Make the World A Better Place

How Will You Make the World A Better Place?

Your legacy is a footprint in the sand of time

Try not to become a man of success — but rather a man of value.” — Albert Einstein

The value of your life goes beyond yourself.

Your actions and emotions influence everyone you touch. You change others. The memories you create live in others — they become part of who they are.

American poet Henry Longfellow wrote: “Lives of great people remind us we can make our lives sublime and, departing, leave behind footprints in the sand of time.”

Your legacy is like an echo — it will continue resonating once you are gone.

Choose your words wisely; turn your story into something worth listening over and over. If you think you are too young to design your legacy, you are wrong. Start now.

What footprint will you leave in the sand of time?

Let your path inspire others to walk in your footsteps.

Your legacy is much more than a memory

“The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Building your legacy is your life’s purpose. That’s why Jeff Bezos has this image on his fridge — it’s a daily reminder of his life’s purpose. Don’t let everyday distractions derail you from what really matters to you.

The sand of time is history. The footprints you leave behind last for generations. However, don’t confuse being remembered with your legacy.

A legacy doesn’t have to live only in memory.

A nameplate on a bench in Central Park can boost your ego, but not your impact. A legacy isn’t only about leaving what you earned but also what you learned — those who attain wisdom become immortal.

What if your most important gift to others is not tangible, but a piece of yourself?

A legacy is a powerful way of connecting with those whose lives you touch. Your roots, culture, family, connect you to those who came before you. What you leave behind connects you to your descendants and community.

Turn your imprint into something sublime — let your deeds and words inspire others to become the best version of themselves.

Legacies live on — they continue to affect people once you are gone. However, you don’t have total control. You can manage your behavior, not how people perceive you. Wanting to be remembered, loved, and revered is natural. But don’t make it about yourself.

A legacy is an act of generosity — your footprint can help make the world a better place. Remember, we don’t own the planet, we are just curating it for future generations.

You have an invisible touch

“You can’t make footprints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?” — Bob Moawad

What impact do you want to create in the world?

Building a legacy requires you to be an active player, not just an observer.

You don’t have to be Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson or Steve Jobs to change the world. I’m not discouraging you from becoming a first-class change agent by any means. The truth is, most people get stuck by comparing themselves to exceptional leaders.

Regardless of the size, every drop of water turns the ocean into what it is. Don’t undermine your value. The world needs your uniqueness — don’t fear the power of your own light.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’
Actually, who are you not to be?”

— Marianne Williamson, Our deepest fear

You have an invisible touch. Don’t think you are nobody. Do you want to change the world? Being famous is not a necessary condition for creating a positive impactStart by inspiring those around you.

As the African proverb says:“It takes a village to raise a child.”

It takes a village to achieve any meaningful change in the world — from reducing violence to fighting poverty. Effective change requires participation. You can fight the good fight and inspire others to join too.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

You passion brings out the passion in others — the invisible touch is contagious. As you let your passion shine, you will be amazed by how others feel free to do the same.

Besides material possessions and money, there’s so much that you can give others. People need inspiration, solutions, knowledge, and wisdom.

What’s your gift to the world?

Be true to yourself

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” — William Shakespeare

The best legacy is one that is consistent with your values and lifestyle.

The purpose of your legacy is not to make you look good. On the contrary, your life should make your legacy proud. People will remember the impact you had on them and the memories they shared with you. One way or another, your stories will be echoed.

Your uniqueness is your best legacy.

Don’t try to become someone you are not just to be remembered. Identify what matters to you. How does your unique self contribute to making the world a better place?

As Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner remind us in A Leader’s Legacy“By asking ourselves how we want to be remembered, we plant the seeds for living our lives as if we matter.”

Keep your legacy present. Think of it as a compass that will help you act with purpose even in the darkest hours. Use the following questions to reflect on the footprints you want to leave behind.

What is important to you? What would make you proud?

If you can only do one thing to improve the world, what would your contribution be?

How do you want your life to touch others? How can you increase the well-being of those around you?

What actions would it take to create your legacy?

The planet needs your help too

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” — David Brower

You cannot define your legacy without considering your impact on the planet as well.

By 2050, scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. That’s no joke. In the meantime, clueless politicians deny the damage we are causing to the environment.

The U.S. is the king of trash, producing a world-leading 250 million tons a year — almost 4.4 pounds of waste per person per day.

Developing countries are more efficient because they have to. Being wealthy shouldn’t turn us into predators — we have to act smartly.

Don’t add unnecessary things to your life. Try repairing what’s broken rather than throwing it away. Don’t upgrade because you have to. If your car or computer is still working, don’t change them. Small behavior can create a huge impact.

Remember, the impact on the planet is part of your legacy too. Being a successful entrepreneur means nothing if you don’t care about the trash your organization creates.

The zero-waste movement is growing. There are an increasing number of people — often young millennial women — whose yearly trash output can be small enough to fit inside an eight-ounce jar. They embrace a minimalist lifestyle that saves them both money and time. We can all dramatically reduce our waste without getting to that extreme yet.

While you reflect on the legacy you want to leave behind, consider how also to reduce your garbage footprint.

Five exercises to design your legacy

1. Write a six-word memoir

The Six-Word Memoir is the brainchild of Larry Smith — it’s a simple way to get to the essence of who you are and what matters the most. The challenge is simple, but not easy: “Can you tell your life story in six words?” Learn more here.

2. Create your own visualization

Imagine your elderly self, rocking back and forth in a chair. Reflect on your fulfilling life. What have you achieved? What have you done for the world? What is your legacy? Engage your senses. Record your voice narrating those memories as if you achieved them already. Check out the eight-step exercise here.

