Intuitive Planning

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Effective Planning For Sensitive People
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Intuitive Planning.
How to plan if you are a sensitive person in a willpower world

How often have you heard about the importance of planning or power of manifestation? Have you ever wondered if everyone talks SO MUCH about planning, why it doesn’t really work for you? You probably thought (I definitely did) What’s wrong with me?! Don’t I have enough will power for that…? Am I lazy?? (yes, this scary question…) NO. It is just you are a different type of a person. Yes, planning is important, manifestation is possible and even ordinary for people who mastered a skill of it, but we can choose the way we plan that works for your personality, aligns with your Soul and makes your heart beats calmly, not crazy when you are in a panic, thinking “HOW can I do it all?

Man in Brown Long-sleeved Button-up Shirt Standing While Using Gray Laptop Computer on Brown Wooden Table Beside Woman in Gray Long-sleeved Shirt Sitting

 

Is there a way of planning and manifesting that fits you?  And how can we use our sensitivity not to be worried or overwhelmed, but manifest and plan what we want more effectively?

 

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Here where the spiritual ideas and (surprisingly)) physics come handy. Everything is energy. In this perspective, we have to consider feeling and emotions as solid parts of energy we use for realization and preparation.

 

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We realize a maximum of our potential when we plan with our feelings and sense, using our mind. Not vice versa, when we mostly try to think what is good, but don’t feel passion about it or even don’t believe it’s even necessary.  What does this mean? The core here is very simple. The Universe realize what we FEEL, our emotions are the impulses to the actualization. Planning and dreaming are good, but what we really FEEL and BELIEVE deep inside of us, this is what really come true.

 

 

“You manifest what you believe in” (Oprah Winfrey) 

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The effective planning is all about adjustment with your plan. Any successful coach or powerful book have never said: “Write it down and do it”. They all repeat the same thing: “BELIEVE in your plan and do it.”

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“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” (Napoleon Hill) 

 

 

 

Write it down with the main purpose – to believe in it. Structure your belief so you can act more effectively.

 

 

It leads us to important realization that we need to pay attention to our assumptions. As they are the main reason why we can’t believe with our heart in what we see in our minds. Any technique or boost of willpower can’t help in a battle with your own negative views.

 

 

This truth is even more powerful for women. For us everything is based on the perception, on the intensity of our emotions and feelings, on our belief in the capacity to transform a dream into reality. All of the greatest achievements started from the vision and strong emotion of faith. When we believe with all our hearts we start to see steps in the darkness. We program our subconsciousness to look for the answers and find them. We follow deep feeling of belief that in other words, I like to call intuition. 

 

 

Intuition is the core for many successful businesses, for greatest of books and pieces of art.

 

 

Believe in yourself+ believe in the idea + intuitive planning+ action = success. 

 

 

When you follow your intuition in planning or manifesting you first open doors in your mind and then in your life. Yes, it is easy to mistaken intuition with somethings else. I hear this concern very often and still repeatedly have it my mind. So here I want to give a very important hint:

 

 

When you try to distinguish whether it is an intuitive feeling or not, ask yourself: Am I feeling it from a place of fear or from a place of trust? What am I afraid of in this situation? Do I try to run away from something I am afraid of with this feeling? If your answer is yes, it’s probably not intuition. As our intuitive feelings always create, not destroy.

 

 

 

 

 

The laws of the Universe makes it clear: The manifestation and planning are more effective when you are a sensitive person! All we need to do is switch from our fears to best beliefs. 

 

Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them

15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.

Photo © Angelika Platen (Walter De Maria)

All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).

Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.

You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!

The typical problems we face can be solved.

Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:


You didn’t reach your goal.

Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:

• Dream careers

• Girls I wanted to date

• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos

• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn

People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.

The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.

Image Credit: Manly Caves

Solution:

Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.

Your heroes miss their goals too. What makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.


Someone criticized you.

If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.

The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.

“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”

Solution:

You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.

When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.

Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.


Your career got messed up.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.

The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.

  • Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
  • The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
  • Your career skills could become outdated.
  • You could get fired for making a mistake.

Your career is going to get messed up. Things you can never predict in your career are going to happen.

Solution:

See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.

The solution is to see your career getting messed up as a chance to grow. Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.

Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.


You have financial troubles.

That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.

“I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”

Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.

Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.

Money won’t give you any of those human needs.

That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.

Image Credit: Andy Warhol

Solution:

Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.

Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.

If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.

The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.


You’re unhealthy.

Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.

How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.

There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.

Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.

Solution:

Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about it. Have some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.

Image Credit: Idelle Weber

Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.

Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.


A relationship ended.

There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.

Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.

For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.

We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.

We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.

We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’

These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.

Solution:

Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.

Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.

You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.

“Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way”


You made a dick of yourself.

Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.

I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).

• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives

• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts

• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila

• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times

We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.

We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.

Solution:

Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.

Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.

Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.

“The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody”

Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect.

Image Credit: Romero Britto

Someone messed your *shit* up.

Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.

You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.

The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.

Solution:

What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.


You feel like your life has no meaning.

These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.

The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.

The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.

Solution:

If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment. Standing still is not how you find the answer.

“Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering”

A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.

I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.


You feel like you can’t go on.

We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.

Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.

If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.

Solution:

Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.

While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.

“There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help”

Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.


Every day feels the same.

You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.

Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.

Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.

Image Credit: Meg Duffy, aka Hand Habits

Solution:

You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.

• Travel to another country

• Talk to someone new

• Try learning a new skill

Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.


Your friends are screwing your life up.

Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.

Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.

Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.

Solution:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.

If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.

‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.


You feel stressed.

77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.

This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.

This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.

Solution:

“We don’t need more; we need less to destress”

• Declutter your home and office

• Say no to more meetings

• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”

• Buy less material things

• Have fewer people in your life

• Listen to one podcast instead of many

• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast

• Have less recurring subscriptions

• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills

• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)


A fear is standing in your way.

There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.

Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.

Image Credit: Pop Art Portraits

Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.

Solution:

Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.

Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.

Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.

I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂

Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.


Dealing with the concept of death.

Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.

Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.

“The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it”

Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.

You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.

Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.

The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!

Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.

Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.

Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies

7 Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies

I was recently reading a book titled ‘Writing Screenplays that Sell’ by Michael Hauge and was fascinated to see how psychologically informed screenwriters need to be to create engaging stories with meaningful plots and entertaining characters.

Although Hollywood sometimes gets bad press for promoting materialistic and unrealistic goals for the audience, I do believe that some valuable life lessons can be learnt from dissecting the common elements of screenplays that result in successful movies.

Here are eight insights that I believe are important:

#1 – Be the hero of your story

Every movie has a hero that we identify with and develop empathy for. Screenwriters do this deliberately because we are likely to care more about the story and become involved in the movie if it focuses on one character and their perspective and challenges more than the other characters.

In real life, the person whose perspective we are able to most tune into is ourselves, and we feel the emotional impact of our experiences whether we like it or not (even though a lot of people try to tune these out). It, therefore, makes a lot of sense to ensure that we are the hero of our own life.

Unless you believe in reincarnation, it is generally accepted that we only have one life. Once we become adults, no one else is entirely responsible for the direction that our life goes in except for us. We are the screenwriters, directors and the main character in our story – unless we give that power up to somebody else. This is a scary thought, but also a potentially liberating one.

Although there are limitations to our abilities and dreams and it is essential to have realistic expectations, there are too many people that I see that put up roadblocks and barriers where they don’t need to be.

So if we are free to do what we want with our lives, and responsible for how they turn out, what do we want to do? Live the life that someone else wants or expects of us, or follow our dreams and hopefully achieve our goals.

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#2 – Challenge yourself if you would like to grow

Screenwriters are taught that a movie should start slowly, and build pace as the film progresses through increasing the magnitude and difficulty of challenges that the hero faces until the climax of the film. A resolution is then typically achieved, and all of the loose ends are tied up before the movie concludes with the hero being a much better person than they were at the beginning of the film. It is from overcoming bigger and bigger adversity throughout the film that the hero develops and grows. Without challenges or difficulties to master, this growth and character development would not be possible, and people would find the movie dull or boring.

In real life, I see a lot of clients who want a life free of challenge. They strive for a life of inner peace without stress or anxiety and believe that this can be achieved by consistently remaining in their comfort zone. In their comfort zone, they do the same thing each day, don’t take any risks and generally feel okay. A lot of them will tell you that something is missing, however.

We need to push beyond what feels comfortable to grow, and with this comes a certain amount of stress and anxiety. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can be a good indication that you are sufficiently challenging yourself so long as you are not feeling completely overwhelmed. Just remember to start small with tasks that feel a little scary but are also achievable, and as you build up confidence move onto more significant challenges. As long as the challenges are consistent with changes that you would like to bring about in your life, you will feel more energetic and alive than you ever could by remaining in your comfort zone. Even if you don’t succeed.

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” — Rainer Maria Rilke

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#3 – Conflict leads to more intense emotional experiences

Screenwriters are taught to create conflict in every scene where possible, usually by having two characters in the scene who have different views and objectives. This is because conflict creates emotional involvement far more than general exposition ever could, leading to a more engaged audience.

