous fears and become somebody who focuses on the “doing” and spreading positivity.

That new story seemed so stupid at the time because of where I was but none the less I believed it. It then took everything I had to make it come true. I never let challenges bring me away from that storyline and I kept it front and center.

People told me I wasn’t good enough, rich enough, smart enough, experienced enough and I decided to tell myself the story that “Yes I am and I won’t be stopped from achieving my goal.”

I’ve told this story so many times since then that now the majority of my network and colleagues believe it. It’s no longer an idea. It’s now a reality.

“The stories you tell yourself do come true and I’m living proof of that”

 

Commit to a new story.

I never write any blog post without insisting on one action from you. The action for you right now is to commit to a new story. Sign up for a new story and put all your poker chips on the line. Throw away that old story that told you that you weren’t good enough.

Create a new story that supports the person you want to become and the goals you want to achieve. The last step is this: Tell that new story to yourself every single day and believe every word.

The stories you tell yourself do come true and that’s what I would put on a giant billboard if I were given access to one. Much respect.

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

I’ll Tell You How To Be Confident Without The Self-Help BS: You Just Do It.

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One of the most popular topics on blogs right now is content about how to have more confidence. It’s driving me bonkers! I’m unsure what the fascination is with the subject.

Having gone through the whole confidence battle myself and come out the other side on top, I think I can share a few things that will help everybody.

 

Act as if.

Rather than be caught up in the foreplay of overthinking, considering and asking too many questions, just do.

“Quite simply, what has worked for me is to just get on with the task and tell myself I’m becoming an expert while being in motion”

Getting going is the part we’re all missing when it comes to confidence. You can’t be confident unless you get some experience at whatever you want to be confident at. This advice sounds simplistic because it is.

I’ve become more confident over the last five years by running up miles in the beaten-up VW Beetle that was my mind and body. Through gaining experience, I turned that VW Beetle into a Lamborghini by trying things and executing.

There’s no pretending when it comes to confidence. You only start to believe you are confident when you begin taking action. I could probably wrap it up right there and you’d be done when it comes to confidence. No more self-help secrets and private masterminds are required.

Act as if you are already confident and your mind will believe you. Your mind only believes what you tell it. Tell your mind you are confident and you will gain more confidence in the execution. That extraordinary mind will then do as you tell it.

 

Sit up and stand up straight soldier!

I always believed this one was total hocus pocus or maybe even a Jedi Mind Trick. It’s not. Confidence is also in the way you move. People feel confidence in you through your presence. If you need to perform at 110% in say a speech as an example, you have to stand up straight and physically be confident.

Now this is harder than it looks so here’s what I did: I stood on the stage with my back straight. I then rolled my shoulders back and poked my chest out slightly. Each movement on stage was acted out as if I was Arnold Schwarzenegger posing for the Mr Olympia Final (that’s hard as I look nothing like him but stay with me peeps).

Simply having a confident physical presence allowed the audience to be confident with the words and advice I was delivering. Even if each point I presented was not completely thought through, the effect was still the same. I came across as confident.

So, next time you want to be confident, try this out for yourself. Pick your own hero who’s oozing confidence, to be the person you imagine when you go into your confident pose. No matter how ridiculous this seems, it works. Don’t question, just do.

 

Self-talk is key: three words to confidence.

Okay, let’s not overdo this confidence lesson. The self-talk in my head when I need to be confident is very dumb and easy to copy. The three words I use are:

“You got this!”

Say those three words whenever you need to be confident. Say them over and over until they drown out your negative inner voice that wants to doubt your ability.

“Doubt is the disease that sabotages your confidence”

I had no idea about blogging as an example. I just believed I’d find a way and I did. My doubting brain told me that I was hopeless at English and couldn’t master grammar to save my life. That aside, I just used these three words to silence the inner critic.

Your inner critic is only right if you let it be. Back yourself. Talk to yourself like a winner (not a loser) and you’ll have more confidence. No need to buy that book on confidence anymore. No need to read another self-help, pump up blog post that gets you all warm and sweaty.

 

Disconnect from the outcome.

Confidence is about putting the outcome aside. Everything you do is a lesson and will give you confidence. Being tied to the idea of what the outcome looks like allows your doubting mind and your inner critic to come back to the main stage of your attention.

