Connect with us

Success Advice

Success….And What It Really Takes To Achieve It

Published

on

rich successful lifestyle
Advertisement

So what does it really take to reach success? There are a lot of myths, the “he says”, “she says” out there but does anybody really have the answer? Success is subjective and has a different definition for each individual.

So let’s take a look through the ages at what is considered as “success”, and what is needed to reach a level of high achievement in various areas of our lives.

 

Geniuses Aren’t Born….They’re Made

Books like The Da Vinci Curse by Leonardo Lospennato does a good job of summing up a problem of our time: that anyone striving to be a universal genius will inevitably fail. Because today, unlike in Da Vinci’s time, there’s so much competition out there in every field that only people who devote themselves to one subject are successful. Anyone who wants to be a professional high flyer, the “Father of the Year,” a star violinist, a globetrotter and an art connoisseur all at once should either rethink his priorities or feel satisfied about being incredibly mediocre in each of these fields. After all, it’s rare for a genius to be an all-rounder.

 

The secret trick: lots of practice and even more mistakes.

Alleged geniuses like Mozart, Goethe and Picasso are not famous the world over for their unique inborn gifts: they were simply lucky enough to be born with a certain amount of talent that they could then cultivate with a whole lot of hard work and dedication.

Anyone who wants to emulate a genius should take note of the fact that neither Mozart nor Einstein changed his profession every couple of years. One reason why Steve Jobs was so successful was that he put all his energy into one thing – and in the process sacrificed his chance of ever winning the “Father of the Year” award. It’s not to say that this path doesn’t have potholes, traffic and detours, but instead that only people who experiment without fear of failure and accept that they can learn from it are bound to produce great things.

 

Napoleon and the light bulb: getting rich by thinking?

Over 100 years ago, Napoleon Hill asked himself whether the success of outstanding personalities could be explained by a formula. Did they all use the same toothpaste? Did they all follow the same traveling priest? Hill’s answer, which he used as the basis for his book Think and Grow Rich, was far more rudimentary: for him, success and wealth were the consequence of having a clear goal and a burning desire to achieve it. And so, we can reinforce what we already knew about Mozart, Einstein and Jobs:

They all worked hard and were ready to accept mistakes and failures.

Even after more than 10,000 failed experiments, Thomas Edison was not discouraged from achieving his goal of inventing an electric light source. He was driven by the desire to make his dream a reality. After years of hard work, he finally succeeded with the invention of the light bulb. Writer Fannie Hurst’s story is similar: she had to cope with over 36 rejections before a single short story was published in a newspaper. Once that happened, her career as a successful novelist and playwright took off. Her burning desire was stronger than the frustration she felt about various rejections – and she was ultimately rewarded with success.

 

How To achieve success - one bite at a time

 

But all this raises a new question: if the path to success is so obvious, why are there so few people who take it?

Keeping all your options open is the road to mediocrity.

Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational talks broadly about why we human beings use our gift of rational thinking and decision-making so infrequently. Or, to give a concrete example, why we promise ourselves we’ll stop eating sweets so we can look good in a bathing suit, yet, as soon as we’ve filled our shopping carts with fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, we still break down and throw in a chocolate bar on our way to the cash register. Or why, once we’ve fulfilled our dream of having a Porsche, we want a Ferrari. Or, finally, why we put off making decisions and keep all other options open in the meantime, even if it means taking the road to mediocrity or, worse, to a state of constant dissatisfaction.

People are obsessed with keeping their options open, even when it hurts them in the long run. We humans try to keep our options open as much as possible: in our education, our careers and our choice of romantic partner. Some might say that, in an uncertain world, it makes sense to leave open as many avenues as possible, but not making a decision also carries consequences. A person indecisive between two career paths, say architecture and IT engineering, may not whole-heartedly pursue either, and hence end up a mediocre architect or programmer.

Which, in turn, raises the question of how to solve this dilemma. Although countless books have an answer to this question, at the moment we’d like to focus on one classic and one recent bestseller.

 

Efficiency vs. effectiveness: a small, but subtle difference.

Stephen R. Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a classic in the advice and productivity genre. Like Napoleon Hill, Covey investigated what it is that makes people who have made extraordinary achievements different from others. The book relies on mantras such as “first thing’s first” and “sharpen the saw,” i.e., it encourages readers to prioritize and keep themselves balanced. He argues that, in order to have enough time to do so, you have to understand the difference between efficiency and effectiveness:

Many people work towards meaningless goals. They simply worry about being efficient rather than effective. Being efficient, i.e getting the maximum amount done in the shortest amount of time, is pointless if you don’t know why you’re doing it. Not knowing what’s really important to you and what you’re working towards is like climbing a ladder which is set against the wrong wall. To avoid this, it is important to first be clear about your long-term goals. To this end, it can be useful to ask yourself the Funeral-Questions:

What do I want people to say about me at my funeral? What sort of person do I want to be remembered as? What do I want to be remembered for?

That’s why answering these (admittedly somewhat morbid) questions shouldn’t be too difficult for anyone who wants to put Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less into practice.

 

Productive minimalism, or: why less is more

In just a few years, Babauta has become a guru of productive minimalism. Babauta – once an unhappy, overweight, chain-smoking “Jack of all trades, master of none” – is now a living paradigm of minimalism, practicing yoga, eating healthily, writing, and spending time with his family. His success speaks for itself, and happiness seems to literally ooze out of him. His advice sounds as simple as it does plausible:

Living without restrictions is like shopping without a credit limit. Because the only way we end up concentrating on what’s truly important is when we’re forced to budget. In short, budgeting helps us stop wasting time and energy on things that aren’t actually worth it. By consciously limiting ourselves, we create space for important things and get rid of the unimportant ones. For example, by not taking on unimportant projects, we give ourselves time to spend with our loved ones.

In summary, we recognize that people can only truly be geniuses or achieve success if they work hard and consciously choose certain options over others. Veering off the paths of mediocrity and taking drastic measures is worth it, as Ariely describes in his book Predictably Irrational:

In 210 BC, after the Chinese commander Xiang Yu had ferried his army across the Yangtze River, he set fire to his own ships. He did this to show his troops that retreat was not an option. In response, they fought so ferociously that they won nine battles consecutively.

 

Think about it, have you ever made such a gutsy, all-or-nothing decision or do you know someone who has?

If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments. Your story just might inspire someone else to take action!

Sebastian Klein. Sebastian Klein is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Blinkist.com. He lives in Berlin and holds a Master degree in psychology with a focus on teaching psychology. Sebastian has invented "blinkist" - a made for mobile format to learn the most important insights from non-fiction books on-the-go and he's dedicating his time to think of new ways of presenting content that better fits into today's reading habits.

Advertisement
22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Arvind Bhakar

    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:51 am

    This is truly an inspiring article. Right now i m struggling from this problem of not focusing on a single thing at a time. I am trying to do too much and end up doing nothing. I would love to follow this advice and get rid of unimportant projects.

  2. Joseph Mutori

    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Excellence speaks for itself, great article. Everybody needs to prioritise and get rid of everything else that does not take them to their dream.

  3. justo

    Jun 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    i packed my bag with a one way plane ticket to miami to do some acting work. one shirt one pare of pants. it was all or nothing to get my dream going.

    • Nandini

      Jul 4, 2014 at 3:45 am

      hi, this is my all time fav website, seems like just out of my mind, persistence and hard work is all it is required to be successful in life,thanks! ..good work

  4. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Great post! I love recognition that success varies depending on who you ask. I also love the reoccurring theme of persistence and effort! Thanks !

  5. Ravi Makhija

    Jan 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Hi, m following ur articles from sometime now and it has made me more stronger and more go getter.Thans with due rispect Sir.

  6. Casey

    Jan 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this, and everything on this site! 4 years ago when I was 16 I left school, moved away from home in Australia to the UK and worked my butt off to achieve my dream of being an international dressage rider. The sacrifice was worth it and within a year I was representing Great Britain in Under 21s competitions 🙂
    That success doesn’t last though, I am constantly motivating myself to make more decisions to get to the next level, giving up everything that isn’t going to help me get to where I want to be.

    • Chris

      Mar 2, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Great article. As I read this, I have just sacked my boss (2 weeks ago) to start a letting agency. And I’m so happy. However I am scared too because I don’t know how things are going to pan out. Never been out of work and always had a pay cheque at the end of the month! I’m giving it my all because I will never go back! #mindtrepreneur.

