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Success Advice

Why You Should Study Great Historical Men

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Julius Caesar

There’s a common fallacy among the mainstream that success happens quickly.

One reason why it looks this way is because success seems to happen almost instantly – like an explosion. Gangnam Style gaining a billion views on YouTube, What Does the Fox Say going viral, 13 things mentally strong people avoid being covered on Forbes, and so on.

These are recent online examples where success did happen almost instantly.

But what most people don’t think about is that these occurrences are not the rule – they are the exception. These examples are extremely rare. It’s just that they’re the ones you notice – just as you notice the big time lottery winner being shown on TV, but not the thousands of people who bought lottery tickets and drew blank.

This occurrence is explained by the availability heuristic.

We see a disproportionate amount of winners, while not seeing how many losers there are. This distorts our view and makes it seem like it’s easier to become successful that it really is.

Another example of the availability heuristic is that most people are more afraid of flying than they are of driving a car, because they think flying is riskier. But it’s not –it’s just that whenever a plane crashes or explodes, it’s newsworthy, which means that you’re much more likely to hear about it.

A little car accident on the other hand is not newsworthy. Car crashes happen every day, but you’re still a lot less likely to hear about them.

 

The Greatness of Julius Caesar?

By the exact same logic – because of the availability heuristic – many people get a distorted view of historic men, such as Julius Caesar.

They think: “Well, of course it was easy for Caesar – C’mon he was Caesar! He crossed the Rubicon, he came, he saw, and he conquered!”

Then they think: “But I’m no Caesar, I’m just little old me… How could I possibly do something remarkable like that?”

If they had studied Caesar more closely they would understand that it wasn’t necessarily easy for him. They would also understand that he spent years practicing public speaking, years networking with the right people, and years studying politics.

Caesar also borrowed enormous sums of money. He borrowed more money than he was statistically likely to ever make. He needed the money to pursue his political ambitions.

While Caesar did make that money back, many of his political peers did the same thing and were unable to repay their creditors. Some of these men resorted to suicide. But you don’t hear about that because history is written by winners.

Many things had to go right for Caesar to become the man he is now believed to have been. A lot of things could’ve gone wrong along the way – it’s just that they didn’t.

Caesar – just as Napoleon, Churchill, JFK, Mandela, and many others – has become an icon for something much greater.  It’s easy to think that these men were chosen by destiny to succeed – heck, many of them even believed it themselves.

 

This is why you need to study great historic men – so that you to get a less distorted view about what really happened.

So that you can: 

  • Understand that before these men became iconized they were human beings just as you are. Figure out what they did that made them brilliant.
  • Understand just how many things had to fall in place for them to become the icons they are now regarded as. See how many losers there are for each historic winner.
  • Understand that they too went through many hardships, just as you do now. But they overcame these hardships by being creative and putting in a ton of effort.

 

Going Through Hardships

Julius Caesar

Julius CaesarWhen Caesar was sixteen years old his father died, making him the new man of the family. At eighteen, Caesar was forced to divorce his wife Cornelia by the Roman dictator Sulla.

Caesar refused to obey the most powerful man in the Roman Empire and as a result had to go on the run with a bounty on his head equivalent to 100 yearly wages of a Legionnaire.

 

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon BonaparteBefore Napoleon Bonaparte was acknowledged as a military genius at around age 20, he spent a considerable amount of time walking the streets aimlessly, dressed in shabby clothes. He even wrote a pathetic copy of the book The Sorrows of The Young Werther.  In Napoleon’s book the protagonist was a version of himself instead of Werther. The book ended with the young male protagonist – a French soldier – killing himself because he was unlucky in love.

 

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van GoghFor as long as he lived, Vincent van Gogh never achieved the recognition that he so desperately craved as an artist. His life story is one of the most tragic in history. He was so poor that he couldn’t even afford his own brushes and canvases, but repeatedly had to write letters asking his brother for money.  The same paintings that van Gogh then traded for a warm meal and a place to stay for the night are now traded for millions of dollars.

Van Gogh never saw much success during his short life, but he never stopped believing in his own abilities. He is the perfect example of a man whose life has become iconized and distorted after his death.

 

Winston Churchill

Winston ChurchillThe young Winston Churchill sought out as many war zones as possible in pursuit of adventure. He risked his life over and over and survived only through coincidence and freakish luck. Thousands of other people died where he survived time and again.

Did Churchill learn his lesson, pack up, and go back home to safety?

No. He kept it up until he was eventually captured as a POW and imprisoned in Pretoria.  When the rest of the British inmates chickened out, Churchill escaped by himself and nearly died from starvation in the process.

 

What’s the Point?

Do you see how strongly these men must have wanted to become successful?

Strong enough for them to risk their lives repeatedly.

