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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 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

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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

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun.

The journey from novice to rockstar is filled with a thousand small victories. Each victory increases your skill, your confidence, your positive expectation, and is ultimately the only way to really do something truly great.

Imagine you have a band in which everything was fun- fun to practice, fun to get together and create. The first victory was writing your first song. Afterwards, some friends come to watch you practice, and they cheer you on giving you another boost. Then you play your first show, do your first band photoshoot, and create a band website. After all this hard work, you record your first song as a band, have your first major show, your first tour, and develop the best thing so far which are your first true fans.

Each victory gives you the energy to get to the next victory

If you told the kid, it was going to take ten years of work to get to the end goal, without celebrating the small important victories in between, it would be illogical for any human to hunker down and work 10 years to get there. So how is this relevant? When starting a business or following your dream, incentivizing yourself with small victories will make you far more likely to make you continue on to your end goal. Without it, your willpower only lasts so long.

The small victories are the positive fuel to make it to the next milestone. You create small victories by finding a way to interact with people as a way to have an impact even if it’s small. For example, when people try to start businesses, often they try to get everything together before selling their first product. It could be months or years of work before they are at the level of their competition.

I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here. Charles Bukowski

Say you’re creating a bakery, it could be a year before anyone tried your first baked good if you go the traditional brick and mortar route without any small victories. This comes with great financial cost and energy. You also lose out on the opportunity to improve your craft, your products, your image and your connections with others who can take your business to greater heights.

However, if you go with the method of small victories instead, you would start by creating a cult following amongst friends and family with your decadent treats. Next, you would bake them at home and sell them at local events, farmers markets, and maybe even at local businesses. This can give you the opportunity to create a strong local and social media following well before the opening of your first actual store.

Work and effort without small victories lead to burnout

We need to build rewards along the way into our endeavors, because this provides encouragement to keep going. Each moment is a separate gift, an experience where something was fulfilled, where something was accomplished, no matter how small, and being a recluse until the grand unveiling will have so many missed opportunities along the way.

Small victories are also an opportunity to develop your skills, get feedback – positive or constructive – and considerably increase opportunities. Small victories increase your credibility by showing a track record and the trajectory you’re on by increasing your ability to attract investors and partners.

“Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” – Joseph M. Marshall III

The idea of celebrating small victories can be applied to any subject. In weight loss, for instance, seeing pounds melt away will give you the positive mindset to continue and even improve the choices you make to enhance your physique. Sharing your success with others will bring in the element of positive encouragement. It can also motivate others to come with you on the journey. Your small victories can inspire others to start their own journey.

What small victory did you achieve today which will bring you a step closer to your goals? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

Setting Up Your Mindset to Win: How to Achieve Success in Your Life and Career

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How did Usain Bolt become so successful? He seems superhuman, doesn’t he? Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Paul Bocuse… all these people have something special in them. They became the stars in their niche. Have you ever wondered why? No, they do not have any superhuman capacity. They are simple people, just like you and I. They, too, had flaws. Their mindset, however, is what set them apart. If you want to win in your career and in life, generally, you need the mindset of a winner. You have to think like a true champion, so you’ll overcome your flaws and emphasize your strengths.

So how do you set the mindset to win? Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:

1. When You Can’t Achieve a Goal, Get Help

Have you heard of Paul Bocuse? He was one of the most famous chefs of his time, and he was named as the chef of the century. This is a good example of the point we’re about to make. Even the best are not almighty, they have to learn from someone. Paul Bocuse learned from another famous chef. He constantly worked to improve his skills and he learned along the way.

The lesson is: you cannot do everything on your own. This is the first thing you have to do: learn and find the right person to learn from. Are there any books by the champions of your chosen niche? Get them and read them. Can you get a mentor? Of course, you can! Start connecting with people on LinkedIn. Your alumni network is a great source of mentorship opportunities, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say that you want to learn from someone.   

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Work on Your Resilience

Here’s the most important life lesson you’ll ever learn: things don’t always go as expected. When you strive towards a particular goal, the chances of failure are real. When Usain Bolt started training, he wasn’t the fastest man on Earth. He worked towards that goal and he was resilient enough to go through all the obstacles he faced. We couldn’t possibly assume that such success came easily for him.