  7. David Akomitipoju Onyendi

    Jan 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Fantastic article… Its clearer to me what I should drop. Less clutter this year 2014.

  8. JohnOvan

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Just, awesome. I finally feel like I am on the right path, and your article just helped me realize that. I burned a significant bridge behind myself, so to speak. Thanks for the good read!

  9. Naomi@startbizquitjob

    Jan 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Sebastian,

    This post is truly amazing for anyone wanting to progress at anything (so properly 99.9% of the worlds population!).

    I really enjoyed Efficiency vs. Effectiveness – This is where many new start-ups go wrong and the owner never feels like they have accomplished anything. Proper prioritizing changes everything.

    Thanks for mentioning some really interesting books too

    Naomi

  10. Keef (@KeithPMilburn)

    Dec 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I literally just stopped in my tracks when I read “Keeping all your options open is the road to mediocrity.” That has really resonated with me. Thank you.

  11. arucker

    Dec 22, 2013 at 12:59 am

    how funny….i decided a month or so ago that 2014 would be my yr to simplify my life…and here comes this article with resources to do just that….crazy cool….

  12. joe mulwa

    Dec 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I have read this blog for 1 year now and I have never commented….

    But today, I just did because this is the realest article I have ever come across. It resonates with exactly where I am at in my life. Thank you for this great article!!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Dec 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      Thanks for leaving a comment Joe. Enjoy the site 🙂

  13. Michel

    Dec 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    It is true that I wanna keep my options open. But that is because I have old tasks, which I haven’t been able to finish and new ones waiting in line, which take the bigger chunk in my thoughts.

    Anyways life is a journey and I want to live without regret, even when that means to remain mediocre for a while.

    • Dominik

      Dec 18, 2013 at 12:50 am

      Because of the old tasks, left incomplete, we are forced to live a mediocre life. That is why we have to finish them or let them go, in order to have a clear mind. With this clear mind we are able to do great things and live a life beyond our thought capabilities. No excuses, everything is possible or how Bruce Lee said: ” Be water my friend.” ^^

      to Sebastian: Great idea of lettings things go. Minimalism rocks !!!

  14. tnybo24

    Dec 12, 2013 at 3:19 am

    I up and moved to CHina a month after graduating from college. It was a crazy decision now that I look back on it. I spoke no Chinese, I couldn’t use chopsticks and I had never even been farther than Mexico.

    Well here I am 4 years later and the owner of 2 international companies. But, it really comes down to patience and failing, being comfortable taking risks, and developing a clear mindset of what you are doing and where your going. The later is a really tricky thing to nail down.

    • Binyam

      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:56 am

      I like that well explained.

    • Mike

      Dec 14, 2013 at 4:53 am

      What kind of companies do you own?

    • Eswar

      Mar 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Small but really nice, thanks for bringing the essence of having clear mindset and being comfortable taking risks.

  15. Sebastian

    Dec 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I like how you introduced the concept of minimalism.

    I can literally name every little single thing in my room. I hate clutter and I hate having anything I don’t use.

    If I haven’t touched it for a month it’s gone.

    I just donated more than a grand in clothes cause I haven’t used it in the last couple of months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

5 Ways to Improve Your Audience Engagement

Published

on

audience engagement

When you first thought of your business idea and created your business, you were probably thinking about how much people needed what you had to offer and all of the people you were going to be able to help. Even though none of that has changed, it can be really discouraging to continue to post on social media, do Facebook lives, and try to make any kind of a call to action when all there is are crickets when you do.

Instead of banging your head against the wall, and trying to figure out what is wrong with your idea, let me give you 5 ways to improve your audience engagement:

1. Increase the amount of content you are putting out

Sometimes, the main reason why you are not seeing the engagement you are looking for is because people are not seeing your posts. Each social media platform has its own algorithm.

Even if you posted once or even twice that day, some of those algorithms can still make it possible for your people NOT to see even one of your posts. Posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement.

2. Ask the right questions

Remember when I said that posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement? The reason it should but may not increase your engagement is because you are not asking enough of the right questions.

You can post content that you like or are interested in, but you have to remember YOU are not the one buying your products and services. You need to learn what your target audience wants to see and talk about. Learn what gets them engaged and what keeps them engaged by asking the right questions.

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” Bono

3. Switch it up a little

Have you ever had a routine that was so dry and bland it made you dread doing it? That is exactly what your audience feels like when you post the same kind of content all the time. Everyone doesn’t like meatloaf every day. No matter what you are selling, your audience craves interesting, informative, and encouraging content. If you can give this to them consistently, they will fall in love with you and keep on coming back for more.

4. Analyze your data

When you increase the content you put out, you will have a lot more data to analyze so you can understand the people who you are trying to reach. This will help you to understand which kind of content is consumed more by your audience, what platform has better engagement, and what your audience is trying to tell you they want and need.

“It’s difficult to imagine the power that you’re going to have when so many different sorts of data are available.”- Tim Berners-Lee

5. Calls to action are key

The last thing you want to do is to give your audience some amazing content and not have a place for them to go to learn or get more. Inviting yourself somewhere can be very awkward, so why would you want your audience to do that? They may want to connect with you but they don’t know where to go and how to connect. Invite them in and make them feel wanted and welcomed. This will cut out the awkwardness and also the confusion of how they can better connect with you.

Increasing your engagement can be done easily if you are willing to follow these 5 ways to improve your audience engagement. Once you have done that, the engagement will come and the sales are bound to follow.

How are you staying connected to your audience? Make sure to comment below and let us know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Success Advice

A Tim Ferriss Like Japan Trip Rebuilt Me – Here’s Why

Published

on

“Art imitates life so you must experience life to create art” – Unknown (possibly Tim Ferriss)

This quote is the reason why I recently took a holiday to Japan and why from now on I will travel more. All of us have a dream, a vision, a goal, a business which is another word for our own “art.”

Anything worth doing has an element of creativity attached to it which in essence is art. While on the way to Japan listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast, I heard this quote above. I realized that my life’s work had fizzled out somewhat because I needed to experience life more.

This whole blogging thing only works when I experience life – travel is the best way to do that. Second to that, I have been listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast for years, and he talks a lot about Japan and how the culture can really positively impact your life.

Hearing this advice second hand just wasn’t good enough for me. That’s why, in Timmy style, I booked an unplanned trip to Japan with only two days notice. It was what I called a Tim Ferriss like trip to Japan. I wanted to transcend my current circumstances and boy did I do that!

Things before Japan had become a bit stale. I wasn’t quite me and I needed rebuilding again. It was time to self-disrupt and grow more as a person. I’d stopped growing and that’s why I felt off. Japan changed all of that.

Here’s how this Japan trip rebuilt me:

 

We’re all the same: we’re all loved.

Sitting at the airport in Australia I saw everyone saying goodbye to their loved ones. I did the same and said goodbye to my family and girlfriend. I sat there for around ten minutes and realized that we’re all loved by someone.

We all have someone who would be sad or miss us if we didn’t return home. All of us want to come home safe and see our loved ones again. While tragedy can strike, these trips to places like Japan are a must – they’re part of our journey in life.

These journeys we take are how we find ourselves. Without travel, we become lost and can’t understand how we fit into this world.

Knowing I’m loved and knowing the importance of these journeys helped rebuild me.

 

Japan can show you what is wrong too.

So far I’ve made Japan sound like it’s all roses – it’s not. I saw people working ridiculous hours. I saw Japanese people who had become obsessed with meaningless westernized brands. I saw women who still appeared to be second class compared with men.

Japan didn’t show me perfection; it showed me reality and that means that there are always going to be things that need to change. Each of us can form part of that change.

 

Objectification of women has changed men in a bad way.

For some reason, Japan gave me immense clarity. I noticed that me (and all other men) have become hardwired to look at women’s bodies. Even the nicest most loyal men who treat women well have been affected. I noticed this unconscious behavior in myself while in Australia and began questioning it.

Do we need to look at women in such a physical way? Is it really necessary? Is this addiction taking up so much of our creative genius and potential?

The answer to all of these questions, after Japan, was that a problem exists and this addiction is not serving as well. I’m not proud of this fact and I for one plan on not only being aware of it but also changing it. This idea helped rebuild me.

 

The Samurai showed the benefits of discipline.

While being an Aussie tourist walking through the grounds of the Imperial Palace, I saw some of the emperors Samurai training. The facility was surrounded by fences but being a tall guy, I could still see over the fence.

