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The 3 Vital Steps Of The Apprenticeship Phase In Mastering Anything

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Robert Greene - Master Skills in Apprenticeship

This post is an excerpt from Mastery by Robert Greene (Viking). Mastery is the latest book from the bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law.

In the stories of the greatest Masters, past and present, we can inevitably detect a phase in their lives in which all of their future powers were in development, like the chrysalis of a butterfly. This part of their lives—a largely self-directed apprenticeship that lasts some five to ten years—receives little attention because it does not contain stories of great achievement or discovery. Often in their Apprenticeship Phase, these types are not yet much different from anyone else. Under the surface, however, their minds are transforming in ways we cannot see but contain all of the seeds of their future success.

Much of how such Masters navigate this phase comes from an intuitive grasp of what is most important and essential for their development, but in studying what they did right we can learn some invaluable lessons for ourselves. In fact, a close examination of their lives reveals a pattern that transcends their various fields, indicating a kind of Ideal Apprenticeship for mastery. And to grasp this pattern, to follow it in our own ways, we must understand something about the very idea and necessity for passing through an apprenticeship.

In childhood we are inculcated in culture through a long period of dependency—far longer than any other animal. During this period we learn language, writing, math, and reasoning skills, along with a few others. Much of this happens under the watchful and loving guidance of parents and teachers. As we get older, greater emphasis is placed on book learning—absorbing as much information as possible about various subjects. Such knowledge of history, science, or literature is abstract, and the process of learning largely involves passive absorption. At the end of this process (usually somewhere between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five) we are then thrust into the cold, harsh work world to fend for ourselves.

When we emerge from the youthful state of dependency, we are not really ready to handle the transition to an entirely independent phase. We carry with us the habit of learning from books or teachers, which is largely unsuited for the practical, self-directed phase of life that comes next. We tend to be somewhat socially naïve and unprepared for the political games people play. Still uncertain as to our identity, we think that what matters in the work world is gaining attention and making friends. And these misconceptions and naïveté are brutally exposed in the light of the real world.

If we adjust over time, we might eventually find our way; but if we make too many mistakes, we create endless problems for ourselves. We spend too much time entangled in emotional issues, and we never quite have enough detachment to reflect and learn from our experiences. The apprenticeship, by its very nature, must be conducted by each individual in his or her own way. To follow precisely the lead of others or advice from a book is self-defeating. This is the phase in life in which we finally declare our independence and establish who we are. But for this second education in our lives, so critical to our future success, there are some powerful and essential lessons that we all can benefit from, that can guide us away from common mistakes and save us valuable time.

These lessons transcend all fields and historical periods because they are connected to something essential about human psychology and how the brain itself functions. They can be distilled into one overarching principle for the Apprenticeship Phase, and a process that loosely follows three steps.

The principle is simple and must be engraved deeply in your mind: the goal of an apprenticeship is not money, a good position, a title, or a diploma, but rather the transformation of your mind and character—the first transformation on the way to mastery. You enter a career as an outsider. You are naïve and full of misconceptions about this new world. Your head is full of dreams and fantasies about the future. Your knowledge of the world is subjective, based on emotions, insecurities, and limited experience. Slowly, you will ground yourself in reality, in the objective world represented by the knowledge and skills that make people successful in it. You will learn how to work with others and handle criticism. In the process you will transform yourself from someone who is impatient and scattered into someone who is disciplined and focused, with a mind that can handle complexity. In the end, you will master yourself and all of your weaknesses.

This has a simple consequence: you must choose places of work and positions that offer the greatest possibilities for learning. Practical knowledge is the ultimate commodity, and is what will pay you dividends for decades to come—far more than the paltry increase in pay you might receive at some seemingly lucrative position that offers fewer learning opportunities. This means that you move toward challenges that will toughen and improve you, where you will get the most objective feedback on your performance and progress. You do not choose apprenticeships that seem easy and comfortable.

In this sense you must see yourself as following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. You are finally on your own, on a voyage in which you will craft your own future. It is the time of youth and adventure—of exploring the world with an open mind and spirit. In fact, whenever you must learn a new skill or alter your career path later in life, you reconnect with that youthful, adventurous part of yourself. Darwin could have played it safe, collecting what was necessary, and spending more time on board studying instead of actively exploring. In that case, he would not have become an illustrious scientist, but just another collector. He constantly looked for challenges, pushing himself past his comfort zone. He used danger and difficulties as a way to measure his progress. You must adopt such a spirit and see your apprenticeship as a kind of journey in which you will transform yourself, rather than as a drab indoctrination into the work world.

 

The Apprenticeship Phase — The Three Steps or Modes

With the principle outlined above guiding you in your choices, you must think of three essential steps in your apprenticeship, each one overlapping the other. These steps are: Deep Observation (The Passive Mode), Skills Acquisition (The Practice Mode), and Experimentation (The Active Mode). Keep in mind that an apprenticeship can come in many different forms. It can happen at one place over several years, or it can consist of several different positions in different places, a kind of compound apprenticeship involving many different skills. It can include a mix of graduate school and practical experience. In all of these cases, it will help you to think in terms of these steps, although you may need to give added weight to a particular one depending on the nature of your field.

 

Step One: Deep Observation—The Passive Mode

Becoming A Master - Robert GreeneWhen you enter a career or new environment, you move into a world with its own rules, procedures, and social dynamic. For decades or even centuries, people have compiled knowledge of how to get things done in a particular field, each generation improving on the past. In addition, every workplace has its own conventions, rules of behavior, and work standards. There are also all kinds of power relationships that exist between individuals. All of this represents a reality that transcends your individual needs and desires. And so your task upon entering this world is to observe and absorb its reality as deeply as possible.

The greatest mistake you can make in the initial months of your apprenticeship is to imagine that you have to get attention, impress people, and prove yourself. These thoughts will dominate your mind and close it off from the reality around you. Any positive attention you receive is deceptive; it is not based on your skills or anything real, and it will turn against you. Instead, you will want to acknowledge the reality and submit to it, muting your colors and keeping in the background as much as possible, remaining passive and giving yourself the space to observe. You will also want to drop any preconceptions you might have about this world you are entering. If you impress people in these first months, it should be because of the seriousness of your desire to learn, not because you are trying to rise to the top before you are ready.

You will be observing two essential realities in this new world. First, you will observe the rules and procedures that govern success in this environment—in other words, “this is how we do things here.” Some of these rules will be communicated to you directly—generally the ones that are superficial and largely a matter of common sense. You must pay attention to these and observe them, but what is of more interest are the rules that are unstated and are part of the underlying work culture. These concern style and values that are considered important. They are often a reflection of the character of the man or woman on top.

You can observe such rules by looking at those who are on their way up in the hierarchy, who have a golden touch. More tellingly, you can observe those who are more awkward, who have been chastised for particular mistakes or even been fired. Such examples serve as negative trip wires: do things this way and you will suffer.

The second reality you will observe is the power relationships that exist within the group: who has real control; through whom do all communications flow; who is on the rise and who is on the decline. These procedural and political rules may be dysfunctional or counterproductive, but your job is not to moralize about this or complain, but merely to understand them, to get a complete lay of the land. You are like an anthropologist studying an alien culture, attuned to all of its nuances and conventions. You are not there to change that culture; you will only end up being killed, or in the case of work, fired. Later, when you have attained power and mastery, you will be the one to rewrite or destroy these same rules.

