Confidence: 2 Reasons Most People Don’t Have It

Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Confidence is a heavily misunderstood concept.

Confidence cannot be faked.

You can fake and manufacture motivation, excitement, or even passion at the moment.

Unlike motivation and other emotional states which are more surface level, confidence is deeper and more subconscious.

In this article, I’m going to breakdown what confidence is and why most people don’t have much of it.

What Is Confidence?

The notable psychologist, Albert Bandura, provided the initial definition which has persisted and been the basis of research on confidence (self-efficacy) until even now.

According to Bandura: Self-efficacy is defined as people’s beliefs regarding their capacity 1) to succeed and 2) to attain a given level of performance.

For a long time, psychologists believed that confidence was reflected in one’s future performance. Recent research has called that assumption to question. Instead, the belief has shifted for many researchers — confidence is reflected in one’s past performance.

Here’s the simple idea:

  • Your confidence is based on what you’ve done
  • What you’ve done, in addition to the situation your prior performance has created, shapes your belief about your future

Confidence is for sure your belief in your capability to succeed. It is also reflected in the level of performance and mastery you can develop. In other words, your imagination and mindset are based on your confidence.

You can fake imagination and mindset for a short period of time. But at your core, you won’t really believe what you conjure up in your mind without the confidence to support it. For example, a person who has never made 6-figures may imagine they are making tens of millions.

But they don’t really believe it to the level of conviction.

In the book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill stated, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

A lot of people take that quote out of context. Or, they downplay what is actually being said.

It’s much, much easier to conceive of something than to really believe it. It’s actually very easy to think you believe something when you really don’t.

A lot of people think they believe in God, for instance, but don’t really believe.

True belief is like confidence. It cannot be faked.

Your perspective of your future and your past is based on what you really believe. You can fake positive and powerful beliefs in the short-term. But what you really believe is more consistent with your recent past and current situation.

Your future can be measured in your confidence. The more confident you are, the bigger your future. The more confident you are, the more you believe and know that you have the capability to transform yourself into your imagined goals. The more confident you are, the more you believe and know that you can and will succeed.

Breaking this down even further:

  • Confidence comes from past performance
  • Recent past performance is more important than the stuff you did 5–10 years ago
  • You can’t ride the wave of old confidence for too long
  • Who you were isn’t who you are
  • You may have had huge confidence, faith, and imagination a few years ago but not have huge confidence now
  • Your belief, level of imagination, and faith in your future are based on your confidence
  • The bigger your confidence, the bigger your future
  • The bigger your confidence, the better you are at learning
  • The bigger your confidence, the less rigid and chaotic your emotional state
  • The bigger your confidence, the less tied you are to the past, even though your confidence is based on your recent past and present circumstances
  • The bigger your confidence, the more willing you become to transform yourself into what you truly believe and want
  • The bigger your confidence, the less you identify with who you were and the more you identify with who you intend to be

Confidence very much is future-facing.

Many people’s mindset is past-facing because they are, quite literally, living in their past. People get stuck in their past for a number of reasons. The primary reasons include:

  • Traumatic experiences that continue to be avoided and unconscious rather than processed, integrated, and made conscious
  • personal narrative and story that is based on past events (including traumatic experiences, prior successes, beliefs about themselves and life in general)
  • lack of decision about what they will do/be and what they won’t do/be
  • An environment that resonates and reinforces their past rather than their future
  • A lack of completion of desired goals

People want clarity about their future before they take action. However, clarity comes from action.

You can’t become clear on something without moving your life forward.

You don’t need the entire picture painted. You need to take the first step in the right direction. This first step often comes from eliminating the stuff in your life that you clearly know you don’t want.

Removal first.

Start removing a bunch of stuff from your life, calendar, and environment that you already know doesn’t match the future you want.

That single act will ignite your confidence while simultaneously decreasing your need for willpower.

But you won’t get that confidence-ignition UNTIL after you do something powerful.

Once you ignite your confidence, then more clarity immediately comes.

Clarity about your future and the belief that you have the capacity to create it are based on your confidence.

The more you organize your life and behavior to match your desired future, the more confidence you will have. As your confidence increases, your imagination for the future will expand, as will your belief that you can create that future — no matter how big it is.

Eventually, your confidence can reach a place where you know, deep in your soul, that whatever goal you set, you’re going to figure out a way to make it happen.

You’re completely committed to specific results. You don’t care how long it takes. You don’t obsess or attach to specific outcomes along the way. In the words of mindset coach, Carrie Campbell, you come to “Expect everything and attach to nothing.”

You expect success because success is what your recent past reflects. You expect success because you truly believe in what you’re doing. You expect success because increasingly the world and universe become a friendly and encouraging place for you.

You truly believe in what your mind has conceived. That belief is faith — as Florence Shinn said, “Faith knows it has already received and acts accordingly.”

Confidence and faith, then, become very much the same thing.

Confidence knows it will succeed and acts accordingly.

Confidence knows it will succeed BECAUSE it acts accordingly.

Faith without works is dead.

Confidence without action doesn’t exist.

Performance boosts confidence. Confidence then creates a future worth pursuing. Continuing to pursue that future boosts confidence, faith, and your future.

It’s a powerful feedback loop.

You confidence keeps the score. It’s either growing or disappearing. At the razor’s edge, you come to realize that every choice matters.

You must become more intentional.

Allowing little distractions in is alright. But you have to own that everything you do is impacting your confidence and thus, your identity.

Every little choice you engage in shapes who you are. Who you are shapes your future. Every choice, then, has an enormous cost.

You really need to weigh the cost of hopping on Facebook and turning your brain off. It may just be 5 minutes. But those 5 minutes reflect something much deeper — your future confidence.

When you watch yourself make a more congruent choice, that choice signals back to yourself who you are as a person.

Rather than watching that 5 minute YouTube video, you do what you really want to do. You make a decision based on your intended future rather than the dopamine of the moment.

It doesn’t take willpower to build confidence. It takes decision to build confidence. You make a decision and you own that decision.

Willpower, from a psychological standpoint, is often called “ego depletion” or “decision fatigue.” The reason it is called decision fatigue is that, the more decisions you make, the less willpower you have. Put another way, the more decisions your mind has to weigh, the less likely you are to make good choices over the long-haul.

Willpower, in reality, reflects an undecided mind. For instance, when your alarm goes off in the morning, if you haven’t made the decision about what you’re going to do in advance, then you’ll need to exert willpower in the present to do it.

You’ll need to exert willpower because you didn’t already decide. Thus, it takes willpower to weigh the decision. This is decision fatigue. It’s exhausting and usually ends in failure.

You will fatigue yourself emotionally and motivationally by being indecisive. Instead, you make one choice that eliminates other options. By removing options, you no longer have to think about it. 100% commitment is easier than 98% commitment.

Hence, decision isn’t just about making a choice, but also about designing your life to facilitate that choice. As Stanford psychologist, BJ Fogg has said, “Design crushes willpower.” James Clear has said, “In the long-run (and often in the short-run), your willpower will never beat your environment.”

Make a decision. Design your life to match that decision. Eliminate decision fatigue from your life. Hence, Napoleon Hill further had it right in Think and Grow Rich when he said, “Definiteness of Purpose is that starting point of all achievement.”

The more definite you become in what you’re doing, the more confidence you will build. This doesn’t mean you can’t pivot. But it does mean you’re committed, have direction, and will fight until you succeed. The word “until” is very important, and is fundamental to Hal Elrod’s new book, The Miracle Equation.

You’re committed to what you want.

Your faith and confidence increase as you continue pursuing what you genuinely desire and value, regardless of the outcomes along the way. You will continue forward until you succeed.

2 Reasons People Don’t Have It

If you’ve read thus far, you now have an educated perspective of confidence.

So, put simply, what are the two reasons people don’t have confidence?

  • Congruence
  • Completion

Congruence

The truth is, you cannot have confidence if you’re not congruent about what you’re doing. Many people succeed at the wrong things, only to find that they’ve been pursuing the wrong goals all along (deep down they knew all along — but they persisted, willpower and all).

It’s easy to get caught in the thick of thin things.

Confidence requires that you pursue and succeed at the right things. In order to determine the right things to pursue, you need to be connected to your deeper more intuitive self.

You need to give yourself time and space for reflection, prayer, meditation. The reason “meditation” is considered a key to success is because those who take the time to do it are simply more connected to themselves. They’ve given themselves space and time to connect. Meditation is sharpening the saw, rather than continuing to cut with a dull saw. Meditation is also clarity about which tree to cut down. You may just be cutting the wrong tree or climbing the wrong ladder.

Hence, congruence is key to confidence.

This became very clear to me recently. I was the keynote speaker at an event I really wanted to attend. However, unexpectedly, the biological mother of our three adoptive kids died and her funeral was during the conference.

I was torn.

I could get to the funeral and even get my family situated, and then take a red-eye to make the event and my speech.

But then I thought about my highest values and my highest vision of myself. My family needed to come first. I canceled the event.

Immediately after making that decision — which I must emphasize was very hard to make — I became a different person. I was totally aligned internally. I made a higher-level decision based on the future-self I intended to become. That single decision concurred with my values and future self.

I then showed up way differently for my family. I was way more attentive to their needs. Way more mindful of each of my children and their emotional state.

That one decision built huge confidence in myself. It also built the confidence of those most important to me.

That confidence will propel my future 1 million times further than had I gone to that event. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to miss opportunities. You need to make sure they are the right ones.

You could spend all of your time working and hustling, but without confidence and congruence, your efforts will be minuscule. You can’t fake confidence. Moreover, you cannot be truly inspired as a person without confidence and congruence.

It’s not about how hard you can work, even though hard work is obviously involved.

It’s about doing the right work, cutting down the right tree with a sharp saw. Increasingly, it’s about doing inspired and truly profound work. In relationships and opportunities and experiences, it’s about being really connected to yourself, the moment, and the right people. That’s when 100X success happens. It doesn’t just happen by putting in the time.

You need to put in the right time and know when at what to say no to because you’re so clear on your why.

When you make powerful decisions, your future immediately changes becauseyour confidence changes. Your future is based on your confidence; your confidence is based on your recent past. When you increase your confidence through powerful decisions, a lid is lifted and a new future presents itself in your mind.

Your future will continually expand, shift, and upgrade as your confidence changes. Your confidence is your subconscious belief system.

Completion

You cannot be confident if you have a lot of unfinished projects sitting on the shelf.

You cannot be confident if you aren’t a finisher.

Starting is easy. Finishing is hard.

How well do you finish each day? If you haven’t made a decision and designed your life, then chances are, the end of your days are probably lackluster and filled with distraction and binge eating. That’s because your decision fatigue has set in and you’re relying on willpower. Good luck.

Congruence allows you to know what to complete and what to drop.

But if there are things that are unfinished in your life, then your confidence is lacking. You need to finish. You need to put first things first.

This was another hard lesson for me. My wife, Lauren, and I have been doing therapy lately, which has been extremely helpful. In one of the sessions, Lauren became vulnerable and told me that my confidence levels were much lower than usual, and lower than they needed to be to create the future she knew I wanted.

She told me my confidence was low.

“Your confidence is low because you haven’t finished your PhD,” she told me. “You’ve been doing all sorts of other things, but you haven’t finished that. Once you finish that, everything you’re doing will explode 100X.”

She was right.

She gave me permission to basically drop everything and put in the 3–4 weeks needed to finish my dissertation and put my PhD behind me.

Here’s the thing, that 100X explosion of confidence, imagination, and success isn’t the byproduct of the PhD itself. Instead, that 100X increase in confidence is based on 1) congruence and 2) completion.

This PhD is congruent FOR ME, and for what I want to do with my own life and future.

It’s not about the goal itself. It’s about the goal in relation to the specific person. This is why congruence is so important.

When you become congruent and eliminate everything in your life that doesn’t match, and when you become a powerful finisher of everything you believe you should do, then your confidence and your future are like a rocket-ship.

Nothing can stop you.


What do you need to eliminate?

Are you congruent?

What do you need to complete?

How confident will you become?

What decisions do you need to make?

How can you better design your life to match your decisions?

How big will your future be?

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25 Ways to Avoid Living Your Life on Someone Else’s Terms

1. Don’t watch commercials

“An individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. Those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.” -Steven Pressfield

1. Don’t Watch Commercials

Commercials offer you virtually 0% value. They are psychologically designed to capture your attention and make you buy something — regardless if you actually should.

Extraordinary, focused people are never “sold” anything. They decide what they want, then they buy it. Everything else is just distractions and propaganda.

2. Don’t Take Advice From Almost Anyone

“Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.”

-Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect

If you want an extraordinary life, you’ll soon discover almost no one knows how to achieve that goal.

