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What You Can Learn From “Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Speech

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Neil Gaiman - Make Good Art Speech And Book
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One of the best speeches that will teach you about life is Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” Video on YouTube. I haven’t watched it for some time and was inspired to revisit it after watching a great piece of artistry online. The art that stood in front of my eyes was a group of glow in the dark drones that was combined with beautiful, female, western dancing.

It was truly magnificent, and it made me feel like I was in another world in a far away galaxy. For that moment, everything I was thinking about and all my troubles seemed to disappear – that’s what good art does.

Everything you do in life should be treated like art. Art is something that you respect and something you care about. Your life’s work should tick both of these box’s; otherwise, you will never be fulfilled. Lack of fulfillment is a steep descent into a dark hole of failure that you may never get out of.

So with that said, here is my twist on the 16 lessons you can learn from the “Make Good Art” speech by Neil Gaiman:

 

1. Make it up as you go along

We have become obsessed with planning our lives and wanting to know how everything is going to turn out. Sometimes, when something doesn’t turn out it can pave the way for another amazing event to happen in your life.

Forget about wanting to know the future, take a moment to think, and then start creating the next few years of your life. Create something that is your art.

 

2. List down what you want to do and then go do it

Rather than follow a plan, list down what you want to do in life and then just go and do everything on that list. It will take you on an adventure that you will never forget, and you’ll be living life on your terms.

The list you write down should include some activities that involve you making good art and unlocking your creative side.

 

3. Rules only tell you what is possible

The problem with living life to a set of rules is that rules only allow you to achieve what is currently possible. Success is about doing what is impossible or what seems like a wild dream that will never be achieved. The game of life get’s even harder when you try and follow someone else’s rules.

“When the rules you live by belong to someone else, the goal posts will continue to change, and your life will become a cat and mouse game with happiness.” – Tim Denning

When you forget about having rules you can achieve what seems impossible. That’s how the winners become so successful, and that’s why everyone recognises who they are. No one wants to give a standing ovation to someone who followed the rules.

Rules destroy creativity. Creativity breeds impossible adventures that take your life on a new path. Throw out the concept of rules, form some millionaire habits, and then go crush your goals to smithereens.

 

4. Ask questions – find out how the world works

Making your life into a masterpiece of art requires you to get some world-class strategies. The habit we all lack is to ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to sound dumb.

“Ask questions and learn from those who have achieved the different pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that make up your picture of success in your mind”

Questions require a creative mind to think about what’s missing and to track down the people that can answer those questions with a level of knowledge that is unmatched. Don’t settle for second best and use your hustle to ask good questions to those who have achieved their dreams.

 

5. Keep walking towards the mountain

Keep Walking Towards The MountainPicture the mountain as the dream that your heart longs for. Whenever someone tries to take you on a route that bypasses the mountains trail by asking you to do something that is not you, say no. That mountain that you look at can only be climbed when you make good art to reach its peak.

It will take the creative part of your mind to find a way up the mountain, and it will use all of your physical capacity and emotion. There will be tough times as you try and climb the mountain but once you have reached its peak, the view of your dream from up top will make it all worth it.

Always keep the mountain in your sights by creating good art.

 

6. Only do things that feel like an adventure

Anything that feels like work will make you feel exhausted. Working hard at your passion doesn’t feel like work at all. Working on your passion feels like an adventure that you never want to stop being on. If you’re telling yourself each day that you have to go to work then you’re not creating art, you’re helping someone else make their art.

Your art is your own quest for adventure. Make that art the best damn way you know how and don’t ever give up!

 

7. Hundreds of bottles go out for every one bottle that comes back

Neil Gaiman - Message In A BottleYour life’s work involves creating lots of pieces of art that you send out into the world. These pieces of art are like putting messages in a bottle and placing them into the ocean in the hope that one bottle comes back.

When you are making art, occasionally one bottle will come back from time to time. Blogging is a great example of this. I write articles every day, and occasionally one hits the spot and gives me the energy I need to go to the next level.

As you become more successful, you then have the opposite problem; too many bottles will come back. At this point, you then need to become more focused on your art to narrow down the bottles that come back.