3. Write your own obituary

This exercise confronts you with your own death — that’s why it’s so powerful. Writing your own obituary is a moving experience. We take time for granted, but when you face your own death, all excuses vanish. Crafting your obituary encourages you to live your life the way you want to be remembered. Download the exercise and instructions at the end of this post.

4. Write a legacy letter

This document is similar to a will though it focuses on the wisdom and impact you want to give others rather than on possession or material things. Writing a legacy letter is not only a useful exercise, but it’s also a beautiful gift for your loved ones for once you are gone. Here’s a simple way to take a first stab at it.

5. Define your values

As I mentioned before, your values define your choices in life; they are the foundations of your legacy. Even if you think you know what you stand for, it doesn’t hurt spending some time reflecting or revisiting your values. Follow these steps to identify and prioritize your core values.


We all have a purpose in life. Designing your legacy will bring clarity — it will help guide your actions and priorities.

Your legacy is not about you, but about the mark you leave in those whose lives you touch. It’s a generous act — there’s no room for egos.

What footprint will you leave in the sand of time?

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!

How To Take Your Life From Stuck to Awesome

Feeling Stuck in Life? How To Take Your Life From Stuck to Awesome

Photo by GREG KANTRA on Unsplash

It sucks to feel stuck.

You’re in a rut, and you can’t get unstuck.

You’re convinced that something must change, whether in your work or personal life. But you are struggling to figure it out. It happens to all of us. The most important thing is to act and refuse to stay stuck.

Staying stuck and refusing to do something about it, is the biggest obstacle to your recovery.

Alistair Smith once said,“Getting stuck is not a problem. Staying stuck is. Good learners practice getting unstuck,”

Many people want something better for their lives, but they don’t know where to start. Others have done amazing things in the past, they are struggling in the present to be awesome again.

The good news is, it’s just a feeling, when you start to make positive movement forward, the feeling will change.

Mandy Hale says:

Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”

When you’re stuck, things feel immovable, entrenched, even hopeless but the good news, you can always do something about it.

When you are stuck, Bruce Chant recommends that you ask yourself three important questions to re-calibrate and get moving in the right direction again.

Those three questions are:

  1. What do you want? Name it. Define it. Call it out.
  2. What is stopping you? A belief or mindset. Fear. An excuse.
  3. What do you need to do to obtain it? Now you can work to address the issue, but do so by starting small.

Take a break to restore flow

Sometimes all you need to restore flow, is to take a step back and ask where the current patterns are leading and whether you are making progress or not.If you feel stuck in a different area of your life, break the norm.

When was the last time you deliberately broke your flow. Taking a break every now and then is important for your work. Do yourself a favor and take sometime off to recuperate.

Don’t stay put in one spot for too long. Move. Get up. Take a 15 min walk. The faster your blood moves, the faster oxygen gets to your brain. Hence, better ideas, better results.

Practice solitude.

If you are distracted by too many things, it pays to disconnect. Remove distractions. Turn off notifications. Or better still, turn off your phone, mobile devices and leverage silence to think or relax. In other words, block out the external world and retreat inwards to find new energy.

Sometimes all you need is a change of environment, style, routine or pattern. Break away from the usual.

Sura, a Meditation Coach, recommmends you move and play. She writes:

Being immersed in movement and play really gets the flow of energy moving in your body and your life. Try a new way of moving: dancing, tai chi, racquetball. Go see a comedy. Paint. Play Twister or Monopoly. Whatever it is, let yourself be free without restriction. What are the silly, playful things that you don’t usually make time for? Giving yourself time to play and unwind can make an immense difference in bringing new energy into your life.

Try lateral thinking

Lateral thinking means deliberately setting out to look at a challenge from completely different angles to find great solutions that would otherwise remain hidden.

As Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”. A new approach is probably all you need to get unstuck.

Break away from vertical thinking.

Vertical: Step by step, analyzing, based on facts and convention, one expected result.

Lateral: Provokes, jumps from one to another, breaks the rules, looks at possibilities, many results

Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success explains:

Lateral Thinking is the process of solving problems via different angles than you might expect. It doesn’t happen when you do more of the same thing. So just simply working harder may not accomplish a goal like rethinking the approach you’re taking. Lateral thinking is about getting in the mindset of breaking the rules that aren’t really rules; they’re just the way things have been conventionally done in the past.

Changing Course

Changing course can be challenging, but what makes it exciting is the restoration of hope.

Give yourself a new and significant challenge.

To get that momentum back, give yourself something to pursue and find an accountability partner to help you take actionable steps.

Your pursuit should be meaningful to you. Why you pursue something is equally as important as what you pursue. Start something greater than yourself. Something you truly believe in.

Just doing something different can boost your mood, change your perspective and give you a sense of optimism to move forward.

Pursue something that bring out the best in you. That way you will enjoy the journey and the process.

You can easily lose the motivation in the process and give up. But everything changes when you leverage an accountability system.

To “be accountable,” all you need is a clear goal and a willingness to let others help you achieve it.

When you tell yourself — and no one else — that you will quit smoking, start a new gym routine, write a book, launch a meaningful project or quit your “just okay” job in order to pursue something greater and better, you are less likelyto do it. It’s easy to choose something else more comfortable and make excuses.

When you make your goals public, you receive a combination of responses you can use to fuel your desire to succeed!

Find someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you.

Move beyond mere talk and commit to specific actions that will move your goals forward, and agree with someone else to hold you accountable.

Take the easiest step you can imagine to change course!

Once you start moving, you’ll feel unbelievably better. You’ll feel the power of motion, you’ll feel the rut moving behind you. That one step — it’s all it takes to start moving and creating again.

You don’t have to be stuck. You can choose to take action today to move yourself forward, making progress towards your ultimate goal in life.