In real life, especially in relationships, this isn’t always a good thing. We might feel a more significant attraction or more intense emotional experience with someone who is actually opposed to us in what they want. I see it all the time when individuals who are anxiously attached (like being close to their partner and worry when they are apart) end up in relationships with individuals who are avoidantly attached (like their independence and autonomy and then feel trapped and smothered if they are too close). Each time it leads to an emotional rollercoaster ride, with lots of conflicts, big ups and downs, and greater emotional involvement. It keeps both parties occupied and interested, but will do more harm than good in the end.

Finding someone who wants the same things that we do may be less exciting initially, but can also lead to greater satisfaction and well-being in the long run. Be aware of the emotional trap, and use your head as well as your heart when determining if a relationship is suitable for you.

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#4 – Have clearly defined goals

All heroes will have the primary goal or external motivation that they will pursue throughout the film. Screenwriters are encouraged to make this evident to the audience so that they will cheer on the hero as they make their journey through their challenges in pursuit of their goal. In a horror movie, it may be to escape from or kill the bad guy. In a heist movie, it may be to steal the money and get away with it. In a romantic comedy, it is to win the affection of the love interest. In a coming of age story it is to learn something, and in a sports movie, it is to win.

In real life, it is essential to think of the big picture at times, and ask yourself where you would like to be in 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 years from now? How would you want to be spending your days? Whether it is owning a business, buying a house, getting married, having children or running a marathon, these external, observable goals help keep us motivated and focused on our destination, or where we would like to see ourselves in the future. Once these goals have been achieved, they can be ticked off the list. It then becomes vital to elicit and develop further goals to pursue.

Believe big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. Remember this too! Big ideas and big plans and often easier – certainly no more difficult – than small ideas and small plans.” — David Schwartz

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#5 – Understand why you want to achieve these goals – clarify your values

It may not always be explicitly stated, but a hero in a movie will still have an internal motivation or reason why they are pursuing a goal, otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth them overcoming all of the obstacles that they face to achieve the goal at the end of the movie.

Two people may want to buy a house or run a marathon, but their reasons for doing so could be completely different. One home-buyer may want security and a place to call home, whereas the other person is wanting to make their parents and family proud of them (to gain love, approval or acceptance). One marathon runner may decide to enter the race to become healthier and lose weight, whereas another may do it to spend more time with their friend or partner that loves running (for greater connection or intimacy).

Values, unlike goals, can never be ticked off the list, but are guiding principles that can either be followed or not from moment to moment or day to day. If honesty is an essential value to you, you can be honest whenever you tell the truth, and dishonest whenever you lie. By living honestly, you will be feeling more fulfilled, and by being dishonest, you will likely feel dissatisfied or guilty. Firstly clarify which values are most important to you, and then set short, medium and long-term goals that are consistent with the guiding principles that you choose. 

To be truly rich, regardless of his fortune or lack of it, a man must live by his own values. If those values are not personally meaningful, then no amount of money gained can hide the emptiness of life without them.” — John Paul Getty

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#6 – Have mentors that can help you to achieve your goals

Screenwriters call these characters reflections, and they are there to help the hero to learn and grow along with their journey towards their ultimate goal. This is Robin Williams to Matt Damon in ‘Good Will Hunting’, Mr Miyagi to Daniel-son in ‘The Karate Kid’, and Morgan Freeman in most movies (‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Bruce Almighty’, ‘The Dark Knight’). They usually don’t have a big character arc themselves, because they are already evolved in the areas that the hero is trying to improve. This is how they can know what the right thing to do is and help guide the hero on their path.

In real life, it is important to have mentors or people that have done what you would like to do, that you can turn to for help when you get stuck, have questions, or need advice. By seeking support through individuals who are more knowledgeable and experienced in the areas that you are hoping to build skills, it is possible to learn from their insights and mistakes without having to repeat them yourself, leading to a more effective learning and growth process. If they are able to be honest and direct in their feedback of your strengths and weaknesses, they can also help you to see the real you and guide you towards what is right, authentic and true, even if you don’t exactly want to hear it. Mentors can be friends or relatives, or can even be paid for or hired too. It is why people have psychologists, personal trainers and life coaches. It is also why I obtain regular external supervision so that I can keep improving towards becoming the best psychologist that I can be.

The way for you to be happy and successful, to get more of the things you really want in life, is to study and emulate those who have already done what you want to do and achieved the results you want to achieve.” — Brian Tracy. 

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#7 – It is our actions that define who we become

In his book ‘Story’, Robert McKee, a famous screenwriter, says that the hero’s character is truly revealed not in the scenes when everything is relaxed and calm, but in the choices that they make when the going gets tough and they are under pressure. The greater the pressure, the more revealing the scene is of the hero’s essential nature. Notice it is not their intentions, or things that they may speak about doing earlier in the film, but what they actually do when it really counts.

How will you react in the most significant moments in your life? With courage and persistence in spite of fear or challenge, or with avoidance, excuses or procrastination? With compassion, generosity and respect, or criticalness, selfishness and contempt? Will you talk about all of the great things you want to do or the things that you could have been, or focus on what you can still do and get out there and do it? It doesn’t just have to be big moments either.

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great” –Orison Swett Marden

 

Dr Damon Ashworth

Clinical Psychologist

Ideas That Could Change Your Life

25 Ideas That Could Change Your Life

1. KAIZEN

jesus-in-taiwan-372790-unsplash.jpgA Japanese term meaning “improvement”.

I think of Kaizen as ‘continuous improvement’ or ‘continual change for the better, one small step at a time’, as this is how I first heard of the term.

A lot of the successful Japanese manufacturing companies in automobiles and technology have used this exact approach to obtain massive success over time.

What could you achieve if you just focused on taking one small step in the right direction today, and then another one every day after that?

2. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE…

luca-iaconelli-242679-unsplash.jpgGandhi did not say “Be the change you want to see in the world” even though it is often attributed to him. What he actually said was this: 

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

3. BE HERE NOW

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If we are fully present in the moment and aware of what is going on both internally and externally, we have a choice in what we decide to do.

If you do not feel present, meditate, ground yourself, get outside, move and connect with your five senses in the moment and the world around you.

“Awareness is all about restoring your freedom to choose what you want instead of what your past imposes on you.” – Deepak Chopra

4. CHOICES DEFINE YOUR LEGACY

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This happens through a lengthy process of choices becoming actions, actions becoming habits, and all of your habits informing your character and ultimate legacy. A quote along these lines has been attributed to a Mr Wiseman in 1856, and it tells us that whatever we sow, we must later reap.

It is therefore essential to engage in as many helpful actions as possible when we still have a choice and before they become habitual. The more engrained something is, the easier it is to do automatically, and the harder it can be to stop.

“Neurons that fire together, wire together.” – Donald Hebb

5. LIFE WASN’T MEANT TO BE EASY

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We often don’t appreciate things that just fall into our lap, and we tend to value things much more when we put in some hard work to get it. Even people that build their own IKEA furniture rate the furniture as being more valuable than people who see that same furniture complete but haven’t made it themselves.

I know I’d be more proud of the $3million I built up through hard work than the equivalent amount of money won through a lottery. How about you?

Anything in life worth having is worth working for.” – Andrew Carnegie

6. THE MAGIC HAPPENS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

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Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

So many people want a comfortable life and therefore stick to what feels safe. Unfortunately, if you are not willing to feel uncomfortable, your life will only get smaller over time.

When you first step out of your comfort zone, it will be scary, you will feel awkward, and it may even feel unsafe. But is it really, or does it just feel threatening because it is new? If at this moment, you run back to what you are used to, you won’t grow. However, if you can persist through the initial pain, it will only get more comfortable in time, and your comfort zone will continue to expand and grow.

7. RETHINK WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FREE

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What is real freedom to you?

Doing whatever your parents, school, bosses or government wants you to do? UMM NO. This is called compliance.

Being a rebel and doing the exact opposite of what your parents, school, bosses and government told you to do? STILL NO. This is called counterpliance and is always defined by what you have been shown to do, which means that you are still part of the system. Plus you may end up grounded, expelled, fired or in prison, which doesn’t sound too free to me.

Just living for the moment and indulging in all of your passions and pleasures whenever you want, becauseYOLO, right? NOPE. This is called hedonism, and may feel great for a night, but not for a lifetime. It can have some pretty nasty side-effects too if you aren’t careful, including weight gain, disease, debt, dissatisfaction and even death.

True freedom must come from making the choice that is likely to be the best for you in the long-term, even if it denies you that last alcoholic drink or dessert, or the fun that happens after 2am, or that extra TV episode, or the added snooze time in the mornings. If we can’t get ourselves to do things that are difficult or painful in the short-term but beneficial in the long run, we can never honestly be free in the long-term. As a former NAVY SEAL famously said:

Discipline equals freedom.” – Jocko Willink

8. GETTING STARTED IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST PART

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The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain.