 

8. Don’t do it for the money

When you do anything in life only for money and then for some reason you don’t get paid, your mind can feel like you have nothing. If you make good art and do work you’re proud of then if you never get paid, at least you will have the art you created.

The lessons that will take you forward can only be learned from tasks that come from your art. Your art is your life’s journey and without it, you will be trapped in a maze of disappointment, resentment, and fear.

 

9. None of us know what we’re doing so enjoy the success

When you achieve success, your mind can tell you that you’re a fraud, and eventually the world will work out that you have no idea what you’re doing – none of us do. Don’t let your mind keep lying to you. Your success is a direct result of the art you make. There are no rules on how to achieve beautiful art that the world loves. So, make good art and enjoy any success you get.

 

10. Making mistakes means you are doing something

If you’re not making mistakes with your art, then you are probably doing nothing and not even trying to climb your mountain. There are so many couch commentators who can tell you everything about how your art should be created – none of them have ever created this so-called artwork themselves, though.

Increase your rate of failure and watch how beautiful your art becomes. Watch people admire you and be inspired by your influence. The art of “doing” is what will make you successful not the art of thinking about what you need to do.

 

11. When you feel naked, you’re starting to get it right

We all wear a mask, afraid of what others will think of us. The moment you take that mask off and reveal yourself to the world is the moment your art will become phenomenal. The more personal your story gets, the more people will love your art.

The art that doesn’t work out teaches you just as much as the art that causes people’s mouths to drop when they see it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Fail fast and move on.

 

12. When things get tough make good art

There are so many things that can go wrong in our life. We can lose a family member, have our heart broken by that special someone, or be turned down for the very art we love so much.

No matter what, make good art. Your art is what get’s you through the tough times and it’s what make’s the good times feel so amazing. Without your art, there are no good times. All there is without your art is empty space; empty time.

 

13. Time takes the sting away

Even if everything goes horribly wrong, you always have your art as long as your mind never forgets this one universal truth. The toughest of times can all be healed through the passing of time. Eventually, your heart will reform, and you will be back to your unstoppable self again.

Nothing lasts forever except true art. Your art, your passion, what you give to the world, and your love for other people are all you’ve got. They are the secret ingredients to the dream that makes up your mountain.

 

14. Start out by copying and then find your own voice

At first, you will probably start out by copying someone else’s art. That’s okay. The best example I have seen of this is Tony Robbins. Many of you probably don’t know that Tony started out by teaching the works of Napoleon Hill. A lot of Tony’s early work is based on the book “The Law Of Success.”

Through the years, Tony has transformed Napoleons work and made his own unique art. This would never have happened unless he started out by teaching Napoleons artwork first. It’s not about creating art that is different; it’s about creating art that is uniquely you. What do you have to show the world?

 

15. The Internet only makes your art better

The Internet, software, and data is changing the game. This is perfect for making art because it means no one knows what the future will be like, so you can focus on your art, and create the future yourself. When you realise that change only makes your art better, you will embrace it. You will develop that mental clarity that makes the clouds around your mountain disappear.

 

16. Pretend you can do it

What stops us from making good art is that we don’t believe we can. If you learn to start making your art and pretend you’re good at it, then one day you will be.

Look at me I’m no blogger. I just pretend I am and pretend my advice is good even if it’s not. In the end, if I believe I can be a blogger then I can be. All it takes is practice and time to be good at your art.

What does making good art mean to you? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.

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

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jun 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Don’t be afraid to make it up as you walk your path to success. Thanks for another great article! We don’t need to know all the details. The dots will start connecting with each step we take. That’s the beauty of life. We have a chance to be surprised with a wonderful piece of art and a piece of who we are when we commit to taking a single step every day.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      My pleasure Charlene and thanks for reading!

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 25, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Great article. One of things that I love in this article is how you should turn tough times into good art. When you think about it, historically the best pieces of art rather it be music or paintings, they they have from when the person was going through their toughest times. I really believe that tough times are only there to make us stronger, wiser, and better artists in life. One person once told me that they use the pain and tough times that they go through to fuel them to be better and to go after their dreams more ferociously, and I have that same attitude now.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 25, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Lawrence thanks for highlighting the point again about tough times. It really is true when you go back and study histories greats. There is no success without tough times. Thanks for reading mate!

