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How To Silence The Side Of Yourself That Wants To See You Fail

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Ever feel like you’re waging an internal war? It might not be bloody, but it does kill. It kills your self-esteem, confidence, and your dream.

One side wants to see you succeed, feel good about yourself, and exceed in all of your endeavors. The other is taking every chance it gets to drag you down. The fierce battle between the two sides can drive anyone crazy.

Becoming an entrepreneur means taking major steps outside your comfort zone. It will most likely trigger fear, disbelief, and doubt. It will probably make that mean voice inside seem louder and even more condescending.

If that’s the voice that’s running your inner dialogue today, it’s time to make it stop. It’s time to say goodbye once and for all.

Here are the 5 steps on how to silence the side of yourself that wants to see you fail:

1. Detach yourself from your toxic thoughts

The monkey. That’s what I call that destructive and mean voice that can come in and overpower us. Because let’s face it, it can behave just like a drunk, neurotic monkey who’s tirelessly jumping around and chattering in a desperate attempt to get our attention.

The monkey thinks he’s protecting you. But in reality, he’s hindering you from creating the life you truly desire. Why? Because the monkey is trying to protect what you’ve accepted as truth — whether it serves you or not.

If you believe that making money requires hard work and struggle, the monkey will want to prove you’re right. If you think you aren’t smart enough or consistently lack time, the monkey will do just about anything to prove that your belief is correct.

The thing is, if you’ve heard something repeatedly in the past, or if you’ve had an emotionally painful experience, your monkey will remember that. And he’ll do just about anything to protect you from feeling that pain again.

Now, it might sound like this little guy is your enemy. He’s not. He’s just a scared little monkey who needs you to take charge of the situation.

So, when you have these toxic thoughts, start by separating the monkey’s voice from your own. It’s not you talking, OK? Detach yourself by acknowledging and observing his presence. Don’t fight or get upset over his comments; that will only fuel him. Instead, be polite, and greet the little fellow by saying, “Well, hello little monkey!”

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

2Take control over the chatter

So, now that you’ve acknowledged the monkey, it’s time to calm him down. How do you calm a drunk and neurotic monkey?

That’s right, by giving him a big hug. And by telling him soothing phrases such as, “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” You can even imagine yourself petting the little monkey on its head.

Remember that poking current beliefs is scary to the monkey. It will trigger him. To remain in control of your inner-dialogue, simply acknowledge what caused your monkey to go bananas. Play detective on yourself to get the bigger picture of the situation.

Maybe you’re stepping outside of familiar boundaries? Maybe you’re facing struggles on your path as an entrepreneur? Maybe you’re diving headfirst into something that scares you silly?

Remember, it’s probably a good thing you’re doing here. You’re probably stretching limits, breaking boundaries, and growing as a person. See the situation for what it is (and not through the eyes of a terrified and neurotic monkey).

So, sooth your monkey, and simply acknowledge what made him scared. That’s how you put yourself in the driving seat. That’s how you become the master of your monkey (and not the other way around).

 

3. Replace negative thoughts with better feeling ones

Now that you’ve calmed the monkey, look for better-feeling thoughts around the subject. The trick here is to find thoughts that are positive, but not too positive so that your mind asks, “What the heck are you talking about? This isn’t what you’ve been telling me!”

Thoughts gain momentum, so you can’t instantly go from “I can’t do this” to “I can totally do this!” without feeling like a big liar. So go step-by-step. First aim to reach a neutral place. Play around with thoughts until you find those you resonate with emotionally. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “I’ve done similar things in the past, and that’s gone well.”
  • “It doesn’t matter where I am today, when I know where I’m going.”

When you’ve managed to come to a neutral place, find more positive thoughts that can lift you toward a positive place. Once you’ve done that, reach for another one that makes you feel a little bit better than the previous one. Small and simple steps, that’s all.

 

4. Keep nurturing your positive thoughts

So, now that you’ve shifted focus to more positive thoughts, things start to become clearer. Ah, the haze is dissolving (love those moments!), and you can start building positive momentum that will propel you forward.

Now, think of your thoughts as a garden. Whatever you plant there will grow. The monkey loves a beautiful and prosperous garden where he can relax. If that’s what you’re growing, he doesn’t need to worry for you. Then he can just sit back and smell the flowers.

