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?

Ways To Shatter Your Ego

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

13 Little But Powerful Ways To Shatter Your Ego

A starter’s guide.


Every time I’ve suffered in life, my ego has been at the source. Not knowing your ass from third base breeds numerous problems, but perhaps the most dangerous is the inability to see beyond your own point of view.

Living via your ego is essentially operating as if everything revolves around you — the world as you see it is the way it is. While a smattering of truth is present, much of life is open to interpretation. Getting outside of our own opinion as often as possible can spare us much of the heartache.

Easier said than done, there are several strategies to stepping outside of the ego and living a harmonious life. Here are thirteen ways to remain grounded in your understanding of the events life chooses to unfold.


1. Kill the addiction to approval

Much like the Hedonic Treadmill, approval is like any other desire in life. We strive to gain it, relish in it momentarily once attained, and set out for more thereafter. It’s as gratifying as winning the lottery and having to return the money the next day. The recognition is not the issue — the fact that we don’t feel good enough without it is.

2. Seek out praise for others

The subconscious mind doesn’t operate based on what you think is true. It functions based on what it hears. Deliberately identifying opportunities to praise others will gradually shift your inner being from quietly self-serving to proudly secure.

3. Write down or declare your purpose each day

Despite the astounding capabilities of the brain, it’s default is reaction mode. If you don’t chart a course for it, the ship only steers when absolutely necessary. Writing down your intent for the day allows you to override the survival mechanism and stay consistent with who you really are.

4. Let go of the false power of anger

You’re not fooling anyone by raising your voice. Anger, although combative on the surface, is a derived from fear. We have no need to relish in rage when we are secure within ourselves. It’s when we feel threatened and afraid that we look throw the kitchen sink.

Leaning into anger is the fastest route to losing any grip whatsoever on the situation. You give up your ability to cause a different outcome. Instead of lashing out, care for the child inside of you who’s clearly hurt from the situation and come up with a more balanced plan of attack.

5. Spend time alone in nature

Man-made structure can always have holes poked in them. There’s always an opportunity to say what could be better. Nature on other hand, is much harder to argue with. It comes from the earth, the unknown, which we do not understand. That which we do not understand, we proceed with caution. There’s absolutely zero ego in the eye of a hurricane.

6. Leverage the Law of Attraction

Increasing in popularity over the past several years, the Law of Attraction states that what you put out to the universe, you receive in return. So when most of your questions to are centered around what you can get out of life, life typically meets you with a similar demanding nature.

Conversely, looking for ways in which you can serve often opens up the doors for others to do the same for you. You must give what you wish to receive.

7. Be still

There was an event that took places in your life between the ages of 4–6 that resulted in a permanent conversation in your head. This internal noise, which we leverage for much of our wisdom, is not our intuition. It’s simply our survival dialogue giving up a blown-out-of-proportion commentary about what’s happening in our lives. The ego is pulling the strings.

Next time you feel triggered, don’t act or respond right away. Acknowledge your first response and ask yourself, “What else could this mean?”

8. Use irritation from others as a mirror for yourself

How you react to others says more about you and the state you’re in than it does about them. People are who they are — some very secure, some not. An inkling of frustration is meant to be water, not gasoline. Assume everyone you interact with is perfect the way they are except you. Hold back the onset of berating other people and flip the lens to see which part of your psyche the situation could be exposing — and could use more of your love.

9. Focus on inner currency

While you may have tangible money in a tangible bank, the same can be said for what’s inside your heart and mind. It won’t matter how much money you have in savings if there’s mostly garbage in your head. The love and compassion you show yourself and others is the quickest way to making huge deposits in your spiritual bank account — the one that will grant you a far more fulfilling life than simply dollars and cents.

10. Give in to vulnerability

Being open and honest about what’s really going on is a true measure of strength. The fear of looking bad drives people to internalize much of what they deal with on a daily basis. Feelings are reduced in power when we verbalize them and see them for what they are. Keeping them locked away in a tight crevice leaves the authentic self preoccupied, creating space for the ego to step in and navigate self-expression.

11. Suppress the need to add your opinion to everything

There’s something to be said about the person secure enough within themselves to remain quiet and reserved while another party shares. We’re very connected as human beings. Odds are, we could add our opinion to just about any conversation. Most of the time however, it’s not who we really are that’s looking to add the opinion — it’s the ego.