In a book that I once read (the Willpower Instinct I think), I came across a 10-minute rule that I found surprisingly useful. Basically, if you are not sure if you are up for doing something, give it a go for 10 minutes, and if after 10 minutes you still don’t feel up to it, stop. I tried it a few times with going to the gym, and usually, once I get there and get into it, I’m fine, but my brain often tries to tell me that I am too tired before I go.

The reason the 10-minute strategy seems to work is that it is much easier to get our brain to do something for 10 minutes than it is for a considerable chunk of time. This is because it requires much less energy when we are forecasting our capacity to do the task. Human brains are cognitive misers, which means they are always trying to “help” by conserving energy. If you want to get started or you feel tired, think small. Also…

9. THE FIRST DRAFT OF ANYTHING IS RUBBISH

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Don’t get discouraged because there’s a lot of mechanical work to writing. There is, and you can’t get out of it. I rewrote the first part of A Farewell to Arms at least fifty times. You’ve got to work it over. The first draft of anything is shit. When you first start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none, but after you learn to work it’s your object to convey everything to the reader so that he remembers it not as a story he had read but something that happened to himself.” – Ernest Hemingway

This quote is fantastic because too often people think that the need to produce a masterpiece the first time they try or do something. If one of the most famous authors of all time produced crap on their first draft, why should we expect more on ours? The solution is to focus on the process, not the outcome, and just produce work before trying to edit, review or criticise what you have done.

10. DON’T PUT THINGS OFF TIL LATER

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If something takes less than 2 minutes to do, don’t write it down or add it to your to do list – do it now.” – David Allen, Getting Things Done

Most people have so much stuff to do at any one time that it is very difficult to ever get their to-do-list down to zero. This can cause anxiety and stress for some people, but the key is to have an excellent system to manage everything that comes in so that you don’t have to keep worrying and thinking about all of the things you need to do. Getting things done, or GTD is one such system. And the two-minute-rule from GTD says that small tasks should never go on your to-do-list if you can just get them done now. This rule alone means that my email inbox rarely has any unopened or unreplied emails.

11. BE YOURSELF; EVERYONE ELSE IS TAKEN

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Some believe that Oscar Wilde first said this, but the fascinating quote investigator website said that they could not find it in any of his writings. Keith craft said something similar that I like better, in announcing that we all have a unique fingerprint and that we can, therefore “leave a unique imprint that no one else can leave.”

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

12. WE REGRET THE THINGS WE DON’T DO MORE THAN THE THINGS WE DO

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When making a decision about the future, we tend to think about what we may lose if we take a risk. However, when reflecting on the past, we feel more regret about what we missed by not taking a chance. The question then becomes, do we:

  1. Play it safe, and not put ourselves out there because people may judge us or criticise us for giving something a go and not succeeding? Or
  2. Criticise others for being brave enough to try something that they believe in? Or
  3. Throw caution to the wind and give it our best shot, knowing that we will learn and grow more from mistakes and setbacks than we ever would have by sitting back and criticising others?

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

13. FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY!

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Susan Jeffers was my hero back when I read her top-selling self-help book. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have to get rid of the fear before I acted fearlessly.

The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris then further highlighted to me that the action of confidence tends to come before the feeling of confidence, not the other way around.

Fear was designed to keep us safe as a hunter-gatherer but holds us back more in modern day life than it helps us sometimes. We need to instead assess the real level of risk whenever we feel fear, and go for it if the situation feels scary but is actually pretty safe. This could be horror movies, roller coaster rides, plane flights, or public speaking.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” – FDR inaugural address, 1932

14. WYSIATI

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What you see is all there is.” – Daniel Kahneman

How you are thinking and feeling in the moment is very much influenced by how you are thinking and feeling at the moment. If you feel on top of the world, you are likely to be feeling happy, thinking positively about yourself, others, the world and the future. Anything may feel possible. Then the next week you have a setback or get sick, and you start to feel depressed and hopeless and think negatively about yourself, others, the world and the future. Both can’t be true, if they are only a week apart, so it’s important to understand the power of WYSIATI.

Don’t think too big picture if you are feeling flat and down, and try not to shop if you’re too hungry. The choices you’ll make once you’ve picked up a bit and have eaten something are likely to be very different.

15. MEMENTO MORI

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Latin: “Remember that you have to die.

In many cultures around the world and through history, the acknowledging of our own mortality through prayer, meditation, reflection, ceremony, or celebration is much more common than it is in atheistic modern-day Western life.

The phrase memento mori helped people to consider the transient nature of earthly life, our goods and our pursuits and enabled them to become humble and clarify what was really important to them.

16. THINGS FADE; ALTERNATIVES EXCLUDE

Two things that are inevitable in life are:

1. no matter what we do, time passes and things erode over time (also known as the second law of thermodynamics), and

2. if we go down one path, we cannot go down another track at the same time.

– “Decisions are difficult for many reasons, some reaching down into the very socket of our being. John Gardner, in his novel Grendel, tells of a wise man who sums up his meditations on life’s mysteries in two simple but terrible postulates: “Things fade: alternatives exclude.” […] Decision invariably involves renunciation: for every yes there must be a no, each decision eliminating or killing other options (the root of the word decide means “slay,” as in homicide or suicide).” – Irvin Yalom (1991). Love’s executioner. p. 10. Penguin Books.

17. PARKINSON’S LAW

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Ever wondered how on some days, when you are super busy, you manage to get way more work done. Then on quiet days, you don’t have much work to do, but struggle to get it all done. The reason for this is Parkinson’s law:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

The Stock–Sanford corollary to Parkinson’s rule is better in my opinion, and it is something I used a lot when studying at uni:

If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.

If productivity is what you are going for, give yourself a closer deadline and someone to hold you accountable if you don’t meet it, and voila, productivity and efficiency improve!

18. THE IMPORTANCE OF MEANING AND PURPOSE

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He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was a nihilist, which meant that he didn’t think the world had any meaning in it. Irvin Yalom said that even if the world is meaningless overall, it is still essential for each of us to find things that are personally meaningful to us, either as an individual or as a group. Viktor Frankl showed that in the concentration camps in WWII, those with some higher purpose beyond the camps were the ones who could manage to survive the horrible atrocities they faced every day.

What’s personally meaningful to you? Where could you find purpose?

19. DON’T LISTEN TO THE DOUBTERS

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Impossibility is not a fact – it’s an opinion.” – Muhammed Ali

Think of anyone who has done something groundbreaking or is still trying to do something pioneering today – Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Bill Gates. I wonder how many of them were told to give up, grow up, stop being deluded or to think realistically? I’d say most of them.

Just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had the massive amount of progression that we have had over the past 200 years.

20. CLARIFY YOUR VALUES AND MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON THESE

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(Some people spend) their lives doing work they detest to make money they don’t want to buy things they don’t need in order to impress people they dislike.” – Emile Gauvreau

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your life has to be a certain way just because everyone else is doing something a certain way and telling you that you should too.

By clarifying your own values first and building your own hierarchy, you can then see if what you are currently doing is consistent with what is really important for you. If not, what changes could you make, that you’d be willing to make, that would help you to start heading in the right direction? The earlier that you make these changes, or at least concrete plans to make them, the higher chance there is that you will be happy with the path that you are on.

21. RELATIONSHIP WARMTH IS THE NUMBER ONE PREDICTOR OF LONG-TERM HEALTH AND HAPPINESS

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“Love people, use things. The opposite never works.” – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus – The Minimalists

The minimalist movement has really picked up in the last 20 years in response to most of us in the Western world having way too much stuff and realising that it doesn’t make us any happier. If anything, it causes us more stress. Clothing used to be a scarce and valuable thing. Now wardrobes and houses are overflowing, and storage facilities are popping up everywhere to help clear some space.

What if we just bought fewer things, and focused more on what really matters: our connections with the important people in our lives. Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard study of Adult Development, found that in the end, close relationships are more critical to our health and happiness than anything else.

22. OCCAM’S RAZOR

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Given several possible explanations about something, the simplest one is probably right.

Is the dog above trying to read, or is it merely sniffing the book?

Occam’s razor is why conspiracy theories are never likely to be true. Think about the moon landing, or 9/11, or the Illuminati, flat earth theories, or any other conspiracy out there. For the plot to be real, there are so many added levels that would have all had to run flawlessly for them to work out, and so many people would have had to keep this a secret for such an extended period of time without turning themselves in or trying to make money out of it in a tell-all. It’s much more likely that there is no conspiracy.

Occam’s razor can also be applied to losing weight, sleeping well, getting stronger, or improving any skill. Some people have complicated theories, but usually, the answer lies in relatively simple explanations. Doing too much, or complicating things beyond what is necessary often backfires.

Reduce things back to the bare essentials, and see what happens.

23. LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS

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The law of diminishing returns says that each time we do something to receive a benefit, the benefit will be less and less.

Let’s say you order this massive stack of pancakes in the picture above. The first pancake may taste amazing, and the pleasure received is a 9 out of 10. Each bite is likely to be slightly less enjoyable than the one before, especially after you become full. If you somehow managed to get through the whole stack, the last bite could be a 1 out of 10 on the pleasure scale. Come back for pancakes again next month, however, and pleasure bounces back up to a 9 out of 10 again.

