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How To Raise Your Standards And Avoid Being A Useless Slob

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Raising Your Standards Article

Your success is predicated on the building blocks of your personal standards. The quickest way towards making progress in your life, which ultimately will lift your happiness levels, is to force yourself to become conscious of your standards, and then to redefine them.

There are so many useless slobs that exist all around the world and I don’t say this to be mean to them, but I do say it to get you to take action, and not become one of them. Even useless slobs can change their level of success as long as they stop procrastinating.

The standards that you currently have in your life can be very hard to change because they have been programmed in you for a long period of time.

First of all, who cares what success other people are having because nine times out of ten they are only telling you the good bits about their life, and behind all the fake money, cars and Instagram selfies, they’re life probably sucks big time!

Raising Your Standards Picture Quote - Tim Denning
 

Why raise your standards?

Your entire life is the result of the one percenters that you do each day. Having a Coke while watching a movie may seem harmless, but the twenty other things each day that you do that also don’t serve you, are the reasons why you are guaranteed for failure if you don’t do anything about them.

Until you make the bold decision to redefine your standards, your life is going to suck one way or another. Your life is going to feel draining and you are not going to be able to smile at anything. Since I raised my own standards, I find myself smiling at people a lot for no good reason.

You’ll know when you have raised your standards to the right level because you will feel like your life is working and that you have progressed in some way, hopefully, over a short period of time.

If I look at who I was just six months ago, I am now a totally unrecognisable person.

When I catch up with people that I haven’t seen for a while they often comment on how they can hardly recognise me both physically and through the way I talk. This, my friends, is where you want to get too and I believe you can. Hopefully, you can see why you must now raise your standards!

Here are the nine ways to raise your standards from today onwards:

 

1. Write down your current standards

The first way to raise your standards is to acknowledge honestly what your current standards are. Think about what time you go to bed, how many hours you work, what you eat, who your closest friends and colleagues are.

These are the areas where your current standards are formed. Once you know what they are, rewrite them with a slightly higher standard. For example, if you currently go to bed at 11 pm, rewrite this to say that your new standard is now 9:30 pm to go to sleep.

If you have trouble raising your standards, then make the adjustments to your current standards in a less drastic way. Using the above example, you could start by making your bedtime 10:30 pm instead of 9:30 pm to begin with.

 

2. Stop being a victim

The biggest barrier to raising your standards is whether you are behaving like a victim or not. By thinking that others should give you money (parents, lovers, friends) or expecting the government to help you in life, you are living the life of a victim.

Victims expect everyone else to take the action for them and hold their hand in life. All of us, including me, have some element of victim behaviour in our life and we all need to drop the excuses. You are where you are right now because of you and no one else.

The beautiful thing is that you have the power to change it all and it just starts by changing one standard for how you are going to live your life going forward. The keys to the kingdom are within your reach as long as you start taking responsibility.

Victims are the lazy slobs you see wasting their life away in gambling venues, or going to shopping centres and spending money that they don’t have, or money that would be better put into some other income producing purchase instead.

I’ve got your back and we are going to succeed at life one blog post at a time, but just make sure you drop that victim mindset.

 

3. Insist on doing things that are uncomfortable

Lazy slobs are obsessed with always being comfortable. They can’t go outside because they are scared it’s too cold, or too hot, or too something. Continually being uncomfortable is a critical component of raising your standards.

My standard for weekends, for a very long time, was to try and forget about the weekdays. I did everything in my power to forget, and drown my negative thoughts with parties and alcohol. Where did that get me? Absolutely nowhere and I made zero progress throughout this period of my life.

It’s hard to change your ways or live life differently. It’s challenging to avoid social activities, and stay at home and work on your dream. It’s hard to get up and talk in front of hundreds of people.

The Reality Of Not Pushing Yourself And Being Uncomfortbale - Tim Denning Quote
 

If you don’t know where to start then think about it this way; what are all the things you have avoided doing or that you fear? Then, just go do all of those things right now! Don’t think about them just schedule them in your diary.

A classic example for me is going to the hospital. I absolutely hate having to go for any reason and avoid it like the plague. A new standard, by embracing that uncomfortable feeling, is just to book it in and then not think about.

The more I think about hospital, the more I don’t book in my appointment, and the more I live in fear of having an illness take over my life. I try and find the good in the activity so it makes being uncomfortable worth it.