So, pay attention to what you’re planting in your garden. Are you growing appreciation or criticism? Is it a garden full of opportunities or limitations? Is it the successes or failures in your life that are in bloom? The flowers you take most care of will blossom and overshadow the others.

Simply, bask yourself in the feelings of already being, doing, and having what you want.

“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” – Joyce Meyer

5. Leave room for the voice that will guide you right

Being bullied around by your inner voice is hard. Not only does it shatter your great vision – it leaves you feeling unworthy, disempowered, and frustrated.

You deserve to feel good about yourself. You deserve to live a life of excitement, exhilaration, and bliss. You deserve to make your dream a reality. That’s the whole purpose of a dream, isn’t it?

So, take control. Calm and soothe your monkey when he’s active, and nurture your positive thoughts. Don’t let your monkey master your life. Instead, master your monkey to master your life.

Leave space for that voice inside that wants to see you succeed and be happy. That’s the voice worth listening to. That’s the voice that knows what you’re truly capable of. That’s the voice that will guide you right.

What do you do to silence the side of yourself that wants to see you fail? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Camilla Hallstrom

    Jan 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Great article, Maria!

    I couldn’t agree more that becoming an entrepreneur requires you to go way beyond your comfort zone. It might be temporarily uncomfortable but the payoff is amazing 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Jan 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Camilla!

      Yes, you are so right. Well said. Got to keep our eyes on the prize 🙂

  2. Judy Parsons

    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    My inner voice is Cissy. She’s afraid of everything. We’re going to have some good conversations from now on.

  3. Nicki Lee

    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Love your advice about talking to the monkey! “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” I’m going to try it today.

  4. akash

    Dec 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great article maria. I am really impressed with your writing skills.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks a lot! You just put a BIG smile on my face.

      Have a great day!
      Maria

  5. Laura J. Tong

    Dec 27, 2015 at 10:44 am

    This so totally sums up that split of voices in my head that argue so often! Thank you for these great strategies.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      You’re so right Laura. Thank you for your comment and have a great day! 🙂

  6. Ann

    Dec 25, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hi Maria,

    You’re post is spot on, our thoughts can make or break us…the posts has great points on how to make it work.

  7. Tim Denning

    Dec 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Maria thank you for sharing this advice. While I have been able to get the monkey off my back in recent times, I still find the chatter can be an issue. I will definitely use tip number two to try and settle this down in times of need. Thank you again for taking the time to write this piece.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words!

      I’m happy to hear that, I hope it calms your monkey 😉

      Cheers,
      Maria

  8. Mike Harrington

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Ha-ha, love the monkey analogy.

    So true, as well. Our thoughts are truly the most powerful force in creating either the life of our dreams OR the life of our nightmares.

    I’m gonna go give my monkey a hug and tell him to go play in the garden now. 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Well put, Mike!

      Haha, that’ll make your monkey happy 😉

      Cheers!
      Maria

  9. Mark Tong

    Dec 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Maria – really helpful post, especially regards that pesky monkey:) Thanks

  10. Blaine Wilkerson

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Very cool. Most posts talk about ditching the monkey. You suggest we master it.

    Is it purely metaphorical? Or do you believe we should “master the monkey” cuz there are times we may need to use it?

    I instantly thought of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” and Aerosmith’s “Monkey on my back” 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Blaine,

      I believe the money (the ego) always will be a part of our life. But we decide how much. By mastering him, we can allow him work for us, instead of against us. I don’t believe he wants to lead the way, he just wants to make sure we step in and take control 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!
      Maria

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Hi Blaine,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I believe that the monkey (the ego) always will be a part of our life. Our job is to stop making it work against us, and instead, allow it to work for us. Ditching it might work, but that usually just ends up with the noise getting louder. So, not really sustainable (plus it makes you feel pretty insane when you think one thing and then do another). ) Instead of dismissing it and pushing it away, I believe it’s way more powerful to actually allow it to be there. To acknowledge it and learn how to master it.

      Cheers!
      Maria

  11. Benjamin Worika

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Thanks Maria, for this truly insightful and action oriented piece.
    I think the greatest challenge, to taming the Monkey, is getting to “Detachment” most folks have come to a state where the Monkeys voice “Cloaks” their own voice and they erroneously believe that “The Monkey is Me”
    Exercises that aid the detachment process would go a long way…I especially love the visualizing part of patting the Monkeys head.
    Love your piece, you just won a heart in Nigeria.
    Cheers.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Benjamin,

      Thanks a lot for your very nice comment!