The ego has an overwhelmingly need for significance. Therefore, it cannot help but blurt a point-of-view every waking chance it gets. Realize this is not serving any particular need outside of self-worth. If you’re not offering something of legitimate value to the person you’re speaking with, calm the storm and wait for a question to be posed.

12. Question why you do what you do

In neuro-linguistic programming, there’s what’s called a core value elicitation. With this method, the values that drive people are derived from what they’re looking for in life, down to the deepest level. For example, a person’s chosen career path could serve the values of contribution and growth or it could serve the values of security and self-worth. Same trajectory, very different forces manning the control booth.

It’s when we’re unclear on which of these values we’re serving that we’re often left unfulfilled. We arrive at a checkpoint we looked forward to celebrating and a cascade of emptiness wipes out whatever glimmer of excitement we had been harboring. The ego is self-consumed. If what you’re doing doesn’t light you up, it probably isn’t addressing a value that’s important enough to you — or you’re not making a deliberate correlation to it.

13. Locate yourself in others as often as possible

The context in which we screw up in life can differ, but we all do it. It seems like only yesterday we experienced our most spectacular drop of the ball, as we pleaded to our higher power for people to show mercy.

Much of life is trivial. It’s not grandiose or horrific, it’s simply there. Being, breathing, alone, and perplexed. It’s hard enough as it is for many of us. Because of the way the human brain is wired, things will get worse if we don’t consciously make them better. Given this understanding, we either make things better for others or we allow them to get worse — there’s no neutrality.

Viewing ourselves as distinct from everyone else is the quickest way to set the ego loose to spread its turmoil. We’re not that different. We all have the same needs. Certain people may created layer upon layer of protection agencies but inside, there’s still a scared kid. The sooner we identify a time when we experienced a similar struggle to what another person if dealing with, the sooner we trade our admonishment for love and care — the ultimate victory for the authentic self over the ego.

Harsh 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


Call To Action

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.

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


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

— Dan Sullivan, THE GAIN AND THE GAP


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Dan Sullivan

Here are two definitions of “ideal”:

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

Here are two definitions of “goal”:

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

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

Creating Your Vision And Experiencing The Excitement And Anticipation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cognitive

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

Social

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Set Measurable And Highly Specific Goals

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

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

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

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

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

Psychological Benefits Of Measuring Your Progress Against Where You Were

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance Of Keeping A Record Of Your Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re Probably Living Your Dreams Right Now

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

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

Wow!

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

Appreciate that fact.

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

This is a beautiful and rare process!

Enjoy it. Soak it up!

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.

The Real Key to Success


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We need to understand how we can present ourselves to the best advantage and to know what role the ego plays in our life. Your unknown is God, and the self is otherwise considered to be the known. But when you want to know what you have yourself, do you really know your self? Do you want to know your self? Have you worked to know your self? My self is very important to me. Yet this is the only thing which I ignore in my life. I want to be known as a doctor, as an attorney, or I want to be known as a business manager. Because I have never worked on my self. I have never introduced my self. I have never cared to represent my self. I do not identify with my self. I do not proportionately appropriate my self. I do not proportionately understand and distribute my self.  And still, I want to be very successful, myself.

I’ll tell you the mystery of life: life is not a mystery at all. It is a simple mastery of the Self. For example, if a problem comes to me, then I look at that problem with these guidelines: I have to work through this problem, I don’t have to confront it. I have to solve it. Then I ask myself – how will I solve it as the Siri Singh Sahib? How will I solve it as Yogi Bhajan? How will I solve it as Har­bhajan Singh? From which area has the problem come from? If it is a problem of Dharma, I don’t have to care whether I benefit or I lose. I have to solve that problem as the Siri Singh Sahib.

If it is a problem in the emo­tional or mental realms, I have to solve it as Yogi Bhajan. I don’t have to solve it with Dharma. Dharma is a path of the human. Those with emotional or mental problems are not yet human. A person does not know what the path is. I have to make a person human and then deal with the human. Therefore I have to deal with it as Yogi Bhajan.

If someone has a relationship with me as a father, then I am Harbhajan Singh. But, I am using the same ego to solve these different kinds of problems.

