Monthly Archives: February 2019

Why change is not always good

In this post we’ll have a short discussion about why change is not always a good thing.

The times we live in, and the people that widely influence us have this tendency to urge us to change. The problem with this, and pretty much any other kind of life tip, or tool, it should only be used in certain conditions. Change is one of these things that only makes sense in context.

Why change is not always good?

For starters change can be a difficult thing to do, and for this reason it only makes sense to take this approach when you’re absolutely sure of it. We have the idea that changing is this amazing thing that can improve your life so deep in our brains that even when we shouldn’t do it we still get that famous burst of dopamine when we start on a new path.  The thing is, staring new things is exciting for us.

Changing is the right thing to do when it truly is the only path towards your goals. If you smoke or eat junk food, and your goal is to have a healthier body, then “yes”, change is the right thing to do. In cases like this you should definitely go all out on it. Read new books, start a new diet, and “yes” even make new friends if you have to.

It’s not the right thing to do when you’re already working towards something, and the fact that that something hasn’t come yet, or it’s taking too long, gives you that fake feeling that changing is the right thing to do. We’ve all experienced that. We start something with some expectations of how much work and time we would have to put to get what we want, and when we find ourselves working a little harder, or a little longer than expected, that urge to change ways appears. We can’t openly admit to the world or to ourselves that we want to quit, so we tell a story. We tell the story of change. The truth is that this is usually not the real kind of change we all aspire to have. It’s one of the superficial kind, that exists only to make our quitting tendencies possible. And if we’re good enough at telling the story, it will feel as if it came as the kind of life epiphany we only see in movies.

So, the question really is: why do you feel like you should change? Is it really because it’s the right thing to do? Or is it a mask for something deeper that you know is there but that you’re trying so bad not to acknowledge? Remember we are good at telling stories to ourselves, and the problem is that when told enough times we, the ones who started the lie in the first place begin to believe in it, and even worse become its highest supporters.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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How To Be More Optimistic

In this post you’ll find a few tips on how to be more optimistic.

In life the ability to keep an upbeat spirit is one of the most desirable skills to have. With all the ups and downs of this roller-coaster journey we call life it’s more than easy but likely that we lose the desire to keep going, especially when the lows are really low. What makes it even more difficult is the fact that we can’t predict the lows. Sometimes they are the natural succession of a previous low, while other times they come after the highs of success, just as the glow of winning begin to wash off. So we have to find ways to deal with these moments if we are to get what we want in life and business, and if we don’t we are almost certainly doomed to fail since our attitude will be equivalent to that of a house of cards, seemingly stable regardless of how we look at it, but ready to fall at the weakest of the blows.

How to be more optimistic

The question of how to be more optimistic is one that has and still puzzles millions and millions of people to the day. The reason for this is that just like riches and success, the ways to get it are invariably time consuming and somewhat tedious, when what we’re really looking for is a magic pill that once popped turns the mediocre into master. The ideas discussed here all require some practice and patience, and chances are that you’ve even heard of them before, but keep reading.

1.Improve yourself

By being more optimistic we mean that we have a more positive outlook to life, it means we expect good things from it. If we stay the same way we are, and have been for the past decades, the simplest conclusion for the mind to come to is that this is where we’ll be today, tomorrow, and for the decades to come. It means there is no forward momentum in any direction for the mind to even dream of what the future might look like, and that’s depressing. Something even worse is to get worse over time. This used to be more applied to skills than to knowledge, but today, with the ever growing number of discoveries and quick pace of improvement in virtually all areas of life, the things we think we know and that are set in stone often become invalid, as quick as they became valid. Here because we’re getting worse the mind can only conclude that that’s how we’ll be in the days, months, years and decades to come. Is the old physics idea that whatever is in motion tends to stay in motion.

So, the first tip is to improve yourself even if the area you’re improving yourself is not that big a deal. If you ever wondered how it would be to play an instrument then taking lessons and even getting proficient in it might be just the thing that sets you off to learn more about something else that’s important for you but too dull or difficult to learn. Because that’s how important things tend to be, they require some effort from us, the kind of effort that is difficult to give if we haven’t started anything yet.

