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Success Advice

The Four Email Exercises That Will Change Your Life Forever

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The world needs to send more meaningful emails. Let me tell you why. Today we live in a world that is more connected than ever before. There are over 5 billion internet-capable devices on earth, and the number is expected to grow fourfold by 2020.

We have thousands of opportunities everyday to connect with friends, family and complete strangers all around the world, and the number of ways to communicate only seems to be increasing. Text, tweet, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram; the options are nearly endless. Unfortunately, it is hard to create deep relationships through these media channels.

It’s probably blasphemous for a millennial like me to say, but I don’t believe true value comes in a 140-character message. Texts can’t express grand ideas as well as a well constructed email or phone call, and by becoming part of the social media echo chamber you risk exhausting yourself (and others) with less than relevant messages.

Think about it. When was the last time you’ve sent an email just to say thank you? How about the last time you sent an email to ask for help? When was the last time you’ve emailed someone something completely unexpected?

I asked myself these questions in early January, and I came up with a big fat zero. I couldn’t remember the last time I had sent an email asking for help, much less saying thank you. So I decided to change.

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”

For the last four months, I have been sending four emails a week to people around the world that I wanted to connect with on a deeper level. I have sent emails to old friends, former colleagues, relative strangers, journalists, artists and family members. Sure, some people never responded, and others acted as if I were crazy. But a few of them reached back out with genuine interest and compassion.

For me, this simple action changed everything. Writing to others every day in a meaningful way changed everything. I felt more creative. I had more energy. I was genuinely happier. Spending less time worried about living in the echo chamber and more time focused on what I would actually say to someone who was listening, and who knew I would be expecting to hear back from, provided a boost of energy and inspiration I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

To that end, I want to share the four email exercise that changed my life in immeasurable ways:

1. Show Gratitude

We’ll start with an easy one. Say thank you to someone that has made an impact on you. Whether a long lost friend, a colleague, an old high school teacher. Anyone. It will make you feel amazing, and it will make them feel amazing. If you were to only write one of the four emails in this list on a regular basis, choose this one.

2. Ask for Help

This one is slightly more challenging, but just as important as the first. Understanding how to open yourself to the world to ask for help is hard, especially in a society that is now so beleaguered by online bullying and trolling. Take the time to think of someone you respect and admire, then think of what you would like to know about them. Think about what they might be able to teach you, and think about how they might be able to help you.

Chances are, these individuals will be flattered that you asked for their help, and they may provide you with life changing insights. In the role of mentor or teacher, individuals are far less likely to ask for payment or expect anything in return. It is the pleasure they get from sharing their knowledge that becomes their reward.

3. Do Something Unexpected

This is a fun one. This type of email is best suited to people that like to fix things, especially the life hackers out there. It’s also a great email to send if you enjoy helping people, and it’s a great email to help build business connections and lasting relationships with friends.

The key to developing the content for this email is the think openly and creatively. Think about a friend or a classmate and try to put yourself in their shoes. What challenges do they have right now?

Maybe your friend is having trouble deciding where to look for a new job. Or perhaps your classmate is struggling to launch a startup. How can you make their lives easier? What knowledge do you have to connect them to a solution to their problem?

Send more emails like this and you’ll never be at a loss for friends or for work.

“Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.” – Julia Cameron

4. Express an Opinion

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for aspiring entrepreneurs and adventurers, learn to eloquently express your opinions through text. Practice convincing others what you believe, and you will cultivate leadership skills you never imagined you would possess.

Try first by sending an email to a friend expressing an opinion or making an argument for something that is near and dear to your heart. Maybe that Chipotle is the greatest restaurant chain in existence. You don’t have to convince them of your point of view right away, the point is to express yourself in a one-to-one fashion with someone you think will bother to read your entire message.

It may seem subtle, but trust me that the more you are able to do this, the more confident you will grow in expressing your opinions about things that truly do matter.

Remember the Rules

The best part about this exercise is, you can start right now. Think about the different groups you’re a part of. Your personal acquaintances, your professional network, your spiritual guides, your closest friends and family.

Make a list of between 30-50 people you would like to email, then start sending these 4 emails a week until you need to replenish the list. What eventually happens might surprise you.

How has sending random emails like this changed your life? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal is the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Patricia

    May 1, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    This is one more effective way to reach people. Thinking about making someone else feel better takes the pressure to be perfect off of you, and both benefit in the long run.

Leave a Reply

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

Success Advice

9 Ways To Build Unbreakable Confidence From The Outside In

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Build Self Confidence

There are a million different resources and pieces of advice out there from “experts” on how to build confidence, particularly self-confidence.

A vulnerable and anxious population consumes this guidance like they are starving for it… probably because they are. The dream of being able to overcome all fear and self-imposed limits by simply reading some advice is a very tempting dish indeed.

After lifetimes of being subject to images and ideals that they cannot possibly live up to, people start to feel like they are “less than.” This fear of being a substandard human being drives some of us to seek guidance, bringing us into contact with the murky, over-crowded world of self-help products and services.

