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Success Advice

Why Smart People Think Beyond Reason to Make Powerful Decisions

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How long has it been since you’ve had a tough decision to make at work? I bet it happens regularly, if it is not on a daily basis. Sure, making decisions can be exhilarating, but it can also be draining. Sometimes dreadful.

Your pulse accelerates, you start to sweat, your mind jumps from one point to the next, hoping to settle on something. You really want to make the right decision for you, for your team, for your organization. But often times, it can be a tough call. You wish you had the perfect step-by-step recipe to get to the right decision.

Well, in fact, decision-making is quite a complex process for everyone. So much that it is a very popular topic in management research.

For decades, academics have observed and interviewed successful senior leaders to understand and model the thought process that take them to the right decision. These studies resulted in the inescapable rational process. Which we are all very aware of.But what if there was a better way to make decisions that doesn’t just rely on rational thinking?

The problem with rational thinking

rational thinking

We are trained from an early age to develop our rational abilities. We are taught to systematically gather the relevant data, to analyze it, to design options and evaluate them, until we make the final decision. It is as a slow process requiring conscious and sustained effort. Our rational thinking make progress step by step and draws a logical conclusion. And that’s great. Indispensable.

I couldn’t agree more. I hold a Bachelor of Mathematics, and a scientific Master’s degree in Management. My natural preference is rational thinking. However, I must admit that rational thinking can be wrong. Or jammed, unable to decide.

I mean, do you always have enough time to gather data, analyze, evaluate options and decide? Do you always have all the data that is necessary? Does it sometimes happen, on the contrary, that you have so much data that it is overwhelming and you can no longer distinguish the forest from the trees? What if there was another way?

Rational thinking is not your only option

rational thinking

Senior leaders realize, and researchers have found out, that all decisions are not, or are not only, based on rational thinking. Decision-making also leverages … intuitive thinking. Smart leaders consider their intuitions — in addition to their rational analysis — when making decisions.

And the truth is, leaders consider their intuitions — in addition to their rational analysis — when making decisions:

“90% of the 60 leaders who participated in a study reported using their intuition in combination with rational data analysis. They found that their decisions were accelerated, and were better.” (Burke, Miller, 1999)

“Managers at the top of every [of the 2000] organizations surveyed scored higher than middle or lower-level managers on their ability to use their intuition to guide their key decisions.” (Agor, 1986)

This is a well-kept secret, isn’t it? I bet you rarely hear someone at work trying to convince you that this decision is better because his instinct says so. We would rather emphasize the extensive research and analysis we have done to give credibility to our decision.

However, it doesn’t mean that intuition is not instrumental to the process. So, let me explain what intuition is, exactly.

How intuition helps you reach the right decisions

intuition

Neuroscience understands that the human brain thinks in two different ways. There’s the rational process, as described above, and the intuitive process. The latter is not esoteric, magical, nor is it about a premonition.

Intuitions are the conclusions that spontaneously raise to your consciousness, without you being aware of the intermediate stages — although it is often possible to justify your intuition after the fact.

Imagine meeting someone for the first time. Within a blink of the eye, you have an opinion of the person. That’s an intuition. And, contrarily to reason, intuition is incredibly fast. Intuitions are conveyed to your consciousness by your emotions. The first thing that comes to mind is the feelings you have for this person. You like or dislike, you trust or you don’t.

Rather than dissecting information, the intuitive process of the brain makes connections almost instantaneously based on your experiences. By analogy and association, it synthesizes and jumps to conclusions. Beneath the surface, when you meet this person for the first time, your brain finds similarities with people you’ve known in the past, and concludes.

Intuition is thus essentially based on the knowledge accumulated through your experiences, all too often forgotten, and on the models of the world that you have created for yourself, of which you are often not aware of. You may or may not realize that this person in front of you reminds you of the type of people you don’t trust, as an example.

In fact, because it is spontaneous and effortless, intuition is the way of thinking that drives the majority of the decisions you make in a day. If the stakes are not high, intuition will prevail, it is so much easier and efficient. Whether you are conscious of it or not. Whether you like it or not.

Here are a few examples:

  • You slow down your car in traffic, because you instinctively understand that the car on the other lane is trying to cut you off.
  • You pick clothes in your closet that feel comfortable if you don’t have an official meeting today. You don’t need to rationally think over your choice.
  • You accept an invitation without hesitation because it feels exciting and you have time. No need for some complex thinking here either.

Does that mean you should always listen to your intuition?

listen to your intuition

Now, is this to say that your intuition is always right? Sorry, it is not the case. The quality of your intuitions depends on the quality of the knowledge you hold, and thus of your learning.