I found these Samurai to be cool because they were laser-focused on what they were doing. The Samurai had purpose and precision accuracy. Their discipline taught them patience and you could see the courage in their actions. Everything was thought through and nothing was left to chance.

The Samurai helped me rebuild my life by reminding me of what discipline can do when we embrace it. A disorganized mind combined with actions that are all over the place results in a lot of nothingness. Start with being a master at one thing instead of trying to be mediocre at lots of things.

 

Concrete Jungle vs. Nature

Before Japan, I was obsessed with visiting places like San Fran and New York to see big concrete cities and skyscrapers. Now that I’ve been to Japan I’ve realized that I’m completely bored of that. Going to My Fuji and some of the mountains in Kyoto is far more impactful.

Concrete jungles are all the same once you’ve seen a few. They all have lots of box’s – some tall, some wide, some full of lights and some full of views. When you see enough of these, you no longer become impressed by them.

Nature is impossible to top though. No matter how many lakes, mountains, beaches or forests I visit, I never get sick of them. That’s because it’s in our human DNA to feel a connection with nature. Nature is a place we can relax and recharge the batteries.

Japan taught me that for the rest of my travel adventures I am going to focus on beautiful places that encompass nature instead of man-made structures and fake tourist attractions like theme parks. Knowing what nature means to me has helped me to rebuild myself.

 

See as many places as you can.

This trip to Japan made me see that I get bored after around five days in one country. I’ve discovered that it’s ideal to see as many places as you can. The more of this Earth you experience, the more your life changes.

 

Don’t forget attention to detail.

Japanese people, I learned, are obsessed with attention to detail. Everything from the signage at train stations to the way they present food has been thought of.

“It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being purposeful”

It’s the little things that the Japanese people do that make you fall in love with them by the end of your stay in their country.

 

Manners feel good.

I quickly saw that Japanese people are very kind and have amazing manners. They say thank you so many times. As you walk out of a restaurant, the whole team say thank you like a giant choir. Being grateful and acknowledging each other is at the heart of their culture.

You can’t help but smile when you witness this way of treating one another. Not every stranger you meet in a foreign country is trying to commit a terrorist attack.

All I can say is manners just feel good and it put’s you in a positive mood. Plus, you walk around with a big fat smile on your face and that feels refreshing.

 

Connection through transport.

Japanese culture feels very connected and that’s partly to do with their very efficient transport system. There’s a subway station on practically every corner that’s affordable. Trains run every few minutes, so there’s never any need to run to the subway station to catch a train.

The bullet trains allow you to skip between states or regions in a very short amount of time. No need to board a plane or go through the razzle-dazzle of airport bureaucracy gone mad (thanks to perceived terrorism and the news).

While sitting on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto, I saw families that were on their way to visit one another. They looked so relaxed and sat there enjoying the countryside of Japan as I did. It was a regular occurrence made possible by a fantastic transport system that is orderly and well thought out.

 

Technology is exhausting.

The negative side of technology is prominent in Japan. There are cities that are littered with giant LED screens, bright lights and technology on every corner. In these places, I felt unable to think clearly and the bright lights made me feel like I suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder.

There was technology within the toilet seat, on the plane, at restaurants and ugly vending machines selling fat causing sugar water on every corner.

On the flip side, what I loved about Japan was that talking loudly on a not so smart phone was prohibited in most places and there were locations where phones were non-existent. Japanese people seem to know how to balance life between being “ON” and being “OFF” when it comes to their phone.

“Instead of wasting your life away on your phone, Japan teaches you to become present and appreciate the here and now”

You notice things that you normally wouldn’t where I’m from in the Western World. With so much empty space, Japan is a great place to rebuild yourself. The rebuilding process needs thinking time away from phones.

 

Minimalism and being space conscious is beautiful.

The Japanese people are obsessed with being space conscious. They have double-decker car spaces, cube-shaped cars, cars made for people who must be three-foot tall, hotel rooms where you can barely open the door and space-saving retail shops like you’ve never seen.

 

Time is money in Japan.

My plane was on time to the second. Every train was on time. The tour guide at Mt Fuji was on time. The hotel cleaning was to the minute and so was the checkout. Time is money and it’s one resource we should take more seriously. Time gives you the opportunity to rebuild and grow.

 

Low energy states can be healed by travel.

More than a year since my last break, my energy levels in my career were at an all-time low. I had headaches every day and felt uninspired to a degree. It turns out all I needed was a holiday to rebuild.

Your body guides you.
Your heart guides you.
Your mind guides you.

This Japan trip taught me to take time to relax and recharge. Don’t ignore your body ever!

 

Climbing Japanese mountains is a metaphor for life.

I climbed this mountain in Kyoto. Halfway up I wanted to quit. I thought to myself “I’ve seen enough. Why go to the summit?”

That’s the problem right there. When we’re working on our goals, we give up too soon. We settle for okay instead of amazing. If this mountain were your life, would you give up when it got a bit hard? I’m telling you not to.

All the growth and everything you ever wanted comes from pushing that extra 2% to reach the top of the mountain. The feeling at the top is indescribable. Only those who are prepared to go the extra mile will know what it feels like to look down from the top.

Two more things to remember:

1. Once you reach the top, there’s always another mountain.

2. You must also help someone else climb the mountain to reach your full potential. Living is giving.

This mountain I climbed in Japan taught me so much about rebuilding my life (and yes I love mountain analogies).

 

There’s no place like a hot spring to contemplate life and rebuild your life.

While lying in a hot spring (Onsen) in Northern Tokyo, I sat there and thought I was going to be enjoying a relaxing time in a hot spring. What no one told me is that my entire life would replay before me. The onsen became a place to contemplate everything that had transpired thus far.

The hot water from the springs has a certain effect on your mind. I often find that my best thinking and ideas come from a shower and I’ve heard other people talk about this same experience.

“The hot spring sent my mind into deep thinking that I’ll never forget”

 

To enter a Japanese hot spring, you must be fully naked. You can’t bring clothes, material possessions, technology or a corporate mask. There’s nowhere to hide and no phone to look at. You sit there naked and bare your soul. It’s the one time where people can see you for exactly who you are.

Before contemplating my own life, I observed the men around me. Many of them seemed to be contemplating their life. Some looked tired and worn out from years of slaving away and doing hard labor.

Many of them looked like they were wasting away from years of working too hard and not remembering what truly matters. It was as if they had finally discovered what matters but that it was now too late. Then I saw the exact opposite – young men who had their whole lives ahead of them.

They too would sit there and weigh up their options. Should they follow their dream or fall for the Western myth that is collecting useless objects of little value? There were times where I wanted to answer this question for them.

I realized after a lot of thought that these young men had to come to that realization themselves. When you discover these truths of life yourself, everything changes and the principles stick.

I saw these young men by the end of my time in the hot spring for who they were and what they could become (their potential). I finally understood that they too could change the world in some impactful way if they chose too. We all have that choice and it’s ours to make.

“This stark comparison between the older men and the younger men was one of the most profound lessons of my Japan trip”

Both generations of men also looked up at the sky while doing this deep thinking. I found that quite bizarre and all of them did it.

What’s strange is that I also looked up at the sky without consciously being aware. Once I’d finished observing the men in the hot spring, I turned my thinking over to my own life. I had truth bomb after truth bomb as I sat there. I found myself running to the change room every 30 minutes to write stuff down.

What I had achieved so far and what I needed to do next became so clear. I sat in the hot spring proud of who I’ve become. For the first time in my life, I got to sit there and appreciate everything I’d put out into the world. I hadn’t stopped to see how far I’d come before this moment.

I was so focused on the present and trying to gain future success that I didn’t even know how proud I could be of myself. This fact has become the foundation of me going through the rebuilding phase yet again after five years since my last major self-renovation.

 

In summary….

Everyone reading this blog post has the opportunity to rebuild their life and consistently self-disrupt themselves. Going to places like Japan gives you the opportunity to experience life and see how far you’ve come. You can’t be ON 24/7 like those picture quotes tell you to be.

Once in a while, you need to be proud of who you are and think about who you can become.

Japan is a perfect place to do this and rebuild your life. Stay true to yourself and inspire others.