Ask yourself:

What price are you willing to pay for being able to do what you want to do and become successful at it?

 

The Reason You Should Study Highly Successful People

Why should you take time out of your busy life to read about these remarkable men?

 

1. To learn more about them and understand how they overcame their shortcomings.

For example:

–Churchill lisped and was unable to spontaneously retort to political opponents. He had to write and practice every little thing he was going to say.  Do you see what a huge impediment this constitutes to a politician?

Yet Churchill overcame this by spending hours preparing  in advance the things he would say to his opponents in parliament.

If an opponent unexpectedly said something clever Churchill knew that he was screwed, so he had to try to anticipate everything that would come up – and practice a counter argument until he had it memorized.  He described this process as preparing ammunition, where some of the things he had prepared would work, and some wouldn’t.

 

2. To become inspired as result of teaching your mind that it is possible for one man to have a profound impact on the world.

By getting a clearer view of the lives of these historical men you get a much better understanding of what success means – and what it takes to accomplish it.

Studying these men teaches you that someone who aims his life at a very specific purpose – a man who fine-tunes his actions by consistently putting in that tiny bit of extra effort every day –is likely to become successful.

 

But here’s the thing:

Most people don’t even believe that they can do the things they’d like to do. So they’re rarely motivated to remain completely consistent.

The difference between these historically great men and average people lies in consistency and luck. They were fiercely consistent in practicing their skills, meeting influential people, and reading books every day for many years.

You can do nothing about luck, but consistency can be mastered.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

 

The next time you struggle with willpower or consistency – remind yourself of the following:

 

1. The availability heuristic is making it seem like success is easier, and happens more quickly, than it really does.

2. Some of the greatest men in history had it far worse than you do and they still managed to turn it around.

3. These men overcame their shortcomings by being more creative and more consistent than their peers. They stuck to their crafts day in and day out for many years.

 

And if that doesn’t help you there one more trick that you can use:

— View your current situation as if you were reading a biography written about yourself hundreds of years from now on.

Ask yourself many times daily:

What would that biography say?

Ludvig Sunström runs Start Gaining Momentum where he writes about practical self-development and gives no-nonsense tips for becoming more efficient and stepping up in life. He is also the author of Breaking out of Homeostasis , a book about claiming more control over your life by overcoming the brain's innate mechanism for staying the same. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Joe Greco

    Jun 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Interesting read, there are some great points and interesting facts making a great case as why people should study great historical people.
    Thanks for the article 🙂

  2. Nathalia

    Feb 13, 2015 at 3:06 am

    It is a great article! Those mans inspire me a lot! But as a woman I think you should add some great historical females that made history too!

  3. James Hughes

    Feb 12, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Great article Ludwig.

    This just shows that to become successful you need to face a number of hardships to get there.
    Go through the pain to get power.

    Many people don’t see or realise this they just see the success which they put down to luck.

    Great read.

    James Hughes

  4. Shane Peterec

    Feb 12, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Great article, history is so underated.

  5. Tirzah Libert

    Feb 11, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    The reason why success might seem easy is because we admire and even adore poeple after they achieve ‘financial’ success. I wrote an article Adversity is my University where I dare to be vulnerable and share my entrepreneurial struggles in the prime of hardship. My unofficial degrees are:
    Phd: persistence humility determination
    Bsc: bold sincere courageous
    Msc: motivation simplicity commitment

  6. Scott Campbell (@SharkAnalogy)

    Oct 7, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Great Article. The book “Think and Grow Rich” should be mandatory reading for everyone. The author is right, success doesn’t happen overnight. The reason why I think that book is timeless is because he literally spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours studying and interviewing great men such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, etc….

  7. Jeremy

    Feb 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    From what I’ve noticed and read, it seems most successful people had a very strong why due to the kind of life and environment they started out with. The second thing is that they are all obsessed with succeeding. And the third is that they are freakin persistent about it. There’s no stopping them.

  8. Daniel

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Can you be a success story without undergoing hardship?

  9. tsam21

    Jan 24, 2014 at 4:16 am

    woow! this is a great way to stir up the greatest in us,if they did it back then,when things were super tough,then we can surely do great and amazing things too!

  10. Sebastian

    Jan 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Spot on. I don’t really study historical men that much but I do study the people that did what I want to do. Rebels, rockstars, revolutionaries, weird and crazy people.

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Close enough, Sebastian!
      You’ll learn a lot from doing that.

  11. Boy Toy

    Jan 18, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Great point about the fact that we mostly see the successes and not the failures.
    It’s everywhere: tv, online, facebook, radio, magazines: Always successful people.
    But hey, it’s good – gives us a kick in the ass to strive for more. I appreciate that 😉

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      I agree with you. It’s just that most people seem to be getting the wrong idea.