Look, some of the stuff out there is good – I know, I’ve tried most of it. However, some of it is very misguided and even delusional.

People who lack self-confidence themselves can take a class on basic theoretical knowledge of psychological research, and use it to excrete volumes of garbage about how to build self-esteem and confidence. They then charge copious amounts of money for this drivel, which usually makes you feel great temporarily but does absolutely nothing to change your long term situation.

I’m not going to pretend I know it all, yet what I do have to offer is that I have completed the full journey, from shy, “nice,” and trying to please everyone, all the way through to where I am now.

You may ask, where is that, and what does being confident mean to me? It means that these things now occur in my life where they didn’t before:

  • I regularly seek out opportunities to push boundaries and expand my comfort zone, running towards fear rather than away from it
  • I can go into a situation full of anxiety and quickly push through that to enable me to feel competent and at ease
  • I feel comfortable being honest in all situations. Rather than hide my views, I express them calmly and diplomatically where required, but also without compromise
  • I place my needs above everything else. I am selfish about developing my life and inner-self, because I know that ultimately the people in my life will benefit from me being a better person
  • Most importantly from my point of view, I can’t remember the last time I felt jealousy or envy, and it’s been many, many years since I entertained the idea of wanting to be anyone else

So how did I get to this from being a “nice” guy that did all I could to avoid confrontation and anxiety-provoking situations? Well, it wasn’t easy! I have taken some time to break down the steps I took to achieve this in order to help others out there who are similar to me and serious about developing true, unbreakable inner confidence.

See the secret is really no secret at all – it’s about constantly taking action in a way that pushes your comfort zone further out until you learn how to make any situation feel like it’s in your comfort zone.

Below are 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence from the outside in:

1. Identifying your ultimate dream lifestyle

Something that is a real confidence drainer is not knowing where you’re going in life. The great thing is you don’t even need to be sure about it; you just need to have a direction to travel in.

Try taking 30 minutes to write down a descriptive paragraph or two about what your life would look like if you could wave a magic wand and choose anything. I’ve found with my clients that answering these three questions in detail is a great structure to use:

1What will you have / what will you be doing?

2) How would other people describe you?

3) What will you think about yourself?

Writing down the detailed answers to these questions, using emotional and descriptive language. Once you’ve done this, make sure you re-read it regularly (at least twice per week) to remind yourself constantly about why it is you are getting out of bed.

This will increase your sense of purpose in life, a reason to live in a way, which will increase your confidence. Of course, to actually achieve this dream lifestyle, there are further steps you need to take… (read on).

2. Writing down goals and striving to achieve them

I remember reading about a study at Oxford University: researchers asked all students in a class who had written down their goals. I can’t remember the exact details but about 3% of them did this.

When the researchers revisited the students again 20 years later, the small group who had written down goals were earning a combined income that was greater than the combined income of all 97% of their classmates.

There are plenty of free resources out there on how to write goals (including The Inspirational Lifestyle). The general key I recommend is that rather than write outcome based goals (e.g. “I will get a promotion”) try writing action-based goals that are under your control (e.g. “I will take a management course and then apply for a promotion”).

By making sure the goals are under your control, your confidence is not subject to luck. Remove luck by making sure that nothing and no-one can affect the achievement of your goal except for you.

3. Reading popular self-development books by successful business people

While there are far too many refuse-bin-worthy self-development books out there, your safest bet is to read the memoirs and how-to books which are written by people who have actually achieved something.

It really is simple; if someone like Richard Branson is a billionaire, he’s probably a pretty reliable source of information on how to make money. It’s much better to listen to him than someone fresh from completing an MBA and spilling a bunch of inexperienced theory-based conjecture.

4Learning how to manage your state of mind

Most of the time the reason you feel anxious or nervous about a situation you’re about to go into, such as public speaking, is because you’re in the wrong frame of mind.

Imagine this: you’ve been studying accounting for three straights hours without interruption, when all of a sudden you’re dragged to a party. Straight away you feel anxiety even though going to a party is not an unusual situation for you. So what’s the problem?

Your brain was set into the “studying” state, which is secluded, quiet, and antisocial. You are then thrown into a situation which requires you to be extroverted, talkative and social. This is a really uncomfortable imbalance for your brain to handle. The solution? Taking baby steps.

When you realize you are feeling anxiety about an upcoming situation and you suspect that it is because of being in the wrong state, try to figure out some in-between steps you can take.

Using our example above, rather than going straight to the party, you could have a chat on the phone with some close friends, followed by pre-drinks at your house with just a few people. This way by the time you get to the party your state has gone from withdrawn to outgoing in easy to manage steps.

confidence picture quote

5Understanding the balance between learning, mentoring and action

One of the most common barriers to success is too much thinking and not enough doing. It’s the doing that builds confidence, not the learning.

As a general rule, for every hour you spend reading or watching videos (passive learning), you will benefit most by complementing this with two hours of mentoring or coaching, and seven hours practicing or otherwise taking action. It’s the 10/20/70 rule.

This is why I’ve titled this article “9 ways to build confidence from the outside in,” because building confidence goes far beyond just reading inspirational or educational books. It’s about taking action so you will start seeing results and positive changes.