The other alternative is that a problem comes to you and you con­front it. The moment you confront the problem, either you win or you lose. That is called self-destruction. You don’t need to confront anything. It is not worthwhile, because every­thing moves. The problem will move. (You won’t move because your ego gets hung up.) But you can’t solve a problem by confronting the problem. Then it becomes a hassle and the neighbors will know about it and people will hear about it.

realkey1 (1)What is the secret of success? OPI OPM: Other People’s Intelligence and Other People’s Money. Your own intelligence cannot solve every problem. Your own intelligence is how you employ and successfully deploy the environment, the sur­roundings. That is OPI. Employ and deploy the surroundings. When you employ the surroundings, don’t involve yourself in it. Because it is not you in the problem, rather it is your interest in the problem. You should see that you get the high­est rate of interest, but it is not you.

Once I was asked if I wanted to have a certain inspector working under me or not. I questioned why I was being given an additional in­spector. I was told that nobody wanted to have him working under them. I agreed that I would take him, but I asked that inspector why the other officers did not want to have him working under them. He told me that other officers were threatened be­cause he was so sharp and efficient that they felt that their own jobs might be taken over by him. I decided to take him. I just outlined to him my area of responsi­bility. I told him that I would give him a specific area of my duty and he could take total charge of that area and do whatever he wanted to do with it. I can tell you that I never bothered with that work at all, and he came out perfect. Because he was very intelligent, very righteous, very honest and very sincere. You may get a good worker but it is rare to get a sincere worker.

Another example I want to share with you. I had a pesonal servant named Ramu. His job was just to serve me and personally attend to me. One day while I was eating with my friends he just came and picked up my plate. Then he brought me some other kind of food and served me. I understood his habits, but after a while I just called him to explain to these people why he made me eat something different? He said:

“Baba, you are not to eat this food because yesterday you worked very hard and this food is very delicious and you would definitely overeat. You are to go on duty in half an hour and you won’t be in a position to digest it, therefore, I am sorry, I couldn’t give you that food.” I said, “But, you never gave it to me, someone else gave it to me!” He added, “Another person is another person. I am responsible for what you eat.”

Now, as Americans you cannot tol­erate this kind of situation. Whereas, I have been trained that when we give somebody a duty or a responsi­bility and we find that person is loyal and honest, we totally do not inter­fere with that person. That is the way to use other people’s intelli­gence. But if you insist on playing it according to your ego, then you’ll be stabbed in the back. It doesn’t matter who you are. Because there is no security for that person. When he gives all of his intelligence to you, puts all of his loyalty at stake, is will­ing to devote himself to you and you still have the ego to limit him, that means that you can turn him upside down right in the middle of his work.

No human mind can tolerate this. The way you Westerners have been trained, you have learned to achieve something, but you can never maintain that thing. You can learn to maintain the same situation with a simple attitude. You can discuss with your ego and then begin to consider when this person is giving you trouble or when this staff is giv­ing you trouble. How can you use them trouble-free? That is what your ego is for. Whereas those who live by a hire and fire policy, they always get fired in the end.

realkey3The mind can go through a lot of changes. And the last and worst of all changes is when you deny your teacher the privilege to poke you. It is the worst of all because when your ego is inflated like an elephant, you need that needle in you. When you throw it away, you go astray and when an elephant goes astray it meets death

You should keep your ego to serve you. You should use your ego and direct it to just behave as if it is a servant. Ego is the biggest disease! But it also has the solution in it. In India, it is a common practice to take mercury (which is known to be a deadly poison if you take it raw into your system) and in the science of Ayurvedic medicine, to use it in al­most 80% to 90% of the cures. It is very effective, and very well recog­nized. In this way, poison becomes the cure. In the same way, you can go out and burn your skin in the sun and you can have skin cancer, or you can tan yourself and look healthy. How you use your ego is a technol­ogy. When you start living in your ego, then you will not grow.

I was reading the life of a person who started his professional life with one thousand dollars. He was a sur­geon and today he is a person worth forty million dollars. He was asked how he became so successful, and he said that he believed in benefit sharing. He would offer his employ­ees the opportunity to work out a situation for him and whatever in­come that would bring, he would offer to give them one-third of it. He never signed any contract because his people knew his word was a con­tract. The result was that he gave one-third but they gave it to him totally. He earned 66% more!