  3. Toño

    Jun 24, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Woke up today with a heavy heart after a night storm. Haven’t slept well. What’s better way to start your morning off with light and positive article like this 🙂

    I really enjoyed the introduction as I completely agree with you on making our daily life, daily job and the whole journey like an art form. I mean we can literally transform all of our activities into some sort of it. And art requiers open mind and living heart. Obsession with planing, how precise it is. I think often of it, whether to got with the flow or write your goals every time and just plan out everything. Since I started care less about my job and people’s opinion I felt relief and joy, well at least I can feel it more often now. I can clearly see what is wrong around so not be caught into everyday drama to satisfy society 😀

    And rules are there just to create an illusion. From ‘The Matrix’ movie when Morpheus is telling Neo about rules: ‘some of them can can be bent. Others…can be broken.’ We can change rules, we can set them to work for ourselves. We really can and should do.

    You’ve also listed two highly important points for me, Tim, and I hugely appreacite it. Keep walking towards the mountain. You know, I have a t-shirt which says ‘Mountains are calling and I must go’. I love it so much and it has great meaning for me. My mountain has a strong call for me and I can feel it now. I can hear it. And to make it sure, it has to be an adventure, not a daily chore to grind. Only make things that feels like an adventure sounds like sweet sweet fruit haha, I want to taste every day!

    I also like how you said – when you feel naked, you’re starting to get it right – it just feels so right indeed 🙂 Recently I started to feel more comfy at my job, most likely becaue I let it all go and decided not to worry much about. But under the comfort mask I yet begin to feel I am pulling myself into the trap of corporate world again, and as a result, feel more stress. It’s a paradox actually where your comfort bring you your ‘beloved’ stress and pain back, eventually. I want to feel naked again so let’s get off some clothes man! There’s a fantasy book called ‘The Masked Empire’. It’s about one province where people wear masks on reagular basis so to not show who they really are in order to be match others expectation and be someone else. I think this explanation fits well for our world, where most people wear those masks to hide their issues and to hide from the world.

    I also adore the fact you agree on copying things first and then transform them into something unique and you. And I did not know that Tony Robbins was teaching Napoleon Hill’s work. I knew he learned from him, and I admire them both. You see, in the modern world with lots of creative minds it may happen two persons may work on the same thing, or vene more than two. I see nothing wrong in copying someones work as long as if you will create your own as well, travelling down your journey.

    And yes, fake it until you make it! The only thing that matters is our perception of oursleves and ow we beileve we actually good. Days are neutral, it’s only us who make them good or bad.

    Wonderful pice of art, Tim, enoyed every bit of it 🙂 Glad you feel good and find your daily motivation, keep on going, my friend! I very much appreciate what you do!
    Much love, speak soon, my friend~

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 24, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Toño thanks for yet another round up of one of my posts. I am reading Vishen Lakhiani’s book right now and I am convinced the traditional rules are BS. The mountain analogy has also been very powerful for me as well. It’s easy to forget about the mountain and veer of track. Speak soon Toño.

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Success Advice

3 Practical Ways Successful People Attract Money

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successful men

It takes more than just hard work, grinding and strategies to become successful. Do you actually know what subtle changes to make in order to reach the level of success and financial wealth you desire?

In our constantly changing world, those who are getting ahead in the game are individuals who are learning to raise their standards both personally and professionally. The age of the Internet has certainly brought a new dawn for the average person dialing up that inner craving for more freedom and a higher quality of life.

The opportunities and technological advancements are here, but one thing seems to be lagging: Our ability to produce and maintain the money we actually need to enjoy all that is currently available.

Everywhere you turn there is a new, sleeker, more advanced version of your favorite gizmo. Whether it’s your dream phone, car, computer, or designer clothes, they keep getting better and who doesn’t enjoy having the best of the best?

However, how can we have the best of the best when increasing income continues to be a struggle? As traditional methods of working and doing business radically transform, certain confusion arises especially amongst entrepreneurs.