The journey towards a successful life is not a straight line, it’s a bumpy road full of difficulties and setbacks. The average person would give up along the way, but a champion would stay resilient. It’s the mindset that makes a true difference. The good news is that the more obstacles you overcome, the more resilient you become.

3. Focus

What do you want in your career and in your life? This is not something that can go with the flow. You cannot simply live your life one random day after another and expect great things to come your way. You have to focus on particular goals and work your way up there.

Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a nice tip for everyone who wants to become successful: “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.”

Simple and straight to the point, right? So set your goals! Find that major goal you want to achieve and break it up into smaller achievements. Then, start accomplishing things on a daily basis. You need to devote your life to achieving that goal.

4. Be Bold

Steve Jobs wasn’t focused on getting an average job, achieving average results and living an average life. He had big dreams and bold goals. All successful people have something in common at the starting point, a bold dream. Being afraid to dream big is a huge mistake. Set your imagination free! What’s the biggest thing you’d like to achieve? If you believe in yourself and you start working towards that goal one day after another, you’ll unlock your true potential. You’ll realize that not many things are impossible. You can achieve much more than you believe you’re capable of.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. If You Fall, Get Back Up

Have you ever wondered why Richard Branson became so successful? The answer is simple: never gave up, no matter what hardships he faced. His first company didn’t make money. The test flight of Virgin Atlantic Airlines almost crashed because of a flock of birds. Virgin Cola, his soda company, failed miserably. He almost got himself killed during his trip around the world. Richard Branson has done many things, but do you know what he never did? Give up. No matter how serious the failure was, he always found the strength to get back up on his feet and carry on with life. That’s the mindset of a champion!

Never allow yourself to get disappointed from failure. Do not fall back into average just because your big dream doesn’t seem to be working. Failure is not a big deal. It’s just part of the journey, and everyone has to face it. If you carry on, you’ll find success along the way.

So you want to be a champion? You better start working towards that goal without wasting any time. The first step is changing your mindset. Hopefully, the tips above inspired you to do that.

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Success Advice

3 Important Principles You Need to Know That All Billionaires Have in Common

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I’ve always been highly interested in the similarities amongst the world’s wealthiest. Their habits, successes, mindset, and failures have fascinated me. The journey to great prosperity can seem overwhelming, but if you apply success principles to any endeavor you can quickly and efficiently overcome challenges and expand.

Michael J. Gabrielli, founder of WeRunAds, has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars studying billionaires and their habits. Michael has also studied over 2000 different billionaires and from this experience he’s found three principles they all had in common.

Here are the 3 principles the billionaires all had in common:

1. Be in a rapid growth industry at the right time

Timing is so important. Billionaires know when the time is right to enter a market. Most billionaires do not enter first or second into a market because of the inherent risks involved. Many billionaires let the pioneers pave the way and then leverage the knowledge gained to innovate and optimize in order to create something that works.

The key is to find an industry that is soon to take off. Stepping in at the right time is important. Let’s take a real life example that is known all too well– the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. When he entered the scene, the idea of a social network was moderately known, but it was still not quite predicted to be the monster it is today.

Others like Friendster, Myspace, etc. had made some headway into this fledgeling industry and then Facebook entered leveraging the knowledge and expertise gained from the early pioneers. Zuckerberg saw the huge potential of social networking, took what was done previously and made it better.

He is presently worth over $66 Billion and the company has surpassed the 2 billion users mark with 1.4 billion using the platform daily. Not surprisingly, many billionaires were not the first to pioneer the industry they would later find success in. They came in at the right moment, learned from the mistakes and triumphs of their predecessors, and made a lasting final product.

Here’s a practical 3 question exercise you can do to judge if you have the right timing with your current venture:

  1. Look at your industry and say—is this brand new?
  2. Am I trying to invent something that doesn’t exist?
  3. Am I too late to the party?

2. Position yourself better

In addition to finding the right industry and getting in at the right time, billionaires position themselves in the best way. They provide the solution to the need and they think outside the box to do it. Optimal positioning is a commonality amongst billionaires. For example, during the California Gold Rush, people rushed to mine for the gold itself blinded by the promise of large profits.

However, it turned out that Sam Brannan had the better idea for how to position himself for success. He knew the chances of finding gold were risky, so instead he committed to a sure thing. He manufactured the tools that were needed by all the miners to mine gold. As each new miner migrated West, they were happily met by Brannan and his company who were ready and waiting to sell these new hopefuls the shovels and tools they’d need to strike it rich.

