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Success Advice

Why You Should Avoid The Easy Life AT ALL COSTS

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There has never yet been a man in our history who led a life of ease whose name is worth remembering. – Theodore Roosevelt

Never in history has the easy life led to a great life. Not in one case has something great come without tribulation, struggle, or failure. Instead of fearing struggle, strain, and tribulation, you should embrace it; nay, seek it at every opportunity, and incorporate it into your life daily. It’s in struggle that you experience growth. It’s in conquering obstacles that you experience life.

 

 

A Case Against the Easy Life

Ease isn’t living, it’s dying. It’s forgoing life and awaiting death. Ease brings a halt to your growth and evolution as a human being.

Every year I do an exercise where I write out my perfect day. The other day I looked back at what my ‘perfect day’ was 5 years ago. It was almost the exact opposite of what my vision of success is today.

Back then I wanted ease. I wanted no alarm clock, little work, and a life of luxury. What I’ve come to understand is that in creating the ability to have that life of luxury, I’ll have to go through my fair share of failures and struggles.

Those failures and struggles are where I’ll develop into a man, a success, and a better human being. Why, then, would I want to forgo that growth? Why, even if I’m able, would I reach my idea of success, and then simply stop my evolution by lulling in to a life of ease?

Today, I know I wouldn’t. Just because success is attained doesn’t mean our growth as people, entrepreneurs, or leaders, comes to a halt. Look at Teddy Roosevelt. He never stopped achieving, accomplishing, and growing as an individual until the day he died. The same with Steve Jobs, Napoleon Bonaparte, Andrew Carnegie, and any other person in history who accomplished anything of great value.

steve-jobs-working-at-home-office 

 

Ease is Not Only Useless, It’s Evil

There’s a commonly held world view that your life is your own and you have the right to do what you want with it. I disagree with one aspect of this argument, and that is with regards to laziness.

Just like ease has created nothing of great value in the way of great people on this planet, the fundamental understand that your time on this earth is limited and dwindling has led to great accomplishment, and names worth remembering.

It’s a universal truth that the day you’re born is the day you start dying. Those who accomplish greatness understand this, and they don’t let a day go to waste.

It’s also a universal truth – especially in this free, democratic, capitalistic society – that many have died so you and I can live the freedom you so casually take for granted. They’ve sacrificed their lives in battle. They’ve laid down their lives in protest. They’ve given their lives to innovation and helping others.

Those who came before you, and died before you, have done so in vain if you give your life to laziness, and that’s when laziness is no longer a right, but an evil.

Ease’s ugly cousin is laziness. To be a lazy person is a slap in the face of anyone who’s sacrificed anything to give you the life you currently enjoy – to give you the option of being lazy. Be it your mother, father, grandparents, or that soldier who died in the Second World War whom you’ll never meet, but owe so much.

Bill-Gates-Young-In-Office

 

How to Truly Live: Embrace the Struggle

The goal for all of us here at Addicted2Success, is to create a successful life. I’m sure we can all agree that a successful life, in part, is one truly lived. That is, a life filled with accomplishment, adventure, highs and lows, struggle, defeat, and victory. A life is filled with action, not ease.

Look back to the man who gave us that famous quote at the beginning of this article, Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a man who embraced the strenuous life. He saw the value in hardship, and the evil of a life of ease. As such, he accomplished more in his 60 years than dozens have in their 100.

To create a life of accomplishment, and one of success, YOU have to embrace hard work. Hard work creates grit. It gives us a sense of pride, purpose, and accomplishment; without which, we can never truly feel as though we’re giving our best to this dying flame we call life, or our true value to the rest of those we’re connected to on this planet.

Instead of looking forward to a future of ease, embrace your present hardships, and look to add more strain to your life. This is how you grow. This is how you evolve. This is how you live.

 

Chad Howse is the creator of Be Legendary, a company dedicated to helping guys experience greatness in Fitness, Work, & Life. Chad has been featured in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, and Shape magazines, and is a contributor to the Art of Manliness, and Addicted2Success.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Jonathan

    Jul 1, 2015 at 4:58 am

    I agree & disagree. Only the individual knows when they deserve a break and when they should work harder, anyone outside looking in doesn’t know what they have been through, only they do!

  2. Andrew Joe

    May 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    This is awesome! I mean the example of Steve Jobs for this topic and the pointers are amazing for success. I really like it. Much motivated!

  3. Anna Karanina

    Jan 8, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Someone obviously never read The Hobbit.

  4. Mike Kelso

    Sep 8, 2013 at 4:42 am

    It would seem that work life balance is at olds with this philosophy? If you want to be great, go for it, just don’t be surprised when your wife/husband/children etc. tire of your single-minded selfishness. Keep some perspective.

  5. Rhonda Geddes

    May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I was made redundant at the age of 56, now 58 & am finding it impossible to find work, apart from baby sitting or telemarketing. I come from the ‘Corporate Development world’ in Melbourne, Australia. I’m finding my age is my main problem! I have taken on board all msg’s, would love feedback! Here, once we turn about 45 yrs, doesn’t matter about ‘the piece of paper, ie. diplomas etc, in my case, the looks etc are heading south! Loved reading all your participants! Would love some advice! Apologies if sp errors… Have no reading glasses, however I could not resist. You all so positive & amazing people.

  6. Australian Motivational Speaker

    May 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I have friends who were inheriting a lot. Their parents still made them work and earn respect, they are much better people for it.

  7. Russ Mason

    Apr 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    The butterfly struggles to make its way out of its chrysalis and it is during this struggle that the fluid which enables the butterfly to fly is pushed from its body into its wings. Learn to embrace and grow from your struggles, your hardships, and even the times when it seems like you failed. Your struggles are preparing you and strengthening you for your future successes. The greater the struggle now, the higher you will soar later. Dream big and get ready to fly high!

  8. Barbara Bellar

    Apr 29, 2013 at 4:19 am

    My Pure and simple philosophies!
    1. Discipline yields excellence
    2. Everything we do is in preparation for something else.
    3. Perseverance is the secret to success.
    4. Eliminate shame, blame and fear from your life

  9. Israel Marcel

    Apr 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I definitely going to embrace my present hardships. By doing so will give me a positive mind to think, because only a positive state of mind can lead one to achieve great success. I am glad I found you guys!