  12. Naomi@BusinessPlanning

    Jan 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Ludvig,

    Really great advice. And a lesson I learnt about a year ago. Success is not a overnight thing. Some of world’s biggest entrepreneurs have started out selling ice-creams. But unfortunately we don’t get to see the years of hard work and consistency.

    They only show us the £100,000 car and £3 million pound house. I think the celebrity culture (similar to the Gangnam Style effect) of stars who shoot to fame and riches overnight lead us to believe this is a common occurrence. As a results more kids in the UK are more likely to want ‘overnight success’ careers like footballers, singers and glamour models rather than teachers and doctors which require years of studying.

    Good going media!

    Thanks for great read.

    Naomi

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Naomi,

      Haha. Yes, Good going media! This is why I don’t own a TV.

      “As a results more kids in the UK are more likely to want ‘overnight success’”

      —> That seems familiar. I recently read “How to Get Rich” by Felix Dennis. In that book he says the following:

      “It came as a shock to me to read in The Week that 20 % of British teenagers in school claim they would abandon their education if they could just get themselves on television. In any capacity whatever. Just to be a “celebrity”. Which probably explains the queues clamoring to be humiliated on “reality TV”, a modern equivalent to ancient Rome’s gladiator circuses.”

      Thanks for reading and leaving a great comment Naomi.

  13. Jared

    Jan 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    My new goal is to read one biography a month and learn from these great historical figures.. Thanks for sharing!

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      That sounds like a great plan Jared,

      Here’s two tips that might be helpful:
      1. If you’re an avid reader, be sure to seek out the most credible biographies — even if they are less fun to read than those without many references.

      2. If you’re not an avid reader, try reading an easy and short book to become acquainted with the topic first. Then you dive in for real and start reading heavier books once the interest has been established. It becomes easier and more fun this way because now you already have some associations in place.

  14. Amanda B

    Jan 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Interesting thing about Van Gogh becoming an icon.

    Sure he is now successful. But I just wonder if it was worth it… Maybe he should have quit it and enjoyed his life?

    You do make a good point though.

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Amanda,
      Good question. But what makes you think he COULD quit?

      From what I’ve read about Van Gogh it seems he was rather obsessed with his art, that he couldn’t have stopped painting even if he had wanted to.

    • Solomon

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      @ Amanda B, it was his passion to paint (Van Gogh) to quit would simply mean to cease breathing. Maybe he should have got a proper job to Subsidies his passion for art.

  15. Derek Brettell

    Jan 15, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Great article! I read it over breakfast in Scotland and it’s set next up for the day. Thank you

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Success Advice

Stop Denying Your Negative Thoughts and Start Embracing Them

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Over the years, many of the talking heads and pundits in the personal development and success science industry have talked about the immediate replacement of negative thoughts with positive thoughts. The logic behind that particular behavioral strategy seems to make sense on the surface. Think about it, when a negative thought rears its ugly head, we should immediately dive into the repository of positive thoughts that we have available to us so that we could immediately begin to dwell on it.

Even further, some gurus of the genre suggest removing any chance of having a negative thought by the constant repetition of affirmations. Again, tried-and-true motivational technology that is very workable and still useful. I would suggest, however, that you view the above behaviors as tactics more than strategies.

I will further suggest to you that you do not abhor your negative thoughts but rather embrace them, examine them, and place them under a spotlight. My reasoning behind this goes back over 100 years into psychology with stimulus/response, that is, the cause and effect of certain behaviors. Many individuals look at a negative thought as a causative driver. The negative thought exists as a cause, and our behavior toward that cause will determine the effect.

So, following this logic, if an individual has a negative thought which makes them feel sad, and that sadness causes them to binge drink, by removing the negative thought you’ll have removed the motivation for binge drinking. Doesn’t that sound kind of silly? The suggestion here is to turn off the negative thought so that it will turn off the consumption of alcohol.

Of course, this makes sense if we view the negative thought as a primal force in behavior. So, what if we started to think of the negative thought more as the result of something else? It means that the “something else” must change first. What if we took a different approach? What if we looked at a negative thought as an effect of some larger causal factor?

“You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.” – Joel Osteen

By reversing the cause-and-effect motion of negative thinking (saying that the negative thought is an effect), we now can ask a deeper, more penetrative question: Why are we thinking that negative thought? What is the underlying cause of that specific train of thinking? By reversing the cause-and-effect relationship of negative thinking, it allows the negative thinker to assume the role of diagnostician!

Below is a three-step process you can use to examine your negative thoughts, the role of it in your life, and how you can get rid of them:

1. Simply acknowledge the negative thought

Recognize the fact that there’s a negative thought in your mind instead of trying to go through a process of emotionally overlaying positive thoughts on top of it. Can you see how this exacerbates the issue? You have a negative thought, you immediately recognize that it must be changed, and you frantically scurry through the museum of your mind to find a positive thought to replace it.