Frankly, most people aren’t living an “extraordinary life.” If you took a screenshot of the “average” American, here’s what you’d see:

It’s not a pretty picture.

The lesson here is simple: only take advice from people who know how to get where you want to go.

3. Choose Learning and Growing, Not Entertainment and Distraction

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

Your income, relationships, and success are determined by your learning.

Most people spend more money on entertainment and gadgets than self-education. This is why they remain poor and broke with superficial relationships.

The quality of your learning and how much you invest in yourself directly determines the extent of your growth.

4. Work Through Your Emotional Crap

I was addicted to pornography since around age 11.

I turned to porn because I was bullied constantly for my speech impediment, and had terrible family issues. I watched my parents divorce, I saw firsthand the effects of alcohol and cheating and miscommunication. At 17, I was a fragile, insecure, resentful train wreck.

But in college, I met my now-wife Kimi and I knew that if I didn’t change, odds were high I’d end up just repeating the cycle. So I went to therapy. I went to counseling. I began the long process of working through my addiction and talking through my hurts, so I could get better.

Most people let their wounds dictate their lifestyle.

But this is just an excuse. If you want to avoid living on someone else’s terms, then resolve your crap. Your relationships, finances, self-esteem, career, and health will all improve because of this.

Photo by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash

5. Don’t Watch the News

The majority of mainstream media is more focused on promoting their own biased agenda through fear and despair — not giving you the actual facts.

We should all be informed. But the news has become a graveyard of misinformation, bias, and lies designed to reinforce your biased, not make you a more informed person.

I struggle with being an informed voter, because every time I begin to investigate important issues and learn about candidates running for office, I get sidetracked with the overwhelming bias, prejudice, and fear-mongering most news outlets have resorted to.

6. It’s Lonely At the Top, But Climb Anyway

In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger:

“People were always talking about how few performers there are at the top of the ladder, but I was always convinced there was room for one more. I felt that, because there was so little room, people got intimidated and felt more comfortable staying on the bottom of the ladder. But, in fact, the more people that think that, the more crowded the bottom of the ladder becomes! Don’t go where it’s crowded. Go where it’s empty.”

Instead of fighting for scraps with the other 99%, be different. Be the person who believes truly enormous success is possible.

You’ll find the competition to actually be less at the top than it is in the middle.

7. Don’t Look at Social Media

Someone once said, “If you’re not paying for you, then you are the product.”

Social media props itself up as a means to “connect” with people — through messages, pictures, and funny videos. Social media allows you to always connect with your friends and colleagues!

The reality is far more bleak. In truth, social media’s primary purpose is to mine as much data about you as possible, and sell that information to companies and advertisers. That’s their entire business model.

This is how most people continue to live on other people’s terms; allowing themselves to be mined for information and psychoanalyzed by big corporations with the means to play on your deepest fears, insecurities, and goals.

8. If You MUST Use Social Media, Only Allow “Human” Notifications

If you simply must use social media — it’s your job, you run a business on it, etc. — then only turn on “human” notifications on your device.

Most people are slaves to push notifications, that long list of “alerts!” and “updates” on their home screen. By default, most apps are set up to notify you, often with colorful signs and that little red dot. The problem is, almost no notifications come from actual “humans” — friends and family connecting with you.

Don’t be a slave to emails, reminders, advertising, or other non-human notifications. If you must use these apps, ensure the only notifications you’re getting came from real people you know.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

9. Read 26 Books/Year

26 books a year is 2 books a month.

1 book a week is hard. I’ve been doing that this year. It’s fun and challenging, but it is hard. If you fall behind a week, it’s really hard to catch up.

Reading 26 books is easier. 2 a month isn’t bad. If you’re a slow reader, pick books you like. It’s usually easier to read fiction than most other types of genres.

A friend of mine once told me that instead of reading 30 books a year, I should read the same book 30 times. I think that’s utterly ridiculous. I reread important books, but it’s better to read more quantity (at first) so you can find what author Ryan Holiday calls “quake books,” books that cause a metaphorical earthquake in your mind and radically change your perspective.

Just for fun, here are several of my “quake” books:

  1. Mindset by Carol Dweck
  2. DotCom Secrets by Russel Brunson
  3. The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  4. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  5. How to Be an Adult by David Richo
  6. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco

10. Don’t Make All Your Money From Your J-O-B

“You won’t make the kind of money that can set you up for life and let you design your own lifestyle if your sole source of income is the salary paid to you by your boss.” -Jon Westenberg

Ordinary people focus on getting a paycheck. But extraordinary people focus on building wealth and creating income.

That’s one of the most important lessons I learned in MJ Demarco’s best-seller, The Millionaire Fastlane. Although he might be overly biased towards entrepreneurship (I still believe working at a “j-o-b” can be great in the right context), he stresses the fact that passive income allows you more freedom, something a job can almost never give you.

Trading your time for dollars — the overwhelmingly primary way most people make money — is a losing game. You only have so much time in the day. It’s dangerous (because your job isn’t guaranteed) and slow (you can only earn so much).

Right now, I have 5 income streams (and I’m working on creating more):

  1. Paid Medium posts
  2. Amazon affiliate links
  3. Online courses
  4. Coaching
  5. Book sales

I’m always trying to add more, so I can have more time for myself and less time working for someone else.

11. Don’t Buy What Everyone Else Buys

“It’s absurd that we would prioritize the hottest new device, the cool car, or trendy toy over owning that which makes us feel the most engaged and most alive.” -Neil Patel

If you do what everyone else does, you’ll end up just like everyone else.

If you want to avoid living on someone else’s terms, don’t buy what everyone else is buying. Often, buying new gadgets like the new smartphone or designer clothes is all part of the attempt to “look good.” Many people are stuck in a popularity contest — with their family, coworkers, friends, colleagues — and they keep spending money to keep up and be better.

Your insecurity is expensive. Don’t buy what everyone else buys. Save it for better stuff.

12. In Fact, Buy Almost Nothing

The more “things” you have, the more weight you carry.

In the past few years, I’ve shifted from buying “things” to buying experiences. My wife and I have traveled the world, fed elephants, swam with manta rays, eaten at incredible restaurants, and built up a vault of memories and experiences.

Some of the best advice I can give you is this: buy almost nothing.

Thousands of years ago, the ancient stoic philosopher Seneca wrote:

“Not needing wealth is more valuable than wealth itself.”

He went on: “He who needs riches least, enjoys riches most.”

Be different. Choose to spend your money different than everyone else, and you’ll eventually get what no one else has.

Photo by Reinaldo Kevin on Unsplash

13. Keep Learning After School Ends

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” -Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert Comics

The reason I failed as a writer for 4.5 years wasn’t because my writing sucked (although to be fair, it did suck).

The reason I failed for so long was because I refused to learn the skills of my trade.

It wasn’t until I invested in myself — bought a writing course, bought writing books, began learning the practices of viral writers — that I started to get ahead. After I learned how to create multiple income streams, I started making literally thousands of dollars each month — consistently — from my writing.

The first 4.5 years, I earned a total of $40. This month (like last month and the month before that), I’ve made thousands of dollars working from home as my own boss.

That’s the difference between a learned and someone who stops learning after school ends.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” -Mark Twain

14. Be Unapologetic About Your Values

I used to be a total pushover.

In high school, I’d do things, say things, and act certain ways so that people would like me. It was childish behavior, and I acted like a child. I’d change my values of a hot girl asked me to.

Not anymore. In order to get what you truly want, you need to be unapologetic about your values. Because there will always be someone who wants you to change your values for their gain, using you to secure what they want.

Stick to your values. Don’t let others make you act certain ways just because they asked.

15. Don’t Get “Sold” Anything Ever Again

When my wife and I were teaching english in South Korea, we had the chance to travel to Thailand.

It was awesome, and the food was incredible. But everywhere we went, there were “tuk tuks” (anyone who’s gone to southeast Asia knows what I’m talking about). Tuk tuks are little cabs attached to motorcycles, a taxi for tourists.

Tuk tuk drivers are incredibly aggressive and pushy. My wife and could walk down a single block and be offered a tuk tuk ride 20 times.

One driver in particular yelled us over. We needed to get somewhere, but we didn’t want to overpay for a taxi ride there. The tuk tuk driver began to tell us how we needed him, how we’d be completely lost with out him. He was condescending and insulting, making us feel small and inadequate without him as he tried to “sell” us.

This is how many salespeople try to approach people today. Don’t let them do that to you.

I hate being sold things. I’m methodical; I do my research, and only after looking up exactly what I want do I pull out my cash.

Stop being “sold” things you don’t need, by people who really have no idea what you need.

Photo by Anthony Tori on Unsplash

16. Say “No” to Almost Everything

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” -Warren Buffet

It’s no great achievement to do what everyone else is doing.

It’s not special or unique to say “yes” to everything everyone else says yes to.

If you want to avoid living life on other people’s terms, say “no” to just about everything. Of course, there’s a time and place to say “yes” — prolific author and musician Derek Sivers once told a story about taking any gig he was offered as a new musician, so he could learn experience and skills and get his name out there.

But most of the time, saying “yes” just fills up your schedule with good-not-great obligations that take time away from what truly matters.

“Be the guy that says no. it’s no great achievement to go along with the crowd. be the unusual guy, the extraordinary guy.” -Darren Hardy

17. Stand Up to Your Bully

“A bully will back down before the runtiest twerp who stands his ground.” -Steven Pressfield

This one is hard.

I’ve had bullies, especially in school growing up. Like Bryan.

One time in 10th grade, there was a bully in my P.E. class. His name was Bryan Cardoza, I think. His gag was pantsing people — pulling down their gym shorts and exposing their underwear in public. He did it to guys andgirls., cackling with his cronies as he ran away. Truly an awful guy.

He had pansted me several times. I was shy, quiet, reserved in high school. But one morning, he pantsed me again. Something clicked inside me — “no more,” I thought. I pulled my pants up, turned around, and punched him in the face as hard as I could.

He was stunned, and after he regained his composure, the teacher had to break us up when he charged at me.

Frankly, I’m so happy the teacher came in. I’m not a fighter, that was the only time in my life where I’ve ever punched someone. I’m not encouraging you to punch your bully, either. I’m just saying even standing up to them can be terrifying. It takes guts.

I’m still not great at standing up to bullies. But if you let them, they’re start defining your life, telling you what you can and can’t do.

Don’t let them. Even if it’s hard.

18. Reinvest Your Free Time

“Successful people don’t see it as free time, they see is as the only time they have to do the things they really want to do n life — and they don’t take a minute for granted.” –Nicolas Cole

A lot of people live most of their lives on other’s terms. When these people finally have free time, what do they usually do? Sit on the couch and watch TV.

Your free time is the only time you have to invest in yourself and build your dreams for the future. Are you willing to do the work, or will you continue to spend your free time on low-frequency activities?

When my wife and I moved to South Korea to teach english, I became more disciplined than I ever had before. I’d wake up at 5am — consistently! — to write. Then I’d go to the school and teach the crazy little monsters how to say “apple” and “spaghetti.” But every break I had, I’d run over to the Starbucks and write more, read more, build more.

Now, I have a full-time writing business where I work from home and earn thousands of dollars every month.

This is the fruit of my labor; I reinvested my free time. I couldn’t spent it numbing out and bingeing on TV (which, frankly, I did sometimes). Rest and recovery are extremely important. But tell me how you spend your free time and I’ll have a good idea of where you’re headed.

19. Cut Out Naysayers and Haters

“You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and embarrassment to others.”

-Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Your ascent often highlights others’ descent and stagnation.

Naysayers and their doubts say more about them than about you. But if you let them, these criticisms and raised eyebrows will define you and your definition of success.

There will always be naysayers and haters, especially when you first start experiencing success. Don’t try to avoid them; learn from them, and become better.

You can effectively cut them out of your life, though. My response to criticism nowadays is humbly but objectively assess if the criticism is true and useful.

If it is, great. I can use it.

If it’s full of crap, I drop it and move on.

I don’t live by the terms of others.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

20. Give Away Money

“Giving money is the secret to most wealthy families.” -Robert Kiyosaki

As a Christian, I’ve been tithing as long as I can remember — giving back 10% of my income to God (as in the church and church ministries).

You don’t have to be a Christian to experience the benefits of giving money away. Something you learn when you tithe is that it actually feels awesome. It helps free you from the pervasive poverty mentality, claiming “I’ll never have enough!” in despair.

Giving away money puts you squarely in the center of a small, narrow group of people. This group is detached from most of the world and its toxic greed and social expectations. No one expects you to give money; when you do, you tap into freedom most people don’t understand.