  10. Tlotliso

    Apr 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    @kyle try do ur thing, he might see wht u r doing nd it wil soon cm 2 his mind 2 start changing.

  11. Tommy Vercetti

    Apr 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    actually,the whole point of living is to enjoy it.

    but not on other people’s money, not on other peep people’s time.

    so yeah, laze around all you want, but be responsible for your own misery.

  12. Gabriel

    Apr 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Amazing article. Keep doing your thing Joel! I want this website to be alive and running 20 years from now when I have children so they can benefit from all this wealth of knowledge as well

  13. Kola

    Apr 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    i think its one thing to embrace strain and quite another to seek it out. i understand the former but dont see a reason for the latter. yes, ambition is good but (in my view) life is also meant to be enjoyed.
    great post nonetheless : )

    • Alex Ab'Dul

      Apr 27, 2013 at 8:58 am

      @Kola I think what Chad meant by “seek the strain”, is similar to what a fitness trainer means by “you have to find the burn”. As in, not only do you have to dig into your current situation and fully commit to growing even through the pain. You also should find challenges when life isn’t challenging you. Some people have been lifting the same weight for awhile and no longer feel challenged. So for them “finding the burn” means adding more weight to their bar, or strategically finding opportunities that will challenge them to learn and grow. Another example is how someone works out to lose weight, but will continue that habit after the weight is gone because they’ve established a lifestyle that will maintain a fit body. Let’s keep our minds fit as well. #NoStrainNoGain #RaiseTheBar 🙂

  14. Jason Lee

    Apr 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

    wow. great article..@kyle i think what you should do is sit with him and talk to him about how things work.. nowadays guys in their early 20’s dont really care much about whats happening around them but then a time comes when they do, but its to late by then… i used to be like that, but i was fortunate to have my older brother with me to guide me… 🙂

  15. smam

    Apr 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Great article great work and great reminder that life is a hardship’s process .Keep on inspiring US addicted2success So that we can inspire ourself and others around us

  16. Denise

    Apr 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    What a brilliant, well written article that I truly appreciate! Thank you for encouraging us to continue to persevere in the face of challenges.

  17. Kyle McKinney

    Apr 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    That is incredible and truly inspiring Joan.

    With that being said, maybe you guys can help me out a little. I’m living with a roommate that I have tried to inspire through my own actions and sending inspirational videos but to no avail. Constantly late to work meetings? That’s him. Sleeping till 2pm? That’s him. Complaining when things don’t go his way? That’s him. Honestly, it’s a daily internal battle that I have in how to get the message across to him and ignite change because he has so so much potential.

    What’s your thoughts? Any help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • Chad Howse

      Apr 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Hey Kyle, I’ve had a similar situation in the past. Sometimes you can’t get through to them. You just have to focus on your own stuff and hope they see how you’re evolving and they’re not. I ended up being pretty blunt with the guy simply because I was tired of his complaining. Be lazy, do your thing, but complaining is where I draw the line. It’s useless. Address the complaining, be blunt, but be supportive, and then get on your hustle and do your thing.

      Don’t let his inactivity cloud your day in any way.

      • Gabriel

        Apr 22, 2013 at 5:25 pm

        What Chad said is very true. I agree. You can’t change somebody without their consent, meaning they have to want to change as well.
        Just do your thing and don’t let his bad energy dwindle your success

    • Zach McNurlen

      Nov 22, 2013 at 1:29 am

      If you can’t change the people AROUND you, change the PEOPLE around you.

  18. joantgl

    Apr 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I grew up watching my father being lazy – doing only a half days work for full pay. I decided really early on that I would work hard for everything I wanted in life and have done and it feels good.
    So watching a person be lazy when I was growing up made me determined to work hard and ultimately have a much better life than he had. It has made me appreciate what I have worked hard for. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Apr 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      That is awesome Joan, Thank you for sharing that with us. Most would decide to be lazy like their parent, but in your case you saw what potential is really in you and that you don’t have to follow in his footsteps. Good on you Joan!

    • Chad Howse

      Apr 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      That’s incredible Joan. Like Joel said, most would have followed in their father’s footsteps. It’s great to see you break that trend. Now you’ll serve as inspiration to others.

      • George A. Demps

        May 15, 2015 at 5:43 pm

        There is surely no shortcut for success. Success comes after lots of struggles and hard-work. Thumbs up to those who are willing to put in efforts

  19. China Newz

    Apr 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Great post. Think there is a saying that “All that is great is hard.”

  20. James Strock

    Apr 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Terrific reminder of Theodore Roosevelt’s wise counsel and ‘lived words.’ Ease is not an option. The world makes a place for those who serve others effectively.

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Success Advice

5 B.S. Facts About High Performers Everyone Thinks Is True

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High performers are often seen in the world as people who set their mind on something and make it happen regardless of what it takes to get it accomplished. Much of the time that may be true. However, the way high performers are seen in the world is often in direct conflict with the way they behave when people aren’t watching. Even though they are seen as amazing experts and masters to others, they often see themselves as in need of improvement and can feel dissatisfied with the results they have achieved.

Despite how they appear, they are not much different than you or me with one exception. High performers are totally committed to what it is that they are doing. They function within the uncertainty of daily life just as you do but they conquer their limitations differently. Whether the odds are stacked with them or against them, a high performer will be totally committed to reaching their goals.

You may even be a high performer yourself and don’t realize it because some of your habits would not be considered high level ones. It is common for individuals to compare their accomplishments to others based on what we observe as their results.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

In fact, you may have lowered your personal bar of excellence because you thought you didn’t measure up to those that always seem to land at the top no matter what. I think you’d be surprised to learn that many very successful high performers don’t function the way you think they do.

Here are 5 B.S. facts about high performers that everyone thinks is true:

B.S. Fact #1 – Perfection is the way they play their game

You would think that in order to appear perfect you would probably need to do everything perfectly. It’s so not true! High performers actually pursue excellence as a goal and not perfection. It allows them to get more done with a higher level of consistency and sets them up for success rather than failure.

B.S. Fact #2 – Organization is their secret weapon

Just take a look at the desk of a genius. You probably wouldn’t be able to see the surface beneath the stacks of books, papers and whatever else may be on top of it. High performers typically have a formula as to where they put things and why. To the observer, it’s usually just a big mess with no identifiable system. However, I assure you, a high performer will still know where everything is regardless of the chaos that surrounds their personal space and schedule.