In the meantime, while you are trying to find that positive thought, you’re feeling anxious, nervous, and guilty! When you finally find a positive thought to replace that negative thought, the normal process is to squash it. But you can’t! It’s like trying to get rid of weeds by covering them with rocks.

They will always find another way around the rock. It is the same with negative thoughts. Consequently, try acknowledging the negative thought.

2. Affirm the negative thought

It is a part of you. Instead of denying its existence, accept that it is there in front of you and that you are now willing to deal with it. If any of you reading this are dog lovers, you will know that the best way to get a dog next to you is by attempting to push it away from you. Every time you push the dog away it gets closer. This is the same with negative thinking because the harder you push the closer it gets.

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” – Michael Jordan

3. Acquit the thought

Give it permission to leave you. Thank it for its past importance in your life and allow it to be on its way! At this point feel free to replace the negative thought with a positive thought. What will begin to happen when you place the negative thought under the spotlight is that you will see how insignificantly small it actually is.

This is a process I’ve been using for quite some time, and it works! Oh sure, I still use affirmations on a daily basis; as a matter fact I have them right here in front of me. I find that affirmations are a tremendous way to stay positive because it doesn’t allow any room for bad things to grow. But since the average person thinks 60,000 to 65,000 thoughts per day, let’s face it, a few negative thoughts have to squeak in there!

The best advice that I can give is to not freak out over a negative thought. Acknowledge it, affirm it, and acquit it! This is magic. Watch what happens!

How do you handle negative thoughts? Let us know your tips below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

One Thing I Can Teach You About Life That Will Help You Forever.

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I used to be a very anxious person.

I was embarrassed by what I couldn’t do and every day was a struggle. From the moment I would wake up to the moment I’d go to bed, everything felt impossibly overwhelming. It’s a battle I’ve dealt with most of my life.

This daily struggle with mental illness taught me that the satisfaction didn’t lie in beating it; the satisfaction was in helping other people beat mental illness through my success in fighting it.


Recently, I was at work. It was a pretty standard day — nothing too exciting. I then had a catch up with one of the leaders I worked with.

She said something that got my attention: “One of our colleagues is battling a mental illness.”

I really wanted to help. My eyes lit up. There was no need to uncover my plan with anyone else. I knew that staying discrete was fundamental.

I approached the person in question and asked for a few minutes of their time.

I didn’t ask them to admit their mental illness struggle; I just shared my story.

I talked about the anxiety stopping me from having a normal life, eating the right foods, going on dates with girls, having the career I wanted and traveling the world.

I wasn’t sure if any of it was sinking in or even helping. I felt compelled to go on. One thing I knew was that he was paying attention. I could see it in his eyes.

I then went on to talk about how I beat mental illness. Strategies such as:

  • Creating fear lists
  • Seeking professional help
  • Working on myself
  • Books I read
  • Events I attended

Out of nowhere, he started opening up about his own struggle. I was shocked.
It wasn’t pretty. He had an extreme case of mental illness that I certainly couldn’t diagnose or give professional advice on.

All I could do was show him through my own story that there was hope

I offered him access to all the resources I had. I told him that he had my full support and I’d be happy to help in any way I could. He then said:

“What was your psychologist’s name?”

I told him I’d look it up and send it to him. I didn’t have the answer in front of me, but I was determined when I got home to find it.

At the end of the catch-up, he smiled. I don’t think he’d smiled like that in a very long time.

That smile gave me so much satisfaction. It made my own struggle with mental illness worth it. All those sleepless nights, times spent vomiting into the toilet and dark days where I didn’t want to go on made sense.


“It took more than seven years for me to understand that my own battle with mental illness actually had a benefit”

That benefit was the satisfaction in seeing someone beat their mental illness because I was able to defeat mine.

It’s probably the greatest satisfaction of my entire life.

That’s one thing I can teach you about life that will help you forever.

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Success Advice

5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet

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Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.  

Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.

Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2019:

1. Ditch your to do list

Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar!  To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.  

If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Give up on motivation

Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.

If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.

3. Master your mornings

Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.

We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.

4. Schedule according to energy

Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.

“Productivity is never an accident it’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Working backwards

Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.

Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.

Create the right habits to achieve your goals, work on adopting easy tips and techniques so you can manage your time and yourself better to get things done.

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Success Advice

You Need to Grow Your Memory in Order to Grow Your Life

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We all have access to the most powerful computer ever created in the universe…our brain. Unfortunately, few of us have ever been taught how to use our minds efficiently, and even fewer have learned how to develop a fabulous memory. Thankfully, like any skill, memorising can be learned and using the correct strategies, your memory can be improved in only days.