Every task you are given, no matter how menial, offers opportunities to observe this world at work. No detail about the people within it is too trivial. Everything you see or hear is a sign for you to decode. Over time, you will begin to see and understand more of the reality that eluded you at first. For instance, a person whom you initially thought had great power ended up being someone with more bark than bite. Slowly, you begin to see behind the appearances. As you amass more information about the rules and power dynamics of your new environment, you can begin to analyze why they exist, and how they relate to larger trends in the field. You move from observation to analysis, honing your reasoning skills, but only after months of careful attention.

We can see how Charles Darwin followed this step quite clearly. By spending the first few months studying life on board the ship and perceiving the unwritten rules, he made his time for science much more productive. By enabling himself to fit in, he was able to avoid needless battles that would have later disrupted his scientific work, not to mention the emotional turmoil these would have presented to him. He later practiced the same technique with gauchos and other local communities he came in contact with. This allowed him to extend the regions he could explore and the specimens he could collect. On another level, he slowly transformed himself into perhaps the most astute observer of nature the world has ever known. Emptying himself of any preconceptions about life and its origins, Darwin trained himself to see things as they are. He did not theorize or generalize about what he was seeing until he had amassed enough information. Submitting to and absorbing the reality of all aspects of this voyage, he ended up piercing one of the most fundamental realities of all—the evolution of all living forms.

Understand: there are several critical reasons why you must follow this step. First, knowing your environment inside and out will help you in navigating it and avoiding costly mistakes. You are like a hunter: your knowledge of every detail of the forest and of the ecosystem as a whole will give you many more options for survival and success. Second, the ability to observe any unfamiliar environment will become a critical lifelong skill. You will develop the habit of stilling your ego and looking outward instead of inward. You will see in any encounter what most people miss because they are thinking of themselves. You will cultivate a keen eye for human psychology, and strengthen your ability to focus. Finally, you will become accustomed to observing first, basing your ideas and theories on what you have seen with your eyes, and then analyzing what you find. This will be a very important skill for the next, creative phase in life.

 

Step Two: Skills Acquisition—The Practice Mode

Robert Greene - The Art Of MasteryAt some point, as you progress through the initial months of observation required in an apprenticeship, you will enter a critical stage: practice toward the acquisition of skills. Every human activity, endeavor, or career path involves the mastering of skills. In some fields, it is direct and obvious, like operating a tool or machine or creating something physical. In others, it is more of a mix of the physical and mental, such as the observing and collecting of specimens for Charles Darwin. In still others, the skills are more nebulous, such as handling people or researching and organizing information. As much as possible, you want to reduce these skills to something simple and essential—the core of what you need to get good at, skills that can be practiced.

In acquiring any kind of skill, there exists a natural learning process that coincides with the functioning of our brains. This learning process leads to what we shall call tacit knowledge—a feeling for what you are doing that is hard to put into words but easy to demonstrate in action. And to understand how this learning process operates, it is useful to look at the greatest system ever invented for the training of skills and the achievement of tacit knowledge—the apprenticeship system of the Middle Ages. This system arose as a solution to a problem: As business expanded in the Middle Ages, Masters of various crafts could no longer depend on family members to work in the shop. They needed more hands. But it was not worth it for them to bring in people who would come and go—they needed stability and time to build up skills in their workers. And so they developed the apprenticeship system, in which young people from approximately the ages of twelve to seventeen would enter work in a shop, signing a contract that would commit them for the term of seven years. At the end of this term, apprentices would have to pass a master test, or produce a master work, to prove their level of skill. Once passed, they were now elevated to the rank of journeymen and could travel wherever there was work, practicing the craft.

Because few books or drawings existed at the time, apprentices would learn the trade by watching Masters and imitating them as closely as possible. They learned through endless repetition and hands-on work, with very little verbal instruction (the word “apprentice” itself comes from the Latin prehendere, meaning to grasp with the hand). Because resources such as textiles, wood, and metals were expensive and could not be wasted on practice runs, apprentices would spend most of their time working directly on materials that would be used for the final product. They had to learn how to focus deeply on their work and not make mistakes.

If one added up the time that apprentices ended up working directly on materials in those years, it would amount to more than 10,000 hours, enough to establish exceptional skill level at a craft. The power of this form of tacit knowledge is embodied in the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe—masterpieces of beauty, craftsmanship, and stability, all erected without blueprints or books. These cathedrals represented the accumulated skills of numerous craftsmen and engineers.

What this means is simple: language, oral and written, is a relatively recent invention. Well before that time, our ancestors had to learn various skills—toolmaking, hunting, and so forth. The natural model for learning, largely based on the power of mirror neurons, came from watching and imitating others, then repeating the action over and over. Our brains are suited for this form of learning. In an activity such as riding a bicycle, we all know that it is easier to watch someone and follow their lead than to listen to or read instructions. The more we do it, the easier it becomes. Even with skills that are primarily mental, such as computer programming or speaking a foreign language, it remains the case that we learn best through practice and repetition—the natural learning process. We learn a foreign language by actually speaking it as much as possible, not by reading books and absorbing theories. The more we speak and practice, the more fluent we become.

Once you take this far enough, you enter a cycle of accelerated returns in which the practice becomes easier and more interesting, leading to the ability to practice for longer hours, which increases your skill level, which in turn makes practice even more interesting. Reaching this cycle is the goal you must set for yourself, and to get there you must understand some basic principles about skills themselves.

First, it is essential that you begin with one skill that you can master, and that serves as a foundation for acquiring others. You must avoid at all cost the idea that you can manage learning several skills at a time. You need to develop your powers of concentration, and understand that trying to multi task will be the death of the process.

Second, the initial stages of learning a skill invariably involve tedium. Yet rather than avoiding this inevitable tedium, you must accept and embrace it. The pain and boredom we experience in the initial stage of learning a skill toughens our minds, much like physical exercise. Too many people believe that everything must be pleasurable in life, which makes them constantly search for distractions and short-circuits the learning process. The pain is a kind of challenge your mind presents—will you learn how to focus and move past the boredom, or like a child will you succumb to the need for immediate pleasure and distraction? Much as with physical exercise, you can even get a kind of perverse pleasure out of this pain, knowing the benefits it will bring you. In any event, you must meet any boredom head-on and not try to avoid or repress it. Throughout your life you will encounter tedious situations, and you must cultivate the ability to handle them with discipline.

In practicing a skill in the initial stages, something happens neurologically to the brain that is important for you to understand. When you start something new, a large number of neurons in the frontal cortex (the higher, more conscious command area of the brain) are recruited and become active, helping you in the learning process. The brain has to deal with a large amount of new information, and this would be stressful and overwhelming if only a limited part of the brain were used to handle it. The frontal cortex even expands in size in this initial phase, as we focus hard on the task. But once something is repeated often enough, it becomes hardwired and automatic, and the neural pathways for this skill are delegated to other parts of the brain, farther down the cortex. Those neurons in the frontal cortex that we needed in the initial stages are now freed up to help in learning something else, and the area goes back to its normal size.

In the end, an entire network of neurons is developed to remember this single task, which accounts for the fact that we can still ride a bicycle years after we first learned how to do so. If we were to take a look at the frontal cortex of those who have mastered something through repetition, it would be remarkably still and inactive as they performed the skill. All of their brain activity is occurring in areas that are lower down and require much less conscious control.

This process of hardwiring cannot occur if you are constantly distracted, moving from one task to another. In such a case, the neural pathways dedicated to this skill never get established; what you learn is too tenuous to remain rooted in the brain. It is better to dedicate two or three hours of intense focus to a skill than to spend eight hours of diffused concentration on it. You want to be as immediately present to what you are doing as possible.