B.S. Fact #3 – They’ve all walked Ivy League hallways

Though it is true that many well educated people reach great success, statistically, some of the most influential success stories are about people who lacked resources and education. High performers will always seek out whatever or whoever is available so that they can learn what they need to and create their vision despite whatever odds happen to be stacked against them.

B.S. Fact #4 – They don’t have squirrel brain

Focus. It seems like this would be the number one rule to follow on the road to results.  However, there are many high performers who get distracted by people and ideas that totally derail them from what they were doing. Often times, it is not their focus but their agenda that keeps them on track. They know what they need to do even if it doesn’t always get accomplished in the way they thought they would get it done. However, it always gets done.

“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller

B.S. Fact #5 – They see themselves as the king of the jungle

Confidence seems to pour out of those who always seem to succeed. When, in reality, so many high performers struggle with it. Questioning whether or not they’re doing the right things or whether what they’re doing is good enough can be a constant personal dialogue. Fear of being negatively judged is the biggest reason why most people don’t take chances or take action on their big dreams but high performers move forward anyway. Their insecurity doesn’t stop them from what they want.

So, why should it matter to you what is fact or fiction about high performers? The answer; because you will compare yourself to others at times and it would be a tragedy if you stopped yourself from achieving big goals due to a belief that you’re not as good as someone else.

High performers achieve results. They know what they want, they plan it and they achieve it. Just because you have a few habits that won’t get applauded if people actually knew about them doesn’t mean that you can’t be one of the experts or podium finishers too.

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Success Advice

Do You Want to Become a Leader? Read This First

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How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage? The test of leadership isn’t done on the couch, discussing things with internet trolls and commentators. Leadership, like philosophy, is action-based and can’t be separated from that into a purely theoretical field.

To become a leader, it isn’t enough to read about it, you need to live through it. That leads us to the first point.

1. Experience trumps theory

Theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. For you to become a leader, you need to put yourself in situations which demand leadership. If you are at home trying really hard to think about situations where leadership is required and can’t find a place where that can happen, you are not thinking about the problems in your life and community.

Leadership is about going through uncertainty while showing people a better way. So any area of life where there is uncertainty is an area where there is a possibility for leadership to emerge.

You don’t have to lead a company of 10,000 employees to experience leadership, you can do it in a local community of 5 people or as I did in a leadership organization with 200 people. But leadership doesn’t start with leading other people, it starts with leading yourself.

“Leadership is practice not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” – Harold S. Geneen

2. To lead others, you must learn to lead yourself

Telling other people what they need to do is “easy.” Showing the way yourself is a hundred times harder. Because what you do speaks so loud that people can’t hear what you’re saying. In other words, leadership is about having personal integrity and practicing what you preach. You would never follow the advice of a fat personal trainer, a broke accountant, or a real estate agent who doesn’t even own a dog house.

You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. But the thing is that this is easier said than done. I remember when we had a crisis in our team back in 2013. Every single person from the team quit, leaving the president and me alone to fight the battle. My integrity of not quitting didn’t let me walk away and we kept pushing together.

That’s what leadership is about – you need to walk the talk. Because to lead yourself and to lead others, you need to make decisions which follow up your integrity. That leads us to the third point.

3. Leadership is about making the right, painful decisions

If you choose easy decisions, your life will be hard. If you choose hard decisions, your life will be easy. And there are numerous decisions which leaders did in the past which have been hard at the moment. But when you’re a leader, you don’t make decisions on a scale of easy-hard, you make them on a scale of right-wrong.

Firing the VP of sales is always hard. But doing it because he violated the principles of the company makes it right. It’s a trade-off 90% of people are not willing to make and I see it day in, day out. As soon as a decision becomes hard, people start doubting their values, morals, and integrity. They let the fear of uncertainty cloud their judgments and they make an easy call.

They let the VP stay because it’s the easy thing to do and with that, they seal their fate. Leadership is painful and it always was. I remember when I had to let 20 people go or fire two of my VPs. Was it hard? Of course it was. But it was the right thing to do. This doesn’t make the decision any easier, but it makes it bearable.

You know where you need to lead people and even though there is massive uncertainty, you need to be certain that you will figure out any problem that comes in front of you. Which brings us to the last point.

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy

4. You need to have unyielding faith that you will prevail in the end

You don’t need to know every step of the way, but you need to know how you will react to problems. You need to be sure, absolutely, that you will deal, manage, and handle every single problem that comes your way and that your team and people who you lead are unstoppable on their way to achieving the vision.

This is unquestionable. You have no idea what will attack you, but you are certain that you will handle it. This is how you lead people through everything in life. This is how Shackleton led his expedition for 2 years on the Antarctic and how every single one of his people survived the hardships that attacked them.

Because people turn to the leader in face of trouble and that’s when you show your true face. Do you show your weak side, flounder, and run? Or do you stand strong like a supporting rock on which people can lean on?

When you deal with fire, you will learn how to defeat it without having your people get burned. You will sacrifice yourself and gain scars which don’t serve as a sign of victimhood but as a proof of courage. Are you gonna be courageous or are you gonna run away? There is only one way to find out.

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Success Advice

This Is Why Most People Give Up On Their Dreams — I Plead With You Not To Become One Of Them.

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We all have a dream even if we haven’t realized it yet. It could be something as simple as raising a family, or it might be more extreme like winning an Olympic gold medal.

No matter the dream, most people give up on their dream.

I’m pleading with you not to be one of those people. You can achieve your dream when you understand why people give up in the first place.

Here’s why most people give up on their dreams:


They failed once before.

Many people try something once and when they fail, they give up. That’s because nobody tells you that achieving your dream doesn’t happen the first time around.

You have to try and try again until you reach your goal.
The problem is it’s easy to try once, fail, and then say “I already tried and I didn’t win.”

We give in so easily because the upside is a life of excuses.

We give in because we can live through the heroes of our favorite Netflix show.

We give in because in some ways there is a reward. Giving up gives you permission to sit on the couch, eat junk food, be angry at the world on social media and sleep in your nice warm bed

The problem is that this life sucks. You’ll get tired of it. One day you’ll want to chase your dream again, but you might be old, frail and full of regrets.

