Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies

7 Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies

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

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

Here are eight insights that I believe are important:

#1 – Be the hero of your story

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

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

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

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

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

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#2 – Challenge yourself if you would like to grow

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

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

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

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

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#3 – Conflict leads to more intense emotional experiences

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

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

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

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#4 – Have clearly defined goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dr Damon Ashworth

Clinical Psychologist

START-UP – How to end the busy-brag

Stop that 80-hour hustle

How to end the busy-brag and take back your freedom

Originally published on JOTFORM.COM

“Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.”

Maybe you’ve already seen this quote from serial entrepreneur and Shark Tank star Lori Greiner. If not, I bet you’ve heard a version of it.

Startup founders are infamous for busy-bragging. Sometimes it even feels like a competition:

Who can work the longest? Who can sacrifice the most? Who will sleep at the office and go a full week without natural light?

Yes, starting a business is hard work, and Greiner’s dedication has clearly paid off (she’s created over 700 products and holds 120 patents).

But the “willingness” she describes is really about freedom.

Whether they’re chasing a big idea or solving a real problem, most founders also want to call the shots; to make their own money, set their own hours, and to create something they care about.

So, why are we all trying to outwork each other?

I don’t believe in the 24/7 hustle-and-grind. It’s not productive. And it’s starting to kill us.

I also know first-hand that starting a business is not easy. I’ve been on a 12-year entrepreneurial journey, slowly building JotForm into a global company with 3.7 million users and 110 employees.

So, where is the balance? How can you fulfill your vision without sacrificing yourself?

Instead of logging more hours, the answer is to make the most of the hours you work.

If you’re smart about time management, you might be amazed by how much you can achieve in a sane, focused week.

Here are five strategies that help me to avoid overwork — even when there’s always more to do.

1. Minimize your active projects

Time management is attention management. Controlling your work is a matter of focus, not creating a crazy-strict schedule.

When you focus your attention, you maximize your time, which increases your motivation. It’s a productive cycle that feels really, really good.

Take me, for example. At any given time, I have no more than three core goalsor active projects. That’s it. I say “no” to everything else. I delegate or save any outside tasks for later.

You can also try a more sophisticated approach. For example, in a recent Fast Company articleGoogle for Work director Thomas Davies describes the problem with most time management strategies:

“Managing time starts from the premise that your workload is going to be what it’s going to be, and the best you can do is keep it ‘manageable.’ But what if you could design your work day instead?”

Davies decided to create a new strategy. He divided his work responsibilities into four quadrants: people development, business operations, transactional tasks, and representative tasks.

Then, he slotted every task into one of the four quadrants.

Once he had a high-level view of what actually occupied his time, he could decide what mattered most — and what made him feel most energized. Now, he tries to maximize his work in those “high-value” quadrants.

If this method speaks to you, give it a try. As Davies explains, you’ll soon realize that not all tasks are created equal. Armed with that knowledge, you can be mindful of where to dedicate your attention.

No matter how you choose your focus areas, make an active choice. Then be ruthless about eliminating distractions.

2. Monotask, don’t multitask

Establishing core priorities will narrow your focus.

You also need to perform just one task at a time. That’s because, as Phyllis Korkki writes in the New York Times, multitasking is a biological impossibility:

“Your brain may delude itself into thinking that it has more capacity than it really does, but it’s really working extra hard to handle multiple thoughts at once when you are switching back and forth between tasks.

Your ability to get things done depends on how well you can focus on one task at a time, whether it’s for five minutes or an hour.”

To create a monotasking environment, Korkki suggests that you remove all temptations — even if that means installing anti-distraction programs like Freedom or FocusMe.

Also, use just one screen. Work in set chunks of time, and if you lose focus, get up and walk around.

You can also try the popular Pomodoro Technique, which breaks the day into 25-minute, highly focused intervals, followed by a five-minute break.

After four intervals or “pomodoros,” you take a 15-minute break — ideally away from all screens and mobile devices.

3. Cut back on meetings

Meetings have become a contentious topic in entrepreneurial circles.

Tesla founder Elon Musk recently told his staff to “walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it’s obvious you aren’t adding value.”

And Basecamp’s Jason Fried says “it’s hard to come up with a bigger waste of money, time, or attention than status meetings.”

Some meetings are critical, but many are not. Unless the meeting can remove a roadblock or it’s essential for team cohesion, find another way.

Send an email and follow up later. Say “no” and protect your time. You’ll be helping colleagues and co-workers to regain their focus, too.

I’m honored to receive a lot of requests for coffee and casual get-to-know-you meetings. I mentor some young entrepreneurs, but I politely decline everything from speaking invitations to networking events as well.

