LIFE – Habits are the Compound Interest of Self Improvement

“person wearing black-and-white Nike low-top sneaker” by SJ Baren on Unsplash

People struggle to develop and maintain new habits because they make their efforts unsustainable.

  • They work out like crazy for a few days (usually at the beginning of the year), and never go back to the gym.
  • They try to meditate for 30 mins one day and don’t give it another shot until 10 days later
  • They try to build an empire fueled by a burst of inspiration on a random Saturday afternoon.

When people attempt to make a change this way, they overlook the profound power of consistencyWhen it comes to developing and maintaining a new habit, frequency matters more than intensity. If you do something frequently, a compounding effect will start to take place.


Build the Identity of the Person You Want to Become

To build the identity of the person you want to become, ask yourself what the behavior of a person who has the habit you want to develop is?

  • What is the behavior a person who is in shape? They go to the gym consistently
  • What is the behavior of a prolific writer? He or she cracks open a notebook every day.

James Clear refers to this as identity-based habit formation. In An Audience of One, I shared a story James told me on the Unmistakable Creative podcast about one of his readers who lost over 100 lbs. Instead of setting a goal to work out, he set a goal to drive to the gym, and he would only allow himself to stay for 5 minutes. After a certain point, he realized that he might as well work out. If you take the first step towards a habit, the inertia is often enough to carry you to the next one.

Note: I was fortunate to get a sneak peek at James’ New book, Atomic Habits(available for pre-order on Amazon). An interview with him, which will air next wee inspired the idea for this post.


Take Minimum Viable Actions

Sometime last year we launched an online course called Finish What You Start. In the process of developing that course, our copywriter Kingshuk Mukherjee came up with the term minimum viable action. In the same way, a startup can launch a minimum viable product; you can take minimum viable actions to develop a new habit.

  • If you want to develop a writing habit, your minimum viable action could be sitting down at your desk or cracking your notebook open
  • If you want to read more, it could be sitting down in a specific chair with a book in your hands

When you take a minimum viable action, the inertia is often enough to carry you to the next step. You build momentum and the identity of a person who has your desired habit until you become the next best version of yourself.


Raise Your Level of Intensity Gradually

In a recent episode of the Unmistakable Creative, I asked Chris Bailey how people can get better at managing their attention. And he said the following:

If you’re not on a deadline, you’re going to work on something until you feel no resistance to it. Could I write for an hour today? No the thought of it puts me off. What about 45 minutes? Thirty-two? Twenty fifty? Yeah, I can do 15. Then refocus for 15 minutes. You find that resistance level to tame distractions and then over time as you ritualize this idea you block off periods in your calendar to get into this mode. Over time you lower that default level of stimulation the amount of dopamine coursing through your brain because of this novelty bias that’s embedded within us and you become better able to think more deeply about your work.

When something becomes effortless for you, raise the level of intensity. In the same way, you’d never go from lifting 25lbs to 100lbs in one day, you want to increase the level of intensity to the point where you can get there without too much resistance, but it’s still somewhat challenging. To put it more concisely, bend but don’t break.


What if You Miss a Day?

After 7 years and 2 books, I still miss the occasional writing day. Sometimes it’s because I’m in bed with someone (a good reason to miss a writing day). Other times it’s because I’m hungover, and occasionally I need a break. One way to handle this is to reduce the scope but stick to the schedule. Instead of writing a 1000 word, I write 500. Many people quit altogether after they miss one day. But if you make your goal progress instead of perfection, you won’t be so demoralized by missing one day.


Develop a Keystone Habit and Stack More

When you try to change too many habits at once, none of them stick. If you try to become a person who reads every day, writes every morning, goes to the gym 3 times a week, and meditates daily all in the span of a week, none of those habits will stick.

But if you start with one keystone habit, it will create a ripple effect into every other area of your life.

  • One of my first keystone habits was surfing. When I got into the habit of surfing almost every other day, I started drinking less when I went out. I valued being up in the morning because that’s when surf conditions are usually best.
  • After I developed the keystone habit of writing 1000 words a day, what followed was reading every day, and eventually a consistent meditation habit.

The best time to stack a second habit is after you’ve maintained the first one with consistency. If you go through this process of stacking, eventually you’ll find yourself making the impossible possible.


The Compounding Effect of Habits

Every now and then I have a friend who will tell me they want to learn how to surf. I share a story with them that I mentioned in my previous book, Unmistakable: Why Only is Better Than Best.

A few weeks after my first three attempts to surf, I went to happy hour at a bar in La Jolla. The guy sitting next to me had been a long time surfer who gave me a simple piece of advice that made the difference between me quitting and becoming a surfer. He told me to go 50 times because by that point I’d be too invested to quit.

While he didn’t state it explicitly, he understood that every surf session would have a compounding effect. It took more than 15 sessions before I stood up on a wave. Eventually, I worked my way down from the Costco Wavestorm to riding a 6-foot shortboard and found myself surfing at a skill level that seemed impossible when I started. I had a similar experience with snowboarding. After two seasons and close to 30 days on the mountain, I got to a point where I was able to get down a black diamond.

The progress we experience from the compounding effect of any habit isn’t immediately visible. As a result, people give up quickly. They don’t realize that every day the show up they’re building momentum. They are moving closer and closer to a breakthrough or inflection point.


Systems Vs Goals

I’ve said before that having a system is essential increasing your creative output. Having a system allows you to focus on progress instead of perfection and put your energy and effort into what you control. A system also will enable you to experience visible progress, which in turn increase your motivation. In the picture below you’ll see three jars of marbles. Each jar represents a system that’s tied to a specific goal.

  • Jar 1: I put one marble in for each hour I spend doing deep work like reading and writing, and another for each article I publish. It’s the system that is aligned with my goal of growing our email list to 50,000 subscribers.
  • Jar 2: I put one marble into the jar for each sales call I make or email I send to people who might be able to hire me as a speaker or advertise on the Unmistakable Creative. It’s the system that’s aligned with my revenue goal.
  • Jar 3: I put one marble into the jar for each day I go to CrossFit, surf or exercise. It’s the system aligned with my goal to lose the little bit of a gut that I have before my sister’s wedding in February.

It’s my personal adaptation of the paper clip method.


Purpose and Meaning

It’s worth considering why you want to develop some habit. People read articles like this one and think that’s the reason to develop a habit. They treat guidance like gospel and make decisions that aren’t aligned with their essential priorities. There’s nothing that everybody should do, even though there are plenty of people who will tell you there are. (Most of them they also sell products for how to do that thing they say everybody should do). The goal isn’t to live a life that’s just efficient, but rather a life that’s meaningful.

From writing 1000 words a day to learning how to surf, I’ve seen the compounding effect of habits over and over in my life. As I said in An Audience of One, habits are at the building blocks of all creative work and for that matter just about every goal you’d ever want to accomplish.

How to Be So Disciplined?

How to Be So Disciplined, It’ll Look Like You Have Superpowers

“World class performers don’t have superpowers. But they’ve crafted rules that make it look that way.” -Tim Ferriss

Most people aren’t disciplined. They can’t say they consistently sit down and do the thing they should be doing.

Of course, just about everyone wants to be disciplined. But for some reason, they just can’t seem to be consistent. Maybe they can start strong and do really good at the beginning…but in the end, their energy dies a slow but sure death.

We’ve all heard stories of great self-discipline and immense self-control. These stories usually involve famous people, tech founders, or professional athletes, who accomplished the impossible and somehow worked hard enough for long enough and eventually signed the $100 million dollar contract.

But most people think that, frankly, those kind people have superpowers. They think those people have something we don’t. They were born with something the rest of us just don’t have. No matter what you do, you just can’t get yourself to do what you need to do. So why bother?

I’m here to tell you: this mindset is garbage. It’s the main reason why most people will remain in mediocrity when they could have complete financial freedom to travel the world, spend time with their family, and be their own boss.

This was me. For 4.5 years, I tried to be a consistent, disciplined writer. I’d watch Gladiator or Braveheart and get real motivated, then crank out some of the most heartfelt articles I could possibly write. But upon seeing that no one read my stuff, I’d give up and quit for months at a time.

