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The 7 Keys To Incredible Life Success

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The 7 Keys To Incredible Life Success

There was a time in my life, the majority of my youth, when I was a slacker whose primary skill was to find new ways to avoid anything worthwhile. I vividly remember one semester in school that summed up those years: I took only 9 credit hours and played Halo 3 for the whole semester. Literally, I did little else besides play that game. It was just a terrible waste to devote that much time to a video game. I justified it because I was “making progress” by being in college.

I’ve changed so much since then, and my internal change has created a very different set of results in business and in my personal life.

I’m relatively young at 29 years old and I’ve written two books, one of which has become an international bestseller. My book, Mini Habits, has been the #1 selling self help book in the United States and South Korea, and it’s being translated into a dozen languages.

This bit of success means so much to me because of where I came from. And if the guy who lived to play Halo 3 for several months straight can actually contribute something useful to the world, I believe everyone can improve!

These 7 things are the specific changes I made that created more success in my life:

 

1. Don’t ask what you feel like doing, plan to do things and do them

We naturally like to do what we are motivated to do, but when our motivation is lacking, it requires willpower to overcome that and do it anyway.

Everyone loves and prefers motivation. If you could have an unlimited amount of one or the other, motivation would be the choice. Wanting to scrub the toilet? Wanting to organize your tax papers? Wanting to go to the gym? Wanting to do grueling research for a project? Fantastic! …but it’s not going to happen every time or even very often. You can never count on feeling like doing challenging things. I’ve seen that successful people are those who do their work even on “down” days.

The way in which you “self-talk” reveals deep-seated beliefs. Do you find yourself thinking of what to do based on what you feel like doing? If you come into some free time, do you “float” into what’s most appealing? If so, you’re relying on motivation. If, however, you think about what tasks you plan to do without much thought given to how “ready” you feel to do them, you’re relying on willpower.

Motivation is a fantastic thing, but you shouldn’t require it of yourself to do things that matter. Do things that matter for their own sake!

The best part about relying on willpower is that it’s like a muscle. Psychologist Roy Baumeister has observed this in multiple studies. Use your willpower more, and it will get stronger. With practice, you’ll develop humanity’s most important skill: being able to do what you really want to do.

 

The rock quotes
 

2. Trust in proven processes; ignore circumstances and results

What has happened (results) and where you are now (circumstances) are irrelevant. What you do next matters. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of submitting to your environment and letting it push you around, or the self-fulfilling trap of assuming that the past will repeat itself. Thankfully, it’s also somewhat easy to not do this and follow proven processes instead.

My best personal example of this was when I started doing one push-up a day (my first mini habit). Circumstantially, I was out of shape, lazy, and felt defeated. I had poor results from prior efforts to change. I was stuck in every way. But the process of doing one push-up a day was powerful beyond its appearance—it changed my brain as it became habitual. It pulled me out of my lazy funk and gave me a foundation for exercising that enabled me to go to the gym consistently. Today, two years later, I exercise almost every day.

This is the power of process: I’m still getting results more than two years after those one push-up days! Processes, when repeated to become habitual, can last you a lifetime. So trust in the good ones like mini habits! Don’t listen to thoughts like “one minute of piano practice every day won’t accomplish much,” because it WILL.

 

3. Take smart risks with low downside and high upside

When you’re young, take risks. When you’re old, still take risks. We’re on this planet for a very limited time, and not taking risks means you’re living a boring life if nothing else. Not all risks are equal, however, so it’s important to distinguish between playing roulette and investing in a winner.

It’s simple: choose risks with high upside and low downside. This is also the basis for smart stock investments. If you choose a strong company with a stock that appears undervalued, its apparent upside seems greater than its apparent downside because the market has already undervalued it. It’s like a compressed spring: it could be pushed down further, but it’s more likely to go higher.

Here are examples of high upside and low downside risks:

  • Ask for something: Will you go to dinner with me? Will you publish my book? May I have a free foot massage? Hearing “no” is nothing to fear, and hearing yes will have you and your just-massaged feet smiling. Yes, feet can smile, but only after being massaged.
  • Bootstrap a business: We have the internet! Starting a business no longer requires massive amounts of starting capital. You can “bootstrap” your business, which means you find inexpensive ways to accomplish your business goals. Marketing is a key example; it’s “free” for me to write this post… other than the blood I sweat in the writing process. I spent less than $1,500 to create my first book, which has earned me well over 100 times that amount (one wouldn’t expect this kind of return, but this is the high upside potential I’m talking about). If you don’t want to quit your job to risk entrepreneurship, why not bootstrap a business on the side and see what happens? Wouldn’t that be exciting? If it fails, you still have a job! The “I quit my job, started a business, and it took off” story is romanticized. For most people with families to feed, that’s an example of unacceptable risk.
  • Talk to people: Much of life involves networking with others for personal and business relationships. We may avoid speaking to others if we think they won’t like us. But hey, some people might not like you if you keep to yourself. I remember in high school I was told a particular person whom I had never spoken to thought I was “stuck up,” but I was just shy. You’ll be surprised at the friends and business connections you can make by just being a bit more outgoing.
  • Create things: I’m a writer, so I love to create books and blog posts. It only costs my time, so the downside (if the world hates it) is minimal. Actually, the downside is zero, because I enjoy writing and it’s beneficial for me to practice it. The upside has changed my life! For you, maybe it’s attempting to create furniture, music, or new clothing styles. When you create something, you only pay with your time and the cost of materials for a potentially high reward; one of the best parts of creating something is the feeling of accomplishment, a reward you’ll get every time!
  • Try something new: I get it. You already know watching Seinfeld reruns and eating ice cream is fun. But what if you explored the maze that is Venice? What if you ate crocodile meat? What if you spent a whole day complimenting people? What if you tried pilates or archery or a combination of the two? We all have dormant passions that are waiting for us to find them!

“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.” – George S. Patton

4. Be consistent, and good things will happen

I used to aim for the most impressive goals, and I was below average. Everything changed when I started my unimpressive mini habits of doing one push-up a day, writing 50 words per day, and reading two pages per day. Practicing these small behaviors allowed me to be remarkably consistent. No single day was mind-blowing, but every day was a success that built upon the last.

Anyone and everyone can write 50 words a day, which is about a paragraph. If you do that for 2 years, you’d have a short book of 36,500 words! And that’s only if you never decide to do more than that. This goes along with showing up on the “down” days. Successful people always show up, even if they know they’re not at their best.

 

5. Know when to bunt and when to swing for the home run

Learn to bunt before you try to hit home runs. In other words, mastering the basics first can fuel grander efforts later.

I started a blog and practiced writing over 200 articles before I wrote a book to sell. Now that I have more followers and improved writing skills, I’m better equipped to swing for home runs, which in this case means investing more money (taking more risk) and making products. Don’t be afraid to bunt while you’re learning and then when you’ve honed your craft, swing for the fences!