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

Continue Reading

Success Advice

The Six Point Marketing Makeover That Will Score You An Endless Stream of Business

Published

on

Marketing

Every business has room to improve, but marketing is a habitually ignored facet. We spend so much time posting on social media and money on ad buys that we forget to evaluate the overall efficacy of our marketing efforts. Our efforts eventually become outdated, and we are left wondering why. With a little effort, you can transform your marketing to generate a consistent stream of ongoing business. It won’t break the bank, and it is doable – if you allow yourself to establish a game plan and stick to it.

Here are the six pieces of a true marketing makeover that will forever change the playing field for you:

1. Define Who You Are

If you polled your customers, who would they say you are? I’m not talking about what you do, but who you are. What do you stand for? What are your values? What are the (business) issues making you want to write a manifesto? While none of the answers completely define you, they all speak to some important aspect of your overall brand.

Customers need to know who you are. Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of this. Nordstrom is defined by how it handles returns. Zappos is renowned for its customer service. Toms (shoes) is the “One for One” company. Your product face may be public, but what about you? The better you define your brand and the people behind it, the more the right customers are attracted to it.

2. Explain What You Do

“We employ the highest levels of craftsmanship in our products,” or “your satisfaction is our highest value” – these are wasted space. If you want to establish a brand that attracts customers in like moths to a light, you need to run away from ambiguous, gratuitous statements and embrace specificity. “We teach people how to podcast using the latest low-cost technology,” or “we make shoes that will last ten times longer and are ten times more comfortable than any competitor in the space.” These are statements telling customers exactly what you do.

In communicating what you do, it’s important to reinforce the value system you claim to have (i.e., who you are). This gives your customers a framework to develop trust and see the authenticity of your brand. Explaining what you do, however, is about making it easy for customers to recognize why they need you. If you explain what you do well enough, your customers will often realize they have a problem they didn’t know they had – and you can fix it for them.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

3. Identify Who You Help

You’ve probably heard that the “riches are in the niches,” and regardless of whether you agree with the statement, there’s a gold nugget hidden in it. A well-defined target market will help you structure custom-tailored messaging that will hit every time.

The most effective marketing efforts target identifiable characteristics of your customers that link a specific need with a specific solution. The characteristics may include gender, age, nationality, domicile, language, relationship status, or similar personal traits, but should also include past engagement behavior, third-party engagement behavior, and other market-driven information. You don’t help “people,” you help one person at a time.

4. Give First, Receive Later

It seems that everywhere you look, someone is trying to sell you something. What if instead of selling, you were giving? You can be a real estate agent who delivers free weekly reports on home sales in a region, or even a health coach who offers a free webinar on food choices and without selling anything specific during the presentation. Believe it or not, generosity is marketing.

When it comes to your marketing makeover, one of the easiest things you can do is give something to your customers. Maybe it’s a 10% discount or maybe it’s a free one-on-one session. Whatever it is, understand that when you approach your marketing with a mind to attract people, you should always begin by giving. There is also a very practical online reality to this component: The vast majority of people attempt to block ads served up to them. Giving, however, isn’t blocked; it’s embraced.

5. Have Something To Sell

This may shock the socks off a few of you, but many businesses forget to have something to sell. The marketing wheels are turning and consumers are being attracted, but once converted, they have nothing to purchase. This might seem so obvious you can’t think I’m serious, but I am. Time and time again, I’ve consulted for businesses that are devoid of meaningful products or services.

In the process of creating a new marketing paradigm, you can’t forget to connect the dots from a marketing effort to the product or service being marketed. If your marketing works, you’ll have hot customers ready to spend money. They need something to spend it on, so reverse-engineer the experience, identify the product or service, then ensure your campaign is appropriately linked to it.

“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” – John Russell

6. Do it All Over

There’s no easier way to walk back towards irrelevancy than believing you can put your marketing on autopilot. To be sure, you can automate certain actions and triggers, but you can never automate the creativity that goes into designing a timely and meaningful connection with your customer. Once you walk through all the steps above, do it again six months later. You’ll be surprised at how things evolve.

Which one of these steps is most important to you in your career? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Success Advice

7 Signs You Are Unhealthily Addicted to Success

Published

on

Addiction

Do you ever feel like you hit a goal or succeed at something major but your satisfaction is only short-lived? No matter how much you achieve, you always feel like you have to do more, push harder and you can’t really enjoy your accomplishments? You might be wondering why you never feel content despite the fact that your life looks good on the outside. If this sounds like you, you might be addicted to success.

But what does that mean? See, every addiction has one thing in common. It has the purpose of getting a person out of a miserable state of mind and making them feel normal. Achievement addiction is no different. It can create fears, tension, stress and burnout. There is a high chance that you are moving away from pain and not towards something you desire. Your drive and decisions are fear based, which ultimately affects your emotional well-being and quality of life.

Here are 7 signs of achievement addiction:

1. You find purpose in achievement

You constantly feel emotionally drained, stressed and burnt out and only find relief when you hit a goal.

2. The expectations you have for yourself are way higher than average

You hit your expectations no matter the cost, even if that means to not value your own needs. You’re very hard on yourself, know how to push through and beat yourself up to succeed. You don’t tolerate mediocrity for yourself.

3. You ask yourself what else there is to life

You’ve already “made it” but it’s not the way you thought it would be. You spent a certain amount of time chasing your biggest goal and making it a reality yet you feel unfulfilled and cannot find a sense of peace which can be extremely stressful and disappointing.

4. You measure your self-worth through your achievements.

In between wins you hate yourself, have anxiety and feel like it’s been awhile since your last accomplishment. Success is like a drug to you. You need another hit of it otherwise it feels like you’re falling behind.

“When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, you treat others better.” – Solange Knowles

5. You’re at the peak of your professional life but don’t feel fulfilled  

You see people admiring you for your life but you feel guilty about not being fulfilled and happy. Maybe, you even doubt if you deserve it.

6. You are very results-driven and accomplished but you don’t feel content

You feel stuck and trapped in a life that doesn’t feel aligned with who you are and becomes exhausting at one point.

7. You’re constantly tense

Perhaps you suffer from chronic conditions, pain or repeating patterns in your life. Stress and the pressure of having to perform is not only reflected in how you feel but can also break out physically.

What can we do instead of chasing our goals that become less satisfying each time, but still keep thriving? There is a huge misconception that we get more stuff done when we push hard, suffer and sacrifice.

The funny thing is that to create sustainable performance and get to the next level we actually need to be in alignment and feel good, take off pressure and change our approach. It’s scientifically proven that when we experience stress, our IQ drops and our ability to make good decisions decreases.

First and most importantly is to find out the hidden reason behind your drive. What are you trying to avoid and why? What is it that terrifies you and what are you trying to prove to either yourself or someone else? Once you’re aware that all the pressure is simply created by yourself you also have the ability to take it off.

Next you start dissolving the emptiness, frustration or anger. Sometimes being aware of the problem is already doing the job but deeply rooted fears might require some more work. To change an old belief pattern you can use tools like journaling, meditation, nlp, hypnosis, therapy and of course coaching. Think about it that way.

“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.” – Wayne Dyer

Everything you do is the result of an emotion which is connected to a thought or belief you have about life. Therefore changing your beliefs will change your reality and emotional wellbeing which can lead to you achieving everything you want in life without you burning yourself out.

Have you ever felt like you’ve been chasing your goals so you can find contentment, but when you finally achieve them you don’t really feel any different than you’ve felt before? Let us know in the comments how you can relate.

Continue Reading

Trending

Motivation

How A 45 Year Old Co-worker Inspired Me To Date Again

Published

on

Advertisement

Wow, it sucks to go through another breakup, especially as it’s been less than a year since the last one! I thought I would never date again until a 45-year-old co-worker said this to me:

“If at 45 I can go on Tinder being massively overweight, and not the best to look at, and have lots of guys wanting to date me, then so can you.”

This co-worker had been single for over a decade. She smoked heavily and swore never to date again. That was until her slightly quirky family decided to create a dating profile for her on Tinder.

She met many men on Tinder. There was:

– Tony Soprano with his gambling addiction
– There was chef with his quirkiness
– There was “Tradie” with his 30-year-old model body and six pack
– There was “bikie” who attempted a forced kiss in the middle of a dark car park

All of this got me thinking: “If a 45-year-old who claims that they are not much to look at can have success in dating, then why can’t a young buck like me sort this stuff out?”

Seeing my co-worker’s success inspired me. I vowed to set myself a goal to get this area of my life sorted out. The only problem is I become like an assassin when there’s a goal I want to achieve.