The act of going to the hospital for me is now reframed as a chance to take a day or two off work and do nothing but read books. Hospital now equals, time to relax, time to learn, and time to grow. Pretty powerful huh?

 

4. Get away from emotionally challenged people

We all have emotionally challenged people in our life who are not in control of their emotions. They are either constantly depressed, always angry, or not caring towards others, or even worse, all of the above.

These people will drain your energy and force your standards even lower without you knowing. There are only two ways to fix this problem; either get rid of them or minimise your exposure to them. One of my best standards is not to associate with toxic people. This standard serves me the most.

 

5. Analyse where your time is going

Your standards have a lot to do with how much time you have. To raise your standards in a particular area of your life, you need to spend time in that area. For three days, try writing down everything you do in a day and the amount of time you spend on each activity.

You will quickly see where your time is going and then all you need to do is set a new standard, and cut out activities that don’t meet your new standard. A simple example of this in my life is TV. I make sure this is the last thing I ever do and I will only ever let myself consume a maximum of thirty minutes of TV in one day.

My goal is to reduce this to zero and based on the sixty minutes of TV I watched for all of last week, I feel like I am nearly there. I have now reallocated this time into reading one chapter of a book per day, and I actually feel a bit smarter already…haha.

 

6. Check in on your energy levels

Lazy slobs, who have low standards, all have one trait in common: they have very low energy levels. When your body has to operate on low amounts of energy, your mind and emotions are often all over the place.

The only chance you have to raise your standards is to lift your energy levels. The quickest way to do this is by doing the following: getting more sleep, eating more plant-based foods, doing more exercise (even if that’s only walking more), and by being around people that have higher levels of energy.

When your energy levels increase, it’s much easier to begin the process of raising your standards. What makes someone a slob is a lack of energy and I know that’s just not you. An easy hack I use to have more energy is always to try and sit up straight and walk with a straight back. This might sound incredibly dumb but it works well – try it for yourself.

 

7. Find the hidden cause

To be able to raise your standards you need to find the hidden cause of the habit that is not serving you.

For example, if you want to give up coffee then you need to find out why you drink coffee. In my life, the root cause went like this: I would need coffee because I was tired, which was because I went to bed late, which was because I was out drinking booze two nights in a row, which was because I was unhappy with life and because I couldn’t say no to invitations from friends out of fear that I would upset them.

The reason you are not raising your standards in life is probably because there is a host of contributing factors. Lift the carpet of your standards and analyse the hidden causes about why you are living the current pattern of your life.

You are going to upset people in the process who don’t agree with your new standards but that’s a problem with them not with you. You want to change the world and you’re prepared to build your life one layer at a time.

 

8. Redefine the niche of your passion

A lot of the reason why you want to raise your standards is so you can have more success within the niche that relates to your passion. My recommendation is that you do whatever you can to redefine the niche of your passion and change people’s perception of how things have always been done.

Many years ago I was an emerging dance music producer and I never got to the level of success I wanted. Looking back, the reason was that I tried to copy other types of dance music rather than redefine the category as a whole.

Back then, the artists that were having all the success – like Eric Prydz, Deadmau5 and Axwell – all redefined dance music and you could tell a song was made by them from a mile away. Whatever your passion is, you need to redefine your niche and stop copying what everyone else is doing.

“Approach your passion from an entirely different angle. Redefining your passion will help you raise your standards by focusing your mind on what’s important and honing your skills in one area of growth” – Tim Denning

Your standards will become like the rules for how you operate when time stands still, and you are engaged in your passion.

 

9. Put your indulgences at the end not the start

Falling down the rabbit hole of distraction is easy when you let your indulgences always come first. I see so many people who want to sit down to work on their dream but insist on indulging in some other useless activity before they get started.

This pointless activity – like social media, cleaning the house, or shopping – then wastes the small amount of time they have before they return to the job they hate, and they never make any progress on their dream.

How do you overcome this? Simple, you flip the equation back the front. Hard work on your dream, equals a quick reward of some indulgence, rather than indulge first, and work later. This is a powerful life hack that is not hard to implement right away. Again, dream first, indulgences and distractions later.