One of the best coaches on memory is Dominic O’Brien the eight-time world memory champion. Self-taught after watching Creighton Carvello memorise a pack of cards on the BBC’s Record Breakers programme. Dominic, through his work on memory, has given us many tools and techniques for improving memory.

Below are 5 rules that will help you develop a better memory:

1. The Rule of Five

Probably seen as one of the most significant contributions to the body of knowledge on memory is O’Brien’s Rule of Five. This rule details how to remember things using a strategy of regular staged repetition.

These stages are as follows:

  • First Review:Immediately
  • Second Review:Twenty-four hours later
  • Third Review:One week later
  • Fourth Review:One month later
  • Fifth Review:Three months later

Utilising stage repetition at these intervals ingrains the memory for the long term.

2. The Dominic System

The Dominic System is a system for remembering numbers. The system is a Person Action system where the association between two sets of paired numbers is the person with the action of the next person.

1139 would become Andre Agassi doing a roundhouse kick which is the action of Chuck Norris. This system combined with the journey method allows for long random numbers to be easily recalled without error. The fantastic thing about this system is that you get to customise for yourself with memorable people and unique actions which when combined really make it easy for you to recall numbers. The table below associates each number to a letter.

Number     0     1    2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
Letter     O     A     B     C     D    E     S     G     H     N

Creating a simple document with pairs of numbers in one column, the letter pairs in the next and an action column will help you learn this system quickly.

“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.” – Andre Agassi

3. The Link Method

This method relies on two essential elements of memory, association and exaggeration. Utilising these two elements, it is possible to link together unrelated objects to allow you to remember them.

Trying to remember a list of five separate words such as: balloon, papaya, gold, football and hat, might go something like this. You imagine seeing a giant balloon and inside the balloon you can see a small papaya, in bursting the balloon the papaya falls out and as it hits the floor a gold football bounces into a large sombrero.

4. The Journey Method

Using location has been a fundamental part of mnemonics almost since time began. Before humans, writing elders would pass knowledge to others using stories of journeys, with each piece of knowledge being associated with a location on the journey.

O’Brien’s system utilises journeys that you would undertake on a daily basis, like your commute to work or train stations on well-known line. Items are then associated and exaggerated along the journey, so for instance if you were trying to remember a list of ten random things you would associate each piece along with a unique ten stop journey and utilise exaggeration to make the items more memorable.

“You are well equipped with an incredible potential for absorbing knowledge…Anything’s possible.” – Dominic O’Brien

5. The Story Method

To remember groups of information, create a story that links them together. Remembering the planets of the solar system and their position relative to the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Imagine that Mercury was hitting the nineties as Venus tossed the tennis ball into the air, striking the ball it soared over the net striking the earth and bouncing high into the air, knocking the mars bar out of Jupiter’s hand, and so on.

Developing a good memory will assist markedly in all of your personal development goals as well as assisting greatly in your daily life. The methods above are tried and tested by one of the leading memory champions. Whether you want to become the next World Memory Champion or just improve your recall, the techniques outlined above will assist greatly.

Combining the various elements will create an exponential improvement in your memory that you will find hard to believe, and you will be kicking yourself for not applying them sooner. The best part about using these methods is that they are fun, so enjoy using them.

Which one of these memorizing methods sounds most interesting to you? Share with us below!

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Life

The Guide to Coping With Stress, Anxiety and Failure

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Instead of complaining about the ebb and flow of tough times, we need to learn how to overcome them. We often let bad news cast a pall on our day, but taking it in and moving on with life is what we need to do and that’s a challenge. (more…)

David Lim is a Private Tutor at ChampionTutor. And he is very willing to discuss how to live a stress-free life.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Joe Greco

    Jun 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Interesting read, there are some great points and interesting facts making a great case as why people should study great historical people.
    Thanks for the article 🙂

  2. Nathalia

    Feb 13, 2015 at 3:06 am

    It is a great article! Those mans inspire me a lot! But as a woman I think you should add some great historical females that made history too!

  3. James Hughes

    Feb 12, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Great article Ludwig.

    This just shows that to become successful you need to face a number of hardships to get there.
    Go through the pain to get power.

    Many people don’t see or realise this they just see the success which they put down to luck.

    Great read.

    James Hughes

  4. Shane Peterec

    Feb 12, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Great article, history is so underated.

  5. Tirzah Libert

    Feb 11, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    The reason why success might seem easy is because we admire and even adore poeple after they achieve ‘financial’ success. I wrote an article Adversity is my University where I dare to be vulnerable and share my entrepreneurial struggles in the prime of hardship. My unofficial degrees are:
    Phd: persistence humility determination
    Bsc: bold sincere courageous
    Msc: motivation simplicity commitment

  6. Scott Campbell (@SharkAnalogy)

    Oct 7, 2014 at 2:29 am

    Great Article. The book “Think and Grow Rich” should be mandatory reading for everyone. The author is right, success doesn’t happen overnight. The reason why I think that book is timeless is because he literally spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours studying and interviewing great men such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, etc….