I wish I had time to accommodate everyone, but I just don’t. I have to draw a firm boundary — and you should as well.

4. Make quick decisions

I recently wrote about how every decision you make is wrong and shared strategies on how to make better decisions.

As I mentioned, hording decisions creates stress. When your mind is buzzing with many different choices — from what to eat for lunch to which job candidate to hire — it’s almost impossible to have a productive workday.

Now, imagine your brain is a white board. Every time you make a decision, you’re wiping off more scribbles. Soon, it’s clear and ready for creative thought.

When it comes to decision-making, speed is the goal here. There are very few decisions that can’t be made quickly. I know that goes against conventional wisdom, but give it a try.

If you’ve already gathered enough information, combine that data with your personal instincts and make a choice — now.

Don’t have enough data? Then forget the decision and gather what you need.

Once you have the right information, make your choice and move on. Repeat as needed.

5. Make the most of your work time — then step away

Vacations and downtime are essential for success. There’s just no way around it.

You can hustle with the best of them, but at some point, your body is going to say “no.”

The mind will rebel, too. You’ll be less analytical, way less creative, and your emotions will eventually overrule all logical thoughts.

I’m currently spending the summer in Izmir, Turkey. We have a small office here. It’s also a beautiful city by the sparkling Aegean Sea. So, I’m going to work four-day weeks and explore the nearby beach towns with my family.

I realize this is a great privilege — and I know you might have a few more questions:

1 — Don’t you feel pressure to show your face in the office — i.e. do you worry that your team will lose morale and slack off if you’re not there?

Honestly? I’m just not concerned about it. I guess some employees might slip into “relaxation” mode if I’m not in the office, but I also know that our teams love their work.

They’re knee-deep in meaningful projects, and I have great respect for what they contribute to JotForm.

I encourage our employees to take time off, too. If you don’t take vacations, you’ll burn out and eventually produce less.

As the CEO, my job is to ensure our teams are motivated and they don’t hit roadblocks. Our employees won’t function well if they don’t take care of themselves.

2 — How on earth can I ease up when I’m just launching or growing my business?

I promise it’s not impossible. Even during the early days of my company, my wife and I took three months off to travel across Europe.

It’s a matter of planning and sticking to your priorities.

For example, if you’re working IN your business, it doesn’t function without you. When you work ON your business, you can develop systems and processes that let you step away.

You build a company that doesn’t break if you’re not answering every email or performing every single task. Even as a solopreneur, you can plan to hit pause — if it matters to you.

I know the details can be tricky, and this is a far easier proposition with an online business. But ultimately, life isn’t all about work.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t to want to work, work, work, and then retire for a couple years before I die. I want to enjoy my life and my freedom — which is also why I bootstrapped my business in the first place.

So, be strategic.

Ask for help.

Develop systems and safety nets that allow you to step away, even for a short time.

You and your business will be so much better for it. Soon, you won’t even dream about using the word “hustle.”

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

Fear doesn’t discriminate.

Regardless if you made it to the top, you just joined a successful team or are considering launching your new venture — everyone is afraid of failing.

Fear is hardwired into us. It won’t go away — it’s a needed defense mechanism for survival. However, you can learn to distinguish real from imagined attacks.

Fear of failure is the anxiety you experience when you imagine all the horrible things that could happen. You put your creative juices to work against you instead of on your behalf — by imagining infinite threats your mind gets you paralyzed.

When was the last time you failed?

When I ask this question on a workshop, most participants avoid answering. Acknowledging our own failure is like having a rare disease. No one wants to be on the spot. Ironically, the fear of failure can cause more pain than failure itself.

Many people are so scared of failing that they get stuck. The fear of failure is the most significant obstacle that stands between you and your achievements.

Your success depends on your ability to conquer, not your fears, but your idea of failure.

Anxiety drives confusion. One question helps me regain clarity and overcome the fear of failing.

Dance with fear, not with anxiety

“It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid.” — Publius Syrus

Fear is an emotional response to a threat in the present — for instance, if you are caught in a fire or being bullied by a colleague. It’s a natural response to an attack that can be either perceived or real.

Anxiety is emotional anticipation — it’s the thought of something going wrong in the future, not now. Health professionals use the term ‘anxiety’ to describe a persistent fear or a chronic sense of worry, the sources of which seem unclear.

We can see what we are afraid of; anxiety clouds our vision.

When all your negative fantasies are being projected in front of you, it’s hard to see things clearly. Either you tame your thoughts, or they will eat you alive, as I wrote here.

Anxiety will get you stuck; fear will keep you in motion.