This is why a recent conversation with my friend and owner of Walletisland, Adrian Brown, challenged me to reassess how I am approaching some of the things we tend to consider unimportant in the entrepreneurial space. I realised there are simple everyday shifts that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs which could be the key to increasing success and income.

For the majority of aspiring and budding entrepreneurs, the backstory is pretty much the same. We all grew up in less than abundant conditions. Our approach is for the most part pretty old fashioned when it comes to personal grooming and our relationship with money. But if there’s one thing I have come to realize when it comes to producing extraordinary results, it is this: Success and attracting money is all about mindset and the attitude one carries.

“Your mindset matters. It affects everything – from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being.” – Peter Diamandis

This is a law based truth I am proving more and more as I interact, connect with and learn from other successful entrepreneurs. In my most recent mastermind with a like-minded individuals, we were able to uncover a few blind spots that continue to hinder many hard working entrepreneurs.

More specifically, we came to a consensus when it comes to attracting more wealth that most individuals hit these three blind spots which hopefully after today, you will no longer fall victim to.

  • Too many success seekers are neglecting their personal appearance and self-grooming. As entrepreneurs, we think only our skillsets should matter, but that’s never the case.
  • Most people are neglecting their everyday personal interaction with money. In other words, aside from the big general numbers they have to deal with in business, most men aren’t deliberately working on improving how they handle, carry and interact with money. Part of this might be old negative paradigms around money running the show.
  • Many business owners are struggling with unattractiveness and low confidence, which certainly hinders their ability to shine, stand out and magnetize success.

If any or all of these resonate, here’s what you can do about it today:

1. Polish your self-image and outer appearance

This doesn’t have to take up too much time. With a little more deliberate thought on the shoes you wear, the wallet you carry, the combination of your clothing, hair, body language and attitude you will not only raise your professional appearance but there is much research proving your earnings will increase too.  Keep it clean, simple, clutter free and corresponding to your business role.

2. Prep yourself for a “money shift”

Is there a psychological relationship between a someones’s wallet and their money? Absolutely. In fact when Adrian got into men’s fashion it was because he experienced firsthand “the money shift”. This happened when he stopped carrying around cheap, worn-out wallets and started carefully choosing the kind that made him feel most opulent.

I’m passionate about helping men strengthen their connection and interaction with money because I realize it’s not about fashion trends. A man’s wallet is something he interacts with daily. It should be a symbol of prosperity and help him de-clutter. It should also be a demonstration of his modern take on money because in our digital society, money is transforming and it’s in our best interest to catch up lest we suffer the consequences of holding on to limiting beliefs around money.”

I couldn’t agree more. Most of us will need to shed limiting beliefs, heal money wounds and learn to handle, carry and interact with money in ways that promote its presence. What money story is your wallet telling right now?

3. Work on your self-confidence and attractiveness

Those struggling with low self-confidence and feelings of unattractiveness need to make drastic changes. Why? According to research by Payscale, over the course of a lifetime, an “attractive person will end up making about 230,000 more than an unattractive person.”

That’s ridiculous especially since being attractive and confident isn’t just for the chosen few. Now that you are in business for yourself, you can’t afford to be bullied by invisible limiting beliefs that question how capable, attractive and confident you are.

If it naturally doesn’t come to you, there are various exercises you can do and small changes you can make in order to build yourself up and make up for any disadvantages you may have had in your upbringing.

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Dalai Lama

As entrepreneurs, we are inclined to focus more on strategies and tactics which will help us close the sale sometimes at the expense of our personal health and grooming. Let us refrain from assuming appearances do not count just because we are no longer climbing the corporate ladder.

If the vision is to enjoy a more opulent and enriching lifestyle, take time to align every aspect of your life with this new self-made, inspiring, influential leader you are aspiring to be. All successful people go into the game prepared for that win.

What personal changes will you make to prepare you for more wealth?