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to believe that we are our thoughts. And it’s such a relief to realize that they simply are thoughts – not the truth or who we are.

      Again, thanks for your last sentence. It made my day and warmed my heart 🙂

      Cheers,
      Maria

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Success Advice

One Thing I Can Teach You About Life That Will Help You Forever.

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I used to be a very anxious person.

I was embarrassed by what I couldn’t do and every day was a struggle. From the moment I would wake up to the moment I’d go to bed, everything felt impossibly overwhelming. It’s a battle I’ve dealt with most of my life.

This daily struggle with mental illness taught me that the satisfaction didn’t lie in beating it; the satisfaction was in helping other people beat mental illness through my success in fighting it.


Recently, I was at work. It was a pretty standard day — nothing too exciting. I then had a catch up with one of the leaders I worked with.

She said something that got my attention: “One of our colleagues is battling a mental illness.”

I really wanted to help. My eyes lit up. There was no need to uncover my plan with anyone else. I knew that staying discrete was fundamental.

I approached the person in question and asked for a few minutes of their time.

I didn’t ask them to admit their mental illness struggle; I just shared my story.

I talked about the anxiety stopping me from having a normal life, eating the right foods, going on dates with girls, having the career I wanted and traveling the world.

I wasn’t sure if any of it was sinking in or even helping. I felt compelled to go on. One thing I knew was that he was paying attention. I could see it in his eyes.

I then went on to talk about how I beat mental illness. Strategies such as:

  • Creating fear lists
  • Seeking professional help
  • Working on myself
  • Books I read
  • Events I attended

Out of nowhere, he started opening up about his own struggle. I was shocked.
It wasn’t pretty. He had an extreme case of mental illness that I certainly couldn’t diagnose or give professional advice on.

All I could do was show him through my own story that there was hope

I offered him access to all the resources I had. I told him that he had my full support and I’d be happy to help in any way I could. He then said:

“What was your psychologist’s name?”

I told him I’d look it up and send it to him. I didn’t have the answer in front of me, but I was determined when I got home to find it.

At the end of the catch-up, he smiled. I don’t think he’d smiled like that in a very long time.

That smile gave me so much satisfaction. It made my own struggle with mental illness worth it. All those sleepless nights, times spent vomiting into the toilet and dark days where I didn’t want to go on made sense.


“It took more than seven years for me to understand that my own battle with mental illness actually had a benefit”

That benefit was the satisfaction in seeing someone beat their mental illness because I was able to defeat mine.

It’s probably the greatest satisfaction of my entire life.

That’s one thing I can teach you about life that will help you forever.

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Success Advice

5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet

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Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.  

Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.

Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2019:

1. Ditch your to do list

Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar!  To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.  

If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Give up on motivation

Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.

If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.

3. Master your mornings

Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.

We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.

4. Schedule according to energy

Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.

“Productivity is never an accident it’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Working backwards

Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.

Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.

Create the right habits to achieve your goals, work on adopting easy tips and techniques so you can manage your time and yourself better to get things done.

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Success Advice

You Need to Grow Your Memory in Order to Grow Your Life

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We all have access to the most powerful computer ever created in the universe…our brain. Unfortunately, few of us have ever been taught how to use our minds efficiently, and even fewer have learned how to develop a fabulous memory. Thankfully, like any skill, memorising can be learned and using the correct strategies, your memory can be improved in only days.

One of the best coaches on memory is Dominic O’Brien the eight-time world memory champion. Self-taught after watching Creighton Carvello memorise a pack of cards on the BBC’s Record Breakers programme. Dominic, through his work on memory, has given us many tools and techniques for improving memory.

Below are 5 rules that will help you develop a better memory:

1. The Rule of Five

Probably seen as one of the most significant contributions to the body of knowledge on memory is O’Brien’s Rule of Five. This rule details how to remember things using a strategy of regular staged repetition.

These stages are as follows:

  • First Review:Immediately
  • Second Review:Twenty-four hours later
  • Third Review:One week later
  • Fourth Review:One month later
  • Fifth Review:Three months later

Utilising stage repetition at these intervals ingrains the memory for the long term.