Once an action becomes automatic, you now have the mental space to observe yourself as you practice. You must use this distance to take note of your weaknesses or flaws that need correction—to analyze yourself. It helps also to gain as much feedback as possible from others, to have standards against which you can measure your progress so that you are aware of how far you have to go. People who do not practice and learn new skills never gain a proper sense of proportion or self-criticism. They think they can achieve anything without effort and have little contact with reality. Trying something over and over again grounds you in reality, making you deeply aware of your inadequacies and of what you can accomplish with more work and effort.

If you take this far enough, you will naturally enter the cycle of accelerated returns: As you learn and gain skills you can begin to vary what you do, finding nuances that you can develop in the work, so that it becomes more interesting. As elements become more automatic your mind is not exhausted by the effort and you can practice harder, which in turn brings greater skill and more pleasure. You can look for challenges, new areas to conquer, keeping your interest at a high level. As the cycle accelerates, you can reach a point where your mind is totally absorbed in the practice, entering a kind of flow in which everything else is blocked out. You become one with the tool or instrument or thing you are studying. Your skill is not something that can be put into words; it is embedded in your body and nervous system—it becomes tacit knowledge. Learning any kind of skill deeply prepares you for mastery. The sensation of flow and of being a part of the instrument is a precursor to the great pleasures that mastery can bring.

In essence, when you practice and develop any skill you transform yourself in the process. You reveal to yourself new capabilities that were previously latent, that are exposed as you progress. You develop emotionally. Your sense of pleasure becomes redefined. What offers immediate pleasure comes to seem like a distraction, an empty entertainment to help pass the time. Real pleasure comes from overcoming challenges, feeling confidence in your abilities, gaining fluency in skills, and experiencing the power this brings. You develop patience. Boredom no longer signals the need for distraction, but rather the need for new challenges to conquer.

Although it might seem that the time necessary to master the requisite skills and attain a level of expertise would depend on the field and your own talent level, those who have researched the subject repeatedly come up with the number of 10,000 hours. This seems to be the amount of quality practice time that is needed for someone to reach a high level of skill and it applies to composers, chess players, writers, and athletes, among others. This number has an almost magical or mystical resonance to it. It means that so much practice time—no matter the person or the field—leads to a qualitative change in the human brain. The mind has learned to organize and structure large amounts of information. With all of this tacit knowledge, it can now become creative and playful with it. Although the number of hours might seem high, it generally adds up to seven to ten years of sustained, solid practice—roughly the period of a traditional apprenticeship. In other words, concentrated practice over time cannot fail but produce results.

 

Step Three: Experimentation—The Active Mode

Experimenting and mastering a new skillThis is the shortest part of the process, but a critical component nonetheless. As you gain in skill and confidence, you must make the move to a more active mode of experimentation. This could mean taking on more responsibility, initiating a project of some sort, doing work that exposes you to the criticisms of peers or even the public. The point of this is to gauge your progress and whether there are still gaps in your knowledge. You are observing yourself in action and seeing how you respond to the judgments of others. Can you take criticism and use it constructively?

With Charles Darwin, as the voyage progressed and he began to entertain the notions that would lead to his theory of evolution, he decided to expose his ideas to others. First, on the Beagle, he discussed them with the captain and patiently absorbed his vehement criticisms of the idea. This, Darwin told himself, would be more or less the reaction of the public, and he would have to prepare himself for that. He also began to write letters to various scientists and scientific societies back in England. The responses he received indicated he was on to something, but that he would need some more research. For Leonardo da Vinci, as he progressed in his studio work for Verrocchio, he began to experiment and to assert his own style. He found to his surprise that the Master was impressed with his inventiveness. For Leonardo, this indicated that he was near the end of his apprenticeship.

Most people wait too long to take this step, generally out of fear. It is always easier to learn the rules and stay within your comfort zone. Often you must force yourself to initiate such actions or experiments before you think you are ready. You are testing your character, moving past your fears, and developing a sense of detachment to your work—looking at it through the eyes of others. You are getting a taste for the next phase in which what you produce will be under constant scrutiny.

You will know when your apprenticeship is over by the feeling that you have nothing left to learn in this environment. It is time to declare your independence or move to another place to continue your apprenticeship and expand your skill base. Later in life, when you are confronted with a career change or the need to learn new skills, having gone through this process before, it will become second nature. You have learned how to learn.

 

Robert Greene is an American author and speaker known for his books on strategy, power and seduction. He has written four international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Richard Anderson

    Jun 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Wow, that is one deep article and takes some reading! When I look back at my career and learning process (I’m 53) I never gave any of this a thought. For me personally, I was fired by my enthusiasm for my craft and the new opportunities that lay ahead. This is an interesting piece for sure and I believe Maxwell Maltz’s ‘The New Psycho-Cybernertics’ and Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ add a clearer view of this complex subject for me.

  2. Rachel Hunter (TraderRach)

    May 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    The 3 steps of the Apprenticeship Phase describes the process to learn forex trading. I agree that many people take too long to get into the Active Mode out of fear. A comprehensive article thanks.

  3. Bakinson Olalekan

    May 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

    The very simple and careful delivery of this piece quickly brings to bare two things- confidence and assurance of success, if only one strictly adheres to these principles.

  4. dejiu

    May 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    WOW!
    That’s the best word to describe this article! You just gave ma a road map to become a Tycoon in any industry whatsoever! Thank you for the wonderful work!!

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Success Advice

The Super Power Of Charisma – How You Can Adopt It For Yourself

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There’s this dude at the office. He’s fucking unstoppable.

His shit don’t stink and everything he touches turns to gold. At least that’s what I used to think.

Really, in reality, he’s just charismatic.

That’s how he got the cool job, the hot wifey and why everyone wants to be friends with him including me.

What does he do? Let’s delve a little deeper and discuss the eight things that lead to being charismatic:

 

1. Being confident baby!

This dude at work has swag. He backs himself even if he has no freaking idea what’s going to go down homey. In a business context, people that are confident are proven to be more trustworthy.

We trust confident people because it’s infectious. We want to work and be around confident people because it feels good. When something feels good, we do it, and do it lots!

My buddy at work walks into the room and people shake his hand because his presence changes the game. He also does these few things:

– He dresses confidently
– He pops his chest out just a fraction (not like the guy on the Bonds Singlet packet)
– He looks people in the eye

Out of these three, looking people in the eye is the hardest to do. To look into someone’s eye is the most vulnerable state you can put yourself in.

“The difference is that when you’re vulnerable, you connect with people better”

It also shows that you’ve got guts and allows you to enter their world. Okay, that’s wacky stuff and I may sound like I’ve read one too many “Power Of the Universe” type books. Take it or leave it chief.

 

2. Passion surrounds them. It pours out of their eyeballs!

Even the words I write demonstrate this. You can tell from everything I’m saying right now that passion pours out of me. I freaking love what I do and it shows even though you can’t see me or hear my voice. Okay, that’s a fraction creepy…enough about me.

This almighty bloke at work is charismatic because his values and beliefs are based on his passion. Passion is like a magnet according to science. When we see passion, it makes us start acting with more passion. You’re drawn to charisma in the same way because you want more of it.

There’s no point pretending you don’t like to be passionate because we all do. Sometimes, we just get lost and lose our passion for life or our career. That’s okay! None of us are perfect souls who don’t lose our way once in a while. I’m fucking lost more than I’m on track half the time.