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Success Advice

5 Ways to Improve Your Audience Engagement

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audience engagement

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

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

1. Increase the amount of content you are putting out

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

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

2. Ask the right questions

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

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

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

3. Switch it up a little

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

4. Analyze your data

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

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

5. Calls to action are key

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how this Japan trip rebuilt me:

 

We’re all the same: we’re all loved.

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

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

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

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

 

Japan can show you what is wrong too.

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

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

 

Objectification of women has changed men in a bad way.

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

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

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

 

The Samurai showed the benefits of discipline.

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

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

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

 

Concrete Jungle vs. Nature

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

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

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

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

 

See as many places as you can.

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

 

Don’t forget attention to detail.

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

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

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

 

Manners feel good.

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

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

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

 

Connection through transport.

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

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

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

 

Technology is exhausting.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Minimalism and being space conscious is beautiful.

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

 

Time is money in Japan.

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

 

Low energy states can be healed by travel.

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

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

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

 

Climbing Japanese mountains is a metaphor for life.

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

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

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

Two more things to remember:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In summary….

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

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

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

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

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Success Advice

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

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Marketing

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

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

1. Define Who You Are

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

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

2. Explain What You Do

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

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

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

3. Identify Who You Help

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

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

4. Give First, Receive Later

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

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

5. Have Something To Sell

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

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

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

6. Do it All Over

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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3 Practical Ways Successful People Attract Money

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successful men
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It takes more than just hard work, grinding and strategies to become successful. Do you actually know what subtle changes to make in order to reach the level of success and financial wealth you desire? (more…)

Janette Getui is a mumpreneur and prosperity coach devoted to showing others how to produce more freedom and opulence in life. She is the co-founder of Bold Beautiful Blissful U and hosts transformational prosperity retreats and masterminds. Known to many as a powerful modern day mystic who has been able to prove through her own journey from the heart of poverty in an African slum to the abundant beach lifestyle that she gets to enjoy in Europe, that overcoming poverty consciousness, limiting beliefs and low self-worth is the fastest way to produce new beginnings and unfold a rich, blissful destiny. Her PH.D in overcoming harsh conditions and mind mastery make connecting with her worthwhile especially if spiritual and financial freedom matters to you. Get her free gift e-book that will enable you to unlock your version of heaven on earth.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jun 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Don’t be afraid to make it up as you walk your path to success. Thanks for another great article! We don’t need to know all the details. The dots will start connecting with each step we take. That’s the beauty of life. We have a chance to be surprised with a wonderful piece of art and a piece of who we are when we commit to taking a single step every day.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 30, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      My pleasure Charlene and thanks for reading!

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 25, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Great article. One of things that I love in this article is how you should turn tough times into good art. When you think about it, historically the best pieces of art rather it be music or paintings, they they have from when the person was going through their toughest times. I really believe that tough times are only there to make us stronger, wiser, and better artists in life. One person once told me that they use the pain and tough times that they go through to fuel them to be better and to go after their dreams more ferociously, and I have that same attitude now.

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 25, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Lawrence thanks for highlighting the point again about tough times. It really is true when you go back and study histories greats. There is no success without tough times. Thanks for reading mate!

  3. Toño

    Jun 24, 2016 at 2:06 am

    Woke up today with a heavy heart after a night storm. Haven’t slept well. What’s better way to start your morning off with light and positive article like this 🙂

    I really enjoyed the introduction as I completely agree with you on making our daily life, daily job and the whole journey like an art form. I mean we can literally transform all of our activities into some sort of it. And art requiers open mind and living heart. Obsession with planing, how precise it is. I think often of it, whether to got with the flow or write your goals every time and just plan out everything. Since I started care less about my job and people’s opinion I felt relief and joy, well at least I can feel it more often now. I can clearly see what is wrong around so not be caught into everyday drama to satisfy society 😀

    And rules are there just to create an illusion. From ‘The Matrix’ movie when Morpheus is telling Neo about rules: ‘some of them can can be bent. Others…can be broken.’ We can change rules, we can set them to work for ourselves. We really can and should do.