2. The Dominic System

The Dominic System is a system for remembering numbers. The system is a Person Action system where the association between two sets of paired numbers is the person with the action of the next person.

1139 would become Andre Agassi doing a roundhouse kick which is the action of Chuck Norris. This system combined with the journey method allows for long random numbers to be easily recalled without error. The fantastic thing about this system is that you get to customise for yourself with memorable people and unique actions which when combined really make it easy for you to recall numbers. The table below associates each number to a letter.

Number     0     1    2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
Letter     O     A     B     C     D    E     S     G     H     N

Creating a simple document with pairs of numbers in one column, the letter pairs in the next and an action column will help you learn this system quickly.

“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.” – Andre Agassi

3. The Link Method

This method relies on two essential elements of memory, association and exaggeration. Utilising these two elements, it is possible to link together unrelated objects to allow you to remember them.

Trying to remember a list of five separate words such as: balloon, papaya, gold, football and hat, might go something like this. You imagine seeing a giant balloon and inside the balloon you can see a small papaya, in bursting the balloon the papaya falls out and as it hits the floor a gold football bounces into a large sombrero.

4. The Journey Method

Using location has been a fundamental part of mnemonics almost since time began. Before humans, writing elders would pass knowledge to others using stories of journeys, with each piece of knowledge being associated with a location on the journey.

O’Brien’s system utilises journeys that you would undertake on a daily basis, like your commute to work or train stations on well-known line. Items are then associated and exaggerated along the journey, so for instance if you were trying to remember a list of ten random things you would associate each piece along with a unique ten stop journey and utilise exaggeration to make the items more memorable.

“You are well equipped with an incredible potential for absorbing knowledge…Anything’s possible.” – Dominic O’Brien

5. The Story Method

To remember groups of information, create a story that links them together. Remembering the planets of the solar system and their position relative to the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Imagine that Mercury was hitting the nineties as Venus tossed the tennis ball into the air, striking the ball it soared over the net striking the earth and bouncing high into the air, knocking the mars bar out of Jupiter’s hand, and so on.

Developing a good memory will assist markedly in all of your personal development goals as well as assisting greatly in your daily life. The methods above are tried and tested by one of the leading memory champions. Whether you want to become the next World Memory Champion or just improve your recall, the techniques outlined above will assist greatly.

Combining the various elements will create an exponential improvement in your memory that you will find hard to believe, and you will be kicking yourself for not applying them sooner. The best part about using these methods is that they are fun, so enjoy using them.

Which one of these memorizing methods sounds most interesting to you? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Compassion Is the Cornerstone of Inner and Outer Success

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Tapping into this emotional state of being can make the difference between thriving or surviving in business and life. In today’s journey towards success, people are more apt to respond to a compassionate and caring individual than one too full of themselves.

Just do what I call the “holy scroll of social media” and you will have men and women seeking your attention. They have the magic pill, formula, or mixture that will lead you out of despair and into the promised land of prosperity.

Here’s one way to see if they are legit: Is there a tone of compassion in their written and verbal words? Do they really care about you as a person or simply give off the vibe of “ah, got another sucker to get my stuff?”

If you want to truly know how much a person can deeply care about people, then watch their actions. Many people run around, screaming from the tops of buildings and church steeples that “I am the one to follow.”

Stop chasing those people. They really don’t have their act together and lack compassion. People are drawn to those who are successful, prosperous, and abundant. It’s a natural drawing card. Those people have something that you want, so you follow them and take up their mannerisms like it’s some kind of gospel message.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

You have the ability to be an amazing success in business through using the power of compassion. So, why don’t more people do it? Well, it simply takes time and effort to become compassionate if your whole success model has been toward the profit margin. Anyone who owns or runs a business has to watch their finances, so it’s understandable. Yet, are you going to do so without thinking of others in a heartfelt way? That will come back to haunt you.

Compassion is the one thing that makes truly all-around successful people stand above the noise. People of great financial wealth like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have come to understand that philanthropy is a way of supporting advancements around the world. Anthony Robbins has taken portions of his own wealth and helped feed other people who don’t have the means to get their own groceries. In turn, look at the many community centers and religious and spiritual institutions that have been established for the sole purpose of being a light of compassion and care for those in their own darkness.