I finally decided to become consistent. I started posting every single day. I got more views. I got picked up by some small publications. I built momentum. Bought an online writing course. Built more momentum. Wrote my first “viral” article. Got more disciplined. A year later, I’ve gained:

  • 27,000+ email subscribers
  • 150,000+ views/month
  • A signed book deal
  • A full-time personal business from my writing

The only way these were possible were because of my discipline.

Here’s how to become so disciplined, it’ll look like you have superpowers.

Great Power Lies in Doing the Absurd

“When you’re the first person whose beliefs are different from what everyone else believes, you’re basically saying, ‘I’m right, and everyone else is wrong.’ That’s a very unpleasant position to be in. It’s at once exhilarating and at the same time, an invitation to be attacked.” -Larry Ellison

Here’s something that will happen once you start being consistently disciplined:

People will think you’re weird. They might even attack you for it.

You’ll get confused looks and raised eyebrows when you tell people what you do.

  • “Wait — you wake up at 5am every day? Even Saturdays? Why?”
  • “You don’t drink anymore? Why not?”
  • “You’re training for a triathlon? Why?”
  • You’re putting 40% of your paychecks into savings? How do you survive?!”

Consistency, being as rare and difficult as it is, scares people when they see it live. It’s awesome. But it also elicits jealousy and resentment. In a way, your ascent highlights their stagnation. Naysayers and their doubts say more about them than about you.

But great power lies in doing the absurd, especially if you think it’s crazy. Never forget, you have grown up in an environment that teaches mediocrity and falling in line. As best-selling author Grant Cardone once wrote:

“Take into account that you have been educated with restrictions. Be aware of this so that you don’t underestimate the possibilities.”

If you want what you’ve never had, you’ll have to do stuff you’ve never done.

The truth is, most people simply don’t believe they can ever get the “celebrity-style” success: hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, a brand new luxury car, a big home in a really nice neighborhood. They’ve been conditioned to believe this type of success in only reserved for star athletes, rappers, rockstars, and 20-something tech founders who get bought out by Google.

This limiting belief acts kind of like a sheepherding dog: once your thoughts start to expand and wonder, “What if that was possible? What if I could have that life?” the sheepdog comes barking and herding you back into formation with the rest of the sheep. “It’s not possible!” it barks. “Just stay the course! Don’t rock the boat! Someday you’ll finally win, but don’t do anything stupid in the meantime!”

You’ve been educated with enormous limitations. Maybe it was from your family, friends, a college professor, a boss, or just the movies. Frankly, most people focus on fighting for scraps with the other 99%, never truly believing they could get the rewards of the 1%. So they vilify these extraordinary individuals, and criticize anyone who seems to be breaking out of mediocrity and into huge success. They become the sheepdog.

Great power lies in doing the absurd.

When you start to get those confused looks and passive-aggressive “compliments,” you’ll know you’re going the right way.

“It’s lonely at the top. 99% of people are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most competitive.”

-Tim Ferriss

How to Be Disciplined When You Don’t Want to Work Your Brain Anymore

Back when I used to work as a telemarketer, the only — only — thing I wanted to do when I got home was crack open a cold bottle of Saint Archer IPA, grab a bag of Tostitos nachos, and turn on Dexter.

And that’d what I did for nearly 2 years.

Every morning, I woke up with dread. I’d be finishing my 2nd cup of coffee as I’d pull into work. I’d drink a total of 6–8 cups of coffee every day (to stay energized) as I spent 8 hours phoning angry people all over the country and try to sell them an online Bachelors degree. Then I’d spend 50 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way home, hungry for the beer, chips, and TV.

The last thing I wanted to do when I got home was to use my brain.

This is how many people live their lives. They have big dreams — to start a blog, a fitness coaching business, a life coaching business, a podcast, write a book — but how can they possibly be disciplined after a long day at work? How can you use your brain when you’re so tired from the day?

The answer is simple: take yourself out of the equation.

Make a commitment to perform, and you will.

One of my favorite books of all time is Mindset, by Dr. Carol Dweck. There’s a line she wrote that I always think about:

“Vowing, even intense vowing, is often useless. What works is making a vivid, concrete plan.”

Most people rely on some form of “vowing” to be disciplined. “I will write 3 blog posts this week. I will go to the gym on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I won’t spend more than $50 on restaurants this week.”

But in almost every case, this is just another way to try and make yourself “feel better,” nothing more. A common behavior of an addict who constantly relapses is intense, grand vows to change after relapsing. Of course, this rarely works — it just gives the addict something to cling to to avoid the shame and real work of making a plan.

Here’s the thing: “you” are tired. “You” will be exhausted, sleepy, and hangry (that’s hungry+angry) when you get home after a long day. The odds of consistently doing what you need to do in this state will be slim.

That’s why you need to take yourself out of the equation. You are fallible; rules are not. Set up good rules, and pretty soon they’ll begin assuring success.

Best-selling author David Kadavy discusses this very problem in his book, The Heart to Start. “When you build a habit, you don’t have to spend mental energy deciding what to do,” he writes. When you design an environment to produce success, you remove all the energy-wasting dilemmas of “Should I go to the gym, or stay home?” You just go to the gym, because that’s what you do.

This is how I finally got “sober” from a 15-year addiction to pornography. I went to counseling, therapy, and support groups. I started following a plan with specific rules: no internet after 9pm. No internet use alone in my room. Make a phone call every day and check in with a friend. No more useless vows — I took myself out of my failing promises and started following a plan.

Pretty soon, I caught on and just started following the rules. I removed myself — my tired, exhausted, cranky self — and lived by the rules.

It worked. I don’t look at porn anymore. I haven’t done that stuff for years. This is how you go from a weak “maybe I’ll do the work?” to a definitive “of course I’ll do the work.”

Make a set of rules, and stick to it.

“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 do whatever it takes.” -John Assaraf

If You Grew Up in the Low or Middle Class, You Need to Develop an Upper-Class Mindset

“The only way you become a leading man is by treating yourself like a leading man and working you ass off. If you don’t believe in yourself, then how will anyone else believe in you?” -Arnold Schwarzenegger

Statistically speaking, most of us grew up in the low and middle class. We learned the specific behaviors, mindsets, actions, and lifestyles of those around us in our same social class.

But if you want to develop incredible discipline and achieve an upper-class lifestyle, you need to shed the beliefs of the poor and middle class.

When I say “upper class,” I don’t mean those rich snobs who inherited money and spend their parents’ money wrecking cars that cost more than a small house. I don’t mean the greedy 1% who constantly try to distance themselves from the poor and their problems.

What I mean by “upper class” is the kind of people who manage enormous amounts of money, fame, influence, and popularity and consistently make the world a better place with their gift.

The world’s most successful, wealthy, and influential people are extremely disciplined. They aren’t distracted by the cheap entertainment you and I binge on. They hustle, they learn, they work their asses off developing a killer mindset that can handle a high amount of pressure.

In the words of world champion chess player Josh Waitzkin:

“Mental resilience is arguably the most critical trait of a world-class performer, and it should be nurtured continuously.

If left to my own devices, I am always looking for more ways to become more and more psychologically impregnable.

When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid confrontations but to become at peace with it. My instinct is to seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them.”

Is that your mindset? Do you seek out challenges and focus on building your resiliency?

One of my favorite quotes from best-selling author Darren Hardy is this:

“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.”

If you want to have consistent discipline to do what you should do, take a lesson from the world’s top performers. Act like they do. Treat yourself like they treat themselves.

Develop an upper-class mindset, and you’ll start acting like upper-class. Pretty soon, you’ll start seeing upper-class results.

In Conclusion

Extraordinary people don’t “manage time.” They make time. They don’t “manage money” or “save money,” they make money. They appear to have superpowers, making deals and accomplishing goals most people would tell you are impossible.

How are you going to do what you’ve never done before: be consistently self-disciplined?

By doing things you’ve never done.

You can have whatever you want if you do whatever it takes. Every level of success starts with discipline; as Navy SEAL Jocko Willink wrote, “Discipline Equals Freedom.”

Take yourself and your laziness out of the equation. Forgot the vows; make a plan, and commit to it.

Start developing an upper-class mindset. Do the things successful people do. Success isn’t complicated; the fundamentals are simple.

The road to developing discipline isn’t easy. Few will stay committed long enough to see the end of the road. But once you commit to discipline, you’ll look like you have superpowers; the people in your life will marvel at your results.