In fact, as you are getting experienced in your job, as you face numerous situations and overcome challenges, you develop mental models on the appropriate ways to react. That’s called expert intuition. It explains why senior people can make decision swiftly, without hesitation, and without a long rational process.

Your expertise may not only be related to your job. You can also be an expert in human relations, for example. If you have always been fascinated by people, and an avid observer of good and not-so-good interactions, you may intuitively know how to react with difficult people or situations.

However, a word of caution. Intuition can also tap into your biases and your fears. In those occasions, intuition could be wrong, and it is really difficult to tell when this happens. Intuitions, at the end of the day, are no more no less than assumptions. That’s why engaging both rational thinking and intuitive thinking is so important.

How smart people use intuition to make the best decisions

using your intuition

Let’s say you are in a restaurant. You read the menu, and choose one food rather than another according to how you feel about it. It is then your intuitive process that intervenes, without real awareness of what leads you to that choice.

That being said, if you are following a particular diet, you may rule out your initial choice. You can be the impartial observer of your feelings. You can decide to slow down for a second and have your rational thinking intervene to choose more proper food for you. You have a veto power over your intuitions.

The same holds true for decisions made in a professional context, even for the most rational of us. You have intuitions, and you have rational thoughts.

Let me ask you a question: When you have a decision to make, how would you describe your typical thought process?

  1. You spontaneously have a feeling of what the right decision is, and then you engage your rational thinking to confirm whether or not your intuition is right. That is called strategic intuition.
  2. You first collect data, you analyze it, you evaluate your options, you make a rational decision and then you stop for a moment to perceive how you feel about the decision. That’s called conclusive intuition.

Strategic intuition and conclusive intuition are both efficient. But it speaks to your natural preference, and to the level of experience you hold. The more experience, the more mental models you developed over time, and the easiest it is for your brain to make connections and associations, and thus generate intuitions.

In both instances, integrating intuition and reason increases dramatically the potential for you to make the right decision.

Intuition is really an assumption your brain makes based on your experience. Relying solely on your intuition could be risky, unless you don’t have the time to analyze the situation rationally — for example, in the middle of a heated discussion, or a particularly stressful situation.

Depending solely on your reason is also suboptimal. Your brain has the capacity to detect information beneath the surface which could have a crucial impact on your decision. Ignoring it could lead you to the wrong conclusion.

The more you navigate between the two processes, the more knowledge you tap into, the better the decisions, and the more you can adapt to circumstances. You can decide how much you rely on one or the other — or both. It is a matter of choice, and practice.

Make the best use of your brain’s powers to make smart decisions

brain power

Imagine that going forward, you listen to the little voice inside of you, in addition to proceeding systematically, rationally.

Imagine that going forward, you navigate between your reason and your intuition. You dig deeper into your feelings, the voice of your intuition, and challenge your reason. Similarly, you observe impartially feelings that arise, take a step back, and apply your veto if you know better.

Navigating between your reason and your intuition, you tap into the knowledge you are aware of at a conscious level, and also into the wisdom you hold beneath the surface. Chances are that you will make better informed decisions, even if time is short, data is insufficient, or contradictory.

As a senior leader once told me:This will make the difference between a potential of success, and an assured failure.

References:

This article is based on the research I performed for my Master’s thesis (2017). The full bibliography includes over 100 articles and books, of which:

BURKE, Lisa A., MILLER, Monica K., Taking the mystery out of intuitive decision-making Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 13, №4, p. 91–98, New York, Academy of Management, 1999

AGOR, Weston H., The Logic of Intuition: How Top Executives Make Important Decisions, Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 14, №3, p. 5–18, Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1986

Ginette Gagnon is a certified Team Performance Coach and holds a Masters in Management from Montreal, Canada. She works with entrepreneurs, high-potential executives and management teams around the world making her clients athletes in their respective professional discipline.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Harsh Tiwari

    Oct 29, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Exactly what I needed to read on a monday morning.

  2. Moe Williams-Witt

    Oct 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    It is not surprising how perfectly you grasp the concept when you have studied this so completely. And your pictures are amazing illustrations. Personally I would have liked more examples to be shared. I find it is always a challenge to connect the intelligence and understanding with the emotion-driven reactions. Good reading~

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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!

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Success Advice

How To Improve Yourself In The Next 6 Months With Very Little Effort.

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Sounds like a huge claim doesn’t it? That Tim Denning Self-Help idiot is at it again isn’t he?

Wrong. Improving yourself in 6 months so that you can achieve all your big goals is easier than you think. A word of warning though, the advice is brutal but effective at the same time.