 

6. Accept that your success isn’t 100% up to you

I love people, but I have been as much as a lone wolf as you can be when it comes to my career. That is to say, I’m terrible at networking! I’ve been fortunate enough that some people have networked with me, and have greatly helped me. And without people to read my blog posts and books, I would have nothing. It’s humbling.

This goes for every person alive. What if nobody cared to watch Michael Jordan play basketball? What would happen to Chipotle if people didn’t need to eat anymore? I’d probably still eat there, but that’s beside the point. Success is impossible without the assistance or interest of other people.

I find this perspective is helpful in two ways. First, it points to the importance of seeking help when you need it (useful for business and personal life). Second, it keeps you grounded in good times and bad times. Back when I was an unemployed college graduate and nobody would hire me, I realized that it wasn’t completely my fault that nobody would give me a chance, which helped me feel like less of a failure in what was a difficult time. Now that times are better, I understand that I had help getting here and will need more if I am to continue to ascend.

So whether you’re at the bottom, the middle, or the top of the mountain, knowing that you need others to reach or stay at the top can help you in all phases of your journey.

 

7. Build up your self-efficacy

As one of the most underrated self-improvement concepts, developing a healthy sense of self-efficacy can change your life. If you don’t already know, self-efficacy is your belief in your ability to influence outcomes. It’s a combination of self-confidence and trusting in the process: it means you believe in yourself and that your efforts will be the difference between winning or losing.

Self-efficacy can be explained in a mindset:

  • Low self-efficacy -“Going to go to the gym today won’t make much of a difference.”
  • High self-efficacy – “If I consistently go to the gym, I will improve my health and physique!”

High self-efficacy means you trust yourself. You trust what you’re doing will matter. Without it, life is hopeless. With it, you can do amazing things. The old me playing Halo? He didn’t really think his behavior mattered. He just existed and tried to enjoy it. The new me has learned that my decisions, especially the small ones, create vastly different results.

If you’ve been a serial goal quitter, you will struggle to have self-efficacy. Every time you fail to reach a goal, your self-efficacy naturally drops. Why? A failed goal pursuit is a piece of evidence that you do not influence outcomes in your life. You tried to do something and not much happened. It’s hard to argue with that when it happens repeatedly. Successfully completing a goal shows that you do influence outcomes.

What is the best way to build self-efficacy, then? Rather than setting goals that you might not reach, try setting goals that you can absolutely crush. Repeat this often! It’s smarter to attempt two push-ups 50 times than to attempt 100 push-ups one time because it’s a high chance at 50 wins versus a much lower chance at one win. At first, your self-efficacy might be like this: “I can meet this requirement every day with just a bit of effort.” Later, it will grow into something more significant: “I actually feel a bit stronger from doing these push-ups every day. This is working!” And from that point, it can snowball further into even better things.

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This doesn’t mean to dream small. I aim to redefine entertainment, but I employ these small steps as my productivity weapon of choice.

These 7 factors have been the difference between “Halo 3 Stephen” and “Bestselling Author Stephen.” I hope you found something useful in this to apply to your life and I wish you great success in your pursuits.

Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below! What is the one thing that is stopping you from being successful?

Check out my book "Mini Habits" to discover the life-changing strategy of taking small, daily actions. Mini Habits has sold 80,000+ copies worldwide. I'm Stephen Guise, the founder of Deep Existence, a blog about focusing, habits, and the power of small steps. Join Deep Existence to gain access to more than 50 exclusive articles, download 40 "focus wallpapers," and read my stress management book for free!

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Ryan Jones

    Jun 16, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Been in the internet marketing business for a while myself and there is definitely a learning curve for new marketers online. Will have to share these tips with my readers too.

  2. Ahmed Ali

    May 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you Stephen! This article is exactly what I need to hear at this chapter of my life.

  3. Sachin

    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Very well said. I will apply this in my life too. 🙂

  4. Jay Sifford

    Dec 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This is a great read. Thanks so much. I realized that I’m already doing these things and, believe me, my life is great… not perfect, but great. I enjoyed the reinforcement. While reading this, I thought back to conversations between my brother and my mother. She told me that he would ask “Where did Jay come from? He’s not like us.” I took that as a compliment.
    After several “false starts” in careers, by doing the things you’ve outlined here, I’m successful and happy with my landscape design profession. I’ve also been writing for several years now. I always wanted to, but just didn’t know how to start. I wouldn’t trade those painful “false starts” for anything, because, even though they appeared to be dead ends, they provided lessons and building blocks for me that I use today.
    I could go on, but won’t. Again, thank you.

  5. aspecialist

    Nov 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    This is really interesting to read. Hitting goals and achieving success depend on our course of actions and thinking. You will not know what you can achieve unless you give a shot and really work for it. There are lot of meaningful things that we can do and goals that we can achieve, and we were given the power to choose our path .

  6. Samantha Driscoll

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I found your article really interesting, from the perspective I am embarking on a new journey setting up my own business which has been a learning curve. Thank you

  7. Deepanshu

    Sep 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

    One of the best post I have ever read. I have read huge no of self help post. But this one is my favorite post.
    Thanks

  8. Stephen Guise

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:44 am

    You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

  9. Matt

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:11 am

    The description for #6 actually contradicts the headline. You are in fact responsible for your success or failure by making the effort to network. So while the people you network with will help you get to where you want to go, YOU are still responsible for going out and meeting those people.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

      There is no contradiction.

      Understanding that your success isn’t 100% in your hands gives you a superior perspective: it makes you more resilient and more willing to network or ask for help. If you believed success was 100% up to you, you’d be far more likely to get discouraged (such as when your best effort fails) and less likely to ask for help when you need it most.

  10. Linda Salloum

    Sep 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Hi stephen ,
    Thank you for a great article . I really do hear you and like yourself I was that young person who was lazy and shy and every day make plans to do something productive but never got round to it. I will try your mini habits because I am desperate to change my life before its too late. Lilly

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:29 am

      Mini habits turned my life around. Most of the 7 keys I listed are in line with the mini habit strategy. My big turnaround started with one push-up per day! Good luck, Lilly!

  11. Lonell M. Holliday

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Great article! Steve.. Very great artical.
    I had to read it twice and take down notes. 50 Words a day! self-efficacy. Man I got it..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. Give it a try!

  12. Ernie A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Beautiful! You have an awesome story man and these are great pearls of wisdom. I’m in the process of writing my first book and your advice has been key in making progress.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:31 am

      I appreciate that, Ernie! I’ve written two books, and I wrote them both by aiming for 50 words a day. It’s more powerful than it seems. 🙂

  13. A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    This is a very interesting article.

    At the moment I am trying to establish a business which I know there is a lot of potential and have put some good hours into it. Had some knock backs but not gave up on it

    However I also have something else that I would like to do. That are not related .

    If my business does kick on then I can in some capacity do what I really desire in some aspect. If it doesn’t then I have to walk away from one.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Best of luck with your business. If this one doesn’t work out, you can always try again. I had a failed business before I started writing books.