What does this have to do with having an attitude bent towards success? Everything. Right now, you have a powerful wellspring of compassion inside waiting to be shared. It is a way of life that transcends what you know from data and numbers.

Truly successful individuals dial within regularly and get in tune with the times. Compassion might feel like it is a lost art, but it is not. Compassion leaves people not only feeling better but having more of a get-to-it attitude instead of just going along and saying “whatever” to obstacles in their path.

You might be someone who just doesn’t know how to be compassionate. The concept feels and sounds foreign to you because all you have been fed is a bunch of “suck it up, buttercup” mentalities. At times, we all need a good kick in the behind to take action.

If you are a lost sheep who doesn’t even know where to start on the compassionate way of life, then here are three simple suggestions:

1. Be humble

Humility and humiliation are two different things so don’t get them mixed up here. Being humble is a state of being where you remember where you came from and feel a deep sense of gratitude for where you were and where you are now. People in businesses and corporations all over the world know that humility is a game-changing path toward success.

2. Be grateful

If you have two eyes and a heartbeat and are reading this article, then you have three reasons right there to be and feel grateful. One technique that I have found helpful in recent months is to simply say “thank you” upon waking up. Giving thanks for all the things in my life is a way of expressing inner gratitude in an outward way. You can do this in your very own business by saying “thank you” for more clients, more business, more income streams, more freedom, and so on.

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” – Prince

3. Be a good listener

Do you wonder how in the world you can ever hear another person’s heart when they always seem to be talking? Stop talking so much and listen more. Look, a core strength of compassionate people is they tend to listen more and bark less. Success is what you make it up to be in your business and life. Notice, though, the action takers and their ability to truly listen, take in what they need, and let go of the rest. Listening to others with a compassionate and empathetic ear will lead you to the road of success.

Compassion is not just another silly marketing trend. It’s been around as long as humans have had a pulse. The measure of compassion that you give to others will be given back to you. This is seen over and over again in business and other places.

It’s a reciprocal circle of life. Compassion can open doors for you that you’d never thought of walking through at all. Tap into your own compassionate side and make a successful difference in other people’s lives.

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5 Pillars to Creating an Unfair Advantage in Your Business

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All of us want to create unfair advantages in our business that separate us from our competition. Nonetheless, doing this is easier said than done as everyday your competition is innovating and getting better. With today’s technology, overachievers are reaching higher levels of success than ever before. Naturally, if you are here reading Addicted2Success, then this means you too are an overachiever who is addicted to success. (more…)

Rob Fajardo is 23 year old Thought Leader from NJ. He founded a brand called Leave Normal Behind, a content, community, and events hub for purpose driven people. The mission of LNB is to bring together purpose driven people and inspire them to become the best versions of themselves by creating things that matter and encouraging others to do the same. He is also the viral marketing mastermind behind fidget spinners (check @fidget360 on IG) and helped Gerard Adams, Co-Founder of Elite Daily, establish the executive team at Fownders responsible for building the Seed-2-Scale program there. If you want to get connect with Rob you can email him rob@leavenormalbehind.com.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Camilla Hallstrom

    Jan 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Great article, Maria!

    I couldn’t agree more that becoming an entrepreneur requires you to go way beyond your comfort zone. It might be temporarily uncomfortable but the payoff is amazing 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Jan 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks Camilla!

      Yes, you are so right. Well said. Got to keep our eyes on the prize 🙂

  2. Judy Parsons

    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    My inner voice is Cissy. She’s afraid of everything. We’re going to have some good conversations from now on.

  3. Nicki Lee

    Dec 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Love your advice about talking to the monkey! “Thanks for looking out for me, but don’t worry. I’ve got this under control.” I’m going to try it today.

  4. akash

    Dec 29, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Great article maria. I am really impressed with your writing skills.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks a lot! You just put a BIG smile on my face.

      Have a great day!
      Maria

  5. Laura J. Tong

    Dec 27, 2015 at 10:44 am

    This so totally sums up that split of voices in my head that argue so often! Thank you for these great strategies.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 30, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      You’re so right Laura. Thank you for your comment and have a great day! 🙂

  6. Ann

    Dec 25, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hi Maria,

    You’re post is spot on, our thoughts can make or break us…the posts has great points on how to make it work.