  7. Jeremy

    Feb 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    From what I’ve noticed and read, it seems most successful people had a very strong why due to the kind of life and environment they started out with. The second thing is that they are all obsessed with succeeding. And the third is that they are freakin persistent about it. There’s no stopping them.

  8. Daniel

    Feb 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Can you be a success story without undergoing hardship?

  9. tsam21

    Jan 24, 2014 at 4:16 am

    woow! this is a great way to stir up the greatest in us,if they did it back then,when things were super tough,then we can surely do great and amazing things too!

  10. Sebastian

    Jan 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Spot on. I don’t really study historical men that much but I do study the people that did what I want to do. Rebels, rockstars, revolutionaries, weird and crazy people.

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 20, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Close enough, Sebastian!
      You’ll learn a lot from doing that.

  11. Boy Toy

    Jan 18, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    Great point about the fact that we mostly see the successes and not the failures.
    It’s everywhere: tv, online, facebook, radio, magazines: Always successful people.
    But hey, it’s good – gives us a kick in the ass to strive for more. I appreciate that 😉

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 20, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      I agree with you. It’s just that most people seem to be getting the wrong idea.

  12. Naomi@BusinessPlanning

    Jan 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Ludvig,

    Really great advice. And a lesson I learnt about a year ago. Success is not a overnight thing. Some of world’s biggest entrepreneurs have started out selling ice-creams. But unfortunately we don’t get to see the years of hard work and consistency.

    They only show us the £100,000 car and £3 million pound house. I think the celebrity culture (similar to the Gangnam Style effect) of stars who shoot to fame and riches overnight lead us to believe this is a common occurrence. As a results more kids in the UK are more likely to want ‘overnight success’ careers like footballers, singers and glamour models rather than teachers and doctors which require years of studying.

    Good going media!

    Thanks for great read.

    Naomi

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Naomi,

      Haha. Yes, Good going media! This is why I don’t own a TV.

      “As a results more kids in the UK are more likely to want ‘overnight success’”

      —> That seems familiar. I recently read “How to Get Rich” by Felix Dennis. In that book he says the following:

      “It came as a shock to me to read in The Week that 20 % of British teenagers in school claim they would abandon their education if they could just get themselves on television. In any capacity whatever. Just to be a “celebrity”. Which probably explains the queues clamoring to be humiliated on “reality TV”, a modern equivalent to ancient Rome’s gladiator circuses.”

      Thanks for reading and leaving a great comment Naomi.

  13. Jared

    Jan 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    My new goal is to read one biography a month and learn from these great historical figures.. Thanks for sharing!

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      That sounds like a great plan Jared,

      Here’s two tips that might be helpful:
      1. If you’re an avid reader, be sure to seek out the most credible biographies — even if they are less fun to read than those without many references.

      2. If you’re not an avid reader, try reading an easy and short book to become acquainted with the topic first. Then you dive in for real and start reading heavier books once the interest has been established. It becomes easier and more fun this way because now you already have some associations in place.

  14. Amanda B

    Jan 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Interesting thing about Van Gogh becoming an icon.

    Sure he is now successful. But I just wonder if it was worth it… Maybe he should have quit it and enjoyed his life?

    You do make a good point though.

    • LudvigSunström

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Amanda,
      Good question. But what makes you think he COULD quit?

      From what I’ve read about Van Gogh it seems he was rather obsessed with his art, that he couldn’t have stopped painting even if he had wanted to.

    • Solomon

      Jan 16, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      @ Amanda B, it was his passion to paint (Van Gogh) to quit would simply mean to cease breathing. Maybe he should have got a proper job to Subsidies his passion for art.

  15. Derek Brettell

    Jan 15, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Great article! I read it over breakfast in Scotland and it’s set next up for the day. Thank you

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Success Advice

Stop Denying Your Negative Thoughts and Start Embracing Them

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Over the years, many of the talking heads and pundits in the personal development and success science industry have talked about the immediate replacement of negative thoughts with positive thoughts. The logic behind that particular behavioral strategy seems to make sense on the surface. Think about it, when a negative thought rears its ugly head, we should immediately dive into the repository of positive thoughts that we have available to us so that we could immediately begin to dwell on it.

Even further, some gurus of the genre suggest removing any chance of having a negative thought by the constant repetition of affirmations. Again, tried-and-true motivational technology that is very workable and still useful. I would suggest, however, that you view the above behaviors as tactics more than strategies.