21. Read Personal Finance Books

Speaking of money…

One morning at my old corporate job, I remember walking to the elevator with my nose firmly lodged in Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door.

A coworker of mine tapped me on the shoulder, and asked me what I was reading. I showed him it was a personal finance book.

“Is that for school or something?” he asked quizzically.

I shook my head. “Nope. It’s just for me,” I grinned.

He stepped back, impressed. “Wow,” he chuckled. “You don’t really see people doing that.”

I agreed.

Most people don’t read personal finance books. Reading these books won’t make you rich, but they will give you the knowledge and tools to earn wealth, if you choose to.

More wealth means living less on other people’s terms and more on your own.

22. Know Nutrition 101

There were, are, and always will be dubious health fads that, in reality, aren’t good for you.

I recommend reading Aubrey Marcus’ great book, Own the Day, Own Your Life. He lays out a solid foundation of the truth about your diet in a way that’s easy to understand and isn’t pushed by large corporations — just facts.

Don’t always believe what you hear. Take the time to research yourself, and learn about what you’re eating and how your body reacts.

23. Know Finances 101

Most people don’t know how to balance a checkbook, make a budget, or identify what “good” or “bad” finances actually means.

This article will help you with the basics: “7 Surefire Strategies to Build Massive Wealth According to the Top 7 Finance Books

24. Know relationships 101

When my wife and I were in premarital counseling, our counselor gave us apiece of advice that would end up changing our lives:

Always make the first move.

The meaning is simple: if you can help the relationship, then do it. Don’t wait for the other person to act (even if you don’t want to).

Most people have strained and superficial relationships with family and even with friends. This is because most people always wait for the other person to “make the first move;” say hello, organize a hangout, or apologize.

This is a pride thing. It’s one of the main killers of marriages, friendships, and even families.

If you want to have deep, meaningful relationships with your friends, family, and even just the people in your day-to-day life, make the first move — even if it should be them. Be the first to:

  • Initiate the conversation
  • Send the first text
  • Say you miss them
  • Say you love them
  • Apologize and ask for forgiveness
  • Organize a hangout
  • Compliment them
  • Thank them
  • Tell them you appreciate what they did
Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

25. Take a Nap When You’re Sleepy, Don’t Power Through It

I used to work in corporate America for nearly 5 years — you can’t take naps at 2:30pm at your job. (Well, maybe you can if you’re sneaky).

I’ve been working from home for several months now, and it’s great to just lie down and close my eyes for 20–30 min during that mid-afternoon lull. It means I don’t have to rely on coffee or outside entertainment to get me through the urge to lie down — I just lie down.

Instead of lowering your energy, creativity, and focus through excessive caffeine — which makes you irritable, tired, and unfocused — choose to actually rest when you can.

In Conclusion

“You cannot allow the actions of others to define your reality.” -Steven Pressfield

Sadly, most people are not living life on their own terms.

Their lives are largely dictated by others: their boss, their colleagues, their family, their friends, or just society in general.

This is low-frequency thinking.

Choose to be extraordinary and avoid living on others’ terms.

Things About Life I Need To Remind Myself Of Every Day

14 Things About Life I Need To Remind Myself Of Every Day

smell the roses

I don’t know about you, but I forget about 95% of the things I learn. No matter how much I read, journal, and process all the wisdom of life, I keep on forgetting the things that make life better.

At least, that’s what I assume. But that’s my own mind playing tricks on me. Even though it might seem like we forget, everything we read and practice has an impact on the way we live.

Ralph Waldo Emerson illustrated this point clearly when he said:

“I have forgotten the books I have read, and so I have the dinners I have eaten; but they both helped to make me.”

What you put in your brain influences your thoughts. And the quality of your thoughts influences the outcome of your life. That’s why I protect the gates to my brain as much as I can.

You do that by not consuming junk information like the news or mindless entertainment. You also do that by not associating with toxic people.

And you do that by reminding yourself of all the things that make life better. Here are 14 of those things. When I do these things, I’m a better person.

1. Let go of the past

Today, you’re a new person. Every day is a new beginning. Forget about what you said and did yesterday. What matters is that you have good intentions and that you do your best to make today the best day of your life.

2. Don’t rush things

We’re always going somewhere. And we rush the middle. But the funny thing is, that the middle IS our life.

So next time you’re rushing your breakfast so you can go to work, realize that you’re throwing away the present. That’s the key to mindfulness too. We’re always trying to achieve something, to get somewhere. In the process, we forget to experience the present moment.

Ask yourself: “What’s the rush good for?”

3. Shape your own future

Just because you’re not rushing things and living in the present, it doesn’t mean you should forget about tomorrow. In fact, I think we should shape our future by making conscious decisions.

Who are you? What kind of life do you want? Shape your life by your decisions. Match your life with who you are.

4. Your life is good

It’s easy to compare yourself to someone who’s doing better than you. No matter how successful you are, there is always someone who has more success. The same is true for intangible things.

You can’t compare happiness, family, health, and lifestyle with anybody else. Remember that your life is good the way it is. Why? Because it’s the only one you have. Does that mean you should improve it? What makes you assume that? If something is good, you can still make it better.

5. Exercise

Believe me, I try hard to convince myself that I don’t need to work out every day. We all do it: “I can probably skip today.” No, my friend, you can NOT. So can’t I.

You know why? Every day I skip a workout, I start getting uneasy. My back starts hurting, my legs feel stiff, and I feel tired. Even a 30-minute brisk walk does the trick. No one is too busy for that.

6. Read books you enjoy

Sometimes we read a book because it’s “supposed” to be good. The hell with that. I only want to read books that grab my attention with every sentence.

You know how some books are hard to put down? And some books are a drag to read? It’s very simple, only read the former. When a book is a drag, put it away.

7. You can’t do everything on a single day

So you want to wake up, meditate, read, go to the gym, work, have lunch with a friend, pick up a few things from the store, work on your hobby, AND go to the movies?

Sure, you can cram everything you want to do in one day, but why? Some days we do very little. And those days can already be stressful. But all of a sudden, we think we can do 10 things on one day instead of the regular 4/5.

Make a decision. Stick to it. And spread out your activities over the week.

8. Keep a journal

Putting your thoughts into words has many benefits. It improves your logic, speech, and overall thinking skills. But it also helps you to calm down and think about what you’re doing.

9. Everybody has problems

Next time you expect something from a friend, family member, or co-worker, put yourself in their shoes. You’re not the only person with problems or a difficult life. We’re all in the same boat here. Just knowing that makes us go easier on the people in our lives.

10. You MAKE time

Look, it’s easy to say you don’t have time to read, work out, buy a gift for a loved one, or whatever you should do. That’s true for everyone.

You and I both know that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. We can’t find or create more time. We can only MAKE time for the things that are important to us.

11. Lighten up

It’s easy to take life too seriously. Especially when you try hard to improve. But remember that we’re all just trying to figure things out.

No one has all the answers. Even people who think they do. So lighten up. It’s just life.

12. Standing still means you’re moving backward—everything falls apart

Everything in life falls apart. That’s because of entropy. The natural direction of life is downwards—towards disorder.

Your body, a relationship, house, business, job—nothing will STAY stable. You need to work on these things. If you don’t they’ll fall apart by themselves. That’s not a good or bad thing. It’s a given.

13. Don’t be a wimp

Don’t take shit from people. Stand up for yourself. Have an opinion. And take action.

14. Smell the roses

Our natural state of mind is to be lost in thoughts. We drive ourselves crazy with excessive thinking. We waste our time and energy thinking about the utter bullshit.

You know why we think, worry, and stress so much? We can’t accept reality.

Decide, once and for all, that you accept whatever happens to you. And that, no matter what, you will stop and smell the roses. This is one of the corniest things in the world; but there are “roses” everywhere, my friend.

You just have to open your eyes to see them.

 

How to Be God’s Friend — Teens Meet Online

The first thing that you need to be working on is to get your heart in tune with God. You need to think like Him and you cannot do that except you both begin to rub minds together. You can’t be friends with someone who does not like the same thing as you do. In fact, before you can say this particular person is your friend, then there must be something that they do that got you attracted to them.

via How to Be God’s Friend — Teens Meet Online

Overcome Your Fear of Rejection

How to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection and Be Fully Yourself Every Day

“If you are fully yourself, the tribe may label you an outcast and you’ll never be included again.” -Kyle Eschenroeder

There is a great fear most people experience when they consider being “truly” themselves.

What if people reject me?

What if people laugh at me?

What if I’m permanently exiled from my community?

How could I ever overcome that shame and embarrassment?

These are real fears. When you choose to be fully yourself, you risk becoming an outcast and public humiliation.

I can keenly relate to this fear — maybe you can, too. I was dominated by the fear of rejection for most of my life growing up. In high school, I remember being constantly disgusted with myself for being such a doormat. I was a total pushover, because I was afraid if I said no, or stood up for myself, people would reject me.

needed to be chosen — by cute girls, by the basketball coach, by my teacher, by the guys in drum line. So I did things for people even when I knew I wasn’t being myself at all.

It’s only now, after 7 years of counseling, therapy, and maturity, that I’ve finally become comfortable being myself, and not what others — my family, friends, and society — wanted me to be.

Here’s how to overcome that terrible fear of rejection and be fully yourself…every day.

Want Freedom? Unlearn Your Constant Need to Be Liked and Chosen

“When we are not chosen, we feel bad. When we are chosen — even by idiots — we feel good. We need to unlearn this imprisonment. Not dissect and analyze it. Just completely unlearn it.” -James Altucher

Most people live their daily lives trying to please others.

Now, I’d be lying if I said I was totally over those behaviors and the fear of rejection. I still get that familiar feeling of dread when someone laughs when I stutter or when someone leaves a hurtful comment on my blog. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% rid of that.

But for the most part, I’m fully myself every day. I’m not afraid to cry in front of my wife anymore. I’m not afraid to say I love Les Miserables, fruity margaritas, or that I really don’t care about the NFL that much.

I got here by choosing to stop looking to other people to fill me up. Because as long as my focus was being “liked” and “chosen,” I’d never get to be fully myself. Because when you’re fully yourself, you’re going to disappoint a lot of people who want to see you help them more.

When you unlearn this limiting mindset, you allow your true self to start coming out. It will be scary and uncomfortable for many people, but it’s the only way to start moving away from the constant state of fear and dread most people wake up with.

Unlearn your need to be liked and chosen all the time. Trust me — it’s far better to be totally honest with yourself and others. It’s one of the most freeing things in the entire world.

“Remember: we all get what we tolerate. So stop tolerating excuses within yourself, limiting beliefs of the past, half-assed, or fearful states.” -Tony Robbins

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

Don’t Play “Not To Lose” With People…Play to Win

In sports, it’s easy for the winning team to begin playing “not to lose”; being defensive, rigid, and focused on escaping with victory and withstanding their opponent’s comeback.

But when you play “not to lose,” you play weaker, softer, and worse. When you play not to lose in your life, you become defined by:

  • Risk-avoidance
  • Fear
  • Frustration
  • Panic
  • Desperation
  • Anger

But if you play to win…

  • You will cultivate a standard of excellence that will upgrade every other area of your life.
  • You will reach new levels of mastery and endurance.
  • You will see your old limits…and break them.
  • You’ll be braver.
  • You’ll be more relaxed, entering in flow states and deep focus.
  • You’ll be more confident and self-assured.

Are you playing “not to lose” — avoiding rejection, fearing failure, trying to get through the day unscathed?

Or are you playing to win — confident, focused, determined, full of action and strategy as you reach towards your biggest goals?

A lot of people are playing “not to lose” right now. They’re not actively trying to move forward, they’re just trying with all their might not to get left behind, rejected, or forgotten.

The problem is, this strategy was a bad one from the beginning. When your focus is being defensive and your actions rooted out of fear and risk-avoidance…you greatly increase your odds of failure.

In a letter to his friend, Bruce Lee wrote:

“Alive, a man is supple, soft; in death, unbending rigor. All creatures, grass and trees, alive and plastic, are pliant, too, and in death all feeble and dry. Unbending rigor is the mate of death, and yielding softness, the company of life.”

Stop focusing on “not losing.”

Start focusing on winning, every single day.

“The stiffest tree is readiest for the ax.” -Bruce Lee

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

True Happiness Only Comes in Living the Way You Were Designed

“If your lifestyle does not add to your healing, it will subtract from it.” -Benjamin Foley

If you are tempted to begin acting like everyone wants you to, remember this:

You can never be happy as long as you’re living your life for other people.

In his book As a Man Thinketh, James Allen wrote:

“A man’s wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.”

What Allen is saying is simple: you can’t achieve your goals or reach your dreams until your thoughts and actions are aligned. If you’re always thinking about how you want to live as you watch yourself live an entirely different way, you’ll always be stuck.