6. Approaching strangers

This is one of the scariest things for people to do – very few can do it sober without a background in cold-calling or sales of some kind. Doing this is a really powerful way to build confidence, particularly if you’re single and approaching strangers with the intention of potential romance.

If you can get yourself to do this sober and during the day, it makes everything else seem a lot less scary. You can learn to love rejection as the learning and feedback experience it really is.

7. Trying new things regularly

Having a routine can kill your creativity and make your life boring. It’s important to seek new adventures, and always try new things regularly because it can boost your confidence through the following two ways.

1) By learning a range of skills and having varied experiences, you start building up transferable abilities. Over time less situations will seem totally unknown because you will have done something similar before.

For example, I found I really enjoyed salsa dancing despite never having danced before, because it combined my previous experiences of playing in a band and doing martial arts.

2) You will eventually find those things that bring you the most pleasure and satisfaction (in a non-creepy way of course).

Confidence is often also described as “conscious competence,” which basically means that if you are doing something that you are skilled at, and you know that you are skilled, you feel confident.

8. Surrounding yourself with successful people

Successful people always say “how can we do this?” whereas unsuccessful people generally say “why should we do this?

What kind of people do you spend the most time with? Until you develop a strong inner core of confidence that others cannot touch, you need to surround yourself with “can do” people in order to feed on their confidence.

People showing you that anything is possible, and that they believe you are capable of anything will go a long way towards helping you believe this yourself.

9. Making a conscious effort to stop caring about other’s opinions of you

Finally, the biggest lesson I ever really learned about developing true all-round confidence is that the only person I should compare myself to is… myself. There is nothing to be gained in comparing myself to others or trying to live to others expectations.

Confidence comes from setting your own expectations of yourself and then trying your best to live up to them. I am not saying that you shouldn’t compete with others, because that’s a great motivator too, but your results and progress should only be measured against your past self.

Well that’s it. There’s a million other things you can do, but I am sure that if you start with this list and TAKE ACTION rather than just read this and do nothing, then you will start to see big changes in how you feel about yourself.

Which one of the above 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence resonated most with you and why?

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Success Advice

It’s Not How Smart You Are That Defines Your Career — It’s This

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Look around the office you work in. Some people are managers. Some people make six-figure salaries. Some people are senior executives. Some people work in customer service on the frontline.

It’s a big mistake to think that where you are in your career has something to do with how smart you are.

I’ve met many smart people who crash and burn in their careers because they have to be always right or they overthink, or they know a lot about the wrong things or they have very low emotional intelligence causing them to upset many people at the same time.

If being smart made us successful then we’d all go and consume endless information and become millionaires shortly after.

Being smart is not enough.

So what does define your career and the success you have?


1. How badly you want it

The woman/man that became CEO wanted it more.

The person with the 7-figure business wanted it more.

The woman that won an Olympic Gold Medal wanted it more.

You have to want your goals really, really, really bad.

Wanting something so badly that you’re prepared to do anything to get there (ethically) is how you get the energy to overcome the rejection and failure it’s going to take to get reach that point.

I wanted to share my story and inspire people with it very badly. I thought of creating a WordPress website, but I had no idea how to and had zero technical skill. My knowledge of how to market that website was also zero.
I tried creating a Facebook Page and to date, it still has less than 3000 followers which means I fall short by a lot in terms of my target to inspire millions of people.

I tried using Twitter and reaching people that way. I was never able to get any real engagement. I’d tweet Elon Musk. I’d message Tony Robbins. I’d write the best tweet humanly possible. It all led nowhere.

I tried using a blogging platform called Medium. I was able to build a small following, but most people in my area of the world don’t use it. I still came up short of my goal.

Then, I tried writing on a blog that already had lots of viewers called Addicted2Success and began posting on LinkedIn daily.

Everything changed. I wanted to inspire people so badly that I kept trying until I found a platform that worked for what I had to say. Wanting it badly enough was what helped me keep going from 2014 until now. It didn’t stop there, though.

When my career took a turn down a black hole, my motivation died. Suddenly, writing on Addicted2Success and LinkedIn became hard. I didn’t want it as bad because the pain caused by my work life was too much. I let things slip temporarily for about 3 weeks. Engagement went to an all-time low.

It didn’t last long, though. Why? My thinking changed when I reminded myself how upset I would be if I didn’t achieve my goal. It meant far too much and in the back of my mind, I still wanted it badly.

I went back over all the emails from people I’d helped and that spark came back. Deep down, I still wanted it badly. I still wanted to inspire millions of people.

Wanting it bad was what helped me to revive my blogging career and continue helping millions of people.

Wanting it badly will define your career.


2. What you think is possible

I met a guy earlier in the year that came from a farm in the middle of Outback Australia.

He’d sold his digital marketing business for a lot of money and banked a huge amount of coin as a result. He had no tech background. He had no business knowledge. He didn’t have seven-figure friends that drove Bentley’s.