Know what you want, discern what’s stopping you, and take the next smallest step to get there. Choose to make your life better, even when you are not stuck!

Dig deeper

My new course, Thinking in Models is open for enrollmentIt’s designed to help you to think clearly, solve problems at multiple levels of depth, and make complex decisions with confidence. Join the community of people on a mission to think clearly, work better, solve problems at multiple levels of depths, and make complex decisions with confidence! Click here for details.

You can also subscribe to Postanly Weekly (my free weekly digest of the best posts about behaviour change that affect health, wealth, and productivity). Subscribe and get a free copy of my new book, “The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results”. Join over 45,000 people on a mission to build a better life.

Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

“Success” isn’t just having lots of money. Many people with lots of money have horribly unhappy and radically imbalanced lives.

Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve,and how you relate.

So why won’t most people be successful?

Why don’t most people evolve?


The more evolved you become, the more elevated becomes your thinking, expectations, and standards.

Becoming evolved means:

  • You no longer major in minor things — As Jim Rohn said, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”
  • You are intentional about every moment of every day — even when that means being fully unplugged and present with your loved ones
  • You know that you become the product of what surrounds you
  • You know that every thing you put in your mind and body shapes the person you become — As Zig Ziglar said, “Your input determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your output, and your output determines your future.”
  • You realize that your behaviors shape your personality and identity — therefore you recognize that EVERY CHOICE YOU MAKE signals to yourself the type of person you are

Balancing The Few Essentials

The more successful you become — which is balancing the few essential things (spiritual, relational, financial, physical) in your life and removing everything else — the less you can justify low quality.

Before you evolve as a person:

  • You can reasonably spend time with just about anyone
  • You can eat just about anything put in front of you
  • You can justify having terrible evenings because you don’t have anything meaningful to wake-up for anyways

Before you evolve, you can reasonably spend time with just about anyone.

You can reasonably eat anything placed in front of you.

You can reasonably justify activities and behaviors that are, frankly, mediocre.

As Your Vision For Yourself Expands

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Wayne Dyer

As your vision for yourself expands, you realize you have to make certain adjustments. You need to cut-back on spending all of your money and time on crap and entertainment. You have to save more, and invest more in your education and your future.

The more successful you become:

  • The less you can justify low quality and the higher your standards become for yourself — As Tony Robbins said, “Remember in life we get what we tolerate! Where in your life is it time to draw the line in the sand and say no more! To yourself? To others?”
  • The more you value your time — and how that time is spent. When you’re at work, you’re 100% at work. When you’re at home, you’re 100% at home. You begin living in the “results-economy,” where you’re less worried about how long something takes you, and you’re more concerned about achieving the your desired results more effectively and efficiently.
  • Thus, no longer are you willing to work on a time clock.
  • Instead, you only work and get paid for what you results you produce.
  • You have skin in the game. And because you get paid for your results, you create environments that force you to get your desired results faster.
  • You apply the 80/20 rule. You only focus on those things that produce the best outcomes, and you ignore all else.
  • You get the best mentoring.
  • You work when your energy levels and brain-power are peaked, which for most people is during the first 3 hours of their day.
  • You figure out how to get 2X the results you’re currently getting in half the time.
  • You the re-invest that time you just saved into rest and recovery. You’re totally unplugged spending quality time with your friends and family.
  • You’re investing more and more into your self-improvement. You get to the point where 20% of your time is spent working, and the other 80% is spent either learning or resting. You’re sharpening your saw so that during your work hours, your rested, fresh, and powerful.
  • You’re continually upgraded your mindset, mentorships, skills, abilities, and income.

Your life and your identity are a product of your choices. Your personality doesn’t shape who you are. Your behaviors shape who you are.

The most powerful choices you can make is to put yourself into environments that force you to rise to new standards. Said historian Will Durant, “I think the ability of the average man could be doubled if it were demanded, if the situation demanded.”

You surround yourself with people who have higher standards than you do. Because you know that as a person, you are not a fixed and unchangeable entity.

Instead, you know that you are highly flexible and fluid. Your input shapes your mindset and worldview, which shapes your output. That output creates opportunities for the future.

As you continually improve your world around you — and as you consistently make better and better choices, your identity changes. Your environment changes. Your confidence and abilities change.

You begin taking on much bigger goals.

You begin recognizing and appreciating how far you’ve come.

You begin collaborating with brilliant people. You transform yourself over and over, all the while continually going deeper and deeper into your “why.”

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

If your daily behaviors are consistently low quality, what do you expect your life’s output to be?

Every area of your life affects every other area of your life. Hence the saying, How you do anything is how you do everything. This is very high level thinking. It only makes sense for people who have removed everything from their lives they hate. To actually live this principle: your daily and normal life can only be filled with those things you highly value.

Your “new normal” needs to continually exceed your previous ideals and dreams.

When your days are filled with only those core essentials that mean the world to you — and you’re succeeding in those few areas — you absolutely will dominate in all areas of your life.

Because the only things in your life are the things you highly value. You’re intrinsically motivated by what you’re doing.

The stakes are very high for you. Because everything in your life matters. Your behavior is consequential in every area of your life. If you don’t show up, you get called out. Whether that’s at work with your partners or at home with your kids.

You’ve created an environment that expects you to be present. That expects you to show up. And you rise to that expectation. You rise to that expectation because your behavior is increasingly consistent with the person you intend to be.

Because your behavior is continually improving, your confidence continually improves. As your confidence improves, your expectation to continue to succeed continually improves. As your expectation to succeed improves, your ability to manifest your dreams and desires becomes powerful.

Even more powerfully though, you understand that you should expect everything yet attach to nothing. Regardless of the outcome, your security is internal. You expect the best, and that is generally what happens for you. When things start to fall apart, or when you fail, you let it go. You don’t over-attach to any outcomes, whether success or failure.