Where your energy flows to, is where your focus goes. Focusing on anything other than being confident about your daily battles will give you the results you hate. Nine times out of ten you can’t control the outcome anyway.

So focusing on doing your best and being confident will take you so much further. Like I keep saying “You got this!”

Swag it out like whatever outcome you achieve is phenomenal because you are incredible for waking up each day and just giving it a crack!

 

Say yes and learn later.

Confidence comes from saying yes and deciding to figure out the strategy later. If an offer or idea resonates with you, then say yes. You’ll find yourself gaining more experience by doing so. My superman complex used to make me carefully think about each offer I was presented with to assess whether I had the skills and capability.

Now I choose offers and proposals that bring me joy instead, and I use my newfound confidence to say yes, and know that I’ll learn what I need to execute properly along the way. Failing that, there’s someone I know in my network that can fill any blanks in regardless so I’m very unlikely to fail.

BUT even if I fail it’s all good because I still learned heaps, got experience and had fun in the meantime. All of which made me more confident. Confidence is unstoppable when it starts to compound through experience and taking action.

 

Remember that all of us have no idea including me.

This was something I learned through a podcast. If you look at your heroes and get to know them as friends, you’ll quickly realize, like I did with my own heroes, that they have no idea. Your heroes just act as if and see what sticks.

When approaching any goal with this in mind, you find an inner confidence to have a go and see what happens.

“When you realize we’re all flawed, it sets you free to try stuff and execute on a few wild goals that you may not succeed at”

I have no clue about most things and that’s where the beauty lies. Stop idolizing and be confident in your ability to get sh*t done.

 

We’re all extraordinary when we believe we are.

Belief in yourself is key to having confidence. The truth is that all of us can be extraordinary no matter where we come from, our nationality, the struggles we’ve gone through, what books we’ve read or who our current friends are.

The opportunity to be extraordinary exists for all of us. Let this very idea give you the confidence you need to change the world because you can.

You don’t need more self-help articles on confidence: You need to understand you’re already extraordinary.

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Success Advice

2 Ways To End Suffering Forever.

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This year I have learned so much. I’ve learned that we all suffer no matter what. No one can avoid it. That’s not what I want to share with you though. What I want to tell you is that you have the power to end suffering.

I have proven it in my own life. We don’t need to suffer. We can end it all and the silly thing is it’s so simple. I do not want you to avoid this advice any longer. I want you to use it even if you think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo.

Here are the two ways I’ve found to end suffering forever:

 

1. Find a way to give to other people.

You only suffer when life is all about you and your success. Once you move from being all about you, into a state of mind that is focused on giving, your problems become insignificant.

I had a couple of situations this year that have nearly knocked me flat on my ass. One was my romantic life falling to pieces and the other was my career collapsing. When both these events occurred, I used giving to other people as the way out of the maze that my mind created.

The moment suffering begun, I went straight to finding ways to serve other people. I helped friends with their businesses, I spoke at events to inspire people, I did some volunteering and I doubled down on my blogging so I could inspire as many people as possible.

Shifting the focus away from what was wrong and using my focus to give to others ended the suffering.

“There wasn’t time to suffer because the purpose of my life during those months was far bigger than me and my stupid life challenges. Giving to others gave me a way to find happiness when I probably would have hidden away and suffered in silence”

Seeing the solutions to other people’s problems and sharing them, gave me a way to put my career and relationships into perspective.

Giving is the example you need when times get tough and things get complicated. You suffer the most when you get stuck in your head and repeat the pattern of telling yourself how wrong your circumstances are.

Suffering can make you depressed, feel lonely, become selfish, go into a downward spiral and take away everything that’s good in your life.

Finding ways to give on the other hand, can cure all of those problems. I know it sounds so cliché what I’m saying but it surprises me how many people never use this strategy. Like I always say: the answers we seek are right in front of our nose.

Next time you feel yourself suffering, get out of your head and try this strategy.

 

 

2. Practice gratitude.

Okay, I thought this strategy was so dumb when I discovered it. It’s so obvious and it sounds way too easy. I mean how can writing down a few things you’re grateful for really end your suffering?

I mean you could lie to yourself and pretend that you’re grateful for something when you’re not. Well, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning. When I was suffering this year, I started writing down three things each day that I was grateful for.