What he had was an uncanny ability to think anything was possible. He saw himself rising above his circumstances even though he had no evidence to prove that he could do so. He worked long hours and built up a team of cult followers. They learned together how to get businesses exposure through social media and search engines.

For many of the people on his team, it was their first job. He didn’t pay them well because he couldn’t. All he thought was that one day, together, they’d do something incredible — and they did.

A lot of what happens in your career is based on how you think. If you think you can never be a manager, entrepreneur or executive, then you won’t be.

If you think you can be good at public speaking, you might.
If you think you can hit your sales target, you might.
If you think you can start a successful business, you might.
If you’re not successful right now, you will be.

It’s only a matter of time until one of the bets in your career pays off

It’s a combination of being ready, being humble, thinking right and having the skills to execute. Not thinking you can achieve big will rob you of whatever it is that you want in your career.

I shouldn’t be a successful blogger because I can’t write that well, I have bad spelling/grammar skills, I don’t own a blog and I’m not filthy rich. Despite all that I’ve achieved my blogging goal.

I saw my goal become possible before anybody else did.

I told myself that every major challenge was necessary for me to eventually get what I wanted. I thought my goal was possible even though all the facts suggested it wasn’t. Instead of relying on data I relied on my own mind to lead me down the right path.

I chose to believe when no one else did.

This very way of thinking is not unique to me. Many of the leaders around the world that shape the human race think in the same way.

What you think is possible in your career will define what goals you can achieve.

Your thinking defines your career.
Being smart isn’t enough.

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Success Advice

How to Create Your Own Version of Success

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Success is in the eye of the beholder. And because every human being sees life and all the things that come with it through their lens of experience, everyone’s individual idea of life, growth and success is defined by what they see, hear, think, feel and taste. This means that you have the power to determine what success means to you.

Many of the greatest thought-leaders, business people and influencers throughout history have provided their thoughts and opinions about success –  how to achieve it, how to manage it and how to be it. They’ve written books that are supposed to share with the world how success is merely a feeling and a wish. While many of the most successful people have warned that success is what you make of it, society has coined “success” as being wealthy, influential, famous, and lavish.

You may be thinking, “I’m not rich, but I’m well off,” or “I’m not a social media influencer, so I don’t have much clout.” But here is the truth: You, just the way you are, are already a success. Here’s why. Think of all the things that have happened in your life – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Up until this very moment, you have made a series of choices that have shaped your reality.

Therefore, you have created the life you have, and you have set the terms of how you decide to live your life. Not to suggest that your life is perfect because no ones life is exactly as they want it, but the fact that you have created your reality shows that you are a creator. It also shows that you are in charge of creating the success you desire.

“Success is not in what you have, but who you are.” – Bo Bennett

Even if you feel like you should be so much further along than you are today, you still made it to today and that’s a good thing. If you are reading this feeling like you need to shift things around in your life so that you can feel like a success, try these three things below.

  1. Jot down all the words that you think of when you read the word “success,” and mark the words that align with who you are. Ask yourself what you believe you need to feel like a success. Only write down what resonates with you, not what you think people expect of you. Remember, that you are defining your journey, so you get to make up all the rules.
  2. Now, write down all the words you think about when you read the word “unsuccessful,” and mark all the words that may describe some aspect of you that you want to eliminate. Don’t just consider the big stuff, small stuff matters too! Procrastinating to get out of bed in the morning, drinking too much soda, or even spending too much time watching television are all examples of habits that could in some way affect your personal growth.
  3. Lastly, create an SAP (Success Attack Plan) to align yourself with more of the descriptive words that you associate with success and start to eliminate the characteristics you may possess that depict you as less than who you desire to be.

Your Success Attack Plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can start with an actionable idea as simple as, “Read one book this month about personal development,” or “Connect with someone who can mentor me.” Sometimes, you have to look to those who have been where you are to help you get where you desire to be. Just remember, your journey won’t look like theirs so pay attention to your inner being at all times and do what feels natural and right to your situation.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.” – Buddha

When you create your lists, be as imaginative as possible. Consider those people, places and things around you. Think about what you like and don’t like. Ponder on energy you want to attract that you do not already have and things you want to repel.

Don’t worry about setting a timeline for this. Creating a vision for your life starts with setting an intention at this moment and allowing that intention to lead you in the days to come. To see yourself five years from now, you have to do the things today that will help you get to the future.

Don’t allow others to tell you what you should aspire to be when it comes to success. You are in command, and you are in charge of your present and your future. Own it, own your success and own you.

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Success Advice

What It Really Means to Be a High Achiever in a Culture of Lazy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Keeping employees interested in their work has been an increasingly difficult challenge for today’s employers. Whether it’s due to a generational shift of Millennials fully entering the workforce or an increasingly distracted society across the board, the vast majority of American workers are not passionate about their work.

This dispassionate workforce is causing large-scale problems, for both workers and the companies that employ them. When young people become immersed in cultural laziness, it can be hard to become a high achiever, but there is a path for those willing to do what it takes to be a top performer, and it’s simpler than you might think.