Habits That Have A Huge Return On Life

Free stock photo of light, man, art, landmark

10 Small Habits That Have A Huge Return On Life

habits return on life

Over the years, I’ve adopted many different “positive” habits.

To me, a habit is positive when it improves the quality of my life. A lot has been written about forming habits.

How hard is? How long does it take? What’s the best way to break habits? How do we adopt new habits?

My experience is that everyone can adopt any habit they want. There’s only one condition though: You need a good reason to make a change (I talk about that in-depth on this podcast episode).

And in 99% of cases, the reason to change comes from personal suffering, sadness, and hurt. At some point, you can’t stand your current behavior anymore.

Don’t worry about how you will change. Focus on what habits you want to form and why.

After one of my friends recently asked me about my current habits, I decided to share them here—with a brief explanation of what the habits are good for.

1. Do a full-body workout with weights 3 times a week

Free stock photo of healthy, man, people, woman

Strength training has several benefits. It protects bone health, muscle mass, keeps you lean, increases energy levels, and prevents injuries.

I’ve been lifting weights since I was 16. It’s the only habit on this list that I’ve been doing for that long. Like many people who lift weights, I started with split routines.

That means you work out different muscle during every session. With most routines, you’re training a specific muscle only one time per week. It turns out that muscles need more stress to become stronger.

Ideally, you want to train all your muscles, 3 times a week. That’s why I’ve been doing full body workouts. It’s simple, practical, and it works.

2. Set 3-4 daily priorities

Free stock photo of sea, landscape, sky, beach

This is one of the best productivity strategies there is. We all know that focus is what brings us results.

No focus? No results. So how do you focus? By limiting your options and tasks. Elimination is the key.

Be very clear about what you want to achieve every single day, week, and year.

Every day, work on 3-4 essential (and small) tasks that will bring you closer to your weekly and yearly goals.

3. Read 60 minutes a day

Woman Sitting on Grey Concrete Pavement Reading Book

I get it, you’re too busy to read. Or maybe you just don’t like to read.

Well, you’re not getting off that easily.

Reading is essential for your cognition. But you already knew that. How about this? Reading will also turn you into a better thinker and writer.

“But I still don’t like to read.” Well, there are many things in life we don’t like, but we still do them. Instead of telling yourself you don’t like to read, learn to enjoy it by doing it every day.

And like magic, one day, you’ll love to read.

4. SLEEP 7-8 HOURS A DAY

Photo of a Woman Hugging a Blue Pillow

I never sacrifice my sleep for anything. I recently canceled a meeting in the morning because I slept late. The night before, I was reading a good book that totally consumed me.

After reading, I started taking notes. And before I knew it, it was 2 am. I had to wake up at 7 am to make the meeting.

I canceled the meeting. I’m not going to sleep for 6 hours so I can make a meeting when I know that I’ll be tired the whole day.

Some people can perform well with 5 hours of sleep. But most of us need more. If you’re part of the latter group, make sure you get enough sleep. And be dead serious about it. If you’re not in a position to cancel meetings etc, sleep early.

5. Walk 30 minutes a day

Three Women Walking on Seashore Under Blue Sky

If you can’t MAKE the time to go for a daily walk, you’re not in control of your life. I don’t even walk for the health benefits. Sure, walking keeps the body moving and is good for you.

But I go for a daily walk because it breaks the pattern of our mundane lives. Look, we can’t deny that life is routine. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But when you walk outside, you’re forced to be one with the world. It heightens your senses. You can go alone or with someone else. You can have a good conversation. Or you can simply enjoy the surroundings.

6. Follow the intermittent fasting eating pattern

Woman in Brown Classic Trench Coat Eating Mcdo Fries during Daytime

 

I don’t eat anything after my dinner. And I skip breakfast. That means I “fast” for 15-16 hours every day.

There are some health benefits associated with intermittent fasting. But we have to be careful with making claims.

The reason I like it is that it makes me feel and look better. Plus, I can eat whatever I want during the day without gaining any weight.

I don’t eat junk food. I stick to whole foods with high nutritional value. Also, my first meal contains a lot of unsaturated fat and protein. And finally, make sure you consume the calories your body needs to operate (2000 for women, 2500 for men, on average).

7. Be present

Free stock photo of man, people, woman, construction

We’re so focused on our goals that we forget to enjoy the present moment. This is one of my biggest pitfalls.

I really need to remind myself EVERY SINGLE day that I should enjoy the now.

We’re always waiting until we achieve something. “I will be happy then.”

Nope, you won’t if you’re always stuck in the future. Find a trigger that brings you back to the present moment.

For example, I recently bought a new watch. During the same time, I was reading a lot about this spiritual stuff. Now, every time I look at my watch, I say, “What time is it? NOW.”

8. Practice kindness & love

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We all treat our love like it’s a depletable resource. That’s false. Love is unlimited and never runs out. You can give it away as much as you like.

But your ego stops you from doing that. You always want something in return.

So give this a try. Realize that you have an unlimited resource. Give some of your love and kindness away every day. Don’t worry about keeping score. You have enough love anyway.

9. Journal or write 30 minutes a day

Free stock photo of woman, hand, notebook, pen

I need to get my thoughts in order every day. I do that by writing. That helps me to focus on what matters to me. That’s why I journal.

Even when I’m not writing articles, I sit down and journal—only for myself. I don’t write in my journal for others. Journaling is also an excellent tool to become a better thinker and person.

10. Save 30% of your income

Ballpoint Pen on Top of White Printer Paper Beside 100 U.s. Dollar Bill

If you can’t save 30%, save 10%. Saving is not so much about how much. It’s about how often.

You save by cutting out useless things you do daily or weekly. You don’t need to buy a latte every day. You also don’t need to buy “organic” cashew nuts for $10.

Save on the small things. They will turn into big lumps of cash in time. Especially if you invest that extra cash.

And that is also the secret to these 10 habits. They are all small. And the daily progress you make seems insignificant.

You will only see the return it has on your life over time. You must stick to these habits until your life gets better.

And when that happens, you’ll keep going—not because you have to, but because you want to.

Speculation is a dangerous pastime

How to Avoid Wasting Your Time and Missing Life

Speculation is a dangerous pastime

Photo by Seth Macey

“Time destroys the speculation of men, but it confirms nature.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero

Certainty is a dangerous game.

A poisoned arrow hit a man. Though a doctor was there to assist him, the man didn’t want the arrow to be removed. He was looking for answers first.

“Before you take this arrow out, I want to know if the shooter was a prince, a merchant, or a priest? What’s his name and where does he live? What kind of bow he used? Was the arrowhead an ordinary one or an iron one?” — he kept on and on.

The wounded man would rather die than not having all the facts.

Life is short. It must not be spent in endless speculation.

Worrying about possible ‘what ifs’ not only keeps your mind busy; it makes you focus on the wrong problem as it happened to the man who was shot.

Speculation doesn’t just steal your time; it drains your mental energy too.

The Time Thief

“There are two times in a man’s life when he shouldn’t speculate: when he can afford to and when he can’t.” — Mark Twain

When predicting the future, everyone claims to have the perfect answer. However, when looking in retrospective, very few can acknowledge that things didn’t go as they anticipated.

Perspective destroys certainty — that’s the effect of time on our speculations.

Oxford Dictionary defines speculation as “the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence.”

Speculation is not just limited to predicting the future; this inefficient pastime also drives rumination about present or past events.

The hunger for certainty is one of the brain’s five functions. Uncertainty generates a strong alert response in our limbic system; that’s why we worry. Your brain doesn’t like not being in control — uncertainty is a pain that we try to avoid at all cost.

That’s why we love to speculate — we’d rather create a theory without evidence than not knowing what will happen.

The problem with certainty is that we adopt a scrutinizing mode — we are looking for evidence to prove our theory.

Dickson Watts, author of “Thoughts on Life” aphorisms, said: “Make your theories fit your facts, not your facts your theories.”

That’s the driver of financial speculation — people want to win big to be right big time. There are few things more unbalancing to the mind than the act of suddenly winning (or losing) large sums of money.

No one has explored the strange behavior of the American investor with more authority than Robert Shiller. In his book, ‘’Irrational Exuberance,’’ he departs from most economists’ assumptions that people are rational and fully informed.