In the first week, I lied about things I was grateful for and found the exercise completely ridiculous. This advice is so common that I decided to persist with this ridiculous self-help hack anyway.

What I found as I kept doing it was that your brain makes a shift subconsciously. Instead of being pissed off and suffering, your brain has to work extra hard to find three things every day to be grateful for.

To make this habit work even better I forced my brain to describe in detail each thing I was grateful for and ideally why. Some days sucked so bad that I thought I would never find three things. Once the challenge became a must, I spent my days working my butt off trying to find things I was grateful for.

While doing various activities during the day, I’d find moments when I was grateful for something and stop. I’d stop and see how I felt at that moment and I would have a mini celebration because I knew I had something for my gratitude list.

Then I tried to aim for five things each day instead of three. This shifted my focus even more. I should have been suffering but because I was forcing myself to see good things that were happening to me, I was distracted.

As I said earlier, this new habit seemed so dumb at the beginning. Once you really do it for a while, you see how it has the power to end suffering. You can’t be pissed off and be grateful at the same time. So, choose gratitude and then your suffering will be sidelined, and in my case, forgotten about.

 

***Life doesn’t need to be full of low points***

The suffering that we all experience is a choice. It probably doesn’t seem like that but these two hacks will demonstrate this to you. Your decision-making power is incredible and all you need to do is select one of these hacks to end suffering.

Don’t let the quality of your life be jeopardized by your default human mode to suffer. You’ll find these two hacks will not only end your suffering; these two hacks will give you purpose.

Here’s what I learned: most people are pissed off and suffer because they have no purpose. Once you find a purpose for your life, you’ll become addicted.

Now that’s a huge win don’t you think? You can end suffering and find purpose, all by using these two hacks. That’s the best gift I can give you.

Don’t just read this advice. Try these two hacks yourself.

It’s time to end suffering forever.

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

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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how to conquer your fears

I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

My Giant Imaginary Billboard Would Say This: The Stories You Tell Yourself Come True.

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We’ve all played the game where we try to think of a message we’d put on a metaphorical billboard that costs us nothing.

The point of the exercise is to try and find out what one message you would share with the world that could change the game for all of us.

I racked my brain trying to think of mine. There are so many messages I want to share. Finally, I figured out what mine would be.

The message I would put on a giant billboard is:

“The stories you tell yourself come true”

 

The stories you tell yourself.

The reason I chose this powerful message is that it’s the one thing that has changed the course of my life. When I began telling myself a new story, everything around me appeared differently. I genuinely believe that I am going to change the world in a big way and create positivity.

You have a recurring story running through your own brain that you’re probably unaware of. The story might be one like this:

– Life is hard, so I better relax tonight.
– I need to make more money so life will get easier.
– Why do these disasters always happen to me?
– Why is it so hard to make a living?
– Why can’t I find my passion like everyone else?

These stories are all built on a lie. These stories focus on inaction and that will get you nowhere.

 

The stories you tell start with a question.

To improve your story, you first need to start by asking better questions. Questions that limit you will destroy your success. I’ve found the best questions to ask yourself have the following elements:

– They’re big and audacious
– They mention the phrase “Changing the world”
– They’re open-ended
– They assume the best, not the worst
– They’re not of a selfish nature

Write down some questions that will help you create a new story for your life.

 

You’re going to be repeating this story a lot so it might as well be good.

These stories play over and over in our head every day. You might as well have a story that’s interesting and makes you feel good don’t you think?

I don’t want to hear nonsense playing in my head on repeat. There’s enough of that in day-to-day life already.

That’s why my story says the following:

– I will inspire millions of people
– I will be healthy so I can have energy to do what I love
– I will have a life full of challenges and no matter what I’ll find the positive
– I will be fearful and that means I’m excited
– I will help others because that’s the true wisdom of life

 

What you tell yourself over and over becomes your reality.

Your life becomes what you tell yourself over and over. Change that pattern and insert a new story, and if you’re patient enough, you’ll become that new story.

Not overnight. Not in 60 seconds. In a few years probably.

So tell yourself things that are going to inspire you to do the extraordinary. Don’t fill your head with deadbeat ideas like “I’m not enough.”

You are bloody enough and you can be a bloody ripper of a person if you put your mind to it and tell yourself clever things.