I became obsessed with this whole dating game.

I had no idea what a dating app was.

I had never sent texts to girls that I had never met in person before.

I was terrified of the potential rejection.

What did I do? I just did it anyway and you can do the same.

The myth is that dating isn’t challenging for all of us. It is. We are all afraid to date after a major breakup because we fear that we might someday die lonely.

 

For the next 5 months, I became obsessed with this dating goal.

I figured if I were going to reach this goal of finding someone through online dating, I would have to put in the work to shorten the time it takes. Many of my friends have been single for more than 5 years and I decided that was not going to happen to me.

I signed up for dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, eHarmony and Happn.
I went on coffee dates before work.
I went on coffee dates during lunchtime.
I went on coffee dates after work.

 

And then I made sure I was in the zone.

No matter the day or time I was doing something to push my dating game further.

I bought new clothes.
I bought new shoes.
I bought new aftershave.

Not to impress the girls, but to make sure I was feeling good before each date. I wanted to put in the maximum effort I could so that if I failed, I knew that I had given it everything I could.

 

The start was full of fear.

The first date was horrible. It was a friend of a friend that had been crowdsourced via Facebook for me. I wasn’t ready and she was not really my type. She was into pole dancing and collecting these crystals that apparently heal you or something like that. It was sooooo not me.

I rolled up to the date one hour early to ensure I didn’t miss getting car parking. I waited around until 8 pm for her. She messaged at 8 pm and said she was leaving home now and would be late. I thought to myself, “Clearly this whole dating thing is going to be hard, especially given I am obsessed with productivity and don’t like having my time wasted.”

“Instead of being pissed off, I committed not to tell myself negative stories. I became committed to not getting upset easily like most people do in life”

She finally arrived and I felt quite sick for some bizarre reason. I ordered the drinks and then she paid without me getting a chance to stop her because she felt bad for being late. This was already a mini failure as letting the girl pay on the first date is usually seen as a very bad idea.

At the end of the date, I stupidly asked for a second date and she said yes. I never ended up getting the second date and thank god for that. It did hurt my ego a little.

 

I then went on more than 50 dates with 50 different women.

This might seem like freaking madness but I believe that to be successful at any goal you need to get really good at your chosen task. On the first date, I sucked big time at dating. After a few dates though, I became really good at it. I figured out quickly what I wanted which I had never done before.

The fear started to dissipate and before long I was completely comfortable. I’d check the apps throughout the day to get fresh leads, meet them, narrow down the list, and then attempt to close them by asking for a second date.

My process was a lot like managing a sales pipeline through a piece of software like Salesforce. It was methodical, intentional, unwavering and organized chaos.

 

You can date anyone if you believe you can. You can do anything.

The reason I had failed relationships in the past was that I never thought carefully about what I wanted. I somehow thought I wasn’t good enough. Because of this belief, I limited the parameters of my dating apps only to include girls who were no more than two years younger.

I secretly wanted a younger girlfriend but never thought they would go for me. I thought I was too old and that they wouldn’t be able to relate to me. I didn’t swipe right on the good-looking profile pictures because I thought they would never go for an average looking guy like me.

Somewhere along the way when I wasn’t succeeding at my goal, I revaluated what I was doing. I realized I was selling myself short.

I started swiping on stunners.
I opened the age range right up.

To my own disbelief, I was stunned.

Amazing looking models wanted to go on dates with me. Girls that were near geniuses wanted to go on dates with me. Girls who were a lot younger than me were throwing themselves at me. It turns out that I was limiting my chances, not the real world.

The lesson here is to be careful what you filter out. You may be filtering out exactly what you want.

 

My friends thought I was mad.

They told me it could take 5 years. They told me I may never find someone and I needed to potentially accept this concept. I told myself this was BS. I knew that if I kept trying and didn’t let all of the fear and failure defeat me, I’d be triumphant. I visualized the day I would get my goal.

“Being obsessed with a goal looks like madness to the average Joe; the truth is that it’s how you get stuff done and get what you want in life”

 

Watching Netflix and saying The universe will make it happen doesn’t work.

There’s a lot of this “Law Of Attraction,” praise a statue mumbo jumbo that’s floating around nowadays. People say that it will happen when it’s meant to happen. This mindset will destroy your goal and any chance of being successful at dating.

“Your goal will happen when you put in the work and make it happen”

The dating gods are not going to ride in on a rainbow unicorn and give you some drop-dead gorgeous person who’s got a perfectly tanned body, and an amazing ass, with an incredible personality.

Get to work and stop allowing wet dreams to ruin your life.

Sitting on the couch numbing your brain with Netflix doesn’t work either.

 

Don’t let desperation overcome you.

One of the girls I met decided to go for someone else. I was shortlisted and lost. She then messaged me to tell me that after a couple of days, her new man forced her head down to the bed and wouldn’t let her leave the room.

She asked me what she should do. Naturally, I told her to leave this horrible man as violence is never acceptable. This girl came across as desperate with every interaction I had with her. She also showed me that she would make other bad decisions and then blame the world.

All of this was due to desperation. Don’t let your need of finding someone allow you to make dumb decisions. You’ll regret it later.

 

Never be anyone’s Plan B.

This same girl then came back to me later after she dumped this violent man and tried to go on another date with me. I’ve learned over the years that it’s never a good idea to be someone’s Plan B. If you weren’t good enough from the start, then you never will be. I told this girl no and moved on.

 

What I didn’t do!

Use the apps as a way to randomly sleep with as many girls as possible. In the short term this will stroke your ego; in the long term, you’ll feel like garbage. Dating is not designed to boost your ego and is far better when you concentrate on your long-term happiness.

I also didn’t attempt to date multiple girls at the same time. This doesn’t work and you’ll get found out. Lying destroys all of your hopes and dreams except you never find out that it’s the true cause. Lying gets disguised in other people’s opinions about why you failed.

You will fail if you lie or become a whore.

 

The problem with online dating.

You start to believe there’s always someone better. You never settle for any prospect that comes your way. The slightest thing that annoys you about the other person can make you think you should keep looking through more profiles.

One girl told me that everything about me was good but she couldn’t deal with the fact I’m vegetarian. Being this trivial is stupid.

Every person you want to date has flaws including you.
You’ll learn to love their flaws in the long-term.
Having a shopping list of wants is great way to be disappointed and remain single.

 

How to avoid all the pitfalls of online dating and failing at any goal.

Be relentless.
Keep trying.
Believe in yourself.
Don’t settle for second best.
Don’t look for perfect – it doesn’t exist.
Be a really nice person and treat others nicely.
Don’t try and sleep with them too quickly – you’ll trick yourself into falling for them afterward.

 

So here’s what happened….

I got what I wanted. I found an intelligent, beautiful, elegant little gem. She’s funny, interesting, clever, successful and has good values.

It took some time and lot’s of dates but I got there. People look at me still like I got lucky although I don’t believe in luck. I gave it everything I could and it was an emotional rollercoaster. I showed the best of me and tried to be the best human being I could.

I practiced being kind, compassionate and humble. With forced intent and continued practice, I got my goal. You can do the same.

Before I go, I want to point out that I don’t tell this very personal story I’d rather not share to make myself look good, so don’t bother leaving comments to this effect. I tell you this very personal story to inspire you to greatness and learn from my foolish mistakes.

Don’t let this negative dating world beat you down. Fight back!

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

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

Advertisement
22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Arvind Bhakar

    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:51 am

    This is truly an inspiring article. Right now i m struggling from this problem of not focusing on a single thing at a time. I am trying to do too much and end up doing nothing. I would love to follow this advice and get rid of unimportant projects.

  2. Joseph Mutori

    Jul 3, 2015 at 3:23 am

    Excellence speaks for itself, great article. Everybody needs to prioritise and get rid of everything else that does not take them to their dream.

  3. justo

    Jun 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    i packed my bag with a one way plane ticket to miami to do some acting work. one shirt one pare of pants. it was all or nothing to get my dream going.

    • Nandini

      Jul 4, 2014 at 3:45 am

      hi, this is my all time fav website, seems like just out of my mind, persistence and hard work is all it is required to be successful in life,thanks! ..good work

  4. Everyday Power

    Apr 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Great post! I love recognition that success varies depending on who you ask. I also love the reoccurring theme of persistence and effort! Thanks !