How have you changed your own standards? What are some of your new standards? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Christine Zacharias

    May 2, 2016 at 1:25 am

    This was a great article. What we view as our standards could be completely off to what our actual reality is. It is no wonder people wake up one day so dissatisfied with themselves. I know that that being honest about the time we spend indulging things that are not really conducive to work can be hard. I have a bad habit of cleaning and workout if I need to study for my classes. I can be twice as more productive if I study first, and do that stuff later. I definitely took some time out of the day to go through each point and see what I am doing in life. One thing I noticed is that I might want higher standards but I am not creating the habits and daily tasks that make me reach the next level. I hopefully can get the ball rolling for the next few weeks!

    • Tim Denning

      May 3, 2016 at 5:04 am

      Thanks for sharing your story Christine and I can definitely relate especially when it comes to cleaning. One part that can be a challenge is sitting down to do something creative like writing and not being able to concentrate because your workspace is a mess. There is definitely research that shows have a clean workspace creates a ZEN kind of feeling but anything outside of the space I rok in, I wait till later to clean.

      Glad you liked the article!

  2. Sam

    Apr 26, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Wow, point 9 is spot on. Whenever I plan to study, code or learn something new, I have a habit of wasting first 30 mins on social networking & shopping online BUT I wasn’t aware habit is so common. Glad that this article made me realise that I have a problem and I need to improve. Thanks 🙂

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:43 am

      Sam we all suffer from point 9. It’s not a problem for you though, its actually an opportunity to progress further than you are right now. The fact that you have realized what you are doing and committed to take action in a new direction is where the true power lies my friend.

      Thanks for reading

  3. Sathish

    Apr 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Tim,

    great article, your nine steps are surely a great way to raise standards. I like the 6, 7 and 8 those are something in my opinion we overlook when trying to raise our standards.

    Thanks, sathish

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:40 am

      Thanks Sathish for taking the time to read each point and I’m glad some of the advice resonated with you 🙂

  4. Zachary Walsh

    Apr 23, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Thanks for the insight Tim, definitely something everyone can relate to. Even if you do “Raise your Standards” there is always more you can do.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:39 am

      Not a problem Zachary. Defining your standards and raising them is a never ending process but each time you do, you one-up your life at the same time.

  5. Keith

    Apr 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Thanks Tim. I especially love your use of the word “indulgence” to describe those distractions that we allow ourselves take. Live for the dream!!

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:38 am

      Cheers Keith for reading! The word “indulgence” is one of my favourites

  6. Stefanie

    Apr 22, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Another great one, Tim! I changed one of my standards last year by deciding on going to work by bike (13 km one way) instead of taking the subway, and I feel so much better! I noticed that it’s really important to back up your new standard by creating the circumstances to really make it work. In my case, it meant checking out where to shower at work, getting the equipment, preparing a delicious green smoothie in the morning.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:37 am

      Sounds like a great daily habit you have created Stefanie. I am also a sucker for a morning green smoothie / juice 🙂

  7. Jim LaValley

    Apr 21, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Tim,
    Another great article! I appreciate the topic and can empathize with your statement about your old weekend standards. Keep up the great writing!

    JIM

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Jim. I don’t miss those old weekends and I’m sure you don’t either 🙂

  8. Katherine

    Apr 21, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Omg this is golden. I love number 4! 🙂

  9. Ram Vijay

    Apr 21, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Worth reading all the steps ! Great article indeed

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Ram for taking the time to read it.

  10. Gokul

    Apr 21, 2016 at 2:29 am

    This is one of the best article I’ve seen. So great if you Mr. Denning to share such a great insight.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Cheers Gokul I’m glad you like reading it.

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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Image Credit: Fortune

What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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success
Image Credit: Unsplash

Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What You Can Learn From My Ultimate “I Am Screwed” Moment.

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When I was 16 years old, I had the ultimate “I am screwed moment.”

Everything from this point on happened in slow motion. What I’m about to describe probably happened in the space of thirty minutes but it felt like five hours.

I was walking down the street with my buddy one night, eating a paddle pop ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of about twenty teenagers running towards us, dressed in black.

I instantly knew that something was up and as they got closer, we both realized we were screwed and there was nowhere to run to.

Seconds later the gang of teenagers came straight towards us as fast as they could.

“I got lucky and copped a baseball bat to the head. My friend wasn’t so lucky. He was repeatedly stabbed by several different people and there was blood everywhere.”