2. Think positive

Thinking positive often gets a bad rep, but the truth is that just as most things so widely talked about, there is some seed of truth with regards to its effectiveness in keeping us motivated.

There are in essence two approaches we can all take to life: one in which we try to find the positive in everything, and one in which we just focus on the negative. Well.. there is a third, but that third is just a blend of the first two, and the blend is never 50/50.

By trying to become a more positive person we force ourselves to see the good in things in life. We are forced to see the possibilities of a better and more prosperous future. This view of life is more likely to make us more enthusiastic about it, and with more enthusiasm, regardless of how much bad surrounds us, we increase the odds of us taking action. The kind of action that brings us closer to our goals and dreams.

With a negative outlook we become more timid and cautious. Taking action could open us up for risks, and we’ve heard that most people fail in this or that, and so we never take the jump…we never really live.

In the end of the day it’s all a choice. We don’t have to believe in the idea that being more deliberately positive will make us successful because of some mysterious force of the universe. The undeniable truth about it is that it sets us up at least psychologically to take action, and action is one of the building blocks of success.

3. Remember that there is only one life

This last one can hardly be thought of as a strategy to improve optimism but the truth is that it is probably one of the most powerful ones. When you think of this life as an opportunity to make your mark in this world in such a way that you become immortal, you change your attitude towards it. Mundane things that keep you up at night suddenly lose their meaning and power, and each day you wake up becomes an opportunity to make that idea come to life. The worst it can happen is that you die, and as you’re aware of, this happens at one point or another. You begin to feel a different kind of worry: the worry of wasting time, and worrying about things that don’t matter. You’re aware that your deadline is probably not tomorrow, but the fact that there is this deadline gives you a new kind of energy. It helps to push past the points we thought of as our limits, and taking chances when we find we’ve being playing the caution side in a high stakes game whose final outcome is the same, regardless of how much caution we have throughout our lives.

So, at last, instead of avoiding this point embrace it, and take advantage of it!

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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3 Simple principles to live by

In this post you’ll find 3 simple and yet powerful principles to live by.

We think of principles as the kind of thing only our ancestors would even bother designing , let alone implementing to their lives or living by. So we live unstructured lives, guided by decision making strategies that change from time to time, and that are often prone to inconsistencies within themselves, and our inner beings. Each time a compelling argument is made in favour of a certain decision, or decision making strategy we are urged to adopt it without paying attention to how this could influence our lives and happiness in the long run. So, the idea in this post is not so much to impose any one principle or another upon you, but to serve as a starting point from which you can build your own set of principles that better suits your life and goals. In the end of the day, only you can better customize the set of ideas and principles that better enable you to live the kind of life you want to live.

3 Simple principles to base your life on

1.Growth over time no matter how small

The first is to always seek for self-improvement in all areas of life. This means creating the habit of making sure  that when you look back at the past, regardless of how far gone, you can with pride say that you’re better than that older version of you. One standard within this standard to live by is to make that time gap in which you can be proud of yourself as short as possible. Meaning that you’ve been working on your own self-improvement and self-growth so much that you don’t have to wait a decade, a year, or even a week, before you can look at yourself in the mirror and say that “yes” I’m better than I was in this past version of me without breaking eye contact. One place to aspire to be at is one in which you can honestly make that affirmation every single day, meaning that everyday you’re better than yesterday, regardless of whether by better we mean 1% or 100% better. But the improvement must be significant enough that you can tell someone about it, not being to the same level of the  “I learn a lesson everyday” kind of saying most people do these days. What they say is true, but so is the fact that you learn a lesson every second you spend awake. The fact that you do learn a lesson doesn’t mean that lesson adds much value to your life. It’s like taking car fixing lessons when what you really want is to become a renowned poet. You can argue that the first could be somewhat valuable to the latter, but you will have to spend some time looking for even the most remote of the connections.