    You’ve also listed two highly important points for me, Tim, and I hugely appreacite it. Keep walking towards the mountain. You know, I have a t-shirt which says ‘Mountains are calling and I must go’. I love it so much and it has great meaning for me. My mountain has a strong call for me and I can feel it now. I can hear it. And to make it sure, it has to be an adventure, not a daily chore to grind. Only make things that feels like an adventure sounds like sweet sweet fruit haha, I want to taste every day!

    I also like how you said – when you feel naked, you’re starting to get it right – it just feels so right indeed 🙂 Recently I started to feel more comfy at my job, most likely becaue I let it all go and decided not to worry much about. But under the comfort mask I yet begin to feel I am pulling myself into the trap of corporate world again, and as a result, feel more stress. It’s a paradox actually where your comfort bring you your ‘beloved’ stress and pain back, eventually. I want to feel naked again so let’s get off some clothes man! There’s a fantasy book called ‘The Masked Empire’. It’s about one province where people wear masks on reagular basis so to not show who they really are in order to be match others expectation and be someone else. I think this explanation fits well for our world, where most people wear those masks to hide their issues and to hide from the world.

    I also adore the fact you agree on copying things first and then transform them into something unique and you. And I did not know that Tony Robbins was teaching Napoleon Hill’s work. I knew he learned from him, and I admire them both. You see, in the modern world with lots of creative minds it may happen two persons may work on the same thing, or vene more than two. I see nothing wrong in copying someones work as long as if you will create your own as well, travelling down your journey.

    And yes, fake it until you make it! The only thing that matters is our perception of oursleves and ow we beileve we actually good. Days are neutral, it’s only us who make them good or bad.

    Wonderful pice of art, Tim, enoyed every bit of it 🙂 Glad you feel good and find your daily motivation, keep on going, my friend! I very much appreciate what you do!
    Much love, speak soon, my friend~

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 24, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Toño thanks for yet another round up of one of my posts. I am reading Vishen Lakhiani’s book right now and I am convinced the traditional rules are BS. The mountain analogy has also been very powerful for me as well. It’s easy to forget about the mountain and veer of track. Speak soon Toño.

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Success Advice

3 Practical Ways Successful People Attract Money

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successful men

It takes more than just hard work, grinding and strategies to become successful. Do you actually know what subtle changes to make in order to reach the level of success and financial wealth you desire?

In our constantly changing world, those who are getting ahead in the game are individuals who are learning to raise their standards both personally and professionally. The age of the Internet has certainly brought a new dawn for the average person dialing up that inner craving for more freedom and a higher quality of life.

The opportunities and technological advancements are here, but one thing seems to be lagging: Our ability to produce and maintain the money we actually need to enjoy all that is currently available.

Everywhere you turn there is a new, sleeker, more advanced version of your favorite gizmo. Whether it’s your dream phone, car, computer, or designer clothes, they keep getting better and who doesn’t enjoy having the best of the best?

However, how can we have the best of the best when increasing income continues to be a struggle? As traditional methods of working and doing business radically transform, certain confusion arises especially amongst entrepreneurs.

This is why a recent conversation with my friend and owner of Walletisland, Adrian Brown, challenged me to reassess how I am approaching some of the things we tend to consider unimportant in the entrepreneurial space. I realised there are simple everyday shifts that are often overlooked by entrepreneurs which could be the key to increasing success and income.

For the majority of aspiring and budding entrepreneurs, the backstory is pretty much the same. We all grew up in less than abundant conditions. Our approach is for the most part pretty old fashioned when it comes to personal grooming and our relationship with money. But if there’s one thing I have come to realize when it comes to producing extraordinary results, it is this: Success and attracting money is all about mindset and the attitude one carries.

“Your mindset matters. It affects everything – from the business and investment decisions you make, to the way you raise your children, to your stress levels and overall well-being.” – Peter Diamandis

This is a law based truth I am proving more and more as I interact, connect with and learn from other successful entrepreneurs. In my most recent mastermind with a like-minded individuals, we were able to uncover a few blind spots that continue to hinder many hard working entrepreneurs.

More specifically, we came to a consensus when it comes to attracting more wealth that most individuals hit these three blind spots which hopefully after today, you will no longer fall victim to.