I’m pleading with you not to choose this option.


They got told no.

You don’t need permission — remember that. You are going to get told no hundreds of times in your life. With every dream you have, there’s going to be some fat, lazy slob that’s going to be standing in your way.”

Push through these people — flubber and all. Don’t let someone else’s laziness or issues with your dream stop you.

Ignore the no and get right back to it. Ask them again. Ask someone else.

Ideally, don’t ask them at all. I never asked to be a blogger I just did it. Certain publications turned me down and I kept writing.

Not everyone understands your gifts or potential and that’s fine. The main point here is that you understand.

I’m pleading with you to not give up because of a no. Make the no your motivation instead.


They don’t see failure for what it is.

Failure is nothing more than the inevitable education that any person who achieves their dream goes through.

Failure is so important that I personally like to pay money for it. I wish there was a shop or course I could do that would guarantee me failure instead of success. I want you to want the failure because that’s where all the answers are.

Once you know what doesn’t work, you’ll have a path forward. Change the word failure into education.

I’m pleading with you to fall in love with failure and not to give up on your dream.


Boredom strikes like thunder.

Everyone gets bored. I watched a documentary where Usain Bolt was training for the Olympics and even he admitted that he got bored after he won a few gold medals.

Boredom is normal, but it’s why a lot of people give up on their dreams.

It’s in the moments of boredom that you give your mind a chance to rest. Doing nothing and being lazy for a few hours can often bring a spark of creativity. No one is motivated 100% of the time — not even me.

It’s up to you to add some variety into your day, so you don’t get stuck in boredom forever.

Boredom can also be a good sign as well. It can be a sign that you need to change your approach or do things in a new way.

I’m pleading with you not to be afraid of boredom. Use boredom to your advantage.


They stop believing in themselves.

Your dreams are not easy (obviously). The rejection, failure and setbacks you’ll achieve can bring you down. What messes people’s dreams up is they stop believing in themselves.

Everything starts to fall over when you don’t believe in yourselfYou have to believe you can do it before anyone else will buy into that idea. The challenge is that you’re going to need help to achieve your dreams. You can’t do it alone.

You’ll never get that help unless you can get people to believe what you believe.

I’m pleading with you to believe in yourself no matter what. You have this dream for a reason and you can do it.


They are stuck on one strategy.

Many people live their entire life based on one strategy or one arbitrage. They refuse to change and so eventually the environment around them changes which affects their ability to reach their dream.

If you’re set in your ways and won’t change your approach, you’ll probably fail. We all imagine how our dream should look yet sometimes the reality is different.

You have to be open to change. In my experience, my original dream looked much different and I’m glad it’s changed. Changes to your dream are for the better.

I’m pleading with you to be open-minded.


They are surrounded by an army of morons.

If everyone around you is telling you you’re an idiot and they don’t respect your dream for what it is, this will have a negative impact on you whether you like it or not.

Run away from the dream killers who are making up for their own broken dreams and surround yourself with people who support you

The best people are the ones that support you but don’t always agree with you. Even better are the ones that support you and challenge your thinking. 
I’m pleading with you to reassess the people around you.


They want security.

No dream comes with an insurance policy or a set path. People are afraid to take risks and want reassurances when they pursue their dream.

There are none. Dreams are made off the back of taking calculated and clever risks most of the time. If you want someone to guarantee your dream, then it ain’t going to happen.

It’s the unpredictability that makes dreams addictive, delicious and worth the effort. Not knowing is what our mind craves — we just don’t know it. If we knew how our dream turned out, we wouldn’t be as excited.

I’m pleading with you to take a risk or two.


They refuse to be disciplined.

Nothing worth achieving can be done without discipline. There’s work involved and that has to be scheduled and executed upon.

I’ve written every single week since 2014. That takes bloody discipline.

My discipline reflects my results in the blogging world. The same applies to your own dream.

Block out chunks of your calendar and get to work. If you’re not doing at least one small thing towards your dream every day, then you’re heading in the wrong direction.

I’m pleading you to put in regular work towards your dream.


The greener grass syndrome.

Another reason we give up is not because we’re lazy necessarily but because we failed and there is a better option. That’s what our mind tells us.

I didn’t fail; I just found something better,” you say to yourself.

Well, that’s the sad truth.

“Changing your idea of success consistently is not the answer. At some point, you need to decide to chase one dream and quit the ADHD dream chasing the average person chases. You’re better than that”

Worrying about what everybody else is doing and then chasing their dreams is ridiculous.

I’m pleading with you not to fall for this lie. The grass is not greener it just requires more work than you anticipated.


Final thought.

Please, please, please don’t give up on your dream. You’re closer than you think. You just need to stand back and think about a few of the points I’ve mentioned.

Broken dreams have birthed so many broken people.

It doesn’t have to be that way. See your dream for what it is: Something special that you can achieve if you put your mind to it, focus and be excited by the possibilities.

Don’t give up on your dream.

<<<>>>

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

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Success Advice

The Number One Question All Leaders Should Be Asking

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Questions are the greatest way to express curiosity, and to actually get to know somebody. As an educator, a father, neurolinguistic programmer, and media specialist, I know how powerful communication can be.

Communications power is the ability to get to know someone. To build rapport and to work out if we are in the same tribe, speaking the same language. We only understand 7% of verbal communication. 38% is our voice and tone. 55% is body language. So when we message or email someone, we are barely communicating. If we are not careful face to face communication can be just as ineffective.

In our work and everyday life we will often be called upon to conduct an interview. This might be in a formal way, such as a manager with a potential new employee, or informally as a parent meeting a son or daughter’s new partner. Sometimes this might be free style, to see where the conversation takes us, and other times we might use our organisations set list of questions.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

Ineffective communication and questioning

The problem is, the questions are often boring, ineffective, or not relevant. Or they have been asked so many times before, the interviewee reels off a pre-prepared answer, which blurs in the mind of the interviewer with every other candidate she/he has spoken to that day.

Questions like: What is your greatest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? Or perhaps the worst of all, “tell me about yourself?” Why is that last one so toxic? Well what do you think they will answer?