You are fluid and adaptive. You seek data through action, and then take that feedback and continually emerge into something new and better. Continually providing more value. Continually maintaining the beginner’s mind. Continually seeking feedback and openness.

You have no ego in this game.

You life is increasingly congruent.

You’re continuing to learn — which means you are becoming more effective at producing your desired results, and then replicating those results. Learning, after all, is a making a permanent change in how you see and operate in the world. If you can’t consistently produce better results, you’re not learning.

Getting information in your head is not learning. There must be a change in behavior, or else there is no true understanding. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is that wisdom is the proper application of knowledge.

Knowledge isn’t power — it’s potential power. Knowledge only becomes powerful when it’s properly applied and becomes wisdom, experience and understanding.

T.S. Elliot once asked, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

We now live in the information economy. Information is not scarce. Information has actually become one of the biggest distractions in our current environment.

Spending your time consuming information won’t set you apart in today’s environment. Filtering through the vast sea of noise and finding the right information, then properly and immediately apply that information to produce better results is how you set yourself apart in today’s word.

And not applying that information in a vacuum or echo-chamber. But applying it in the form of collaborations with different types of people — where the whole becomes different from the sum of its parts.

Are You Living Intentionally?

Saying “No” to great but irrelevant opportunities is hard.

Giving up bad habits is hard.

Changing your belief system and expanding your vision takes courage. It’s so easy to revert back to small and mediocre thinking.

However, as you come closer to living on a daily basis with your values and ideals, amazing things start to happen. You’ll feel happier. You’ll be more present with those you love. You’ll spend your time better. You’ll pursue bigger dreams and ambitions. You’ll be more resilient during challenges. You’ll live at a higher frequency. And everything around you will reflect that.

But to repeat Jim Rohn, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” Said another way, most people are caught in the thick of thin things.

Hence, most people won’t be successful. Most people won’t evolve and progress.

But you will. You know it, and you can feel it. You’ve already begun. And everyday, you’re taking one step closer.

Soon enough, you’ll fully commit to being who you know you can be. Once you pass that point of no return, nothing will stop you.

THINK OF CHANGE

The Ultimate Guide to Embracing Change

Change is a concept that most people fear or reject. The mere thought of adopting a new perspective can leave you feeling overwhelmed and helpless.

Despite the unwanted stress that change may bring into your life, it is also a source of growth, fulfillment, and new opportunities. Hence, no matter how much you try to resist, change will always come knocking at your door. The question is — will you let it in?

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got,” — Henry Ford

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are forced to change ourselves.” — Victor Frankl

Here’s a quick guide to help you conquer your fear of change and have the strength to cope with challenges. Soon, you will be prepared for the bigger things and greater rewards that life has to offer.

Think long-term

According to Elon Musk, change is necessary if you are to avoid serious problems further down the road. Often, change is something that we don’t easily accept because we don’t want to face the difficulties that come along with it. For instance, the mere thought of having to integrate a fitness routine into your daily schedule can feel overwhelming. It is tempting to just spend your time with a TV show or any number of other entertainment options.

If you analyze and dig deeper, you’ll find that the struggle only exists when you are thinking. Your own mind is holding you back because it fails to see how the long-term results will benefit to you. Once you are already engaged in something new, the pain or discomfort will only last a few minutes or hours. The effects will be lasting and powerful enough to make a huge difference in your life.

View it as a gift

Learn to think of change as a gift that you can give yourself. Much like a gift received from someone else, it’s something that should excite you, tickle your curiosity, and bring delight. You would not think twice about unwrapping a holiday present — you are eager to discover what’s inside.

Similarly, in life, don’t think twice about unwrapping change because it may open up great opportunities for you to improve and become a better version of yourself. The experience might not always be pleasing, as it stretches your limits, but the result will be rewarding.

In the world of finance, investing is a gift that you can give yourself, once you are able to commit to it. It may be a journey of ups and downs, but remain steady and stick to your plan. Inevitably, your hard-earned money will compound into a much-deserved financial reward.

Turn anxiety into productivity

“You don’t have to hold yourself hostage to who you used to be.” -Oprah Winfrey

At times when you are challenged to go above and beyond your normal routine, turn to an activity that will convert your anxiety into productivity. You will prevent negative thoughts from becoming overpowering. For instance, imagine that you are being considered for a new position at work and you aren’t 100% confident that you can handle the job. Instead of overthinking the outcome, focus on how you can improve your performance now. Use those results as a personal gauge to determine whether you’re sufficiently prepared for the new challenge.

Use your brain to your advantage by not letting negativity into your system. Sometimes, you just need to distract your mind for a while, so you can see the big picture and avoid fixating on negative thoughts.

Summary

Learn to use your brain to your advantage by looking forward to the long-term benefits of accepting change. It will never be easy, but once you’ve stepped outside of your comfort zone and on to greater things, you will thank your ‘past self’ for making the life-changing decision of embracing change. Know that adjustments need to be made so that you can fulfill your potential as an individual.

To Achieve What Nobody Else Has

You Must Do What Nobody Else Does

How to achieve what no one else can.

Most people are living under someone else’s rules.

Society encourages people to play it safe and avoid loss. Risking big for big payoffs is discouraged, labeled foolish and irrational.

But the world’s biggest players go all-in. In the words of author Grant Cardone, “The giants on this planet are willing to make the big plays.”

Enormously successful people don’t “play it safe.” On the contrary, they are riskier and bolder than 99% of everyone else.

And this doesn’t mean they’re foolish, either. Robert Kiyosaki once said, “Investments are not risky for the financially literate.” If you know your business, risks aren’t even risks at all.