The reason why this is so powerful goes well beyond the idea that through self-improvement you have greater chances of finding a great job. Being the same version of ourselves, especially when that version is one we’re not proud of is often at the root of the so common, and yet not so widely spoken about feeling of worthlessness. Through continuous self-improvement you don’t have lie to yourself in the mirror trying to convince the nagging inner you that you love you the way you are. The fact that we’re truly getting better over time, is the kind of thing that makes us genuinely like ourselves not just because we are ourselves.

2. Earning as opposed to wishing

We hear about countless stories of people who’ve been blessed in a major way, be that they have been gifted with some ability, or to meet some key person who made it possible for them rise to the higher levels of success and fame we all wish we could have in our lives. So early on we create the habit of trying to wish our way into getting the things we want, and when the universe doesn’t give it, the default reaction is to assume we’re not a part of that select group of few who always gets what they want. The thing about wishing is that just like the lotto we have to rely on luck, and the problem with relying on luck is that we’re not the only ones doing it. The reason why we’re not the only ones doing it is that just like doing nothing, this is the easiest thing to do. To stay there and wish requires nothing more than just saying the words out loud, and if we’re really feeling lazy that day, mentally professing the words also does it.

So, the idea here is to change the model. Instead of working on a wishing system, to work on an earning system. The equivalent to this in the job market is being paid by commission as opposed to by an hourly rate: you only keep what you really make. This model is both freeing, and somewhat scary. It’s freeing because you have your fate in your hands. It’s like having the pen and the paper, and with the pen and the paper we’re also responsible for the story we write down to the paragraph. This can be scary of course, since with all these years of putting our failures in some entity that cannot speak for itself, this is not only easy but also lifts any responsibility from our shoulders.

The thing about this approach to life is that it tends to be more productive, and more rewarding in the long haul. The reason for this is that we can earn what we want if we put our brains to it, and as unbelievable as it might seem, our brains are one of the finest problem solving machines out there. The biggest impediment is not in the inner workings of the machine itself, but in our lack of confidence with regards to its ability to properly do the job it has evolved to do, since at the end of the day, why would anyone need a brain if one has no problems to solve? Wouldn’t it less energy expensive to just removing it altogether?

This is a principle within a principle and to put it in clearer words is goes as follows: your brain can solve any problem given any time and raw materials. The raw materials here would come in the form of ideas, and problem solving strategies, and the time in the form of patience and persistence.

3.The principle of universal reciprocity

We’ve all heard about the idea that what we put out there tends to be that what we get back, and sometimes many times over. Some believe that this Is due to some strong universal force or power that exists just for the sole purpose of ensuring fairness to the world we live in. Some of us don’t believe in this version of nature and the universe, and make the grave mistake of downplaying the weight/impact of their actions. The truth is that what goes around really comes around, if not by the universe then by the human race, because either we agree with it or not, everybody lives by this simple social algorithm: please and support those who please and support us, and hurt and complicate the lives of those who hurt and complicate our lives. It’s also true that once in a while there are the outliers who hurt the ones who do them good, and the ones who give the other cheek when someone slaps them, but to bet your existence in almost lottery like events is a more than certain losing strategy, since even if you do manage to win once in this game of life, each passed hour you live almost ensures your losses.  It’s like playing a twisted kind of lottery where when you lose you lose the same amount you’d have won. If you were victorious, and you are forced to keep playing regardless of whether you win or lose.

So, regardless of what you believe in the way is the same: give to the world the kinds of things you expect to get from it. This is in part what goes behind this new idea in the business circles of trying to help the customer as opposed to looking for ways to make more money from it. The desired end result is the same, but the attitude and results vary wildly.

Summary

As we discussed above these should serve as mere templates or bricks you can use to build your own and more personalized principles. The most tempting thing to do is to follow someone else’s ideas of what you should do with your life, or the best way to live it. In the end you’re the person who knows you better than anyone, so take the time to build your own set of principles and ideas .

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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How To Be More Motivated

In this post you’ll find a few ideas on how to be more motivated.

The subject of motivation has been around for a very long time, and that is certainly so for a reason. Without the ability to push through the difficult and sometimes mind numbing challenges of life we can’t go anywhere. We find ourselves dragging, and our goals and aspirations take a hit.

How to Be More motivated?