Digging for gold seemed to be the most profitable route, however, greater returns were yielded in the supplying of materials required to mine for gold! A good company that also illustrates this concept is Microsoft. They did not seek to create their own computer, but the software that computers would run on. Most people mistakenly think they have to “go for the gold” to attain wealth, but it’s evident in history that selling the necessary tools to the gold miners can be far more profitable.

The two questions you need to ask yourself to see how you could position yourself correctly are, “What industries will need the supplies that I could provide? And, “Am I following the trend instead of innovating?

“Big shots are only little shots that keep shooting. I can see your sun rise out of obscurity. Keep shooting” – Ikechukwu Joseph

3. Take calculated risks

Most people choose the safe bet that is secure, however, this is not common among billionaires. Billionaires take big calculated risks in order to propel themselves to higher levels of influence and success. The most important thing to note here is that while to others the risks seem big—to billionaires, they are calculated.Risk and Calculated Risk are not the same. Calculated risk is measured and well-thought-out. Risk is impulsive and immeasurable. Understanding the difference between the two is a commonality among billionaires. The world’s most prominent figures have at some point in their lives disagreed with the ordinary and took a shot at the unknown. Proper calculation and clever thinking certainly accompanied the bold moves they made in their careers.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is a great example of this. He had grown up in poverty and made his way out to earn a comfortable wage as an executive at a company that manufactured coffeemakers.

“Risk more than others think safe.” – Howard Schultz

He risked it all when he discovered a small coffee shop named “Starbucks” in Seattle that prompted him to quit his job and step out to create a company that was inspired by the Italian coffee culture and personal relationship people could have with their coffee.

Of the 242 people he spoke to, 217 said no to investing with him. Despite the discouragement, lack of agreement, and investment, Schultz kept pushing on. Fast forward to present time, and Starbucks’ is a massive success. Strong intuition and unshakeable belief is common among high achievers. Many successful billionaires risked their safe jobs, personal assets, and even their reputation to take calculated risks that they knew would pay off huge in the end.

The questions you need to ask yourself now are, “where can I take a calculated risk? Am I holding back when I should be going forward? What tangible steps can I take today to move forward?”

These 3 success principles are staple elements that are common among many billionaires. Now, there are more principles that you must discover and implement in order to become a billionaire. Work diligently and do all that can be done each day. Be inquisitive and study those that you wish to emulate.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on more this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

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Success Advice

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun. (more…)

Zachariah Bourne is the Author of the upcoming book "Blissed Out". He’s a writer for Success Magazine and Huff Post and Co-Authors articles with Jacquelyn Denissoff. As a producer, songwriter and artist living in NYC, he uses music as a way to spread the message of positivity to the world. Follow him on Instagram or go check out his YouTube.

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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

How to Use the “Small Victories” Method to Avoid Burning Out

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Have you had a goal you begin to work toward only to run out of steam? Do you know what you need to do to get to where you want to be, but the necessary work feels overwhelming? “Small Victories” is the method to eliminate procrastination, dramatically increase productivity, and to make every part of the process not just bearable, but fun.

The journey from novice to rockstar is filled with a thousand small victories. Each victory increases your skill, your confidence, your positive expectation, and is ultimately the only way to really do something truly great.

Imagine you have a band in which everything was fun- fun to practice, fun to get together and create. The first victory was writing your first song. Afterwards, some friends come to watch you practice, and they cheer you on giving you another boost. Then you play your first show, do your first band photoshoot, and create a band website. After all this hard work, you record your first song as a band, have your first major show, your first tour, and develop the best thing so far which are your first true fans.

Each victory gives you the energy to get to the next victory

If you told the kid, it was going to take ten years of work to get to the end goal, without celebrating the small important victories in between, it would be illogical for any human to hunker down and work 10 years to get there. So how is this relevant? When starting a business or following your dream, incentivizing yourself with small victories will make you far more likely to make you continue on to your end goal. Without it, your willpower only lasts so long.

The small victories are the positive fuel to make it to the next milestone. You create small victories by finding a way to interact with people as a way to have an impact even if it’s small. For example, when people try to start businesses, often they try to get everything together before selling their first product. It could be months or years of work before they are at the level of their competition.