Not only will they be reciting a familiar response, but it will also be a mix of what they think you want to hear, and their own made up story of themselves. It is natural to do this, as it is our own perception of ourselves, and mind-reading of what others think of us. Left to our own devices we can be influenced by ego, humility, self-limiting beliefs, and imposter syndrome.

Effective communication and questioning

If we want to really uncover more about the person we are speaking to, we should try this: “Tell me about the world?”Why is that so powerful? Well, to quote the Marvel film Dr Strange, “you’re a man looking at the world, through a keyhole.”

How we view the world is a reflection of ourselves. It may include what we perceive as opportunities and threats, perhaps biases and our overall outlook on life. Is the person we are speaking to open-minded, have an insight on where the world is heading, are they success-minded optimists, or negative and ignorant, with a tendency to blame others?

Are they literal, “it’s a planet orbiting the sun”, or romantic, “it’s a wonderful place full of inspirational people with the capacity to create amazing things, but too often negativity and hate clouds our potential.” Did they focus on the country they live in? A particular subject? Their own family?

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.” – Nat Turner

It is a much more interesting question, and one that few people are asked. They may request clarity, because it is so open and you may be guiding them in to uncharted waters. Every person will answer in a different way, and it will usually provide a much deeper insight as to who they really are.

Not only is this great for interviews, but it can also be a way to break out of small talk. When two people meet it can be visualized as a Venn diagram. Sure, we will probably have some overlap whether that is sports, where we work, parents, gaming, or religion. And the tendency will be to stick to those topics.

But isn’t the real fun in the areas we don’t overlap on? The problem is we often don’t know what questions to ask about it, because we don’t know what you don’t know. This question is a great way of exploring new territory. So, tell me about the world?

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35 Quotes to Inspire You to Live a Life of Contribution

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Contribution is defined as something that you contribute or do to help produce or achieve something together with other people or to help make something successful. May these quotes inspire you to make a positive contribution to the world so that you may help advance humanity to a greater level. (more…)

Asad Meah is the CEO & Founder of AwakenTheGreatnessWithin. He is a dreamchaser who has gained a wealth of knowledge in entrepreneurship and personal development over the past five years through self-education. His mission is to inspire millions of people to become entrepreneurs by awakening their minds to their greatness that resides within them. Check out his book on Amazon that will help you Awaken so that you may live your dreams!

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Jonathan

    Jul 1, 2015 at 4:58 am

    I agree & disagree. Only the individual knows when they deserve a break and when they should work harder, anyone outside looking in doesn’t know what they have been through, only they do!

  2. Andrew Joe

    May 12, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    This is awesome! I mean the example of Steve Jobs for this topic and the pointers are amazing for success. I really like it. Much motivated!

  3. Anna Karanina

    Jan 8, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Someone obviously never read The Hobbit.

  4. Mike Kelso

    Sep 8, 2013 at 4:42 am

    It would seem that work life balance is at olds with this philosophy? If you want to be great, go for it, just don’t be surprised when your wife/husband/children etc. tire of your single-minded selfishness. Keep some perspective.

  5. Rhonda Geddes

    May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I was made redundant at the age of 56, now 58 & am finding it impossible to find work, apart from baby sitting or telemarketing. I come from the ‘Corporate Development world’ in Melbourne, Australia. I’m finding my age is my main problem! I have taken on board all msg’s, would love feedback! Here, once we turn about 45 yrs, doesn’t matter about ‘the piece of paper, ie. diplomas etc, in my case, the looks etc are heading south! Loved reading all your participants! Would love some advice! Apologies if sp errors… Have no reading glasses, however I could not resist. You all so positive & amazing people.

  6. Australian Motivational Speaker

    May 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I have friends who were inheriting a lot. Their parents still made them work and earn respect, they are much better people for it.

  7. Russ Mason

    Apr 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    The butterfly struggles to make its way out of its chrysalis and it is during this struggle that the fluid which enables the butterfly to fly is pushed from its body into its wings. Learn to embrace and grow from your struggles, your hardships, and even the times when it seems like you failed. Your struggles are preparing you and strengthening you for your future successes. The greater the struggle now, the higher you will soar later. Dream big and get ready to fly high!

  8. Barbara Bellar

    Apr 29, 2013 at 4:19 am

    My Pure and simple philosophies!
    1. Discipline yields excellence
    2. Everything we do is in preparation for something else.
    3. Perseverance is the secret to success.
    4. Eliminate shame, blame and fear from your life

  9. Israel Marcel

    Apr 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I definitely going to embrace my present hardships. By doing so will give me a positive mind to think, because only a positive state of mind can lead one to achieve great success. I am glad I found you guys!

  10. Tlotliso

    Apr 26, 2013 at 11:40 am

    @kyle try do ur thing, he might see wht u r doing nd it wil soon cm 2 his mind 2 start changing.

  11. Tommy Vercetti

    Apr 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    actually,the whole point of living is to enjoy it.

    but not on other people’s money, not on other peep people’s time.

    so yeah, laze around all you want, but be responsible for your own misery.

  12. Gabriel

    Apr 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Amazing article. Keep doing your thing Joel! I want this website to be alive and running 20 years from now when I have children so they can benefit from all this wealth of knowledge as well

  13. Kola

    Apr 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    i think its one thing to embrace strain and quite another to seek it out. i understand the former but dont see a reason for the latter. yes, ambition is good but (in my view) life is also meant to be enjoyed.
    great post nonetheless : )

    • Alex Ab'Dul

      Apr 27, 2013 at 8:58 am

      @Kola I think what Chad meant by “seek the strain”, is similar to what a fitness trainer means by “you have to find the burn”. As in, not only do you have to dig into your current situation and fully commit to growing even through the pain. You also should find challenges when life isn’t challenging you. Some people have been lifting the same weight for awhile and no longer feel challenged. So for them “finding the burn” means adding more weight to their bar, or strategically finding opportunities that will challenge them to learn and grow. Another example is how someone works out to lose weight, but will continue that habit after the weight is gone because they’ve established a lifestyle that will maintain a fit body. Let’s keep our minds fit as well. #NoStrainNoGain #RaiseTheBar 🙂

  14. Jason Lee

    Apr 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

    wow. great article..@kyle i think what you should do is sit with him and talk to him about how things work.. nowadays guys in their early 20’s dont really care much about whats happening around them but then a time comes when they do, but its to late by then… i used to be like that, but i was fortunate to have my older brother with me to guide me… 🙂

  15. smam

    Apr 21, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Great article great work and great reminder that life is a hardship’s process .Keep on inspiring US addicted2success So that we can inspire ourself and others around us

  16. Denise

    Apr 20, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    What a brilliant, well written article that I truly appreciate! Thank you for encouraging us to continue to persevere in the face of challenges.