How rich you are has to be considered from the expense point of view. Richness is not considered from the income point of view. If your monthly expense is a thousand dollars but my expense is fifteen thousand dollars, you are fourteen thousand dollars richer than me. An economic fool is a person who measures his richness from income. An economic wise man, or economic wizard is one who measures his rich­ness from expenses. That is what rich people do. They go on a fixed income expense and then they kill them­selves. They become victims of heart attacks and no doctor can cure them. Because what should they do, if they have to maintain a standard of thirty thousand per month?

realkey4I know of one organization where for the last nine years it has made three hundred to four hundred mil­lion dollars in a year. Their bud­get was fixed at seven hundred mil­lion a year. Then for the last two years, they were making only two hundred million a year. So there is a budget difference of five hundred million a year and they do not know what to do. They are selling their equipment, they are selling their land, selling this, selling that and they’re in bad shape. One of their employees who is my student called me and asked me how to man­age himself. I told him that it is very simple. If I make ten cents, I spend one. If I make one dollar, I spend ten cents. When I have ten dollars in my pocket, I only know that I have a dollar. I consider the other nine dol­lars as OPM, Other People’s Money. Out of every ten dollars, one dollar is mine, and nine dollars are to main­tain what is mine. For every one dol­lar you require nine dollar to main­tain the grace of one dollar. Do you know this law of economic expansion?

If you represent yourself with the image that you are ten dollars rich, somebody will ask to use it for one hour, and you’ll give it, and then you’ll stand at a bus stand and the driver will not let you on because you don’t have a penny. It’s called “showing off.”

In India, in economics we call it “balloon-talk”. Balloon talk is a con­versation where you present your account multiplied or exact. Even suppose you speak the truth, that you earn fifty thousand dollars a year. The fact is that you don’t make fifty thousand dollar a year, because in America, if you make one hundred thousand in California, you earn ex­actly thirty-nine thousand. Exactly.

realkey5Now you can wangle it, you can multiply it, you can play around, but when you’re dead, your estate will be found in the estate shop on Beverly Blvd. Why does that happen? Because the children are asked to pay the Estate Tax, and they don’t have it. So, they sell the estate and get rid of it. Or, they make a founda­tion. Paul Getty’s family cannot take a statue from his estate. You can in­vest in your self, or you can invest in your name. Paul Getty would have been very fine, if he had in­vested and made his own body a museum where at least he would have gone running on the beach once a week.

Just decide. Sit down and ask your self what you want to be. Do you want to be a healer? If you want to be a healer, let God heal through you. If you want to be a dealer, then go on, pushing this, pushing that, trying this button, trying that button. Every profession has buttons.

Your presentation, your art of presentation, your secret of presen­tation, lies in one fact: you must not confront the energy, you must circu­late the energy. What is God? Every­thing is circulated. Earth revolves. It revolves on its axis. The whole galaxy, the other stars, the sun moves around other suns. It’s far out and it’s nothing but movement! It keeps going! And your success is, keep going! Don’t stop anywhere, for any reason. Don’t say good-bye. The only good thing is to don’t say “good­bye.” Just say “bye.” Perhaps some­day you’ll need that person. Because what will keep the energy going? It is the movement of your thought form, and the movement of your mind and thought and the move­ment of your solving the problems, and your movement penetrating through the problem. How can you do it? If you know that you HAVE to do it.

Anything and everything, logical­ly, psychologically, socially, commo­tionally, emotionally, personally, collectively, individually, is nothing but you completing the circuit.

realkey6What is required to be learned by you is the Self. Because the Self is the solution of your environment. It’s the hub. It is the axle. It is everything. The fact is that you have to understand that you can’t fall in love with a girl, you can’t fall for anything, before knowing yourself, and knowing what you are fall­ing for! If you do not know how to swim, yourself, and you jump in eighteen feet of water, you will drown. But if you get into four feet of water and you are two feet above the water, you can make it. To become commotional, emo­tional, get into turmoil, and not care for things, not to listen to advice, and not to wait for truth, though it is bitter and it hurts, is to cause a problem. Multiple prob­lems are like multiple sclerosis. There’s no solution for it.

The law of diminishing return is that you can handle X amount of problems. There’s a relationship between play and work. Work and play have a relationship which is propor­tionate. For X amount of work, you need X amount of play. For X amount of play, you need X amount of work. If they are out of balance, then you are out of balance and you’ll never be a successful person.

Please remember that without Self consciousness you cannot properly present yourself. And without Self knowledge you cannot have Self consciousness.