As I saw what happened to my friend, I knew I’d be next. I was hit so many times with the baseball bat that I was numb from the pain. Everything started to go white.

Then I heard a faint voice. The voice was calling my name out.

I listened to what the young man was saying and realized he was saying that his little brother knew me. All of a sudden, he put out his hand, lifted me off the ground and told me to run in the other direction, or I’d end up like my friend.

I somehow managed to get on my feet and run, but I was not giving up on my friend. I ran around the back of the shopping center that we were standing outside of and entered the building. I ran to the first security guard I saw and told them I needed help.

In my search to get help, miraculously, my friend had made it into the shopping center and he was being treated by a number of bystanders for his massive knife wounds.

I went over and spoke to him. He was okay and things looked better than I expected. I had about sixty seconds of calmness. Then I looked to my left.

Through the glass doors, I could see the same gang of teenagers running into the shopping center. Everyone including the two security guards ran in opposite directions.

My friend with his multiple knife wounds also ran and there were bandages everywhere as he made a run for it (I’m not even sure how he was able to move).

This time I was the unlucky one. I ran into the part of the shopping center that was closed for the night and three of the youths followed me. I’d never been so afraid because I saw what they did to my friend.

I ended up in the shopping centers food court and I hid in the darkness. I tried to control my breathing, but it was hard to silence the fear inside of me. I still remember the white Nike pants I was wearing and the bright red Sean John jumper I had on (I later discarded them because of the memory they left).

Again, through some kind of miracle, the three boys did not see me. They ran off in another direction and I stayed under the table.

The pain of my wounds started to set in. I knew deep down I was safe and so the fight or flight response was turned off. All of a sudden, moving and walking felt very painful.

I could feel broken bits of teeth in my mouth.


The aftermath.

After some time had passed, I manage to reconnect with my friend. By that time there was an ambulance on the scene and he managed to get his knife wounds treated. He got lucky and no vital organs were affected.

The next day I went to school and people could see I had gone through one hell of an ordeal. One of my friends in the year level below, came and found me and explained to me that it was his older brother and friends that attacked me.

They had mistakenly thought that we had come from a party, because of the direction we came from, where he was beaten up. He told me that because they had recognized me, to some degree, I was spared.

The story doesn’t end here though (I wish it did). Even after the brutal event, one of the attackers was still upset with me. I didn’t know why and it made no sense. I had multiple times where he and his friends were waiting for me in certain places and I was told they would harm me.

Through a mutual friend, I was able to resolve the conflict and I found out that a few of them were close friends with a few of my friends. In the coming years, I got to know my attackers.

“They were not the horrible violent people I encountered on that night. They slowly changed their ways and one of them has gone on to do extraordinary kind acts all over the world.”


A revelation from this “I am screwed” moment.

After this horrible event had occurred, I tried to make sense of it. I was not a violent person in any way but in a way, I had created this path for myself.

During my teenage years, I let rap music and violence dominate my life. I thought they were both cool.

The revelation from all of this was that I knew I had to change my life. I knew that the path I was on had led me to this moment and only I could change things. The next time an attack like this happened, I may not be as lucky.

I gave up rap music, I changed my group of friends, I started a business with my brother, I quit smoking and I disengaged from anything that was violent. Looking back, an “I am screwed” moment can be extremely valuable. It’s during these difficult times that we learn about who we are and what we can do to change our lives.

I would never have become obsessed with legacy, giving back and personal development if I hadn’t had this life or death experience.

I’m now fully aware of my mortality and I’m never going to take another day for granted.

Everything can change in a split second for better or for worse. What you do in that moment is up to you.

Nothing happens randomly (even this attack). Everything happens for a reason and when you ensure you get the lesson from it, you can go on to do extraordinary things.

I’m typing these words and reaching millions of people with them, partly because of this “I am screwed” moment.