As Seth Godin says: “Dance with fear. As you dance, you realize that fear is, in fact, a compass — it’s giving you a hint that you are onto something. Even though there is that possibility of failure, the fear-as-compass pushes you to persistently, consistently, and generously bring your creative work forward.”

If you want a different outcome, start by changing your mentality.

When your expectations are too high, your fears become bigger and bigger. Worrying about the future is pointless too — most things are out of your control. Focus on what you can manage, not on the infinite possibilities that might occur (or not).

What the worst thing that can happen?

We don’t fear to do stuff; we fear the outcome because we can’t control it. Failing makes us vulnerable — we feel exposed to other people’s judgment. However, that speculation prevents you from living life to its fullest.

I use a simple mantra to defuse the fear of failure.

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

That simple question has helped me deal with anxiety and uncertainty throughout my life. It allows me to recover clarity too, especially in the darkest hours.

Regardless if I was planning to move to a new country or thinking to start my own firm, this mantra allowed me to distinguish real from imaginary threats. And to focus on the now rather than getting stuck anticipating the future.

That’s the most powerful thing about asking yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen. Most of the times, you’ll realize that most scenarios are not as bad as you feel.

Every time I ask that question, it reminds me of similar situations I faced in the past. Though the challenges and what’s at stake are different, there’s always a common theme: I don’t know how things will turn until they happen.

So, what’s the point of worrying?

You are probably thinking this sound too simplistic. That’s okay. I will give you some practical steps to put this into practice in a second. However, before you write a simple method off, consider the following. Overcomplication drives worries and anxiety — we start overthinking potential outcomes and then get paralyzed.

Simplicity is the antidote to overcomplicating.

Bertrand Russell, in The Conquest of Happiness, recommends dealing with worry through the cultivation of right attitudes.

“A process can be adopted with regard to anxieties. When some misfortune threatens, consider seriously and deliberately what is the very worst that could possibly happen. Having looked at this possible misfortune in the face, give yourself sound reasons for thinking that after all, it would be no such very terrible disaster. Such reasons always exist, since at the worst nothing that happens to oneself has any cosmic importance.” — the British philosopher wrote.

We need to rewire our brain to avoid overthinking from making us more anxious. Realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around us, as Russel suggested, removes the need to be in control. It invites you to take a more relaxed approach to life.

Fear is just one of the many emotions you have. Use your other feelings to offset being taken hostage by what you are afraid of.

Five ways to overcome the fear of failure

“First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.” — Dale Carnegie

1. Distinguish real versus imagined fears

Asking what’s the worst thing that can happen is not a magic cure. It’s a first step towards finding clarity. You need to stop worrying and focus on the root cause.

Write down all the potential scenarios. Avoid exaggerating — the goals is to focus on probable situations, not to test your creativity. Categorize the answers in real and imagined fears. Discard the latter. This exercise requires practice until you build confidence.

Master your fears, or you’ll become their servant.

Bertrand Russell said: “Worry is a form of fear, and all forms of fear produce fatigue. The proper course with every kind of fear is to think about it rationally and calmly, but with great concentration, until it has been completely familiar.”

2. Don’t idealize life

If we expect life to be perfect, we will always be afraid of leaving our cocoon.

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology demonstrated that when we have a too optimistic vision of our future, we become less energized and accomplish less also. That’s because we are not prepared to face struggles.

Life is not perfect; it’s not bad either — happiness requires embracing balance.

The same research has shown that successful people visualize a positive outcome, but also acknowledge future obstacles — the real ones, not the imagined ones.

3. Experience is about learning, not just achieving

If it’s hard to define what success looks like, what’s the point of defining failure then? Life is not perfect — there’s no point in trying to anticipate the future correctly.

When you focus on the outcome — what you want to achieve — you get distracted from playing your best game.

Winning is an outcome, focus on playing at your best.

There’s no such a thing as a perfect decision. A right decision made at the wrong time won’t do you any good either. Minimize risk by making decisions in small doses now. You can always course correct.

4. Standing still is more dangerous

Fear is not the enemy; paralysis is. The world will continue its natural course even if you don’t do anything. That’s the most hazardous part of standing still — everyone around you will move on as you keep rehashing things over and over.

Fear is a signal for you to wake up. What is the universe trying to tell you?

The world keeps changing even if you stay put. Failing to adapt can be more dangerous than experimenting with something new.

5. Defeat is temporary

Nothing lasts forever. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said:“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.”

Mistakes are learning opportunities. Life requires a trial and error approach. We don’t come to this world with instructions manuals; we create our own as we live.

You battle the fear of failure every day.

Anticipation is the need to have the answers before you know what the questions are. Don’t let anxiety get in your way. Babies learn to walk because they don’t know there’s a thing called failure — they follow their instinct to get back on their feet again and keep trying.