Copyright The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan 

The Art of the Good Life

Woman Wearing Red, Purple, and Pink Floral V-neck Cap-sleeved Dress Drinking Through Clear Wine Glass

Photo by nappy from Pexels

 

A person’s words often reflect the condition of their heart.


Since the days of yore, I’ve harrowed ad nauseam to lead a fulfilling life. Success formulas were embedded, healthy rituals ingrained and I even let some spontaneity run wild, yet — for reasons indistinguishable by my panoramic view— fulfillment eluded me. There was always somethingmissing.

I hurried through life, exacerbating what it means to acquire knowledge and experience —arming myself with weapons of cognition and recklessly catapulting myself into situations I had no business taking on, but knew others could bail me out of. I wanted the scars, the notches on the belt, the lapel pins, without any of the suffering. Essentially a drawn-out narrative with well-timed, strategic pivots right before shit hit the fan. I felt if I had a spellbinding story, I would be able to leverage it beyond the point of unremarkable existence.

But therein lies the problem. It wasn’t an unremarkable existence, but an unremarkable purpose. Swimming in an ocean of opinions, surmounted by tidal waves of judgment, I lost all sense of what I was even after in life — or why I wanted it.


Once I cut through the layers of my core identity, it became clear that self-worth reigned supreme. All of my efforts were fueled by this compensatory value. Which meant the zenith of my life, if realized, would be merely a sense of security.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with self-worth —it’s actually quite vital. However, given it was at the very top of my list of intrinsic values, it was bound to clash with something more fulfilling. And since I didn’t have any of it at the time, I was constantly acting out of a state of scarcity and fear.

The fear of loneliness — and inability to love myself — led to an anxious-preoccupied attachment style in my romantic relationships. The fear of judgment created dismissive avoidance with my friends. And to develop anything with your family requires you share what’s happening in your life, not just concisely report.

If a person’s heart is full of fear, they will act in an offensive or defensive way — like something’s out to get them.


Uninspired by the character arc within my life’s screenplay, I set out to uproot its formation. I invited my fears to have a drink at the bar. I surveyed the entire assortment of disguises they wore to preclude my awareness. Anger, jealousy, resentment, and bitterness then took a seat at the table.

These impulsive emotions sat in the holster for as long as I could remember. I knew their exact arrival, yet never dare step in front of them. This heightened state gave my life both justification and volition, representative of my life’s ambition to ward off the binary monsters known as insignificance and rejection. Barreling through the depths of the forest however, we cannot see. You cannot know who you really are until you know who you’re really not.

When we identify the purpose of our unwanted yet persisting feelings, the impact lessens. The emotion is not the issue — the ambiguity is. We fear what we don’t understand. Given that my emotional cocktail of choice consisted of mostly bottom-shelf liquor, I opted to level up my standards.

Fear, doubt and suffering are ubiquitous. No one is immune. Our response on the other hand, is very much in our control.

I had to recognize my unconscious flavor of coping — with loneliness, with impermanence, with disapproval, with nothingness. Only at this point did I take a deliberate step towards authenticity, towards who I really was — a vulnerable, hopeful, flawed, resilient human being. It’s here where I truly relates. Where I felt less alone. Where suffering was apportioned and value was contributed universally.

The more you presence yourself to your defensive defaults, the faster you can occlude them. Leaving you far more balanced and whole in your perspective — less and less irritated by things you know won’t matter in the long-run.

What you receive by virtue of this clearing is a quiet mind, where you can finally achieve peace.

A person who is at peace, and grounded within themselves, is left free torespond to life — instead of emotionally reacting to all things that come their way.

Not everyone will come along for the journey but many will find your sense of calm intoxicating. For they were looking for the same thing I was — security. You’ll exude safety, confidence, preparedness, faith, trust, hope, and all the good things.

The good things of the good life.

20 Things Nobody Tells You About Growing Up

Life.

It’s a journey of twists and turns, peaks and valleys, mountains to climb and oceans to explore. Good times and bad times. Happy times and sad times. But always, life is a movement forward.

No matter where you are on the journey, in some way, you are continuing on — and that’s what makes it so magnificent.

What nobody ever tells you, though, when you are a wide-eyed child, are all the little things that come along with “growing up.” The things pull you down from your dreaming cloud and force you to plant your feet on the ground.

1. Most people are scared of imagination.

They’ve disconnected with their inner child. They don’t feel they are “creative.” They like things “just the way they are.”