Laziness by the Numbers

According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly two-thirds of American workers are either unengaged or actively disengaged in their job. This leaves only a third of Americans who are actively engaged and passionate about their work. This lack of interest has enormous financial ramifications for companies due to all of this lost productivity.

Research from McLean & Company, estimates that a disengaged employee costs a company $3,400 out of every $10,000 in annual salary, or 34% of their wages. That means a disengaged employee who earns $75,000 costs their organization $25,500 per year due to a lack of productivity. If roughly two-thirds of workers are disengaged, this adds up to billions of dollars lost across the economy.

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.” – Khalil Gibran

Motivation: Whose Job is it Anyway?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to employee motivation: Either managers need to actively motivate their employees, or employees need to step their game up and figure out what they actually like doing. Stefan Aarnio, a highly successful real estate investor, author, coach, and speaker, falls squarely into the second camp. He attributes his company’s success to the culture of high accountability and high performance he cultivated over the years.

It all began with Aarnio honing his own intrinsic motivation over the years by discovering, and then doing, exactly what he loves to do. In Aarnio’s own words, “you don’t need the resistance of waking up every day and doing things that you hate doing, life is too short for that”, and he expects those he hires to follow the same logic. When you love what you do, you don’t need a manager to constantly poke and prod you to gin up some motivation, however fleeting it might be.

It may seem like common advice that only works for the wealthy, but doing what you love really is the simple solution to the scores of dispassionate workers plaguing the workforce of today. People are trained to believe that they should get the highest paying job they can get regardless of how it makes them feel.

“You don’t build a business, you build people, and then people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

Aarnio believes this is shortsighted and will ultimately lead to a sad and dispassionate life. By being attuned to what makes him passionate, and expecting the same from his employees, Aarnio has been able to flip the script and develop a culture of passion and high achievement.

How do you motivate your team to want to show up every single day? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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8 Powerful and Inspiring Words of Encouragement to Help Lift You Up

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

When you’re going through tough times, all you need is sympathy. You just need someone to tell you how strong you are and how you can cope with the situation. Essentially, you’re waiting for a soothing voice that can calm your inner storm and genuinely help with your troubles. (more…)

I am Eliana Jags, Co-Founder & Author at beinginsightful.com. I'm passionate about writing motivational and inspirational articles. Before I became a full-time blogger, I was a Software Engineer but left the job to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer and thus I've committed myself completely to my passion of writing. You can connect with me on my Facebook page here.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Patricia

    May 1, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    This is one more effective way to reach people. Thinking about making someone else feel better takes the pressure to be perfect off of you, and both benefit in the long run.

Leave a Reply

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

Success Advice

9 Ways To Build Unbreakable Confidence From The Outside In

Published

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Build Self Confidence

There are a million different resources and pieces of advice out there from “experts” on how to build confidence, particularly self-confidence.

A vulnerable and anxious population consumes this guidance like they are starving for it… probably because they are. The dream of being able to overcome all fear and self-imposed limits by simply reading some advice is a very tempting dish indeed.

After lifetimes of being subject to images and ideals that they cannot possibly live up to, people start to feel like they are “less than.” This fear of being a substandard human being drives some of us to seek guidance, bringing us into contact with the murky, over-crowded world of self-help products and services.

Look, some of the stuff out there is good – I know, I’ve tried most of it. However, some of it is very misguided and even delusional.

People who lack self-confidence themselves can take a class on basic theoretical knowledge of psychological research, and use it to excrete volumes of garbage about how to build self-esteem and confidence. They then charge copious amounts of money for this drivel, which usually makes you feel great temporarily but does absolutely nothing to change your long term situation.

I’m not going to pretend I know it all, yet what I do have to offer is that I have completed the full journey, from shy, “nice,” and trying to please everyone, all the way through to where I am now.

You may ask, where is that, and what does being confident mean to me? It means that these things now occur in my life where they didn’t before:

  • I regularly seek out opportunities to push boundaries and expand my comfort zone, running towards fear rather than away from it
  • I can go into a situation full of anxiety and quickly push through that to enable me to feel competent and at ease
  • I feel comfortable being honest in all situations. Rather than hide my views, I express them calmly and diplomatically where required, but also without compromise
  • I place my needs above everything else. I am selfish about developing my life and inner-self, because I know that ultimately the people in my life will benefit from me being a better person
  • Most importantly from my point of view, I can’t remember the last time I felt jealousy or envy, and it’s been many, many years since I entertained the idea of wanting to be anyone else

So how did I get to this from being a “nice” guy that did all I could to avoid confrontation and anxiety-provoking situations? Well, it wasn’t easy! I have taken some time to break down the steps I took to achieve this in order to help others out there who are similar to me and serious about developing true, unbreakable inner confidence.

See the secret is really no secret at all – it’s about constantly taking action in a way that pushes your comfort zone further out until you learn how to make any situation feel like it’s in your comfort zone.

Below are 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence from the outside in:

1. Identifying your ultimate dream lifestyle

Something that is a real confidence drainer is not knowing where you’re going in life. The great thing is you don’t even need to be sure about it; you just need to have a direction to travel in.