The best way to overcome fear is by not being conquered by it.

Fear is a signal that something might happen. There’s no need to overreact. The future is uncertain because it’s meant to be designed on the go, not lived in advance.

Fear is not the enemy; paralysis is.

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

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.

Change Your Life

How To Change Your Life In 30 Days

Your identity is not fixed, but highly fluid.

Your identity follows your behaviors.

How does this work?

It works based on two very important psychological concepts:

  1. Self-signaling: which means that, as a person, you evaluate and judge yourself the same way you judge others — based on behavior. So, if you watch yourself do something, you identify yourself with that behavior. If you drink alcohol, for example, you begin to identify yourself as someone who drinks alcohol. If you wake up early, you identify yourself as someone who wakes up early. If you write articles online, you identify yourself as a writer. Thus, how you see yourself is highly fluid, and based on your own behaviors. As your behavior changes, your perceived identity changes.
  2. Precognition: which means that thoughts don’t necessarily lead to behaviors, but that behaviors can also lead to thoughts. In other words,common wisdom suggests that your inner world creates your outer world.Hence, “mental creation precedes physical creation.” This is certainly true. But behaviors (and environments) can also create internal states. For example, if you jump into an ice-cold bath, you’ll begin to experience a cascade of emotions and thoughts. Or lack of thoughts. What precognition shows is that you can actually PREDICT your inner state by behaving in certain ways, and by placing yourself in certain environments. Thus,change doesn’t only happen from the inside out, but also from the outside in.

Both of these ideas are strongly related to other research in psychology, which suggests that behaviors generally come BEFORE psychological states. Again, this goes against most common wisdom.

My favorite example is the research on self-efficacy (confidence), which shows that confidence isn’t what produces high performance. But rather, that high performance is what produces confidence.

Put simply, if you want to have confidence, you can have it. All you have to do is behave in desired ways, even for a short period of time.

Why does all of this matter?

It matters, because you have the power to radically change your identity.

Even at a biological level, new science in epigenetics and neuroplasticity is showing how malleable and fluid our biology is.

The Problem With Succeeding

Most people plateau.

Even successful people.

It’s actually very common for people who are succeeding to get stuck.

Think about some of your favorite authors, musicians, and even companies.

At some point, they generally stop being as innovative.

We all have that band we love, whose first album or two had way more soul.Then, once they became famous, their music became far more tame.

The same is often true of world-class chefs.

Once a restaurant becomes highly successful, they usually stop innovating the menu as much.

Once something is working, it’s hard to go back to ground zero.

In psychological terms, your motivation can go from approach-oriented to avoid-oriented.

Specifically, all goals are either offensive or defensive.

If you’re seeking to advance your current position, you’re “approaching.”

If you’re seeking to maintain your position, or avoid something bad from happening, you’re “avoiding.”

When you’re approaching, you’re less concerned about risks and more focused on rewards. You’re willing to take risks. You’re willing to fail. You’re being PULLED forward.

When you’re avoiding, you’re less concerned about the rewards and more focused on the risks. And you have no desire to proactively confront those risks. Instead, you’re simply trying to shield yourself from any problems that come your way.

I’ve seen this with many of my role models. For example, some of my favorite authors have shifted from approach-oriented to avoid-oriented.

I can see it in their work.

It’s become far more safe.

They are making far less significant ideological attempts in their writing.Their books are becoming more mainstream. Obviously calculated and less intuitive and inspired.

When you begin succeeding, your focus can shift from WHY to WHAT. Instead of operating from your core, your simply try to maintain success.

This is how you get stuck.

This is how you get confused and lose your identity.

Are you on offense or defense?

Are you approaching or avoiding?

Are you proactively becoming the person you want to be?

Or are you holding on to the person you think you are?

The Antidote: Never Stop Re-Inventing Yourself

In the brilliant Netflix documentary, Chef’s Table, which highlights the lives of the world’s most successful chefs, one particular episode stands out.

The number one chef in Asia, Gaggan Anand, is known for spontaneously throwing out his entire menu and starting from scratch. Even when his current menu is getting lots of attention.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is.

When a restaurant starts getting recognized and certain awards, it’s generally based on the menu and overall atmosphere.

Being literally number one in Asia, it would make sense for Gaggan to keep his restaurant how it is.

But that’s not what he does.

Creativity, and always pushing his own boundaries, is what he is about.

So just because something is working doesn’t give him permission to stop evolving.

So he reinvents himself.

Over and over and over.

No matter how hard it is to walk away from something brilliant.

A true creator never stops pushing their boundaries.