I’ve recently gone through this process myself and it’s changed everything in my life. My top four fears before the 6 month challenge were the following:

  1. Career change
  2. Getting married/kids
  3. Becoming a people leader
  4. Health issues

I overcame these fears by working on myself for the last six months.

Here are the steps I took:


Confront your fears head-on.

I’ve just told you my top four fears and you probably have your own list.

Unless you are honest with yourself and acknowledge your fears in writing, you’ll never conquer these invincible demons.

Harden up. Acknowledge your fears.

My top four fears were something I avoided for years. I was embarrassed to share them and even talk about them. I thought they’d magically take care of themselves.

I thought the fairies would come through my window at night and whisper in my ear the answer to my biggest fears. I was wrong”

Writing down my top fears and then writing down how each of them was ridiculous and full of false evidence is how I freed myself from them.

I conquered each one head on. You can do the same and you must if you want to improve in the next six months.


Stop giving a damn.

This next one is tightly linked to the first point. You can’t confront your fears or make progress unless you stop giving a damn.

Holding on to your BS stories and ways of doing things in the past is screwing everything up for you.

As of tomorrow, stop giving a damn.

Don’t waste any of your energy caring about useless things like what could happen if you make changes in your life, or sell your car, or make a bold move.

Before making a few changes in the last six months, I gave a damn about too many little things. Things that just don’t matter like what my family thought of my girlfriend or where I lived. It just didn’t matter.

When I gave in to my stupidly, insane, stubborn ways of the past and did what I knew I had to do, things got easier. I could go about my day without caring about so many small things that had previously distracted me from my dream of inspiring the world through personal development and entrepreneurship.

You can have the same beautiful realization as me if you stop giving a damn about all the small things.


Reduce everything.

The major improvements in your life will come from taking stuff away not adding more into your life.

Reduce Netflix time.
Reduce your belongings down by at least 25%.
Reduce your expenses by cutting off things you don’t need or that don’t serve your primary goals.

All of us have too much of everything and it’s sucking up the time we need to improve ourselves.

You can’t truly turn your life around unless you commit to focusing big chunks of time on just a few commitments.


Select one thing you’re going to achieve.

Not ten goals. Not twenty-five. One.

For the last six months my one goal has been to double down on my blogging. No more podcasts, speaking opportunities or coffee catchups I feel I must do. I took one goal, and I did it every single day — including my recent holiday to Europe where I posted something daily that could inspire people.

Even if I was on the train going between Rome and Florence, my daily habit was achieved no matter what. It was easy to remember because I’ve only committed to achieving one thing.

The power of doing one thing that matters the most to you will give you the fastest transformation and sense of fulfillment.

The challenge is to discover what that one thing is going to be for yourself.


Commit to discipline.

Fat? Stop eating sugar and exercise.

Smoke too much? Quit.

Bored of your job? Get a new career.

Friends dragging you down? Divorce them.

Nothing in your life will change in the next six months unless you commit to discipline and follow through with action. Everything you need to improve in the next six months is pretty straight-forward.

To make progress requires discipline. Not discipline for five out of seven days a week but every day. Not “I’ll eat clean during the week and then binge on the weekend.”

Discipline is taking the action which you know is good for you and not being tempted to shy away from that. After being disciplined for 6 months, you’ll find it hard to go back. The hard part is creating the habit.


Read a lot.

Many of the answers you need to improve yourself will come from reading books not watching what the Kardashians had for dinner last night.

Aim to read a few books a month on problems you want to solve.

If you’re trying to build a company, then read The Lean Startup.

If you need brilliant mentor advice, then read Tribe Of Mentors.

If you need a radical transformation, then read Unlimited Power or Think And Grow Rich.

Each person has their own challenges and the answers can be learned through someone else’s experience. Someone else has gone through what you’re going through — read about the solution, then radically implement it.


Get your phone, turn off all notifications except SMS and incoming calls.

This was a big one for me. My phone had taken over my life and I had no blank space to think.

“I deleted Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, WeChat and Slack”

Damn, it felt good.

Life is effortless when you’re in control and that will come from being insanely focused on the tasks you need to execute on.


Come up with a why for your entire life.

Now to be fully transparent I had this one in the bag over a year ago, but during the last six months, it was the pillar of everything else I did.

Unless you know why you need to change and why you exist, it’s hard to achieve anything. Whenever I look at my to-do list, I sort it by the tasks that are linked to my why above everything else.

This makes managing my calendar simple. I ask myself this question: “Does the request of my time support my why?”

You can ask yourself the same question once you know the why for your entire life. This why will evolve over time, so my recommendation would be to start somewhere. Don’t overthink your why in the beginning.