The Yale University economist describes the group pressures and herd behavior that sustain investment — the amplification mechanism, as he calls it. People are prodded into the market, for example, by the ego-diminishing envy stirred by others having earned more in the market than on paychecks.

Speculation, in every aspect of life, is an irrational pastime. It’s much better to be vulnerable than to be right.

Jonah Lehrer coined the term ‘Information Craving’ to define our addiction to facts. We crave information for the sake of it. We don’t care if it will make us more effective or adaptive — it just reduces the sense of uncertainty.

A great example of speculation gone wild can be found on the talk shows. Rather than inform or report the news, they stray into guessing what might happen. The need to fill the void before real news unfold drives hosts to share their opinions and hypotheses as if they were factual.

The Danger of What Ifs

Speculation turns one fact into infinite facts.

Something happens (what) and we start asking ‘why?’ We fill the void with as many possibilities as we can create in the form of ‘what ifs?’ Finally, we end worrying about all the possible answers — one ‘what’ becomes infinite ‘whats.’

Counterfactual thinking is a concept in psychology that involves our tendency to create possible alternatives to life events that have already occurred. Most of the time, something that is contrary to what actually happened.

That’s the paradox of speculation — our desire to find certainty creates more uncertainty and worry.

What if speculations open up the past by demonstrating myriad of possibilities. However, we cannot change what happened. Speculation turns us into a prisoner of counterfactual — we get trapped by all the infinite chances that never happened.

The same happens when we get stuck trying to understand events in the present.

The dangerous side of speculating is that it keeps us busy while accomplishing nothing — rehashing every possibility prevents you from enjoying life.

John Lennon said it better: “Life is what happens when we are busy making others plans.”

Maybe you are waiting for feedback on a job interview. Or your best friend is not replying to a text you sent hours ago. Or your client unexpectedly cancels an important meeting without any explanation.

Your mind starts playing tricks — you get into an spiral of endless negative potential explanations.

When we don’t know, rather than wait for things to happen, our mind starts creating our version of what might have happened. Speculation turns into rumination — we can’t get past our thoughts.

Your mind gets stuck when you think about every possible ‘what if?’

Living in the ‘here and now’ is one of the most distinctive lessons from Buddhism. Western education, on the contrary, promotes speculation. We are told to analyze the past to learn lessons from it; we are encouraged to create hypotheses and use those learnings to predict future behavior.

What’s the point about worrying about the future if, when you get there, you will be worrying about some other future moment?

Buddhism invites us to recover the value of living in the present. Instead of being obsessed about what you don’t know (what if?), understand that life is in permanent transition. You cannot change the past; you can’t control what will happen in the future. Live the present.

When sharing his secret to happiness, the great philosopher Jiddhu Krishnamurti said, “Do you want to know what my secret is? I don’t mind what happens.”

Letting go of this addictive pastime is the first step towards recovering your time and stop wasting your life.

When in Doubt, Ask

“Confrontation is better than speculations.”
― Sunday Adelaja

Speculation is not knowledge — it’s just a waste of your time.

Knowledge doesn’t show up unannounced; you have to earn it — it requires dedication and sacrifice.

If you want to know what happened you have two options: ask or wait for things to unfold. Speculation creates imaginary problems; it’s the opposite of knowing.

We take an interview cancellation as bad news, but we don’t ask why — we fear a negative response. Ironically enough, we let our mind speculate about every possible negative explanation. We choose self-torturing ‘what ifs’ over confrontation.

Forming infinite hypotheses adds more complexity to a situation. Focus on what you know or what’s under your control.

Marcus Aurelius said, “Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?”

Rumors are another form of speculation. What makes one person’s gossip go viral is the desire to avoid uncertainty — that’s why everyone wants rumors to be true. The brain prefers an adverse, yet certain, outcome to not knowing what will occur.

It’s your call to fuel rumors or to wait until things really happen.

I’m not saying uncertainty is easy to deal with. However, trying to understand all possible routes will derail you from your destination. The way to solve complex problems is to get simpler perspectives.

Henry Thomas Buckle said: “To simplify complications is, in all branches of knowledge, the first essential of success.”

When we look at life in retrospective, nothing is as harsh as we speculated. Worrying makes things more complicated.


Embrace a maybe mindset

Nothing in life is permanent; even our worries change. Understanding that the future is out of your control is liberating. Focus on what you can manage. Experience events as they happen. To enjoy the present, you must empty your mind of what ifs.

maybe mindset will help you accept life as it comes and goes, as I explain here.

Most of all, we need peace and time to enjoy life. As Henry Thomas Buckle said, “In practical life, the wisest and soundest men avoid speculation.” Every time I found peace, is because I was focusing on the ‘here and now’ instead of speculating.

Please take a deep breath, put all your ‘what ifs?’ aside, and enjoy your life (not what might happen).

Start-ups – Real Entrepreneur

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

12 Ways To Know If You Have What It Takes To Be A Real Entrepreneur

Successful entrepreneurship often involves certain personality traits. While some of these entrepreneurial traits can be learned, or at least improved upon, the most successful entrepreneurs tend to be those who are born with these traits.

Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

Go ahead, ask yourself if you have the following traits.

1. You Have A Never Ending Passion

Man In White Dress Shirt And Maroon Neck Tie Shaking Hands With Girl In White Dress

Successful entrepreneurs almost always have a visceral passion about what they are doing. In fact, it often consumes them to the point they are thinking about it all the time and working on it even when they sleep.

Moreover, it’s almost never just about making money.

 

2. You Serve As a Fountain Of Ideas

Free stock photo of man, holiday, vacation, hands

The best entrepreneurs are those that continuously spawn great ideas. This is because relatively few ideas, even great ones, actually pan out to be great money makers.

Does anyone remember the Lisa computer? This was a complete flop by none other than the great Steve Jobs! While this genius’s hardware and software failures are rarely mentioned, there were many of them. The point is, your creations aren’t always going to be perfect but if you are able to weave a lot of ideas, some are bound to be a success.

 

3. You Aren’t Afraid To Work Hard — Really Hard

Group Hand Fist Bump

Having great ideas is not enough. It takes an enormous amount of work to turn a great idea into a profitable endeavor. Appropriately, Thomas Edison, one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, is famous for saying,

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

 

4. You Never Like To Give Up

Free stock photo of landscape, nature, people, water

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be people who easily recover from failure and just keep on persevering until they ultimately succeed! There are almost always significant snags and hurdles in any project. Most people get so discouraged by these, they end up discontinuing the project before they finish it.

Entrepreneurs are so motivated they find a way to solve these no matter how difficult.

 

5. You Have a Willingness and Ability To Learn From Everyone

Girls on Desk Looking at Notebook

Entrepreneurs tend to be people who are good active listeners. They are open to ideas from anyone regardless of their background or training. They don’t tend to be people who think you have to have a college degreeor special training to figure something out. Some of the best ideas for equipment used in water have come from fishermen, not engineers.

 

6. You Are Often a Calculated Risk Taker

Free stock photo of snow, man, people, mountain

Entrepreneurs understand that no idea is a “sure thing” and taking a calculated risk, whether that be an investment of money or time, or both, is almost always necessary to carry forward great ideas. When Jeff Bezos quit his cushy high paying job on Wall Street and made his famous 3000 mile car trip from New York to Seattle to found Amazon, he took a calculated risk… and we all know how well that one turned out!

 

7. You Are Able To See the Big Picture

Free stock photo of landscape, nature, person, woman

Henry Ford represents this trait well. While the car and the assembly line had already been invented, Henry Ford was able to see the big picture and knew that the real profit would come from using an assembly to mass produce cars so they would be affordable to a much wider demographic.

In other words, under his guidance, the car went from a tiny niche market to one of great mass appeal.

 

8. You Can Keep Up With The Times

Assorted Silver-colored Pocket Watch Lot Selective Focus Photo

Entrepreneurs are always on the look out for the next big trend so they can meet the needs of that growing market.

While Apple did not develop the first mp3 player, it was the first company to fully realize the marketability of it and understand the features users would most want.

 

9. You Are Intelligent

 

WhPerson's Playing Chessile you don’t need an IQ to match Albert Einsteinthe most successful entrepreneurs tend to be people with well above average intelligence. This doesn’t mean you can’t be “ordinary” in other ways and it doesn’t mean you need a college degree.