  7. Tim Denning

    Dec 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Maria thank you for sharing this advice. While I have been able to get the monkey off my back in recent times, I still find the chatter can be an issue. I will definitely use tip number two to try and settle this down in times of need. Thank you again for taking the time to write this piece.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for your comment and kind words!

      I’m happy to hear that, I hope it calms your monkey 😉

      Cheers,
      Maria

  8. Mike Harrington

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Ha-ha, love the monkey analogy.

    So true, as well. Our thoughts are truly the most powerful force in creating either the life of our dreams OR the life of our nightmares.

    I’m gonna go give my monkey a hug and tell him to go play in the garden now. 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Well put, Mike!

      Haha, that’ll make your monkey happy 😉

      Cheers!
      Maria

  9. Mark Tong

    Dec 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Maria – really helpful post, especially regards that pesky monkey:) Thanks

  10. Blaine Wilkerson

    Dec 20, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Very cool. Most posts talk about ditching the monkey. You suggest we master it.

    Is it purely metaphorical? Or do you believe we should “master the monkey” cuz there are times we may need to use it?

    I instantly thought of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” and Aerosmith’s “Monkey on my back” 🙂

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Blaine,

      I believe the money (the ego) always will be a part of our life. But we decide how much. By mastering him, we can allow him work for us, instead of against us. I don’t believe he wants to lead the way, he just wants to make sure we step in and take control 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!
      Maria

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Hi Blaine,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I believe that the monkey (the ego) always will be a part of our life. Our job is to stop making it work against us, and instead, allow it to work for us. Ditching it might work, but that usually just ends up with the noise getting louder. So, not really sustainable (plus it makes you feel pretty insane when you think one thing and then do another). ) Instead of dismissing it and pushing it away, I believe it’s way more powerful to actually allow it to be there. To acknowledge it and learn how to master it.

      Cheers!
      Maria

  11. Benjamin Worika

    Dec 20, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Thanks Maria, for this truly insightful and action oriented piece.
    I think the greatest challenge, to taming the Monkey, is getting to “Detachment” most folks have come to a state where the Monkeys voice “Cloaks” their own voice and they erroneously believe that “The Monkey is Me”
    Exercises that aid the detachment process would go a long way…I especially love the visualizing part of patting the Monkeys head.
    Love your piece, you just won a heart in Nigeria.
    Cheers.

    • Maria Stenvinkel

      Dec 20, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Hi Benjamin,

      Thanks a lot for your very nice comment!

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s so easy to believe that we are our thoughts. And it’s such a relief to realize that they simply are thoughts – not the truth or who we are.

      Again, thanks for your last sentence. It made my day and warmed my heart 🙂

      Cheers,
      Maria

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Success Advice

One Thing I Can Teach You About Life That Will Help You Forever.

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I used to be a very anxious person.

I was embarrassed by what I couldn’t do and every day was a struggle. From the moment I would wake up to the moment I’d go to bed, everything felt impossibly overwhelming. It’s a battle I’ve dealt with most of my life.

This daily struggle with mental illness taught me that the satisfaction didn’t lie in beating it; the satisfaction was in helping other people beat mental illness through my success in fighting it.


Recently, I was at work. It was a pretty standard day — nothing too exciting. I then had a catch up with one of the leaders I worked with.

She said something that got my attention: “One of our colleagues is battling a mental illness.”

I really wanted to help. My eyes lit up. There was no need to uncover my plan with anyone else. I knew that staying discrete was fundamental.

I approached the person in question and asked for a few minutes of their time.

I didn’t ask them to admit their mental illness struggle; I just shared my story.

I talked about the anxiety stopping me from having a normal life, eating the right foods, going on dates with girls, having the career I wanted and traveling the world.

I wasn’t sure if any of it was sinking in or even helping. I felt compelled to go on. One thing I knew was that he was paying attention. I could see it in his eyes.

I then went on to talk about how I beat mental illness. Strategies such as:

  • Creating fear lists
  • Seeking professional help
  • Working on myself
  • Books I read
  • Events I attended

Out of nowhere, he started opening up about his own struggle. I was shocked.
It wasn’t pretty. He had an extreme case of mental illness that I certainly couldn’t diagnose or give professional advice on.

All I could do was show him through my own story that there was hope

I offered him access to all the resources I had. I told him that he had my full support and I’d be happy to help in any way I could. He then said:

“What was your psychologist’s name?”

