Speculation is a dangerous pastime

How to Avoid Wasting Your Time and Missing Life

Speculation is a dangerous pastime

Photo by Seth Macey

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

Certainty is a dangerous game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Time Thief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Danger of What Ifs

Speculation turns one fact into infinite facts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When in Doubt, Ask

“Confrontation is better than speculations.”
― Sunday Adelaja

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embrace a maybe mindset

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

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

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

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



Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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

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

What are you doing right now to change your life?

How much time do you think you really have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ll be making more money.

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

Your relationships will be more powerful.

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


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

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

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

So you need to start making tangible progress.

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

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

Your work needs to become “play” again.

Ordinary People Seek Entertainment; Extraordinary People Seek Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work On Yourself, Not On Your Job

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

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

Instead, look inside.

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

Where you are right now: that’s you.

If you want something different: improve you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commitment Is External More Than Internal

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

What is commitment?

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

When it comes to achieving goals, commitment involves:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re The Average Of The 5 People Around You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is how you accomplish MULTIPLE goals at one time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Each situation is different.

Don’t Plant A Tree, Plant An Orchard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 Other Life-Changing Ideas

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













Lots of people who read my stuff email me with their struggles. They’re hoping that I will be blown away by how hard they’ve had it. They think it’s some sort of competition to see who has the most battle scars.

By reading so many of these emails of struggle over the last few years, I realized something: we all have it tough. All of us struggle — even me.

– Right now, I have 14 days left until I’ll be out of a job.
– I’ve got some very challenging personal issues to deal with.
– My investments need a major rework and I’m completely lost.

I’ve been offered an opportunity to do public speaking to a large audience and am scared of whether I should say yes. Do I have what it takes? Will I mess it up?

We all have it tough.

What I’ve learned is it’s what you do with the struggle that will define your future.

Are you going to sit there and take it?

That’s right I’m asking you right now. What are you going to do with the struggles?

There are only two options:

1. Toughen up and use the struggles as motivation
2. Be a piss weak, sook, and give up.

Your struggles can take you to a new level. When George Lucas tried to make Star Wars, it was a total F*ck up. Everything went wrong. There were natural disasters, lack of money and even the actors thought it was the worse film ever to be made.

Did the creator of the Jedi Knight give up?

Not a chance. He kept going and defied the odds. His reward? One of the most watched movies of all time and plenty of cash to go with it.

You may still be thinking option two is your only hope. Maybe you could be piss weak and just give up. Then you could sit on the couch, watch Netflix, drink wine and pretend that your struggles didn’t stop you from achieving your goals.

The good news is giving up works short-term. The bad news?

After the short-term gain of giving up, and getting to Netflix and chill, you’ll be really pissed off at yourself. You’ll have regret and feel even worse than before you began your journey of struggle. Not getting your goals and making next to no progress feels like crap.I spent several years doing this.

“Every night I would get home, watch a Hollywood movie, go to 7-Eleven for some sugar and send useless texts to the toxic people in my life”

These same people were going nowhere and telling me to give up.

Screw that. I did this for a while and felt so empty. Life had no meaning and I was making no impact. The sugar diet made me sick and I ended up becoming bedridden.

The struggle is the beginning.

Looking back, without the struggle, I would have never got off my lazy ass and actually taken action. When I say “It’s what you do with the struggle,”what I mean is this:

Having it tough and struggling — like trying to walk up a hill while there’s a mudslide happening at the exact same time — is a big fat signal that you’re onto something.

The motivation and momentum you need to get started is right there in front of your blue eyes.

“You can’t get started on some mammoth task to change your life unless you get pissed off and do it tough”

If you were doing it easy, there’d be no urgent reason to take action.

When you’re like me and you are about to be unemployed, have lots of tough decisions to make and are unsatisfied with your career progression to date, you have to embrace your circumstances.

Now, this sounds like a lot of big words that you’d read in some 2000-page self-help book that repeats the same ideas over and over.