In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs are college dropouts, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to name just two.

 

10. You Are Not Afraid To Ask For Help

Free stock photo of hands, people, ground, group

Most entrepreneurs know when to ask for help. They can self-identify their strengths and weaknesses and know how to surround themselves with people who will complement their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.

This also often extends into their personal life since it often takes a very supportive significant other and/or family and friends to succeed.

 

11. You Have The Ability To Finish Things

People Doing Marathon

Many people have great ideas and start developing them but never seem to finish them.

Entrepreneurs have an exceptionally high will, drive, and ability to get things done.

 

12. You Have An Infectious Excitement

Man in Red Crew-neck Sweatshirt Photography

In order for an idea to turn in a profitable venture, other people must buy into it. This potentially includes investors, partners, and employees. It always includes buyers. Therefore, the best entrepreneurs seem to know how to let their infectious excitement for the project rub off on other people.

 

While having the 12 traits described above are not absolutely mandatory to successful entrepreneurship, they are traits shared by many of the most famous and most successful entrepreneurs of all time.

About the Author: 

Joel Brown is an Australian Born Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Addicted2Success.com, the #1 Motivation website with over 125 Million Views Worldwide. His Podcast “Addicted2Success” has received over 1.5 Million Downloads featuring 100’s of the worlds most successful thought leaders. Joel also features in the new hit movie “THINK: The Legacy of Think & Grow Rich” and the Documentary Film “RiseUP” alongside Tony Robbins, The Dalai Lama, Jack Canfield, Dwight Howard, Alanis Morissette and many more.

The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness

Midsection of Woman Making Heart Shape With Hands

The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness

For the longest time, I believed that there’s only purpose of life: And that is to be happy.

Right? Why else go through all the pain and hardship? It’s to achieve happiness in some way.

And I’m not the only person who believed that. In fact, if you look around you, most people are pursuing happiness in their lives.

That’s why we collectively buy shit we don’t need, go to bed with people we don’t love, and try to work hard to get approval of people we don’t like.

Why do we do these things? To be honest, I don’t care what the exact reason is. I’m not a scientist. All I know is that it has something to do with history, culture, media, economy, psychology, politics, the information era, and you name it. The list is endless.

We are who we are.

Let’s just accept that. Most people love to analyze why people are not happy or don’t live fulfilling lives. I don’t necessarily care about the why.

I care more about how we can change.

Just a few short years ago, I did everything to chase happiness.

  • You buy something, and you think that makes you happy.
  • You hook up with people, and think that makes you happy.
  • You get a well-paying job you don’t like, and think that makes you happy.
  • You go on holiday, and you think that makes you happy.

But at the end of the day, you’re lying in your bed (alone or next to your spouse), and you think: “What’s next in this endless pursuit of happiness?”

Well, I can tell you what’s next: You, chasing something random that you believe makes you happy.

It’s all a façade. A hoax. A story that’s been made up.

Did Aristotle lie to us when he said:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

I think we have to look at that quote from a different angle. Because when you read it, you think that happiness is the main goal. And that’s kind of what the quote says as well.

But here’s the thing: How do you achieve happiness?

Portrait of Young Woman With Yellow Flowers in Field

Happiness can’t be a goal in itself. Therefore, it’s not something that’s achievable.

I believe that happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness.

When I talk about this concept with friends, family, and colleagues, I always find it difficult to put this into words. But I’ll give it a try here.

Most things we do in life are just activities and experiences.

  • You go on holiday.
  • You go to work.
  • You go shopping.
  • You have drinks.
  • You have dinner.
  • You buy a car.

Those things should make you happy, right? But they are not useful. You’re not creating anything. You’re just consuming or doing something. And that’s great.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to go on holiday, or go shopping sometimes. But to be honest, it’s not what gives meaning to life.

What really makes me happy is when I’m useful. When I create something that others can use. Or even when I create something I can use.

For the longest time I found it difficult to explain the concept of usefulness and happiness. But when I recently ran into a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the dots finally connected.

Emerson says:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

And I didn’t get that before I became more conscious of what I’m doing with my life. And that always sounds heavy and all. But it’s actually really simple.

It comes down to this: What are you DOING that’s making a difference?

Woman in Floral Headdress Sniffing on Red Flowers

Did you do useful things in your lifetime? You don’t have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than before you were born.

If you don’t know how, here are some ideas.

  • Help your boss with something that’s not your responsibility.
  • Take your mother to a spa.
  • Create a collage with pictures (not a digital one) for your spouse.
  • Write an article about the stuff you learned in life.
  • Help the pregnant lady who also has a 2-year old with her stroller.
  • Call your friend and ask if you can help with something.
  • Build a standing desk.
  • Start a business and hire an employee and treat them well.

That’s just some stuff I like to do. You can make up your own useful activities.

You see? It’s not anything big. But when you do little useful things every day, it adds up to a life that is well lived. A life that mattered.

The last thing I want is to be on my deathbed and realize there’s zero evidence that I ever existed.

Recently I read Not Fade Away by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. It’s about Peter Barton, the founder of Liberty Media, who shares his thoughts about dying from cancer.

It’s a very powerful book and it will definitely bring tears to your eyes. In the book, he writes about how he lived his life and how he found his calling. He also went to business school, and this is what he thought of his fellow MBA candidates:

“Bottom line: they were extremely bright people who would never really do anything, would never add much to society, would leave no legacy behind. I found this terribly sad, in the way that wasted potential is always sad.”

You can say that about all of us. And after he realized that in his thirties, he founded a company that turned him into a multi-millionaire.

Another person who always makes himself useful is Casey Neistat. I’ve been following him for a year and a half now, and every time I watch his YouTube show, he’s doing something.

He also talks about how he always wants to do and create something. He even has a tattoo on his forearm that says “Do More.”

Most people would say, “why would you work more?” And then they turn on Netflix and watch back to back episodes of Daredevil.

A different mindset.

Mindset Opposite Positivity Negativity Thinking Concept

Being useful is a mindset. And like with any mindset, it starts with a decision. One day I woke up and thought to myself: What am I doing for this world? The answer was nothing.

And that same day I started writing. For you it can be painting, creating a product, helping elderly, or anything you feel like doing.

Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t overthink it. Just DO something that’s useful. Anything.

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.

Daily Habits That Will Improve Your Life

10 Daily Habits That Will Improve Your Life

In the sea of habits that could enhance your life, only a few of them stand outfrom the rest and give you an edge in life.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. “

— Aristotle


1. Get Continuous Rest

Working in a high capacity for a long period of time can exhaust anyone, andif you are not taking the proper amount of time to rest, your body will crash,and it will have consequences on everything you do.

That’s why it makes a lot of sense to start everything here. Now, I won’t tell you to sleep for 8 hours every night or to wake up at a specific hour. That’sentirely up to you.

Instead, your goal should be to find the right time to go to bed and the right time to wake up, so you can get enough rest, remain healthy and feelenergized.


2. Wake up Early

The moment you step outside and let the daily momentum kick in, you slowlyreduce the control over how your day pans out. That control is difficult to re-gain later in the day.

That’s why it’s essential to wake up earlier and use the first couple of hours so that you can take control over your state of mind and your body. In those few hours, you’ll kickstart the day in the way it suits you best.


3. Eat Healthy & Exercise

The sedentary lifestyle is slowly killing us, and we are not even noticing it.

You need to make a deal with yourself that no matter what happens in your life, health comes first — which means that you need to take care of yourself first before you engage in anything else.

There are only two things you need to keep in mind:

  • Healthy Diet
  • Physical Activity

Make small actions every day, and let the compound effect do its thing.


4. Meditate

We live in a world where everything is designed to steal your attention(including this article), and that makes it challenging to find a peaceful moment just for yourself.

And these moments are necessary if we’re going to keep clarity and calmnessof our mind.

That’s why you need to find few minutes a day — preferably earlier in the day,to create a grounding effect that will help you center yourself, and re-focus on what’s important.

If nothing, just to breathe and calm your thoughts.


5. Plan

It’s easy to get swept away with the dynamic environment we live in.

Because of this, you need to constantly pull yourself back and plan out how you want your life to unfold instead of letting the external circumstances do it for you.

Execution is what matters, but this depends solely on your ability to plan and follow through on that plan.