  14. Roxanne

    Sep 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Wow Stephen, I’m so grateful I read your article. I am the queen of the non “Follow Through”. I fail repeatedly to finish anything I start. Or I have great plans in my mind but never start them. after reading and rereading your article, it makes complete sense to me, my behavior that is.. I also love words, I love to write, I have started the same idea for a book several times, I get 2 pages written and I’m so critical of my writing that I quit..writing is only one example of many things I have quit, a lot do to being so critical about myself and the feeling that “it should have been better”, so if I can’t get it perfect what’s the point of continuing,this kind of self defeat talk going on in my head… but you have really opened up my mind to my real issue’s of what I call the “Failure of Follow Through. ” Thanks so much for getting it and putting yourself out there to help others….I’m going to read your book Mini- Habits asap…. thanks

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:37 am

      Roxanne, you might actually benefit more from my second book! It’s called, “How to Be an Imperfectionist” and it directly addresses the issue you’re describing. The solutions I suggest in the book are in Mini Habit form. If you’re interested to read both books, it works best to read Mini Habits first.

      Mini Habits works as a general solution for perfectionism, and How to Be an Imperfectionist has direct solutions for the different aspects of it, such as unrealistic expectations, need for approval, concern over mistakes, and so on.

  15. Psimatupang

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Wow.. This is so wonderful. Thank you.

    Well, what stopping me from success (reaching my dreams) is something that happening inside me. I am a student, when others talk about something i have no idea what or something i haven’t learnt it kinda makes me feel small..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:41 am

      There’s nothing wrong with ignorance. We’re all ignorant of certain things. I used to be afraid to ask questions because it would expose my ignorance, but I realized the more I asked questions when I didn’t know things, the less ignorant I’d be. The slight potential embarrassment is definitely worth bearing, and people are usually happy to teach you what they know.

  16. Steve Jordan

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Excellent article, thank you.

  17. Ankur Agarwal

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Hi Stephen, its a good article and its nice to read your thoughts.
    Just to share, I have been going through the low self efficacy phase. I tried few things but didn’t work out.
    so going by your words, I will start on doing mini habits of writing 50 words a day because I also like to write.
    Will surely share my thoughts with you.

  18. Nikolai Westall

    Sep 8, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Thank you! Awesome stuff 🙂

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Success Advice

2 Ways To End Suffering Forever.

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This year I have learned so much. I’ve learned that we all suffer no matter what. No one can avoid it. That’s not what I want to share with you though. What I want to tell you is that you have the power to end suffering.

I have proven it in my own life. We don’t need to suffer. We can end it all and the silly thing is it’s so simple. I do not want you to avoid this advice any longer. I want you to use it even if you think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo.

Here are the two ways I’ve found to end suffering forever:

 

1. Find a way to give to other people.

You only suffer when life is all about you and your success. Once you move from being all about you, into a state of mind that is focused on giving, your problems become insignificant.

I had a couple of situations this year that have nearly knocked me flat on my ass. One was my romantic life falling to pieces and the other was my career collapsing. When both these events occurred, I used giving to other people as the way out of the maze that my mind created.

The moment suffering begun, I went straight to finding ways to serve other people. I helped friends with their businesses, I spoke at events to inspire people, I did some volunteering and I doubled down on my blogging so I could inspire as many people as possible.

Shifting the focus away from what was wrong and using my focus to give to others ended the suffering.

“There wasn’t time to suffer because the purpose of my life during those months was far bigger than me and my stupid life challenges. Giving to others gave me a way to find happiness when I probably would have hidden away and suffered in silence”

Seeing the solutions to other people’s problems and sharing them, gave me a way to put my career and relationships into perspective.

Giving is the example you need when times get tough and things get complicated. You suffer the most when you get stuck in your head and repeat the pattern of telling yourself how wrong your circumstances are.

Suffering can make you depressed, feel lonely, become selfish, go into a downward spiral and take away everything that’s good in your life.

Finding ways to give on the other hand, can cure all of those problems. I know it sounds so cliché what I’m saying but it surprises me how many people never use this strategy. Like I always say: the answers we seek are right in front of our nose.

Next time you feel yourself suffering, get out of your head and try this strategy.

 

 

2. Practice gratitude.

Okay, I thought this strategy was so dumb when I discovered it. It’s so obvious and it sounds way too easy. I mean how can writing down a few things you’re grateful for really end your suffering?

I mean you could lie to yourself and pretend that you’re grateful for something when you’re not. Well, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning. When I was suffering this year, I started writing down three things each day that I was grateful for.

In the first week, I lied about things I was grateful for and found the exercise completely ridiculous. This advice is so common that I decided to persist with this ridiculous self-help hack anyway.

What I found as I kept doing it was that your brain makes a shift subconsciously. Instead of being pissed off and suffering, your brain has to work extra hard to find three things every day to be grateful for.

To make this habit work even better I forced my brain to describe in detail each thing I was grateful for and ideally why. Some days sucked so bad that I thought I would never find three things. Once the challenge became a must, I spent my days working my butt off trying to find things I was grateful for.

While doing various activities during the day, I’d find moments when I was grateful for something and stop. I’d stop and see how I felt at that moment and I would have a mini celebration because I knew I had something for my gratitude list.

Then I tried to aim for five things each day instead of three. This shifted my focus even more. I should have been suffering but because I was forcing myself to see good things that were happening to me, I was distracted.

As I said earlier, this new habit seemed so dumb at the beginning. Once you really do it for a while, you see how it has the power to end suffering. You can’t be pissed off and be grateful at the same time. So, choose gratitude and then your suffering will be sidelined, and in my case, forgotten about.

 

***Life doesn’t need to be full of low points***

The suffering that we all experience is a choice. It probably doesn’t seem like that but these two hacks will demonstrate this to you. Your decision-making power is incredible and all you need to do is select one of these hacks to end suffering.

Don’t let the quality of your life be jeopardized by your default human mode to suffer. You’ll find these two hacks will not only end your suffering; these two hacks will give you purpose.

Here’s what I learned: most people are pissed off and suffer because they have no purpose. Once you find a purpose for your life, you’ll become addicted.

Now that’s a huge win don’t you think? You can end suffering and find purpose, all by using these two hacks. That’s the best gift I can give you.

Don’t just read this advice. Try these two hacks yourself.

It’s time to end suffering forever.

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

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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how to conquer your fears

I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

30 Straightforward Reminders to Help You Supercharge Your Life in 2018

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how to supercharge your life

This time of year it’s easy to be overwhelmed by well-meaning advice. Everyone seems to have a solution to your procrastination or a remedy for your lack of motivation. Unfortunately, most advice is either too general or irrelevant because it doesn’t address your main concerns.

I’ve spent the last year trying to hone in on some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned to stay ahead and maintain a positive mindset.

Here are 30 straightforward reminders and tips to help you supercharge your life in 2018:

1. Get the basics right. Take care of your body, your mind and your soul. Make a list of what you know is good for you and what you know is bad for you in each category. Consider ways to reduce the bad and increase the good.