They never stop reinventing.

Once you become awesome at something, use your new LEARNING ABILITIES to become awesome at something else.

The whole notion of “finding your calling” has led people to having fixed views of themselves.

There isn’t just one thing you were born to do.

You can expand and grow in countless ways. Especially after you learn the process of learning. You can take all of your experience becoming great at something, and quickly become proficient at something else.

In this way, you never plateau. You’re always growing and evolving as a person.

The 30-Day Challenge

Given that your identity is fluid and malleable, you have an amazing opportunity to redefine who you are.

All you have to do is consistently and boldly reshape your behavior.

You can do this in the form of a 30-day challenge.

What’s something you’ve wanted to do, that you haven’t done?

Or, what’s something that would clearly lead you to a place you’d like to be?

It could be 30 days of extreme health and fitness.

That would definitely change things.

It could be facing an extreme fear: like 30 days of asking people on dates.

It could be 30 days of writing articles, or filming videos.

Whatever it is, if you do it for 30 days, your identity will change.

Your fears will become cauterized and neutralized.

You’ll adapt to your new behaviors.

Your psychological state will change.

You’ll begin to identify with your new behaviors.

Will you have to deal with some negative emotions along the way?

Will you face a load of resistance and fear?

Will you want to quit?

The answer is probably yes to all of those questions.

But THIS is how you separate yourself from the masses.

This is how you make quantum leaps in your progression, while most people make incremental progress.

This is how you consciously shape your identity and future.

Where will you be in 30 days from now?

WHO will you be 30 days from now?

Ready to Upgrade?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.

How To Take Your Life From Stuck to Awesome

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

Photo by GREG KANTRA on Unsplash

It sucks to feel stuck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mandy Hale says:

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

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

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

Those three questions are:

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

Take a break to restore flow

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

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

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

Practice solitude.

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

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

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

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

Try lateral thinking

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

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

Break away from vertical thinking.

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

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

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

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

Changing Course

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

Give yourself a new and significant challenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take the easiest step you can imagine to change course!

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

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

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

Dig deeper

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

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

Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

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

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

So why won’t most people be successful?

Why don’t most people evolve?


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

Becoming evolved means:

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

Balancing The Few Essentials

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

Before you evolve as a person:

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

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

You can reasonably eat anything placed in front of you.

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

As Your Vision For Yourself Expands

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

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

The more successful you become:

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

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

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

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

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

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

You begin taking on much bigger goals.

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

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

How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have no ego in this game.

You life is increasingly congruent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are You Living Intentionally?

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

Giving up bad habits is hard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What You Truly Believe About Yourself Determines Who You Become

What You Truly Believe About Yourself Determines Who You Become

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

Do you believe you’ll soon become 100% financially independent?

Do you believe you’ll never get divorced?

Are you positive you’ll ever travel the world?

What you believe determines what you become. You see what you look for; you attract what you are.

Most people don’t realize their beliefs determine the rest of their life; what you believe today has real effects on tomorrow. Your income, success, health, and who you ultimately become are based entirely on what you believe will happen.

As Michael Jordan once said:

“You have to expect things of yourself before you cando them.”

If you believe you can can, odds are you probably will.

But the opposite is also true — if you know you can’t, you’re probably right.

Bruce Lee put it this way: “One will never get any more than he thinks he can get.” What you truly, deeply believe is true about yourself and your future is most likely what will happen.

What do you believe?

The problem is, most people don’t have powerful self-belief in themselves. Most people think this is about as good as it gets. For the most part, most people believe the best they can be is merely “good.”

Why? Because it’s easier to stay in mediocrity than undertake the difficult process of upgrading your belief system. It’s easier to relax in “good” instead of busting your ass towards greatness.

If you want to have an incredible, successful life, you need to begin believing success is the only possible option.

“One of the greatest turning points in my life occurred when I stopped casually waiting for success and started to approach it as a duty, obligation, and responsibility.” -Grant Cardone

It’s Easier to Stay Mediocre Than Evolve

“It is easier to be mediocre than it is to confront reality and quit.” -Seth Godin

It’s not that most people wake up every day and declare, “Today is going to suck!

Most people have tried to evolve in some way. The problem is, once they fail, they quickly give up and settle into their mediocrity. They tried improving, it didn’t go as planned, so they gave up.

It’s easier to stay mediocre than face the pain of attempting and failing.

Said motivational speaker Les Brown:

“Most people knock on the door of their dreams once, then run away before anyone has a chance to the open the door. But if you keep knocking, persistently and endlessly, eventually the door will open.”

It’s easier to quit. It’s what most people do.

But here’s a secret most people stewing in mediocrity don’t realize:

It’s actually harder to live in mediocrity than work towards greatness.