The solution is to wait for long enough between doing the same thing twice so that you enjoy it just as much the next time.

Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.” – William Cowper

24. BE KINDphotography of a man and woman laughing

 

If you’re kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” – Mother Teresa

If you know why you are doing something, try not to worry about what others think. People who do not understand why you are doing what you are doing will choose to see it from their point of view. If they could not do what you are without getting something in return, they will assume the same intention is within you. But being kind is a reward within itself. If you can give just for the sake of it, do it. You can thank me later.

25. DESIGN YOUR OWN LIFE

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When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and (you should) just live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again“. – Steve Jobs

As far as I see the world, we only have one life to live. We can spend it doing what others expect of us, or we can spend it doing what is right for us. We can blame everyone else for how things turn out, or we can go our own way.

Regardless of what you decide, time passes, and eventually, you will either feel that you made the most of what you had, or you will accumulate regrets. I try to live my life with no regrets, and I wish the same for you too.

Choose your own destiny, live life to the fullest, and try to experience and enjoy whatever comes your way.

 

Dr Damon Ashworth

Clinical Psychologist

Life – Steps to upgrade your life

Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer on Unsplash

These 4 Mindset Shifts Will Give You Unprecedented Personal Growth By 2019

4 steps to upgrade your life

“Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to get themselves there.” -Darren Hardy

Your level of talent and “potential” is irrelevant if it’s trapped in a mediocre mindset.

Most people don’t put much energy into their fame of mind and how they see the world. As a result, most people are left with subpar mindsets that severely limit their ability to build wealth, develop relationships, and achieve far more than their peers.

But you have the power to choose. If you put in the work, you can change your frame of mind to allow yourself to accomplish incredible victories, very quickly. Sometimes, big changes come in small packages.

Mental visualization precedes physical achievement. Before you can accomplish anything significant, your mind must believe you can first. This is why most people won’t build wealth, won’t have great relationships, and won’t achieve their highest goals.

Here are 4 mindset shifts that will give you unprecedented growth this year if you start developing them today.

A Wealth Mentality (Not a Poverty Mindset)

“Look upon your own mind as a garden. You are a gardener, and you are planting seeds (or thoughts) in your subconscious mind all day long, based on your habitual thinking. As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.” -Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Growing up, I saw my family go through financial ruin. The family business went under, and we lost the cars and the house. My dad had to leave the country to find work when I was 17 because there was no work during the recession. The rest of us had to move in to my grandpa’s cramped 3-bedroom house.

This experience taught me a few things. First, I believed money would always run out in the end. Second, the best I could hope for was a guaranteed salary with benefits, protection from the imminent financial disaster waiting to strike.

This is a poverty mindset, and I had it for many years. I worried excessively about not spending a few extra dollars if I didn’t need to. I focused more on hoarding pennies than I did on earning more income.

The Poverty Mindset believes:

  • “Money doesn’t grow on trees”
  • You’ll never be rich
  • Job security is more important than career freedom
  • Disaster is imminent, you need to be ready
  • Rich people are selfish and oppressive
  • Money is precious and you need to grab what you can
  • Worry about today’s bills, not your legacy
  • Government aid is more important than developing personal financial literacy

In the words of Robert Kiyosaki from his book Rich Dad Poor Dad:

“Most people live their lives chasing paychecks, pay raises, and job security because of the emotions of desire and fear, not really questioning where these emotions-driven thoughts are taking them.”

The poverty mindset is shared by more people than not. There’s an old saying that says if you took all the money in the world and divided it up equally, five years later the rich would be rich again, the middle class would return to the middle class, and the poor would become poor again. The statement obviously a big generalization, but the principle is extremely important:

Most people will remain in their current status as long as they don’t have a fundamental mindset shift.

If you want enormous success in 2019, you need to start this mindset shift now. If you continue to embrace the poverty mindset — “money doesn’t grow on trees” and are more focused on getting enough government aid than developing your own financial skills — you’ll always stay where you are.

The abundance mindset shifts from the statement “I can’t afford that” to the question, “How can I afford that?

A wealth mentality enables you to think in 100x and 1000x magnitude. Most people are more concerned with getting their next 3% raise; having a wealth mentality opens your creativity and imagination to allow you to discover ways to make 100x your usual income.

What you truly believe about yourself is what you become. If you truly believe in your ability to create wealth, your mind will figure out a means how.

“Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure out ways and means how to.” -Dr. David Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Be Open to Correction and Feedback (Most People Aren’t)

“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” -Sheryl Sandberg

You don’t have to love it. You don’t have to smile or enjoy it.

But if you want enormous personal growth, you need to open yourself up to correction.

Getting negative feedback about yourself almost always sucks. At best, it’s uncomfortable. It’s exhausting to manage your emotions and instinct to defend yourself and hear how you weren’t good enough.

Back at my old corporate job, I remember insisting to my boss that I was totally open to feedback, and wanted to hear all about my shortcomings so I could address them and make them better. In her wisdom, she graciously responded that every time she had brought up feedback for me, I’d get defensive and sulky and bitter.

I could’ve sworn I was happy and cool about it.

I wasn’t. Most people aren’t. That’s fine. You don’t have to like it. But this mindset shift is one of the most important skills you can develop before 2019. If you want to see enormous improvement in any area of your life — from presentation skills to meditation to communicating with your partner — you need to be open to correction and feedback.

This is the core of Deliberate Practice. In his book Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise, Anders Ericsson wrote:

“Once a person reaches an ‘acceptable’ level of performances and automaticity, more years of practice don’t lead to improvement.”

If you keep doing things the exact same way, you’ll just keep getting the same average result. Elite practice means getting feedback and learning from your mistakes. But naive practice is doing it over and over expecting repetition alone will help you. You need an outside eye to point out what you can’t see.

Here’s something that helps. Don’t take it personally, because it’s usually not. It’s professional. And if you want more money, more sales, more influence, more progress, more satisfaction, you need to tweak your professional abilities.

A mentor of mine once gave a sales presentation for his company. He boldly asked a peer to watch and give him feedback on his performance. After the presentation was over, his peer had plenty of negative feedback and notes to work on.

Most people would naturally get defensive and perhaps even deny the criticism. But my mentor took it in stride by telling himself, “It’s not personal. It’s business. I want to get better — this is how I do that.

He knew that if he wanted to be a better speaker, he’d need to learn more skills and techniques. The best and most efficient way to do that is getting immediate and detailed feedback.

You don’t have to like it. But if you (truly) open yourself up to hearing corrections about yourself, you set yourself up to improve faster than 99% of your peers.

“The right sort of practice can help pretty much anyone improve in just about any area they choose to focus on.” -Anders Ericsson

Focus on Learning and Creating, Not Entertainment and Distraction

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” -Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comics

Most people are distracted right now.

They’re distracted while they’re at work. They’re distracted when they’re with family and friends. They’re distracted at the gym, on their commute, and even in the shower.

The majority of people will continue going through life this way, never experiencing the fullness of a life filled with deep focus and purpose. They use their sharpest focus on the very things that don’t matter, and waste their potential.

In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport explained how people with the ability to do deep work — intense focus on important tasks for long periods of time — are exceedingly rare in society at the same time that the necessity of the skill is increasing. In other words, the best jobs, projects, and opportunities are given more and more to individuals who can focus.

Most people don’t prioritize learning and creating. They don’t care enough about any efforts to invest in their personal development and growth. To them, entertainment is more important. Most people have replaced achieving their life dreams and goals with TV, partying, and social media.

As a result, most don’t have close relationships. They’re stuck in jobs they hate, rarely doing work that truly excites them. Their life is on the fast-track to disappointment, and they don’t know what to do about it.

If you don’t want to end up living a life of mediocrity, focus on learning and education. It’s the fastest way to become extraordinary, wealthy, and successful.

Wrote best-selling author Hal Elrod:

“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

If you want enormous personal and professional success in 2019, you need to shift your focus from entertainment to learning and creating. Your level of success in any area of your life — health, finances, career, relationships — is determined by your personal development.

What you focus on is what you get.

“The goal of life is not to relax on the beach, sipping mojitos all day. The purpose is to find something you love that adds value to the world.” -Ben Foley

Treat Your Loved Ones Like You Actually Love Them

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” -Ernest Hemingway

Low-quality relationships have a negative impact on every area of your life.

If you take your relationships for granted and never take the time to develop and nurture them, every part of your life suffers — your health, emotions, potential, even income.

The truth is, the quality of your relationships is totally in your control. Despite this, most people can’t be bothered to learn how to communicate. This is why most people will never have great relationships — they choose the easy way out.

It’s easier to take relationships for granted, even with those closest to you. But if you want enormous satisfaction and fulfillment in the key areas of your life in 2019, you need to develop your relational skills. In the words of Tony Robbins:

“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.”

You can’t achieve incredible leaps in success without working with other people. I used to think you could go as far as you wanted by yourself; I was wrong. There’s an old African proverb that goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Here’s a personal example. I’ve been writing for a long time. Sometimes, I have great months where I reach a ton of people and get dozens of emails from readers who tell me my writing changed their life. I sell my courses and feel great.