We all know about that person who’s somehow able to keep a forward momentum spirit even when life tests them with the harshest conditions, and impossible odds ever. Some think of these people as crazy for having such an attitude. The thing is that this kind of thinking usually comes not from a place of strength, but from a place of insecurity, and deep down either we admit it or not, we all wonder how they do it. Below are a few ideas.

1. Cultivate a growth mindset

    Motivation is mostly rooted in the idea that we’ll get what we put our minds and effort to. Often, the reason why we feel demotivated in our goal pursuits is because a part of us doesn’t believe we can achieve our goals. It’s that nagging voice that if we let will rule our lives down to misery. In a society in which there is a lot of talking about things such as “gifts” and “talent”, it’s not surprising that whenever we fail to get anything right at the first attempt we just assume we don’t have the talent for it. This gift mentality is not only limiting, but also poisonous to your goals. You’ll notice if you pay enough attention that most things require some practice before you become proficient enough to find them enjoyable.

    So, the solution here is to resist the temptation to tell yourself you’re not gifted at something on your tried and failed first few attempts. The field of neuroscience indirectly backs this skill acquisition idea through the concept of neuroplasticity, which is in essence the ability of the brain to rewire itself. Each practice session makes you better not just because you believe you’re better, but because at a physical level, it makes/builds the neuronal connections that allow for more fluid, skilled, and automatic action possible. Practice what you want to be good at and at some point you’re even likely to start wondering whether you were gifted at it all along. In moments of distraction I catch myself doing just that. Wondering whether the gift was in me from day one, and if my failed first few attempts weren’t due to some outside cause such that if it wasn’t there, I would have been able to perform the task in the same way I can in the present. This is an easy to fall for trap, since for whatever reason, the thought that we have a gift makes us feel good. Maybe it’s all due to our desire to feel as if the Gods favour us more than our peers… who knows?

    The motivation from this approach comes not from positive thinking, but from the deep seeded belief that each time you go back for more you really are closer to getting what you want.

    One potential and valid question to make here is: what if what I want is not tied to any skill? The answer for this question is that all areas of life have some sort of skill tied to it, from dating, to teaching kids, to doing well in business. There is always some sort of skill behind the success we watch in awe and that we so desperately wish to bring to our lives.  The only truth is that you either don’t know what that skill is, or you do know what it is but you fell for the idea that the skill is in fact a gift, something you’re born with. If your problem is the first one, a very effective solution is to ask people who’ve done what you want how they did it, and if you still fail to pinpoint the skill behind it, find a way to watch them in action.

    The growth mindset encourages us to look for more skills when we hit a wall as opposed to complaining about some gift we weren’t born with and yielding our dreams and goals to some God whose existence we still to the date fail to uniformly gree with. Lack of motivation is often a product of low self belief, which is in turn more often than not caused by a poor mentality. It’s like having faulty piece at the core of our dream achievement machine: we might move forward regardless, but there is no telling on whether it’ll break down somewhere along the way and get us to a halt, or progressively take us backwards to where we started at.

    2. Practice demotivation bounce backs

    A part of the self motivation skill is another underrated and yet immensely powerful skill: the ability to bounce back from failure, which is the topic of our previous post: how to Bounce back from failure. The goal is to not rely on the best case scenario in which we manage to keep our motivation from day one to the “we finally made it” day. We instead assume we’ll get demotivated and prepare for a come back before we even begin to lose ourselves in the sea of doubt’s and insecurity that is guaranteed to come when we don’t get what we want early enough.

    When you feel like quitting reduce your scope

    The quitting urge just like motivation surges comes in waves. It starts too small to be noticed until it’s to tall as  to bear. When this happens thinking long term rarely helps to keep us going, so the way to go is to think small. Instead of making it through to week , to making it through the day, or the hour. And if that’s not enough focus on staying on task for the following 5 min. That’s how you stay motivated, by changing the nature your short term goals to suit you, without compromising then big picture.