You need to realign your thoughts and behaviors to allow growth, well-being, and fulfillment.

You were born with specific needs, desires, goals, and wants. You’ll never be truly happy until you start living the way you were designed.

  • A car doesn’t run on soda, it runs on gasoline and oil.
  • A tree can’t grow if you pour paint on it; it needs water and sunlight.
  • You can’t grow if you stay in an environment dictated by others.

You can’t be yourself if you keep living in ways you weren’t designed to live — no matter what lies you tell yourself.

What are some behaviors you know you need to stop doing? Who are some people you should stop hanging out with?

What are some behaviors and activities that you know you should start doing instead?

One of the greatest pivotal moments in my life was when I decided to go to counseling and therapy.

Until that point, I had a severe addiction to pornography. I was a chronic people-pleaser. My self-worth was terribly low. I hated the ways I acted.

After counseling, I started to behave very differently. No more night-long Internet binges. No more hanging out with vulgar, negative people. No more tolerating merely “surviving” — I was determined to thrive and grow.

Start living the way you were designed to live.

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

It’s Not “How Can I Make Everyone Happy?”…It’s About “How Would I Like to Live?”

“People are always asking me about the secrets and tricks I use to get results. Sorry if this disappoints you: there are no secrets. There are no tricks. It’s simple: ask yourself where you are now, and where you want to be instead.” -Tim Grover, Michael Jordan’s personal trainer

A lot of people wake up every day focusing on one thing:

How do I please other people?

I’m not talking about service and loving sacrifice; I’m referring to the constant feeling that you need to please everyone around you to be alright.

For me, this desire seemed to stem from childhood, and since I never addressed it (I chose to binge on pornography, video games, and mental fantasy for all those years instead), it blooms into a powerful negative mindset that left me resentful, fearful, and exhausted.

When you face your familiar cycle of avoiding rejection, ask yourself:

How do I want to live?

This was the driving force behind my eventual move to leave my 9–5 desk job to travel the world and become a writer.

I worked in corporate America for 5 years, all the while wishing I could work for myself, and not have to deal with dysfunctional bosses, pointless meetings, and long commutes in rush hour traffic.

I had finally had enough, and after the 5th year, I couldn’t ignore that question any longer: how did I want to live? Simple: I wanted freedom, meaning, and control over my life.

I saw where I wanted to go, and I did the work to get there.

Now, I’m doing what I was meant to do — write. I own my own business. I work from home, helping people achieve meaning, clarity, and focus in their lives.

The truth is, there isn’t any “secret,” no magical trick that will get you to where you want to be. Stop asking yourself what others want, and ask yourself how you want to live.

Then, take the steps necessary to get there.

Stop letting other people lead your life.

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

In Conclusion

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” -ancient proverb

The fear or rejection is real. I know.

Those feelings you have aren’t silly, but they are holding you back. The way to overcome them? Do the thing you fear.

Afraid to paint? The solution is simple: go paint.

Afraid to write that book? The solution is simple: write that book.

Afraid to be yourself?

Then just be yourself.

Everything you want and desire is on the other side of fear. Whether you take the steps you know you need to take depends entirely on you.

But being fully yourself is something you can do, every single day — if you choose to.

Live Your Dreams

How To Know If You’ll Live Your Dreams

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” — The Alchemist

The Alchemist is among the top 25 most selling books of all time. If you haven’t read it yet, do so immediately.

In the book, a young boy meets an African King who teaches the boy how to live out his “Personal Legend,” or life purpose.

Most people are content simply dreaming about their dreams — that is enough for them. Only those who are willing to pursue their dreams will see the “omens” along the way — what most consider luck or coincidence.

When you become willing to sacrifice everything to discover and live your life’s purpose, as The Alchemist relates, “all the universe will conspire to make it happen.”

38 time NYT-bestselling author, Richard Paul Evans, has a concept he calls the “Five Kingdoms.” Kingdom One is reserved for only yourself and your connection to your higher power (or whatever you prescribe to). No other human being is allowed in your First Kingdom. The problem, Evans’ explains, is that people allow their spouses, friends, and others into their First Kingdom.

This clouds and confuses everything. It sends you on a path of conformity.

You must live in alignment with yourself, first and foremost. Otherwise, you have no powerful, conviction, or clarity to offer your relationships. You’re just a clone of whatever others want you to be. You have no sense of being and no clear purpose in life. The only way to truly live congruently in life AND in your relationships is to be congruent with yourself.

In order to fully live out your dreams, you must understand and embrace the following truths:

Both Success And Mediocrity Take The Same Amount Of Energy And Time

“The boy could see in his father’s gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the world — a desire that was still alive, despite his father’s having to bury it, over dozens of years, under the burden of struggling for water to drink, food to eat, and the same place to sleep every night of his life.” — The Alchemist

Whether you live out your dreams or not, life will be a struggle. It may be more convenient to settle-in to a life of mediocrity, but even still, life will be a struggle.

You’ll have to struggle through jobs you hate.

You’ll have to struggle through relationships that crumble due to lack of confidence, clarity, and openness. The only way to truly be powerful and present in your relationships is to live in congruence with yourself. Otherwise, you always appear and act in weakness in all of your relationships. You can’t fake it. It’s subconscious and energetic.

Deep inside of you will be a gnawing regret for the life you could be living and the person you could be. Even more, you’ll realize the negative impact your lack of congruence is having on those around you. To quote Dr. Stephen R. Covey, “We control our actions, but the consequences that flow from those actions are controlled by principles.”

Similarly, the famed surgeon and religious leader, Russell Nelson, said “Decisions you first thought to be purely personal virtually always impact the lives of others… You must be mindful of the broader circle of family and friends who will be affected by the consequences of your choice[s].”

If you’re a parent, your children are intensely affected by your choices. If you’re out of alignment with yourself, how do you expect them to live a life of alignment?

If you’re out of alignment, how do you expect them to truly respect you? Of course they’ll love you. No matter who you are, you deserve love. No matter where you are or what you’ve done, you need other people to help you. The opposite of addiction is connection. Rather than judgment, what people need to get out of their dark hole or negative pattern is compassion. You can’t punish the pain out of people.

Similarly, you can’t punish yourself for not living in alignment with yourself. That won’t help you. What you need is connection — with yourself and other people. The longer you attempt to fight a silent battle through grit and willpower, the deeper you’ll bury yourself in your own negative cycles. You’re as sick as your secrets. You need to vulnerable and honest. Otherwise all relationships and situations around you are artificial.

Is there challenge and pain in living your dreams?

Are you often clueless as to what you’re doing and where you’re going?

Does it sometimes feel you’ve sacrificed too much?

Of course. But even in the midst of enormous difficulty, you’ll be living congruently. And nothing external is more important or powerful than being at peace with yourself.

You Can’t Be Overly Attached To Your Money Or Possessions

“‘If you want to learn about your own treasure, you will have to give me one-tenth of your flock.’… The treasure is at the Pyramids; that you already knew. But I had to insist on the payment of six sheep because I helped you make your decision.’” — The Alchemist

The attachment of what you presently own will stop you from making a concrete decision and commitment to pursue your dreams.

“Here I am, between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.”

The act of decision and commitment is generally tied to the donating of money (or possession) in some form of fashion. When you begin giving your money away, it starts to flow back to you much more powerfully. Because you’re not holding on to it so tightly. You realize you can have as much of it as you want. You begin being far more generous.

“Giving as you get acknowledges the Universe as truly abundant. Giving taps into the spiritual dimension that multiplies us, our thinking, and our results. There is an ocean of abundance and one can tap into it with a teaspoon, a bucket, or a tractor trailer. The ocean doesn’t care.”— The One Minute Millionaire

If you haven’t yet committed to making the decision to live your life in congruence — it’s because you’re still holding on too tightly to what you have. You need to being willing to give it all away.

What you’re holding on to is the price of what you could have. Your scarcity mindset is keeping you stuck. You’ll know you’re ready when you start giving away what you’ve got to a cause you believe in — or to other people in need.

Once you start mindfully giving your money away, you’ll open yourself up getting much much more. The reason is simple, it is the act of donating your money that cements within you the DECISION to live your life more powerfully.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness… The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.” — William Hutchison Murray

You Must Be Willing To Risk It All

“If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.” — Admiral William McRaven

In the book, MAKE YOUR BED, Admiral William McRaven tells the story of training to become a Special Operations Officer for the Navy Seals. The most intense training program imaginable.

According to Admiral McRaven…

At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course. The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including a 10-foot high wall, a 30-foot cargo net and a barbed wire crawl, to name a few. But the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life. It had a three-level 30-foot tower at one end and a one-level tower at the other. In between was a 200-foot-long rope. You had to climb the three-tiered tower and once at the top, you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end.

The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began training in 1977. The record seemed unbeatable, until one day, a student decided to go down the slide for life head first. Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move — seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk. Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training. Without hesitation the student slid down the rope perilously fast. Instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

According to the Biopsychological Theory of Personality, all behavior is either triggered by your “Behavioral Activation System” (BAS) or “Behavioral Inhibition System” (BIS).

Your BAS activates your behavior and moves you forward, despite risks. Your BIS inhibits your behavior and stops you from moving forward, because of risks.

According to the Strategic Principle of War, “The best defense is a good offense.”

In his book, When Violence Is the Answer: Learning How to Do What It Takes When Your Life Is at Stake, Tim Larkin explains that when you’re in a hostile situation, if you’re hesitant, you’ll lose.

If you’re retreating backwards, that’s exactly what a perpetrator wants you to do.

If you hold your arms up in a fighting position — you’re also in a position of weakness, because you don’t know what you’re going to do. You’re acting socially — being reactive — and you’ve given your power of choice to them.

The only way to successfully win in a hostile situation is to aggressively move forward on the offensive. This is exactly the opposite of what a perpetrator is expecting. And it’s the only truly powerful defensive.

When you’ve committed fully to living in complete congruence, despite the risk — when you’ve passed your point of no return — you will often be in positions where you’re required to risk it all. To go on complete offensive.

Of course, you likely won’t be required to risk it all. But you must be willing to. It must be YOUR decision, not indecision that determines what happens. And if you’re in alignment with your First Kingdom, you’ll follow your gut and know what to do — and you won’t let the opinions of others cloud your final decision.

You will likely be very misunderstood. The cost will seem too high to most people. They aren’t operating at the same level as you. They don’t realize that your security is internal, and that you’re no longer tied to the outcome. You’re simply tied to living in congruence with what you believe you should do.

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” — The Alchemist

Sometimes, you’ll have lots of money coming your way and be required to give it all back to what you’re trying to accomplish. Consider Elon Musk, who was willing to sink all of his money into his companies. Had he not been willing to do that, he probably wouldn’t be where he is today.

Money for him is a tool. Not something he’s attached to. He doesn’t work to make money. He makes money to do more work. He makes money to fuel the mission.

Let Go Of The Need For A Specific Outcome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

“The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being.” — The Alchemist

Living your dreams is available to everyone. Whether you choose to live your dreams or not, your life will be a struggle and a challenge.

Joe Polish, founder of Genius Network often says, “Life is easy when you live it the hard way, and hard when you live it the easy way.”

However, you will age yourself much quicker due to internal conflict if you choose the struggle of fear, conformity, indecision, and selfishness.

You have the option of evolving to very powerful places and having transformative experiences if you’re willing to. You won’t regret it. Your life will be far fuller and more powerful. The relationships you have will be deeper and more meaningful.

You’ll have a sense of purpose — and other people will respect you for tha

50 Ways To Live On Your Own Terms

1. Stop depending on caffeine

“Addictions embody repetition without progress. They produce incapacity as a payoff.” — Steven Pressfield

Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When we’re off it, we underperform and become incapable.

Isn’t this absurd?

The problem isn’t the caffeine. It’s the compulsion and dependence. The need to rely on it to do everyday tasks which shouldn’t require it. Use it if it’s strategic, don’t abuse it to the point of ineffectiveness.

In his book, The Untethered SoulMichael Singer argues that your energy should come from within — from your why — not from external stimulants. The scientific backing is substantial and unsurprising: intrinsic motivationdestroys extrinsic motivation every day of the week.

Motivation aside — healthy eating, sleeping, and intensive exercise produce higher quantities and quality of energy than caffeine ever could. A holistic approach to life is essential. Garbage in, garbage out.

2. Pray or meditate morning, mid-day, and night

In a recent interview at the Genius Network mastermind event, Joe Polish asked Tony Robbins what he does to get focused. “Do you meditate? What do you do?” Joe asked.

“I don’t know that I meditate. I don’t know that I want to meditate and think about nothing,” Tony responded, “My goal is clarity.”