I will further suggest to you that you do not abhor your negative thoughts but rather embrace them, examine them, and place them under a spotlight. My reasoning behind this goes back over 100 years into psychology with stimulus/response, that is, the cause and effect of certain behaviors. Many individuals look at a negative thought as a causative driver. The negative thought exists as a cause, and our behavior toward that cause will determine the effect.

So, following this logic, if an individual has a negative thought which makes them feel sad, and that sadness causes them to binge drink, by removing the negative thought you’ll have removed the motivation for binge drinking. Doesn’t that sound kind of silly? The suggestion here is to turn off the negative thought so that it will turn off the consumption of alcohol.

Of course, this makes sense if we view the negative thought as a primal force in behavior. So, what if we started to think of the negative thought more as the result of something else? It means that the “something else” must change first. What if we took a different approach? What if we looked at a negative thought as an effect of some larger causal factor?

“You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.” – Joel Osteen

By reversing the cause-and-effect motion of negative thinking (saying that the negative thought is an effect), we now can ask a deeper, more penetrative question: Why are we thinking that negative thought? What is the underlying cause of that specific train of thinking? By reversing the cause-and-effect relationship of negative thinking, it allows the negative thinker to assume the role of diagnostician!

Below is a three-step process you can use to examine your negative thoughts, the role of it in your life, and how you can get rid of them:

1. Simply acknowledge the negative thought

Recognize the fact that there’s a negative thought in your mind instead of trying to go through a process of emotionally overlaying positive thoughts on top of it. Can you see how this exacerbates the issue? You have a negative thought, you immediately recognize that it must be changed, and you frantically scurry through the museum of your mind to find a positive thought to replace it.

In the meantime, while you are trying to find that positive thought, you’re feeling anxious, nervous, and guilty! When you finally find a positive thought to replace that negative thought, the normal process is to squash it. But you can’t! It’s like trying to get rid of weeds by covering them with rocks.

They will always find another way around the rock. It is the same with negative thoughts. Consequently, try acknowledging the negative thought.

2. Affirm the negative thought

It is a part of you. Instead of denying its existence, accept that it is there in front of you and that you are now willing to deal with it. If any of you reading this are dog lovers, you will know that the best way to get a dog next to you is by attempting to push it away from you. Every time you push the dog away it gets closer. This is the same with negative thinking because the harder you push the closer it gets.

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” – Michael Jordan

3. Acquit the thought

Give it permission to leave you. Thank it for its past importance in your life and allow it to be on its way! At this point feel free to replace the negative thought with a positive thought. What will begin to happen when you place the negative thought under the spotlight is that you will see how insignificantly small it actually is.

This is a process I’ve been using for quite some time, and it works! Oh sure, I still use affirmations on a daily basis; as a matter fact I have them right here in front of me. I find that affirmations are a tremendous way to stay positive because it doesn’t allow any room for bad things to grow. But since the average person thinks 60,000 to 65,000 thoughts per day, let’s face it, a few negative thoughts have to squeak in there!

The best advice that I can give is to not freak out over a negative thought. Acknowledge it, affirm it, and acquit it! This is magic. Watch what happens!

How do you handle negative thoughts? Let us know your tips below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

One Thing I Can Teach You About Life That Will Help You Forever.

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I used to be a very anxious person.

I was embarrassed by what I couldn’t do and every day was a struggle. From the moment I would wake up to the moment I’d go to bed, everything felt impossibly overwhelming. It’s a battle I’ve dealt with most of my life.

This daily struggle with mental illness taught me that the satisfaction didn’t lie in beating it; the satisfaction was in helping other people beat mental illness through my success in fighting it.


Recently, I was at work. It was a pretty standard day — nothing too exciting. I then had a catch up with one of the leaders I worked with.

She said something that got my attention: “One of our colleagues is battling a mental illness.”

I really wanted to help. My eyes lit up. There was no need to uncover my plan with anyone else. I knew that staying discrete was fundamental.

I approached the person in question and asked for a few minutes of their time.

I didn’t ask them to admit their mental illness struggle; I just shared my story.

I talked about the anxiety stopping me from having a normal life, eating the right foods, going on dates with girls, having the career I wanted and traveling the world.

I wasn’t sure if any of it was sinking in or even helping. I felt compelled to go on. One thing I knew was that he was paying attention. I could see it in his eyes.

I then went on to talk about how I beat mental illness. Strategies such as:

  • Creating fear lists
  • Seeking professional help
  • Working on myself
  • Books I read
  • Events I attended

Out of nowhere, he started opening up about his own struggle. I was shocked.
It wasn’t pretty. He had an extreme case of mental illness that I certainly couldn’t diagnose or give professional advice on.

All I could do was show him through my own story that there was hope

I offered him access to all the resources I had. I told him that he had my full support and I’d be happy to help in any way I could. He then said:

“What was your psychologist’s name?”