But other months, it feels like I didn’t accomplish anything. No one emails me; no one buys my stuff. I feel like a failure. I feel like I’m not good-enough; I feel like the jig is up, and the truth is revealed — I’m a loser who just got lucky.

This is where relationships save my ass. My wife reassures me that the lies I’m believing are just that — lies. My best friends encourage me and tell me to keep writing. It’s not about what I feel, it’s about what I do consistently. I feel a little better. The month ends, and I feel refreshed and self-confident.

If you treat your loved ones like you actually love them, you receive exponentially more in return than you give. That’s how the world works: as best-selling author Derek Sivers once said:

“The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.”

This mindset shift is extremely important. If you want to see unprecedented success in 2019, start focusing on this principle now. The quality of your relationships determine the quality of your life.

In Conclusion

“How much you improve is up to you.” -Anders Ericsson

Most people aren’t even preparing for next month’s progress, much less next year’s.

But the truth is, the world’s most successful spend enormous time and energy preparing for their future and improving their mindset. They know this is the difference between making an extra $1,000 this year, or an extra $100,000.

They know their ability to progress and grow is founded on their relationships, and focus their attention on developing and nurturing their relationships.

You need to start planning for the future now, and these 4 mindset shifts are some of the most important ways to do that.

Secret to Getting Everything You Want in Life

Photo by Dion Tavenier on Unsplash

The Little Known Secret to Getting Everything You Want in Life

Think you know It? Everything Is ____________

You’ve probably heard that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That can make communication pretty tough sometimes.

But figuring out what your customers really want can be just as challenging, no matter what planet they’re from!

Here’s the problem: You may think what you are selling is the best thing since sliced bread. But if it doesn’t line up with your customer’s needs, you’re wasting your breath.

When you don’t know what someone really wants, you’ll be busy, but not successful. You feel active but frustrated that you don’t see results.

Every day becomes a chore as you pick up the phone or email, or set an appointment with one more person that you’re pretty sure will get you nowhere.

That frustration can be deadly.

  • It sucks the life out of you.
  • It drains your energy.
  • Worst of all, it kills your hope.

And when hope is gone, you’re career, your business, or even your life is in a whole lot of trouble.

So what can you do to make sure you know the customer’s needs so you can meet those needs?

How to Discover What Someone Really Needs

My sales mentor, Zig Ziglar, taught this 4 step process get to uncover what someone really wants — and deliver what they really need.

  1. Need Analysis
  2. Need Awareness
  3. Need Solution
  4. Need Satisfaction

Here’s how to put it to work for you.

Step 1 — Need Analysis: X-ray Your “Customers”

People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. — Steve Jobs

Need analysis is like an x-ray to discover what’s really going on beneath the surface.

Even if a customer is asking for your product or service, they may not be clear on what they need. That confusion can take them off-course pretty quickly.

You have to learn to acknowledge the needs the customer already recognizes and uncover other needs they’ve missed.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it is your duty to discover those needs and get them out in the open. As you’re searching for needs, wants and desires will also surface.

People will often take action on their “wants” as well as their “needs.”

But be careful not to invent or create the needs and wants — that’s manipulation, not selling.

To sell is to serve.

When you uncover what someone really needs, you can truly serve them by meeting that need.

A sales pro, armed with integrity and an idea, product, or service that he or she believes in is a powerful force. The best pros do their homework and discover background information about people. But regardless of how much homework you might do, eventually you have to analyze your customer’s needs.

Develop an attitude of curiosity and sincere interest in the answers to your questions.

Step 2 — Need Awareness: Uncover What Lies Beneath

The smart ones ask when they don’t know. And, sometimes, when they do. — Malcolm Forbes

Need awareness has two distinct parts. First, listen carefully to what people say. Listen to identify specific needs then reply in a way that plays those needs back to the customer.

Second, help your customer recognize the need for what it is, so they can see how you can provide a solution. If your customers don’t see the need, you can’t meet the need.

Being well-versed in these 5 areas of knowledge will position you to make the connection between the need and what you sell:

  1. Product Knowledge.
  2. Industry Knowledge.
  3. Pricing Knowledge.
  4. Application Knowledge.
  5. Competition Knowledge.

Step 3 — Need Solution: Show the Benefits

Step 3 is where you present your idea, product, or service.

Notice that you don’t start here. You invest the first two steps discovering and tuning in to their needs and wants. You’ve established your authority with the 5 areas of knowledge.

It’s the time to stop asking questions and start presenting solutions to needs.

But a word of warning! Don’t disconnect with your prospect by leading with your product at this point. This may sound counterintuitive, but none of us buy products. People don’t buy a product, they buy what that product does for them.

We buy the products of the product, which are called “benefits” or “need solutions.”

Step 4 — Need Satisfaction: Meet Your Customer at the Need

This is the most important step when it comes to helping others.

  • If you have a sincere desire to help other people…
  • If you truly believe in your product or service…
  • If you honestly want the person to benefit…
  • If you really expect to benefit financially from your hard work and effort…

Then you’re now in a unique position to satisfy your customer’s need.

So…

Ask For The Order!

Too many people go 90% of the way and stop. They miss the close. They forfeit the sale.

You’ve identified your customer’s needs and you have a powerful solution that has value. Now is the time to boldly and confidently close the sale! You’ve earned the right, so do it now and you’ll reap the benefit of helping them meet their needs.

Why Do People Give Up?

 

Everybody wants to eat, but no one is willing to hunt.

Everybody wants to be fit and strong, but no one wants to lift heavy weights. If only they could pay someone else to do their pushups for them…

People give up for a number of reasons. The following list contains 16 of the most common of them.

Okay, let’s take this one by one…

1. Expect fast results.

I often say that expectations can break your heart. It is sad but true that most people like the idea of something happening to them, but they don’t want to put in the time and effort required.

The idea is this: nothing works the way you expect it too. It takes longer. The matter of fact is that nothing works the first few times.

2. Stop believing in themselves.

If you are looking for someone who’s going to make all your dreams come true, take a look in the mirror.

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Resilience is the ability to face disaster with a smile and keep on fighting for what you want.

3. Get stuck in the past.

The past is a place of reference, not of residence.

Learn from your mistakes, move on.

What happened, happened, and the more time you spend there, the more you’ll break your heart.

4. Dwell on mistakes.

You learn more from failure than you ever do from success, it is true, but it is equally important not to let said mistakes affect your current performance.

No one is perfect, and wishing for perfection is a waste of time and energy. Strive for progress – which means making a lot of mistakes, over and over again, until you become better and stop making them.

5. Fear the future.

The future doesn’t exist yet. Tomorrow is but a promise at best. You cannot control it, so let it go.

Carpe diem, so to speak.

Live in the moment, do the best you can with what you have.

There’s no reason to fear what has yet to present itself to you.

6. Resist change.

Keep an open mind. Embrace uncertainty. In fact, make it one of your principles and understand deeply that one’s ability to face uncertainty usually determines their level of success.

Change is the one true constant of life, and the most adaptable individual is the one to survive.

7. Give up their power.

People give up their power when they think they have none. They also like to find excuses.

Don’t.

Just don’t.

You are the master of your fate, the captain of your soul.

You are the only one who’s responsible for how you feel, how you act, and how you react to what happens to you.

And that is your power.

8. Believe in their weaknesses.

No one’s perfect. Accept that you aren’t either. Accept your faults. Understand that you can progress and learn. You can develop certain skills.

Nothing is set in stone.

Remember the previous part about change? Well, the good news is nothing ever stays the same. Neither will you.

9. Feel the world owes them something.

Being an entitled prick is one of the worst way to go about life.

No one owes you anything. No one. Don’t break your own heart by thinking that they do.

10. Fear failure more than they desire success.

Failure is inevitable. It’s not the opposite of success, but a part of it.

An integral part of learning.

We stumble and fall, over and over again, until we learn how to do it.

Winners keep on going. They do it and do it and do it, and they fail and fail and fail, until they succeed.

11. Never visualize what is possible.

Would you be able to hit a target you do not see? Or cook a dish without knowing the recipe?

12. Feel they have something to lose.

You are going to die. Whether you want it or not. What more do you have to lose?

In fact, the more you hold on to something, the likelier it is that you’ll lose it.

Loss is a part of life. Accept it.

13. Overwork.

Work hard.

Or is it work smart?

14. Assume their problems are unique.

Maybe your parents, your teachers, or your friends told you that you are unique.

You are not.

Someone else went through what you are going through right now. Learn from them.

Someone else accomplished what you are dreaming about right now. Learn from them. Let their feats inspire you.

15. See failure as a sign to turn back.

Failure is a sign you are trying. Failure is a sign you should try harder. Failure is a sign you are getting closer to success.

Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.

16. Feel sorry for themselves.

Don’t. Just don’t.

Worrying and feeling sorry for oneself never solved any problem. It just gave people who felt powerless something to do while still feeling powerless.

Like sitting in a rocking chair and pretending you are going somewhere.