Bottom-line: charismatic people are surrounded by passion. I don’t care if it’s collecting matchsticks or building sand castles – find something to get excited about and then show your passion for it.

 

3. They’re not vain: selfies are not their highest priority.

This charismatic chappy at work doesn’t spend half his days taking selfies of himself and then posting it on social media.

He doesn’t take photos of his food and then post it on social – he just eats it. He’d rather jump off a bridge than be a pretentious snob who’s insecure and has an inflated ego to compensate.

“The number one sign of a pretentious person vs a charismatic person is that they take credit for things they didn’t do”

Or they make things sound ten times bigger than they actually are in reality. Don’t fall for this trap young Indiana Jones. You’re better than that!

 

4. Expressing yourself through great stories

Storytelling is one of the many traits a charismatic person has. If you listen closely to their stories, you’ll notice they use strong phrases like “I know X to be true” instead of phrases like “I think,” or “I hope” which sounds weak.

Through stories, you can be: funny, vulnerable and share embarrassing moments. That’s what charismatic people do and they draw everyone in through their stories. As a side note, their stories don’t go on forever and they know how to get to the point.

Become a charismatic poet through stories about your experiences. Educate and inspire people around you and you’ll be acting charismatic by default.

 

5. Make other people feel comfortable around you

Not everyone is a hero and is comfortable being charismatic and confident. You can demonstrate charisma by learning to make others feel relaxed around you. Make other people the center of attention and let them feel special. There’s a subtle difference between charisma and hogging the conversation with your own bombastic, overpowering, unnecessary and selfish talk.

Back down; you’re not that big of a deal. Once you do that, you’ll have entered the universe of charisma.

 

6. A clear purpose and vision. In other words, they know why.

Part of what makes up the DNA of a charismatic person is their purpose or vision for their life. Quite simply, they know what they’re on this planet to do. They have a goal, it’s measurable, and they’ll stop at nothing until they achieve it.

To be in this state requires a certain sort of self-confidence that charismatic people have in spades. People seem to rally around a person who knows their purpose.

You can’t do anything and be motivated unless you know why. Without a why you’ll never build up enough momentum to reach any sort of peak performance. Mediocrity happens to us when we give up too easily. When we start a new pursuit for 4 weeks and then give up.

Map the seven seas of why you exist. Do a heap of self-reflection if you need to, to find this vision and bring it to the surface.

 

7. They look approachable

Most people look like they’re zombies when you walk past them and they almost look like they’re going to explode if you dare talk to them. That’s not charisma pal!

That unapproachable zombie look is called being scared, fearful and afraid due to a lack of self-awareness and a lack of self-improvement. It’s not the end of the world and it can be turned around.

The difference with charismatic people is one little, tiny thing: they smile. All you have to do is change one little thing – smile a bit more. Smiling is contagious and it makes people feel confident. It also makes you feel freaking amazing too!

 

8. They give more than anyone else and expect jack in return

This last one is the toughest trait of charismatic people. It sounds incredibly difficult and that’s because it is. We all have our own selfish desires that make us feel good, although only for a moment.

Charismatic people wow everyone around them by always going above and beyond to give. They either give time, money, knowledge or a listening ear to those who need it. The crazy, passionate, charismatic people even combine several of these to produce an outcome that can only be described as extraordinary.

Many of us do in fact give; the challenge is we expect something back. Worse, we even complain when we do an honorable act and get nothing in return. This is not how to play the game of life. This selfish behavior will make you very unhappy until you cut it the hell out!

“The secret to living is giving ” Tony Robbins

So let’s go over this one more time boss. To harness the superpower of giving that leads to charisma you must:

– Be prepared to give more than anybody else
– Expect nothing in return
– Ensure your own foolish and selfish desires are not front of mind every day

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

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Success Advice

The Real Reason Why Your Dreams Don’t Become a Reality According to ‘The 10x Rule’ by Grant Cardone

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the 10x rule

Everyone has dreams. We all want to make something of ourselves yet it’s only a tiny percentage of people ever follow through. The self-help world encourages us to “Think Big”, “Follow Your Passions”, “Live as if there was no such thing as failure” and it usually just leads to keeping people stuck in a dream state, wishing, hoping and fantasizing yet never actually moving forward.

Why is this? Thinking big is just one part of the equation. This missing piece in the jigsaw is a bias towards massive action. Big Dreams + Little Action = disappointment and frustration.

Thinking and dreaming big must match with the equal and equivalent amount of action for it to go anywhere. When you combine big thinking with massive action you will be surprised at how much you are capable of, once you tap into the power of momentum.

What stops most people from achieving their goals?

I’ve been reading Grant Cardone’s “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” and in his view success comes from taking 10 times more action than you previously anticipated.

What stops most people from achieving a goal is underestimating the time, effort and energy involved in completing the project. They don’t spend enough time listing the steps required to succeed, the adversity they will need to overcome to push things through and the price they must pay to attain the goal.

If the number one sticking point in goal attainment is a lack of action then it’s obvious that the solution is in massive action. So what happens is they give up at the first sign of frustration or disappointment.

“Never reduce a target. Instead increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses, and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams.” – Grant Cardone

When I look back on my own life, anything I have ever achieved that was worthwhile did take an extraordinary amount of effort. Anytime I have ever coasted or done a “normal” amount of work, I would fall short of my target and feel the pain of frustration and disappointment which lead to reducing my targets.

In “The 10 X Rule” Cardone talks about his own failures in business and how he bounced back; “I committed to making this work by increasing my efforts 10 times. And as soon as I did that, everything started to change – immediately. I went back into the marketplace with the right estimation of effort and started seeing results. Instead of making two to three calls a day, I started doing 20 to 30

Most people fail only because they are operating at the wrong degree of action. There are 4 degrees of action which you can choose from:

  1. Do Nothing
  2. Retreat
  3. Take Normal Levels of Action
  4. Take Massive Action

At the “do nothing” level people are just accepting what comes their way. They are not pushing themselves or motivated to improve any area of their lives.

Retreaters are those who have taken action, experienced some setbacks or failures and retreated back into “doing nothing”. Examples of this include “Most businesses fail anyway so I am going to give up”, “Marriages aren’t working out these days so I will stay single”, “Businesses aren’t employing so I am going to file for unemployment benefit”.

The third degree is normal levels of action which is usually considered adequate. Grant says this is the most dangerous level where most people blend in, never stand out and thus never achieve the real success they wanted.

Lastly there is massive action which Cardone states is our most natural state. This is where you burst forth with 10 times the action you previously anticipated. “The goal is to be seen, thought of and considered – in one way or another. Your only problem is obscurity not talent”.

Obscurity is your only problem not talent. I like that. I am sure you all know someone who is less capable than you but experiencing much more success than you are. Why? Because they are more known and fearlessly putting themselves “out there”. So which degree of action are you taking currently? And will you commit to taking 10x action?

“Regardless of which degree of action you operate in, they all require work in their own way.” – Grant Cardone

So why not set your goals and actions higher than you ever imagined because it is highly likely you are not only underestimating the time, energy and effort involved in your endeavour, you are also likely underestimating your own capabilities and potential. Set high goals and never stop fighting.

Share with us one goal you have for 2017, and how you plan on achieving it. Comment below so we can see!

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Success Advice

My Thoughts On Money After Being Both Rich And Poor

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I’ve been in financial situations where I couldn’t even afford a pizza.

I know what it’s like to have more money than you can spend. I know what it’s like to see your goals turn into cold hard cash.