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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How to Prevent Social Media From Stunting Your Personal Growth

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Over the years, social media has taken over our lives. Our society has become so addicted to social media to where we’re not only missing out on enjoying some of life’s most precious moments, but we’re also losing valuable interpersonal skills. The introverts have become more introverted, and the extroverts are becoming more recluse. (more…)

Patrice K. Cokley is a Marketing Consultant that specializes in brand development, social media marketing, and creative project management. Holding both a BS and MBA in Marketing, she is widely known for her work with Beyoncé & Solange’s dad/former manager Dr. Mathew Knowles. Her work has been seen on major media outlets such as Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Billboard, Ebony, The Wendy Williams Show and more; and she has spoken on panels at Soho House Chicago, Social Media Week Chicago, LakeFX Chicago and others. You can find Patrice online at www.patricekcokley.com.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Christine Zacharias

    May 2, 2016 at 1:25 am

    This was a great article. What we view as our standards could be completely off to what our actual reality is. It is no wonder people wake up one day so dissatisfied with themselves. I know that that being honest about the time we spend indulging things that are not really conducive to work can be hard. I have a bad habit of cleaning and workout if I need to study for my classes. I can be twice as more productive if I study first, and do that stuff later. I definitely took some time out of the day to go through each point and see what I am doing in life. One thing I noticed is that I might want higher standards but I am not creating the habits and daily tasks that make me reach the next level. I hopefully can get the ball rolling for the next few weeks!

    • Tim Denning

      May 3, 2016 at 5:04 am

      Thanks for sharing your story Christine and I can definitely relate especially when it comes to cleaning. One part that can be a challenge is sitting down to do something creative like writing and not being able to concentrate because your workspace is a mess. There is definitely research that shows have a clean workspace creates a ZEN kind of feeling but anything outside of the space I rok in, I wait till later to clean.

      Glad you liked the article!

  2. Sam

    Apr 26, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Wow, point 9 is spot on. Whenever I plan to study, code or learn something new, I have a habit of wasting first 30 mins on social networking & shopping online BUT I wasn’t aware habit is so common. Glad that this article made me realise that I have a problem and I need to improve. Thanks 🙂

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:43 am

      Sam we all suffer from point 9. It’s not a problem for you though, its actually an opportunity to progress further than you are right now. The fact that you have realized what you are doing and committed to take action in a new direction is where the true power lies my friend.

      Thanks for reading

  3. Sathish

    Apr 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Tim,

    great article, your nine steps are surely a great way to raise standards. I like the 6, 7 and 8 those are something in my opinion we overlook when trying to raise our standards.

    Thanks, sathish

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:40 am

      Thanks Sathish for taking the time to read each point and I’m glad some of the advice resonated with you 🙂

  4. Zachary Walsh

    Apr 23, 2016 at 3:02 am

    Thanks for the insight Tim, definitely something everyone can relate to. Even if you do “Raise your Standards” there is always more you can do.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:39 am

      Not a problem Zachary. Defining your standards and raising them is a never ending process but each time you do, you one-up your life at the same time.

  5. Keith

    Apr 22, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Thanks Tim. I especially love your use of the word “indulgence” to describe those distractions that we allow ourselves take. Live for the dream!!

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:38 am

      Cheers Keith for reading! The word “indulgence” is one of my favourites

  6. Stefanie

    Apr 22, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Another great one, Tim! I changed one of my standards last year by deciding on going to work by bike (13 km one way) instead of taking the subway, and I feel so much better! I noticed that it’s really important to back up your new standard by creating the circumstances to really make it work. In my case, it meant checking out where to shower at work, getting the equipment, preparing a delicious green smoothie in the morning.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 27, 2016 at 2:37 am

      Sounds like a great daily habit you have created Stefanie. I am also a sucker for a morning green smoothie / juice 🙂

  7. Jim LaValley

    Apr 21, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Tim,
    Another great article! I appreciate the topic and can empathize with your statement about your old weekend standards. Keep up the great writing!

    JIM

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Jim. I don’t miss those old weekends and I’m sure you don’t either 🙂

  8. Katherine

    Apr 21, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Omg this is golden. I love number 4! 🙂

  9. Ram Vijay

    Apr 21, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Worth reading all the steps ! Great article indeed

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks Ram for taking the time to read it.

  10. Gokul

    Apr 21, 2016 at 2:29 am

    This is one of the best article I’ve seen. So great if you Mr. Denning to share such a great insight.

    • Tim Denning

      Apr 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Cheers Gokul I’m glad you like reading it.

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What You Can Learn From My Ultimate “I Am Screwed” Moment.

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When I was 16 years old, I had the ultimate “I am screwed moment.”

Everything from this point on happened in slow motion. What I’m about to describe probably happened in the space of thirty minutes but it felt like five hours.