I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here. Charles Bukowski

Say you’re creating a bakery, it could be a year before anyone tried your first baked good if you go the traditional brick and mortar route without any small victories. This comes with great financial cost and energy. You also lose out on the opportunity to improve your craft, your products, your image and your connections with others who can take your business to greater heights.

However, if you go with the method of small victories instead, you would start by creating a cult following amongst friends and family with your decadent treats. Next, you would bake them at home and sell them at local events, farmers markets, and maybe even at local businesses. This can give you the opportunity to create a strong local and social media following well before the opening of your first actual store.

Work and effort without small victories lead to burnout

We need to build rewards along the way into our endeavors, because this provides encouragement to keep going. Each moment is a separate gift, an experience where something was fulfilled, where something was accomplished, no matter how small, and being a recluse until the grand unveiling will have so many missed opportunities along the way.

Small victories are also an opportunity to develop your skills, get feedback – positive or constructive – and considerably increase opportunities. Small victories increase your credibility by showing a track record and the trajectory you’re on by increasing your ability to attract investors and partners.

“Success is rarely the result of one swell swoop, but more often the culmination of many, many small victories.” – Joseph M. Marshall III

The idea of celebrating small victories can be applied to any subject. In weight loss, for instance, seeing pounds melt away will give you the positive mindset to continue and even improve the choices you make to enhance your physique. Sharing your success with others will bring in the element of positive encouragement. It can also motivate others to come with you on the journey. Your small victories can inspire others to start their own journey.

What small victory did you achieve today which will bring you a step closer to your goals? Let us know below!

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Success Advice

Setting Up Your Mindset to Win: How to Achieve Success in Your Life and Career

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How did Usain Bolt become so successful? He seems superhuman, doesn’t he? Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Paul Bocuse… all these people have something special in them. They became the stars in their niche. Have you ever wondered why? No, they do not have any superhuman capacity. They are simple people, just like you and I. They, too, had flaws. Their mindset, however, is what set them apart. If you want to win in your career and in life, generally, you need the mindset of a winner. You have to think like a true champion, so you’ll overcome your flaws and emphasize your strengths.

So how do you set the mindset to win? Here are 5 suggestions to get you started:

1. When You Can’t Achieve a Goal, Get Help

Have you heard of Paul Bocuse? He was one of the most famous chefs of his time, and he was named as the chef of the century. This is a good example of the point we’re about to make. Even the best are not almighty, they have to learn from someone. Paul Bocuse learned from another famous chef. He constantly worked to improve his skills and he learned along the way.

The lesson is: you cannot do everything on your own. This is the first thing you have to do: learn and find the right person to learn from. Are there any books by the champions of your chosen niche? Get them and read them. Can you get a mentor? Of course, you can! Start connecting with people on LinkedIn. Your alumni network is a great source of mentorship opportunities, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say that you want to learn from someone.   

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Work on Your Resilience

Here’s the most important life lesson you’ll ever learn: things don’t always go as expected. When you strive towards a particular goal, the chances of failure are real. When Usain Bolt started training, he wasn’t the fastest man on Earth. He worked towards that goal and he was resilient enough to go through all the obstacles he faced. We couldn’t possibly assume that such success came easily for him.

The journey towards a successful life is not a straight line, it’s a bumpy road full of difficulties and setbacks. The average person would give up along the way, but a champion would stay resilient. It’s the mindset that makes a true difference. The good news is that the more obstacles you overcome, the more resilient you become.

3. Focus

What do you want in your career and in your life? This is not something that can go with the flow. You cannot simply live your life one random day after another and expect great things to come your way. You have to focus on particular goals and work your way up there.

Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, has a nice tip for everyone who wants to become successful: “Dedicate yourself to a core set of values. Without them, you will never be able to find personal fulfillment, and you will never be able to lead effectively.”

Simple and straight to the point, right? So set your goals! Find that major goal you want to achieve and break it up into smaller achievements. Then, start accomplishing things on a daily basis. You need to devote your life to achieving that goal.