Most people don’t realize their mind is a bank that produces unlimited energy, creativity, and persistence. If you go all-in and lose, you can just reload all your chips.

It’s fair to ask — why not constantly go all-in with funding like this?

If you want to achieve success bigger than you’ve ever had, you’ll have to do things you’ve never done before.

“The only way things are going to change for you is when you change.” -Jim Rohn

Live the Life No One Else is Willing To Live

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” -Darren Hardy

Years ago, my wife and I took a financial class by a finance guru named Dave Ramsey. My favorite quote from his course was this:

“Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else.”

We were in serious debt with little success getting out. We were overspending and under-saving, with the same financial bad habits most other people had.

But we followed Ramsey’s system. We put cash in envelopes marked “groceries” and “utilities” so we could control our spending. If we ran out of money in an envelope, we couldn’t spend any more money. We tracked exactly how many (how few?) dollars we were saving each month.

Then, the most brutal part of all: my wife gave me a monthly cap on how much I could spend on craft beer.

It was…difficult.

But soon, we paid off all our debts.

At 26 with 2 cars and 3 college degrees between us, we were 100% debt-free. We went from saving <$200 a month to well over $1,000 a month. We saved up so that we could quit our jobs and travel the world (we’re in South Korea now, Southeast Asia is next, Europe after).

We lived like no one else — skipping expensive happy hours with coworkers, cooking our week’s lunches on Sunday night, spending frustrating hours every week managing our Excel sheets…

And now, we can live like no one else.

The reason most people will never reach their ideal success is because they’re not willing to do the work.

Achieving your ideal lifestyle will take tremendous work. It will require you to do things you’ve never done before.

Most people are not willing to do this. They’d rather continue spending too much time and money on the comforts and gadgets that everyone else is buying.

The safety of the crowd is more appealing than the freedom of going out on their own.

But this is not the path to an extraordinary, powerful life of meaning and success.

Live like no one else is living now so later, you can live the way no one else can.

“There is one thing that 99% of failures and successful people have in common: they all hate doing the same things. The difference is successful people do them anyway.” -Darren Hardy

Photo by Flo Karr on Unsplash

Your Level of Commitment Determines Your Level of Success

“If you’re not getting the results you want, it’s because you haven’t invested enough to get those results.” -Benjamin Hardy

Your commitment determines the success in every single area of your life:

  • Your quality of relationships
  • Your level of career fulfillment
  • Your quality of health and wellness
  • The numbers in your bank account
  • Your entire future

Most people aren’t committed. They are simply “interested.”

In the words of John Assaraf:

“If you’re interested, you come up with stories, excuses, reasons, and circumstances about why you can’t or why you won’t. If you’re committed, those go out the window. You just do whatever it takes.”

Many of you know I struggled with quitting an addiction to pornography for 15 years.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, either. I read every book, prayed every prayer, vowed every vow, installed every “accountability software.” Nothing worked. I was preparing to live the rest of my life with this hidden obsession.

But there were still more solutions I hadn’t tried, things I balked at. Counseling, therapy, 12-step addiction stuff? C’mon. It’s not that bad.

But it was. And when I met my now-wife Kimi, I knew I had to stop — whatever it took. If I ever wanted a chance at a healthy marriage, I needed to kick the habit, permanently.

So I went to therapy. I wrote the 18 pages (front to back) for my therapist when he asked me to write down every single instance I could remember of feeling “shame.” I went to 90 meetings in 90 days (twice). My therapist told me to drive to a meeting inconveniently located an hour away, just to make sure I was truly invested.

I was committed. Come hell or high water, this behavior would end.

And it did. I haven’t looked at porn in years. I plan to never look at it ever again. My intimacy with my friends and family has never been deeper. I look straight into my friend’s eyes and say “I love you” all the time.

This is the power of commitment instead of “interest.”

Most people will remain “interested,” nothing more. They may claim they’ll do whatever it takes, or make grand gestures of behavioral change, but deep down their commitment is shaky and weak.

If you haven’t achieved the type of success you want yet, it’s probably because you haven’t committed enough yet.

“If you want lasting change, you have to give up this idea of just trying something, and you have to commit yourself to mastery. That means not just “dabbling,” but fully immersing yourself. Because your life is not controlled by what you do some of the time, but by what you do consistently.” -Tony Robbins

It Takes More Work to Stay in Mediocrity Than It Takes to Succeed

“It’s actually far more exhausting to not work than it is to work. It takes far more energy to sit with internal conflict than it does to get to work.” -Benjamin Hardy

I’ve been waking up at 5AM recently.

Unlike lots of the personal development “gurus” who have been doing this for years, it’s new for me. I drag myself out of bed to journal, pray, read, and write.

My wife jokes I’m crazy. But honestly, it’s beginning to take less and less work and motivation. I look forward to 5AM the night before, because I know I’m evolving into a better version of myself by practicing diligence and self-discipline.

Some words by David Kadavy come to mind: “When you build a habit, you don’t have to spend mental energy deciding what to do.”

Looking back at my old life — working at an ill-fitting corporate job, a beer belly, and 3 hours of TV after work — it really feels like less work now than it did then.

I was constantly fighting off hating how I looked in the mirror. I woke up every day knowing my job wasn’t right for me. I slept horribly because I was hopped up on caffeine all day and buzzed on alcohol most nights.

“If you keep on living the way you are now, you will continue to produce the same life you already have.” -Jim Rohn

Yesterday, I found I had more energy all day after waking up at 5AM than I usually did when I slept in until 8AM. It’s a fascinating truth about doing extraordinary work — you work more, but you feel more energized.

Most people would be surprised to discover living a more focused, diligent life actually takes less energy than living excessively with the wrong things.

You spend energy every day on surviving anyway — why not spend it moving forward towards great success?