Depleted By Decisions

Depleted By Decisions (How Your Brain Makes Choices That Sabotage You And What to do About it)

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

In the digital age, information comes at you like a tsunami.

From the moment you wake up, notifications (news, social media, email, chat channels) fight for your attention.

With all of the information vying for your attention, you make choices and use a lot of your mental energy before the day even starts.

Even ignoring information is a choice.

The more choices you make, the harder it becomes for your brain to make more because it gets tired.

And your brain makes impulse decisions when it’s tired.

It’s similar to how your muscles get tired at the end of a workout, the strength of your willpower fades as you make more decisions.

Without your awareness, your brain creates shortcuts in the form of cognitive biases to help you process the influx of information as the day progresses.

In many cases, it doesn’t want to make decisions at all.

The brain takes these shortcuts to conserve energy.

Short-term gains are a priority for our brains especially when your willpower is running empty.

Think about how many decisions you make the moment you wake up till you go back to bed again at night.

By the time you’re winding every day, you’ve made an average of 35,000 decisions!

What to wear, what to eat, how to take care of your home and family, what to do at work, how to approach a task.

These are all important decisions.

This is why conserving energy is so important to your brain.

Here is the problem.

No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.

Low mental energy is a problem we all face.

The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, hence the need to take shortcuts at the expense of what will really benefit you in the long-term.

In his research about self-control, Baumeister and his team explained that there is a link among decision-making actions, self-control, and willpower.

Self-control appeared to deteriorate over time from repeated exertions, such as decision-making.

The brain uses two approaches to take shortcuts.

The first shortcut is to become thoughtless or careless: it acts impulsively instead of using the energy to first think through the consequences.

The second and most preferred for a tired and depleted brain is to do nothing. Instead of thinking about the impact of the decisions, it avoids any choice and goes into strict energy saving mode.

If you have ever “ducked” a decision, your brain was heavily conserving energy for the future.

Ducking often creates bigger problems in the long run, because the problems, issues and what needs sorting don’t go away.

Your brain doesn’t care about long-term effects.

It’s designed to conserve, ease mental strain and keep you going for as long as possible.

Which is why it’s insanely important to make life-changing decisions early in the day when you are most active, mentally alert, and can think clearly.

If you want someone’s best attention, energy, and focus to go toward the decisions that are important to you, schedule it in the morning.

And, don’t hold important business meetings late in the afternoon.

You may not get the best results.

But if you are holding a creative brainstorming meeting, schedule it at a time when you are tired because your brain does creative work better when you’re tired. This sounds crazy, but it actually makes sense when you look at the reasoning behind it.

In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue is one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making.

Start your day right

What’s the most important decisions you have to make every day?

Is it about life, family, work, or long-term financial goals.

Whatever it is for you, put your best energy toward it every day.

Start your day by working on the most important thing in your life.

I’ve written previously about the importance of morning routines.

Start your day right and you will have the best.day.ever.

Automate decisions you make over and over again

For millions of people, the decisions that drain them are the ones they make over and over and over again.

Put less mentally demanding decisions on autopilot.

Save yourself the energy and automate some of your decision-making processes.

Don’t waste precious willpower on some decisions.

Make fewer good decisions by automating “inconsequential” choices.

Things like food, clothing and media consumption can be planned in advance whilst you save mental energy for important life and business decisions.

Schedule purposeful brain downtime

It makes perfect sense that our attention spans and concentration need to be rebooted, at several points throughout the day.

According to research, the brain gradually stops registering a sight, sound or feeling if that stimulus remains constant over time. You lose your focus and your performance on the task declines.

Studies have shown that workers are most focused and productive when following the rhythm of a work/rest ratio.

When faced with a long creative problem, it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task and improve your idea generation approach.

A structured downtime can help you do your best work.

By giving your brain a break, you allow it to make improved neural connections and ultimately better decisions.

Conserve your brain space and energy for larger decisions by building better routines.

Why you shouldn’t share your goals

Originally published on JOTFORM.COM

The race to get the world’s first plane in the sky was a hard fought battle between The Wright Brothers and a lesser-known gentleman by the name of Samuel Pierpont Langley.

You will discover why you’ve never heard of the latter here shortly.

As you probably read somewhere inside that history textbook you were forced to lug around through elementary — The Wright Brothers were responsible for creating the first successful airplane. You remember how the story goes

“… it was a cold windy day on December 17th, 1903 in the Kill Devil Hills of North Carolina… Orville watched nervously as his brother Wilbur climbed inside the plane they had spent years perfecting… miraculously it flew for 59 seconds for a distance of 852 feet…”

While today “The Wright Brothers” is the first name that comes to anyone’s mind when they hear the word fly, once upon a time the pair were major underdogs.

In fact, during the race to the sky, most of America had its money on the man I mentioned earlier, Langley.

Hewas an extremely outspoken astronomer, physicist and aviation pioneer who was on a mission to make history. Langley’s high stature as the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution gave him both the credibility and hype he needed to get America on his side.

Not to mention, he was extremely well-backed by the War Department who contributed $50,000 to help him be the first to get a bird in the sky.

Long story short, despite all the hype, Langley’s flying machine ended up crashing and burning while The Wright Brother’s plane ended up soaring.

One party had the entire world, vast resources and plenty of moolah on his side, while the other just had a small bike shop and a passion to fly.

So, let me ask you this… can you guess why The Wright Brothers achieved their goal to take flight while Langley failed?

Early praise feels like you’ve already won.

The Wright Brothers victory over Langley came down to passion, intrinsic motivation (Langley was very status driven) and perhaps praise.

While Langley was sharing his ambitions with the world and being heavily praised for feats he had not yet achieved, The Wright Brothers were receiving little to no attention whatsoever.

Some experts argue that early praise can leave the individual receiving the praise feeling like he or she has already won… in turn causing them to beless likely to follow through with their goals.

For example, in Peter Gollwitzer’s research article, When Intentions Go Publiche raises this very question:

Are scientists more likely to write papers if they tell colleagues about their intentions or if they keep their intentions to themselves?

Gollwitzer and his team of researchers carried out a handful of studies, here is a brief excerpt from their findings:

“Other people’s taking notice of one’s identity-relevant intentions apparently engenders a premature sense of completeness regarding the identity goal.”

In English, what Gollwitzer found was that when individuals set a goal that is closely tied to their identity and then share their intentions with others, they are less likely to achieve the goal.

For example, if your goal is to start drinking more water and you tell your friends and family that you’re going to start drinking more water, this would probably have little to no impact on whether or not you actually drink more water.

Why? Because drinking more water isn’t something you hold close to your identity.

Onthe other hand, if your goal is to lose 40 lbs and drop 2–3 waist sizes, it might not be the best idea to post about it all over Facebook. Your appearance is something you very much so identify with. So, if you tell people you plan to lose weight and everyone tells you how awesome you are and how great you’re going to look, you might be less likely to lose the weight.

This finding is a bit counterintuitive, considering we were told by our teachers and coaches growing up to set our goals, share our goals, hold ourselves accountable.

But, the theory certainly holds some weight (pun very much intended), and is one that has been adopted by highly successful serial entrepreneurs like Derek Siversfounder of CD Baby.

Sivers gave a TED Talk on this very topic nearly a decade back. To prove his point, he asked the audience to imagine how they felt when they shared their goals with others:

“Imagine their congratulations and their high image of you. Doesn’t it feel good to say it out loud? Don’t you feel one step closer already? Like, it’s already becoming part of your identity?

Well, bad news. You should have kept your mouth shut. That good feeling makes you less likely to do it.”

Sivers goes on to explain that it’s this “warm feeling” that keeps us from battling on to actually achieve our goals.

When we openly share our goals, we experience a feeling of success that normally only takes place upon completion of the goal.

The result? We don’t ever actually pursue the goal.

Alternatives to sharing your goals.

I’ve recently shared 3 real-life business tactics to achieve your “big hairy goals”. But now, let’s talk about what can actually work when it comes to successfully reaching your goals.

For two counterintuitive yet effective approaches to this, we look to a philosophy called “fear-setting” and making an effort to surround yourself with competition.

Embrace fear-setting over goal-sharing.

Entrepreneur, angel investor and writer, Tim Ferriss, gave an incredible TED Talk where he discussed how fear-setting is instrumental in achieving one’s goals.

He recommends that instead of obsessively sharing your goals, you should come to terms with all the fears that are preventing you from achieving them.

For example, let’s say your goal is to start your own business. Ferriss recommends that you write down all of your fears that are associated with starting a business.

These might include… “Losing all my money”… “Getting fired from my day job”… “Getting laughed at or judged if I fail”.

Once you write down these fears, you should then write down how you would go about preventing these fears (or mitigating the likelihood) of them actually happening.

For example, for the first fear “losing all my money”, your prevention might be… “I’m only going to invest $2,500 that way I can’t lose it all.”

Finally, after you have written down your preventions, you should then write down how you will repair what you fear from happening… if it actually ends up happening.

So, to repair losing the $2,500, you might write down, “Get a part time job as a bartender in addition to my day job until I make the $2,500 back.”