The whole “Life Hacking” sport has become everybody’s favorite TV station. The thing is you don’t need to hack anything if you tell yourself the right stories.

 

Translation of “The Stories You Tell Yourself”

This line is a bit hocus pocus when I think about it. If I were to transcribe this phrase, I’d say that the stories you tell yourself stem from one idea: YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

All the stories I just shared with you that I tell myself are stories of believing in what I can achieve. If you don’t believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to take a chance on you? There are so many distractions nowadays so for anyone to give you their attention, they have to believe it’s going to be worth it.

Believing in yourself is centered around one idea: You’re going to back yourself even though you don’t know the outcome or the steps you necessarily need to move forward.

Believing in yourself is a belief in the reality of uncertainty.

Uncertainty takes courage and that means crushing fear. All of these fundamentals of life that I’m sharing are not new things that you’ve never heard. These pillars of life are interconnected.

“When you fall in love with uncertainty, you tell yourself that you’re confident, strong and can deal with obstacles. This creates a fortress around your mind that protects you from outside, negative forces, telling you a different story. It’s how you avoid the opinions of others and back yourself”

 

5 years ago…..

I told myself a story that I was going to crush my ridiculous fears and become somebody who focuses on the “doing” and spreading positivity.

That new story seemed so stupid at the time because of where I was but none the less I believed it. It then took everything I had to make it come true. I never let challenges bring me away from that storyline and I kept it front and center.

People told me I wasn’t good enough, rich enough, smart enough, experienced enough and I decided to tell myself the story that “Yes I am and I won’t be stopped from achieving my goal.”

I’ve told this story so many times since then that now the majority of my network and colleagues believe it. It’s no longer an idea. It’s now a reality.

“The stories you tell yourself do come true and I’m living proof of that”

 

Commit to a new story.

I never write any blog post without insisting on one action from you. The action for you right now is to commit to a new story. Sign up for a new story and put all your poker chips on the line. Throw away that old story that told you that you weren’t good enough.

Create a new story that supports the person you want to become and the goals you want to achieve. The last step is this: Tell that new story to yourself every single day and believe every word.

The stories you tell yourself do come true and that’s what I would put on a giant billboard if I were given access to one. Much respect.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Georgy

    Oct 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    The main concern for me would be how others would feel after doing business with me. I wouldn’t want to burn bridges that could be needed at a point in the future.
    However, the need to make tough decisions come into play and i believe it can be done graciously without making enemies.
    People can be ruthless and when it comes to a point where push comes to shove ; its important to hold your ground and see that a fair deal is made. i would pick the Branson Style anyday

  2. Mark

    Feb 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I Once had a competitor who initially appoached me as an ally but later u turned, renaged on our agreement and tried to steal my customers, But I did not get angry or try to retalliate, My business was built on trust and customer loyalty and I was confident I could just keep serving my customers the way I always had and they would stick with me, He closed a couple of months later, My business is still thriving and that was 10 years ago. Branson style honesty and customer service is the way forward for many business sectors. + the money you m,ake you can take home with your head held high!!

  3. Enzo

    Aug 25, 2014 at 7:09 am

    It really comes down to whether, metaphorically, you would break someone’s arm to make money. Or have someone do it for you. I have no doubt that greed is the worst sin one can commit.

  4. Rohan

    Jul 2, 2014 at 1:16 am

    I think being ruthless means that you don’t care about the other people not that you want to hurt them.

  5. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I don’t believe you have to be a jerk to be tremendously successful. However, I do believe that you have to be focused, determined and have conviction. At times, that can be taken as being a jerk; but it’s very different than intentionally trying to harm someone emotionally, physically or financially.

  6. ed

    Apr 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    it also depends with ones temperaments you wont just do things simply because it calls for it or rather because someone had his/her way thorough such means, the inner being dictates a lot wit respect to whats outside

  7. Naomi@business start ups

    Mar 31, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Hi Joel,

    I am a bit of both ‘Trump’ and ‘Branson’. I think you need to know when to allow which personality trait over rule the other during different situations.

    But personally the ‘Trump’ way is so common. ‘Branson’ illustrates a new type of business man which more people can relate and respect.

    A lot people think if they can’t become a ruthless, bridge burning, step over anyone kind of business person then you won’t be a success.