Instead of full-on meditation, Tony has a morning routine that includes several breathing exercises and visualization techniques that get him to a state of clarity and focus. For me, I use prayer and pondering (my version of meditation) as the same vehicle.

Whatever your approach, the goal should be clarity and focus. What do you want to be about today?

What few things matter most during the next 24 hours?

I’ve gotten the best results as:

  • My morning prayer and meditation are motivational
  • My afternoon prayer and meditation are evaluative and strategic
  • My evening prayer and meditation are evaluative and reflective

3. Read 1 book per week

People living ordinary lives seek entertainment. People living extraordinary lives seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.

I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus. Taking even 15–30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.

Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.

Reference #19 on this list if you feel you’re “too busy” to read one book per week. There are methods to make this task extremely easy.

4. Write in your journal 5 minutes per day

This habit will change your life. Your journal will:

  • Clear your emotions serving as your personal therapist
  • Detail your personal history
  • Enhance your creativity
  • Ingrain and enhance your learning
  • Help you get clarity on the future you want to create
  • Accelerate your ability to manifest your goals
  • Increase your gratitude
  • Improve your writing skills
  • Lots more

Five minutes per day is more than enough. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, recommends writing far less than you want to — only a few sentences or paragraphs at most. This will help you avoid burnout.

5. Marry the person you love

“For all the productivity and success advice I’ve read, shaped and marketed for dozens of authors in the last decade, I’ve never really seen someone come out and say: Find yourself a spouse who complements and supports you and makes you better.” — Ryan Holiday

Research done by economists have found — even after controlling for age, education, and other demographics — that married people make 10 to 50 percent more than single people.

Why would this be?

Being married gives you a higher purpose for being productive. You are no longer a lone ranger, but have another person who relies on you.

Marriage also smacks you in the face with what’s really important in life. Sure, hanging out and partying is fun. But too many people get stuck in this phase and miss the meaning that comes from building a life with someone.

You will never find a better personal development seminar or book than marriage. It will highlight all of your flaws and weaknesses, challenging you to become a better person than you ever thought possible.

Said Thomas Monson, “Choose your love; love your choice.” After you’ve chosen the person you love, love them. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. Said Frankl in, Man’s Search for Meaning, “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

6. Make a bucket list and actively knock items off

Most people have it backward — they design their ambitions around their life, rather than designing their life around their ambitions.

What are the things you absolutely must do before you die?

Start there.

Then design your life around those things. Or as Stephen Covey explained inThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end clearly in mind.”

I must confess that until recently, I had put my work before my kids. Sure, I made time for my kids regularly — but in my head and heart, I put work before them. I won’t make that mistake again.

Here’s the truth — when you put the top priorities first, you find the time for the rest. I’ve become more successful and productive while working less because I’m putting first things first. This gives you a sense of confidence and integrity and also fulfills you much deeper.

When you’re fulfilled, you work better.

Working more shouldn’t be the goal. It’s doing brilliant work that supports the lifestyle you’ve chosen based on your values and priorities.

A simple mental exercise that may be helpful is imagining you only have 30 days to live. What would you do in those 30 days?

Now imagine you have 5 years to live. What would you do during those 5 years?

Get to work. The death-bed mentality is the only way to live. Stop pretending you’ll live forever. As Professor Harold Hill has said — “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

7. Stop over-consuming refined sugar

If you stop consuming sugar, your brain will radically change. Actually, study after study is showing that refined sugar is worse for our brains than it is for our waistlines. According to Dr. William Coda Martin, refined sugar is nothing more than poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins, and minerals.

Refined sugar has now been shown to make us cranky, make us make rash decisions, and make us stupid.

Again, like caffeine, if you stop impulsively consuming refined sugar, you will experience some negative withdrawals. But, like any good habit, the effects of this will be seen in the long-run. What would your health be like a year from now (or five) if you were completely refined sugar-free?

Said Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.”

8. Fast from all food and caloric beverages 24 hours once per week

One-day (24-hour) food fasts are a popular way to maintain health and vigor. Fasting leverages the self-healing properties of the human body. Radical health improvements occur when the digestive system is given rest and the organs get ample time to repair and heal themselves.

A regular practice of fasting can:

  • Improve digestive efficiency
  • Increase mental clarity
  • Increase physical and mental vigor
  • Remove toxins
  • Improve vision
  • Give a general feeling of well being

Like all the other habits, fasting gets easier with practice. I’ve been fasting for years and it’s one of the best things I have done for my health.

Fasting is also one of the most recognized techniques in religious and spiritual practices. I also use fasting to get spiritual clarity and refinement.

Honestly, I could go on for hours about this one. Give it a try. You’ll never be the same.

9. Fast from the internet 24 hours once per week

Your body gets an intervention when you fast. Your mind and relationships could use one too. Unplug yourself from the matrix.

If you haven’t caught on already, human beings are highly addictive creatures. We love our coffee, sugar, and the internet. And these things are all great. But our lives can be far more enhanced by using these tools in wisdom.

The purpose of the internet fast is to reconnect to yourself and your loved ones. So, you probably shouldn’t do it the same day you do your food fast. Because eating is one of the strongest ways to form bonds.

You’ll be blown away by how much more connected you feel to your loved ones when you can give them your undivided attention. It may even feel awkward for a while having a real-life conversation without looking at your phone every three minutes.

10. Stop consuming the news or reading the newspaper

Although the amount of warfare and deaths by human hands are reducing globally, you will not get that message watching televised news or reading the newspaper.

On the contrary, these media outlets have an agenda. Their goal is to appeal to your fears by inflating extreme cases — making them seem normal and commonplace. If they didn’t do so, their viewership would plummet. Which is why Peter Diamandis, one of the world’s experts on entrepreneurship and the future of innovation has said, “I’ve stopped watching TV news. They couldn’t pay me enough money.”

You can get high-quality news curated from Google news. When you detox from the toxic filth that is public news, you’ll be startled as your worldview becomes radically more optimistic. There is no objective reality. Instead, we live in perceived realities and are thus responsible for the worldview we adopt.

11. Do something every day that terrifies you

A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss

But you don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. Actually, Darren Hardyhas said that you can be a coward 99.9305556% of the time (to be exact). You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time.

Twenty seconds of fear is all you need. If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.

Make that call.

Ask that question.

Pitch that idea.

Post that video.

Whatever it is you feel you want to do–do it. The anticipation of the event is far more painful than the event itself. So just do it and end the inner-conflict.

In most cases, your fears are unfounded. As Seth Godin has explained, our comfort zone and our safety zone are not the same things. It is completely safe to make an uncomfortable phone call. You are not going to die. Don’t equate the two. Recognize that most things outside your comfort zone are completely safe.

12. Do something kind for someone else daily

“Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone’s burden been lighter today, because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there?” — Will L. Thompson (music and text)

If we’re too busy to help other people, we’ve missed the mark. Taking the time to spontaneously — as well as planned — helping other people is one of the greatest joys in life. Helping others opens you up to new sides of yourself. It helps you connect deeper with those you help and humanity in general. It clarifies what really matters in life.

As Thomas Monson has said, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” That would truly be a failure.

13. Go to bed early and rise early

According to countless research studies, people who go to bed and rise early are better students. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that early sleep/risers are more proactive and are more likely to anticipate problems and minimize them efficiently, which leads to being more successful in the business.

Other benefits of going to bed and rising early — backed by research — include:

  • Being a better planner
  • Being holistically healthier as individuals
  • Getting better sleep
  • More optimistic, satisfied, and conscientious

Waking up early allows you to proactively and consciously design your day. You can start with a morning routine that sets the tone for your whole day. You show self-respect by putting yourself first. In your morning routine, you can pray/meditate, exercise, listen to or read inspiring content, and write in your journal. This routine will give you a much stronger buzz than a cup of coffee.

14. Get 7+ hours of sleep each night

Let’s face it: sleep is just as important as eating and drinking water. Despite this, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience insane problems as a result.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted surveys revealing that at least 40 million Americans suffer from more than 70 different sleep disorders; furthermore, 60 percent of adults, and 69 percent of children, experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month — with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.

On the flip side, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to:

  • Increased memory
  • Longer life
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise
  • Lower stress
  • Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine
  • Decreased risk of getting into accidents
  • Decreased risk of depression

And tons more… Google it.

15. Replace warm showers with cold ones

Tony Robbins doesn’t consume caffeine at all. Instead, he starts every morningby jumping into a 57-degree Fahrenheit swimming pool.

Why would he do such a thing?

Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. It can also increase weight-loss because it boosts your metabolism.

2007 research study found that taking cold showers routinely can help treat depression symptoms often more effective than prescription medications. That’s because cold water triggers a wave of mood-boosting neurochemicals which make you feel happy.

To me, it increases my willpower and boosts my creativity and inspiration. While standing with the cold water hitting my back, I practice slowing my breathing and calming down. After I’ve chilled out, I feel super happy and inspired. Lots of ideas start flowing and I become way motivated to achieve my goals.

Here’s a tip if you’re just starting out: start your shower warm, as usual. Let the warm water on your muscles allow you to stretch them out. After you’re stretched and washed, completely turn-off the warm and completely turn-on the cold. It really isn’t too bad at all. It feels incredible. Just do it for 60–90 seconds, then get out. You’ll be very pleased.

16. Say “No” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on

“No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.” — Derek Sivers

Your 20 seconds of daily courage will most consistently involve saying “no” to stuff that doesn’t really matter. But how could you possibly say “no” to certain opportunities if you don’t know what you want? You can’t. Like most people, you’ll be seduced by the best thing that comes around. Or, you’ll crumble under other people’s agendas.

But if you know what you want, you’ll have the courage and foresight to pass up even brilliant opportunities — because ultimately they are distractors from your vision. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”

17. Say “Thank you” every time you’re served by someone

It’s amazing when you meet someone who is expressively and genuinely grateful. It’s amazing because, frankly, it’s rare.

I remember one day while working as a busser of a restaurant as a teenager. Every time I went by a certain table, whether I was refilling waters, bringing food, anything… the kid at the table (no more than 20 years old) graciously said “thank you.” I even heard him from close proximity saying it to all the other employees when they stopped by his table.

This experience had a dramatic impact on me. It was so simple what he was doing. Yet, so beautiful. I instantly loved this person and wanted to serve him even more.

I could tell by how he looked in my eyes when saying “thank you” that he meant it. It came from a place of gratitude and humility.

Interestingly, one study has found that saying “thank you,” facilitated a 66 percent increase in help offered by those serving. Although altruism is the goal, don’t be surprised as your habit of graciously saying “thank you” turns into even more to be thankful for.

18. Say “I love you” 3+ times a day to the most important people in your life

According to neuroscience research, the more you express love (like gratitude), the more other people feel love for you. Sadly, people are taught absurd mindsets about being vulnerable and loving in relationships. Just this morning, my wife and I had to coax and prod our three foster kids to say one nice thing about each other, and to say they loved each other.

It took several minutes for our 8-year-old foster boy to muster the strength to say he loved his sister. Yet, all of our kids constantly berate and belittle each other.

You know the feeling: when you want to say “I love you” but hold back. What a horrible feeling.

Why do we hesitate to express our love?

Why do we hesitate to connect deeply with others?

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.”

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

Here’s a pro-tip: In the morning when you first wake up, write in your journal (see #4 above). But during your morning journal writing — include your family.

Write about your spouse and kids. Answer the following prompt in your journal: How could I show love and appreciation for them today?

As you write in your journal, two things will happen: 1) self-awareness and 2) creativity.

Self-awareness will show you where you’re taking your loved ones for granted. You’ll quickly see that you haven’t been as engaged and devoted and thoughtful as you could be.

Creativity is all about taking the relationship to the next level. In your journal, write the ideas for how you can positively impact that relationship today. Then, thoughtfully and courageously act to bring about a deeper connection.

You can transform your relationships and develop deep emotional bonds quickly with some awareness and thoughtfulness. Your relationships do not have to be a pattern of the past. You can design them for the future.

19. Consume 30 grams of protein within the first 30 minutes of waking up

Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, also recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking up.

According to Tim, his father did this and lost 19 pounds in one month.

Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents spikes in hunger.

Eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings. These are the types of carbs that get you fat. Think bagels, toast, and donuts.

Tim makes four recommendations for getting adequate protein in the morning:

  • Eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein
  • Do it with two or three whole eggs (each egg has about 6g protein)
  • If you don’t like eggs, use something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese
  • Or, you could always do a protein shake with water

For people who avoid dairy, meat, and eggs, there are several plant-based proteins. Legumes, greens, nuts, and seeds all are rich in protein.

20. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts on 1.5 or 2x speed, your brain will change faster

Listening to audiobooks at normal speed is so three years ago. There is a going trend — particularly in Silicon Valley — to listen to audiobooks at 150 or 200 percent called “speed listening.”

In 2010, the tech blog GigaOm suggested “speed-listening to podcasts” as an overall time-saving technique. Software called FasterAudio promises to “cut your audio learning time in half.”

If you want to get hardcore, a particularly useful tool is Overcast — a podcast-playback app with a feature called Smart Speed. Smart Speed isn’t about simply playing audio content at 150 or 200 percent of the standard rate; but actually attempts algorithmically to remove fluff (e.g., dead air, pauses between sentences, intros and outros) that bulks up the play time of audio content.

Use this technique and you’ll be consuming as much information as you once consumed caffeine.

21. Decide where you’ll be in five years and get there in two

“How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?” — Peter Thiel

There is always a faster way than you originally conceived. Actually, goal-setting can slow your progress and diminish your potential if you rely too heavily upon it.

In an interview with Success Magazine, Tim Ferriss said that he doesn’t have five or ten-year goals. Instead, he works on “experiments” or projects for a 6–12 week period of time. If they do extremely well, the possible doors that could open are endless. Tim would rather play to the best possibilities than get stuck on one track. He says this approach allows him to go drastically farther than he could ever plan for.

22. Remove all non-essentials from your life (start with your closet)

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — Greg McKeown

Most of the possessions you own, you don’t use. Most of the clothes in your closet, you don’t wear. Get rid of them. They are sucking energy from your life. Also, they are dormant value waiting to be exchanged for dollars.

Getting rid of underutilized resources is like injecting motivation and clarity into your bloodstream. While all of that untapped energy gets removed, a new wave of positive energy comes into your life. You can use that energy in more useful and productive ways.

23. Consume a tablespoon of coconut oil once per day

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Here are 7 reasons you should eat coconut oil every single day:

  • It boosts HDL (good) cholesterol and simultaneously blocks LDL (bad) cholesterol buildup
  • It has special fats that help you burn more fat, have more energy, and maintain a healthy weight
  • It fights aging and keeps you looking and feeling young
  • It reduces fever and acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • It is antibacterial and thus wards off possible illnesses
  • It improves memory and cognitive functioning (even for people with Alzheimer’s)
  • It can boost testosterone for men and balance healthy hormones level for both men and women

Coconut oil is a healthy alternative to caffeine. Eating a small amount will give you a shot of energy without the side-effects.

24. Go for 3–5 walks per week

“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” — Thomas Jefferson

In the book, Daily Rituals, Mason Currey highlights the routines and rituals of some of the most successful artists, scientists, writers, musicians, etc.

A very common feature in these people’s lives is WALKING.

It’s the most healthy form of exercise on the planet. It’s also incredibly good for self-awareness and creative thinking. You give yourself space and allow the scenery around you to trigger creative mind-wandering, which leads to powerful insights and emotional commitments.

If you make walking a habit in your life, you’ll become far more healthy, creative, and successful.

25. Choose to have faith in something bigger than yourself, skepticism is easy

In the timeless book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill explains that a fundamental principle of wealth creation is having faith — which he defines as visualization and belief in the attainment of desire.

As Hill famously said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

If you don’t believe in your dreams, the chances of them happening are slim to none. But if you can come to fully know the things you seek will occur, the universe will conspire to make it happen.

According to Hill (see page 49 of Think and Grow Rich), here’s how that works:

  • “Faith is the starting point of all accumulation of riches!”
  • “Faith is the basis of all ‘miracles’ and mysteries that cannot be analyzed by the rules of science!”
  • “Faith is the element that transforms the ordinary vibration of thought, created by the finite mind of man, into the spiritual equivalent.”
  • “Faith is the only agency through which the cosmic force of Infinite Intelligence can be harnessed and used.”
  • “Faith is the element, the ‘chemical’ which, when mixed with prayer, gives one direct communication with Infinite Intelligence.”

Like expressing love, in our culture, many have become uncomfortable with ideas like faith. Yet, to all of the best business minds in recent history, faith was fundamental to their success.

26. Stop obsessing about the outcome

Research has found that expectations in one’s own ability serve as a better predictor of high performance than expectations about a specific outcome. In his book, The Personal MBAJosh Kaufman explains that when setting goals, your locus of control should target what you can control (i.e., your efforts) instead of results you can’t control (e.g., whether you get the part).

Expect optimal performance from yourself and let the chips fall where they may. The organic output will be your highest quality work. Put most simply: Do what is right, let the consequence follow.

27. Give at least one guilt-free hour to relaxation per day

In our quest for success, many of us have become workaholics. However, relaxation is crucial for success. It is akin to resting between sets at the gym. Without resting, your workout will be far less than it could have been.

Foolishly, people approach their lives like a workout without rest breaks. Instead, they take stimulants to keep themselves going longer and longer. But this isn’t sustainable or healthy. It’s also bad for productivity and creativity in the short and long run.

28. Genuinely apologize to people you’ve mistreated

People make mistakes several times every single day. Sadly — and hilariously — much of the time we act like kids and blame our mistakes on external factors. Research has found that people who don’t openly and often apologize experience higher levels of stress and anxiety.

You don’t need that pent-up energy in your life. Make amends and let it go. It’s not your choice if people choose to forgive you.

29. Make friends with five people who inspire you

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

Who you spend time with is incredibly important. Even more fundamental is: what types of people are you comfortable around?

Your comfort level is one of the clearest indicators of your character. Are the people you enjoy being around inspiring or degrading, hard-working or lazy?

What kinds of beliefs do your friends have?

What kinds of goals are they pursuing?

How much money do they make?

What does their health look like?

All of these things dramatically impact you. And it is one of the most painful experiences in the world to become uncomfortable around people who have long been your friends. When you grow and evolve and long for more, you’ll begin seeking a different crowd to surround yourself with.

Misery loves company. Don’t let them hold you back. Move on but never detach from the love you have for those people.

30. Save 10 percent or more of your income

“I would have saved 10 percent automatically from my paycheck by direct deposit into a savings account earning the best possible interest compoundeddaily. I would have also disciplined myself to deposit 10 percent of any additional money from gifts, refunds or other earned income. I would havebought a small house outright with the money I had saved (instead of renting an apartment for over 30 years). I would have found a job that I loved and devoted my life to it. At least you could be happy even if you were not where you wanted to be financially. Hope this helps someone out there.” — D. Lorinser

Tithing yourself is a core principle of wealth creation. Most people pay other people first. Most people live above their means.

In total, American consumers owe:

  • $11.85 trillion in debt
  • An increase of 1.4% from last year
  • $918.5 billion in credit card debt
  • $8.09 trillion in mortgages
  • $1.19 trillion in student loans
  • An increase of 5.9% from last year

The U.S. Census in 2010 reported that there were 234.56 million people over the age of 18 years old, suggesting the average adult owes $3,761 in revolving credit to lenders. Across the average household, American adults also owe $11,244 in student loans, $8,163 on their autos, and $70,322 on their mortgage.

Simply switching to home-brewed coffee will save you an average of $64.48 per month (or $2 per day) or $773.80 per year. By putting the savings into a mutual fund with average earnings of 6.5% interest and reinvesting the dividends into more mutual funds over a decade, the $64.48 saved every month would grow into $10,981.93.

My wife once took an accounting class from a world-renowned accountant. His words on the first day of class, “The most important thing you’ll learn in this class, which most people will never learn: spend less than you earn. If you do this, you’ll be financially free.”

31. Tithe or give 10 percent of your income away

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer.” — Proverbs 11:24

Many of the wealthiest people in the world attribute their healthy financial life and abundance to giving some of it away.

Most people are trying to accumulate as much as they can. However, a natural principle of wealth creation is generosity. As Joe Polish has said, “The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.”

From a spiritual perspective, everything we have is God’s (or the Earth’s). We are merely stewards over our possessions. When we die, we don’t take our money with us. So why hoard it?

As you give generously and wisely, you’ll be stunned by the increases in your earning potential. You’ll develop traits needed for radical wealth creation.

Although a religious example, this next story is incredibly instructive and fascinating.

George Q. Cannon was a leader of the Latter-Day Saint Church some time ago. As a young and impoverished man, he approached his tithing practice in a unique way. Tithing, in that faith, is Biblical and encourages members to pay 10% of their income.

But George was highly imaginative in how he paid his tithing. Rather than paying retroactively, wherein he paid 10% of what he earned, he decided to pay 10% of what he intended to earn in his future.

In a talk, Dr. Wendy Watson further expounded on this story:

When his bishop commented on the large amount of tithing poor young George was paying, George said something like: “Oh bishop, I’m not paying tithing on what I make. I’m paying tithing on what I want to make.” And the very next year George earned exactly the amount of money he had paid tithing on the year before!

George Q. Cannon was not transactional in his religious approach to tithing. He was transformational. He didn’t see tithing as a cost, but an investment in himself and his relationship with his faith.

Whether you are spiritually-minded or not, the implications of this story are psychologically instructive.

How was he able to turn his financial investments into upgraded skills and mindsets?

Rather than acting from your present circumstances, you act from your future circumstances.

Rather than living from the present or past, you can “assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled.”

This is one of the reasons to write down your goals daily — it allows you to live as though your desired future is already a concrete fact.

But this is also another reason to invest money in yourself, your relationships, your priorities, and your future. When you invest in something, you upgrade your subconscious mindset around that thing. Essentially, you’re saying to yourself — I can be, do, and have more than I currently am. This is why imagination is so key.

In George Cannon’s case, he invested in his relationship with his God, which led to a 10X transformation. Investment is always a more powerful mindset than seeing things as a cost.

32. Drink 64–100 ounces of water per day

Human beings are mostly water. As we drink healthy amounts of water, we have smaller waistlines, healthier skin, and better functioning brains. Actually, as we drink enough water, it’s safe to say we’re better in every way.

It’s a no-brainer. If you’re not drinking the healthy amount of water each day, you should critically assess your priorities in life.

33. Buy a small place rather than rent

Unless you live in a big city (which many of you do), I’m baffled how many people pay outlandish amounts on rent each month.

When my wife and I moved to Clemson to begin graduate school, we did a lot of front end work to ensure we’d be able to buy a home. What’s shocking is that our mortgage payment is far less than most of our friend’s rent payments. By the end of our four years here in Clemson, we’ll have earned several thousand dollars in equity and even more in appreciation. Conversely, many of our friends are simply dumping hundreds of dollars into someone else’s pockets every month.

Paying rent is like working hourly. You get money while you’re on the clock. When you’re not on the clock, you get no money. Earning equity is like having residual income. Every month you pay down your mortgage, you actually keep that money. So you’re not “spending to live”as most people do. You’re living for free while saving — often earning in appreciation.

34. Check your email and social media at least 60–90 minutes after you wake up

Most people check their email and social media immediately upon waking up. This puts them in a reactive state for the remainder of the day. Instead of living life on their own terms, they’d rather respond to other people’s agendas.

Hence, the importance of having a solid morning routine. When you wake up and put yourself, not other people first, you position yourself to win before you ever begin playing. As Stephen Covey has taught in his book, Spiritual Roots of Human Relations“Private victory always precedes public victory.”

Make the first few hours of your morning about you, so that you can be the best you can for other people. My morning routine consists of prayer, journal writing, listening to audiobooks and podcasts while I workout, and taking a cold shower.

After I’ve had an epic morning, and I’m clear on the direction of my day, I can utilize email and social media for my benefit rather than a detriment.

35. Make a few radical changes to your life each year

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.”— Alain de Botton

Reinvent yourself every year. Novelty is an antidote to monotony. Jump into new pursuits and relationships.

Try things you’ve never done before.

Take risks.

Have more fun.

Pursue big things you’ve been procrastinating for years.

In 2018, my wife and I went from having no kids to having 5 kids. We adopted three siblings from the foster system and had twins. We also moved from South Carolina to Orlando, Florida. Many other insane things happened and we’re honestly still recovering.

Creating huge changes in your life also produces huge amounts of stress. But when you have your priorities clear, and when you’re engaging in healthy habits — you can make it through the other side a much different and more mature human being.

As Jack Canfield said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Similarly, a different and more powerful version of you is on the other side of change. Don’t let the emotional pain and learning stop you from evolving.

36. Define what wealth and happiness mean to you

“Be everything to everybody and you’ll be nothing for yourself.” — John Rushton

No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.

Instead, you recognize that every decision has an opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal.

We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us — and we will always fall short. We’ll always be left wanting. We’ll always be stuck comparing ourselves and competing with other people. Our lives will be an endless race for the next best thing. We’ll never experience contentment.