I’m going to dumb it right down:

The struggle is a sign to get started. When you struggle, things can’t really get much worse. What you’re left with is nothing but upside.

What action do we take then when we’re struggling?

Let’s use my situation as an example. Here are the action steps I’m using and implementing this week:

1. Accept where you are right now
– This will give you a reality check.

2. Meditate to relax your busy brain
– Stress will force you to make dumb decisions.

3. Get really uncomfortable
– I said yes to a new business venture that involves a lot of public speaking.

4. Resist the temptation to be pissed off
– Getting angry is only going to make things worse. Reserve your energy.

5. Write three things a day you’re grateful for
– This will force you to find the positive.

6. Delete whingers, sooks, liars and complainers from your contact list
– You’ve got enough issues; it’s hard enough to be positive without having toxic people talk nonsense and distract you.

Final step: Chill out amigo.

Your world is not going to end tomorrow. You can always start again. You can always fall down and get straight back up. Don’t be so angry with yourself. We all struggle and you’re doing the best that you can. Focus your energy on building your confidence and supporting your growth mindset.

“My future looks like a nuclear apocalypse right now but I’ve learned through the struggles that I always come out the other side on top”

Being impatient and stressing will only bring on more problems for you.It’s not that bad. Things always turn around. This moment of struggle and how you handle it will define who you become.

All of us have unlimited potential and we’re all struggling every day.

Once you learn to accept the struggle, embrace it and see it as a seed to something better, you’ll be well on your way to becoming someone you’re proud of.

Wish me luck with the struggles coming in the next few weeks. We’re in this together don’t forget.

Peace, love, respect.

Originally posted on Addicted2Success.com

How to Create Rare And Life-Changing Relationships

The secret of getting others to help you… because they want to. And for no other reason. Not because they were manipulated to help you. And not because they feel compelled to.

There are two types of relationships:

  • Transactional
  • Transformational

Transactional relationships are economic and functional. They’re based on exchange of money, goods, or services. They serve a very clear point. And when that point no longer makes sense or has been fulfilled, the relationship ends.

Transactional relationships are important. They’re how you got the groceries in your fridge, the place you live, the clothes you wear, and most of the things you enjoy in your life.

However, when it comes to creating the deepest and most important connections, transactional mentalities won’t work.

The problem is, most people are transactional in their relationships. By very nature, transactional relationships are about getting the most you possibly can in exchange for as little as possible on your part. They’re all about you, and what you can get. Not about what you can give.

And all though it seems brutally obvious — this isn’t how you develop powerful relationships with anyone. Let alone relationships with key collaborators or mentors who can take you to “the next level” and help you grow 100X or more.

Transformational relationships, on the hand, can start out as transactions. But they go far far beyond the exchange of money, goods, or services. By very nature, transformational relationships are about giving the most you possibly can in attempts of helping others. They’re about advancing other people’s goals in a synergistic and win-win way — because clearly, you could do far more together than alone- Per Helen Keller.

But transformational relationships go much, much further than that.

Your relationship isn’t transformational if it doesn’t change you. If you’re not getting better. And if there aren’t generous gifts given without compulsion.

Your relationship isn’t transformational if it’s primarily about you.

Your relationship isn’t transformational if you’re not creating a bigger pie — both for the relationship and all involved. But beyond that, your relationship isn’t trasnformational if you aren’t making the world a better place.

Your relationships aren’t trasnformational if you don’t truly love the people you’re with. If you aren’t genuine. If you’re not thoughtful.

Relationships are the key to life. Actually, from a “relational perspective” — relations between entities are ontologically more fundamental than the entities themselves.

Ontology is a fancy world for “reality” or “nature of being.” What this means is that the relationship BETWEEN things is more REAL than the things themselves.

Your computer isn’t objectively a computer. It’s a computer TO YOU. To your dog, that computer is a strange thing that makes an odd sound and has cool lights.

It’s the relationship BETWEEN you and your computer that IS THE REALITY.

Context = king.