2. Reduce distractions that sap your energy. When you’re planning big changes, it’s easy to get pulled into many different directions. You get excited about a certain idea which pulls you down the rabbit hole into numerous other directions. Focus on one thing at a time.

3. Make a new friend. Start a conversation with a stranger in the elevator. Compliment someone. Provide some positive reinforcement. Do something without expecting anything in return.

4. Smile more. Smiling takes less effort than frowning. It’s also scientifically proven to make you feel better even if you don’t necessarily feel like smiling.

5. Walk 30 minutes a day. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you stimulate your immune system, increase your metabolism and improve your mood.

6. Do one push-up for every year old you are. Or do twice as many sit-ups for every year old you are. Making sure you work the muscles in different parts of your body stimulates hormone production and helps increase fat burning.

7. Find your intrinsic drivers. Intrinsic drivers are what inspire you based on internal motivation, rather than external motivation. Find something you think of as beautiful, peaceful, relaxing. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Try to understand why you like it

8. Speak to an old friend. Reach out in an email, a text, a phone call. Check in and just let them know you’re thinking about them.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

9. Invest in your health. Join a gym. Buy some type of sports equipment or clothing that is comfortable and that you enjoy being in. Consider joining a pick up sports team.

10. Study something that interests you. Buy a book about someone you admire. Pick a time period that you’re fascinated with. Make a point of becoming an expert on something that matters to you.

11. Teach someone something. Take a topic, any topic, and try to break it down into its component parts so that you can teach someone how to do it. The concentration and the effort it takes to teach someone something is often exactly the kind of effort that is required to truly understand it for yourself.

12. Delegate to someone. Find a task that needs to be done that you could do. Don’t do that task. Instead, look for someone you can ask to help you. Pay them or ask them for a favor. The key is to learn to delegate actions to others.

13. Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation are trending right now, but that’s not the reason you should consider adopting a meditation practice. The real reason is that meditation will help you focus on your key goals while cutting out the noise in the world around you.  

14. Learn to manage your personal finances. One of the biggest causes of stress that we as humans experience is the pressure to make money and control our finances. There are tons of free resources available online to help you learn about finances and help get your money in order.

15. Read more. No, I’m not talking about reading your Facebook News Feed. Read more books. Try to read a book a month, either fiction or nonfiction. At the beginning of the month choose a book and break down the number of pages. See how many you have to read a day to finish… then get started.

16. Cook at home at least 5 days a week. Cooking at home is cheap, easy and fun. You can hone skills in creativity and planning all at once, and it’s a great way to save money.

“My New Year’s resolution is to stick to a good workout plan that will keep me healthy and happy.” – James Lafferty

17. Sell someone. No, not into human bondage. Sell someone on an idea or a product. Learn to market yourself and your skills. Everyone sells as they move through life, but most of us are average salespeople.

18. Hone your principles. What principles define your life? What are your strongly held beliefs? Be honest with yourself and what principles you feel you must uphold.

19. Embrace the power of positive thought. Listen to positive audio tapes, surround yourself with positive people. Look at the positive side of life. Easier said than done, but truth be told one of the best ways to improve your mood is to look for sources of positive mood and inspiration.

20. Practice willpower. Habits are formed over time. Willpower is one of the most important habits you will ever build, so it is integral you continue to practice it through all aspects of your life. Look to the stoic philosophers for a primer on how to tackle this.

21. Write better hooks. A hook is the bit of a song that catches a listener’s attention and repeats your core message in an intriguing way. Similarly, in writing a hook is the quirky or fascinating intro that makes readers want to continue to read. Think about your own hooks and how you can get people interested in what you have to say.

22. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We often become obsessed with daily minutiae and avoid thinking about the big picture. Don’t let yourself worry too much about the small day-to-day struggles. Instead, put your head down and get to work.

23. Don’t overthink the big stuff. Too often we avoid taking leaps of faith because we’re worried about making a mistake on something big. We don’t buy the new house. We avoid marrying the person we love. We put off going to the doctor for that regular scan. Try not to overthink the big decisions (or seemingly small decisions) that may have larger ramifications. If it’s not overly dangerous or illegal, take the plunge and go for it.

24. Learn a new word a day. Increasing your vocabulary helps you see the world in different ways and makes you rethink your core beliefs.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

25. Become a moderate. Extremists are divisive and often at odds with a large portion of the population. Look for ways to bring people together through collaboration and consensus rather than through division.

26. Think big(ger). Many self-help books talk about setting big goals or envisioning massive success in your lifetime. If you want to become a true leader and attain greater fulfillment. Look for ways to think beyond creating success in your lifetime. Think about the legacy you’ll leave for future generations.

27. Learn universal processes. Assess how you work best and find ways to carry standardized processes over into other aspects of your life.

28. Develop support structures. What do you do if things aren’t going according to plan? Do you reach out to friends for support, meditate on the problem alone, or use some mixture of different coping mechanisms? Be aware of what works for you, and what doesn’t.

29. Don’t compare yourself to others. We fall into this trap far too often. We use others as a benchmark for our own progress, but we must remember that it is unhealthy to put too much weight on comparisons, as everyone has their own background and their own perspective.

30. Know when to let go. At the end of the day, you must try your best and let the cards fall as they may. All you can do is put your heart and soul into your effort and learn from the results.

Which one of these things are you going to implement into your life immediately? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

5 Things Generation Z Needs to Know in Order to Succeed

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generation z success tips

If you were born from 1995 through 2012, you are part of a special demographic—Generation Z. Congratulations! You are a very important person. First, you make up the largest percentage of the US population at 25.9 percent. Second, you’re an iGeneration kid, which means people like you write product reviews, click web ads, and build online businesses. In short, you run the Internet show.

Finally, you contribute $44 billion to the American economy. You have great potential, but your Internet addiction and reckless behavior are your biggest roadblocks to success. How do you limit the time you spend on Snapchat, focus on building a career, and break through the bars that block your way to success?

Try these five hacks for success:

1. Have a bold vision

Your life is your business. If you’re serious about making it profitable, you’ve got to have a bold vision and work tirelessly to achieve it. Start by redefining yourself. Just because you grew up with Snapchat and YouTube, doesn’t mean you have to use them carelessly. Of course, you can watch the dancing cats on YouTube, but you’ll have to find time for that.

Be a doer, not a chatter, watcher, or browser. Great visionaries are doers, not chatters. If you want success, examine your purpose in life, just like a CEO spends time crafting his company’s mission, then start doing.

Create your vision. Once you make sense of your goal in life, you can set a vision so high that it scares you. Finally, keep working—not chatting—to realize your vision.

2. Never dilute your vision

When I was in high school, I always had the highest grades in my class. However, a new student came to my school, and she began to outshine me in class, answering every question and making me look dumb. One night, I told my mom that I had disappointed her.

I told her that I had new competition, and didn’t have the intellectual capability to face the new girl in the arena. My mom’s response? She laughed out loud before saying anything. She then reminded me, “You told me, remember, that you’ll always be the top student. Why let this girl, a stranger that I believe is no match for you, change your mind?”