4. Be Bold

Steve Jobs wasn’t focused on getting an average job, achieving average results and living an average life. He had big dreams and bold goals. All successful people have something in common at the starting point, a bold dream. Being afraid to dream big is a huge mistake. Set your imagination free! What’s the biggest thing you’d like to achieve? If you believe in yourself and you start working towards that goal one day after another, you’ll unlock your true potential. You’ll realize that not many things are impossible. You can achieve much more than you believe you’re capable of.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. If You Fall, Get Back Up

Have you ever wondered why Richard Branson became so successful? The answer is simple: never gave up, no matter what hardships he faced. His first company didn’t make money. The test flight of Virgin Atlantic Airlines almost crashed because of a flock of birds. Virgin Cola, his soda company, failed miserably. He almost got himself killed during his trip around the world. Richard Branson has done many things, but do you know what he never did? Give up. No matter how serious the failure was, he always found the strength to get back up on his feet and carry on with life. That’s the mindset of a champion!

Never allow yourself to get disappointed from failure. Do not fall back into average just because your big dream doesn’t seem to be working. Failure is not a big deal. It’s just part of the journey, and everyone has to face it. If you carry on, you’ll find success along the way.

So you want to be a champion? You better start working towards that goal without wasting any time. The first step is changing your mindset. Hopefully, the tips above inspired you to do that.

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3 Important Principles You Need to Know That All Billionaires Have in Common

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I’ve always been highly interested in the similarities amongst the world’s wealthiest. Their habits, successes, mindset, and failures have fascinated me. The journey to great prosperity can seem overwhelming, but if you apply success principles to any endeavor you can quickly and efficiently overcome challenges and expand.

Michael J. Gabrielli, founder of WeRunAds, has spent hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars studying billionaires and their habits. Michael has also studied over 2000 different billionaires and from this experience he’s found three principles they all had in common.

Here are the 3 principles the billionaires all had in common:

1. Be in a rapid growth industry at the right time

Timing is so important. Billionaires know when the time is right to enter a market. Most billionaires do not enter first or second into a market because of the inherent risks involved. Many billionaires let the pioneers pave the way and then leverage the knowledge gained to innovate and optimize in order to create something that works.

The key is to find an industry that is soon to take off. Stepping in at the right time is important. Let’s take a real life example that is known all too well– the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. When he entered the scene, the idea of a social network was moderately known, but it was still not quite predicted to be the monster it is today.

Others like Friendster, Myspace, etc. had made some headway into this fledgeling industry and then Facebook entered leveraging the knowledge and expertise gained from the early pioneers. Zuckerberg saw the huge potential of social networking, took what was done previously and made it better.

He is presently worth over $66 Billion and the company has surpassed the 2 billion users mark with 1.4 billion using the platform daily. Not surprisingly, many billionaires were not the first to pioneer the industry they would later find success in. They came in at the right moment, learned from the mistakes and triumphs of their predecessors, and made a lasting final product.

Here’s a practical 3 question exercise you can do to judge if you have the right timing with your current venture:

  1. Look at your industry and say—is this brand new?
  2. Am I trying to invent something that doesn’t exist?
  3. Am I too late to the party?

2. Position yourself better

In addition to finding the right industry and getting in at the right time, billionaires position themselves in the best way. They provide the solution to the need and they think outside the box to do it. Optimal positioning is a commonality amongst billionaires. For example, during the California Gold Rush, people rushed to mine for the gold itself blinded by the promise of large profits.

However, it turned out that Sam Brannan had the better idea for how to position himself for success. He knew the chances of finding gold were risky, so instead he committed to a sure thing. He manufactured the tools that were needed by all the miners to mine gold. As each new miner migrated West, they were happily met by Brannan and his company who were ready and waiting to sell these new hopefuls the shovels and tools they’d need to strike it rich.

Digging for gold seemed to be the most profitable route, however, greater returns were yielded in the supplying of materials required to mine for gold! A good company that also illustrates this concept is Microsoft. They did not seek to create their own computer, but the software that computers would run on. Most people mistakenly think they have to “go for the gold” to attain wealth, but it’s evident in history that selling the necessary tools to the gold miners can be far more profitable.

The two questions you need to ask yourself to see how you could position yourself correctly are, “What industries will need the supplies that I could provide? And, “Am I following the trend instead of innovating?