  • Too many success seekers are neglecting their personal appearance and self-grooming. As entrepreneurs, we think only our skillsets should matter, but that’s never the case.
  • Most people are neglecting their everyday personal interaction with money. In other words, aside from the big general numbers they have to deal with in business, most men aren’t deliberately working on improving how they handle, carry and interact with money. Part of this might be old negative paradigms around money running the show.
  • Many business owners are struggling with unattractiveness and low confidence, which certainly hinders their ability to shine, stand out and magnetize success.

If any or all of these resonate, here’s what you can do about it today:

1. Polish your self-image and outer appearance

This doesn’t have to take up too much time. With a little more deliberate thought on the shoes you wear, the wallet you carry, the combination of your clothing, hair, body language and attitude you will not only raise your professional appearance but there is much research proving your earnings will increase too.  Keep it clean, simple, clutter free and corresponding to your business role.

2. Prep yourself for a “money shift”

Is there a psychological relationship between a someones’s wallet and their money? Absolutely. In fact when Adrian got into men’s fashion it was because he experienced firsthand “the money shift”. This happened when he stopped carrying around cheap, worn-out wallets and started carefully choosing the kind that made him feel most opulent.

I’m passionate about helping men strengthen their connection and interaction with money because I realize it’s not about fashion trends. A man’s wallet is something he interacts with daily. It should be a symbol of prosperity and help him de-clutter. It should also be a demonstration of his modern take on money because in our digital society, money is transforming and it’s in our best interest to catch up lest we suffer the consequences of holding on to limiting beliefs around money.”

I couldn’t agree more. Most of us will need to shed limiting beliefs, heal money wounds and learn to handle, carry and interact with money in ways that promote its presence. What money story is your wallet telling right now?

3. Work on your self-confidence and attractiveness

Those struggling with low self-confidence and feelings of unattractiveness need to make drastic changes. Why? According to research by Payscale, over the course of a lifetime, an “attractive person will end up making about 230,000 more than an unattractive person.”

That’s ridiculous especially since being attractive and confident isn’t just for the chosen few. Now that you are in business for yourself, you can’t afford to be bullied by invisible limiting beliefs that question how capable, attractive and confident you are.

If it naturally doesn’t come to you, there are various exercises you can do and small changes you can make in order to build yourself up and make up for any disadvantages you may have had in your upbringing.

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Dalai Lama

As entrepreneurs, we are inclined to focus more on strategies and tactics which will help us close the sale sometimes at the expense of our personal health and grooming. Let us refrain from assuming appearances do not count just because we are no longer climbing the corporate ladder.

If the vision is to enjoy a more opulent and enriching lifestyle, take time to align every aspect of your life with this new self-made, inspiring, influential leader you are aspiring to be. All successful people go into the game prepared for that win.

What personal changes will you make to prepare you for more wealth?

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5 Ways to Improve Your Audience Engagement

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audience engagement

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

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

1. Increase the amount of content you are putting out

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

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

2. Ask the right questions

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

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

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

3. Switch it up a little

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

4. Analyze your data

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

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

5. Calls to action are key

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how this Japan trip rebuilt me:

 

We’re all the same: we’re all loved.

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

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

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

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

 

Japan can show you what is wrong too.

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

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

 

Objectification of women has changed men in a bad way.

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

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

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

 

The Samurai showed the benefits of discipline.

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

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

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

 

Concrete Jungle vs. Nature

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

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

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

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

 

See as many places as you can.

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

 

Don’t forget attention to detail.

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

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

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

 

Manners feel good.

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

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

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

 

Connection through transport.

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

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

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

 

Technology is exhausting.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Minimalism and being space conscious is beautiful.

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

 

Time is money in Japan.

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

 

Low energy states can be healed by travel.

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

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

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

 

Climbing Japanese mountains is a metaphor for life.

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

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

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

Two more things to remember:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

In summary….

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

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

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

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

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Success Advice

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

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Marketing

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

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

1. Define Who You Are

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

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

2. Explain What You Do

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

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

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

3. Identify Who You Help

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

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

4. Give First, Receive Later

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

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

5. Have Something To Sell

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

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

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

6. Do it All Over

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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