    The more you put yourself in situations that put you in positions where you have to fight the urge to quit, the more you become aware that in these moments anything goes. You tell yourself whatever you have to as long as it gives you the next 5 min of precious persistence. The thing about these 5 min is that they often turn into 30 or 60, since again, the discouragement comes in waves, and leaves as quick as it comes. All you have to do is to not quit for these 3 min that feel like hours, and then you get to pat yourself on the back for not letting the enemy within dictate what you do next.

    The more you bounce back from the small and numerous failures and quitting urges of life, the lesser each feels like the moments of fake insight when we decide to quit on our goals and give ourselves the right to feel even smarter for it . So, actively seek failure and then consciously decide to come back from it. Start small and build up to bigger and bigger failures. Celebrate when you fail and persist, and double celebrate when you fail, almost decide to quit, and manage to come back from the madness that it is to even think about abandoning your goals. Because once you get on the habit of quitting, it’s like procrastination, a dangerous weed that makes it very difficult to see your seeds of success grow into large and fruitful trees.

    3.change your self talk

    The thing about the mind is that given enough repetitions spread out through enough days, it tends to believe in whatever you say regardless of the truth weight of the content. You tell yourself for long enough that you’ll never amount to anything and eventually that’s your life. You tell yourself you deserve great people around you, and eventually that’s what your social circle is all about. It’s not so much for the idea that the universe will give us what we want as they say, but more about they way the people around us react or the kinds of decisions we make once we adopt  certain mindset. When we expect great things we subconsciously make the kind of micro decisions that move us closer to what we want. When we only expect bad things the same subconscious mechanisms get to the scene and turn on the self sabotage processes we are all familiar with. So when we’re number one at mile 59 of a 60 mile race we start having negative thoughts about our competency even when its proof is as clear as the distinction between day and night.

    It helps to address the self-talk to the second self within. The self that loves short term victories, and does all in its power to stop us from doing the things that will make us victorious in the long run. The good thing about it is that often given the right words it becomes possible, and dare say even easier to get this second self to collaborate on our long term pursuits. One way to do just that is to bring back your focus to these short and yet so important 3 min we talked about, and just like a seducer trying to lure his next conquest, to try to find the set of words and tones that will get this second self excited enough so that it gives you what you want, which in this case is persistence. The most challenging part here is to find the right combination of words that gets you excited even/specially in the most challenging moments of life. This, my friend, requires you to know yourself. To know your true motivations and fears, and not the motivations and fears you easily display for the world to see in the social media.

    So, the final tip really is: get  a more accurate understanding of yourself, and resist the urge to make it social media friendly.

    It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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    How To Bounce Back From Failure

    In this post you’ll find a few ideas on how to come back from failure.

    In life and business the one thing none of us can escape from is failure. There certainly are people out there who seem to bend this rule, and somehow find themselves in a perpetual winning streak. The thing about it is that this so called streak always ends, and if we pay attention to the lucky few they either die or retire before it. Failing is inevitable, and it’s due to this inherent belief that we are the only ones who might never have to deal with it that we fail to prepare for, or design strategies to come back from it.

    How to bounce back from failure?

    Just trying is not enough to get what we want from life whatever that thing is. The reason for this is that rare are the cases in which we make it without “not making” it first, and having to go through the doubts and insecurities that infest our minds. We need also to learn to come back from failure. So, how do you do it? Well…bellow are a few suggestions.

    1.Reduce your expectations going in

    We are taught to be super positive, to the extent that we have to, and sometimes even do feel as if whatever thing we want to achieve is destined to go the way we expect. And our expectations about anything have been higher and higher as time went by. The big advantage of this feeling of certain victory is that it can often offer us a burst of energy to take more effective action, which would in turn make the desired outcome more likely. The downside is that in case we do fail, which often is the case, the recover, if we’re able to do it in the first place is much harder. The reason for this is in part due to the fact that going in, a part of us knows we can’t know whether we’ll succeed or not. We know that would entail knowing the future, which we can’t, so we have to make an effort to convince the pessimist within that we’ll get what we want.  When we succeed in convincing ourselves, and we fail, it’s as if we lose credibility with ourselves, in the same way a person who promises greatness does when their visions fail to materialize.

