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Success Advice

Why Understanding Silence Is So Critical To Success

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Understanding Silence

We live in a noisy world with lots of distractions. One of the ways to unlock our success is to discover the power of silence. Away from all the everyday tasks of our lives, there are spaces of silence that we need to learn to embrace.

Silence is something that has plagued my mind for a long time. I have thought a lot about silence and tried to find the answer to it’s meaning. Then, recently, the meaning was finally made clear to me.

Below are the 5 reasons why silence is critical:

 

1. It’s the space between the notes

I learned the lesson of silence many years ago when I was a music producer. I tried so hard to make music that created high levels of energy and made people feel emotional.

Bringing people to tears while making them dance was my dream (it’s funny how this dream hasn’t really changed except the music has been replaced by blogging).

Image Credit: Bryony Cook

Image Credit: Bryony Cook

My music producer mentor taught me that the key to creating emotion and being successful at anything you do is to create the silence between the notes. He explained to me that the emotion was not the notes of music themselves; it’s the way the notes bring about moments of silence

This lesson has been fundamental to my entire life, and I have applied it to many other areas. It’s strange how even though we learn lessons like this they can be quickly forgotten. While on holidays, I was watching a video of a musician who was performing an audition.

During the song, I realised that the most emotional moments were when the musician kept the audience hanging on, and waiting for the next note.

In those few seconds between notes, the audience had a chance to reflect on the meaning of the words he was singing and let the melody touch their souls. I’m not sure why exactly, but the silence became so powerful, and I was deeply moved.

“Your success is not the events of your life; your success is the silence you create for others that lets them feel the emotion you are radiating out to them”

 

2. It’s what you don’t say

The best parts of any good movie are the parts when you are left to decide for yourself what happened; in other words, it’s the parts where you are left in silence with your own thoughts. The best thing a blogger has to say is the sentence that they choose not to write.

Monk MeditatingIt’s not what we say; it’s what we don’t say that creates our success. It’s that moment when everyone else is reacting to an event and judging someone, and you choose not to follow the crowd. You decide not to put people down; you choose to stay silent.

There are so many things you can complain about, yet it’s when you choose to stay silent that people will be drawn to what you’re doing. There are so many things wrong with the world, yet there is so much beauty at the same time.

It’s what you don’t say about you; that says so much about you. It’s the secrets you give away when you’re not talking and just being at one with your environment. It’s your body language that reveals what you’re really thinking.

The temptation is never to shut up and always be talking. It’s alluring to become obsessed with yourself and to add to the noise of the world. What if you chose to stay silent once in a while and just be happy with where you’re at right now? Too much achieving and not enough fulfillment will destroy the silence that you need.

 

3. There is constant noise, and the escape is where your bliss is found

The majority of people around you are full of noise. Have a listen and you will see what I mean. Our society has become obsessed with talking on the phone regularly and always needing to express ourselves on social media.

Silence is the escape for all of us and it’s where your bliss is found. If you do what everyone else does and continuously make the world noisier, you will achieve the same level of success that these noisy people achieve.

If you’re like me and struggle to clear the noise from your day, try meditating for five minutes multiple times throughout the day. It will help to reconnect you with the beauty of silence and nothingness.

 

4. Silence is golden – listen

People who know how to be quiet tend to learn so much more. In an important audition, the best thing you can do after you have performed is be quiet. In the moments of silence, your audience’s reaction will tell you far more than words.

Listening is a skill that so many never master. We are always talking over the top of each other out of fear that we won’t be heard or won’t get to share our amazing knowledge. Silence is how you be heard.

TED Public SpeakingI watched a phenomenal business presentation the other week. It was at a showcase of the latest business ideas and each team had seven minutes to present their concept, and to convince the audience why they should invest their money.

Every presentation felt rushed, and there were far too many people talking. After an hour, my mind was exhausted from the lack of silence. When I thought that all hope of an excellent presentation was lost, a young woman stood up to explain a new software platform that would assist charities.

This young woman understood why silence is so critical to success, and she demonstrated that fact by taking out lots of words from her speech. She painted images of what the world could look like and then she left silence between sentences.

Instead of being up against the seven-minute clock, she paced herself and let the silence do the talking for her. It’s no wonder that she impressed the audience, and it’s why I have gone out of my way to help her career in the last two years.