  17. Kyle McKinney

    Apr 20, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    That is incredible and truly inspiring Joan.

    With that being said, maybe you guys can help me out a little. I’m living with a roommate that I have tried to inspire through my own actions and sending inspirational videos but to no avail. Constantly late to work meetings? That’s him. Sleeping till 2pm? That’s him. Complaining when things don’t go his way? That’s him. Honestly, it’s a daily internal battle that I have in how to get the message across to him and ignite change because he has so so much potential.

    What’s your thoughts? Any help is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • Chad Howse

      Apr 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Hey Kyle, I’ve had a similar situation in the past. Sometimes you can’t get through to them. You just have to focus on your own stuff and hope they see how you’re evolving and they’re not. I ended up being pretty blunt with the guy simply because I was tired of his complaining. Be lazy, do your thing, but complaining is where I draw the line. It’s useless. Address the complaining, be blunt, but be supportive, and then get on your hustle and do your thing.

      Don’t let his inactivity cloud your day in any way.

      • Gabriel

        Apr 22, 2013 at 5:25 pm

        What Chad said is very true. I agree. You can’t change somebody without their consent, meaning they have to want to change as well.
        Just do your thing and don’t let his bad energy dwindle your success

    • Zach McNurlen

      Nov 22, 2013 at 1:29 am

      If you can’t change the people AROUND you, change the PEOPLE around you.

  18. joantgl

    Apr 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I grew up watching my father being lazy – doing only a half days work for full pay. I decided really early on that I would work hard for everything I wanted in life and have done and it feels good.
    So watching a person be lazy when I was growing up made me determined to work hard and ultimately have a much better life than he had. It has made me appreciate what I have worked hard for. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Apr 20, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      That is awesome Joan, Thank you for sharing that with us. Most would decide to be lazy like their parent, but in your case you saw what potential is really in you and that you don’t have to follow in his footsteps. Good on you Joan!

    • Chad Howse

      Apr 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      That’s incredible Joan. Like Joel said, most would have followed in their father’s footsteps. It’s great to see you break that trend. Now you’ll serve as inspiration to others.

      • George A. Demps

        May 15, 2015 at 5:43 pm

        There is surely no shortcut for success. Success comes after lots of struggles and hard-work. Thumbs up to those who are willing to put in efforts

  19. China Newz

    Apr 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Great post. Think there is a saying that “All that is great is hard.”

  20. James Strock

    Apr 20, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Terrific reminder of Theodore Roosevelt’s wise counsel and ‘lived words.’ Ease is not an option. The world makes a place for those who serve others effectively.

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Success Advice

5 B.S. Facts About High Performers Everyone Thinks Is True

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High performers are often seen in the world as people who set their mind on something and make it happen regardless of what it takes to get it accomplished. Much of the time that may be true. However, the way high performers are seen in the world is often in direct conflict with the way they behave when people aren’t watching. Even though they are seen as amazing experts and masters to others, they often see themselves as in need of improvement and can feel dissatisfied with the results they have achieved.

Despite how they appear, they are not much different than you or me with one exception. High performers are totally committed to what it is that they are doing. They function within the uncertainty of daily life just as you do but they conquer their limitations differently. Whether the odds are stacked with them or against them, a high performer will be totally committed to reaching their goals.

You may even be a high performer yourself and don’t realize it because some of your habits would not be considered high level ones. It is common for individuals to compare their accomplishments to others based on what we observe as their results.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

In fact, you may have lowered your personal bar of excellence because you thought you didn’t measure up to those that always seem to land at the top no matter what. I think you’d be surprised to learn that many very successful high performers don’t function the way you think they do.

Here are 5 B.S. facts about high performers that everyone thinks is true:

B.S. Fact #1 – Perfection is the way they play their game

You would think that in order to appear perfect you would probably need to do everything perfectly. It’s so not true! High performers actually pursue excellence as a goal and not perfection. It allows them to get more done with a higher level of consistency and sets them up for success rather than failure.

B.S. Fact #2 – Organization is their secret weapon

Just take a look at the desk of a genius. You probably wouldn’t be able to see the surface beneath the stacks of books, papers and whatever else may be on top of it. High performers typically have a formula as to where they put things and why. To the observer, it’s usually just a big mess with no identifiable system. However, I assure you, a high performer will still know where everything is regardless of the chaos that surrounds their personal space and schedule.

B.S. Fact #3 – They’ve all walked Ivy League hallways

Though it is true that many well educated people reach great success, statistically, some of the most influential success stories are about people who lacked resources and education. High performers will always seek out whatever or whoever is available so that they can learn what they need to and create their vision despite whatever odds happen to be stacked against them.

B.S. Fact #4 – They don’t have squirrel brain

Focus. It seems like this would be the number one rule to follow on the road to results.  However, there are many high performers who get distracted by people and ideas that totally derail them from what they were doing. Often times, it is not their focus but their agenda that keeps them on track. They know what they need to do even if it doesn’t always get accomplished in the way they thought they would get it done. However, it always gets done.

“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller

B.S. Fact #5 – They see themselves as the king of the jungle

Confidence seems to pour out of those who always seem to succeed. When, in reality, so many high performers struggle with it. Questioning whether or not they’re doing the right things or whether what they’re doing is good enough can be a constant personal dialogue. Fear of being negatively judged is the biggest reason why most people don’t take chances or take action on their big dreams but high performers move forward anyway. Their insecurity doesn’t stop them from what they want.

So, why should it matter to you what is fact or fiction about high performers? The answer; because you will compare yourself to others at times and it would be a tragedy if you stopped yourself from achieving big goals due to a belief that you’re not as good as someone else.

High performers achieve results. They know what they want, they plan it and they achieve it. Just because you have a few habits that won’t get applauded if people actually knew about them doesn’t mean that you can’t be one of the experts or podium finishers too.