Have one life-changing moment.

Radical change (especially in the next 6 months) usually needs a defining moment. These moments can come from life naturally, but the trouble is it could take years. I chose to manufacture my one life-changing moment.

I attended an immersive event that was about lifestyle design. During that process, there was so much emotion linked to what I uncovered that I had several breakthroughs.

Putting aside time to work out what you’re going to do and to reflect on the past is how you find your one defining moment.

If you want a few suggestions of events that might trigger a life-changing moment for you than send me a note and I’m happy to tell you a few I’ve attended.


Invest some money in your future.

Most of us (including me) typically only save for the present or the near present financial goals we have.

Investing for the future is how you set yourself up to win. I chose three buckets to put my money in:

  1. A long-term index fund (5+ years until any withdrawal)
  2. Personal development courses and events
  3. Books from Amazon

By having a plan for the future, I’m setting myself up to win. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still set up a few similar buckets and start filling them up right now.

Within 6 months, you’ll have more invested in your future than you thought was possible.


Make a stand and forget what people think of you.

Maybe people don’t like the way you dress. Screw them.
Maybe people think your dream career is stupid. Screw them.
Maybe people will think your poor based on your current financial situation.

Take their opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

It’s time to make a stand and stop letting what everyone thinks of you and your goals hold you back. People that have time to judge you probably suck at their own goals. Remember that.

The fastest way to go nowhere in the next six months is to sit there daydreaming about what every person you know might think of you. You don’t need permission”

In fact, you don’t need endless advice either.

Most advice is biased and most people are not you, don’t understand you and have no idea how you feel. So with that freeing thought right there, go out and make the next six months the period of your life that defines you.

Take my last six months and use them as inspiration for your next six months.
You can improve yourself and do so with very little effort.

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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Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through. (more…)

Mo Saleem is an independent men’s health researcher and publisher of TripleYourT.com. Having overcome the symptoms of depression, chronic fatigue, and a lack of drive, his mission is to empower men with the strategies and tactics to live with more energy, purpose, and power. Use the FREE T-Analysis Tool to figure out if your testosterone level is where it should be.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Harsh Tiwari

    Oct 29, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Exactly what I needed to read on a monday morning.

  2. Moe Williams-Witt

    Oct 20, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    It is not surprising how perfectly you grasp the concept when you have studied this so completely. And your pictures are amazing illustrations. Personally I would have liked more examples to be shared. I find it is always a challenge to connect the intelligence and understanding with the emotion-driven reactions. Good reading~

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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!

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Success Advice

How To Improve Yourself In The Next 6 Months With Very Little Effort.

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Sounds like a huge claim doesn’t it? That Tim Denning Self-Help idiot is at it again isn’t he?

Wrong. Improving yourself in 6 months so that you can achieve all your big goals is easier than you think. A word of warning though, the advice is brutal but effective at the same time.

I’ve recently gone through this process myself and it’s changed everything in my life. My top four fears before the 6 month challenge were the following:

  1. Career change
  2. Getting married/kids
  3. Becoming a people leader
  4. Health issues

I overcame these fears by working on myself for the last six months.

Here are the steps I took:


Confront your fears head-on.

I’ve just told you my top four fears and you probably have your own list.

Unless you are honest with yourself and acknowledge your fears in writing, you’ll never conquer these invincible demons.

Harden up. Acknowledge your fears.

My top four fears were something I avoided for years. I was embarrassed to share them and even talk about them. I thought they’d magically take care of themselves.

I thought the fairies would come through my window at night and whisper in my ear the answer to my biggest fears. I was wrong”

Writing down my top fears and then writing down how each of them was ridiculous and full of false evidence is how I freed myself from them.

I conquered each one head on. You can do the same and you must if you want to improve in the next six months.


Stop giving a damn.

This next one is tightly linked to the first point. You can’t confront your fears or make progress unless you stop giving a damn.

Holding on to your BS stories and ways of doing things in the past is screwing everything up for you.

As of tomorrow, stop giving a damn.

Don’t waste any of your energy caring about useless things like what could happen if you make changes in your life, or sell your car, or make a bold move.

Before making a few changes in the last six months, I gave a damn about too many little things. Things that just don’t matter like what my family thought of my girlfriend or where I lived. It just didn’t matter.

When I gave in to my stupidly, insane, stubborn ways of the past and did what I knew I had to do, things got easier. I could go about my day without caring about so many small things that had previously distracted me from my dream of inspiring the world through personal development and entrepreneurship.

You can have the same beautiful realization as me if you stop giving a damn about all the small things.


Reduce everything.

The major improvements in your life will come from taking stuff away not adding more into your life.