6. Focus on High Leverage Activities

Not all things you do will give you a high return on investment.

Your time is precious, and you should be careful where you’re allocating it.

Whenever in doubt, look at your plan, and ask yourself:

What are the 20% of activities that will yield the 80% of the results?

And then do it.


7. Acquire New Skills

Know that your goals dictate what you need to learn.

You should never randomly acquire skills. Try instead to learn the skills that will help you achieve your goals, no matter in what area of your life.

Know that every skill you acquire will not be beneficial on its own but will stack up with every skill you’ve acquired earlier, and you will start movingforward.


8. Read

Reading, no matter the genre sparks creativity and unleashes your imagination.

The reason for this is because every new idea a book can offer (no matter how small it seems) interacts with the knowledge you already have.

So whenever you open a book, look for just one idea, and see how you canapply it in everyday life.


9. Interact with Doers

If you are the most active person in the room, you are in the wrong room.

Find people that are doing something incredible with their lives and learn from them.

Even interacting with people who are driven and are accomplishingsomething in their life will serve as an inspiration. It will get you to take action.


10. Reflect & Evaluate

Time is passing by faster than ever because we have more things thatpreoccupy us.

This makes it challenging to take a break to reflect and evaluate how our lives are turning out.

So, just before you go to bed, give yourself a goal to evaluate your day and what can be improved the next day.

Not only this but every couple of months you should take a day or two to evaluate your plans. To see what delivers results, and what needs to be cut.

Then, adapt your plan and don’t be afraid to pivot if necessary.

LIFE – TOP IDEAS

 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

 

19 Of The “Top Highlighted” Ideas From 1,000,000’s Of Readers

“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.” — Meredith Willson

What are you doing right now to change your life?

How much time do you think you really have?

In the incredible book, THE GOAL, authors Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox explain that making progress is all about bottlenecks.

If you don’t give the proper attention to the areas of your life that are slowing everything else down, you won’t make great progress.

Most people are completely inconsistent. They have a good day here followed by a few bad days there.

There’s something going on here. Yet, few people will figure out what’s truly going on.

If you want consistent and rapid growth in your life, you need better ideas and systems. You need to completely change up your approach.

According to Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, true learning means you now can produce a desired result. If you can’t produce new results, you haven’t learned.

Most people’s lives are continuous patterns. Some things they do well, but most of their life is kind of a mess.

If you want a new approach to continuous and rapid learning, this article could potentially change your life. To be clear, the principles and strategies discussed in this article aren’t commonly practiced.

Without question, if you apply even a few of these, your whole life will be different in 12 months.

You’ll be making more money.

You’ll have more freedom and autonomy to do what you love.

Your relationships will be more powerful.

You’ll be able to more fully experience the incredible world we live in.

Ready?

If You’re Not Motivated, You’re Either Not Experiencing Enough Pain, Or You’re Not Curious Enough

“If you’re not feeling motivated — you’re either not experiencing enough pain to change, or you’re not curious enough about the power of possibility.” — Chris Smith

If you’re not making tangible progress, things can feel boring or not worth the time.

So you need to start making tangible progress.

You need a future vision that seems exciting. And you need to get back to feeling like what you want to achieve is a game.

In the book, MY LIFE IN ADVERTISING, Claude Hopkins says, “If a thing is useful they call it work, if useless they call it play. One is as hard as the other. One can be just as much a game as the other. In both there is rivalry. There’s a struggle to excel the rest. All the difference I see lies in attitude of mind.”

Your work needs to become “play” again.

Ordinary People Seek Entertainment; Extraordinary People Seek Education

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. When you want to become the best at what you do, you never stop learning. You never stop improving and honing your skills and knowledge.

Nearly every second spent on social media is consumed time. You can’t have that time back. Rather than making your future better, it actually made your future worse. Just like eating bad food, every consumed moment leaves you worse off. Every invested moment leaves you better off.

When you learn something, you should get a return on that learning. Far too many people read books now just to say they’ve read lots of books. If you’re not applying what you’re learning, your consuming and wasting your time. Moreover, the quality of books you read matters. To quote Ryan Holiday, “If you read what everyone else reads, you’ll think like everyone else thinks.”

Entertainment is all well and good. But only when that entertainment is an investment in your relationships or yourself. You’ll know if it was an investment if that entertainment continues to yield returns over and over in your future. That may include positive memories, transformational learning, or deepened relationships.

Even still, life isn’t purely about being entertained. Education and learning is also key. And although both are essential, education will provide far greater returns in your future.

The world’s most successful people are intense learners. They are hard readers. They know that what they know determines how well they see the world. They know that what they know determines the quality of relationships they can have and the quality of work they can do.

If you are constantly consuming junk media, how can you possibly expect to create high value work? Your input directly translates to your output. Garbage in, garbage out.

Work On Yourself, Not On Your Job

“Work hard at your job and you can make a living. Work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune.” — Jim Rohn

Your work is a reflection of you. If you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, stop looking for better strategies.

Instead, look inside.

Are you currently the person who would attract the level of success you seek?Your outer conditions are a reflection of your inner reality. As James Allen has saidYour circumstances reveal you to yourself.

Where you are right now: that’s you.

If you want something different: improve you.

Most people focus on their craft or their “job.” That’s all well and good. However, you’ll get far more bang-for-your-buck by focusing on yourself.

  • 20% of your energy should be devoted to your work.
  • 80% of your energy should be devoted to rest and self-improvement. This is what fuels your work and makes it better than anyone else’s. Self-improvement is more than books and true rest is renewal.

When You Get An Idea, Take A Second To Pause And Reflect

When you get a core insight, pause and reflect. Pull out your journal and begin connecting that idea with your most pressing goals and priorities and relationships. Quickly, another connection will be made. A deeper insight will present itself. Eventually, you’ll stumble upon something very practical. Something you’ll need to act on immediately.

That “something” may be a conversation you need to have. It may be an article you need to write that morning. It may be something you can do for someone to dramatically move the needle.

You need THAT insight. The one that leads to immediate action and makes immediate impact on what you’re trying to do.

This is how you make quantum leaps, day-by-day, in your progression. When you’re getting powerful insights that improve how you live, your life changes. That’s why learning every day is so important.

If It Doesn’t Suck, It’s Not Worth Doing

“The pain is a kind of challenge your mind presents — will you learn how to focus and move past boredom, or like a child will you succumb to the need for immediate pleasure and distraction?” — Robert Greene

In his book, Living with a SEALJesse Itzler tells the story of being inspired by a certain Navy SEAL and consequently inviting him to live at Itzler’s home for a month. Itzler admitted being in a personal rut and wanted to shake himself out of his routine.

  • Day 1: “SEAL” asked Itzler, “How many pull-ups can you do?” Itzler squeaked out eight shaky pull-ups.
  • “Take 30 seconds and do it again,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did six, struggling.
  • “Take 30 seconds and do it one more time,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did three, at which point his arms were exhausted.
  • “Alright, we’re not leaving here until you do 100 more,” SEAL stated. Itzler was puzzled. “Alright, we’re gonna be here a long-time. Cause there’s no way I could do 100.” However, Itzler ended-up completing the challenge, doing one pull-up at a time. Thus, SEAL convinced Itzler that he could do way more than he thought he could.

The principle SEAL taught is what he calls the 40% rule — which essentially means people feel maxed-out mentally and physically, and thus stop, when they are at only 40% of their actual capacity. Going past this 40% capacity is when it becomes uncomfortable. Thus, SEAL’s mantra, “If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.”

Like Itzler who shattered a mental barrier by completing 100 pull-ups, you too can get out of your rut by pursuing tangible objectives.

The concept is: Do something and don’t stop until it’s complete, no matter how long it takes.

Commitment Is External More Than Internal

“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.” — John Assaraf

What is commitment?

How do you know if you’re truly committed to something?

When it comes to achieving goals, commitment involves:

  • Investing upfront
  • Making it public
  • Setting a timeline
  • Installing several forms of feedback/accountability
  • Removing or altering everything in your environment that opposes your commitment

If you’re truly committed to something, in your mind, it’s as though you’ve already succeeded. All doubt and disbelief are gone.

If you’re committed to running a marathon, you’re going to put everything in place to make sure it happens. You’re not going to leave it up to chance.