    Branson proves different

    Thanks Naomi

  8. Thomas K.

    Mar 25, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    My boss can sometimes be one of these types of people. However, his bark is worse than his bite. I think it does take some bit of ruthlessness to obtain the best possible outcome. In my opinion, it is the art of knowing how much to push and when to not be so stringent.

  9. Jason White

    Mar 25, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I’m driven, passionate, and believe I related to the “millionaires” viewpoints expressed in the survey, however feel that Branson’s philosophy of doing business resonates with me more-so than Trumps. Well I just recently accepted a position in Denver to make a career change to Commercial Real Estate. According to this article, I just might not have what it takes to make it! Here’s to hoping the good-to-great qualities prevail!!

  10. Troy in Las Vegas

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I was trying to think of other highly successful people and all the thoughts, well almost all, where people I would not want to hang out with because they just seem like A-Holes which, to me, goes hand in hand with being ruthless. Marc Cuban. Robert Irvine. That guy married to the Kardasian girl. Murdoch. Wynn
    There are the exceptions… Bono, Branson, Tony Robbins. These are the people we should strive be be like.

  11. Rafael Aziz

    Mar 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Its a tough world out there, Your surrounded by others who will take from you without thinking twice. So you must be able to do the same. But never hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it. But also that doesn’t mean not to wipe out your competition.

  12. Mathyou

    Mar 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    A quote from my favorite movie, A Bronx Tale: “At the end of the day, nobody cares.” It is not comforting, but it’s true. When all is said and done, everybody is going to do something to help themselves out, instead of helping you, if they have the choice.

    So be ruthless. It may sound rude and uncaring but in business there are not many real friends, all that matters is money so if you are in position to better yourself or someone else, choose to better yourself because that is what the guy next to you would do.

    I don’t believe “good guys finish last”, “bad guys finish first”, or vice versa. I believe “the ruthless guy finishes first.”

  13. carol thornton

    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I am of the Branson line. Sometimes ruthlessness is required, but the way one portrays it is important. I want people to come back to me so I am going to be careful in how I use it and how often. If I can get what I want by others means, I will do that first.

  14. Nikola Gjakovski

    Mar 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Well, being ruthless can lead you somewhere. I think as soon as there is truth in the agreement (no aside mambo jumbo) there can be ruthlessness included. We are all selfish and we need to be ruthless sometimes. However, it has no clear formula of (how to be a millionaire), but to execute our vision, one way or another.

  15. sian

    Mar 25, 2014 at 5:05 am

    If one were to propose that being ruthless has no place in the pursuit of success and continued growth, then such belief would reciprocate a belief that the sun does not illuminate the moon. Totally fallacious. Moreover at times we have to be ruthless even with ourselves, pushing ourselves to go the extra mile to make the inches count. So being ruthless in my view is a must; nonetheless it has its place.

  16. lordvito9

    Mar 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

    I personally you must walk the line carefully. Give to much you will have nothing,too soft you will be ripped apart. But too harsh there is no trust,and how long can that last?

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Success Advice

My Giant Imaginary Billboard Would Say This: The Stories You Tell Yourself Come True.

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We’ve all played the game where we try to think of a message we’d put on a metaphorical billboard that costs us nothing.

The point of the exercise is to try and find out what one message you would share with the world that could change the game for all of us.

I racked my brain trying to think of mine. There are so many messages I want to share. Finally, I figured out what mine would be.

The message I would put on a giant billboard is:

“The stories you tell yourself come true”

 

The stories you tell yourself.

The reason I chose this powerful message is that it’s the one thing that has changed the course of my life. When I began telling myself a new story, everything around me appeared differently. I genuinely believe that I am going to change the world in a big way and create positivity.

You have a recurring story running through your own brain that you’re probably unaware of. The story might be one like this:

– Life is hard, so I better relax tonight.
– I need to make more money so life will get easier.
– Why do these disasters always happen to me?
– Why is it so hard to make a living?
– Why can’t I find my passion like everyone else?

These stories are all built on a lie. These stories focus on inaction and that will get you nowhere.

 

The stories you tell start with a question.