Reduce Netflix time.
Reduce your belongings down by at least 25%.
Reduce your expenses by cutting off things you don’t need or that don’t serve your primary goals.

All of us have too much of everything and it’s sucking up the time we need to improve ourselves.

You can’t truly turn your life around unless you commit to focusing big chunks of time on just a few commitments.


Select one thing you’re going to achieve.

Not ten goals. Not twenty-five. One.

For the last six months my one goal has been to double down on my blogging. No more podcasts, speaking opportunities or coffee catchups I feel I must do. I took one goal, and I did it every single day — including my recent holiday to Europe where I posted something daily that could inspire people.

Even if I was on the train going between Rome and Florence, my daily habit was achieved no matter what. It was easy to remember because I’ve only committed to achieving one thing.

The power of doing one thing that matters the most to you will give you the fastest transformation and sense of fulfillment.

The challenge is to discover what that one thing is going to be for yourself.


Commit to discipline.

Fat? Stop eating sugar and exercise.

Smoke too much? Quit.

Bored of your job? Get a new career.

Friends dragging you down? Divorce them.

Nothing in your life will change in the next six months unless you commit to discipline and follow through with action. Everything you need to improve in the next six months is pretty straight-forward.

To make progress requires discipline. Not discipline for five out of seven days a week but every day. Not “I’ll eat clean during the week and then binge on the weekend.”

Discipline is taking the action which you know is good for you and not being tempted to shy away from that. After being disciplined for 6 months, you’ll find it hard to go back. The hard part is creating the habit.


Read a lot.

Many of the answers you need to improve yourself will come from reading books not watching what the Kardashians had for dinner last night.

Aim to read a few books a month on problems you want to solve.

If you’re trying to build a company, then read The Lean Startup.

If you need brilliant mentor advice, then read Tribe Of Mentors.

If you need a radical transformation, then read Unlimited Power or Think And Grow Rich.

Each person has their own challenges and the answers can be learned through someone else’s experience. Someone else has gone through what you’re going through — read about the solution, then radically implement it.


Get your phone, turn off all notifications except SMS and incoming calls.

This was a big one for me. My phone had taken over my life and I had no blank space to think.

“I deleted Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, WeChat and Slack”

Damn, it felt good.

Life is effortless when you’re in control and that will come from being insanely focused on the tasks you need to execute on.


Come up with a why for your entire life.

Now to be fully transparent I had this one in the bag over a year ago, but during the last six months, it was the pillar of everything else I did.

Unless you know why you need to change and why you exist, it’s hard to achieve anything. Whenever I look at my to-do list, I sort it by the tasks that are linked to my why above everything else.

This makes managing my calendar simple. I ask myself this question: “Does the request of my time support my why?”

You can ask yourself the same question once you know the why for your entire life. This why will evolve over time, so my recommendation would be to start somewhere. Don’t overthink your why in the beginning.


Have one life-changing moment.

Radical change (especially in the next 6 months) usually needs a defining moment. These moments can come from life naturally, but the trouble is it could take years. I chose to manufacture my one life-changing moment.

I attended an immersive event that was about lifestyle design. During that process, there was so much emotion linked to what I uncovered that I had several breakthroughs.

Putting aside time to work out what you’re going to do and to reflect on the past is how you find your one defining moment.

If you want a few suggestions of events that might trigger a life-changing moment for you than send me a note and I’m happy to tell you a few I’ve attended.


Invest some money in your future.

Most of us (including me) typically only save for the present or the near present financial goals we have.

Investing for the future is how you set yourself up to win. I chose three buckets to put my money in:

  1. A long-term index fund (5+ years until any withdrawal)
  2. Personal development courses and events
  3. Books from Amazon

By having a plan for the future, I’m setting myself up to win. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still set up a few similar buckets and start filling them up right now.

Within 6 months, you’ll have more invested in your future than you thought was possible.


Make a stand and forget what people think of you.

Maybe people don’t like the way you dress. Screw them.
Maybe people think your dream career is stupid. Screw them.
Maybe people will think your poor based on your current financial situation.

Take their opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

It’s time to make a stand and stop letting what everyone thinks of you and your goals hold you back. People that have time to judge you probably suck at their own goals. Remember that.

The fastest way to go nowhere in the next six months is to sit there daydreaming about what every person you know might think of you. You don’t need permission”

In fact, you don’t need endless advice either.

Most advice is biased and most people are not you, don’t understand you and have no idea how you feel. So with that freeing thought right there, go out and make the next six months the period of your life that defines you.

Take my last six months and use them as inspiration for your next six months.
You can improve yourself and do so with very little effort.

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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