    With this loss of self-credibility also comes a loss of self-confidence, which is more than just saying positive things to yourself, but at the core the sense that we can, by ourselves do anything we put our minds to, and this is an important thing to have if we are to come back from any kind of failure.

    By reducing our expectations, in such a way that instead of being sure we’ll get what we want we acknowledge the possibility of both outcomes and we take our actions towards it as nothing more than attempts to succeed instead of destiny, recovering from the blows of life becomes much easier. We know we might fail going in, so when we do, we are not devastated.

    One step beyond this is to assume you’ll fail, and still take action any way. This is harder said than done, since we’re wired to act towards the things we deep inside feel are certain to give us some sort of pleasure. One reasonable question would be: “why would I try to succeed if I manage to convince myself that no matter what I do will result in failure?”  The point here is to assume failure at a local level of your attempts, and not at a global one. The idea is to make peace with the smallness of the odds of success on your next attempt, and be aware that as the number of failed attempts grows, the greater are the odds of at least one success. This is what Jim Rohn used to call “The law Of averages”.

    2.Preset the number of failures you’re willing to endure going in

    Still in the same spirit the next idea is to predetermine the number of times you’re willing to/expect to fail. One problem we all tend to have in any goal pursuit is to assume that success will occur almost immediately. This is the root of the cause for why most projects of any nature fail to be met within budged and before the deadline. We tend to underestimate the duration, and effort required to accomplish the things we want.

    We do this even when we’re not aware of it, and it’s why we can’t really predict when we’ll get frustrated by/give up on a goal we’ve being going after for a while. We have predefined notions about how hard we have to work before we accomplish what we want, and when that subconscious deadline is met we feel as if we failed. It’s when we take this limit to our own hands that we can have more control over our own frustrations and discouragement.

    So, make an effort to pre-set the number of tries you’re willing to endure, and whenever you feel discouraged before you reach the defined number, remind yourself that you’re not allowed to even think about feeling discouraged before the number you defined.

    3.Make yourself Immune to it

    The next idea is to take the same approach psychologists take with people who have specific phobias. This is in essence to instead of avoiding the cause of the fear to slowly expose yourself to it. Here failing can be thought as the fear, so the solution would be to take actions in which you’re guaranteed to fail. This is not an easy task, but as time goes, just like any kind of pain, the pain that comes from failing, or losing at something becomes less and less, and eventually you find yourself wondering why the people make a big deal about failure.

    It might sound counter intuitive but it’s the truth. Whatever you so desperately avoid, tends to desperately seek you, and the fear of failure is no different. The more you try and fail, the less big a deal failing is, and the clearest proof of it is the concept of mastery. Meaning that for any person you can without a shadow of doubt call a master of its craft, there are thousands and thousands of mini, and major failures that brick by brick made the essence of the perfection you see when they do their thing.

    4.Have  a sense of humour

     One reason why failing is so painful is because we tend to attach it to who we are and our sense of self- worth. The ability to laugh at yourself and your imperfections is one of those super powerful, and yet very underrated kinds of mindset to have. In the dating world, the ones who get good at it are the ones who are able to get over this tendency to attach rejection, which happens to be a form of failure to who they are. They try and fail, try and fail, and each failure is as neutral on them as non-action. We think we should always be perfect because others around us think the same, and do their best to hide their insecurities and moments of failure. They talk to us about only positive things, and so we can’t help but to feel as if we are the only ones that go through the ups and downs of success and failure of life.

    The easy, and not so easy way to train ourselves to bounce back from failure by training ourselves to have a good sense of humour about ourselves. When something embarrassing happens, first suppress the urge to hide it, tell someone about it, and laugh along with them. As time goes you develop what is known as “thick skin”, where nothing affects you, and that also happens to be at the other side of the coin of persistence. A side which once you embrace it not only makes you more resilient, but also happier.

    Summary

    Coming back from the blows of life just like most things is a habit. When we first embrace it, it feels like the most difficult thing to do, but over time, it becomes deeply engraved into our souls. It becomes a part of who we are at our core. So, more than just resisting the temptation to stay down once or twice, do your best to make it a part of your life.

    It is all about knowledge and experience;)

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