You’re going to start by signing up for a race (investment). You’re going to make it public (phase one of accountability). You’re going to get a running partner who holds you accountable. You’re going to track your progress (feedback) and account your progress to your accountability partner. Lastly, you’re going to remove things in your life that keep you from running.

Commitment means you build external defense systems around your goals. Your internal resolve, naked to an undefended and opposing environment is not commitment.

No matter how much internal resolve you have, you will fail to change your life if you don’t change your environment.

This is where the willpower approach fails. The willpower approach doesn’t focus on changing the environment, but instead, on increasing personal efforts to overcome the current environment. What ends up happening?Eventually you succumb to your environment despite your greatest efforts to resist.

The environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. As a human-being, you always take on the form of the environments you continually place yourself.

You Aren’t Stopped By Obstacles, But By Easier Paths To “Lesser Goals”

“We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” — Robert Brault

You want clarity so bad that you’re willing to settle for lesser goals, simply because the path to getting your true goal is less obvious.

You’re The Average Of The 5 People Around You

What stands in nearest proximity to you has enormous implications. As Jim Rohn has wisely said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Similarly, Tim Sanders, former Yahoo! director, said, “Your network is your net worth.”

If you’re feeling stuck and struggling to make the progress you want, take a look around you.

If you want to improve and succeed in your life, you need to surround yourself with people who have higher standards than you do. As Tony Robbins has said, your life is a reflection of your standards, or what you’re willing to tolerate. Most people are willing to tolerate unhealthy relationships, poor finances, and jobs they hate. If not so, those things wouldn’t be in their lives.

Most people are a direct reflection of those around them. If the people around them have lower standards, they drop theirs’ as well. If the people around them have higher standards, they raise their game.

You’ve been around people who, simply by being around them, elevated your thinking and energy. Those are the kinds of people you need to surround yourself with. Those are the kinds of people you need to be like yourself, so that others are better simply by being around you.

The quality of your life and the quality of your work is determined by the standards you have for yourself, and the standards of those around you. If you’re fine doing mediocre work, than those around you are as well.

If you genuinely want to become better, you must surround yourself with people who will hold you to a higher standard than you currently hold yourself. You want to be around people with a higher and better vantage-point than you have, so that you can quickly learn from them.

Your level of talent and “potential” are irrelevant if you’re surrounded by people who don’t help you realize it. We all know many people who have unfulfilled potential. Don’t let that be you.

Successful People Initiate, They Don’t Wait (They Are Agents, Not Objects)

Most people only do what they are asked, doing only the minimum requirement. They need specific instructions on most things they do.

Conversely, those who become successful are anxiously engaged in a good cause. They don’t need to be managed in all things. They don’t just do the job, they do it right and complete. They also influence the direction for how certain ideas and projects go.

Most importantly, those who become successful initiate. They reach out to people, ask questions, make recommendations, offer to help, and pitch their ideas.

RIGHT NOW… there are brilliant opportunities around you. But it doesn’t matter how many resources you have. What matters is how resourceful you are with those assets.

Right now, the most influential and successful people in your industry are available to you. You could learn from them. You could be mentored by them. You could collaborate with them. But you have to initiate. You have to be a giver, first. You have to come up with ideas and use those ideas to help other people solve their problems and achieve their goals.

This is how you accomplish MULTIPLE goals at one time.

  • You work to learn, not to earn
  • You give you time and energy to the RIGHT PEOPLE’s goals, not your own at first
  • You learn from the right people and promote their work, or help them grow their business
  • All the while, you’re learning and developing deep connections that will take you 10X or 100X further than you could ever go on your own
  • Win-win-win-win relationships are the best. Where there are multiple parties all going further than they could go without each other

Initiation always involves some degree of risk. You’re putting yourself out there and there is a chance you could fail.

Every Next Level Of Life Will Demand A “Different” You

“Every next level of life will demand a different you.”— Leonardo DiCaprio

According to meta-analytic data, confidence isn’t what leads to success. Instead, successful behavior is what creates confidence.

Unlike dopamine which only lasts short-term, confidence is something you own, once you’ve earned it. Short-term pleasure and long-term joy are twofundamentally different outcomes.

Once you’ve begun succeeding at any endeavor, you’ll reach a threshold where you must decide if you’re ready to go to the next level. Most people get comfortable at a certain stage because they don’t want to deal with the emotional purging involved in up-leveling.

When you decide to up-level and go bigger, your life becomes very difficult for a short period of time. You may have mastered algebra, but now you’re in a calculus class and feel completely disoriented. As bestselling author, Shane Snow has said, “If you’re freaked-out, that means you’re a professional.”

Lobsters are soft squishy creates that house themselves within hard shells with rigid and spiky insides. As a lobster grows, its shell becomes constraining, even suffocating and painful.

Once the lobster becomes too uncomfortable: it hides from predators under a rock, jettisons its old shell, and fashions a new one. This process repeats throughout the lobster’s life.

Each of the lobster’s shells may look drastically different from the previous one. Indeed, in its new shell, the lobster may be unrecognizable to its closest friends and even to itself.

Likewise, the various scenes in your life may demand you to be someone you never intended to be. Although you may have been timid and quiet in the previous scenes, your new situation may require you to lead and speak boldly.

Each situation is different.

Don’t Plant A Tree, Plant An Orchard

Before writing the first chapter of Harry Potter, J. K. Rowling planned for seven years at Hogwarts. Harry Potter is one of the most read books of all-time.

Before creating the first Stars Wars movie in the 1970’s, George Lucas planned for at least six films and started at episode four, rather than episode one. Almost 40 years later, the entire world continues to be excited with the release of a new Star Wars film. This would not be possible if Lucas hadn’t thoughtfully and largely planned ahead.

The principle is simple: Don’t just plant a tree, plant an orchard.

How different might Harry Potter have been if Rowling started the book without any intentions or plans beyond the first book? It may have just been a book about a boy who went to school and killed a bad guy. Perhaps, at the conclusion of that story, Rowling might or might not have decided to write a sequel.

Yet, by “beginning with the end in mind,” Rowling was able to direct and position the first book much differently. The first book, although amazing in itself, was a means to an end, clearly leading the reader to the next book.

Not only that, but by having a long-term objective, Rowling was able to create a much bigger story. She was able to foreshadow to things the reader wouldn’t learn about for sometimes several years!

But she planted those seeds early and thoughtfully, and as a result, each book was a continuation of the next, rather than several disconnected and random stories.

6 Other Life-Changing Ideas

  • Success is taking 20 steps in one direction rather than one step in 20 directions. Take one step in the right direction. Then do it again. Productivity and success are not complicated.
  • “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
  • “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” — Richard Whately
  • Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate.
  • Every area of your life affects every other area of your life. Hence the saying, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
  • 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truths You Don’t Want To Hear But Must

19 Harsh Truths You Don’t Want To Hear But Must (You’ll Be 10 Times Better For It)

Image Credit: Young Pope

As a blogger, I cop a lot of heat for delivering the truth rather than sugar-coating it with Instagram selfies, perfect image filters and nice words. I’ve written about ditching your loser friends, giving up porn, being spat at by haters online and everything under the sun.

I’m not here to impress you; I’m here to give you the truth so you can grow. It’s not about me or some BS personal brand; it’s about how all of us can smash our goals using the truth and leave a legacy behind that will stop us from having regrets.

Here are the 19 harsh truths you must hear:


1. We all have the same problems.

My problems are the same as your problems. You might be dealing with some BS, but you’re not alone. That divorce, person that passed away, rejection letter you got or redundancy you were forced to take is happening to many other people, at exactly the same time.

Knowing your problems are all the same is how you stop yourself from getting stuck and feeling sorry for yourself. All your problems are simply a process that you have to deal with.

This process is part of the human experience and it’s what you were forced to sign up for when your parents decided to have sex and create you in the first place.


2. You don’t need experience — ever.

So many people in the workforce resist applying for their dream career because it says in the advertisement “5 years of X skill required with a proven track record.”

This line is part of every template for every job ad ever written.

This line is in the ad to stop time wasters and people that don’t have the killer instinct to see past the obstacle that’s been laid in front of them. If you give up on your career dream just because of one line, in one job ad, you’re probably not cut out to work for most companies.