Through these two extremes of poverty and wealth, I’ve learned a thing or two about money.

 

Your mind constructs money

Whether you feel rich or not has to do with your mind.

You can have $100 in your bank account and feel like the richest guy or girl in California. How rich you feel comes down to your internal programming. If you practice being grateful, then you’ll find yourself believing that you are already rich. You can have all the money this world has to offer and still feel poor.

“The time I felt the poorest was when I had the most money, but zero meaning for my life”

I always felt at this time in my life like I needed more. I always felt I wasn’t enough. When I went through the whole personal development transformation phase of my life, all of a sudden, just having money to buy a hot chocolate felt amazing!

Be careful what the world tells you about money. You get to decide the difference between rich vs. poor. The money you have in your bank account doesn’t answer this question for you.

 

Meaning Vs. Money

When I discovered a meaning for my life, suddenly money wasn’t as important. The dumb thing was that money started to find its way into my life again without me focusing on it. People were attracted to the meaning I had created for my life which then bought me more abundance.

My advice to anyone reading this is to focus on finding out the meaning of your life. If you can’t figure it out, then create one. Think about who you admire and the meaning they have for their life, and create something similar for yourself.

If you want to inspire people, then do it.
If you want to create a business that gives back, then do it.
If you want to write blog posts like this one to help people in life, then do it.

During the time I had more money than I knew what to do with, I had no idea what I was put on this Earth to do. I would import widget A, make some money, import widget B, and then start all over again. I felt like a robot repeating a pattern. At the end of the process, I got another couple of zeroes in my bank account.

Those zeros on the screen of my Internet banking got very boring, very quickly.

As soon as I found something that lit me up and helped others, the focus on seeing more zero’s on my Internet banking screen disappeared.

 

Im not saying money doesn’t matter

If you just read that Tim Denning thinks money doesn’t matter, then you didn’t get me.

Money does matter, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus. Your primary focus should be finding meaning which will lead you to something that self-motivates you. This self-motivating activity can then be monetized to give you the resources you need to live like food, shelter and maybe a vacation once in a while.

What I want you to feel is that your focus is on something other than money.

“Having been both rich and poor, I’ve mostly felt nothing at both extremes”

 

Meaning can also be found in life’s simple pleasures

I remember the feeling I got from reading Unlimited Power.
I remember what it was like when I fell in love for the first time.
I remember how cool it was to go on my very first overseas holiday.

All of these memories gave me a meaning for my life and made me feel something. Each memory created a variety of emotions that I can still remember as I reminisce on these pastimes.

Meaning came to me through the simplest of pleasures. I didn’t need a million dollar Lamborghini to make me feel like I was on top of the world. Lying on a beach with friends spending no money gave me far more than I could ever imagine.

If you’d told me this five years ago, I would have called you a liar. Having been both rich and poor, I now understand what meaning money gives me: not much.

 

Final words on money…

Focus on who you can become. Find or create a meaning for your life than transcends money.

Go beyond what society tells you about money. Most of it is a lie. Money will not give you meaning or make you happy.

Only you can create happiness and meaning for yourself.

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

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5 Powerful Lessons About Success From Highly Successful Mentors

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We can’t help it. When we read an interview with a high flying, successful person, we secretly compare ourselves to them with our mind making little mental notes. Their lives seem perfect, and they seem so poised and confident. I wish I could be like that. Why do they seem to have it all, while I am struggling? When will things ever go my way?

For the longest time, I too believed in these popular myths of success, until I met several CEOs who became my mentors. When I asked each one of them what is the one biggest lesson they would like to share, their answers were unexpected, powerful and humbling.

These are the 5 powerful and humbling lessons they shared about success:

1. Nobody has Their Stuff Together

Just when you least expect it, an obstacle pops up, threatening to derail you from your goal. And sometimes, the bad news just keeps coming, which kicks you in the gut and you feel ready to give up. In comparison, successful people seem to be blazing trails of success. It almost seems unfair. While they appear to be picture perfect, where nothing can go wrong, the truth of it is this:

Nobody has their stuff together. We see these crowning moments of glory. But we don’t see the private, vulnerable moments behind the scenes. The sleepless nights worrying about what to do, where a series of wrong decisions resulted in people getting laid off. The endless meals alone in yet another soulless hotel room, with no one to share the burden with, because they don’t have the time to make a relationship work.

Obstacles and problems will always exist, no matter who you are. However, the challenges appearing to each of us is unique, and help us grow beyond the level we are at. A successful life is not about a lack of challenges, it’s about navigating and growing through the challenges so that we continue evolving to become the fullest potential of who we are.

2. Uncertainty Never Disappears

Brimming with confidence and well spoken, they always seem to know exactly what to say, and what to do in any situation. They seem to be the last people on earth to flail and feel vulnerable.

While on the surface they appear to be confident, the struggle with not knowing what to do plagues them as much as us. This can be the uncertainty of making a project work, because they have never done it before or lacking the necessary experience.

They can be worried that by taking this on, they might be biting off more than they can chew and experience massive failure and disastrous consequences. Nonetheless, the difference for them is despite their fears, they say yes and go ahead.

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear and superstition.” – Bernard Beckett

3. Jump Before You Are Ready

Uncertainty and not knowing is a part of life. It never goes away. If you stay where you are, it feels safe and comfortable. But, it is a guarantee that you would not rise beyond where you are now if you don’t step out and make your move.

To take the leap of faith, your work through the uncertainty is the only way to grow. The fear of the unknown is not as scary as we make it out to be. All you have to do is to ask yourself “Do I believe I have what it takes to figure it out?” If your gut says yes, go for it.

4. It’s Not about External Motivation

Most successful people come with the traditional markers of success. Wealth. Status. A comfortable lifestyle. However, external motivation – the cars, the houses, the jewelry etc – can only motivate them so much.

Their motivation stems not from the outside – but from within themselves. It’s about their internal drive to be better thus building and expanding a grander vision of what they wish to create, and where they want to be.

That internal motivation is the driving force that pushes them through when things start to fall apart, because then it’s a battle within to overcome these setbacks and achieve their vision.

5. They Are Mental Ninja Masters

When everything that could go wrong, would go wrong, it’s natural to beat ourselves up. This negative feedback loop keeps replaying in our minds, and we start believing our negative self-talk, which threatens to spiral out of control and bring us down.

A few years ago, one of the CEOs I interviewed, Dave, was going through a particularly difficult time. Several major business deals fell through in quick succession. He emptied his life savings trying to keep things afloat, only for it to backfire and lost his life savings in the process.

He was faced with the real possibility of laying off hundreds of people at the company. Many lives were at stake here, and the pressure was on. He faltered, but only for a day.

He then rallied and continued to hustle. He hustled harder, stronger and faster than ever before. It was fascinating and impressive. What was his secret to bouncing back so fast from all the punches thrown at him?

He didn’t allow the negativity to control him. He controlled and directed his mind. Half the battle is with ourselves. We are often our own worst enemy with our negative self-talk.

Mastering control over your mind, instead of letting your mind control you is half the battle. Stop the negative self-talk when it happens. Redirect it towards positive action to achieve the outcome you desire.

“Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity of others.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Ready For Your Next Step?

Success is not out of reach. All it takes is showing up each day and having the courage to take one small step towards the direction of your goals. Your new life of freedom and possibility awaits.

How will you make sure to achieve the success you are looking for? Please comment below and let us know!

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Success Has Nothing To Do With Your iPhone Model Number.

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Success Has Nothing To Do With Your iPhone Model Number.