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Success Advice

Do You Want to Become a Leader? Read This First

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How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage? The test of leadership isn’t done on the couch, discussing things with internet trolls and commentators. Leadership, like philosophy, is action-based and can’t be separated from that into a purely theoretical field.

To become a leader, it isn’t enough to read about it, you need to live through it. That leads us to the first point.

1. Experience trumps theory

Theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. For you to become a leader, you need to put yourself in situations which demand leadership. If you are at home trying really hard to think about situations where leadership is required and can’t find a place where that can happen, you are not thinking about the problems in your life and community.

Leadership is about going through uncertainty while showing people a better way. So any area of life where there is uncertainty is an area where there is a possibility for leadership to emerge.

You don’t have to lead a company of 10,000 employees to experience leadership, you can do it in a local community of 5 people or as I did in a leadership organization with 200 people. But leadership doesn’t start with leading other people, it starts with leading yourself.

“Leadership is practice not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” – Harold S. Geneen

2. To lead others, you must learn to lead yourself

Telling other people what they need to do is “easy.” Showing the way yourself is a hundred times harder. Because what you do speaks so loud that people can’t hear what you’re saying. In other words, leadership is about having personal integrity and practicing what you preach. You would never follow the advice of a fat personal trainer, a broke accountant, or a real estate agent who doesn’t even own a dog house.

You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. But the thing is that this is easier said than done. I remember when we had a crisis in our team back in 2013. Every single person from the team quit, leaving the president and me alone to fight the battle. My integrity of not quitting didn’t let me walk away and we kept pushing together.

That’s what leadership is about – you need to walk the talk. Because to lead yourself and to lead others, you need to make decisions which follow up your integrity. That leads us to the third point.

3. Leadership is about making the right, painful decisions

If you choose easy decisions, your life will be hard. If you choose hard decisions, your life will be easy. And there are numerous decisions which leaders did in the past which have been hard at the moment. But when you’re a leader, you don’t make decisions on a scale of easy-hard, you make them on a scale of right-wrong.

Firing the VP of sales is always hard. But doing it because he violated the principles of the company makes it right. It’s a trade-off 90% of people are not willing to make and I see it day in, day out. As soon as a decision becomes hard, people start doubting their values, morals, and integrity. They let the fear of uncertainty cloud their judgments and they make an easy call.

They let the VP stay because it’s the easy thing to do and with that, they seal their fate. Leadership is painful and it always was. I remember when I had to let 20 people go or fire two of my VPs. Was it hard? Of course it was. But it was the right thing to do. This doesn’t make the decision any easier, but it makes it bearable.

You know where you need to lead people and even though there is massive uncertainty, you need to be certain that you will figure out any problem that comes in front of you. Which brings us to the last point.

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy

4. You need to have unyielding faith that you will prevail in the end

You don’t need to know every step of the way, but you need to know how you will react to problems. You need to be sure, absolutely, that you will deal, manage, and handle every single problem that comes your way and that your team and people who you lead are unstoppable on their way to achieving the vision.

This is unquestionable. You have no idea what will attack you, but you are certain that you will handle it. This is how you lead people through everything in life. This is how Shackleton led his expedition for 2 years on the Antarctic and how every single one of his people survived the hardships that attacked them.

Because people turn to the leader in face of trouble and that’s when you show your true face. Do you show your weak side, flounder, and run? Or do you stand strong like a supporting rock on which people can lean on?

When you deal with fire, you will learn how to defeat it without having your people get burned. You will sacrifice yourself and gain scars which don’t serve as a sign of victimhood but as a proof of courage. Are you gonna be courageous or are you gonna run away? There is only one way to find out.

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Success Advice

This Is Why Most People Give Up On Their Dreams — I Plead With You Not To Become One Of Them.

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We all have a dream even if we haven’t realized it yet. It could be something as simple as raising a family, or it might be more extreme like winning an Olympic gold medal.

No matter the dream, most people give up on their dream.

I’m pleading with you not to be one of those people. You can achieve your dream when you understand why people give up in the first place.

Here’s why most people give up on their dreams:


They failed once before.

Many people try something once and when they fail, they give up. That’s because nobody tells you that achieving your dream doesn’t happen the first time around.

You have to try and try again until you reach your goal.
The problem is it’s easy to try once, fail, and then say “I already tried and I didn’t win.”

We give in so easily because the upside is a life of excuses.

We give in because we can live through the heroes of our favorite Netflix show.

We give in because in some ways there is a reward. Giving up gives you permission to sit on the couch, eat junk food, be angry at the world on social media and sleep in your nice warm bed

The problem is that this life sucks. You’ll get tired of it. One day you’ll want to chase your dream again, but you might be old, frail and full of regrets.

I’m pleading with you not to choose this option.


They got told no.

You don’t need permission — remember that. You are going to get told no hundreds of times in your life. With every dream you have, there’s going to be some fat, lazy slob that’s going to be standing in your way.”

Push through these people — flubber and all. Don’t let someone else’s laziness or issues with your dream stop you.

Ignore the no and get right back to it. Ask them again. Ask someone else.

Ideally, don’t ask them at all. I never asked to be a blogger I just did it. Certain publications turned me down and I kept writing.

Not everyone understands your gifts or potential and that’s fine. The main point here is that you understand.

I’m pleading with you to not give up because of a no. Make the no your motivation instead.


They don’t see failure for what it is.

Failure is nothing more than the inevitable education that any person who achieves their dream goes through.

Failure is so important that I personally like to pay money for it. I wish there was a shop or course I could do that would guarantee me failure instead of success. I want you to want the failure because that’s where all the answers are.

Once you know what doesn’t work, you’ll have a path forward. Change the word failure into education.

I’m pleading with you to fall in love with failure and not to give up on your dream.


Boredom strikes like thunder.

Everyone gets bored. I watched a documentary where Usain Bolt was training for the Olympics and even he admitted that he got bored after he won a few gold medals.

Boredom is normal, but it’s why a lot of people give up on their dreams.

It’s in the moments of boredom that you give your mind a chance to rest. Doing nothing and being lazy for a few hours can often bring a spark of creativity. No one is motivated 100% of the time — not even me.

It’s up to you to add some variety into your day, so you don’t get stuck in boredom forever.