I told him I’d look it up and send it to him. I didn’t have the answer in front of me, but I was determined when I got home to find it.

At the end of the catch-up, he smiled. I don’t think he’d smiled like that in a very long time.

That smile gave me so much satisfaction. It made my own struggle with mental illness worth it. All those sleepless nights, times spent vomiting into the toilet and dark days where I didn’t want to go on made sense.


“It took more than seven years for me to understand that my own battle with mental illness actually had a benefit”

That benefit was the satisfaction in seeing someone beat their mental illness because I was able to defeat mine.

It’s probably the greatest satisfaction of my entire life.

That’s one thing I can teach you about life that will help you forever.

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Success Advice

5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet

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Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.  

Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.

Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2019:

1. Ditch your to do list

Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar!  To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.  

If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Give up on motivation

Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.

If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.

3. Master your mornings

Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.

We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.

4. Schedule according to energy

Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.

“Productivity is never an accident it’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Working backwards

Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.

Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.

Create the right habits to achieve your goals, work on adopting easy tips and techniques so you can manage your time and yourself better to get things done.

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Success Advice

You Need to Grow Your Memory in Order to Grow Your Life

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We all have access to the most powerful computer ever created in the universe…our brain. Unfortunately, few of us have ever been taught how to use our minds efficiently, and even fewer have learned how to develop a fabulous memory. Thankfully, like any skill, memorising can be learned and using the correct strategies, your memory can be improved in only days.

One of the best coaches on memory is Dominic O’Brien the eight-time world memory champion. Self-taught after watching Creighton Carvello memorise a pack of cards on the BBC’s Record Breakers programme. Dominic, through his work on memory, has given us many tools and techniques for improving memory.

Below are 5 rules that will help you develop a better memory:

1. The Rule of Five

Probably seen as one of the most significant contributions to the body of knowledge on memory is O’Brien’s Rule of Five. This rule details how to remember things using a strategy of regular staged repetition.

These stages are as follows:

  • First Review:Immediately
  • Second Review:Twenty-four hours later
  • Third Review:One week later
  • Fourth Review:One month later
  • Fifth Review:Three months later

Utilising stage repetition at these intervals ingrains the memory for the long term.

2. The Dominic System

The Dominic System is a system for remembering numbers. The system is a Person Action system where the association between two sets of paired numbers is the person with the action of the next person.

1139 would become Andre Agassi doing a roundhouse kick which is the action of Chuck Norris. This system combined with the journey method allows for long random numbers to be easily recalled without error. The fantastic thing about this system is that you get to customise for yourself with memorable people and unique actions which when combined really make it easy for you to recall numbers. The table below associates each number to a letter.

Number     0     1    2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
Letter     O     A     B     C     D    E     S     G     H     N

Creating a simple document with pairs of numbers in one column, the letter pairs in the next and an action column will help you learn this system quickly.

“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.” – Andre Agassi

3. The Link Method

This method relies on two essential elements of memory, association and exaggeration. Utilising these two elements, it is possible to link together unrelated objects to allow you to remember them.

Trying to remember a list of five separate words such as: balloon, papaya, gold, football and hat, might go something like this. You imagine seeing a giant balloon and inside the balloon you can see a small papaya, in bursting the balloon the papaya falls out and as it hits the floor a gold football bounces into a large sombrero.

4. The Journey Method

Using location has been a fundamental part of mnemonics almost since time began. Before humans, writing elders would pass knowledge to others using stories of journeys, with each piece of knowledge being associated with a location on the journey.

O’Brien’s system utilises journeys that you would undertake on a daily basis, like your commute to work or train stations on well-known line. Items are then associated and exaggerated along the journey, so for instance if you were trying to remember a list of ten random things you would associate each piece along with a unique ten stop journey and utilise exaggeration to make the items more memorable.

“You are well equipped with an incredible potential for absorbing knowledge…Anything’s possible.” – Dominic O’Brien

5. The Story Method

To remember groups of information, create a story that links them together. Remembering the planets of the solar system and their position relative to the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Imagine that Mercury was hitting the nineties as Venus tossed the tennis ball into the air, striking the ball it soared over the net striking the earth and bouncing high into the air, knocking the mars bar out of Jupiter’s hand, and so on.