  5. Ravi Makhija

    Jan 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Hi, m following ur articles from sometime now and it has made me more stronger and more go getter.Thans with due rispect Sir.

  6. Casey

    Jan 14, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this, and everything on this site! 4 years ago when I was 16 I left school, moved away from home in Australia to the UK and worked my butt off to achieve my dream of being an international dressage rider. The sacrifice was worth it and within a year I was representing Great Britain in Under 21s competitions 🙂
    That success doesn’t last though, I am constantly motivating myself to make more decisions to get to the next level, giving up everything that isn’t going to help me get to where I want to be.

    • Chris

      Mar 2, 2014 at 5:20 am

      Great article. As I read this, I have just sacked my boss (2 weeks ago) to start a letting agency. And I’m so happy. However I am scared too because I don’t know how things are going to pan out. Never been out of work and always had a pay cheque at the end of the month! I’m giving it my all because I will never go back! #mindtrepreneur.

  7. David Akomitipoju Onyendi

    Jan 13, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Fantastic article… Its clearer to me what I should drop. Less clutter this year 2014.

  8. JohnOvan

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Just, awesome. I finally feel like I am on the right path, and your article just helped me realize that. I burned a significant bridge behind myself, so to speak. Thanks for the good read!

  9. Naomi@startbizquitjob

    Jan 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Sebastian,

    This post is truly amazing for anyone wanting to progress at anything (so properly 99.9% of the worlds population!).

    I really enjoyed Efficiency vs. Effectiveness – This is where many new start-ups go wrong and the owner never feels like they have accomplished anything. Proper prioritizing changes everything.

    Thanks for mentioning some really interesting books too

    Naomi

  10. Keef (@KeithPMilburn)

    Dec 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I literally just stopped in my tracks when I read “Keeping all your options open is the road to mediocrity.” That has really resonated with me. Thank you.

  11. arucker

    Dec 22, 2013 at 12:59 am

    how funny….i decided a month or so ago that 2014 would be my yr to simplify my life…and here comes this article with resources to do just that….crazy cool….

  12. joe mulwa

    Dec 19, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I have read this blog for 1 year now and I have never commented….

    But today, I just did because this is the realest article I have ever come across. It resonates with exactly where I am at in my life. Thank you for this great article!!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Dec 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      Thanks for leaving a comment Joe. Enjoy the site 🙂

  13. Michel

    Dec 14, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    It is true that I wanna keep my options open. But that is because I have old tasks, which I haven’t been able to finish and new ones waiting in line, which take the bigger chunk in my thoughts.

    Anyways life is a journey and I want to live without regret, even when that means to remain mediocre for a while.

    • Dominik

      Dec 18, 2013 at 12:50 am

      Because of the old tasks, left incomplete, we are forced to live a mediocre life. That is why we have to finish them or let them go, in order to have a clear mind. With this clear mind we are able to do great things and live a life beyond our thought capabilities. No excuses, everything is possible or how Bruce Lee said: ” Be water my friend.” ^^

      to Sebastian: Great idea of lettings things go. Minimalism rocks !!!

  14. tnybo24

    Dec 12, 2013 at 3:19 am

    I up and moved to CHina a month after graduating from college. It was a crazy decision now that I look back on it. I spoke no Chinese, I couldn’t use chopsticks and I had never even been farther than Mexico.

    Well here I am 4 years later and the owner of 2 international companies. But, it really comes down to patience and failing, being comfortable taking risks, and developing a clear mindset of what you are doing and where your going. The later is a really tricky thing to nail down.

    • Binyam

      Dec 12, 2013 at 4:56 am

      I like that well explained.

    • Mike

      Dec 14, 2013 at 4:53 am

      What kind of companies do you own?

    • Eswar

      Mar 18, 2014 at 6:55 am

      Small but really nice, thanks for bringing the essence of having clear mindset and being comfortable taking risks.

  15. Sebastian

    Dec 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    I like how you introduced the concept of minimalism.

    I can literally name every little single thing in my room. I hate clutter and I hate having anything I don’t use.

    If I haven’t touched it for a month it’s gone.

    I just donated more than a grand in clothes cause I haven’t used it in the last couple of months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

5 Ways to Improve Your Audience Engagement

Published

on

audience engagement

When you first thought of your business idea and created your business, you were probably thinking about how much people needed what you had to offer and all of the people you were going to be able to help. Even though none of that has changed, it can be really discouraging to continue to post on social media, do Facebook lives, and try to make any kind of a call to action when all there is are crickets when you do.

Instead of banging your head against the wall, and trying to figure out what is wrong with your idea, let me give you 5 ways to improve your audience engagement:

1. Increase the amount of content you are putting out

Sometimes, the main reason why you are not seeing the engagement you are looking for is because people are not seeing your posts. Each social media platform has its own algorithm.

Even if you posted once or even twice that day, some of those algorithms can still make it possible for your people NOT to see even one of your posts. Posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement.

2. Ask the right questions

Remember when I said that posting a few to several times a day will increase the number of people seeing your posts which should, in turn, increase your engagement? The reason it should but may not increase your engagement is because you are not asking enough of the right questions.

You can post content that you like or are interested in, but you have to remember YOU are not the one buying your products and services. You need to learn what your target audience wants to see and talk about. Learn what gets them engaged and what keeps them engaged by asking the right questions.

“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” Bono

3. Switch it up a little

Have you ever had a routine that was so dry and bland it made you dread doing it? That is exactly what your audience feels like when you post the same kind of content all the time. Everyone doesn’t like meatloaf every day. No matter what you are selling, your audience craves interesting, informative, and encouraging content. If you can give this to them consistently, they will fall in love with you and keep on coming back for more.

4. Analyze your data

When you increase the content you put out, you will have a lot more data to analyze so you can understand the people who you are trying to reach. This will help you to understand which kind of content is consumed more by your audience, what platform has better engagement, and what your audience is trying to tell you they want and need.

“It’s difficult to imagine the power that you’re going to have when so many different sorts of data are available.”- Tim Berners-Lee

5. Calls to action are key

The last thing you want to do is to give your audience some amazing content and not have a place for them to go to learn or get more. Inviting yourself somewhere can be very awkward, so why would you want your audience to do that? They may want to connect with you but they don’t know where to go and how to connect. Invite them in and make them feel wanted and welcomed. This will cut out the awkwardness and also the confusion of how they can better connect with you.

Increasing your engagement can be done easily if you are willing to follow these 5 ways to improve your audience engagement. Once you have done that, the engagement will come and the sales are bound to follow.

How are you staying connected to your audience? Make sure to comment below and let us know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Success Advice

A Tim Ferriss Like Japan Trip Rebuilt Me – Here’s Why

Published

on

“Art imitates life so you must experience life to create art” – Unknown (possibly Tim Ferriss)

This quote is the reason why I recently took a holiday to Japan and why from now on I will travel more. All of us have a dream, a vision, a goal, a business which is another word for our own “art.”

Anything worth doing has an element of creativity attached to it which in essence is art. While on the way to Japan listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast, I heard this quote above. I realized that my life’s work had fizzled out somewhat because I needed to experience life more.

This whole blogging thing only works when I experience life – travel is the best way to do that. Second to that, I have been listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast for years, and he talks a lot about Japan and how the culture can really positively impact your life.

Hearing this advice second hand just wasn’t good enough for me. That’s why, in Timmy style, I booked an unplanned trip to Japan with only two days notice. It was what I called a Tim Ferriss like trip to Japan. I wanted to transcend my current circumstances and boy did I do that!

Things before Japan had become a bit stale. I wasn’t quite me and I needed rebuilding again. It was time to self-disrupt and grow more as a person. I’d stopped growing and that’s why I felt off. Japan changed all of that.

Here’s how this Japan trip rebuilt me:

 

We’re all the same: we’re all loved.

Sitting at the airport in Australia I saw everyone saying goodbye to their loved ones. I did the same and said goodbye to my family and girlfriend. I sat there for around ten minutes and realized that we’re all loved by someone.

We all have someone who would be sad or miss us if we didn’t return home. All of us want to come home safe and see our loved ones again. While tragedy can strike, these trips to places like Japan are a must – they’re part of our journey in life.

These journeys we take are how we find ourselves. Without travel, we become lost and can’t understand how we fit into this world.

Knowing I’m loved and knowing the importance of these journeys helped rebuild me.

 

Japan can show you what is wrong too.