Relationships = THE ONLY REALITY.

Sadly, most Western thinkers believe things in and of themselves ARE THE REALITY. Which is why we are such an isolated culture at this time.

When relationships are the reality, you prize people far more deeply. You value the deep meaning you get from the relationship. You’re far more intimate, honest, and caring. You’re far more likely to express gratitude, and to share your voice. And to stand up for those you love. Because the relationship is everything. It’s not something you just cast aside. It’s not merely a means to an end.

Do you view your people as objects or people?

If objects, the relationship is a transaction. A means to an end. Not THE REALITY.

If you view people as people, then the relationship is the reality. The end. And in such a case, true transformation can occur.

Here’s more:

They Are Based On Giving And Grace

Recently, I almost got kicked-out of my PhD program at Clemson University. I’m a non-traditional graduate student with non-traditional goals. Sometimes, it’s been scary to be open and honest about my goals.

Over a few years of bad communication on my part, as well as incongruence with key relationships — I almost got kicked out. I’d gotten transactional in my relationship with my key adviser, a relationship that for a time was transformational. Once things became transactional, molehills became mountains. Small problems became catastrophic.

The relationship died. And understandably so.

Failures and mistakes are one of the fastest ways to determine if a relationship is transactional or transformational. If transactional — there isn’t much room for conflict, messiness, mistakes, etc. because the relationship doesn’t have a foundation of loyalty, trust, and protection. Communication is held back.

Given my situation, for the past few months I didn’t know what my future held in my PhD program. I’d sunk 4 years into something that might no longer happen.

Then Bob Sinclair, a professor in my department, decided to step in and help me finish. He didn’t have to do that. He had no obligation to help me. And I’ve done nothing to “earn” his help.

But he helped me anyways. And that gift he gave me transformed me. I was humbled deeply by a generous gift that I absolutely didn’t deserve. I was forced to look in the mirror, face my faults, and become better. Become transformational and make it about what I could give, not what I could get.

It took me immediately back to my WHY for studying psychology in the first place. It brought me back to the “beginner’s mind.” It gave me motivation beyond myself to succeed. I now wanted to succeed for Bob. Because he went out of his way and out on a limb to serve me.

Those gifts of grace — the ones you could never earn — are the one’s that should transform and teach you the most.

There Is No Score Keeping

In transactional relationships — everything is tracked and measured. The store clerk isn’t going to give you a few bucks off because you’re a good person.

No. You’re going to pay full price, or you don’t get the item you want from the store.

Transactional relationships destroy intimacy. It’s total business. The relationship IS AN ITEM. The MEANING is the transaction. Nothing deeper. Nothing more.

In transactional relationships, there are always constant reminders of what’s been sacrificed for this relationship. There are reminders about all the missteps the other person has made.

Nothing is simply given just because. Every “gift” is remembered and there’s an expectation of quick reciprocity or else.

One of my mentors, Joel Weldon, is brilliant at helping people clarify their messages and deliver them in the most powerful and simple way possible. He told me that every single one of his clients has a yellow envelope-style folder with notes on the inside. On the outside of the envelop are notes — specifically stating how much time he’s spent on the phone with each of them.

However, with his clients that he TRULY LOVES working with… the transformational ones, there aren’t such notes. He’s not keeping track of the time being spent on the relationships that are transformational. Because he gets so much out of those relationships. He’s not keeping track of the time spent. He’s willing to spend a few extra minutes, or more. Because the relationship really matters.

Many relationships start as transactions. For example, I hired Joel to help me with my communication skills. But that relationship stopped being transactional very quickly. We connected deeply. We started serving and helping each other. And he’s helped me in ways I could never help myself. In fact, he changed my life.

Because he genuinely cares.

And he only genuinely cares because we created a genuine and generous relationship. I’m not just trying to get my money’s worth. It goes so much deeper.

Everyone Feels Protected

NBA All-Star, Mark Eaton, recently wrote an important book called THE FOUR COMMITMENTS OF A WINNING TEAM. The fourth commitment is that every person on the team or in the relationship needs to feel protected.