Those few words changed my mindset completely. I ended up taking the first position for that year. The moral of the story? Never dilute your vision. It’s scary to face competitors or naysayers who laugh at your idea, but bear in mind that all masters were laughed at before they were revered.

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.” – James Broughton

3. Win big with small tasks

How do you keep winning and moving closer to realizing your vision? You win the small tasks. I get it, you truly want to create your own app making you the next success story in your industry. In addition, you want to start blogging and profit in the gig economy.  

However, accomplishing these things, all of them, is not possible. They are bigger projects that you can’t accomplish all at once. What is possible is to pick only one thing and work fiercely on it. Deconstruct the dream job.

If you have decided to become a successful blogger, break down that blogging job into smaller tasks. Determine your niche, buy a domain name, design your WordPress site, and start writing and publishing your posts. Successful people move from zero to hero by accomplishing the smaller tasks first. So, get each task done, one step at a time.

4. Stay laser focused on one task

Focus is the secret key that will unlock the code for your success. Unfortunately, for post-millennials living in the world of instant notifications, staying focused is hard. How can you stay focused, for one whole hour, on the single most important task of your day?

Well, here are some simple tips that worked for me:

  • Dedicate certain days to your work. These are your creative days. Whether it’s weekdays or weekends, whatever you choose, just make sure that you do nothing but work on those days.
  • Go tech-free on your creative days. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Power off your Smartphone (or leave it in another room on silent). Divorce the Internet before you sit down to work because too much online activity is dangerous for your physical health, mental faculty, and productivity.
  • Pick one task, only one task, and work on it for an hour.

Of course, you can’t get it done flawlessly when you first start. You’ll feel the urge to look at your phone and possibly check your social media feed or play a game. However, you must keep focusing on the task at hand over and over until it becomes a habit. Consider limiting your Internet time on your non-work days, too.

“The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” – Alexa Hirschfeld

5. Stay consistent

One of the most crucial success hacks is consistency. The rule is to show up every day and do the work required if you truly want to succeed.

Learn from the former American tennis champion Andrea Agassi. Before he made a name for himself, Agassi’s father instructed him to hit 5000 balls every day. Just lace some sneakers, show up at the court, hit 5000 balls, and go home to relax.

Show up and do the same tomorrow. This consistent routine was what elevated Agassi to becoming “the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history.” If you want to achieve that level of success, set down your smartphone and get to work. “The doing,” as Arthur Ashe beautifully puts it, “is more important than the outcome.”

Which one of these tasks is more challenging for you? How will you improve on it this year? Let us know so we can help!

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10 “Brick-In-The-Head” Moments You’ll Encounter as an Entrepreneur

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entrepreneurship

The entrepreneurial life is one of the most challenging, stressful and risky avenues to success you could possibly choose. The issue with doing it alone in business ventures is exactly that; you’re alone. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be driven, thick-skinned, and ready for any curve balls. (more…)

Vladimir Yakimenko is a CEO, Investor and Founder of Kanbanchi, a popular project management add-on for G Suite. Kanbanchi is one of the fastest growing add-ons for G Suite and has over 80,000 active users. Our work has been featured on Today.com, Lifehacker, Lifehack and more.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Ryan Jones

    Jun 16, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks for the tips. Been in the internet marketing business for a while myself and there is definitely a learning curve for new marketers online. Will have to share these tips with my readers too.

  2. Ahmed Ali

    May 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you Stephen! This article is exactly what I need to hear at this chapter of my life.

  3. Sachin

    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Very well said. I will apply this in my life too. 🙂

  4. Jay Sifford

    Dec 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    This is a great read. Thanks so much. I realized that I’m already doing these things and, believe me, my life is great… not perfect, but great. I enjoyed the reinforcement. While reading this, I thought back to conversations between my brother and my mother. She told me that he would ask “Where did Jay come from? He’s not like us.” I took that as a compliment.
    After several “false starts” in careers, by doing the things you’ve outlined here, I’m successful and happy with my landscape design profession. I’ve also been writing for several years now. I always wanted to, but just didn’t know how to start. I wouldn’t trade those painful “false starts” for anything, because, even though they appeared to be dead ends, they provided lessons and building blocks for me that I use today.
    I could go on, but won’t. Again, thank you.

  5. aspecialist

    Nov 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    This is really interesting to read. Hitting goals and achieving success depend on our course of actions and thinking. You will not know what you can achieve unless you give a shot and really work for it. There are lot of meaningful things that we can do and goals that we can achieve, and we were given the power to choose our path .

  6. Samantha Driscoll

    Sep 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I found your article really interesting, from the perspective I am embarking on a new journey setting up my own business which has been a learning curve. Thank you

  7. Deepanshu

    Sep 10, 2015 at 11:26 am

    One of the best post I have ever read. I have read huge no of self help post. But this one is my favorite post.
    Thanks

  8. Stephen Guise

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:44 am

    You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!

  9. Matt

    Sep 9, 2015 at 12:11 am

    The description for #6 actually contradicts the headline. You are in fact responsible for your success or failure by making the effort to network. So while the people you network with will help you get to where you want to go, YOU are still responsible for going out and meeting those people.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

      There is no contradiction.

      Understanding that your success isn’t 100% in your hands gives you a superior perspective: it makes you more resilient and more willing to network or ask for help. If you believed success was 100% up to you, you’d be far more likely to get discouraged (such as when your best effort fails) and less likely to ask for help when you need it most.

  10. Linda Salloum

    Sep 8, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Hi stephen ,
    Thank you for a great article . I really do hear you and like yourself I was that young person who was lazy and shy and every day make plans to do something productive but never got round to it. I will try your mini habits because I am desperate to change my life before its too late. Lilly

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:29 am

      Mini habits turned my life around. Most of the 7 keys I listed are in line with the mini habit strategy. My big turnaround started with one push-up per day! Good luck, Lilly!

  11. Lonell M. Holliday

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Great article! Steve.. Very great artical.
    I had to read it twice and take down notes. 50 Words a day! self-efficacy. Man I got it..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. Give it a try!

  12. Ernie A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    Beautiful! You have an awesome story man and these are great pearls of wisdom. I’m in the process of writing my first book and your advice has been key in making progress.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:31 am

      I appreciate that, Ernie! I’ve written two books, and I wrote them both by aiming for 50 words a day. It’s more powerful than it seems. 🙂

  13. A

    Sep 8, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    This is a very interesting article.

    At the moment I am trying to establish a business which I know there is a lot of potential and have put some good hours into it. Had some knock backs but not gave up on it

    However I also have something else that I would like to do. That are not related .

    If my business does kick on then I can in some capacity do what I really desire in some aspect. If it doesn’t then I have to walk away from one.

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:34 am

      Best of luck with your business. If this one doesn’t work out, you can always try again. I had a failed business before I started writing books.