So far I’ve made Japan sound like it’s all roses – it’s not. I saw people working ridiculous hours. I saw Japanese people who had become obsessed with meaningless westernized brands. I saw women who still appeared to be second class compared with men.

Japan didn’t show me perfection; it showed me reality and that means that there are always going to be things that need to change. Each of us can form part of that change.

 

Objectification of women has changed men in a bad way.

For some reason, Japan gave me immense clarity. I noticed that me (and all other men) have become hardwired to look at women’s bodies. Even the nicest most loyal men who treat women well have been affected. I noticed this unconscious behavior in myself while in Australia and began questioning it.

Do we need to look at women in such a physical way? Is it really necessary? Is this addiction taking up so much of our creative genius and potential?

The answer to all of these questions, after Japan, was that a problem exists and this addiction is not serving as well. I’m not proud of this fact and I for one plan on not only being aware of it but also changing it. This idea helped rebuild me.

 

The Samurai showed the benefits of discipline.

While being an Aussie tourist walking through the grounds of the Imperial Palace, I saw some of the emperors Samurai training. The facility was surrounded by fences but being a tall guy, I could still see over the fence.

I found these Samurai to be cool because they were laser-focused on what they were doing. The Samurai had purpose and precision accuracy. Their discipline taught them patience and you could see the courage in their actions. Everything was thought through and nothing was left to chance.

The Samurai helped me rebuild my life by reminding me of what discipline can do when we embrace it. A disorganized mind combined with actions that are all over the place results in a lot of nothingness. Start with being a master at one thing instead of trying to be mediocre at lots of things.

 

Concrete Jungle vs. Nature

Before Japan, I was obsessed with visiting places like San Fran and New York to see big concrete cities and skyscrapers. Now that I’ve been to Japan I’ve realized that I’m completely bored of that. Going to My Fuji and some of the mountains in Kyoto is far more impactful.

Concrete jungles are all the same once you’ve seen a few. They all have lots of box’s – some tall, some wide, some full of lights and some full of views. When you see enough of these, you no longer become impressed by them.

Nature is impossible to top though. No matter how many lakes, mountains, beaches or forests I visit, I never get sick of them. That’s because it’s in our human DNA to feel a connection with nature. Nature is a place we can relax and recharge the batteries.

Japan taught me that for the rest of my travel adventures I am going to focus on beautiful places that encompass nature instead of man-made structures and fake tourist attractions like theme parks. Knowing what nature means to me has helped me to rebuild myself.

 

See as many places as you can.

This trip to Japan made me see that I get bored after around five days in one country. I’ve discovered that it’s ideal to see as many places as you can. The more of this Earth you experience, the more your life changes.

 

Don’t forget attention to detail.

Japanese people, I learned, are obsessed with attention to detail. Everything from the signage at train stations to the way they present food has been thought of.

“It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being purposeful”

It’s the little things that the Japanese people do that make you fall in love with them by the end of your stay in their country.

 

Manners feel good.

I quickly saw that Japanese people are very kind and have amazing manners. They say thank you so many times. As you walk out of a restaurant, the whole team say thank you like a giant choir. Being grateful and acknowledging each other is at the heart of their culture.

You can’t help but smile when you witness this way of treating one another. Not every stranger you meet in a foreign country is trying to commit a terrorist attack.

All I can say is manners just feel good and it put’s you in a positive mood. Plus, you walk around with a big fat smile on your face and that feels refreshing.

 

Connection through transport.

Japanese culture feels very connected and that’s partly to do with their very efficient transport system. There’s a subway station on practically every corner that’s affordable. Trains run every few minutes, so there’s never any need to run to the subway station to catch a train.

The bullet trains allow you to skip between states or regions in a very short amount of time. No need to board a plane or go through the razzle-dazzle of airport bureaucracy gone mad (thanks to perceived terrorism and the news).

While sitting on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto, I saw families that were on their way to visit one another. They looked so relaxed and sat there enjoying the countryside of Japan as I did. It was a regular occurrence made possible by a fantastic transport system that is orderly and well thought out.

 

Technology is exhausting.

The negative side of technology is prominent in Japan. There are cities that are littered with giant LED screens, bright lights and technology on every corner. In these places, I felt unable to think clearly and the bright lights made me feel like I suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder.

There was technology within the toilet seat, on the plane, at restaurants and ugly vending machines selling fat causing sugar water on every corner.

On the flip side, what I loved about Japan was that talking loudly on a not so smart phone was prohibited in most places and there were locations where phones were non-existent. Japanese people seem to know how to balance life between being “ON” and being “OFF” when it comes to their phone.

“Instead of wasting your life away on your phone, Japan teaches you to become present and appreciate the here and now”

You notice things that you normally wouldn’t where I’m from in the Western World. With so much empty space, Japan is a great place to rebuild yourself. The rebuilding process needs thinking time away from phones.

 

Minimalism and being space conscious is beautiful.

The Japanese people are obsessed with being space conscious. They have double-decker car spaces, cube-shaped cars, cars made for people who must be three-foot tall, hotel rooms where you can barely open the door and space-saving retail shops like you’ve never seen.

 

Time is money in Japan.

My plane was on time to the second. Every train was on time. The tour guide at Mt Fuji was on time. The hotel cleaning was to the minute and so was the checkout. Time is money and it’s one resource we should take more seriously. Time gives you the opportunity to rebuild and grow.

 

Low energy states can be healed by travel.

More than a year since my last break, my energy levels in my career were at an all-time low. I had headaches every day and felt uninspired to a degree. It turns out all I needed was a holiday to rebuild.

Your body guides you.
Your heart guides you.
Your mind guides you.

This Japan trip taught me to take time to relax and recharge. Don’t ignore your body ever!

 

Climbing Japanese mountains is a metaphor for life.

I climbed this mountain in Kyoto. Halfway up I wanted to quit. I thought to myself “I’ve seen enough. Why go to the summit?”

That’s the problem right there. When we’re working on our goals, we give up too soon. We settle for okay instead of amazing. If this mountain were your life, would you give up when it got a bit hard? I’m telling you not to.

All the growth and everything you ever wanted comes from pushing that extra 2% to reach the top of the mountain. The feeling at the top is indescribable. Only those who are prepared to go the extra mile will know what it feels like to look down from the top.

Two more things to remember:

1. Once you reach the top, there’s always another mountain.

2. You must also help someone else climb the mountain to reach your full potential. Living is giving.

This mountain I climbed in Japan taught me so much about rebuilding my life (and yes I love mountain analogies).

 

There’s no place like a hot spring to contemplate life and rebuild your life.

While lying in a hot spring (Onsen) in Northern Tokyo, I sat there and thought I was going to be enjoying a relaxing time in a hot spring. What no one told me is that my entire life would replay before me. The onsen became a place to contemplate everything that had transpired thus far.

The hot water from the springs has a certain effect on your mind. I often find that my best thinking and ideas come from a shower and I’ve heard other people talk about this same experience.

“The hot spring sent my mind into deep thinking that I’ll never forget”

 

To enter a Japanese hot spring, you must be fully naked. You can’t bring clothes, material possessions, technology or a corporate mask. There’s nowhere to hide and no phone to look at. You sit there naked and bare your soul. It’s the one time where people can see you for exactly who you are.

Before contemplating my own life, I observed the men around me. Many of them seemed to be contemplating their life. Some looked tired and worn out from years of slaving away and doing hard labor.

Many of them looked like they were wasting away from years of working too hard and not remembering what truly matters. It was as if they had finally discovered what matters but that it was now too late. Then I saw the exact opposite – young men who had their whole lives ahead of them.

They too would sit there and weigh up their options. Should they follow their dream or fall for the Western myth that is collecting useless objects of little value? There were times where I wanted to answer this question for them.

I realized after a lot of thought that these young men had to come to that realization themselves. When you discover these truths of life yourself, everything changes and the principles stick.

I saw these young men by the end of my time in the hot spring for who they were and what they could become (their potential). I finally understood that they too could change the world in some impactful way if they chose too. We all have that choice and it’s ours to make.

“This stark comparison between the older men and the younger men was one of the most profound lessons of my Japan trip”

Both generations of men also looked up at the sky while doing this deep thinking. I found that quite bizarre and all of them did it.

What’s strange is that I also looked up at the sky without consciously being aware. Once I’d finished observing the men in the hot spring, I turned my thinking over to my own life. I had truth bomb after truth bomb as I sat there. I found myself running to the change room every 30 minutes to write stuff down.

