Monthly Archives: March 2019

How To Win The Inner Battle Of The Mind

In this post you’ll find a few tips on how to win the inner battle of the mind.

The most important battle anyone can face is the one against its own mind. This is one of these truths most of us can easily agree with and yet, still most of us fail to give it the right weight and attention it deserves. The crazy thing about it is that unlike the quarrels between nations, this kind of war occurs everyday and every moment. The level to which our day is successful is directly correlated to the number of the small moment to moment battles we win. When fighting to lose weight or plain old change, these small battles are known and very well labeled by the self-help industry. So much so that  these small battles are the target of the inspirational speeches that make you feel like going for a run, when just moments ago you even considered putting it away for the day. So, the question is, how can you win these small weight locally, and big weight in the big picture battles?

How to win the inner battle of the mind?

Winning a battle against yourself is what we call self-control. When we say we have that so looked for quality, we mean that have a grip hold on that old and primitive self that is always seems to want the opposite of what it should. The way to beat it is not complicated and chances are that you yourself stumbled into one or more of the ideas here.

1.Acknowledge it first

One of the biggest impediments in taking control over one’s own mind is the fact that we tend to think we don’t have to. Just like an alcoholic who’s not able to see his/hers problem, nothing can be done until we become aware/admit that there is something to be done/fixed. The thing about the battle we all have with our own minds is that most of the time we’re not even aware of it. We decide to start a diet, we have all the meals planned out and cooked, and when the time comes to eat the healthy meal, we find ourselves in a 30s long struggle between what we know we should do, and what we want to do. Whatever side wins this small and big deal battle decides how we live our lives in the following hours, days, months, or even years. Because as you’ve probably heard, the decisions we make at any moment have the power to influence the way we live our lives, and without knowing, choosing to eat healthy that one time might be the one thing that set that domino of changes that not only allows you to lose weight, but also to find the one, and ultimately have that family you’ve always dreamed about.

Failing to even acknowledge it is the most detrimental thing of all in the battle of the mind, and the reason for this is that as you’re probably aware of, the most dangerous enemy is that which we don’t recognize as such. By the time we are aware of their true nature, it’s already too late. So learn to identify the battles the moment they occur, and not after when it’s too late. One way to do that is when you find yourself between two seemingly polar actions, where you know you should do A, but something pulls you to B.

2. Win more battles

It might sound crazy, but a big part of the battle you and I have with our own minds is won or lost in a cumulative manner. Meaning that the odds that you’ll win this one time are tied to your wins or losses in the past. If you won the previous battle chances are that you’ll win this one too. If you lost the last battle, sadly, chances are that you’ll win this one too. The reason for this is that it’s all a muscle. You winning the last battle means that your mental muscles are strong enough to withstand the temptations of that self-sabotaging inner critic. The good thing about the human brain is that each day can be a blank slate. Everyday is a new chance to start fresh, and abandon our old and detrimental habits. So, the way to winning more inner conflicts is by winning more inner conflicts. Start small, and soon you’ll find yourself winning in even the most challenging feats of endurance.

As we discussed above starting small will strengthen your willpower muscles, making your more likely to win in the increasingly challenging moments life brings to you, but this is not all. With more personal victories also come an increased sense of self-confidence, and self-reliance, and with that bigger and bigger challenges are dominated. Because it’s not all about willpower. Sometimes we lose not because of some mysterious character flaw, but because we don’t believe enough in ourselves. So instead of controlling the doubting voices we’re all familiar with, we join the voices, giving our future successful selves no chance to come to life.

3. Find the ignition

When we think about succeeding in life and the amount of work it will take to get what we want, the first picture that comes to mind is that of the kind of person who has a terrible time along the journey, until one day, they reach the promise land. We think of willpower as the most important thing, which it is, but it shouldn’t be like that. When you find the one thing that lights you up, chances are that there will be no battle of the mind, simply because your self as a whole wants to achieve that particular goal. You know you found the thing when there is no resistance you have to fight against when you go do what you have to do. If anything, there is this self-generating energy that makes you forget to eat or sleep, and which somehow deletes the word “tired” or “break” from your dictionary. You don’t talk about taking a break because you don’t feel tired regardless of how long you’ve been working. Now you can clearly distinguish the different kinds of tiredness. The physical kind, where your body is in pain, and the psychological kind, that often comes way before the physical, and if anything all you feel is the first, but you’re so charged up and motivated that it doesn’t matter.

Finding such activity/activities is harder that you think, and is due to this difficulty that most people fall for the idea that they don’t have such a thing and settle for the boring and unpleasant.   

4.The breathing exercise

This last idea is one you don’t listen to very often but that I still find it worth it to let you know. The exercise goes as follows:

  1.  Sit comfortably or lay down
  2.  Set a timer for 1 min
  3.  Stop your breathing until the alarm rings
  4.  Repeat

The reasoning behind this exercise is that the one thing your body wants to and does control with the most energy is whether you stay alive or not.  This is so important that we hardly have control over the parts of us responsible for it, think breathing, digestion, heart beating, etc. For breathing we have some control as you know and this is how this exercise comes to play. If you can remain calm in the most difficult battles that there is, which is the urge to breathe when you ran out of oxygen, in other and less mundane tasks chances are that since the body doesn’t care as much, the fight won’t be as fierce. The idea is to gradually expand your limits, this is after making sure you have no underlining conditions that could render the exercise life threatening of course, and watch how your mind behaves when it puts its persuasive powers at full force to get you to do what it wants. If 1 min does nothing to you try to find that spot where the urge to breathe is intense and you can hardly stay still. Push an extra second or two, and breathe.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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Time Tested Ideas For Momentum In Life

In this post you’ll find a few momentum creating strategies that have stood the test of time.