37. “Change the way you feel, think, and act about money” — Steve Down

Most people have an unhealthy relationship with money. It’s not necessarily their fault; it’s what they were taught.

In order to change your financial world, you need to alter your paradigm and feelings about money.

Here are some key beliefs the most successful people in the world have:

  • In a free-market economy, anyone can make as much money as they want.
  • Your background, highest level of education, or IQ is irrelevant when it comes to earning money.
  • The bigger the problem you solve, the more money you make.
  • Expect to make lots of money. Think BIG: $100,000, $500,000, or why not $1 million?
  • What you focus on expands. If you believe in scarcity, you’ll have little.
  • If you believe there is unlimited abundance, you’ll attract abundance.
  • When you create incredible value for others, you have the right to make as much money as you want.
  • You’re not going to be discovered, saved, or made rich by someone else. If you want to be successful, you have to build it yourself.

When you develop a healthy relationship, you will have more. You won’t spend money on the crap most people waste their money on. You’ll focus more on value than price.

38. Invest only in industries you are informed about

Warren Buffett doesn’t invest in technology because he doesn’t understand it. Instead, he invests in banking and insurance. He’s not a tech guy. He invests in what he understands.

Yet, so many people invest in things they don’t understand. I’ve made that mistake. I once invested several thousand dollars in an overseas rice distribution. Although the investment sounded incredible on paper, it’s turned out to be a disaster.

I didn’t have the understanding to make an informed decision. I put my trust in someone else’s hands. And no one cares about your success more than you do.

From now on, I’m going to responsibly invest in things I can make informed decisions on.

39. Create an automated income source that takes care of the fundamentals

We live in unprecedented times. It has never been easier to create automated income streams. No matter your skill-set and interests, you can put a business in a place that runs 24/7 even while you’re sleeping, sitting on the beach, or playing with your kids.

An entrepreneur is someone who works for a few years like no one will so they can live the rest of their life like no one else can.

If you want to free up your time and energy for the things that matter most, either invest in stuff you’re informed on (e.g., real estate, businesses, mutual funds), or, create a business that doesn’t require you (e.g., create an online educational course about something you’re passionate about).

40. Have multiple income streams (the more the better)

Most people’s income comes from the same source. However, most wealthy people’s income comes from multiple sources. I know people with hundreds of income streams coming in each month.

What would happen if you set things up so you were getting income from 5 or 10 different places each month?

What if several of those were automated?

Again, with a few short years of intentional and focused work, you can have several income streams.

41. Track at least one habit/behavior you’re trying to improve

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” — Thomas Monson

Tracking is difficult. If you’ve tried it before, chances are, you quit within a few days.

Research has repeatedly found that when behavior is tracked and evaluated, it improves drastically.

It’s best to track only a few things. Maybe just one at a time.

If you want to track your diet, a fun approach is taking a picture of everything you eat. Everything. This allows you the time to determine if you really want to put that in your body.

So, your tracking can be creative. Do what works for you. Use a method you will actually do. But start tracking.

As a consultant and executive coach, tracking and reporting behavior, daily, has been the number one factor in my client’s success. When you track something, you become aware of it. When you report something, you become accountable to it.

Most of my clients simply send me an email at the end of their workday with a few bullet points (e.g., I did 4 hours of work on my startup, I made 3 sales, I didn’t check social media before noon). Accountability to a spreadsheet or app is not the same as accounting to a person — particularly one you trust and respect.

42. Have no more than 3 items on your to-do list each day

When you shift your life from day-to-day reactivity to one of creation and purpose, your goals become a lot bigger. Consequently, your priority list becomes smaller. Instead of doing a million things poorly, the goal becomes to do a few things incredibly — or better yet, to do one thing better than anyone else in the world.

“If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.” — Jim Collins

So, instead of trying to do a million small things, what one or two things would make the biggest impact?

Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, explains that there are two economies: The Economy of Hard Work and The Economy of Results.

Some people think hard work is the recipe. Although this is completely true, the effort is often misplaced. Most people focus on the process, or work first, and the result second. Conversely, those who determine the outcomes their seeking first can better discern which strategy will be most effective. Sure, that strategy may be out of your comfort zone, but as Tim Grover has said in Relentless, “When you crave the end result, the hard work becomes irrelevant.”

Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, explains what he calls Minimum Effective Dose (MED), which is simply the smallest dose that will yield a desired result and anything past the MED is wasteful. Water boils at 100°C at standard air pressure — it is not “more boiled” if you add more heat.

What is the fastest way to get your desired outcome?

43. Make your bed first thing in the morning

According to psychological research, people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t. If that’s not enough, here’s more:

  • 71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy
  • While 62 percent of non-bed-makers are unhappy
  • Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested
  • Whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.

Crazy, right?

Something so simple. Yet, when you make your bed first thing in the morning, you knock-off your first accomplishment of the day. This puts you in a mindset of “winning.”

Do it! It only takes 30 seconds.

44. Make one audacious request per week (what do you have to lose?)

“Rainmakers generate revenue by making asks. They ask for donations. They ask for contracts. They ask for deals. They ask for opportunities. They ask to meet with leaders or speak to them over the phone. They ask for publicity. They come up with ideas and ask for a few minutes of your time to pitch it.They ask for help. Don’t let rainmaking deter you from your dream. It’s one of the barriers to entry, and you can overcome it. Once you taste the sweet victory of a positive response, you’ll not only become comfortable with it, you might even enjoy it. But making asks is the only way to bring your dream to life.” — Ben Arment

I got into graduate school way after applications were due because I asked.

I’ve gotten free NBA tickets by asking a few players I saw at a hotel.

I’ve gotten my work published on high tier outlets because I ask.

I recently heard the story of someone who wrote “Fast Pass” on the back of their business card and presented it to a Disney employee. After some fun and light-hearted conversations, the employee let them through.

Very few things in life are just randomly given to you as an adult. In most cases, you need to earn it and/or ask for it.

Yet, there are many opportunities currently available to everyone if they would muster the courage and humility to ask.

The entire crowdfunding industry is based on making asks.

Start making bold and audacious asks. What’s the worst that could happen?They say “No”?

What’s the best that could happen?

When you don’t ask, you lose by default. And you’ll never know the opportunities you missed out on.

Don’t sell yourself short. Ask that beautiful girl on a date. Ask for that raise or big opportunity at work. Ask people to invest in your idea.

Put yourself out there. You’ll be blown away by what happens.

45. Be spontaneously generous with a stranger at least once per month

Life isn’t all about what you can achieve or acquire. It’s more about who you become and what you contribute.

Interestingly, research done at Yale has found that people are instinctively cooperative and generous. However, if you stall and think about being helpful or generous, you’re less likely to do it. And the longer you wait, the likelihood of you being helpful diminishes. This principle applies to other areas as well, like creativity. The longer you wait to do something, the less likely it is you’ll do it.

So, be spontaneous. When you get the wild thought of buying the person’s food in the car behind you, just do it. Don’t think about it.

If you’re driving down the road and see someone with car trouble off to the side, just do it. Don’t think about it.

When you want to say “I love you,” to a loved one, just do it. Don’t think about it.

Paralysis by analysis is dumb. And Malcolm Gladwell explains in Blinkthatsnap-decisions are often far better than well-thought-out ones.

46. Write and place a short, thoughtful note for someone once per day

The messages of handwritten letters impact deeper and are remembered longer than electronic messages. There is no comparison to this traditional form of conversation. Handwritten messages are so powerful that people often keep these notes for a long time. Sometimes a lifetime.

Jack Canfield has taught that writing 3–5 handwritten notes per day will change your relationships. In our email world, it can seem inefficient to hand-write and mail a letter. But relationships aren’t about efficiency.

Not only will handwriting letters change your relationships, it will change you. Research has shown that writing by hand increases brain development and cognition more than typing can.

Consequently, the things you write will be seared into your own memory as well, allowing both you and the recipient to reflect back on cherished moments.

Writing handwritten notes spices up your relationships, adding an element of fun. It’s exciting placing kind and loving notes in random places for your loved ones to find. Put a note under the windshield wipers of your loved one’s car to find after a hard day’s’ work. Hidden, wait til they come out and watch them from across the street. You’ll see their eyes light up and smile spread.

Other fun places include:

  • In the fridge
  • In the closet
  • On the computer keyboard
  • In their shoe
  • In their wallet
  • The mailbox

Anywhere that makes the experience a surprise…

47. Become good friends with your parents

“The parent-child connection is the most powerful mental health intervention known to mankind.” — Bessel van der Kolk

Many people have horrible relationships with their parents. I once did myself. Growing up can be tough and sometimes our parents make horrible decisions that negatively impact us.

However, my parents have become my best friends. They are my confidants. I turn to them for wisdom and advice. They understand me like no one else. Biology is a powerful thing.

Although I don’t see things the same way my parents do, I love them and respect their viewpoints. I love working out with my dad and talking about big ideas with my mom.

I couldn’t imagine not being close to them.

If your parents are still around, rekindle those ties or increase the flame. You’ll find enormous joy in those relationships.

48. Floss your teeth

About 50 percent of Americans claim to floss daily. My guess is that’s a large over-estimate. Either way, the benefits of flossing are incredible.

Doing so daily prevents gum disease and tooth loss. Everyone gets plaque, and it can only be removed by flossing or a deep cleaning from your dentist. Plaque buildup can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can be a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and a high body mass index.

Yes, not flossing can make you fat.

Not only that, but it greatly reduces bad breath.

49. Eat at least one meal with your family per day

If possible, eat a sit-down meal with your loved ones daily. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We’ve become so high-paced in the world that everything we do is on the go. We’ve forgotten what it means to just be with our loved ones.

Eating together creates a sense of community like nothing else.

Teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol, according to the CASA report.

50. Spend time reflecting on your blessings at least once per day

Gratitude is the cure-all for all the world’s problems. It has been called, “the mother of all virtues,” by the Roman philosopher Cicero.

When you practice gratitude, your world changes. There is no objective reality. All people perceive reality as they selectively attend to things that are meaningful to them. Hence, some people notice the good while others notice the bad.

Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.

People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attract more of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious. It changes not only your world, but everyone else’s you come in contact with.

Build Powerful Mental Strength

Man Lifting Barbel

Using mantras to build powerful mental strength

“You stupid, dumb fool! What have you done?”

How often do you talk to yourself like that?

We can get so used to talking this way, we don’t notice how often we do it.

Most of us are so brutal to ourselves in thought over so many years, we lose touch with what it’s like to be genuinely at ease in our souls.

You’ve heard of all the ‘cures:’

Meditation, affirmations, exercise, hypnosis, pills, sleeping more, and therapy.

 

Let’s keep it simple.

When we spend our lives thinking things that put us down; when we replay ugly memories and focus on what isn’t working, our reality is literally being moulded into a colourless form of hell.

We become what we repeatedly think. We put into motion on what we dwell.

Those thoughts, obsessively replayed, and revisited, dictate how you behave, how you hold yourself, and how you experience the texture of life.

Do you repeatedly think of the world as a terrible, frightening place? Then your visions will be granted.

How would you act in such a world?

This is a two-way system. Your environment will respond to how you behave within it, reinforcing your running theme.

Be a positive life force, and your world will wobble itself into alignment with you, appearing vivid and joyful.

Think of yourself as inept, and reality will impose itself brutishly.

Bleak thoughts cloud your mind and your world in darkness.

But you cannot turn OFF darkness. The dark is merely the absence of light.

In the same way, negative thinking cannot be forced shut. It is the absence of thinking about what’s good.

The solution lies in focusing on what is good.

Mantras are repeated phrases used in meditations, and they can be adopted into everyday consciousness.

“I love myself.”

“I believe in myself.”

“I am more connected to others than I think.”

“I am a good person.”

We can obsessively think about what isn’t good, or we can obsessively think about what is good. That is the choice that can change everything. It’s so simple, and it holds the solution for so many.

The more obsessive your negative thoughts, the more obsessive we need to be in the positive.

Flood your thinking with good thoughts continually. Whenever you remember, say your mantra or various phrases. That is how to lift yourself out of a shadowy world.

I was reminded of this idea in Kamal Ravikant’s book: ‘Love yourself like your life depends on it’. He’s one of the few people who has dared to show us the almost comical simplicity of the solution.

Tell yourself you love yourself. That’s all you need. Experiment with other encouraging phrases.

Mantras become visions that get absorbed into your reality-defining subconscious. Do it repeatedly. Be unreasonable and ridiculous with how you pile the light onto the dark.

Repeat good mantras and positive affirmations to yourself whenever you can. Out loud and silently.

Read Kamal’s book.