 

5. It’s not just the silence it’s the balance of dynamics

Silence is one thing. The key to your success is to have a good mix between the noisy, loud moments of your life and the silent ones. When you have a good mix of dynamics, it creates the right level of motivation to sustain you through the ups and downs.

The dynamics in your life create the emotion, and emotion is where it’s at. You will never be successful unless you get good at bottling up emotion and giving it out to people in the form of your purpose.

Do you practice silence regularly in your life? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Jason T Hill

    Aug 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    This was fantastic! I loved it all, even the part this comment’s about. #2 second paragraph. No doubt that’s a great way to deal with the situation if you have nothing positive to say; however, I find this situation a great opportunity to plant a positive seed.

    Keep in mind silence can often times indicate agreement, so if you just sit there in silence those around you may think you agree and develop a false impression of who you are. In that silence learn when to show your character, be bold and assertive when the times arise. Develop a way to control the silence because when we are silent and when we voice play equal parts in who we are. You don’t want to find yourself later in the day when you meditate thinking “I really should have stood up for Tim in that meeting!”

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 13, 2016 at 2:12 am

      Jason thanks for the kind words. I agree that you don’t always want to be silent because that can show weakness. Given that society talks way too much I don’t think any of us are in danger of being too silent…lol. Silence can often show deep think and understanding. It’s all about the body language as to whether your silence is making you look weak or incredibly intelligent.

  2. Donald

    Aug 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Great article and very useful practice. I have been doing for over 10 years. I even have a meditation practice for when I fly. Working from home a lot I do a walk in the garden every 60-90 minutes to clear out my thought.
    Thanks

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 8, 2016 at 1:24 am

      Donald thanks for sharing your experience. The 60-90 minute walk in the garden is incredibly powerful.

  3. Toño

    Aug 7, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I decided to left this article for home reading, thus returning from my job early on today, first thing after the cold shower to allow myself contemplate on the subject of silence. It’s kinda funny because once I saw the title I remembered that girl I have been dating awhile ago, the one I met thanks to our messages through email. I told you about her. So, there are people you find something to talk about, but that girl, she was the one you can share silence with. We could sit for hours together, embracing the moment of calmness and be just happy about it. It was beautiful. Rare people nowadays can do this, and if you can find the one – keep them closer to you.

    I was contemplating in silence for about 15 minutes after reading your first chapter. And I think I realized something. Something deep inside that I cannot explain. It felt like my inner-self talked to me in silence and I could understand it. So weird.

    I really loved that quote ‘The best thing a blogger has to say is the sentence that they choose not to write.’ And as being the one who loves to talk I think I will stay quiet for longer now. I really have to think about it and re-read your point on ‘It’s what you don’t say’.

    Meditation is very helpful here, and as today I’ve reached my 111-day streak I feel more need to sit quietly, in peace and concentrate on the very now. Calm is bliss.

    I think, in term of precious knowledge this might be by far your best writing, Tim. And it’s not a simple compliment. Well done for touching my mind and soul once again, my friend. Much love and appreciation! Stay well and healthy, speak soon~

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 7, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Toño thanks for sharing your personal story. I’m glad you have started to read my ebook and its had an effect on you already. Congrats on the 111 day streak! I am on a 44 day streak and have been meditating twice a day. Thank you so much for the compliment about the post. Silence is something I am getting much better at understanding.

  4. Lynne Maureen Hurdle

    Aug 7, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Getting comfortable with silence is something that so many people find difficult in conflicts which is the space I work from. Its power flies under the radar a lot. Listening beneath the words to the deeper feelings, meaning, values is what moves us closer to resolution. Your article gives me much to sit in silence with for a long time. Beautifully done. Well needed.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 8, 2016 at 1:35 am

      Lynne thank you for your very kind comment. I’m glad you appreciate the power of silence!

  5. Bryan Oliver

    Aug 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Fantastic post, Tim. With so much noise and distractions in our lives today silence is a rare commodity. I practice silence at least 5 days a week by getting up early to meditate and write. I find this is when my head is the clearest. I like the suggestion of meditating for 5 min several times a day. I’ll have to try that and let you know how it goes. Cheers!