When people feel protected, they’re willing to share what’s on their mind. They’re willing to fail. Because they know that the other people in the relationship has their back.

When a person doesn’t feel protected in a relationship, they don’t speak up. They don’t share what’s on their mind. They don’t take risks. Instead, they pander to the relationship. They don’t act in their power. They act as a victim.

Transactional relationships won’t protect you. If you don’t show up how you’re supposed to show up, you’re not protected. Instead, you’re rejected.

In transformational relationships, you have lots of protection.

Who do you protect?

Whose protecting you?

Do you feel safe being yourself? Or, are your relationships on a thin sheet of ice? And if you make a wrong move, a huge crack will shatter your foundation and you’re going down?

According to Eaton, feeling protected is the key to doing invaluable work. Because you can’t do your best work without the love, help, and support of others.

Similarly, you become invaluable in your relationships when others feel protected by you. When they feel they can be honest. Where they know you’ll be there for them to pick them up if they fail. That level of trust allows them to go big in their lives. What a gift you’ve given them.

What a gift they’ve given you.

Others Are Given Credit For Your Success

“Self-made is an illusion. There are many people who played divine roles in you having the life that you have today. Be sure to let them know how grateful you are. Example: the person who introduced you to the person who introduced you to your spouse or business partner or client. Go back that far.” — Michael Fishman

Tim Poulson is a brilliant strategist. He once told me, “You can pay people in other ways than money.” One of the best ways you can pay them is by giving them credit.

Credit for the connection.

Credit for the idea.

Credit for helping you when you couldn’t help yourself.

Adam Grant says there are “Givers” and “Takers.” Some people give credit. Others take credit. The ones who take credit are transactional.

They Say “I Love You” To Each Other

“You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” — John Wooden

This may be strange, but if you tell your friends and family you love them, they’ll be blown away. I once knew a Polynesian missionary who told everyone he loved them. It was clear he was sincere.

I asked him why he did it. What he told me changed my life. “When I tell people I love them, it not only changes them, but it changes me. Simply by saying the words, I feel more love for that person. I’ve been telling people all around me I love them. They feel treasured by me. Those who know me have come to expect it. When I forget to say it, they miss it.”

Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”

In all of my deepest relationships — especially “business relationships” — I tell them I love them. They respond the same way. And it’s mutually felt. And the relationship is so much better. We actually love each other.

Our language enhances our convictions to the relationship. It’s not cheap talk. It’s commitment. It’s love. And it leads to greater connection and intimacy and success.


How many of your relationships are transformational?

How transformed are you by those relationships?

How transformed is the world?

It’s only through transformational relationships that the synergistic power of 100X can happen. Collaboration between two or more people who REALLY CARE about the others. Who protect them. Who pick them up.

Who do you have that you could call at at 2AM if you were having an emergency?

Do you have someone you could call at 2AM if you were in trouble?

How would they respond?

That’s a good way of measuring the quality of your relationships.

Choice Requires Trust and Faith

Let’s talk about love.

I talk a lot about choice, because healing and growth and stepping into new ways of being requires so much choice. Daily. Weekly. Moment to moment. Choice is everything, and it can be the most challenging aspect of change.

I talk a lot about choice, but I don’t think I’ve talked enough about how much trust and faith choice requires. To be honest, I don’t think I fully understood it myself, at least not to the degree I do now.

You see, sometimes creating what you desire starts with knowing what you want and stepping into the new way of being that allows you to create it. It involves using your ideal life, business, or relationship vision as a guidepost that moves you forward. You choose to take one step after another until you get there.

Sometimes, though, choice requires jumping wholeheartedly into a heap of unknowns… with no idea what comes next, let alone how you’re going to create it. Sometimes it requires leaning in and trusting that something is actually possible, even though you’ve never seen or experienced it before.

That’s the very definition of faith, is it not?