2. Your dream doesn’t really matter to anyone else.

Some people might take interest. Some may support you in your quest. But at the end of the day, nobody cares, or will ever care about your dream as much as you.

3. Friends are relative to where you are in your life.

Most friends only stay for a period of time — usually in reference to your current interest. But when you move on, or your priorities change, so too do the majority of your friends.

4. Your potential increases with age.

As people get older, they tend to think that they can do less and less — when in reality, they should be able to do more and more, because they have had time to soak up more knowledge. Being great at something is a daily habit. You aren’t just “born” that way.

5. Spontaneity is the sister of creativity.

If all you do is follow the exact same routine every day, you will never leave yourself open to moments of sudden discovery. Do you remember how spontaneous you were as a child? Anything could happen, at any moment!

6. You forget the value of “touch” later on.

When was the last time you played in the rain?

When was the last time you sat on a sidewalk and looked closely at the cracks, the rocks, the dirt, the one weed growing between the concrete and the grass nearby.

Do that again.

You will feel so connected to the playfulness of life.

7. Most people don’t do what they love.

It’s true.

The “masses” are not the ones who live the lives they dreamed of living. And the reason is because they didn’t fight hard enough. They didn’t make it happen for themselves. And the older you get, and the more you look around, the easier it becomes to believe that you’ll end up the same.

Don’t fall for the trap.

8. Many stop reading after college.

Ask anyone you know the last good book they read, and I’ll bet most of them respond with, “Wow, I haven’t read a book in a long time.”

9. People talk more than they listen.

There is nothing more ridiculous to me than hearing two people talk “at” each other, neither one listening, but waiting for the other person to stop talking so they can start up again.

10. Creativity takes practice.

It’s funny how much we as a society praise and value creativity, and yet seem to do as much as we can to prohibit and control creative expression unless it is in some way profitable.

If you want to keep your creative muscle pumped and active, you have to practice it on your own.

11. “Success” is a relative term.

As kids, we’re taught to “reach for success.”

What does that really mean? Success to one person could mean the opposite for someone else.

Define your own Success.

12. You can’t change your parents.

A sad and difficult truth to face as you get older: You can’t change your parents.

They are who they are.

Whether they approve of what you do or not, at some point, no longer matters. Love them for bringing you into this world, and leave the rest at the door.

13. The only person you have to face in the morning is yourself.

When you’re younger, it feels like you have to please the entire world.

You don’t.

Do what makes you happy, and create the life you want to live for yourself. You’ll see someone you truly love staring back at you every morning if you can do that.

14. Nothing feels as good as something you do from the heart.

No amount of money or achievement or external validation will ever take the place of what you do out of pure love.

Follow your heart, and the rest will follow.

15. Your potential is directly correlated to how well you know yourself.

Those who know themselves and maximize their strengths are the ones who go where they want to go.

Those who don’t know themselves, and avoid the hard work of looking inward, live life by default. They lack the ability to create for themselves their own future.

16. Everyone who doubts you will always come back around.

That kid who used to bully you will come asking for a job.

The girl who didn’t want to date you will call you back once she sees where you’re headed. It always happens that way.

Just focus on you, stay true to what you believe in, and all the doubters will eventually come asking for help.

17. You are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Nobody creates themselves, by themselves.

We are all mirror images, sculpted through the reflections we see in other people. This isn’t a game you play by yourself. Work to be surrounded by those you wish to be like, and in time, you too will carry the very things you admire in them.

18. Beliefs are relative to what you pursue.

Wherever you are in life, and based on who is around you, and based on your current aspirations, those are the things that shape your beliefs.

Nobody explains, though, that “beliefs” then are not “fixed.” There is no “right and wrong.” It is all relative.

Find what works for you.

19. Anything can be a vice.

Be wary.

Again, there is no “right” and “wrong” as you get older. A coping mechanism to one could be a way to relax on a Sunday to another. Just remain aware of your habits and how you spend your time, and what habits start to increase in frequency — and then question where they are coming from in you and why you feel compelled to repeat them.

Never mistakes, always lessons.

As I said, know yourself.

20. Your purpose is to be YOU.

What is the meaning of life?

To be you, all of you, always, in everything you do — whatever that means to you. You are your own creator. You are your own evolving masterpiece.

Growing up is the realization that you are both the sculpture and the sculptor, the painter and the portrait. Paint yourself however you wish.

This article originally appeared on Inc Magazine.