I told him I’d look it up and send it to him. I didn’t have the answer in front of me, but I was determined when I got home to find it.

At the end of the catch-up, he smiled. I don’t think he’d smiled like that in a very long time.

That smile gave me so much satisfaction. It made my own struggle with mental illness worth it. All those sleepless nights, times spent vomiting into the toilet and dark days where I didn’t want to go on made sense.


“It took more than seven years for me to understand that my own battle with mental illness actually had a benefit”

That benefit was the satisfaction in seeing someone beat their mental illness because I was able to defeat mine.

It’s probably the greatest satisfaction of my entire life.

That’s one thing I can teach you about life that will help you forever.

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Success Advice

5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet

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Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.  

Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.

Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2019:

1. Ditch your to do list

Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar!  To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.  

If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Give up on motivation

Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.

If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.

3. Master your mornings

Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.

We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.

4. Schedule according to energy

Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.

“Productivity is never an accident it’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Working backwards

Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.

Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.

Create the right habits to achieve your goals, work on adopting easy tips and techniques so you can manage your time and yourself better to get things done.

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Success Advice

You Need to Grow Your Memory in Order to Grow Your Life

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We all have access to the most powerful computer ever created in the universe…our brain. Unfortunately, few of us have ever been taught how to use our minds efficiently, and even fewer have learned how to develop a fabulous memory. Thankfully, like any skill, memorising can be learned and using the correct strategies, your memory can be improved in only days.

One of the best coaches on memory is Dominic O’Brien the eight-time world memory champion. Self-taught after watching Creighton Carvello memorise a pack of cards on the BBC’s Record Breakers programme. Dominic, through his work on memory, has given us many tools and techniques for improving memory.

Below are 5 rules that will help you develop a better memory:

1. The Rule of Five

Probably seen as one of the most significant contributions to the body of knowledge on memory is O’Brien’s Rule of Five. This rule details how to remember things using a strategy of regular staged repetition.

These stages are as follows:

  • First Review:Immediately
  • Second Review:Twenty-four hours later
  • Third Review:One week later
  • Fourth Review:One month later
  • Fifth Review:Three months later

Utilising stage repetition at these intervals ingrains the memory for the long term.

2. The Dominic System

The Dominic System is a system for remembering numbers. The system is a Person Action system where the association between two sets of paired numbers is the person with the action of the next person.

1139 would become Andre Agassi doing a roundhouse kick which is the action of Chuck Norris. This system combined with the journey method allows for long random numbers to be easily recalled without error. The fantastic thing about this system is that you get to customise for yourself with memorable people and unique actions which when combined really make it easy for you to recall numbers. The table below associates each number to a letter.

Number     0     1    2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
Letter     O     A     B     C     D    E     S     G     H     N

Creating a simple document with pairs of numbers in one column, the letter pairs in the next and an action column will help you learn this system quickly.

“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.” – Andre Agassi

3. The Link Method

This method relies on two essential elements of memory, association and exaggeration. Utilising these two elements, it is possible to link together unrelated objects to allow you to remember them.

Trying to remember a list of five separate words such as: balloon, papaya, gold, football and hat, might go something like this. You imagine seeing a giant balloon and inside the balloon you can see a small papaya, in bursting the balloon the papaya falls out and as it hits the floor a gold football bounces into a large sombrero.

4. The Journey Method

Using location has been a fundamental part of mnemonics almost since time began. Before humans, writing elders would pass knowledge to others using stories of journeys, with each piece of knowledge being associated with a location on the journey.

O’Brien’s system utilises journeys that you would undertake on a daily basis, like your commute to work or train stations on well-known line. Items are then associated and exaggerated along the journey, so for instance if you were trying to remember a list of ten random things you would associate each piece along with a unique ten stop journey and utilise exaggeration to make the items more memorable.

“You are well equipped with an incredible potential for absorbing knowledge…Anything’s possible.” – Dominic O’Brien

5. The Story Method

To remember groups of information, create a story that links them together. Remembering the planets of the solar system and their position relative to the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Imagine that Mercury was hitting the nineties as Venus tossed the tennis ball into the air, striking the ball it soared over the net striking the earth and bouncing high into the air, knocking the mars bar out of Jupiter’s hand, and so on.

Developing a good memory will assist markedly in all of your personal development goals as well as assisting greatly in your daily life. The methods above are tried and tested by one of the leading memory champions. Whether you want to become the next World Memory Champion or just improve your recall, the techniques outlined above will assist greatly.

Combining the various elements will create an exponential improvement in your memory that you will find hard to believe, and you will be kicking yourself for not applying them sooner. The best part about using these methods is that they are fun, so enjoy using them.

Which one of these memorizing methods sounds most interesting to you? Share with us below!

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