Recently, another new iPhone model was announced. Working in tech, people asked me when I’d be buying it. I told them probably not anytime soon, if at all.

“A piece of metal is never going to define my level of success and it shouldn’t define your success either”

Before you buy anything, think about why you’re making the purchase. We often make dumb decisions about buying stuff because we don’t think it through properly.

 

It’s a piece of metal

Before you have a giant orgasm over the new iPhone, remember that it’s just a chunk of metal. You’ve been using a chunk of metal as a phone for over a decade now. It’s not going to get your rocks off any more than the last phone you bought.

The new iPhone is not going to make love to you although it might remember your name and say it in some sexy, fake voice, so you feel like it’s your friend.

The iPhone is not your friend; it’s your enemy. A chunk of metal doesn’t define your success.

 

It doesn’t make your life better

If this chunk of metal – called an iPhone – really made our lives better then why are we more depressed than ever? A new phone is going to make you happy for about 3.1 seconds and then like a goldfish, you’ll have forgotten how privileged you are even to own one, as well as afford one, shortly after that.

Only you can make your life better by making better decisions. Choosing not to let material possessions own your life and your time is one way to make your life better. Say no to a new chunk of metal because it’s not making your life better.

 

Has anything really changed?

Between each of the iPhone models, it’s basically the same phone. Each time they change the screen size to indulge our ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) minds, but that’s about it. Think about it carefully.

 

That money, compounded, is more valuable

Read any of Warren Buffet’s or Tony Robbins books and you’ll see that the $1000 you shell out for a new iPhone is far better put towards investing. Invest in an index fund, invest in yourself, or use that $1000 to book a holiday so that you have something to look forward to and motivate you for the next six months.

The longer your money stays invested in one of the above, the more it compounds your results. Whether that is financially, personally or from a health point of you. Compounding wins every time.

“You don’t need a new chunk of metal; you need to invest instead”

 

Never follow the trends – create your own trend

Trends often fade away and a new iPhone is no different. Create your own trend. If everyone else is buying a new iPhone, then do the opposite. Don’t let marketers and technology companies tell you how to live your life. Live your life how you want to.

 

Are we more productive?

No freaking way. We’re more unproductive than ever and we consider way too many things because our ugly chunk of metal gives us unlimited opportunities to say yes to. Right now, your phone will allow you to book a tantric sex class that begins at 6 am somewhere near you if you really want.

You can literally learn anything at any time if you really want. My question to you is, does it really matter?

Even though you have unlimited options to be productive, you still procrastinate more than ever and so do I. We could be hyper-productive but we’re not and that’s okay. No chunk of metal is going to run your life for you and make you successful.

 

We don’t need even more distractions

My life already sucks because I get 101 notifications from WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger and my three email addresses. It’s a full-time job managing all of this and I don’t buy into it. I don’t need to be always contactable – I need a life.

I’m not a robot and I’m not answerable to anyone. Think about this: Are you a free human soul or do you need to be told what to do by your phone?

I’m seeing more human disconnection than ever. At work, it’s easier to call people that are sitting next to me than it is to have a face-to-face conversation. Face-to-face conversations have become a battle between the other person looking down at their phone and occasionally glancing up to look you in the eye.

“All of us are sexier than an ugly piece of metal and we deserved to be looked at!”

 

Will I also be adding a new Apple Watch to my setup as well?

Not in a million years amigo. A watch is strapped to me and tells me everything via a tiny little screen. Can you imagine being in an intimate moment with your significant other and the watch is flashing and beeping at you? It’s enough to ruin anyone’s romance time.

The Apple Watch reminds me of a bracelet that future prisoners will wear to track their movements. I don’t intend on wearing an Apple Watch so I can be a prisoner in my own life. Life is hard enough already without having to be chained to technology.

 

Lastly, I’m enjoying aeroplane mode a lot these days

I could buy a new iPhone but I just love aeroplane mode way too much these days. Having the world of social media switched off and not being “ONLINE” all the time has given me space to think. In these brief moments of thinking I’ve been able to:

– Write inspiring blog posts that have gone viral
– Fall in love again
– Work on my health
– Read books and gain new skills
– Socialise with friends
– Mentor young entrepreneurs in a startup accelerator

Through these list of activities, I’ve been able to create more success than I could ever have imagined on my useless chunk of metal called an iPhone.

So honestly guys and girls, when people ask me if I’m buying a new iPhone, all I can say is “No I’m not buying a new iPhone because my life is more important. The human race and changing the world is more important.”

I need time to change the world and space to think; the new iPhone can’t do this for me and it never will.

No chunk of metal should ever define you and your success.

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

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

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Richard Anderson

    Jun 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Wow, that is one deep article and takes some reading! When I look back at my career and learning process (I’m 53) I never gave any of this a thought. For me personally, I was fired by my enthusiasm for my craft and the new opportunities that lay ahead. This is an interesting piece for sure and I believe Maxwell Maltz’s ‘The New Psycho-Cybernertics’ and Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ add a clearer view of this complex subject for me.

  2. Rachel Hunter (TraderRach)

    May 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    The 3 steps of the Apprenticeship Phase describes the process to learn forex trading. I agree that many people take too long to get into the Active Mode out of fear. A comprehensive article thanks.

  3. Bakinson Olalekan

    May 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

    The very simple and careful delivery of this piece quickly brings to bare two things- confidence and assurance of success, if only one strictly adheres to these principles.

  4. dejiu

    May 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    WOW!
    That’s the best word to describe this article! You just gave ma a road map to become a Tycoon in any industry whatsoever! Thank you for the wonderful work!!

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Success Advice

The Super Power Of Charisma – How You Can Adopt It For Yourself

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There’s this dude at the office. He’s fucking unstoppable.

His shit don’t stink and everything he touches turns to gold. At least that’s what I used to think.

Really, in reality, he’s just charismatic.

That’s how he got the cool job, the hot wifey and why everyone wants to be friends with him including me.

What does he do? Let’s delve a little deeper and discuss the eight things that lead to being charismatic:

 

1. Being confident baby!

This dude at work has swag. He backs himself even if he has no freaking idea what’s going to go down homey. In a business context, people that are confident are proven to be more trustworthy.

We trust confident people because it’s infectious. We want to work and be around confident people because it feels good. When something feels good, we do it, and do it lots!

My buddy at work walks into the room and people shake his hand because his presence changes the game. He also does these few things:

– He dresses confidently
– He pops his chest out just a fraction (not like the guy on the Bonds Singlet packet)
– He looks people in the eye

Out of these three, looking people in the eye is the hardest to do. To look into someone’s eye is the most vulnerable state you can put yourself in.

“The difference is that when you’re vulnerable, you connect with people better”

It also shows that you’ve got guts and allows you to enter their world. Okay, that’s wacky stuff and I may sound like I’ve read one too many “Power Of the Universe” type books. Take it or leave it chief.

 

2. Passion surrounds them. It pours out of their eyeballs!

Even the words I write demonstrate this. You can tell from everything I’m saying right now that passion pours out of me. I freaking love what I do and it shows even though you can’t see me or hear my voice. Okay, that’s a fraction creepy…enough about me.

This almighty bloke at work is charismatic because his values and beliefs are based on his passion. Passion is like a magnet according to science. When we see passion, it makes us start acting with more passion. You’re drawn to charisma in the same way because you want more of it.

There’s no point pretending you don’t like to be passionate because we all do. Sometimes, we just get lost and lose our passion for life or our career. That’s okay! None of us are perfect souls who don’t lose our way once in a while. I’m fucking lost more than I’m on track half the time.