What I had achieved so far and what I needed to do next became so clear. I sat in the hot spring proud of who I’ve become. For the first time in my life, I got to sit there and appreciate everything I’d put out into the world. I hadn’t stopped to see how far I’d come before this moment.

I was so focused on the present and trying to gain future success that I didn’t even know how proud I could be of myself. This fact has become the foundation of me going through the rebuilding phase yet again after five years since my last major self-renovation.

 

In summary….

Everyone reading this blog post has the opportunity to rebuild their life and consistently self-disrupt themselves. Going to places like Japan gives you the opportunity to experience life and see how far you’ve come. You can’t be ON 24/7 like those picture quotes tell you to be.

Once in a while, you need to be proud of who you are and think about who you can become.

Japan is a perfect place to do this and rebuild your life. Stay true to yourself and inspire others.

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

Continue Reading

Success Advice

The Six Point Marketing Makeover That Will Score You An Endless Stream of Business

Published

on

Marketing

Every business has room to improve, but marketing is a habitually ignored facet. We spend so much time posting on social media and money on ad buys that we forget to evaluate the overall efficacy of our marketing efforts. Our efforts eventually become outdated, and we are left wondering why. With a little effort, you can transform your marketing to generate a consistent stream of ongoing business. It won’t break the bank, and it is doable – if you allow yourself to establish a game plan and stick to it.

Here are the six pieces of a true marketing makeover that will forever change the playing field for you:

1. Define Who You Are

If you polled your customers, who would they say you are? I’m not talking about what you do, but who you are. What do you stand for? What are your values? What are the (business) issues making you want to write a manifesto? While none of the answers completely define you, they all speak to some important aspect of your overall brand.

Customers need to know who you are. Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of this. Nordstrom is defined by how it handles returns. Zappos is renowned for its customer service. Toms (shoes) is the “One for One” company. Your product face may be public, but what about you? The better you define your brand and the people behind it, the more the right customers are attracted to it.

2. Explain What You Do

“We employ the highest levels of craftsmanship in our products,” or “your satisfaction is our highest value” – these are wasted space. If you want to establish a brand that attracts customers in like moths to a light, you need to run away from ambiguous, gratuitous statements and embrace specificity. “We teach people how to podcast using the latest low-cost technology,” or “we make shoes that will last ten times longer and are ten times more comfortable than any competitor in the space.” These are statements telling customers exactly what you do.

In communicating what you do, it’s important to reinforce the value system you claim to have (i.e., who you are). This gives your customers a framework to develop trust and see the authenticity of your brand. Explaining what you do, however, is about making it easy for customers to recognize why they need you. If you explain what you do well enough, your customers will often realize they have a problem they didn’t know they had – and you can fix it for them.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

3. Identify Who You Help

You’ve probably heard that the “riches are in the niches,” and regardless of whether you agree with the statement, there’s a gold nugget hidden in it. A well-defined target market will help you structure custom-tailored messaging that will hit every time.

The most effective marketing efforts target identifiable characteristics of your customers that link a specific need with a specific solution. The characteristics may include gender, age, nationality, domicile, language, relationship status, or similar personal traits, but should also include past engagement behavior, third-party engagement behavior, and other market-driven information. You don’t help “people,” you help one person at a time.

4. Give First, Receive Later

It seems that everywhere you look, someone is trying to sell you something. What if instead of selling, you were giving? You can be a real estate agent who delivers free weekly reports on home sales in a region, or even a health coach who offers a free webinar on food choices and without selling anything specific during the presentation. Believe it or not, generosity is marketing.

When it comes to your marketing makeover, one of the easiest things you can do is give something to your customers. Maybe it’s a 10% discount or maybe it’s a free one-on-one session. Whatever it is, understand that when you approach your marketing with a mind to attract people, you should always begin by giving. There is also a very practical online reality to this component: The vast majority of people attempt to block ads served up to them. Giving, however, isn’t blocked; it’s embraced.

5. Have Something To Sell

This may shock the socks off a few of you, but many businesses forget to have something to sell. The marketing wheels are turning and consumers are being attracted, but once converted, they have nothing to purchase. This might seem so obvious you can’t think I’m serious, but I am. Time and time again, I’ve consulted for businesses that are devoid of meaningful products or services.

In the process of creating a new marketing paradigm, you can’t forget to connect the dots from a marketing effort to the product or service being marketed. If your marketing works, you’ll have hot customers ready to spend money. They need something to spend it on, so reverse-engineer the experience, identify the product or service, then ensure your campaign is appropriately linked to it.

“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” – John Russell

6. Do it All Over

There’s no easier way to walk back towards irrelevancy than believing you can put your marketing on autopilot. To be sure, you can automate certain actions and triggers, but you can never automate the creativity that goes into designing a timely and meaningful connection with your customer. Once you walk through all the steps above, do it again six months later. You’ll be surprised at how things evolve.

Which one of these steps is most important to you in your career? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Success Advice

7 Signs You Are Unhealthily Addicted to Success

Published

on

Addiction

Do you ever feel like you hit a goal or succeed at something major but your satisfaction is only short-lived? No matter how much you achieve, you always feel like you have to do more, push harder and you can’t really enjoy your accomplishments? You might be wondering why you never feel content despite the fact that your life looks good on the outside. If this sounds like you, you might be addicted to success.

But what does that mean? See, every addiction has one thing in common. It has the purpose of getting a person out of a miserable state of mind and making them feel normal. Achievement addiction is no different. It can create fears, tension, stress and burnout. There is a high chance that you are moving away from pain and not towards something you desire. Your drive and decisions are fear based, which ultimately affects your emotional well-being and quality of life.

Here are 7 signs of achievement addiction:

1. You find purpose in achievement

You constantly feel emotionally drained, stressed and burnt out and only find relief when you hit a goal.

2. The expectations you have for yourself are way higher than average

You hit your expectations no matter the cost, even if that means to not value your own needs. You’re very hard on yourself, know how to push through and beat yourself up to succeed. You don’t tolerate mediocrity for yourself.

3. You ask yourself what else there is to life

You’ve already “made it” but it’s not the way you thought it would be. You spent a certain amount of time chasing your biggest goal and making it a reality yet you feel unfulfilled and cannot find a sense of peace which can be extremely stressful and disappointing.

4. You measure your self-worth through your achievements.

In between wins you hate yourself, have anxiety and feel like it’s been awhile since your last accomplishment. Success is like a drug to you. You need another hit of it otherwise it feels like you’re falling behind.

“When you take care of yourself, you’re a better person for others. When you feel good about yourself, you treat others better.” – Solange Knowles

5. You’re at the peak of your professional life but don’t feel fulfilled  

You see people admiring you for your life but you feel guilty about not being fulfilled and happy. Maybe, you even doubt if you deserve it.

6. You are very results-driven and accomplished but you don’t feel content

You feel stuck and trapped in a life that doesn’t feel aligned with who you are and becomes exhausting at one point.

7. You’re constantly tense

Perhaps you suffer from chronic conditions, pain or repeating patterns in your life. Stress and the pressure of having to perform is not only reflected in how you feel but can also break out physically.

What can we do instead of chasing our goals that become less satisfying each time, but still keep thriving? There is a huge misconception that we get more stuff done when we push hard, suffer and sacrifice.

The funny thing is that to create sustainable performance and get to the next level we actually need to be in alignment and feel good, take off pressure and change our approach. It’s scientifically proven that when we experience stress, our IQ drops and our ability to make good decisions decreases.

First and most importantly is to find out the hidden reason behind your drive. What are you trying to avoid and why? What is it that terrifies you and what are you trying to prove to either yourself or someone else? Once you’re aware that all the pressure is simply created by yourself you also have the ability to take it off.

Next you start dissolving the emptiness, frustration or anger. Sometimes being aware of the problem is already doing the job but deeply rooted fears might require some more work. To change an old belief pattern you can use tools like journaling, meditation, nlp, hypnosis, therapy and of course coaching. Think about it that way.

“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.” – Wayne Dyer

Everything you do is the result of an emotion which is connected to a thought or belief you have about life. Therefore changing your beliefs will change your reality and emotional wellbeing which can lead to you achieving everything you want in life without you burning yourself out.

Have you ever felt like you’ve been chasing your goals so you can find contentment, but when you finally achieve them you don’t really feel any different than you’ve felt before? Let us know in the comments how you can relate.

Continue Reading

Trending