Try taking 30 minutes to write down a descriptive paragraph or two about what your life would look like if you could wave a magic wand and choose anything. I’ve found with my clients that answering these three questions in detail is a great structure to use:

1What will you have / what will you be doing?

2) How would other people describe you?

3) What will you think about yourself?

Writing down the detailed answers to these questions, using emotional and descriptive language. Once you’ve done this, make sure you re-read it regularly (at least twice per week) to remind yourself constantly about why it is you are getting out of bed.

This will increase your sense of purpose in life, a reason to live in a way, which will increase your confidence. Of course, to actually achieve this dream lifestyle, there are further steps you need to take… (read on).

2. Writing down goals and striving to achieve them

I remember reading about a study at Oxford University: researchers asked all students in a class who had written down their goals. I can’t remember the exact details but about 3% of them did this.

When the researchers revisited the students again 20 years later, the small group who had written down goals were earning a combined income that was greater than the combined income of all 97% of their classmates.

There are plenty of free resources out there on how to write goals (including The Inspirational Lifestyle). The general key I recommend is that rather than write outcome based goals (e.g. “I will get a promotion”) try writing action-based goals that are under your control (e.g. “I will take a management course and then apply for a promotion”).

By making sure the goals are under your control, your confidence is not subject to luck. Remove luck by making sure that nothing and no-one can affect the achievement of your goal except for you.

3. Reading popular self-development books by successful business people

While there are far too many refuse-bin-worthy self-development books out there, your safest bet is to read the memoirs and how-to books which are written by people who have actually achieved something.

It really is simple; if someone like Richard Branson is a billionaire, he’s probably a pretty reliable source of information on how to make money. It’s much better to listen to him than someone fresh from completing an MBA and spilling a bunch of inexperienced theory-based conjecture.

4Learning how to manage your state of mind

Most of the time the reason you feel anxious or nervous about a situation you’re about to go into, such as public speaking, is because you’re in the wrong frame of mind.

Imagine this: you’ve been studying accounting for three straights hours without interruption, when all of a sudden you’re dragged to a party. Straight away you feel anxiety even though going to a party is not an unusual situation for you. So what’s the problem?

Your brain was set into the “studying” state, which is secluded, quiet, and antisocial. You are then thrown into a situation which requires you to be extroverted, talkative and social. This is a really uncomfortable imbalance for your brain to handle. The solution? Taking baby steps.

When you realize you are feeling anxiety about an upcoming situation and you suspect that it is because of being in the wrong state, try to figure out some in-between steps you can take.

Using our example above, rather than going straight to the party, you could have a chat on the phone with some close friends, followed by pre-drinks at your house with just a few people. This way by the time you get to the party your state has gone from withdrawn to outgoing in easy to manage steps.

confidence picture quote

5Understanding the balance between learning, mentoring and action

One of the most common barriers to success is too much thinking and not enough doing. It’s the doing that builds confidence, not the learning.

As a general rule, for every hour you spend reading or watching videos (passive learning), you will benefit most by complementing this with two hours of mentoring or coaching, and seven hours practicing or otherwise taking action. It’s the 10/20/70 rule.

This is why I’ve titled this article “9 ways to build confidence from the outside in,” because building confidence goes far beyond just reading inspirational or educational books. It’s about taking action so you will start seeing results and positive changes.

6. Approaching strangers

This is one of the scariest things for people to do – very few can do it sober without a background in cold-calling or sales of some kind. Doing this is a really powerful way to build confidence, particularly if you’re single and approaching strangers with the intention of potential romance.

If you can get yourself to do this sober and during the day, it makes everything else seem a lot less scary. You can learn to love rejection as the learning and feedback experience it really is.

7. Trying new things regularly

Having a routine can kill your creativity and make your life boring. It’s important to seek new adventures, and always try new things regularly because it can boost your confidence through the following two ways.

1) By learning a range of skills and having varied experiences, you start building up transferable abilities. Over time less situations will seem totally unknown because you will have done something similar before.

For example, I found I really enjoyed salsa dancing despite never having danced before, because it combined my previous experiences of playing in a band and doing martial arts.

2) You will eventually find those things that bring you the most pleasure and satisfaction (in a non-creepy way of course).

Confidence is often also described as “conscious competence,” which basically means that if you are doing something that you are skilled at, and you know that you are skilled, you feel confident.

8. Surrounding yourself with successful people

Successful people always say “how can we do this?” whereas unsuccessful people generally say “why should we do this?

What kind of people do you spend the most time with? Until you develop a strong inner core of confidence that others cannot touch, you need to surround yourself with “can do” people in order to feed on their confidence.

People showing you that anything is possible, and that they believe you are capable of anything will go a long way towards helping you believe this yourself.

9. Making a conscious effort to stop caring about other’s opinions of you

Finally, the biggest lesson I ever really learned about developing true all-round confidence is that the only person I should compare myself to is… myself. There is nothing to be gained in comparing myself to others or trying to live to others expectations.