To improve your story, you first need to start by asking better questions. Questions that limit you will destroy your success. I’ve found the best questions to ask yourself have the following elements:

– They’re big and audacious
– They mention the phrase “Changing the world”
– They’re open-ended
– They assume the best, not the worst
– They’re not of a selfish nature

Write down some questions that will help you create a new story for your life.

 

You’re going to be repeating this story a lot so it might as well be good.

These stories play over and over in our head every day. You might as well have a story that’s interesting and makes you feel good don’t you think?

I don’t want to hear nonsense playing in my head on repeat. There’s enough of that in day-to-day life already.

That’s why my story says the following:

– I will inspire millions of people
– I will be healthy so I can have energy to do what I love
– I will have a life full of challenges and no matter what I’ll find the positive
– I will be fearful and that means I’m excited
– I will help others because that’s the true wisdom of life

 

What you tell yourself over and over becomes your reality.

Your life becomes what you tell yourself over and over. Change that pattern and insert a new story, and if you’re patient enough, you’ll become that new story.

Not overnight. Not in 60 seconds. In a few years probably.

So tell yourself things that are going to inspire you to do the extraordinary. Don’t fill your head with deadbeat ideas like “I’m not enough.”

You are bloody enough and you can be a bloody ripper of a person if you put your mind to it and tell yourself clever things.

The whole “Life Hacking” sport has become everybody’s favorite TV station. The thing is you don’t need to hack anything if you tell yourself the right stories.

 

Translation of “The Stories You Tell Yourself”

This line is a bit hocus pocus when I think about it. If I were to transcribe this phrase, I’d say that the stories you tell yourself stem from one idea: YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

All the stories I just shared with you that I tell myself are stories of believing in what I can achieve. If you don’t believe in yourself then how can you expect anyone else to take a chance on you? There are so many distractions nowadays so for anyone to give you their attention, they have to believe it’s going to be worth it.

Believing in yourself is centered around one idea: You’re going to back yourself even though you don’t know the outcome or the steps you necessarily need to move forward.

Believing in yourself is a belief in the reality of uncertainty.

Uncertainty takes courage and that means crushing fear. All of these fundamentals of life that I’m sharing are not new things that you’ve never heard. These pillars of life are interconnected.

“When you fall in love with uncertainty, you tell yourself that you’re confident, strong and can deal with obstacles. This creates a fortress around your mind that protects you from outside, negative forces, telling you a different story. It’s how you avoid the opinions of others and back yourself”

 

5 years ago…..

I told myself a story that I was going to crush my ridiculous fears and become somebody who focuses on the “doing” and spreading positivity.

That new story seemed so stupid at the time because of where I was but none the less I believed it. It then took everything I had to make it come true. I never let challenges bring me away from that storyline and I kept it front and center.

People told me I wasn’t good enough, rich enough, smart enough, experienced enough and I decided to tell myself the story that “Yes I am and I won’t be stopped from achieving my goal.”

I’ve told this story so many times since then that now the majority of my network and colleagues believe it. It’s no longer an idea. It’s now a reality.

“The stories you tell yourself do come true and I’m living proof of that”

 

Commit to a new story.

I never write any blog post without insisting on one action from you. The action for you right now is to commit to a new story. Sign up for a new story and put all your poker chips on the line. Throw away that old story that told you that you weren’t good enough.

Create a new story that supports the person you want to become and the goals you want to achieve. The last step is this: Tell that new story to yourself every single day and believe every word.

The stories you tell yourself do come true and that’s what I would put on a giant billboard if I were given access to one. Much respect.

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

I’ll Tell You How To Be Confident Without The Self-Help BS: You Just Do It.

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One of the most popular topics on blogs right now is content about how to have more confidence. It’s driving me bonkers! I’m unsure what the fascination is with the subject.

Having gone through the whole confidence battle myself and come out the other side on top, I think I can share a few things that will help everybody.

 

Act as if.

Rather than be caught up in the foreplay of overthinking, considering and asking too many questions, just do.

“Quite simply, what has worked for me is to just get on with the task and tell myself I’m becoming an expert while being in motion”

Getting going is the part we’re all missing when it comes to confidence. You can’t be confident unless you get some experience at whatever you want to be confident at. This advice sounds simplistic because it is.

I’ve become more confident over the last five years by running up miles in the beaten-up VW Beetle that was my mind and body. Through gaining experience, I turned that VW Beetle into a Lamborghini by trying things and executing.