  14. Roxanne

    Sep 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Wow Stephen, I’m so grateful I read your article. I am the queen of the non “Follow Through”. I fail repeatedly to finish anything I start. Or I have great plans in my mind but never start them. after reading and rereading your article, it makes complete sense to me, my behavior that is.. I also love words, I love to write, I have started the same idea for a book several times, I get 2 pages written and I’m so critical of my writing that I quit..writing is only one example of many things I have quit, a lot do to being so critical about myself and the feeling that “it should have been better”, so if I can’t get it perfect what’s the point of continuing,this kind of self defeat talk going on in my head… but you have really opened up my mind to my real issue’s of what I call the “Failure of Follow Through. ” Thanks so much for getting it and putting yourself out there to help others….I’m going to read your book Mini- Habits asap…. thanks

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:37 am

      Roxanne, you might actually benefit more from my second book! It’s called, “How to Be an Imperfectionist” and it directly addresses the issue you’re describing. The solutions I suggest in the book are in Mini Habit form. If you’re interested to read both books, it works best to read Mini Habits first.

      Mini Habits works as a general solution for perfectionism, and How to Be an Imperfectionist has direct solutions for the different aspects of it, such as unrealistic expectations, need for approval, concern over mistakes, and so on.

  15. Psimatupang

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Wow.. This is so wonderful. Thank you.

    Well, what stopping me from success (reaching my dreams) is something that happening inside me. I am a student, when others talk about something i have no idea what or something i haven’t learnt it kinda makes me feel small..

    • Stephen Guise

      Sep 9, 2015 at 12:41 am

      There’s nothing wrong with ignorance. We’re all ignorant of certain things. I used to be afraid to ask questions because it would expose my ignorance, but I realized the more I asked questions when I didn’t know things, the less ignorant I’d be. The slight potential embarrassment is definitely worth bearing, and people are usually happy to teach you what they know.

  16. Steve Jordan

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:20 am

    Excellent article, thank you.

  17. Ankur Agarwal

    Sep 8, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Hi Stephen, its a good article and its nice to read your thoughts.
    Just to share, I have been going through the low self efficacy phase. I tried few things but didn’t work out.
    so going by your words, I will start on doing mini habits of writing 50 words a day because I also like to write.
    Will surely share my thoughts with you.

  18. Nikolai Westall

    Sep 8, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Thank you! Awesome stuff 🙂

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Success Advice

2 Ways To End Suffering Forever.

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This year I have learned so much. I’ve learned that we all suffer no matter what. No one can avoid it. That’s not what I want to share with you though. What I want to tell you is that you have the power to end suffering.

I have proven it in my own life. We don’t need to suffer. We can end it all and the silly thing is it’s so simple. I do not want you to avoid this advice any longer. I want you to use it even if you think it’s a load of mumbo-jumbo.

Here are the two ways I’ve found to end suffering forever:

 

1. Find a way to give to other people.

You only suffer when life is all about you and your success. Once you move from being all about you, into a state of mind that is focused on giving, your problems become insignificant.

I had a couple of situations this year that have nearly knocked me flat on my ass. One was my romantic life falling to pieces and the other was my career collapsing. When both these events occurred, I used giving to other people as the way out of the maze that my mind created.

The moment suffering begun, I went straight to finding ways to serve other people. I helped friends with their businesses, I spoke at events to inspire people, I did some volunteering and I doubled down on my blogging so I could inspire as many people as possible.

Shifting the focus away from what was wrong and using my focus to give to others ended the suffering.

“There wasn’t time to suffer because the purpose of my life during those months was far bigger than me and my stupid life challenges. Giving to others gave me a way to find happiness when I probably would have hidden away and suffered in silence”

Seeing the solutions to other people’s problems and sharing them, gave me a way to put my career and relationships into perspective.

Giving is the example you need when times get tough and things get complicated. You suffer the most when you get stuck in your head and repeat the pattern of telling yourself how wrong your circumstances are.

Suffering can make you depressed, feel lonely, become selfish, go into a downward spiral and take away everything that’s good in your life.

Finding ways to give on the other hand, can cure all of those problems. I know it sounds so cliché what I’m saying but it surprises me how many people never use this strategy. Like I always say: the answers we seek are right in front of our nose.

Next time you feel yourself suffering, get out of your head and try this strategy.

 

 

2. Practice gratitude.

Okay, I thought this strategy was so dumb when I discovered it. It’s so obvious and it sounds way too easy. I mean how can writing down a few things you’re grateful for really end your suffering?

I mean you could lie to yourself and pretend that you’re grateful for something when you’re not. Well, that’s exactly what I did at the beginning. When I was suffering this year, I started writing down three things each day that I was grateful for.

In the first week, I lied about things I was grateful for and found the exercise completely ridiculous. This advice is so common that I decided to persist with this ridiculous self-help hack anyway.

What I found as I kept doing it was that your brain makes a shift subconsciously. Instead of being pissed off and suffering, your brain has to work extra hard to find three things every day to be grateful for.

To make this habit work even better I forced my brain to describe in detail each thing I was grateful for and ideally why. Some days sucked so bad that I thought I would never find three things. Once the challenge became a must, I spent my days working my butt off trying to find things I was grateful for.

While doing various activities during the day, I’d find moments when I was grateful for something and stop. I’d stop and see how I felt at that moment and I would have a mini celebration because I knew I had something for my gratitude list.

Then I tried to aim for five things each day instead of three. This shifted my focus even more. I should have been suffering but because I was forcing myself to see good things that were happening to me, I was distracted.

As I said earlier, this new habit seemed so dumb at the beginning. Once you really do it for a while, you see how it has the power to end suffering. You can’t be pissed off and be grateful at the same time. So, choose gratitude and then your suffering will be sidelined, and in my case, forgotten about.

 

***Life doesn’t need to be full of low points***

The suffering that we all experience is a choice. It probably doesn’t seem like that but these two hacks will demonstrate this to you. Your decision-making power is incredible and all you need to do is select one of these hacks to end suffering.

Don’t let the quality of your life be jeopardized by your default human mode to suffer. You’ll find these two hacks will not only end your suffering; these two hacks will give you purpose.

Here’s what I learned: most people are pissed off and suffer because they have no purpose. Once you find a purpose for your life, you’ll become addicted.

Now that’s a huge win don’t you think? You can end suffering and find purpose, all by using these two hacks. That’s the best gift I can give you.

Don’t just read this advice. Try these two hacks yourself.

It’s time to end suffering forever.

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

7 Steps to Conquering the Fears That Are Holding You Back From Success

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I remember the day in vivid detail. I was on a weekend trip visiting my girlfriend at the time in Arizona. She had decided that we should join her friends to go “cliff jumping.”  We were early on in our dating and she obviously had no idea that I was not fond of heights. So “cliffs” and jumping off of them… No thanks!

I inevitably found myself on the edge of a 40-foot cliff peering down at a vast blue canvas of water. Then I realized if I didn’t jump, I’d have to start the walk of shame back down the cliff. This was a lose-lose situation for me.

Fear had me. I didn’t want to jump, but I also didn’t want to look bad in front of my girlfriend’s friends. So I jumped and in that moment, I had defied my brain and my neurochemistry.