Confidence comes from setting your own expectations of yourself and then trying your best to live up to them. I am not saying that you shouldn’t compete with others, because that’s a great motivator too, but your results and progress should only be measured against your past self.

Well that’s it. There’s a million other things you can do, but I am sure that if you start with this list and TAKE ACTION rather than just read this and do nothing, then you will start to see big changes in how you feel about yourself.

Which one of the above 9 ways to build unbreakable confidence resonated most with you and why?

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Success Advice

It’s Not How Smart You Are That Defines Your Career — It’s This

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Look around the office you work in. Some people are managers. Some people make six-figure salaries. Some people are senior executives. Some people work in customer service on the frontline.

It’s a big mistake to think that where you are in your career has something to do with how smart you are.

I’ve met many smart people who crash and burn in their careers because they have to be always right or they overthink, or they know a lot about the wrong things or they have very low emotional intelligence causing them to upset many people at the same time.

If being smart made us successful then we’d all go and consume endless information and become millionaires shortly after.

Being smart is not enough.

So what does define your career and the success you have?


1. How badly you want it

The woman/man that became CEO wanted it more.

The person with the 7-figure business wanted it more.

The woman that won an Olympic Gold Medal wanted it more.

You have to want your goals really, really, really bad.

Wanting something so badly that you’re prepared to do anything to get there (ethically) is how you get the energy to overcome the rejection and failure it’s going to take to get reach that point.

I wanted to share my story and inspire people with it very badly. I thought of creating a WordPress website, but I had no idea how to and had zero technical skill. My knowledge of how to market that website was also zero.
I tried creating a Facebook Page and to date, it still has less than 3000 followers which means I fall short by a lot in terms of my target to inspire millions of people.

I tried using Twitter and reaching people that way. I was never able to get any real engagement. I’d tweet Elon Musk. I’d message Tony Robbins. I’d write the best tweet humanly possible. It all led nowhere.

I tried using a blogging platform called Medium. I was able to build a small following, but most people in my area of the world don’t use it. I still came up short of my goal.

Then, I tried writing on a blog that already had lots of viewers called Addicted2Success and began posting on LinkedIn daily.

Everything changed. I wanted to inspire people so badly that I kept trying until I found a platform that worked for what I had to say. Wanting it badly enough was what helped me keep going from 2014 until now. It didn’t stop there, though.

When my career took a turn down a black hole, my motivation died. Suddenly, writing on Addicted2Success and LinkedIn became hard. I didn’t want it as bad because the pain caused by my work life was too much. I let things slip temporarily for about 3 weeks. Engagement went to an all-time low.

It didn’t last long, though. Why? My thinking changed when I reminded myself how upset I would be if I didn’t achieve my goal. It meant far too much and in the back of my mind, I still wanted it badly.

I went back over all the emails from people I’d helped and that spark came back. Deep down, I still wanted it badly. I still wanted to inspire millions of people.

Wanting it bad was what helped me to revive my blogging career and continue helping millions of people.

Wanting it badly will define your career.


2. What you think is possible

I met a guy earlier in the year that came from a farm in the middle of Outback Australia.

He’d sold his digital marketing business for a lot of money and banked a huge amount of coin as a result. He had no tech background. He had no business knowledge. He didn’t have seven-figure friends that drove Bentley’s.

What he had was an uncanny ability to think anything was possible. He saw himself rising above his circumstances even though he had no evidence to prove that he could do so. He worked long hours and built up a team of cult followers. They learned together how to get businesses exposure through social media and search engines.

For many of the people on his team, it was their first job. He didn’t pay them well because he couldn’t. All he thought was that one day, together, they’d do something incredible — and they did.

A lot of what happens in your career is based on how you think. If you think you can never be a manager, entrepreneur or executive, then you won’t be.

If you think you can be good at public speaking, you might.
If you think you can hit your sales target, you might.
If you think you can start a successful business, you might.
If you’re not successful right now, you will be.

It’s only a matter of time until one of the bets in your career pays off

It’s a combination of being ready, being humble, thinking right and having the skills to execute. Not thinking you can achieve big will rob you of whatever it is that you want in your career.

I shouldn’t be a successful blogger because I can’t write that well, I have bad spelling/grammar skills, I don’t own a blog and I’m not filthy rich. Despite all that I’ve achieved my blogging goal.

I saw my goal become possible before anybody else did.

I told myself that every major challenge was necessary for me to eventually get what I wanted. I thought my goal was possible even though all the facts suggested it wasn’t. Instead of relying on data I relied on my own mind to lead me down the right path.

I chose to believe when no one else did.

This very way of thinking is not unique to me. Many of the leaders around the world that shape the human race think in the same way.

What you think is possible in your career will define what goals you can achieve.

Your thinking defines your career.
Being smart isn’t enough.

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Success Advice

How to Create Your Own Version of Success

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Success is in the eye of the beholder. And because every human being sees life and all the things that come with it through their lens of experience, everyone’s individual idea of life, growth and success is defined by what they see, hear, think, feel and taste. This means that you have the power to determine what success means to you.