Bottom-line: charismatic people are surrounded by passion. I don’t care if it’s collecting matchsticks or building sand castles – find something to get excited about and then show your passion for it.

 

3. They’re not vain: selfies are not their highest priority.

This charismatic chappy at work doesn’t spend half his days taking selfies of himself and then posting it on social media.

He doesn’t take photos of his food and then post it on social – he just eats it. He’d rather jump off a bridge than be a pretentious snob who’s insecure and has an inflated ego to compensate.

“The number one sign of a pretentious person vs a charismatic person is that they take credit for things they didn’t do”

Or they make things sound ten times bigger than they actually are in reality. Don’t fall for this trap young Indiana Jones. You’re better than that!

 

4. Expressing yourself through great stories

Storytelling is one of the many traits a charismatic person has. If you listen closely to their stories, you’ll notice they use strong phrases like “I know X to be true” instead of phrases like “I think,” or “I hope” which sounds weak.

Through stories, you can be: funny, vulnerable and share embarrassing moments. That’s what charismatic people do and they draw everyone in through their stories. As a side note, their stories don’t go on forever and they know how to get to the point.

Become a charismatic poet through stories about your experiences. Educate and inspire people around you and you’ll be acting charismatic by default.

 

5. Make other people feel comfortable around you

Not everyone is a hero and is comfortable being charismatic and confident. You can demonstrate charisma by learning to make others feel relaxed around you. Make other people the center of attention and let them feel special. There’s a subtle difference between charisma and hogging the conversation with your own bombastic, overpowering, unnecessary and selfish talk.

Back down; you’re not that big of a deal. Once you do that, you’ll have entered the universe of charisma.

 

6. A clear purpose and vision. In other words, they know why.

Part of what makes up the DNA of a charismatic person is their purpose or vision for their life. Quite simply, they know what they’re on this planet to do. They have a goal, it’s measurable, and they’ll stop at nothing until they achieve it.

To be in this state requires a certain sort of self-confidence that charismatic people have in spades. People seem to rally around a person who knows their purpose.

You can’t do anything and be motivated unless you know why. Without a why you’ll never build up enough momentum to reach any sort of peak performance. Mediocrity happens to us when we give up too easily. When we start a new pursuit for 4 weeks and then give up.

Map the seven seas of why you exist. Do a heap of self-reflection if you need to, to find this vision and bring it to the surface.

 

7. They look approachable

Most people look like they’re zombies when you walk past them and they almost look like they’re going to explode if you dare talk to them. That’s not charisma pal!

That unapproachable zombie look is called being scared, fearful and afraid due to a lack of self-awareness and a lack of self-improvement. It’s not the end of the world and it can be turned around.

The difference with charismatic people is one little, tiny thing: they smile. All you have to do is change one little thing – smile a bit more. Smiling is contagious and it makes people feel confident. It also makes you feel freaking amazing too!

 

8. They give more than anyone else and expect jack in return

This last one is the toughest trait of charismatic people. It sounds incredibly difficult and that’s because it is. We all have our own selfish desires that make us feel good, although only for a moment.

Charismatic people wow everyone around them by always going above and beyond to give. They either give time, money, knowledge or a listening ear to those who need it. The crazy, passionate, charismatic people even combine several of these to produce an outcome that can only be described as extraordinary.

Many of us do in fact give; the challenge is we expect something back. Worse, we even complain when we do an honorable act and get nothing in return. This is not how to play the game of life. This selfish behavior will make you very unhappy until you cut it the hell out!

“The secret to living is giving ” Tony Robbins

So let’s go over this one more time boss. To harness the superpower of giving that leads to charisma you must:

– Be prepared to give more than anybody else
– Expect nothing in return
– Ensure your own foolish and selfish desires are not front of mind every day

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

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The Real Reason Why Your Dreams Don’t Become a Reality According to ‘The 10x Rule’ by Grant Cardone

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Everyone has dreams. We all want to make something of ourselves yet it’s only a tiny percentage of people ever follow through. The self-help world encourages us to “Think Big”, “Follow Your Passions”, “Live as if there was no such thing as failure” and it usually just leads to keeping people stuck in a dream state, wishing, hoping and fantasizing yet never actually moving forward.

Why is this? Thinking big is just one part of the equation. This missing piece in the jigsaw is a bias towards massive action. Big Dreams + Little Action = disappointment and frustration.

Thinking and dreaming big must match with the equal and equivalent amount of action for it to go anywhere. When you combine big thinking with massive action you will be surprised at how much you are capable of, once you tap into the power of momentum.

What stops most people from achieving their goals?

I’ve been reading Grant Cardone’s “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” and in his view success comes from taking 10 times more action than you previously anticipated.

What stops most people from achieving a goal is underestimating the time, effort and energy involved in completing the project. They don’t spend enough time listing the steps required to succeed, the adversity they will need to overcome to push things through and the price they must pay to attain the goal.

If the number one sticking point in goal attainment is a lack of action then it’s obvious that the solution is in massive action. So what happens is they give up at the first sign of frustration or disappointment.

“Never reduce a target. Instead increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses, and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams.” – Grant Cardone

When I look back on my own life, anything I have ever achieved that was worthwhile did take an extraordinary amount of effort. Anytime I have ever coasted or done a “normal” amount of work, I would fall short of my target and feel the pain of frustration and disappointment which lead to reducing my targets.

In “The 10 X Rule” Cardone talks about his own failures in business and how he bounced back; “I committed to making this work by increasing my efforts 10 times. And as soon as I did that, everything started to change – immediately. I went back into the marketplace with the right estimation of effort and started seeing results. Instead of making two to three calls a day, I started doing 20 to 30

Most people fail only because they are operating at the wrong degree of action. There are 4 degrees of action which you can choose from:

  1. Do Nothing
  2. Retreat
  3. Take Normal Levels of Action
  4. Take Massive Action

At the “do nothing” level people are just accepting what comes their way. They are not pushing themselves or motivated to improve any area of their lives.

Retreaters are those who have taken action, experienced some setbacks or failures and retreated back into “doing nothing”. Examples of this include “Most businesses fail anyway so I am going to give up”, “Marriages aren’t working out these days so I will stay single”, “Businesses aren’t employing so I am going to file for unemployment benefit”.

The third degree is normal levels of action which is usually considered adequate. Grant says this is the most dangerous level where most people blend in, never stand out and thus never achieve the real success they wanted.

Lastly there is massive action which Cardone states is our most natural state. This is where you burst forth with 10 times the action you previously anticipated. “The goal is to be seen, thought of and considered – in one way or another. Your only problem is obscurity not talent”.

Obscurity is your only problem not talent. I like that. I am sure you all know someone who is less capable than you but experiencing much more success than you are. Why? Because they are more known and fearlessly putting themselves “out there”. So which degree of action are you taking currently? And will you commit to taking 10x action?

“Regardless of which degree of action you operate in, they all require work in their own way.” – Grant Cardone

So why not set your goals and actions higher than you ever imagined because it is highly likely you are not only underestimating the time, energy and effort involved in your endeavour, you are also likely underestimating your own capabilities and potential. Set high goals and never stop fighting.

Share with us one goal you have for 2017, and how you plan on achieving it. Comment below so we can see!

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Success Advice

My Thoughts On Money After Being Both Rich And Poor

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I’ve been in financial situations where I couldn’t even afford a pizza.

I know what it’s like to have more money than you can spend. I know what it’s like to see your goals turn into cold hard cash.