Most people are living lives that are well below their potential, yet spending the same energy (or more!) than it would take on living a truly incredible life.

It takes more work to constantly fight off the negative feelings in mediocrity than it does to work towards great success.

“Most people never see extraordinary opportunities because all they’re looking for is money and security, so that’s all they get.” -Robert Kiyosaki

Photo by John Mark Arnold on Unsplash

Act Like a Winner, Set Absurd Goals, and Perform Like You’re the Best

“Winners act like winners before they become winners. That’s how they become winners.” -Bill Walsh, NFL coach

Most people don’t act like winners.

Most people don’t believe they’re the best.

Most people don’t have big goals.

Most people are content to stay average.

Most people follow the crowd.

But not you.

In the words of author David Schwartz, “Think big and you’ll live big.” If you allow the mindset and actions of others to define you, you’ll never achieve the success you want.

Most people think they need to wait to “feel” like they’re ready before they can become something new — a better husband, an entrepreneur, an artist.

But this is backwards. It is by the very act of doing before feeling that feelings of confidence and success come. If you act like a winner, you’ll become one. If you operate as if you’re the best in the world, your output and results will skyrocket.

In the words of Angela Duckworth from her book, Grit:

Trying to do things they can’t, failing, and learning what they need to do different is exactly the way experts practice.”

Stop waiting to feel before you act. Just act.

If you want extraordinary success no one else has, you need to adopt a new mindset. You need to become more. You need to change your mode of thinking so that your output increases 10x or even 100x.

This is how you achieve enormous success — by acting first, correcting your course, and doing better next time. If you act like a world-class performer, you will feel like one.

When you believe you’re among the best, you act and perform like the best.” -David Schwartz

In Conclusion

“Thinking success conditions your mind to create plans that produce success.” -David Schwartz

Great victory requires great sacrifice.

Cautious, fearful, group-think actions lead to mediocre results that are below your potential.

If you want success like no one else has, you must do what others are unwilling to do.

Life the live no one else is willing to live. Wake up earlier, eat better, read more, and make better choices than you did yesterday.

Do what others won’t, and you’ll get what others never will.

9 Key Habits That Will Make You Automatically Attract Enormous Success

Do what no one else is willing to do.

Success doesn’t happen “to” you. It happens because of you.

In the words of Napoleon Hill, “Success comes to those who are success-conscious.” If you make progress your most important goal and actively make strides to improve, you will begin to attract success like a magnet.

During my first 4 years of blogging, I pitched guest posts to every website. I emailed every influencer. I tweeted every writer. I hand-wrote letters to authors and asked if they would mentor me.

Maybe 5% ever responded — most of which were thanks-but-no-thanks rejections.

But a few months ago, I started taking myself and my writing extremely seriously. I stopped emailing websites hoping people would say yes and just focused on building something people could no longer ignore.

The results were astounding. To name a few:

  • 14,000+ new email subscribers
  • Guest posts on CNBC, Thought Catalog, and Business Insider
  • 35,000+ views on a big day (for 4 years, my record was 753 views in 1 day)
  • $1,500+ a month in passive income (I never made a dime the first 4 years)
  • A book publisher asking me to write a book for them
  • A popular men’s magazine republishing my articles
  • Podcast and conference speaker invitations

I began attracting enormous success when I made PROGRESS my biggest goal.

I finally stopped chasing success. I knew the more I improved, the more success I would attract; success would take care of itself.

Here are 9 easy habits you can start today that will make you automatically attract enormous success.

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

1. Label Every Obstacle as a Learning Opportunity

“Within every obstacle is a chance to improve our condition.” -Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way

Most people only see obstacles as unfortunate problems that prevent them from progress. They run into some difficulties, throw up their hands, and go home.

The world’s most successful people automatically attract enormous success by using their obstacles as a distinct, unique advantage. Whatever obstacles arise are immediately embraced as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Author Elif Batuman describes this mindset in The New Yorker:

For you, every setback is an advantage, an opportunity for learning and glory. When a difficulty comes your way, you should feel proud and excited, like ‘a wrestler whom God, like a trainer, has paired with a tough young buck.’”

This implacable attitude confounds most other people, and always attracts significant success over time.

People who automatically attract enormous success do so by making every obstacle an opportunity.

It’s not enough to simply manage problems with a neutral, resigned attitude, either. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins writes, “Managing your problems can only make things good, while building your opportunities is the only way to make things great.

Most people view problems in a negative light, or at best, with resigned duty. Few people see obstacles for what they really are — incredibly potent, powerful fuel to teach you new skills that make you better.

If you want to automatically attract enormous success, see every problem as an opportunity to learn.

Said author Ryan Holiday, “The struggle against an obstacle inevitably propels the fighter to a new level of functioning.”

This is how you bend success to your will. For you, the harder the obstacle, the greater the victory. The more difficult the problem, the more you’ll learn and grow.

The world loves people with this mindset. Individuals with this attitude inspire faith, confidence, and trust in others.

“One of the major differences between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful people look for problems, whereas the latter make every attempt to avoid them.” -Grant Cardone

2. Teach Yourself the Skills You Never Thought You Could Learn

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” -Scott Adams

Most people don’t know how to:

  • Self-publish an eBook
  • Start a blog
  • Create their own podcast
  • Design their own online course
  • Consistently wake up at 5AM

I didn’t believe I could do any of these things. But I’ve taught myself each of these skills — and evolved into a much better version of myself in the process.

I have a degree in English. I’ve been writing for 5 years; I blog, I create content. “I’m only a writer,” I would tell myself. “I don’t do tech stuff, I’m not a business guy.