Experience often leads to a fixed mindset that makes you think you know everything when you don’t.

Sometimes the best experience is no experience and a brilliant mindset.


3. We’re all going to have someone die on us — expect it.

I’ve lost many relatives in the last few years including my grandma who died at 104 because she stopped eating and decided she lived enough. On the day the doctors told me she didn’t have long to live, I was out of town.

I hurried back and went to see her. The doctors said to hurry up as she was close to death. I got there just in time to see her eyes still open. I held her hand and told her that I loved her very much. She squeezed my hand, closed her eyes and passed away shortly after. It’s like she was waiting for me the whole time.

All of us are going to lose someone, so enjoy the time you have with your family and friends. Don’t take a moment of it for granted and never leave people you care about on bad terms.

The last thing you want is someone to die on you having the relationship tarnished because of something stupid like a disagreement over money or a difference in beliefs.

“Death is guaranteed for all of us. It’s the only certainty we have and it’s the only motivation you should ever need”


4. Complaining is a F*cking waste of time.

It achieves nothing and is for cry babies who don’t want to face the harsh truth: we’re in control of everything that happens to us. Meaning: we’re in control of how we interpret all events.

Complaining is a disease that carries an antidote called “Freaking stop it, now, please.”

No one likes a complainer and it’s only making you get stuck in your head instead of charging forward towards your goals and doing something cool.


5. No one gives a hoot about your personal brand.

All these personal brand courses and “building a brand on LinkedIn” are ridiculous.

No one cares about your ego, how good you think you are or your company. All we care about is what’s in it for us. If you deliver something of value, then we will all like your stuff. There’s nothing else to it.

Your brand is just a perception based on the results you’ve proven in the past. Your brand is only as good as what you can teach us, give us or inspire us to do.

6. Other people’s opinions don’t matter.

Being bogged down by what other people think of you is crazy! Half the time, the people who are sharing these opinions are complete failures and are projecting their wants, needs, failures and desires onto you. They are hoping they can live vicariously through your life because their life sucks.

The only opinion that matters is yours. If you believe you can do the impossible, then you will.


7. You don’t need education or permission — they’re both optional.

A colleague asked me the other day if she should do a course in social media to get a job in the field. I told her “Screw that and build a presence online which will demonstrate your ability.”

I also told her “There’s a bunch of podcasts that you can listen to for free that don’t ever require you to do anything other than listening. Then all it comes down is picking the people who’ve already crushed it and following their strategies — seeing as they’re proven.”

You don’t need education to achieve your goals. You also don’t need anybody’s permission. If no one will hire you to build their website, then start your own company and generate business for yourself.

“Whatever you do, don’t waste time seeking approval. This habit comes out of overthinking, laziness or lack of execution”


8. You never want to have regrets.

There have been several studies conducted of what people dying think before they pass away. Uniformly, the vast majority have regrets about things they didn’t get to do.

When you realize that there are no barriers and you should just try everything that your heart desires (well maybe not drugs), you live a life of no regrets.

You experience life for the miracle that it is. If you like to travel then go do it. If you want a career in a certain field, then go do it. The strategies, resources, people, etc. will find their way into your life when you commit to taking action and not having regrets.


9. The human experience is full of suffering. Time to master it.

In some ways, you could describe our lives as torture. From day one, we’re going to suffer — guaranteed. On the other hand, suffering is only torture when you allow yourself to suffer.

When you see suffering as a necessity and you learn to use it to your advantage, that same suffering becomes fuel for your goals and dreams. All of a sudden, when suffering enters your life, you know what to do with it.

Suffering is part of the struggle which will help you do wonderful things in this world.


10. Quit wasting your time and throwing it down the toilet.

Pissing your time up against the wall doing useless activities rather than pursuing your passion(s) is the dumbest thing you can do. All of the things you want to achieve and haven’t yet can be done in the time you waste.

You think you don’t have time to write, make music, train for a sport but you do. You have just as much time as I do so why not use it to do the activities that will make you feel a sense of accomplishment?


11. Create value ahead of everything else.

That’s why I have no payment walls, masterminds or courses. When you create massive value for free, everything you need comes at you at 100 miles an hour.

The question is whether you’ll help other people get what they need so you can get what you need.

You’ll never have to worry about money again when you focus on creating the most value you can and growing through personal development.


12. Gratitude is a bloody superpower!

Ever since I started keeping a gratitude journal, I’ve learned to see so much good in the world. Even on days when I hit a major crisis, on the outskirts of that crisis is still so much good.

Gratitude is how you turn the balance of thoughts in your mind from negative to positive. This will never happen by default, so you have to make it a habit to deliberately be grateful every single day.


13. Hate to break it to you; money won’t make you happy.

I know what it’s like to have more money than you can spend. It means nothing. Sorry.

Deep down you know money won’t make you happy, yet you chase it because everyone else on the hamster wheel is doing the same.

The harsh truth is that meaning and purpose (which sound corny) are far more powerful than money will ever be.

We’re all chasing feelings, not money. You don’t want the money you want the feeling you get when you have it and buy stuff with it. Meaning and purpose give you even better feelings and they are free.

The most depressed I’ve ever been in my life is when I was rich in financial terms and poor in my own mind.

Everything changed when I found a purpose bigger than myself.

The exact same opportunity is available to you. Will you take it? Will you accept this harsh truth?


14. Be you and stop being an actor.

The right people will be attracted into your life when you quit being a Hollywood actor and pretending you don’t have problems and that life is like spending every day in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory licking lollipops and having Oompa Loompas serve you everything you could ever want.

The word “actor” is what I use to describe someone who’s not being vulnerable, authentic and real with everybody.

Telling people you’re not okay is fine. Asking for help is the greatest gift you can have in times of pain and suffering.

If you’re hiding the real you because you’re ashamed of who you are then know this: you can always become the person you’ve dreamt of being. It takes discipline, courage and a sense of fight to grow, adapt and admit when you’re wrong.

Accept where you are and move mountains to get where you know you can be in the future. We’re all capable of so much more than our current circumstances.


15. The only currency is time (Apologies crypto traders)

Quit trading time for money, distractions, toxic friends, bad habits and anything else you know is not serving what you stand for. Time is the one thing you can’t get more of. Time lets you work on those passions that send shivers down your spine.

Guard your time like you guard your life. Protect your time and spend it on things that will cause you to help others, live without regrets and be passionate.


16. Some people dream and others just execute. Do the later.

We’ve all got hopes and dreams but how many people do you know who actually do what they dream of. The answer is very few. That’s because dreaming is like an orgasm: it feels amazing.

“Dreaming has become a form of masturbation and it doesn’t lead to anything meaningful. Execution separates those people you deem to be successful from those people you deem to be mediocre, or worse yet, failures”

Execution is about not having all the answers and putting in the work. It’s spending five hours writing a blog post or doing a hundred laps of the running track to get your fitness level up.

We all want to become the best in our field but that will only happen if you experiment like crazy, learn, grow and continue executing.

You’ll gain the skills you need by executing and learning what doesn’t work. Please quit dreaming and start believing through executing.


17. Trying to meet society’s idea of success is a loser’s game.

What you see on the Internet as success is a lie. Success is whatever you make it and it varies to some degree for each and every person.

Most of what society thinks is success is built on outdated ideas.

For us millennials, our idea of success stems from our parents who value home ownership, cars, university and stuff that doesn’t align with who we are.

We have this inner conflict because we want to chase our own version of success, but then we lose society’s acceptance because we don’t fit the criteria of the majority.

Screw the majority. Following the herd is not how you become extraordinary: being you is.


18. Perfection doesn’t exist and never will.

Perfection is the belief that there’s some Havana where nothing goes wrong. Perfection ignores failure, mistakes, a growth mindset and an unrealistic view of reality.

“We’re all incredibly imperfect and that’s what makes us human and truly beautiful beyond what the eye can see. Perfection is a joke and that’s the harsh truth”


19. We’re all going to die. The End.

The clock is ticking amigo. Stop reading this article and use the time you have left to create a legacy that’s bigger than you could ever dream of. Inspire the world through your gifts, take care of your family and come to terms with the fact you’ll have to say goodbye one day.

Death is guaranteed for all of us. It’s the only certainty we have and it’s the only motivation you will ever need.

Originally posted on Addicted2Success.com


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