Our brains are wired to protect us, not to push us towards our goals. Our brains are wired to look for anything that could be potentially dangerous or threatening and keep us as far away from it as possible by using fear. The problem is not all situations warrant fear.

There is a saying in neuroscience that says, “the brain wires the way it fires”, meaning the more you do a certain activity, the more the brain lays down wiring to make that action or activity easier.

‘Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.’ – Karl Augustus Menninger

When we let fear keep us stagnant and we continue to do the same things that are comfortable, our brain gets “hardwired” to stay comfortable. We become “stagnant.” This can become debilitating for some of us and prevent us from encountering the very experiences we need to grow and succeed.

When we, in spite of our fear, do the challenging things that are outside our comfort zone, we begin to hardwire into our brain change, adaptability, creativity, growth, perspective, and happiness because we stretch the boundaries of our brain’s capabilities and force it to adapt rather than “playing it safe.”

An elite athlete didn’t make it where they are today by going into their training and never pushing past their comfort zone. They constantly pushed their limits of comfort to force their bodies and minds to grow to that of a top performer. The same principle applies to our brains. If we let fear dictate our actions in any area of our lives, it will stunt your growth in that area.

So what’s the first step? How do we go about conquering our fears whether it’s public speaking, starting a business, or launching the product or service? See below:

1. Journal Your Fears

Write down all the fears you have, big or small. Contrary to opinion “size does not matter.” Your brain still operates the same with all types of fear. The key is to first acknowledge what you are fearful about and bring it to light. Be as specific as possible.

2. Prioritize Your Fears

I then rank my fears from highest to lowest in terms of how often I think about this fear and/or how much it disrupts my life. You may find some fears combine into a broader category and that’s ok — we’ll get to that. So for now identify your biggest fear.

3. Support Your Belief in Yourself

I don’t mean just “believe in yourself.” What I mean is to build in support systems that will support your belief in yourself, so that when you start taking action, your support systems will solidify those new experiences and form deeper, more meaningful, and lasting beliefs in yourself.

It may look like building a list of affirmations that you say every morning or a meditation. Whatever it is, it needs to be uplifting and empowering you towards conquering your goals.

4. Take Action & Start Small

Look at your list and identify what your biggest fear is. That’s the beast we’re going to tackle long term, but for some that may seem like a big stretch at first. So instead, see what your 5th biggest fear is, and that’s where you’ll start.

What we will then do is build our way up and take a ride on the “Momentum Train.” Starting small with taking actions toward your lower priority fears and then building up helps your brain build momentum, which provides your brain with plenty of courage and motivation to tackle the #1 fear on your list.

‘Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.’ – Helen Keller

5. No Time Limit, Just Consistency

Most goals should be limited to a time domain. For the goal of tackling a fear, time can be a challenging factor to set. Some of these fears may have been unknowingly building up for decades without your knowledge. So I don’t recommend setting a time on when you are “going to conquer your fear.”

Instead set appointments to regularly meet and address your fear. If you’re fear is public speaking, then go to a local Toastmasters once a week. The more consistent you can be, the better.

6. Reframe and Reinforce

As you begin to address these fears, make sure you are reinforcing the experiences you have in a positive perspective. For instance, if you want to be less fearful of public speaking and decide to try out a local toastmasters group, your first time speaking to the group might feel like a train wreck, but when you look back on the situation you can acknowledge that that actually pushed past your fear and accomplished your goal.

7. Rinse and Repeat

This isn’t a quick fix. It may take some time. There’s always a new fear or challenge awaiting us. The key is to have systems like this in place to address those challenges properly rather than allowing ourselves to succumb to fear and derail our lives from their fullest potential.

How do you handle your fears? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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30 Straightforward Reminders to Help You Supercharge Your Life in 2018

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This time of year it’s easy to be overwhelmed by well-meaning advice. Everyone seems to have a solution to your procrastination or a remedy for your lack of motivation. Unfortunately, most advice is either too general or irrelevant because it doesn’t address your main concerns.

I’ve spent the last year trying to hone in on some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned to stay ahead and maintain a positive mindset.

Here are 30 straightforward reminders and tips to help you supercharge your life in 2018:

1. Get the basics right. Take care of your body, your mind and your soul. Make a list of what you know is good for you and what you know is bad for you in each category. Consider ways to reduce the bad and increase the good.

2. Reduce distractions that sap your energy. When you’re planning big changes, it’s easy to get pulled into many different directions. You get excited about a certain idea which pulls you down the rabbit hole into numerous other directions. Focus on one thing at a time.

3. Make a new friend. Start a conversation with a stranger in the elevator. Compliment someone. Provide some positive reinforcement. Do something without expecting anything in return.

4. Smile more. Smiling takes less effort than frowning. It’s also scientifically proven to make you feel better even if you don’t necessarily feel like smiling.

5. Walk 30 minutes a day. Just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you stimulate your immune system, increase your metabolism and improve your mood.

6. Do one push-up for every year old you are. Or do twice as many sit-ups for every year old you are. Making sure you work the muscles in different parts of your body stimulates hormone production and helps increase fat burning.

7. Find your intrinsic drivers. Intrinsic drivers are what inspire you based on internal motivation, rather than external motivation. Find something you think of as beautiful, peaceful, relaxing. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Try to understand why you like it

8. Speak to an old friend. Reach out in an email, a text, a phone call. Check in and just let them know you’re thinking about them.

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

9. Invest in your health. Join a gym. Buy some type of sports equipment or clothing that is comfortable and that you enjoy being in. Consider joining a pick up sports team.

10. Study something that interests you. Buy a book about someone you admire. Pick a time period that you’re fascinated with. Make a point of becoming an expert on something that matters to you.

11. Teach someone something. Take a topic, any topic, and try to break it down into its component parts so that you can teach someone how to do it. The concentration and the effort it takes to teach someone something is often exactly the kind of effort that is required to truly understand it for yourself.

12. Delegate to someone. Find a task that needs to be done that you could do. Don’t do that task. Instead, look for someone you can ask to help you. Pay them or ask them for a favor. The key is to learn to delegate actions to others.

13. Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation are trending right now, but that’s not the reason you should consider adopting a meditation practice. The real reason is that meditation will help you focus on your key goals while cutting out the noise in the world around you.  

14. Learn to manage your personal finances. One of the biggest causes of stress that we as humans experience is the pressure to make money and control our finances. There are tons of free resources available online to help you learn about finances and help get your money in order.

15. Read more. No, I’m not talking about reading your Facebook News Feed. Read more books. Try to read a book a month, either fiction or nonfiction. At the beginning of the month choose a book and break down the number of pages. See how many you have to read a day to finish… then get started.

16. Cook at home at least 5 days a week. Cooking at home is cheap, easy and fun. You can hone skills in creativity and planning all at once, and it’s a great way to save money.

“My New Year’s resolution is to stick to a good workout plan that will keep me healthy and happy.” – James Lafferty

17. Sell someone. No, not into human bondage. Sell someone on an idea or a product. Learn to market yourself and your skills. Everyone sells as they move through life, but most of us are average salespeople.