But after a mind-numbing week of going back-and-forth with perplexing tech support, I realized I had recoded my entire website and created my first online course from scratch. It was like looking up from the hood of your car and realizing you, a complete amateur, had just replaced the transmission by yourself.

Most people have an extremely limiting mindset of themselves. Some even wear these limitations as a backwards badge of honor:

  • “Oh, I have no idea how to write a book.”
  • “I’m awful at all that creative stuff.”
  • “I can’t start a podcast, I wouldn’t know where to start.”
  • “I couldn’t start my own business, I’d be a terrible businessman.”

This disbelief is negative power. As Joseph Murphy wrote in The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, “Your subconscious mind will accept any suggestions, however false, and responds according to the nature of the suggestion given.”

What you tell yourself becomes true.

Want to automatically attract enormous success? Teach yourself some new tricks. You increase your scope of influence, your ability to converse with experts in different fields, and most importantly, your self-belief.

Learning the skills you always thought you couldn’t learn destroys the self-doubt and fear that prevents so many people from ever achieving greatness.

“If you want enormous success, you must become more.” -Jim Rohn

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3. Do What No One Else is Willing to Do

In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport proposes that the people who will always be in-demand from the economy are those who can engage in long, focused periods of “deep work:”

“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”

Newport is pointing to the fact that most people don’t know how to produce top-tier quality results from deep work — extremely focused, uninterrupted flow states that enable truly extraordinary results.

The economy and marketplace increasingly reward deep work skills precisely because they are becoming so rare in our low-attention span society.

If you are able to set strict mental boundaries and commit to intensely focused work times, you will thrive in today’s economy.

As author Jim Rohn once wrote:

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”

The reason some people automatically attract success is because they are willing to do the things no one else is and learn the skills no one else is willing to learn.

“Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else.” -Dave Ramsey

4. Be Prepared For Every Possible Opportunity

“Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared.” -George Samuel Clason

Extraordinary, life-changing opportunities pass by unsuspecting people every day.

Most people are unprepared and ill-equipped to seize a huge opportunity. Since they have accepted too many mediocre obligations, they have neither the means nor the eye to recognize truly great opportunities.

Top-quality opportunities will not wait for you. If you are not ready, they’ll pass you by and find someone else a minute later.

The magic is, once you begin seizing opportunities as they come, more opportunities will gravitate to you. The more you capitalize on, the more come your way.

Most people are simply too prideful to learn new skills — they think learning how to code is irrelevant, or that mastering new online tools should be done by someone else.

In today’s world, the success doesn’t go to the luckiest or smartest — it goes to the hungriest.

Prepare yourself. Commit to learning and creating, not entertainment and distraction.

Life-changing opportunities will come, and you must be ready to seize them when no one else is.

5. Fail More Times Than Anyone Else

“If I fail more than you, I win.” -Seth Godin

Success is attracted to those who are:

  • Consistent in a world of impatience
  • Committed in a world of inconstancy
  • Focused in a world of distraction

The best way to learn and grow is through repeated, constant experiments. As author and entrepreneur Michael Simmons wrote:

“Success is a direct result of the number of experiments you perform.”

When you fail, you learn. When you fail more than anyone else, you learn more than anyone else.

This knowledge is what will make you unstoppable — all the lessons you learned from years of failing and getting back up again.

This commitment to learning despite setbacks reveals the hidden secrets behind success in every area, and will attract success like bees to a flower.

When I first started blogging, I had it all wrong. I was totally self-indulgent. My posts were long-winded and boring. I bragged without teaching, and lectured without knowledge. No wonder I only had about 200 followers after 4 years!

But hundreds of articles later, I’ve learned many lessons after 60 months of blogging. The reason I have success now is because of all the (failed) writing experiments I tried for years. I know what works (and what doesn’t) now.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” -Jim Rohn

Most people are afraid of failure. Since their self-worth is tied to their performance, any failure is confirmation that they aren’t good enough. If they suck at something, it means they suck.

But your self-worth is completely independent of failure. Failure is simply an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to discover new lessons.

The more you fail, the more growth you’ll experience. The more growth you have, the more success will find you.

“If someone is better than you at something, it’s likely they’ve failed at it more times than you have.” -Mark Manson

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6. Behave Like a World-Class Winner — Even If You’re Not One Yet

“Winners act like winners before they become winners. That’s how they become winners.” -Bill Walsh

Most people are living beneath their potential.

Anyone can achieve greatness. Anyone can evolve into better versions of themselves. Anyone who wants to can realize even their most lofty goals.

But most people won’t.

The reason most people will never avoid mediocrity is because they believe they need to feel like a winner before they can become one.

But this is backwards. You act like a winner first; you become a winner by doing so. Acting “as if” becomes acting “as is.”

Success is attracted to individuals with powerful self-belief and the will to achieve their goals. The way to get there is by putting on the hat of a winner, so to speak. Even if you’re not a world-class winner yet, acting as if you were stimulates your mind to begin thinking like one.

“As a man thinketh, so he is. As he continues to think, so he remains.” -James Allen

Every day, I wake up and tell myself I’m a top writer on Medium.com. I declare every article I write will gain tens of thousands of views. People will read my words and become transformed; I will change lives and make great loving helping people become extraordinary.

At first, my writing simply wasn’t that good. But writing every article with the expectation of its greatness is a powerful tool.

Once my writing gets off-track — when I get self-indulgent, or when I ramble, or just write confusing points — an alarm in my mind blares. “Hey. This article is going to be read by tens of thousands of people, so cut that crap out. That’s not what great writing looks like.

That focused voice wouldn’t be there if I didn’t act like a world-class writer first — even if I’m not one yet.