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks so much Bryan. I like that you already have some great habits. Let me know how you go with the five minutes of meditating multiple times a day.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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failing to reach your goals
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What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

<<<>>>

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

Practice These 4 No’s for Greater Success

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In much of the success literature and in the applied motivational literature that is developed today, the explicit suggestions contained within are to practice certain behaviors for a certain outcome. So, you may see information with titles such as, “Do these four things for greater happiness”, or, “Perform the seven steps every morning for more focus”.

Not only am I a large proponent of these quick and distilled attributes of behavior change to bring about greater levels of whatever the outcome should be, I am also an author of a great many of them. The notion of cause and effect is explicit in applied motivation. If you want to change and affect then do not work on the effect directly, work on the cause that will invariably change the outcome.

So many of us try to psychologically bully our conscious mind into various effects, when all we really need to do is understand the causes. Thoughts drive behavior. If you change the thought the behavior must change. But can you increase your level of overall well-being by NOT doing certain things? And I know the answer is yes. It all begins with a shift in our perception and the thought process.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

Here are four NO’s that you may want to stop practicing. And by virtue of not doing these things you will have more mental room, and idea space between your positive notions for greater levels of contentment and well-being.

1. There are no justified discontentment’s

If the laws of cause and effect, and the law of attraction hold true, then we are where we are right now by virtue of our past behaviors, which are a direct result of our past beginning. So don’t be mad over your current situation, you created it! If you want to be happy, change it! But don’t just sit there and bask in your discontentment; bring about the necessary changes that you require.

In the words of James Ray, “a person of power embraces challenges and complete gratitude. No matter the situation life may bring, discontent is never justified, but rather all is experienced as an opportunity and privilege to adventure and grow.”

2. There are no justified excuses

The present is a doorway that balances past events with future circumstances. When we begin to fully grasp the idea that there is no dress rehearsal, we are on Broadway; that there is no scrimmage, today we are in the Super Bowl, we begin to realize that our life is a series of micro adjustments and that we are in total and complete control over them. Instead of wasting time making excuses for poor decisions, spend that time in fine-tuning future decisions to make up for those poor decisions of the past.

3. There are no justified complaints

We complain about a situation for one of two reasons. One, to elicit pity from another and, two, to transfer the issue we are complaining about to somebody else. Either behavior is destructive to the current personal relationship and will only serve to undermine future transactions with that individual.

Be a person of higher self-esteem; handle your issues in silence then speak to another individual about your successful outcomes. By doing so, you have altered your focus on a positive outcome instead of our negative conditions. By the way, there is always a successful outcome! If you can find it, look deeper, it’s there!

“Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” – John Wooden

4. There are no justified resentments

None, zip, zilch, zero! That person that borrowed $500 off you and never paid you back, forgive them. That significant other that dropped you like a hot coal just when you needed them the most, forgive them. That business partner that screwed you to the wall and caused you to lose a vast amount of money, forgive them. Remember, forgiveness is not about them, it’s about you. By letting go of the resentments that you have toward other people you open yourself up to the endless possibilities of bountiful manifestations that can occur because of your positive attitude and constructive optimism.

Think of these four big No’s! Number them, with number one being the one which you practice and think about the most. Then answer the following questions:

  • What can I do to alter this behavior and/or thought process?
  • What situations do I encounter and lead me in this behavior and/or thought process?
  • Can I avoid those situations?
  • If so, am I willing to avoid those situations?

Then do that with the second the third and the fourth big No’s. What will happen after enough time is that you will no longer be looking for situations to offend you, rather you will begin to open up to the possibilities of what the world and the universe have to offer you in a positive, enthusiastic, and engaging light.

I look forward to your comments, opinions, and suggestions. Please feel free to write them below.

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Success Advice

9 Ways To Build Unbreakable Confidence From The Outside In

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Build Self Confidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Identifying your ultimate dream lifestyle

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

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

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

2) How would other people describe you?

3) What will you think about yourself?