Many of the greatest thought-leaders, business people and influencers throughout history have provided their thoughts and opinions about success –  how to achieve it, how to manage it and how to be it. They’ve written books that are supposed to share with the world how success is merely a feeling and a wish. While many of the most successful people have warned that success is what you make of it, society has coined “success” as being wealthy, influential, famous, and lavish.

You may be thinking, “I’m not rich, but I’m well off,” or “I’m not a social media influencer, so I don’t have much clout.” But here is the truth: You, just the way you are, are already a success. Here’s why. Think of all the things that have happened in your life – the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Up until this very moment, you have made a series of choices that have shaped your reality.

Therefore, you have created the life you have, and you have set the terms of how you decide to live your life. Not to suggest that your life is perfect because no ones life is exactly as they want it, but the fact that you have created your reality shows that you are a creator. It also shows that you are in charge of creating the success you desire.

“Success is not in what you have, but who you are.” – Bo Bennett

Even if you feel like you should be so much further along than you are today, you still made it to today and that’s a good thing. If you are reading this feeling like you need to shift things around in your life so that you can feel like a success, try these three things below.

  1. Jot down all the words that you think of when you read the word “success,” and mark the words that align with who you are. Ask yourself what you believe you need to feel like a success. Only write down what resonates with you, not what you think people expect of you. Remember, that you are defining your journey, so you get to make up all the rules.
  2. Now, write down all the words you think about when you read the word “unsuccessful,” and mark all the words that may describe some aspect of you that you want to eliminate. Don’t just consider the big stuff, small stuff matters too! Procrastinating to get out of bed in the morning, drinking too much soda, or even spending too much time watching television are all examples of habits that could in some way affect your personal growth.
  3. Lastly, create an SAP (Success Attack Plan) to align yourself with more of the descriptive words that you associate with success and start to eliminate the characteristics you may possess that depict you as less than who you desire to be.

Your Success Attack Plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can start with an actionable idea as simple as, “Read one book this month about personal development,” or “Connect with someone who can mentor me.” Sometimes, you have to look to those who have been where you are to help you get where you desire to be. Just remember, your journey won’t look like theirs so pay attention to your inner being at all times and do what feels natural and right to your situation.

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting.” – Buddha

When you create your lists, be as imaginative as possible. Consider those people, places and things around you. Think about what you like and don’t like. Ponder on energy you want to attract that you do not already have and things you want to repel.

Don’t worry about setting a timeline for this. Creating a vision for your life starts with setting an intention at this moment and allowing that intention to lead you in the days to come. To see yourself five years from now, you have to do the things today that will help you get to the future.

Don’t allow others to tell you what you should aspire to be when it comes to success. You are in command, and you are in charge of your present and your future. Own it, own your success and own you.

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Success Advice

What It Really Means to Be a High Achiever in a Culture of Lazy

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Keeping employees interested in their work has been an increasingly difficult challenge for today’s employers. Whether it’s due to a generational shift of Millennials fully entering the workforce or an increasingly distracted society across the board, the vast majority of American workers are not passionate about their work.

This dispassionate workforce is causing large-scale problems, for both workers and the companies that employ them. When young people become immersed in cultural laziness, it can be hard to become a high achiever, but there is a path for those willing to do what it takes to be a top performer, and it’s simpler than you might think.

Laziness by the Numbers

According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly two-thirds of American workers are either unengaged or actively disengaged in their job. This leaves only a third of Americans who are actively engaged and passionate about their work. This lack of interest has enormous financial ramifications for companies due to all of this lost productivity.

Research from McLean & Company, estimates that a disengaged employee costs a company $3,400 out of every $10,000 in annual salary, or 34% of their wages. That means a disengaged employee who earns $75,000 costs their organization $25,500 per year due to a lack of productivity. If roughly two-thirds of workers are disengaged, this adds up to billions of dollars lost across the economy.

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.” – Khalil Gibran

Motivation: Whose Job is it Anyway?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to employee motivation: Either managers need to actively motivate their employees, or employees need to step their game up and figure out what they actually like doing. Stefan Aarnio, a highly successful real estate investor, author, coach, and speaker, falls squarely into the second camp. He attributes his company’s success to the culture of high accountability and high performance he cultivated over the years.

It all began with Aarnio honing his own intrinsic motivation over the years by discovering, and then doing, exactly what he loves to do. In Aarnio’s own words, “you don’t need the resistance of waking up every day and doing things that you hate doing, life is too short for that”, and he expects those he hires to follow the same logic. When you love what you do, you don’t need a manager to constantly poke and prod you to gin up some motivation, however fleeting it might be.

It may seem like common advice that only works for the wealthy, but doing what you love really is the simple solution to the scores of dispassionate workers plaguing the workforce of today. People are trained to believe that they should get the highest paying job they can get regardless of how it makes them feel.

“You don’t build a business, you build people, and then people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

Aarnio believes this is shortsighted and will ultimately lead to a sad and dispassionate life. By being attuned to what makes him passionate, and expecting the same from his employees, Aarnio has been able to flip the script and develop a culture of passion and high achievement.

How do you motivate your team to want to show up every single day? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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