Waking up every day knowing today is going to be average-at-best is exhausting. It’s depressing. It sucks all your energy out before you even get out the door.

It might seem easier to simply stay where you are; it’s not great, but why rock the boat, right?

Wrong. Remaining in mediocrity is more exhausting than working towards success. It takes energy either way — why not get what you want in the process?

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

Warren Wong on Unsplash

If You Want to Upgrade Your Life, Upgrade Your Mindset First

“If you want to have more success, you need to become more.” -Jim Rohn

If you want to upgrade every area of your life — your income, your health, your relationships, your potential — you must become more.

How do you become more?

By upgrading your mindset first.

Prolific author Napoleon Hill once wrote:

Success comes to those who are success-conscious.”

If you have a mindset that is always looking for success and improvement, you’ll find it.

I blogged for 4 years, and after 4 years I had accomplished…nothing. I had no followers, no views, and no income. Frankly, I eventually began believing I couldn’t succeed. I didn’t think my writing was good enough for the big leagues…and it wasn’t.

But last year, I finally got serious. I believed I was going to be one of the best writers on the Internet. As a result, I invested heavily in myself. My confidence grew. I built momentum, reinforcing my belief. After years of failed pitches, suddenly CNBC and Business Insider came to me. I’ve gained 20,000+ new email subscribers. I just signed a book deal!

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

Strong belief attracts success.

But no belief guarantees failure.

Richard Wiseman, a former street magician turned researcher and author, conducted a study with two groups — one group of people who thought of themselves as lucky, the other self-proclaimed they were “unlucky.”

For one study, Wiseman placed a $20 dollar bill on the street. The group that believed they were lucky spotted the bill almost every time; the “unlucky” group almost always ignored it and walked right past!

Success, in all its forms, isn’t something you seize so much as it is something that is attracted to you. The most effective, productive method of becoming a more successful person is believing you already are one.

Wrote best-selling motivational author Dr. David Schwartz:

“Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure out ways and means how to.”

Most people don’t truly believe they can achieve greatness. They don’t believe they can actually live an extraordinary life.

As a result, this becomes true; they aren’t successful. They don’t attract opportunities. In fact, they actively miss them — even if it’s right at their feet!

But if you believe — truly believe — in your ability to succeed, you will. Your mind will figure out the means how.

“Whatever the conscious, reasoning mind of man believes’ the subconscious mind will accept and act upon.”

-Joseph Murphy, The Power of the Subconscious Mind

If You Always Let Others Think For You, You’ll Never Become Who You Want to Be

“Do not let others do your thinking for you.” -Joseph Murphy

The fact is, it’s easier to let others think for you.

It’s so convenient. If others are calling the shots, you bear none of the responsibility! If you try and fail, it’s not your fault — it’s theirs.

Grammy-award winning artist Kendrick Lamar once wrote, “I want the credit if I’m losing or I’m winning.” This is an uncommon mindset, one always found with highly successful people, and almost never found with unsuccessful individuals.

Most people aren’t willing to take full responsibility of their life; they might want the credit for the successes, but hate having to own up to the failures.

The result? Most people let others do their thinking for them.

This may save you from experiencing unpleasant responsibilities — admitting you haven’t made any progress after all this time while you could have, but didn’t — but you suffer far more in the long run.

When you are not your true self, that part of you begins acting out. As best-selling author David Kadavy wrote:

“When our true self doesn’t get a chance to follow its desires, it acts out in strange ways.”

The more you let others do your thinking for you, the farther you drift away from what you want.

Don’t let others do your thinking for you. It’s easier, more convenient, and hassle-free, but every day your future grows more boring and mediocre.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

-Steve Jobs

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Acting “As If” Becomes Acting As Is

“What you think, feel, and do is what you see, hear, and attract.” -James Altucher

There are powerful mental, physiological, and emotional shifts that happen when you begin believing you’re the best.

The only way you become a leading man is by treating yourself like a leading man and working your ass off,” wrote Arnold Schwarzenegger is his autobiography.

Author Darren Hardy put it this way: “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon… must inevitably come to pass!

Tony Robbins once made the point that you get what you tolerate. If you tolerate mediocre, that’s exactly what you’ll get. If you act as if mediocrity is OK, then you’ll begin molding your beliefs to fit this reality.

But the opposite is true, too. If you act like the best, you’ll begin making choices and behaving in ways to make that a reality.

  • Why do you keep tolerating mediocrity?
  • Why do you keep believing you’re second-class?
  • When are you going to finally get serious?

The world’s top performers don’t tolerate anything below extraordinary. They are tireless in their quest for progression, learning, focusing, and growth. They become addicted to becoming better every day.