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

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

2. Writing down goals and striving to achieve them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4Learning how to manage your state of mind

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

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

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

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

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

confidence picture quote

5Understanding the balance between learning, mentoring and action

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

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

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

6. Approaching strangers

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

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

7. Trying new things regularly

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

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

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

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

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

8. Surrounding yourself with successful people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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50 Inspirational Walt Disney Quotes

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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43 Walt Disney Quotes
Image Credit | MickeyBlog.com

Walt Disney was an American businessman, animator, voice actor, producer and cartoonist, creating the well-loved cartoon character – Micky Mouse.

Walt Disney has become the cultural icon for entertainment throughout the world.

(more…)

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Jason T Hill

    Aug 10, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    This was fantastic! I loved it all, even the part this comment’s about. #2 second paragraph. No doubt that’s a great way to deal with the situation if you have nothing positive to say; however, I find this situation a great opportunity to plant a positive seed.

    Keep in mind silence can often times indicate agreement, so if you just sit there in silence those around you may think you agree and develop a false impression of who you are. In that silence learn when to show your character, be bold and assertive when the times arise. Develop a way to control the silence because when we are silent and when we voice play equal parts in who we are. You don’t want to find yourself later in the day when you meditate thinking “I really should have stood up for Tim in that meeting!”

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 13, 2016 at 2:12 am

      Jason thanks for the kind words. I agree that you don’t always want to be silent because that can show weakness. Given that society talks way too much I don’t think any of us are in danger of being too silent…lol. Silence can often show deep think and understanding. It’s all about the body language as to whether your silence is making you look weak or incredibly intelligent.

  2. Donald

    Aug 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Great article and very useful practice. I have been doing for over 10 years. I even have a meditation practice for when I fly. Working from home a lot I do a walk in the garden every 60-90 minutes to clear out my thought.
    Thanks

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 8, 2016 at 1:24 am

      Donald thanks for sharing your experience. The 60-90 minute walk in the garden is incredibly powerful.

  3. Toño

    Aug 7, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I decided to left this article for home reading, thus returning from my job early on today, first thing after the cold shower to allow myself contemplate on the subject of silence. It’s kinda funny because once I saw the title I remembered that girl I have been dating awhile ago, the one I met thanks to our messages through email. I told you about her. So, there are people you find something to talk about, but that girl, she was the one you can share silence with. We could sit for hours together, embracing the moment of calmness and be just happy about it. It was beautiful. Rare people nowadays can do this, and if you can find the one – keep them closer to you.

    I was contemplating in silence for about 15 minutes after reading your first chapter. And I think I realized something. Something deep inside that I cannot explain. It felt like my inner-self talked to me in silence and I could understand it. So weird.

    I really loved that quote ‘The best thing a blogger has to say is the sentence that they choose not to write.’ And as being the one who loves to talk I think I will stay quiet for longer now. I really have to think about it and re-read your point on ‘It’s what you don’t say’.

    Meditation is very helpful here, and as today I’ve reached my 111-day streak I feel more need to sit quietly, in peace and concentrate on the very now. Calm is bliss.

    I think, in term of precious knowledge this might be by far your best writing, Tim. And it’s not a simple compliment. Well done for touching my mind and soul once again, my friend. Much love and appreciation! Stay well and healthy, speak soon~

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 7, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Toño thanks for sharing your personal story. I’m glad you have started to read my ebook and its had an effect on you already. Congrats on the 111 day streak! I am on a 44 day streak and have been meditating twice a day. Thank you so much for the compliment about the post. Silence is something I am getting much better at understanding.

  4. Lynne Maureen Hurdle

    Aug 7, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Getting comfortable with silence is something that so many people find difficult in conflicts which is the space I work from. Its power flies under the radar a lot. Listening beneath the words to the deeper feelings, meaning, values is what moves us closer to resolution. Your article gives me much to sit in silence with for a long time. Beautifully done. Well needed.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 8, 2016 at 1:35 am

      Lynne thank you for your very kind comment. I’m glad you appreciate the power of silence!

  5. Bryan Oliver

    Aug 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Fantastic post, Tim. With so much noise and distractions in our lives today silence is a rare commodity. I practice silence at least 5 days a week by getting up early to meditate and write. I find this is when my head is the clearest. I like the suggestion of meditating for 5 min several times a day. I’ll have to try that and let you know how it goes. Cheers!