7. Be Authentic, Vulnerable, and Genuine With Others

“Some of the greatest moments of one’s life are not pleasant, not successful, not known, and not positive.” -Mark Manson

When I see someone baring their heart and soul in a post or a video, I’m just captivated. I love hearing vulnerable stories, especially people overcoming the worst circumstances to win what they never could.

One of my favorite current writers doing this is Tiffany Sun. I love her work, and her vulnerability and brutal honesty about her painful relationship history makes her one of the most refreshing writers on Medium.

If you’re honest and vulnerable about your struggles and failures, people relate to that. Connections are made. Heads are turned. Attention is captured.

Success becomes inevitable.

This is why I’ve decided to be so forthright about my addiction to pornography, my work in 12-step program environments, and just how low I felt for over 15 years of hell-on-earth addiction.

People email me all the time with their own stories in response to my honesty. I build trust and connection. I’m not some car salesman or some flashy entrepreneur with a Tesla and a silver tongue — I’m just a regular guy with some serious problems I’ve overcome over a long time.

Author Grant Cardone once wrote:

“Many people think in terms of ‘I have to do what my colleague/neighbor/family member is doing’ instead of ‘I have to do what’s best for me.’”

In his new bookDavid Kadavy wrote: “When our true self doesn’t get a chance to follow its desires, it acts out in strange ways.” My man Tim Denningput it this way: “Not being you will destroy you.

The more you are yourself, the higher you’ll go. The more “you” you become every day, the more success and opportunities will find you.

Stop living someone else’s life. Be honest and vulnerable — it’s what we’re all dying to hear.

8. Be a Giver, Not a Taker

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

Most people are takers.

They take what they can get. Money, opportunities, the last piece of cake — most people would not be quick to selflessly give what could’ve been theirs.

This “scarcity” mindset causes a tremendous level of misery, fear, and resentment. David Foster Wallace once penned, “If you worship money and things, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough.

When I was younger, my mother once explained the concept of tithing to me. “If you close your fist around your money, you can’t lose it — but you can’t receive any more, either.”

An open hand — with your money, connections, information, and knowledge — can feel like you’re giving away all your value. That’s how it usually feels for me.

But giving attracts people. True givers — ones who don’t expect anything in return, ones who truly have no strings attached — are so rare today. Meeting someone like this is truly a breath of fresh air on a smoggy day.

(Speaking of giving — every week I give away amazing value only available to my followers. Get your secret, exclusive bonuses here.)

“Giving your time and attention without the expectation of something in return is a key strategy of professional advancement.” -Adam Grant

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9. Be Quiet and Listen to Everyone.

“The key to being a good conversationalist is a genuine and unselfish interest others. That, and practice.” -Frank Crane

In the year after I graduated college, I conducted about 30 informational interviews.

I would reach out to some awesome person on LinkedIn and ask them out for coffee. These were high-level people — founders, CEO’s, directors, and the like.

About 90% of the people accepted my invitation. I was shocked to hear how few times they had ever been asked out by someone like me.

They had incredible knowledge and wisdom, and they were happy to share with me. I gained mentors, job offers, I got my friends great jobs, and I was introduced to some seriously incredible people I would have otherwise never had access to, like coffee with the CEO of a $10MM marketing business.

It was then I learned — be quiet, and listen.

So few people truly make a point to become a student and learn from those who have found success.

An old parable comes to mind:

“Once upon a time, there was a wise Zen master. People traveled from far away to seek his help. In return, he would teach them and show them the way to enlightenment.

On this particular day, a scholar came to visit the master for advice. “I have come to ask you to teach me about Zen,” the scholar said.

Soon, it became obvious that the scholar was full of his own opinions and knowledge. He interrupted the master repeatedly with his own stories and failed to listen to what the master had to say. The master calmly suggested that they should have tea.

So the master poured his guest a cup. The cup was filled, yet he kept pouring until the cup overflowed onto the table, onto the floor, and finally onto the scholar’s robes. The scholar cried “Stop! The cup is full already. Can’t you see?”

“Exactly,” the Zen master replied with a smile. “You are like this cup — so full of ideas that nothing more will fit in. Come back to me with an empty cup.”

Most people believe they already have it all figured out, yet wonder why opportunities, luck, and success continues to elude them.

Choose to become a student first, and success will find you.

(BONUS): Be More Consistent Than Anyone Else

“By showing up consistently to do the work, you’ve already won.” -Srinivas Rao

For every day you keep going, thousands of others quit.

Often, success comes at the end — to those who are still there after everyone else has left. It’s like compound interest, where the largest gains come after much time has passed.

Most people quit before they even get a chance to succeed. They try something for a few weeks, even a few months; but before they reach a place of automatically attracting success, they give up and go home.

“Success is nothing more than the long-term investment of time.” -Nicolas Cole

If you want to automatically attract enormous success, you need to be more consistent than you’ve ever been. This is how you reach the level of compound interest that gives you riches and treasures that most people will never know.

Now that I’m finally a consistent writer, opportunities flood my inbox every day; a book publisher contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in writing a book for them. A popular men’s magazine wanted to republish several of my articles. Big-time writers reach out to me.

Of course, I’m still doing the work and getting out there to make my own success. But I’ve also reached a place where success is coming to me.

“Success is the result of relentless, proper actions taken over time.” -Grant Cardone

In Conclusion

Most people don’t automatically attract success.

It’s not surprising; success is difficult. It costs a lot. It requires sacrifice, consistency, and becoming more than you are.

But once you reach the point where you begin automatically attract enormous success, you’ll start evolving every day.

Change is hard. If you’re not in a place where you attract success, all this might seem impossible.

Do not be discouraged. No one is able to adhere to all these principles, all the time. As they say in 12-step meetings, the goal is progress, not perfection. As long as you’re growing, you’re making progress.

Do what you can. Soon, you may be surprised to find success finding you.