You might be thinking — like I did — that doing this is ludicrous, and not natural. Well, neither is thirty-plus years of calling yourself an idiot. That negative self-talk needs a counter-weight. And we do this with positive self-talk.

Telling yourself that you love yourself will be a challenge to start because you’re not used to it. And it will feel stupid. It will also be challenging to keep it going. That will be the hardest. Doing it every hour of every day. Difficult yet supremely simple.

‘Being positive’ gets a bad rap because some see it as deluded and unrealistic.

There is a difference between being ‘positive’ to the point of neglecting your issues and being positive to lift yourself and others up to better deal with a problem.

Think about those who comforted the men beside them during the Great War. Were they deluded, or were they brave in the face of unimaginable terror?

Follow Alex’s adventures and art on Instagram

Nothing has changed in this regard. Monsters encroach all of us. All we have is the choice to lift ourselves up or to succumb to victimhood — to letting those monsters in.

Choose to lift yourself up.

Reverse the painful and distressing pathways you’ve built for yourself in the tapestry of your mind.

Say enough good things to yourself, and new pathways will form. Don’t worry when you slip. Just start with self-warmth now. Like any habit — those actions will become more and more automatic.

When you fill your consciousness with positive ideas, you will deny negative thoughts the opportunity to emerge and be ruminated on.

And — like with any habit — the warning is the same: don’t stop. You will do this when you’re in a low place and feel lifted. But don’t stop when you’re high again. This is the time you need to repeat your mantras more than any.

I did this years ago and then stopped, and then got depressed. This happens when things go well, and you don’t feel as much urgency. But like any habit, it must be done all the time.

Many of us suffer when we don’t do things that seem too risky. We are filled with shame and regret. Most of our excuses are unfounded. We become avoidant, and we lose out on many of life’s better moments.

This is unacceptable. I have missed out on a lot this way. All because of my own self-imposed barriers.

What we need if we are struggling, lifting ourselves out of our ‘sunken place,’ is a cushion — something to give us a sturdier baseline that helps us see what we are capable of — something that helps us feel — even if fleetingly — that there is magic in this world.

Use the simple tool of speaking good things to yourself, even if you don’t believe the words. And do it a lot. It is a continual practice. With persistence, you will start to feel it.

You will sense a new strength running through you. This is how to build that cushion.

With time, you will wonder how you were so blind to bliss.

How you value your time is how you value your life

 

Photo by Marcelo Matarazzo on Unsplash

Pretend Your Time is Worth $1,000/Hour and You’ll Become 100x More Productive

How you value your time is how you value your life

“Pretend your time is worth $1,000/hr. Would you spend five of them doing extra work for free? Would you waste one on being angry?” –Niklas Göke

You have very few hours here on on this earth.

Still, many people waste much of their time on pointless, low-quality activities that don’t help them reach their true goals — their mission.

The truth is, most people value their time at far, far less than it’s worth.

They say yes to things they have no business doing. They give away their talents, attention, and effort to others who take, take, take.

They spend hours watching low-quality television and social media when they should be productive and effective.

See, many people could be making a fortune (if they used their time well)…but instead, they give away their time in unproductive ways that leave them broke, unhappy, and stuck.

But what if you placed a high value on your time?

How would that change you? Your life? Your family? Your future?

Imagine that an hour of your time is worth $1,000.

What would your life look like?

What people would you stop putting up with?

What problems would you stop wasting time on?

What things would you stop — and start — doing?

Your results would be incredible. You’d become exponentially more productive, focused, and effective.

“Most people have no clue what they are doing with their time but still complain that they don’t have enough.” -Grant Cardone, NYT best-selling author

“Busyness” Isn’t a Badge of Honor; It’s a Sign of Weakness

“Being busy is a form of mental laziness.” -Tim Ferriss

It takes discipline to not become “busy.”

If you let it, your world and the people around you will take all your time. Your time is not unlike your paycheck; if you don’t budget for things, you’ll have nothing left over by the end of the month.

This is how lives are wasted — by doing thankless work for ungrateful takers that didn’t deserve your time in the first place.

We’re all busy — with work, our families, our friends. It’s not bad to be “busy.” But in the words of best-selling author Jeff Goins:

The most successful people I know are not busy. They’re focused.

Are you focused, making tangible action steps towards what truly matters?

…Or are you just “busy?”

When you’re busy, you are on autopilot. You can’t see the hours slipping away, time you’ll never get back.

Wrote the ancient philosopher Seneca:

“Indeed the state of all who are preoccupied is wretched, but the most wretched are those who are toiling not even at their own preoccupations…If such people want to know how short their lives are, let them reflect how small a portion is their own.”

Who’s in charge of your time?

You?

Or everyone else?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Busyness and Stress Are the Enemy

“People are unhappy in large part because they are confused about what is valuable.” -William Irvine

Most people prize “being busy.” They proclaim it with pride, as if it’s a badge of honor.

But for most people, this “busyness” is nothing more than distraction and procrastination from what really matters. They just like feeling busy.

Said author Benjamin Hardy, “Most people lack the confidence to go big. They prefer the dopamine boost of getting lots done, even if they aren’t making any progress.

For world-class performers, busyness and stress are the enemy. They’re a sign you’re off-track. It means you’ve been lazy and undisciplined, and have let too many unimportant tasks take you away from what really matters.

“Being busy is a form of mental laziness.” -Tim Ferriss

Bestselling author Jeff Goins once wrote, “The most successful people I know are not busy. They’re focused.” Extremely successful people don’t tolerate busywork or distraction. They have crystal clear vision on their goals, and do what they need to do to get there, every single day.

In his landmark book Deep Work, Cal Newport recounts some choice insights on how to develop insanely productive results through removing all distraction and entering flow states:

“Busyness and exhaustion should be your enemy. If you’re chronically stressed and up late working, you’re doing something wrong. Do less. But do what you do with complete, hard focus. Then when you’re done be done, and go enjoy the rest of your day.”

Deep work means absolutely not tolerating distractions and producing monumental quality and quantity in a very short time. This is how you can complete far more with focused efforts than unfocused efforts with far more time.

Do you want incredible productivity?

Then cultivate extreme focus with whatever you do.

If you don’t manage your time, it will manage you.

“When you have less time available for work, you have to make better choices about what to work on (and what not to).” -Tim Metz

As You Think, So You Are

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

You teach people how to treat you.

If you let people know your time is free and low-valued, people will treat it as such.

But if you teach people that your time is expensive, important, and valuable, then people will respond in kind.

What you think is what you become. If you think your time is worth a few bucks an hour, that you’ll begin to act like it. You’ll find yourself saying “yes” to meaningless, pointless obligations.

But if, in your heart, you know your time is valuable…

People will recognize that.

People will respect that.

People will treat you differently.

Wrote author William Irvine:

“People are unhappy in large part because they are confused about what is valuable.”

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

If you don’t treat yourself and your time with respect, you will become unhappy, resentful, and tired. Your body and mind long for mastery and freedom; you can’t have those things if your time is cheap and easily taken.

You become what you are.

You attract what you look for.

Back in my early days of writing, I didn’t think I was much of a writer. So I spent a lot of time on low-quality activities, like begging other low-tier/no-name bloggers to let me write guest posts.

No one responded to me. I rarely was invited to write. I think people could see how little I valued myself, and didn’t want to promote my message. I don’t even blame them.

Years later, I finally began seeing my time as very important. I began saying “no” to almost everything. I had a mission, and I became unwilling to fill my valuable time with things that wouldn’t help me achieve my goal.

I turned down high-paying, exciting, interesting opportunities…because they weren’t the right fit. In the end, they were all wasting time I needed to focus on my mission.

As you think, so you are.

Treat your time as a valuable commodity, and people will begin to treat it like that, too.

You Can Do Amazing Things, But Only If You Have Time to Do Them

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” -Warren Buffet

You probably need to say “no” more.

Every time you say yes to something, it means you’re saying “no” to a dozen other opportunities. The world’s most successful and extraordinary people say no to almost everything, but yes to a few things.

Those few things determine their career, legacy, and livelihood.

Warren Buffet, investor extraordinaire and a net worth of over $70 billion dollars, has said that for every hundred opportunities he is given, he might say yes to 1–2 of them.

Really successful people say no to most things, because most things won’t get them to where they truly want to be.

Steve Jobs also shared this mentality. Decades ago, Jobs was quoted:

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

This process of weeding out the merely “good” for the truly great opportunities is easier when you value your time at $1,000/hour. Anything you can honestly justify doing for $1,000/hour is probably a good thing.

In Conclusion

“Living in frenzy is a sign we’ve squandered too much.” -Niklas Goke

In reality, a lot of people are living a frenzied, busy life. They wear their business as a badge of honor, and brag about their full schedules.

Frankly, most people prefer the little dopamine boost of checking boxes on a to-do list than actually getting important work done.

How do you value your time?

Take stock of the things you did this week. How many of them were worthy of $1,000/hour?

How many activities were a true waste of time?

Value your time at what it deserves to be. The higher the value, the more important and productive work you’ll do — and the less trivial and mindless tasks you’ll get caught in.

Tips for Learning Anything Faster

Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

Some Tips for Learning Anything Faster

It’s great when we finally learn something new. It’s wonderful to finally have grasped a new topic or have mastered a new skill such as a foreign language.

Yet, the task of actually sitting down and putting in all that nasty work to learn seems overwhelming. It seems like learning anything new will take years, and you have an insanely busy life to lead.

Of course, like anything else in life that is worth doing and requires work, the first thing is to get your mind right. You have to really want to do it. It has to actually mean something to you. It has to hit you on an emotional level.

Until you truly commit to doing something you are likely to fall short of your goal. Here are some tips that will convince you to commit, but also help you reach your goals faster:

  1. Practice and Repetition: Doing the same thing over and over again eventually hammers it home. The more your mind is exposed to something the quicker it learns it. Use flash, i.e. note, cards to practice any material you are trying to learn. Writing something down over and over again is also foolproof. No, it’s not sexy, and it’s not exactly fun. It just works.
  2. Listening to Music: Listening to music has been shown in studies to stimulate learning. Listening to Megadeth at full blast probably ain’t gonna do it, but listening to classical music has been shown to boost performance on tests when taken immediately after learning while listening to music. It also helps to listen to ambient electronic music as well as listening to the same song on repeat many times. You fall into a groove and focus harder.
  3. Visualization: Picture yourself actually working on what you will learn. See yourself sitting down with a book, or using flash cards, having the music on, what you are wearing, the time of day, the whole nine yards. And most importantly, picture yourself enjoying it and being successful at it. This way you’ve taken some of the dread out of it, and gotten used to the idea of putting in that work.
  4. Overviews: If you are learning from a book or an online course, take a look at the table of contents and skim the topics. Then go to each chapter and get a brief overview of what it is about. Again, this can take away some of the dread you may feel, and it may even make you look forward to it. It will also demystify the subject and ease you into it.
  5. Learn by Dreaming: Say what? Stop laughing! This sounds hokey as hell and I don’t blame you for rolling your eyes but I can assure you I have had so many good ideas come to me in the middle of the night. The key is to think about what you are learning right before you go to bed. The best thing to think about is something you are confused about. Our minds actually do process information in our sleep. It might not work every time but it does work.
  6. Discuss with Others: Working on just about anything with other people usually leads to quicker results. Talk over hard material with other people. They can give you tips, but just explaining it to them is a new and different way of learning material that you may have struggled with locked away alone trying to learn. Albert Einstein had his most important breakthrough in formulating his Theory of Relativity when discussing it with a friend. He had been close to giving up before that conversation.
  7. Know Why You Are Learning: Learning about history is easy for me because I enjoy history. Learning about constitutional law was not easy for me, but I did it because it was necessary to become a lawyer. Figure out why you are learning and that will aid you in actually getting it done. There has to be something in it for you; figure out what it is.
  8. Engage Your Senses: When I was studying for a 19th century American history final in college I went out and saw a movie called Dances with Wolves. Yes, I sort of rationalized going to see a movie to get out of studying but it actually helped synthesize what I had been studying. Seeing how Indians lived and how they interacted with whites gave me a better appreciation of that history. So if you are learning about a subject don’t just read about it, watch a show on TV or Youtube on it or listen to an audiobook.
  9. Take Some Well-Time Breaks: Cramming for an exam can help you learn a lot of material in a short amount of time, but you only retain it for a short amount of time as well. To really learn something you need to take your time. Work intensely for short bursts, and then take a break. You avoid burnout this way, but your mind also needs this time to refresh itself. Your mind also subconsciously continues to work while you take a break.

I hope that takes some of the stress out of learning for you. To have learned something is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but putting in that work is not always pleasant. Follow these tips and I know you will find learning easier and faster than you previously imagined.