There’s no pretending when it comes to confidence. You only start to believe you are confident when you begin taking action. I could probably wrap it up right there and you’d be done when it comes to confidence. No more self-help secrets and private masterminds are required.

Act as if you are already confident and your mind will believe you. Your mind only believes what you tell it. Tell your mind you are confident and you will gain more confidence in the execution. That extraordinary mind will then do as you tell it.

 

Sit up and stand up straight soldier!

I always believed this one was total hocus pocus or maybe even a Jedi Mind Trick. It’s not. Confidence is also in the way you move. People feel confidence in you through your presence. If you need to perform at 110% in say a speech as an example, you have to stand up straight and physically be confident.

Now this is harder than it looks so here’s what I did: I stood on the stage with my back straight. I then rolled my shoulders back and poked my chest out slightly. Each movement on stage was acted out as if I was Arnold Schwarzenegger posing for the Mr Olympia Final (that’s hard as I look nothing like him but stay with me peeps).

Simply having a confident physical presence allowed the audience to be confident with the words and advice I was delivering. Even if each point I presented was not completely thought through, the effect was still the same. I came across as confident.

So, next time you want to be confident, try this out for yourself. Pick your own hero who’s oozing confidence, to be the person you imagine when you go into your confident pose. No matter how ridiculous this seems, it works. Don’t question, just do.

 

Self-talk is key: three words to confidence.

Okay, let’s not overdo this confidence lesson. The self-talk in my head when I need to be confident is very dumb and easy to copy. The three words I use are:

“You got this!”

Say those three words whenever you need to be confident. Say them over and over until they drown out your negative inner voice that wants to doubt your ability.

“Doubt is the disease that sabotages your confidence”

I had no idea about blogging as an example. I just believed I’d find a way and I did. My doubting brain told me that I was hopeless at English and couldn’t master grammar to save my life. That aside, I just used these three words to silence the inner critic.

Your inner critic is only right if you let it be. Back yourself. Talk to yourself like a winner (not a loser) and you’ll have more confidence. No need to buy that book on confidence anymore. No need to read another self-help, pump up blog post that gets you all warm and sweaty.

 

Disconnect from the outcome.

Confidence is about putting the outcome aside. Everything you do is a lesson and will give you confidence. Being tied to the idea of what the outcome looks like allows your doubting mind and your inner critic to come back to the main stage of your attention.

Where your energy flows to, is where your focus goes. Focusing on anything other than being confident about your daily battles will give you the results you hate. Nine times out of ten you can’t control the outcome anyway.

So focusing on doing your best and being confident will take you so much further. Like I keep saying “You got this!”

Swag it out like whatever outcome you achieve is phenomenal because you are incredible for waking up each day and just giving it a crack!

 

Say yes and learn later.

Confidence comes from saying yes and deciding to figure out the strategy later. If an offer or idea resonates with you, then say yes. You’ll find yourself gaining more experience by doing so. My superman complex used to make me carefully think about each offer I was presented with to assess whether I had the skills and capability.

Now I choose offers and proposals that bring me joy instead, and I use my newfound confidence to say yes, and know that I’ll learn what I need to execute properly along the way. Failing that, there’s someone I know in my network that can fill any blanks in regardless so I’m very unlikely to fail.

BUT even if I fail it’s all good because I still learned heaps, got experience and had fun in the meantime. All of which made me more confident. Confidence is unstoppable when it starts to compound through experience and taking action.

 

Remember that all of us have no idea including me.

This was something I learned through a podcast. If you look at your heroes and get to know them as friends, you’ll quickly realize, like I did with my own heroes, that they have no idea. Your heroes just act as if and see what sticks.

When approaching any goal with this in mind, you find an inner confidence to have a go and see what happens.

“When you realize we’re all flawed, it sets you free to try stuff and execute on a few wild goals that you may not succeed at”

I have no clue about most things and that’s where the beauty lies. Stop idolizing and be confident in your ability to get sh*t done.

 

We’re all extraordinary when we believe we are.

Belief in yourself is key to having confidence. The truth is that all of us can be extraordinary no matter where we come from, our nationality, the struggles we’ve gone through, what books we’ve read or who our current friends are.

The opportunity to be extraordinary exists for all of us. Let this very idea give you the confidence you need to change the world because you can.