In the words of Darren Hardy:

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

If you begin acting like the best, that’s what you’ll become.

Every day, your conscious mind takes orders from your belief system. Every choice you make, every word you say is based on these beliefs.

In his book, The Power of the Subconscious Mind, Joseph Murphy explained, “As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.” What this means is simple: what you tell yourself is what you become.

If you act “as if” you are what you want to be — a professional athlete, a CEO of a $10M startup, a loving husband and father — you’ll eventually begin acting as these individuals actually act.

But if you continue to act in the ways you always have, you’ll never have anything more than what you already have.

“If you want to get to the next level of whatever you’re doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you previously have been.” -Grant Cardone

In Conclusion

“You cannot see what you don’t look for, and you cannot look for what you don’t believe in.” -Darren Hardy

If you have more than 2 close friends, you’re part of the minority.

Over half of Americans are on track to retire with less than $10,000.

There are actually more Americans that are obese than simply overweight!

Why are so many people living in mediocrity? Why don’t people have the lives they want?

A fundamental reason is because they simply don’t believe their ideal life is even possible.

You cannot gain what you don’t look for. Whatever you believe about yourself becomes true. Your belief system is incredibly powerful — it determines how successful (or unsuccessful) you’ll ultimately become.

Your thoughts are the reason you are where you are right now. If you’re not where you want to be, ask yourself: how are my thoughts limiting me? What beliefs are holding me back?

If you want more, then start with upgrading your mindset. Because what you believe about yourself determines who you become.

6-Word Sentence Will Give You Complete Freedom And High Performance

This 6-Word Sentence Will Give You Complete Freedom And High Performance

The worst possible advice is to “lower your expectations.”

Instead, it is far more powerful to:


“Expect everything and attach to nothing.”

— Carrie Campbell


The recent hit film, Molly’s Game, written and produced by Aaron Sorkin, is about the story of Molly Bloom.

She grew up in Colorado, moved to LA, and got mixed-up in the wrong crowd. Ultimately, she found herself hosting the highest paying private poker games in the world.

It’s a true story and totally worth learning about.

Molly couldn’t be stopped. Eventually, the FBI and many other organizations were out to stop her. But she was past her point of no return, fueled by “unsustainably high dopamine hits.”

Molly hosted private games and her clients were the richest and most famous people in the world. The biggest surprise was that these people were terribly unhappy. They were disconnected and had no “center of gravity.”

When you have all the money and fame in the world, everything can become numb — and you seek bigger and bigger thrills just to feel anything.

This is what Molly got sucked and absorbed into. Eventually, it all came crashing down. She was arrested, and lost everything — all of her money, friends, and reputation.

Complete Removal Of Ego

“Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.” — Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind

Once she lost everything, and had to face the cold hard truth that she’d made some horrible mistakes, she was free to become whoever she wanted to be.

Her low was so low that she became completely devoid of ego. She started going to 12-step programs and working relentlessly on herself.

She knew she was a mess. She owned-up to everything she did. Rather than seeking “unsustainable” dopamine hits, she realized that she needed to re-center and internalize her center of gravity.

She needed to learn to sit with the discomfort and boredom — rather than impulsively seeking any form of distraction she could find to numb and suppress the restlessness.

She eventually realized that she needed a personal re-branding. She decided that the best bet for re-invention would be to have a film made of her life.

After doing some research, she decided that Aaron Sorkin could do the best job. She then spent 4 months trying to get a meeting with Sorkin. That involved getting rejected over and over and over.

Yet, she didn’t experience any pain in all of that rejection. She was already leveled to the dust in humility. She had no ego left. She had lost BIG. She had lost everything. Her reputation was as bad as it could get. She was a felon who had shamed herself and her family.

She was willing to move forward because:

  • She had spent a considerable time clarifying and justifying her thesis: that a movie about her life could actually be a viable option
  • She followed intuition
  • She went for it with abandon
  • She stayed connected to herself, her center of gravity, and those around her who had her back
  • She didn’t let the noise get it (others will try to convince you not to pursue your dream because they don’t believe they could do it or because they believe you can succeed)

Eventually, she got the meeting with Sorkin. She pitched her idea. At the end of the meeting, Sorkin said, “I’ve never met someone so down on their luck and so sure of themselves.”

Bloom responded, “I have lost everything. I have nothing to lose. I have no ego. If you don’t want to do this project, that’s fine.”


How To Have Raw And Uninhibited Performance

Whether you worry about the outcome or not, everything will turn out okay. You might as well let go of the worry. In the realm of creativity, the moment you realize you can try and fail — and that everything will be okay — then you are free to create.