Boredom can also be a good sign as well. It can be a sign that you need to change your approach or do things in a new way.

I’m pleading with you not to be afraid of boredom. Use boredom to your advantage.


They stop believing in themselves.

Your dreams are not easy (obviously). The rejection, failure and setbacks you’ll achieve can bring you down. What messes people’s dreams up is they stop believing in themselves.

Everything starts to fall over when you don’t believe in yourselfYou have to believe you can do it before anyone else will buy into that idea. The challenge is that you’re going to need help to achieve your dreams. You can’t do it alone.

You’ll never get that help unless you can get people to believe what you believe.

I’m pleading with you to believe in yourself no matter what. You have this dream for a reason and you can do it.


They are stuck on one strategy.

Many people live their entire life based on one strategy or one arbitrage. They refuse to change and so eventually the environment around them changes which affects their ability to reach their dream.

If you’re set in your ways and won’t change your approach, you’ll probably fail. We all imagine how our dream should look yet sometimes the reality is different.

You have to be open to change. In my experience, my original dream looked much different and I’m glad it’s changed. Changes to your dream are for the better.

I’m pleading with you to be open-minded.


They are surrounded by an army of morons.

If everyone around you is telling you you’re an idiot and they don’t respect your dream for what it is, this will have a negative impact on you whether you like it or not.

Run away from the dream killers who are making up for their own broken dreams and surround yourself with people who support you

The best people are the ones that support you but don’t always agree with you. Even better are the ones that support you and challenge your thinking. 
I’m pleading with you to reassess the people around you.


They want security.

No dream comes with an insurance policy or a set path. People are afraid to take risks and want reassurances when they pursue their dream.

There are none. Dreams are made off the back of taking calculated and clever risks most of the time. If you want someone to guarantee your dream, then it ain’t going to happen.

It’s the unpredictability that makes dreams addictive, delicious and worth the effort. Not knowing is what our mind craves — we just don’t know it. If we knew how our dream turned out, we wouldn’t be as excited.

I’m pleading with you to take a risk or two.


They refuse to be disciplined.

Nothing worth achieving can be done without discipline. There’s work involved and that has to be scheduled and executed upon.

I’ve written every single week since 2014. That takes bloody discipline.

My discipline reflects my results in the blogging world. The same applies to your own dream.

Block out chunks of your calendar and get to work. If you’re not doing at least one small thing towards your dream every day, then you’re heading in the wrong direction.

I’m pleading you to put in regular work towards your dream.


The greener grass syndrome.

Another reason we give up is not because we’re lazy necessarily but because we failed and there is a better option. That’s what our mind tells us.

I didn’t fail; I just found something better,” you say to yourself.

Well, that’s the sad truth.

“Changing your idea of success consistently is not the answer. At some point, you need to decide to chase one dream and quit the ADHD dream chasing the average person chases. You’re better than that”

Worrying about what everybody else is doing and then chasing their dreams is ridiculous.

I’m pleading with you not to fall for this lie. The grass is not greener it just requires more work than you anticipated.


Final thought.

Please, please, please don’t give up on your dream. You’re closer than you think. You just need to stand back and think about a few of the points I’ve mentioned.

Broken dreams have birthed so many broken people.

It doesn’t have to be that way. See your dream for what it is: Something special that you can achieve if you put your mind to it, focus and be excited by the possibilities.

Don’t give up on your dream.

<<<>>>

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

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Success Advice

The Number One Question All Leaders Should Be Asking

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Questions are the greatest way to express curiosity, and to actually get to know somebody. As an educator, a father, neurolinguistic programmer, and media specialist, I know how powerful communication can be.

Communications power is the ability to get to know someone. To build rapport and to work out if we are in the same tribe, speaking the same language. We only understand 7% of verbal communication. 38% is our voice and tone. 55% is body language. So when we message or email someone, we are barely communicating. If we are not careful face to face communication can be just as ineffective.

In our work and everyday life we will often be called upon to conduct an interview. This might be in a formal way, such as a manager with a potential new employee, or informally as a parent meeting a son or daughter’s new partner. Sometimes this might be free style, to see where the conversation takes us, and other times we might use our organisations set list of questions.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

Ineffective communication and questioning

The problem is, the questions are often boring, ineffective, or not relevant. Or they have been asked so many times before, the interviewee reels off a pre-prepared answer, which blurs in the mind of the interviewer with every other candidate she/he has spoken to that day.

Questions like: What is your greatest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? Or perhaps the worst of all, “tell me about yourself?” Why is that last one so toxic? Well what do you think they will answer?

Not only will they be reciting a familiar response, but it will also be a mix of what they think you want to hear, and their own made up story of themselves. It is natural to do this, as it is our own perception of ourselves, and mind-reading of what others think of us. Left to our own devices we can be influenced by ego, humility, self-limiting beliefs, and imposter syndrome.

Effective communication and questioning

If we want to really uncover more about the person we are speaking to, we should try this: “Tell me about the world?”Why is that so powerful? Well, to quote the Marvel film Dr Strange, “you’re a man looking at the world, through a keyhole.”

How we view the world is a reflection of ourselves. It may include what we perceive as opportunities and threats, perhaps biases and our overall outlook on life. Is the person we are speaking to open-minded, have an insight on where the world is heading, are they success-minded optimists, or negative and ignorant, with a tendency to blame others?

Are they literal, “it’s a planet orbiting the sun”, or romantic, “it’s a wonderful place full of inspirational people with the capacity to create amazing things, but too often negativity and hate clouds our potential.” Did they focus on the country they live in? A particular subject? Their own family?

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.” – Nat Turner

It is a much more interesting question, and one that few people are asked. They may request clarity, because it is so open and you may be guiding them in to uncharted waters. Every person will answer in a different way, and it will usually provide a much deeper insight as to who they really are.

Not only is this great for interviews, but it can also be a way to break out of small talk. When two people meet it can be visualized as a Venn diagram. Sure, we will probably have some overlap whether that is sports, where we work, parents, gaming, or religion. And the tendency will be to stick to those topics.

But isn’t the real fun in the areas we don’t overlap on? The problem is we often don’t know what questions to ask about it, because we don’t know what you don’t know. This question is a great way of exploring new territory. So, tell me about the world?

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