“Big shots are only little shots that keep shooting. I can see your sun rise out of obscurity. Keep shooting” – Ikechukwu Joseph

3. Take calculated risks

Most people choose the safe bet that is secure, however, this is not common among billionaires. Billionaires take big calculated risks in order to propel themselves to higher levels of influence and success. The most important thing to note here is that while to others the risks seem big—to billionaires, they are calculated.Risk and Calculated Risk are not the same. Calculated risk is measured and well-thought-out. Risk is impulsive and immeasurable. Understanding the difference between the two is a commonality among billionaires. The world’s most prominent figures have at some point in their lives disagreed with the ordinary and took a shot at the unknown. Proper calculation and clever thinking certainly accompanied the bold moves they made in their careers.

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is a great example of this. He had grown up in poverty and made his way out to earn a comfortable wage as an executive at a company that manufactured coffeemakers.

“Risk more than others think safe.” – Howard Schultz

He risked it all when he discovered a small coffee shop named “Starbucks” in Seattle that prompted him to quit his job and step out to create a company that was inspired by the Italian coffee culture and personal relationship people could have with their coffee.

Of the 242 people he spoke to, 217 said no to investing with him. Despite the discouragement, lack of agreement, and investment, Schultz kept pushing on. Fast forward to present time, and Starbucks’ is a massive success. Strong intuition and unshakeable belief is common among high achievers. Many successful billionaires risked their safe jobs, personal assets, and even their reputation to take calculated risks that they knew would pay off huge in the end.

The questions you need to ask yourself now are, “where can I take a calculated risk? Am I holding back when I should be going forward? What tangible steps can I take today to move forward?”

These 3 success principles are staple elements that are common among many billionaires. Now, there are more principles that you must discover and implement in order to become a billionaire. Work diligently and do all that can be done each day. Be inquisitive and study those that you wish to emulate.

Which one of these principles do you need to work on more this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome.

Here’s the question I always ask: What is standing between your current reality (where you are now) and your ultimate vision (where you want to be)? Are the impediments psychological, physical, emotional or some other reason?

Until you answer what is causing the difference between your AS IS and your SHOULD BE, you will be stuck spinning your wheels in the mud and the muck of the former. This is an important question that requires a level of mental self-examination. And the answer to this question may require a lifetime of introspection. It is an important question to answer because if you know where you want to go that provides direction but examining why you are not there yet can provide momentum. (In other words, by answering the question it may get you there faster!)

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill

It’s just like following a road map. A map is useless unless you know two things, where you are, and where you want to go. What might be stopping you (or at least slowing you down) from the ultimate destination of your passion and life’s fulfilment?

I’ve asked many people about this over the years and have heard these four reasons that keep people from moving forward.

1. Lack of vision

How do you plan to get there, if you don’t know where “there” is? The most difficult undertaking in the world is to sit quietly with a blank sheet of paper and chart out your life. I know, I have many blank sheets of paper to prove it. However, I also found out that it only takes one sheet, with a few well-crafted lines of thought to give you the direction you need. But you need to start!

2. Lack of goals

So, you know where you want to go, you just don’t know how to get there. The second hardest thing in the world is to have a sheet of paper with your ultimate destination on top, and the rest blank as you ask yourself, now what or how do I get to my vision? The process of functional decomposition means breaking down the larger process into steps that are both actionable and motivational. In other words, the steps are small enough to do and you remain motivated because they are so small.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

3. You don’t believe you can get there

You want to, but there is a script running through your head telling you to go home, make some chicken soup and don’t leave the house until these foolish notions of greatness are gone. Think about it, your parents never did what you are trying to do, no one in your family has ever done it, you are far too old (or too young) to do that, you don’t have the right education…your rationalizing can go on for a lifetime! Here is my suggestion when it comes to running those self-deprecating scripts: STOP IT!

4. You are lazy

You won’t admit this to yourself, but perhaps you are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it so many times; individuals majoring in minors. Performing high fun, low payoff activities instead of the low fun, high payoff activities. (And, by the way, who ever said that a high payoff activity can’t be fun? There’s that darn script again.) As a species we are inclined to take the path of least resistance, but that path may not lead us to our vision, but you must admit, we are having a great time NOT moving toward our vision! Laziness is not “doing nothing.” It’s doing the wrong thing because that’s what you want to do, and, very often, we know it’s the wrong thing to do!

There you have the four possible things that might be holding you back from the realization of your vision. Are any of them hitting home? Answer this question before you move on:

What is standing between my current reality and my ultimate vision of success?

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