You don’t need more self-help articles on confidence: You need to understand you’re already extraordinary.

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

2 Ways To End Suffering Forever.

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This year I have learned so much. I’ve learned that we all suffer no matter what. No one can avoid it. That’s not what I want to share with you though. What I want to tell you is that you have the power to end suffering.

I have proven it in my own life. We don’t need to suffer. We can end it all and the silly thing is it’s so simple. I do not want you to avoid this advice any longer. I want you to use it even if you think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo.

Here are the two ways I’ve found to end suffering forever:

 

1. Find a way to give to other people.

You only suffer when life is all about you and your success. Once you move from being all about you, into a state of mind that is focused on giving, your problems become insignificant.

I had a couple of situations this year that have nearly knocked me flat on my ass. One was my romantic life falling to pieces and the other was my career collapsing. When both these events occurred, I used giving to other people as the way out of the maze that my mind created.

The moment suffering begun, I went straight to finding ways to serve other people. I helped friends with their businesses, I spoke at events to inspire people, I did some volunteering and I doubled down on my blogging so I could inspire as many people as possible.

Shifting the focus away from what was wrong and using my focus to give to others ended the suffering.

“There wasn’t time to suffer because the purpose of my life during those months was far bigger than me and my stupid life challenges. Giving to others gave me a way to find happiness when I probably would have hidden away and suffered in silence”

Seeing the solutions to other people’s problems and sharing them, gave me a way to put my career and relationships into perspective.

Giving is the example you need when times get tough and things get complicated. You suffer the most when you get stuck in your head and repeat the pattern of telling yourself how wrong your circumstances are.

Suffering can make you depressed, feel lonely, become selfish, go into a downward spiral and take away everything that’s good in your life.

Finding ways to give on the other hand, can cure all of those problems. I know it sounds so cliché what I’m saying but it surprises me how many people never use this strategy. Like I always say: the answers we seek are right in front of our nose.

Next time you feel yourself suffering, get out of your head and try this strategy.

 

 

2. Practice gratitude.

Okay, I thought this strategy was so dumb when I discovered it. It’s so obvious and it sounds way too easy. I mean how can writing down a few things you’re grateful for really end your suffering?

I mean you could lie to yourself and pretend that you’re grateful for something when you’re not. Well, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning. When I was suffering this year, I started writing down three things each day that I was grateful for.

In the first week, I lied about things I was grateful for and found the exercise completely ridiculous. This advice is so common that I decided to persist with this ridiculous self-help hack anyway.

What I found as I kept doing it was that your brain makes a shift subconsciously. Instead of being pissed off and suffering, your brain has to work extra hard to find three things every day to be grateful for.

To make this habit work even better I forced my brain to describe in detail each thing I was grateful for and ideally why. Some days sucked so bad that I thought I would never find three things. Once the challenge became a must, I spent my days working my butt off trying to find things I was grateful for.

While doing various activities during the day, I’d find moments when I was grateful for something and stop. I’d stop and see how I felt at that moment and I would have a mini celebration because I knew I had something for my gratitude list.

Then I tried to aim for five things each day instead of three. This shifted my focus even more. I should have been suffering but because I was forcing myself to see good things that were happening to me, I was distracted.

As I said earlier, this new habit seemed so dumb at the beginning. Once you really do it for a while, you see how it has the power to end suffering. You can’t be pissed off and be grateful at the same time. So, choose gratitude and then your suffering will be sidelined, and in my case, forgotten about.

 

***Life doesn’t need to be full of low points***

The suffering that we all experience is a choice. It probably doesn’t seem like that but these two hacks will demonstrate this to you. Your decision-making power is incredible and all you need to do is select one of these hacks to end suffering.

Don’t let the quality of your life be jeopardized by your default human mode to suffer. You’ll find these two hacks will not only end your suffering; these two hacks will give you purpose.

Here’s what I learned: most people are pissed off and suffer because they have no purpose. Once you find a purpose for your life, you’ll become addicted.

Now that’s a huge win don’t you think? You can end suffering and find purpose, all by using these two hacks. That’s the best gift I can give you.

Don’t just read this advice. Try these two hacks yourself.

It’s time to end suffering forever.

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

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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how to conquer your fears

I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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