But I think faith is more complex than we make it out to be. It’s not just about declaring to the Universe that we “believe” and “trust” that things will work out as they’re meant to — it’s not as simple as deciding to have confidence that something is possible, despite the lack of proof — it also involves having trust and faith in YOURSELF, in your ability to make the conscious and continuous choice to show up and create what you desire.

If you asked me a year ago whether or not I’d ever be in a relationship again, I would’ve told you no. Not just “no,” but “HELL TO THE NO, NEVER AGAIN.” And I meant it. With my whole body, mind, heart, and soul I meant those words.

Never. Again.

Because for me, love wasn’t good. Love was traumatic and suffocating. It meant giving away pieces of myself for the sake of someone else’s comfort. It meant control, manipulation, and abuse. Love was not a thing I wanted anymore.

But yesterday I was sitting on a couch with two of my favorite humans, talking about love and needs and new ways of being in a relationship. Talking about what it means to create a partnership that is GOOD and SUPPORTIVE and allows for each person to be ALL OF WHO THEY ARE.

As with most conversations around this topic, I didn’t really understand what was being said. To me, the idea of a happy, healthy relationship was all theory. Nice ideas. Something people talk about. Until it clicked.

“Oh my gawd,” I exclaimed, “I GET IT.”

I have to CHOOSE IT, just like everything else. But more than that, I have to have TRUST and FAITH in myself in order to create what seems “impossible.”

Creating what we desire when we don’t have any context for what it could look and feel like in our own life doesn’t just involve choosing it… it requires trust and faith. Not just in the possibility of “impossibilities,” but in ourselves.

It involves trusting ourselves enough to make those conscious and continuous choices. Without that trust, the actions can be empty, they can become misdirected, or they can be self-sabotaging. So then when things ultimately fail, we can use that as proof that “it’s just not how things are” or “it’s just not possible,” rather than continuing to FIGURE OUT how to make it happen.

This isn’t a totally new idea for me.
I do this in my business and I have for years.

There have been many times — SO MANY TIMES — where I’ve had absolutely no idea how to take the next step. When I started my business, all I knew is that I wanted to be of service and create change. I didn’t know what that meant or looked like. I didn’t know exactly what I was working to create.

I just knew I wanted it and that I was committed.
I was willing to leap into the unknown as many times as it took.

I made the choice to keep figuring it out, no matter how hard it got, no matter how many times I failed, no matter how much it hurt. I had trust and faith in myself to continuously and consciously show up to create it.

Turns out this applies to everything… ha. Even the idea of creating a good, healthy, happy relationship when I’ve only experienced everything but.

I’m sharing this very fresh and raw realization with you for two reasons.

1) Trust and faith go hand in hand with choice, and that needs to be a bigger part of the conversation.

If you don’t trust yourself enough, you’re never going to leap. You’re never going to dig into the challenging aspects of this work. You’re never going to fully heal or realize your true potential. If you’re not making the choices you know you need to make, ask yourself where you don’t trust yourself enough to do so.

2) When trauma is involved, it’s really, really not as simple as telling someone that things can be different than they are.

Trauma and PTSD rewire how we see and engage with the world. It’s physiological and neurological as much as emotional. If you told me I could create whatever I want in my business, I wouldn’t have argued with you, even if I didn’t know how to do it. But I could NOT for the life of me grasp the concept that a relationship could be GOOD and SUPPORTIVE and as BEAUTIFUL and CONNECTED as my favorite friendships… because trauma taught me otherwise.

It’s taken rebuilding trust with myself, learning that I’m safe, and leaning into a totally new way of being in order to even get to this place of seeing it as possible. It’s taken choosing to have FAITH IN MYSELF that I can — and WILL — create something different the next time around. If you’re not able to wrap your mind around the idea of certain things being POSSIBLE and SAFE and HAPPY, there may something deeper at play, like trauma.

Choice is everything.
And it requires so much trust and faith.

Where are you not trusting yourself?
And how will you start leaning into the unknown more fully?