I was walking down the street with my buddy one night, eating a paddle pop ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of about twenty teenagers running towards us, dressed in black.

I instantly knew that something was up and as they got closer, we both realized we were screwed and there was nowhere to run to.

Seconds later the gang of teenagers came straight towards us as fast as they could.

“I got lucky and copped a baseball bat to the head. My friend wasn’t so lucky. He was repeatedly stabbed by several different people and there was blood everywhere.”

As I saw what happened to my friend, I knew I’d be next. I was hit so many times with the baseball bat that I was numb from the pain. Everything started to go white.

Then I heard a faint voice. The voice was calling my name out.

I listened to what the young man was saying and realized he was saying that his little brother knew me. All of a sudden, he put out his hand, lifted me off the ground and told me to run in the other direction, or I’d end up like my friend.

I somehow managed to get on my feet and run, but I was not giving up on my friend. I ran around the back of the shopping center that we were standing outside of and entered the building. I ran to the first security guard I saw and told them I needed help.

In my search to get help, miraculously, my friend had made it into the shopping center and he was being treated by a number of bystanders for his massive knife wounds.

I went over and spoke to him. He was okay and things looked better than I expected. I had about sixty seconds of calmness. Then I looked to my left.

Through the glass doors, I could see the same gang of teenagers running into the shopping center. Everyone including the two security guards ran in opposite directions.

My friend with his multiple knife wounds also ran and there were bandages everywhere as he made a run for it (I’m not even sure how he was able to move).

This time I was the unlucky one. I ran into the part of the shopping center that was closed for the night and three of the youths followed me. I’d never been so afraid because I saw what they did to my friend.

I ended up in the shopping centers food court and I hid in the darkness. I tried to control my breathing, but it was hard to silence the fear inside of me. I still remember the white Nike pants I was wearing and the bright red Sean John jumper I had on (I later discarded them because of the memory they left).

Again, through some kind of miracle, the three boys did not see me. They ran off in another direction and I stayed under the table.

The pain of my wounds started to set in. I knew deep down I was safe and so the fight or flight response was turned off. All of a sudden, moving and walking felt very painful.

I could feel broken bits of teeth in my mouth.


The aftermath.

After some time had passed, I manage to reconnect with my friend. By that time there was an ambulance on the scene and he managed to get his knife wounds treated. He got lucky and no vital organs were affected.

The next day I went to school and people could see I had gone through one hell of an ordeal. One of my friends in the year level below, came and found me and explained to me that it was his older brother and friends that attacked me.

They had mistakenly thought that we had come from a party, because of the direction we came from, where he was beaten up. He told me that because they had recognized me, to some degree, I was spared.

The story doesn’t end here though (I wish it did). Even after the brutal event, one of the attackers was still upset with me. I didn’t know why and it made no sense. I had multiple times where he and his friends were waiting for me in certain places and I was told they would harm me.

Through a mutual friend, I was able to resolve the conflict and I found out that a few of them were close friends with a few of my friends. In the coming years, I got to know my attackers.

“They were not the horrible violent people I encountered on that night. They slowly changed their ways and one of them has gone on to do extraordinary kind acts all over the world.”


A revelation from this “I am screwed” moment.

After this horrible event had occurred, I tried to make sense of it. I was not a violent person in any way but in a way, I had created this path for myself.

During my teenage years, I let rap music and violence dominate my life. I thought they were both cool.

The revelation from all of this was that I knew I had to change my life. I knew that the path I was on had led me to this moment and only I could change things. The next time an attack like this happened, I may not be as lucky.

I gave up rap music, I changed my group of friends, I started a business with my brother, I quit smoking and I disengaged from anything that was violent. Looking back, an “I am screwed” moment can be extremely valuable. It’s during these difficult times that we learn about who we are and what we can do to change our lives.

I would never have become obsessed with legacy, giving back and personal development if I hadn’t had this life or death experience.

I’m now fully aware of my mortality and I’m never going to take another day for granted.

Everything can change in a split second for better or for worse. What you do in that moment is up to you.

Nothing happens randomly (even this attack). Everything happens for a reason and when you ensure you get the lesson from it, you can go on to do extraordinary things.

I’m typing these words and reaching millions of people with them, partly because of this “I am screwed” moment.


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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