Developing a good memory will assist markedly in all of your personal development goals as well as assisting greatly in your daily life. The methods above are tried and tested by one of the leading memory champions. Whether you want to become the next World Memory Champion or just improve your recall, the techniques outlined above will assist greatly.

Combining the various elements will create an exponential improvement in your memory that you will find hard to believe, and you will be kicking yourself for not applying them sooner. The best part about using these methods is that they are fun, so enjoy using them.

Which one of these memorizing methods sounds most interesting to you? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Compassion Is the Cornerstone of Inner and Outer Success

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Tapping into this emotional state of being can make the difference between thriving or surviving in business and life. In today’s journey towards success, people are more apt to respond to a compassionate and caring individual than one too full of themselves.

Just do what I call the “holy scroll of social media” and you will have men and women seeking your attention. They have the magic pill, formula, or mixture that will lead you out of despair and into the promised land of prosperity.

Here’s one way to see if they are legit: Is there a tone of compassion in their written and verbal words? Do they really care about you as a person or simply give off the vibe of “ah, got another sucker to get my stuff?”

If you want to truly know how much a person can deeply care about people, then watch their actions. Many people run around, screaming from the tops of buildings and church steeples that “I am the one to follow.”

Stop chasing those people. They really don’t have their act together and lack compassion. People are drawn to those who are successful, prosperous, and abundant. It’s a natural drawing card. Those people have something that you want, so you follow them and take up their mannerisms like it’s some kind of gospel message.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

You have the ability to be an amazing success in business through using the power of compassion. So, why don’t more people do it? Well, it simply takes time and effort to become compassionate if your whole success model has been toward the profit margin. Anyone who owns or runs a business has to watch their finances, so it’s understandable. Yet, are you going to do so without thinking of others in a heartfelt way? That will come back to haunt you.

Compassion is the one thing that makes truly all-around successful people stand above the noise. People of great financial wealth like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have come to understand that philanthropy is a way of supporting advancements around the world. Anthony Robbins has taken portions of his own wealth and helped feed other people who don’t have the means to get their own groceries. In turn, look at the many community centers and religious and spiritual institutions that have been established for the sole purpose of being a light of compassion and care for those in their own darkness.

What does this have to do with having an attitude bent towards success? Everything. Right now, you have a powerful wellspring of compassion inside waiting to be shared. It is a way of life that transcends what you know from data and numbers.

Truly successful individuals dial within regularly and get in tune with the times. Compassion might feel like it is a lost art, but it is not. Compassion leaves people not only feeling better but having more of a get-to-it attitude instead of just going along and saying “whatever” to obstacles in their path.

You might be someone who just doesn’t know how to be compassionate. The concept feels and sounds foreign to you because all you have been fed is a bunch of “suck it up, buttercup” mentalities. At times, we all need a good kick in the behind to take action.

If you are a lost sheep who doesn’t even know where to start on the compassionate way of life, then here are three simple suggestions:

1. Be humble

Humility and humiliation are two different things so don’t get them mixed up here. Being humble is a state of being where you remember where you came from and feel a deep sense of gratitude for where you were and where you are now. People in businesses and corporations all over the world know that humility is a game-changing path toward success.

2. Be grateful

If you have two eyes and a heartbeat and are reading this article, then you have three reasons right there to be and feel grateful. One technique that I have found helpful in recent months is to simply say “thank you” upon waking up. Giving thanks for all the things in my life is a way of expressing inner gratitude in an outward way. You can do this in your very own business by saying “thank you” for more clients, more business, more income streams, more freedom, and so on.

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” – Prince

3. Be a good listener

Do you wonder how in the world you can ever hear another person’s heart when they always seem to be talking? Stop talking so much and listen more. Look, a core strength of compassionate people is they tend to listen more and bark less. Success is what you make it up to be in your business and life. Notice, though, the action takers and their ability to truly listen, take in what they need, and let go of the rest. Listening to others with a compassionate and empathetic ear will lead you to the road of success.

Compassion is not just another silly marketing trend. It’s been around as long as humans have had a pulse. The measure of compassion that you give to others will be given back to you. This is seen over and over again in business and other places.

It’s a reciprocal circle of life. Compassion can open doors for you that you’d never thought of walking through at all. Tap into your own compassionate side and make a successful difference in other people’s lives.

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