18. Hone your principles. What principles define your life? What are your strongly held beliefs? Be honest with yourself and what principles you feel you must uphold.

19. Embrace the power of positive thought. Listen to positive audio tapes, surround yourself with positive people. Look at the positive side of life. Easier said than done, but truth be told one of the best ways to improve your mood is to look for sources of positive mood and inspiration.

20. Practice willpower. Habits are formed over time. Willpower is one of the most important habits you will ever build, so it is integral you continue to practice it through all aspects of your life. Look to the stoic philosophers for a primer on how to tackle this.

21. Write better hooks. A hook is the bit of a song that catches a listener’s attention and repeats your core message in an intriguing way. Similarly, in writing a hook is the quirky or fascinating intro that makes readers want to continue to read. Think about your own hooks and how you can get people interested in what you have to say.

22. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We often become obsessed with daily minutiae and avoid thinking about the big picture. Don’t let yourself worry too much about the small day-to-day struggles. Instead, put your head down and get to work.

23. Don’t overthink the big stuff. Too often we avoid taking leaps of faith because we’re worried about making a mistake on something big. We don’t buy the new house. We avoid marrying the person we love. We put off going to the doctor for that regular scan. Try not to overthink the big decisions (or seemingly small decisions) that may have larger ramifications. If it’s not overly dangerous or illegal, take the plunge and go for it.

24. Learn a new word a day. Increasing your vocabulary helps you see the world in different ways and makes you rethink your core beliefs.

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

25. Become a moderate. Extremists are divisive and often at odds with a large portion of the population. Look for ways to bring people together through collaboration and consensus rather than through division.

26. Think big(ger). Many self-help books talk about setting big goals or envisioning massive success in your lifetime. If you want to become a true leader and attain greater fulfillment. Look for ways to think beyond creating success in your lifetime. Think about the legacy you’ll leave for future generations.

27. Learn universal processes. Assess how you work best and find ways to carry standardized processes over into other aspects of your life.

28. Develop support structures. What do you do if things aren’t going according to plan? Do you reach out to friends for support, meditate on the problem alone, or use some mixture of different coping mechanisms? Be aware of what works for you, and what doesn’t.

29. Don’t compare yourself to others. We fall into this trap far too often. We use others as a benchmark for our own progress, but we must remember that it is unhealthy to put too much weight on comparisons, as everyone has their own background and their own perspective.

30. Know when to let go. At the end of the day, you must try your best and let the cards fall as they may. All you can do is put your heart and soul into your effort and learn from the results.

Which one of these things are you going to implement into your life immediately? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

5 Things Generation Z Needs to Know in Order to Succeed

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generation z success tips

If you were born from 1995 through 2012, you are part of a special demographic—Generation Z. Congratulations! You are a very important person. First, you make up the largest percentage of the US population at 25.9 percent. Second, you’re an iGeneration kid, which means people like you write product reviews, click web ads, and build online businesses. In short, you run the Internet show.

Finally, you contribute $44 billion to the American economy. You have great potential, but your Internet addiction and reckless behavior are your biggest roadblocks to success. How do you limit the time you spend on Snapchat, focus on building a career, and break through the bars that block your way to success?

Try these five hacks for success:

1. Have a bold vision

Your life is your business. If you’re serious about making it profitable, you’ve got to have a bold vision and work tirelessly to achieve it. Start by redefining yourself. Just because you grew up with Snapchat and YouTube, doesn’t mean you have to use them carelessly. Of course, you can watch the dancing cats on YouTube, but you’ll have to find time for that.

Be a doer, not a chatter, watcher, or browser. Great visionaries are doers, not chatters. If you want success, examine your purpose in life, just like a CEO spends time crafting his company’s mission, then start doing.

Create your vision. Once you make sense of your goal in life, you can set a vision so high that it scares you. Finally, keep working—not chatting—to realize your vision.

2. Never dilute your vision

When I was in high school, I always had the highest grades in my class. However, a new student came to my school, and she began to outshine me in class, answering every question and making me look dumb. One night, I told my mom that I had disappointed her.

I told her that I had new competition, and didn’t have the intellectual capability to face the new girl in the arena. My mom’s response? She laughed out loud before saying anything. She then reminded me, “You told me, remember, that you’ll always be the top student. Why let this girl, a stranger that I believe is no match for you, change your mind?”

Those few words changed my mindset completely. I ended up taking the first position for that year. The moral of the story? Never dilute your vision. It’s scary to face competitors or naysayers who laugh at your idea, but bear in mind that all masters were laughed at before they were revered.

“The only limits are, as always, those of vision.” – James Broughton

3. Win big with small tasks

How do you keep winning and moving closer to realizing your vision? You win the small tasks. I get it, you truly want to create your own app making you the next success story in your industry. In addition, you want to start blogging and profit in the gig economy.  

However, accomplishing these things, all of them, is not possible. They are bigger projects that you can’t accomplish all at once. What is possible is to pick only one thing and work fiercely on it. Deconstruct the dream job.

If you have decided to become a successful blogger, break down that blogging job into smaller tasks. Determine your niche, buy a domain name, design your WordPress site, and start writing and publishing your posts. Successful people move from zero to hero by accomplishing the smaller tasks first. So, get each task done, one step at a time.

4. Stay laser focused on one task

Focus is the secret key that will unlock the code for your success. Unfortunately, for post-millennials living in the world of instant notifications, staying focused is hard. How can you stay focused, for one whole hour, on the single most important task of your day?

Well, here are some simple tips that worked for me:

  • Dedicate certain days to your work. These are your creative days. Whether it’s weekdays or weekends, whatever you choose, just make sure that you do nothing but work on those days.
  • Go tech-free on your creative days. Turn off your Wi-Fi. Power off your Smartphone (or leave it in another room on silent). Divorce the Internet before you sit down to work because too much online activity is dangerous for your physical health, mental faculty, and productivity.
  • Pick one task, only one task, and work on it for an hour.

Of course, you can’t get it done flawlessly when you first start. You’ll feel the urge to look at your phone and possibly check your social media feed or play a game. However, you must keep focusing on the task at hand over and over until it becomes a habit. Consider limiting your Internet time on your non-work days, too.

“The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.” – Alexa Hirschfeld

5. Stay consistent

One of the most crucial success hacks is consistency. The rule is to show up every day and do the work required if you truly want to succeed.

Learn from the former American tennis champion Andrea Agassi. Before he made a name for himself, Agassi’s father instructed him to hit 5000 balls every day. Just lace some sneakers, show up at the court, hit 5000 balls, and go home to relax.

Show up and do the same tomorrow. This consistent routine was what elevated Agassi to becoming “the biggest worldwide star in the sport’s history.” If you want to achieve that level of success, set down your smartphone and get to work. “The doing,” as Arthur Ashe beautifully puts it, “is more important than the outcome.”

Which one of these tasks is more challenging for you? How will you improve on it this year? Let us know so we can help!

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