By concentrating on fear-setting over goal-sharing, it allows you to remove the fear that is keeping you from actually achieving your goals.

Surround yourself with competition.

In addition to fear-setting, it might also be a good idea to surround yourself with competition.

A healthy dose of competition can be good for your business, too. At JotForm, we love to use competition to our advantage with events like hackweeks to achieve our product release goals.

study published two years ago in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports, sheds some light on the impact that competition has on our goals.

The study put 800 undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania through an 11-week exercise program where each person was assigned to work out alone or in a team.

In addition, the teams were designed to be either supportive or competitive.

Bythe end of the study, researchers found that students involved in the competitive team programs were 90% more likely to attend their scheduled exercise sessions than any other group.

Not only is this number staggering, but it also proves that competition can create a higher level of commitment among people chasing down goals.

When you surround yourself with competition, it doesn’t mean that you have to share your goals with the competition. You don’t have to tell the other folks in the spin class, cross-fit training or pick-up basketball leagues that your goal is to lose 50 lbs.

But, by simply showing up and placing yourself in a competitive environment, you will be more likely to push harder and show up more often — two factors that can help your reach your goals.


The science behind achieving goals has always been an interesting topic.

While some entrepreneurs advocate the idea that you should never have a goal, I’ve recently explained why setting big goals can make you miserable.

Whether you decide to share your goals or not, what I’ve found out across 12 years of entrepreneurship is that you should craft your own path.

What works for others won’t always work for you. And what works for you today won’t always work tomorrow.

Unsuccessful People Focus On “The Gap.” Here’s What Successful People Focus On.


“The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal.”

— Dan Sullivan, THE GAIN AND THE GAP


Key concepts to understand in this article that will be explored:

  • Your ideals and your goals are two separate things
  • Ideals are general and immeasurable
  • Ideals are constantly changing and moving as you change and move as a person
  • Your ideals should not be your benchmark for achievement
  • Instead, your ideals should be the source from which you create your specific, challenging, time-bound, and measurable goals
  • Moreover, your ideals are intended to produce positive emotions such as excitement and anticipation — but these emotions are not what you’re trying to replicate in the future (most people get this wrong and it creates a great deal of unhappiness)
  • The emotions you want in the future relative to this ideal are happiness, satisfaction, and confidence that come from achieving your goals
  • If you measure your current-self against your ideal, you’ll never be happy because there will always be a gap
  • If you measure your current-self against your previous-self — where you were when you set your goals (and even before) — you’ll experience happiness, satisfaction, and confidence
  • If your goals are not specific, they’ll be hard to measure (which is one reason you shouldn’t measure yourself against your ideals, because your ideals are general)
  • If you don’t have a specific measurement criteria, you won’t experience the joy of the progress you’ve made
  • Once you hit your goals and have taken the time to adequately measure where you are, you should set new ideals and re-experience the excitement, anticipation, and motivation that comes from pursuing new adventures and growth
  • If you’re not making progress, you can’t feel happy
  • If you don’t feel happy, your brain will be less adaptive and less effective toward future endeavors
  • If you’re not making progress, you can’t feel confident — because confidence is a byproduct of prior success
  • If you don’t regularly take the time to review your progress, you’ll never appreciate the small details, which will rob you of the experience and of all the benefits of gratitude
  • If you fail to appreciate where you are, you’re missing out on the benefits of mindfulness as well, which can lead you to pursuing the wrong goals and missing the small moments along the way
  • When you set and measure your goals in this unique way, you get the benefit of deeply experiencing all of the positive and energizing emotions that will allow you to become increasingly successful

With this foundation in place, we will further dial-down the process and also detail the science behind why this process is so brilliant.

Here’s the thing: most people have a negative relationship with goal-setting. There’s a lot of emotional baggage associated with the concept.

One group of people may believe they should be happy just the way they are. Another group is constantly striving for more and are never quite happy with what they’ve achieved.

Both of these approaches to goals are ineffective because neither can produce actual joy and happiness.

  • If you’re not growing and changing, you’re not happy. Research is clear that as people, we are happiest when we are improving. Self-acceptance is important, but self-acceptance is also intended to be a vehicle for positive growth, not for staying stagnant and justifying mediocrity. Moreover, you can’t have hope for the future if you don’t believe you can change. Trying to force yourself to remain the same stunts hope and happiness.
  • If you’re growing but constantly measuring where you are against your ideal, you’ll never get there. This will lead you to always feeling dissatisfied with yourself, which isn’t helpful to your future goals and it robs you of the joy of the distance you’ve made. When you rob yourself of the joy of measuring how far you’ve come, you don’t experience happiness, gratitude, or confidence. And when you don’t experience these, you actually set lower and less clear goals. Put simply, when you take the time to reflect and measure how far you’ve come, you’ll set clearer and more powerful goals, because those goals will be set from a place of confidence, happiness, and gratitude. They’ll also be set from a place of tangible measurement, not abstract idealization.

The Gap vs. The Gain: How Happy, Motivated, And Successful People Approach Their Goals

Your future growth and progress are now based in your understanding about the difference between the two ways in which you can measure yourself: against the ideal, which puts you in what I call “The Gap,” and against your starting point, which puts you in “The Gain,” appreciating all that you’ve accomplished.

When you’re in The Gap, you feel as though you haven’t accomplished anything at all. This is because even though you’ve moved forward, the ideal remains distant from you. The ideal is a moving target. It might even get bigger, leaving you worse off than where you started if you measure against it. You’ve also used up time and energy getting to where you are, so if you don’t measure the progress, you’ll feel like you’ve wasted that time and energy and have fallen even further behind.

But if you turn around and measure your progress against where you started, then you’re in The Gain, and you’ll experience a sense of having moved forward, of having achieved something, and you’ll be motivated to continue on to your next stage of growth.

— Dan Sullivan

Here are two definitions of “ideal”:

  • satisfying one’s conception of what is perfect; most suitable
  • existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality

Here are two definitions of “goal”:

  • the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result
  • a specific, measurable, and time-bound outcome or experience a person is seeking

Once you’ve made tangible progress on your goals, it’s important to measure, track, and report your progress. That progress should clearly be measured against where you were when you set your targets, not against some vague imagination.

Creating Your Vision And Experiencing The Excitement And Anticipation

“Some adults try not to engage in make-believe anymore because they think it’s childish, but I don’t think we ever really outgrow it. In fact, I think that make-believe is the basis for all our motivations in life.” — Dan Sullivan

Children are generally considered more imaginative and creative than adults. This isn’t actually true.

The ability to imagine and fantasize about the future never actually goes away. Some adults constrain themselves from indulging too deeply into their fantasies, because the positive emotions related to those fantasies are quickly shattered by the pain of their reality. Or, they’ve experienced the disappointment that comes from achieving goals and not feeling satisfied.

Indeed, people adapt quickly and if the target for happiness is always moving and in the future, it’s impossible to reach. Hence, those powerful and positive emotions end up being reframed in the memory as negative, which creates a negative association between goals and happiness in people. Thus, people stop setting goals and develop a personality of being comfortable where they are — and never truly happy.

Again, it doesn’t have to be this way. This process Dan Sullivan has created allows you the playfulness, the excitement, and the motivation involved in creating ideals and dreams for your future.

Lots of science has found play to be extremely important for productivity and creativity. As Greg McKeown explains“Very successful people see play as essential for creativity.”

In his TED talk, Stuart Brown said, “Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity… Nothing fires up the brain like play.” There is a burgeoning body of literature highlighting the extensive cognitive and social benefits of play, including:

Cognitive

  • Enhanced memory and focus
  • Improved language learning skills
  • Creative problem solving
  • Improved mathematics skills
  • Increased ability to self-regulate, an essential component of motivation and goal achievement

Social

  • Cooperation
  • Team work
  • Conflict resolution
  • Leadership skill development
  • Control of impulses and aggressive behavior

One of the core learning styles is “imagining,” and it’s something that few people allow themselves to do enough. Imagining and fantasizing are learned skills, which can also be like muscles that atrophy. If you don’t develop these muscles, you’ll lack the creativity and excitement of pursuing crazy dreams and ideals. You’ll “grow-up” as they say and settle for reality as society and the norms around you have deemed-it.

Instead of such a bleak and uninspiring existence, you want to spend a great deal of time fantasizing about your future. You want to dream big and dream creatively. You want it to be fun and playful. Set no boundaries on your ideals and what you imagine.

The more immersive you can get into what Dan Sullivan calls, “Make-believing,” which is creating a make-believe future or ideal, the better. You want to experience all of the excitement, anticipation, and motivation that comes out of that possible future. These emotions drive you forward. But again, they aren’t the emotions you’ll experience when you get to your intended goal.

Your future should be big, fun, and playful. In in Sullivan’s words, “Your future should always be bigger than your past.”

The more playful the imagining, and the more immersive, clear, and specific you get about that imagining, the more creative and powerful will be the goals that you set to strive for that ideal.