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks so much Bryan. I like that you already have some great habits. Let me know how you go with the five minutes of meditating multiple times a day.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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failing to reach your goals
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What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

<<<>>>

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

Practice These 4 No’s for Greater Success

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how to achieve greater success
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In much of the success literature and in the applied motivational literature that is developed today, the explicit suggestions contained within are to practice certain behaviors for a certain outcome. So, you may see information with titles such as, “Do these four things for greater happiness”, or, “Perform the seven steps every morning for more focus”.

Not only am I a large proponent of these quick and distilled attributes of behavior change to bring about greater levels of whatever the outcome should be, I am also an author of a great many of them. The notion of cause and effect is explicit in applied motivation. If you want to change and affect then do not work on the effect directly, work on the cause that will invariably change the outcome.

So many of us try to psychologically bully our conscious mind into various effects, when all we really need to do is understand the causes. Thoughts drive behavior. If you change the thought the behavior must change. But can you increase your level of overall well-being by NOT doing certain things? And I know the answer is yes. It all begins with a shift in our perception and the thought process.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

Here are four NO’s that you may want to stop practicing. And by virtue of not doing these things you will have more mental room, and idea space between your positive notions for greater levels of contentment and well-being.

1. There are no justified discontentment’s

If the laws of cause and effect, and the law of attraction hold true, then we are where we are right now by virtue of our past behaviors, which are a direct result of our past beginning. So don’t be mad over your current situation, you created it! If you want to be happy, change it! But don’t just sit there and bask in your discontentment; bring about the necessary changes that you require.

In the words of James Ray, “a person of power embraces challenges and complete gratitude. No matter the situation life may bring, discontent is never justified, but rather all is experienced as an opportunity and privilege to adventure and grow.”

2. There are no justified excuses

The present is a doorway that balances past events with future circumstances. When we begin to fully grasp the idea that there is no dress rehearsal, we are on Broadway; that there is no scrimmage, today we are in the Super Bowl, we begin to realize that our life is a series of micro adjustments and that we are in total and complete control over them. Instead of wasting time making excuses for poor decisions, spend that time in fine-tuning future decisions to make up for those poor decisions of the past.

3. There are no justified complaints

We complain about a situation for one of two reasons. One, to elicit pity from another and, two, to transfer the issue we are complaining about to somebody else. Either behavior is destructive to the current personal relationship and will only serve to undermine future transactions with that individual.

Be a person of higher self-esteem; handle your issues in silence then speak to another individual about your successful outcomes. By doing so, you have altered your focus on a positive outcome instead of our negative conditions. By the way, there is always a successful outcome! If you can find it, look deeper, it’s there!

“Champions never complain, they are too busy getting better.” – John Wooden

4. There are no justified resentments

None, zip, zilch, zero! That person that borrowed $500 off you and never paid you back, forgive them. That significant other that dropped you like a hot coal just when you needed them the most, forgive them. That business partner that screwed you to the wall and caused you to lose a vast amount of money, forgive them. Remember, forgiveness is not about them, it’s about you. By letting go of the resentments that you have toward other people you open yourself up to the endless possibilities of bountiful manifestations that can occur because of your positive attitude and constructive optimism.

Think of these four big No’s! Number them, with number one being the one which you practice and think about the most. Then answer the following questions:

  • What can I do to alter this behavior and/or thought process?
  • What situations do I encounter and lead me in this behavior and/or thought process?
  • Can I avoid those situations?
  • If so, am I willing to avoid those situations?

Then do that with the second the third and the fourth big No’s. What will happen after enough time is that you will no longer be looking for situations to offend you, rather you will begin to open up to the possibilities of what the world and the universe have to offer you in a positive, enthusiastic, and engaging light.

I look forward to your comments, opinions, and suggestions. Please feel free to write them below.

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Success Advice

9 Ways To Build Unbreakable Confidence From The Outside In

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Build Self Confidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Identifying your ultimate dream lifestyle

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

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

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

2) How would other people describe you?

3) What will you think about yourself?

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

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

2. Writing down goals and striving to achieve them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4Learning how to manage your state of mind

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

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

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

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

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

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5Understanding the balance between learning, mentoring and action

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

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

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

6. Approaching strangers

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

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

7. Trying new things regularly

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

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

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

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

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

8. Surrounding yourself with successful people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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