In an interview with Success Magazine, actor Jeremy Piven explained that as an actor, the only way to work is to go out and audition for specific roles.

The challenge most actors/actresses face is that they get in their own way. It doesn’t matter how much homework they’ve done. If they’re too tied to a specific result, they can’t be present in the moment. They can’t truly perform their art. They come off as desperate. They get in their own way. Their performance isn’t what it could have been.

Jeremy said that when he quit worrying about a specific result, he was able to be present during his auditions. He was able to be completely who he wanted to be. He wasn’t trying to be what he thought others wanted him to be. He performed his art.

If he didn’t get the gig, either they didn’t get it or it just wasn’t the right fit. So he moves on to the next. In this way, he’s able to get the jobs he’s supposed to have. He’s not just trying to get anything he can get.

According to Robert Kegan, Harvard Psychologist, the only way to truly experience the highest levels of transformation and “conscious evolution” is to detach from the need for specific outcomes.

THIS specific outcomes isn’t what matters. THIS outcome, regardless of what it is — win or lose — has no bearing on what you’re committed to doing and being. You’re fully committed and invested. You’ve already made the decision. And in your mind, you already know what you are. So THIS outcome doesn’t affect any of that.

You won’t be derailed by success nor defeat — as most people are. You’ve already made a decision. You’re committed to that decision. And you will move forward regardless of what happens here.

Expect Everything; Attach To Nothing

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” — Yoda

According to the “Expectancy Theory of Motivation,” three things must occur for a person to have high motivation for achieving their goals:

  • You must believe you can do what it takes to achieve your goal.
  • You must believe that you know how to achieve it (you have the proper methods).
  • Finally, you must believe that the rewards of the particular goal are personally meaningful.

Napoleon Hill put it this way, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

If you believe you can do it, you probably can. Dan Sullivan has said, “The brain can only find what it’s looking for.” Most people assume something is impossible because that’s all their mental filter allows for. Ellen Langer said, “If something is presented as an accepted truth, alternative ways of thinking do not even come up for consideration.”

Yet, the common advice is to “lower your expectations,” in order to protect yourself from the pain of being let down.

Lowing your expectations is horrible advice.

The reason people are told to lower their expectations is because they don’t understand the power of confidence, commitment, and expectancy. They don’t realize, like Molly Bloom, that they could create the outcomes they wanted.

How did Bloom do it?

She internalized her center of gravity. She did the deep inner work of completely removing her ego. She faced all of her demons and faced the truth.

Then, she made a committed conclusion, removed all the external noise, and made it real. All of a sudden, she’s on the Ellen show and there’s a major motion picture about her life.

She could maintain inner security because she was completely detached from the outcomes.

She completely believed she would be successful. She could create the impossible. She expected to succeed — and her expectations and hopes were sky-high.

She wanted to work with the absolute best.

She held nothing back.

Yet, she was completely detached from every outcome. And in fact, that’s why she was able to pursue with such tenacity. The outcome didn’t really matter, and paradoxically she was internally resolved to make it happen.

This is freedom.

To expect the best and be completely detached from whatever happens.

Attachment to outcomes leads to being desperate and dissolving your personal values to get that outcome. You become unhealthily obsessed and can’t stay present.

When you know things will work out, and yet can be detached to whatever happens, you can live in congruence and integrity. If you succeed, you’re not defined by that success. If you fail, you’re not defined by that failure.

Your future is bigger and better than your past.

You’re constantly growing.

You’re aligned.

You’re clear.

You’re free.

Conclusion

If you attach to an outcome — whether a good or bad — you freeze your personality. The worst thing you can do for your success is get attached to what happened in the past.

  • Prior success defines you, and stops you from re-inventing yourself in the present.
  • Prior failure defines you, and stops you from taking bigger and bolder risks in the present.

Attach to people, absolutely.

But detach completely from outcomes.

Expect EVERYTHING. Raise your expectations. Surround yourself with people who expect the best. According to what psychologists call, “The Pygmalion Effect,” people rise or fall to the expectations of those around them.

The best thing you can do is surround yourself with people who hold you to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

Very few people want REAL accountability in their lives. I’ve watched it. It takes a considerable amount of persuasion to convince someone to make a change THEY WANT TO MAKE in their lives.

Most people resent accountability. They don’t want to be pushed. They don’t want high expectations.

They want lower and lowering expectations. Even when they pay someone to hold them accountable.

But if you want real growth — surround yourself with people who expect you to show up bigger than you’ve ever watched yourself show up. Surround yourself with people who see enormously more in you than you could ever see in yourself.

Expect success.

Attach to nothing.

Play.

Fail.