However, it’s important to realize a few things:

  • this ideal that you are forming is always changing
  • once you reach a destination, your ideals and fantasies will change
  • these dreams and ideals are the direction for guiding and creating tangible goals to move toward
  • if you constantly measure yourself against your ideals, you’ll be living in what Dan Sullivan calls, “The Gap,” which will create feelings of unhappiness and disatisfaction
  • instead of measuring yourself against your ideals, happiness and satisfaction come by measuring yourself against where you were when you formulated the ideals and set the tangible goals
  • when you measure yourself against where you were, you live in what Dan Sullivan calls, “The Gain,” which helps you realize and appreciate how far you’ve come

According to psychological research, the anticipation of an event is almost always more powerful than the event itself. Both positive and negative events are generally more emotionally-charged in your head than the actual experience ends up being.

Very quickly, we adapt to our new experience and the event itself is underwhelming compared to how we imagined it to be.

Because we adapt so quickly, it’s easy to take for granted where we currently are. Moreover, because our ideals and dreams are like a horizon which is constantly moving — we never reach our ideals. The horizon always moves, no matter where you are. It’s the direction, not the destination.

This is what creates feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. We quickly adapt to where we currently are and our ideals are always out of reach. This is living in “The Gap.”

We mistakenly believe that our experience once we hit our goals should be the playful and exciting emotions we had when we were imagining the goal. This is not the case.

The playful and joyful experiences of imagining our dreams and ideals are not the experiences we are to have in the future. We have those experiences to draw us forward. Actually, when you expect these same emotions to be what you’ll experience when you get there, you downplay their importance. These emotions are both a means to an end, and an end in themselves.

They are a means to the end of allowing you to create highly specific goals which lead to growth and happiness. But they are an end in themselves because the playful anticipation and excitement of ideals is a beautiful part of life. Don’t downplay these emotions. Allow them to be what they are. You get to experience them again and again as you continue to expand your horizon and dreams.

Once you’ve developed that horizon, you then need to set tangible, measurable, challenging, and time-bound goals to move toward that horizon.

Set Measurable And Highly Specific Goals

“Specifics must be measured against specifics. Trying to measure a specific against a generality is not real measurement. Setting up a goal of making $10 million is specific, and you’ll feel successful once you’ve done that by measuring from there back to where you started. But if you have the imprecise goal of “being wealthy,” that’s a generality. You may never feel like you’ve achieved it, and even if you do feel as though you have, this feeling won’t last because it’s not grounded in specific reality. The goal — being wealthy — will continue to change and always seem out of reach.”— Dan Sullivan

If your goals are not specific and measurable, then you won’t be able to measure your progress. If you can’t clearly discern the progress you’re making:

  • you won’t know where you actually are
  • you won’t experience the joy, gratitude, and confidence of growth
  • if you don’t enjoy the the gratitude and confidence of growth, you won’t operate as well in the future and you won’t set bigger targets to strive for

Thus, when you don’t set clear targets and measure yourself against what you’ve gained, then you cheat yourself out of your past, present, and future.

  • you cheat yourself out of your past because you never take the time to appreciate and measure against it
  • you cheat yourself out of your present because without measurement, you never know where you truly are
  • you cheat yourself out of your future because without happiness, gratitude, and confidence, you won’t imagine and create more compelling ideals and goals

Psychological Benefits Of Measuring Your Progress Against Where You Were

According to the research of Harvard psychologist, Shawn Achor, happiness is the secret to success.

Being happy allows you to work more effectively. It allows you to embrace your experiences more fully. It allows you to be far more open to feedback. Happiness is a powerful way to create high performance. Even my 10-year old son is realizing this when he practices the piano. Unfortunately, it’s hard to be happy if you’re living in “The Gap.”

Not only will you be happier if you measure yourself against The Gain, you’ll be more confident. Research has shown, confidence is the byproduct of past-performance. So when you take the time to live in “The Gain,” your confidence can increase, which will allow you the ability to set bigger and more imaginative goals.

It will also give you the clarity to create better plans, which according to research will give you more hope and expectancy in your future that you’ll achieve those goals.

According to psychology’s Hope Theory, hope reflects your perceptions regarding your capacity to:

  • clearly conceptualize goals
  • develop the specific strategies to reach those goals (i.e., pathways thinking)
  • initiate and sustain the motivation for using those strategies (i.e., agency thinking)

Hope is a byproduct of confidence, which is a byproduct of past success. Thus, as you set clear and measurable goals, and measure your progress against the Gain, you’ll recognize the changes and progress you make. This will give you both confidence and hope — which will allow you to set bigger ideals and dreams in the future, and to make better plans and strategies for achieving those goals.

This is how you increase in your motivation overtime. According to According to one of the core theories of motivation — known as Expectancy Theory — motivation involves three components:

  • the value you place on your goal
  • your belief that specific behaviors will actually facilitate the outcomesyou desire
  • your belief in your own ability to successfully execute the behaviors requisite to achieving your goals

As your happiness, confidence, and hope increase, your motivation will increase. This motivation comes because you expect to achieve your goals and you highly value those goals. As you become more confidence as a person, you’ll stop setting goals that society has placed on you.

Your goals will come from inside and be uninhibited by the standards and expectations of those around you. Instead, you’ll purposefully surround yourself with better mentors, teachers, and collaborators, which will allow your dreams and ideals to expand far beyond what you could conjure-up on your own. Psychologists call this “The Transforming-Self,” and it’s the highest level of conscious evolution.

You’re constantly seeing yourself improve. You’re grateful and appreciate that progress. You spend just as much time soaking-in the Gains and you do imagining and indulging in the dreams. You then use your gains and the confidence you’ve built to get back to the playful and fantasizing process of imagining new ideals!

One other potent psychological benefit of measuring The Gain is gratitude, which has nearly unlimited benefits to well-being, happiness, and high performance. Gratitude may be the most important key to success. It has been called the mother of all virtues. According to Sullivan, “growth and gratitude” go hand-in-hand. Yet, those who only focus on The Gap rob themselves of much of the benefits of gratitude.

Gratitude journaling is a scientifically proven way to overcome several psychological challenges. The benefits are seemingly endless. Here are just a few:

  • Gratitude makes you happier
  • Gratitude makes other people like you
  • Gratitude makes you healthier
  • Gratitude boosts your career
  • Gratitude strengthens your emotions
  • Gratitude develops your personality
  • Gratitude makes you more optimistic
  • Gratitude reduces materialism
  • Gratitude increases spirituality
  • Gratitude makes you less self-centered
  • Gratitude increases your self-esteem
  • Gratitude improves your sleep
  • Gratitude keeps you away from the doctor by strengthening physiological functioning
  • Gratitude lets you live longer
  • Gratitude increases your energy levels
  • Gratitude makes you more likely to exercise
  • Gratitude helps you bounce back from challenges
  • Gratitude makes you feel good
  • Gratitude makes your memories happier (think of Pixar’s Inside Out)
  • Gratitude reduces feelings of envy
  • Gratitude helps you relax
  • Gratitude makes you friendlier
  • Gratitude helps your marriage
  • Gratitude makes you look good
  • Gratitude deepens your friendships
  • Gratitude makes you a more effective manager
  • Gratitude helps you network
  • Gratitude increases your goal achievement
  • Gratitude improves your decision making
  • Gratitude increases your productivity

It’s a beautiful process and it allows you to experience ALL of the powerful emotions along the way.

The Importance Of Keeping A Record Of Your Goals

If you’re achievement-oriented, you probably write down your goals and you probably achieve a great deal of them. However, it’s powerful and important to regularly go back and examine your previous goals.

Even if it was just the goals set for the previous 30 days. It’s insane how many of our targets we hit without appreciating it because our targets and ideals are continually moving.

I recently looked back at my goals from the previous 30 days and realized I’d achieved something I’ve wanted to accomplish for almost 4 years.

I hit a major milestone and didn’t even realize or appreciate it because my mind quickly moved to the next ideal. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for setting new targets, but it also robs me of seeing how far I’ve come.

Moreover, when you immediately move from achievement to visualization without taking the time to regularly measure how far you’ve come — you rob yourself of the satisfaction, happiness, and CONFIDENCE of accomplishment.

Yes, all of these things can be subconscious — your happiness, satisfaction, and confidence. But you can compound the experience by making them conscious. By actually indulging in the moment and truly appreciating where you currently are vs. where you were when you set your goals. You then get all the benefits of the past, which allow you to create a more compelling future.

You’re Probably Living Your Dreams Right Now

When you measure yourself against “The Gain,” you often realize that you’re currently living your dreams right now. Where you are right now may be far beyond the ideals you had even one or two years ago. Yet, you’ve probably adapted to your current reality and are now striving for newer and bigger ideals.

But if you take the time to examine your previous goals, you often realize that your current reality is beyond the wildest dreams of your past. Indeed, your current reality has become your “new normal” even though it may have been completely unimaginable to your previous-self.

Wow!

The daily experiences you’re currently having are the IDEALS of your past-self just a few short years ago!

Appreciate that fact.

Allow that fact to create more confidence to set bigger and bigger ideals and clearer and more tangible goals!

This is a beautiful and rare process!

Enjoy it. Soak it up!