Through these two extremes of poverty and wealth, I’ve learned a thing or two about money.

 

Your mind constructs money

Whether you feel rich or not has to do with your mind.

You can have $100 in your bank account and feel like the richest guy or girl in California. How rich you feel comes down to your internal programming. If you practice being grateful, then you’ll find yourself believing that you are already rich. You can have all the money this world has to offer and still feel poor.

“The time I felt the poorest was when I had the most money, but zero meaning for my life”

I always felt at this time in my life like I needed more. I always felt I wasn’t enough. When I went through the whole personal development transformation phase of my life, all of a sudden, just having money to buy a hot chocolate felt amazing!

Be careful what the world tells you about money. You get to decide the difference between rich vs. poor. The money you have in your bank account doesn’t answer this question for you.

 

Meaning Vs. Money

When I discovered a meaning for my life, suddenly money wasn’t as important. The dumb thing was that money started to find its way into my life again without me focusing on it. People were attracted to the meaning I had created for my life which then bought me more abundance.

My advice to anyone reading this is to focus on finding out the meaning of your life. If you can’t figure it out, then create one. Think about who you admire and the meaning they have for their life, and create something similar for yourself.

If you want to inspire people, then do it.
If you want to create a business that gives back, then do it.
If you want to write blog posts like this one to help people in life, then do it.

During the time I had more money than I knew what to do with, I had no idea what I was put on this Earth to do. I would import widget A, make some money, import widget B, and then start all over again. I felt like a robot repeating a pattern. At the end of the process, I got another couple of zeroes in my bank account.

Those zeros on the screen of my Internet banking got very boring, very quickly.

As soon as I found something that lit me up and helped others, the focus on seeing more zero’s on my Internet banking screen disappeared.

 

Im not saying money doesn’t matter

If you just read that Tim Denning thinks money doesn’t matter, then you didn’t get me.

Money does matter, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus. Your primary focus should be finding meaning which will lead you to something that self-motivates you. This self-motivating activity can then be monetized to give you the resources you need to live like food, shelter and maybe a vacation once in a while.

What I want you to feel is that your focus is on something other than money.

“Having been both rich and poor, I’ve mostly felt nothing at both extremes”

 

Meaning can also be found in life’s simple pleasures

I remember the feeling I got from reading Unlimited Power.
I remember what it was like when I fell in love for the first time.
I remember how cool it was to go on my very first overseas holiday.

All of these memories gave me a meaning for my life and made me feel something. Each memory created a variety of emotions that I can still remember as I reminisce on these pastimes.

Meaning came to me through the simplest of pleasures. I didn’t need a million dollar Lamborghini to make me feel like I was on top of the world. Lying on a beach with friends spending no money gave me far more than I could ever imagine.

If you’d told me this five years ago, I would have called you a liar. Having been both rich and poor, I now understand what meaning money gives me: not much.

 

Final words on money…

Focus on who you can become. Find or create a meaning for your life than transcends money.

Go beyond what society tells you about money. Most of it is a lie. Money will not give you meaning or make you happy.

Only you can create happiness and meaning for yourself.

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

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Success Advice

5 Powerful Lessons About Success From Highly Successful Mentors

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successful mentors

We can’t help it. When we read an interview with a high flying, successful person, we secretly compare ourselves to them with our mind making little mental notes. Their lives seem perfect, and they seem so poised and confident. I wish I could be like that. Why do they seem to have it all, while I am struggling? When will things ever go my way?

For the longest time, I too believed in these popular myths of success, until I met several CEOs who became my mentors. When I asked each one of them what is the one biggest lesson they would like to share, their answers were unexpected, powerful and humbling.

These are the 5 powerful and humbling lessons they shared about success:

1. Nobody has Their Stuff Together

Just when you least expect it, an obstacle pops up, threatening to derail you from your goal. And sometimes, the bad news just keeps coming, which kicks you in the gut and you feel ready to give up. In comparison, successful people seem to be blazing trails of success. It almost seems unfair. While they appear to be picture perfect, where nothing can go wrong, the truth of it is this:

Nobody has their stuff together. We see these crowning moments of glory. But we don’t see the private, vulnerable moments behind the scenes. The sleepless nights worrying about what to do, where a series of wrong decisions resulted in people getting laid off. The endless meals alone in yet another soulless hotel room, with no one to share the burden with, because they don’t have the time to make a relationship work.

Obstacles and problems will always exist, no matter who you are. However, the challenges appearing to each of us is unique, and help us grow beyond the level we are at. A successful life is not about a lack of challenges, it’s about navigating and growing through the challenges so that we continue evolving to become the fullest potential of who we are.

2. Uncertainty Never Disappears

Brimming with confidence and well spoken, they always seem to know exactly what to say, and what to do in any situation. They seem to be the last people on earth to flail and feel vulnerable.

While on the surface they appear to be confident, the struggle with not knowing what to do plagues them as much as us. This can be the uncertainty of making a project work, because they have never done it before or lacking the necessary experience.

They can be worried that by taking this on, they might be biting off more than they can chew and experience massive failure and disastrous consequences. Nonetheless, the difference for them is despite their fears, they say yes and go ahead.

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile. It can be blackened by fear and superstition.” – Bernard Beckett

3. Jump Before You Are Ready

Uncertainty and not knowing is a part of life. It never goes away. If you stay where you are, it feels safe and comfortable. But, it is a guarantee that you would not rise beyond where you are now if you don’t step out and make your move.

To take the leap of faith, your work through the uncertainty is the only way to grow. The fear of the unknown is not as scary as we make it out to be. All you have to do is to ask yourself “Do I believe I have what it takes to figure it out?” If your gut says yes, go for it.

4. It’s Not about External Motivation

Most successful people come with the traditional markers of success. Wealth. Status. A comfortable lifestyle. However, external motivation – the cars, the houses, the jewelry etc – can only motivate them so much.

Their motivation stems not from the outside – but from within themselves. It’s about their internal drive to be better thus building and expanding a grander vision of what they wish to create, and where they want to be.

That internal motivation is the driving force that pushes them through when things start to fall apart, because then it’s a battle within to overcome these setbacks and achieve their vision.

5. They Are Mental Ninja Masters

When everything that could go wrong, would go wrong, it’s natural to beat ourselves up. This negative feedback loop keeps replaying in our minds, and we start believing our negative self-talk, which threatens to spiral out of control and bring us down.

A few years ago, one of the CEOs I interviewed, Dave, was going through a particularly difficult time. Several major business deals fell through in quick succession. He emptied his life savings trying to keep things afloat, only for it to backfire and lost his life savings in the process.

He was faced with the real possibility of laying off hundreds of people at the company. Many lives were at stake here, and the pressure was on. He faltered, but only for a day.

He then rallied and continued to hustle. He hustled harder, stronger and faster than ever before. It was fascinating and impressive. What was his secret to bouncing back so fast from all the punches thrown at him?

He didn’t allow the negativity to control him. He controlled and directed his mind. Half the battle is with ourselves. We are often our own worst enemy with our negative self-talk.

Mastering control over your mind, instead of letting your mind control you is half the battle. Stop the negative self-talk when it happens. Redirect it towards positive action to achieve the outcome you desire.

“Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity of others.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Ready For Your Next Step?

Success is not out of reach. All it takes is showing up each day and having the courage to take one small step towards the direction of your goals. Your new life of freedom and possibility awaits.

How will you make sure to achieve the success you are looking for? Please comment below and let us know!

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