The old saying goes that you’re either getting better over time, or worse over time. There is no middle ground. This is as you probably know true  even when you seem to be going nowhere doing nothing. So, the way to go by living life is by looking for ways to forward, no matter how little the progress, and with this idea in mind, the next logical question is: how do we ensure we keep our forward momentum? Why do we fail to make progress, even when we make effort?

Time tested strategies for momentum in life

The idea of momentum is one of these underrated and very powerful ideas in self-development. The thing about it is that its more than just one thing, meaning just doing the things that will allow you to make progress in your goals, but also making sure you really  are in the right direction, and guarding against anything that might kill it.

1.   Stop doing the things that slow you down

    For everything in life each interaction is either moving us forward towards a certain direction or slowing us down. The thing about the things that slow us down is that often, it is the case that we’re not aware that they’re there. Think about health for example. It’s easy to assume something is wrong with the way our bodies use the sugar from foods, than to know for a fact whether the foods we think don’t negatively impact our blood glucose levels actually do or not. Sometimes the things we put on our mouths with the purposes of improving health are in fact not as good as we think, and even with all the effort, it’s no wonder that sometimes the weight loss plan doesn’t go exactly as we thought it would.

    Sometimes the ones responsible for our slow momentum are other people. Just like with food, these people tend to sneak up upon us, with friendly vibes, which makes it all the more difficult to connect the dots in the way that makes us conclude that they are the problem. This is a classic example of toxic relationships, where you think you naturally have low self-esteem, and that the self-doubt and self-judgement originate from you and you alone, when the truth is that they are the ones that make you feel insecure and self-conscious. This happens more than you think, and as far as you know you might be one of the victims and you don’t even know about it. It’s what happens when you decide to start a business, and after a while you feel discouraged, even though, when the idea came to mind, it felt as some sort of revelation to you. In one second you were sure of it, and after talking about with other people you lost the enthusiasm.

    So, the idea here is  before looking for ways to move forward, to instead find the things that might be slowing you down. In health this would mean looking for the kinds of foods that are moving you to the wrong side of the health fence, and for relationships, finding the people who after a meeting make you feel less cheerful than you were before you met them.

    2. Find the one thing and ensure you keep doing even in your worst days

      This idea comes directly from the book the one thing, where instead of focusing on getting a to- do list complete, you focus on one task that if done it will bring you the greatest level of progress towards your goal. Here the difference is only that instead of picking a different task each day, you pick the one task that has to be done everyday such that if done …. The difference is subtle but powerful. In the first your job is to each day look for the one thing, while in the second, you take a deeper look at the fabric of your goals, and figuring out which activity/action or set of activities/actions when taken consistently should bring you the closest to your big picture goal in the long run. The reason why this is perhaps one of the most powerful things you can do for your goals is two fold: 1) sometimes we don’t have the energy and mental clarity to pinpoint the one thing, so having it pre-set will take that out of the way, and 2) that eventually the same crucial activity becomes a habit, which removes the thinking, and will power component away from it. Now the crucial action becomes embedded in your day to day, in the same way taking a shower and brushing your teeth is. You don’t have to think about it, and just in case your forget it, your body will remind you with a cascade of feelings ranging from mild discomfort, to outright guilt, both of which can only be fixed by doing what you have to do.

      The idea here is to build systems that remove any thinking or need for willpower. The reason for this is again that sometimes we have bad days, and it’s more than important but vital for our goals to ensure that we can go through them when they come without slowing down, or even reversing our forward momentum.

      3.Start by making sure you really want to go where you’re going.

      This should probably be the first tip, but the first is there for a reason. If we were allowed to label all of the above #1 we would. Sometimes we are able to start and sustain forward momentum in whatever project or direction of our choosing, but we eventually get to a wall. The reason why this happens might be that there is some misalignment between the direction and your core goals. So, with the risk of sounding obvious, it’s important to make sure you really want/have to go where you’re going.

       Lots of people out there just start their journeys without taking some time to think whether the journey is worth it or not. If you take this approach to life, chances are than more than once you found yourself midway, only to find that you took the wrong path. The solution for this problem is simple: think before you act, simply because this is not just  a matter of making an inconsequential decision, but because if the decision is wrong, your momentum will be pulled away from your true north, and as we all know, life is short and this, although not apparent is a heavy price to pay. As simple as it is to think about it, it’s only by looking deeper into the consequences of starting even one degree off the right path that we can see of damaging that can be.

      So, take some time deciding, and then take the necessary steps to create, and then sustain the forward momentum towards your big picture goal.

      4.Guard against momentum killers

      The last idea from this post is to pay attention to and guard against anything that can kill your momentum. After you’re sure you really want to take the direction you’re taking, and applying the ideas of tips 1 and 2, all you have to do is to protect your momentum with everything you’ve got. A great example of a momentum killer most of us have is the people we spend the most time around. If you’re addicted to drugs, or overweight, chances are that you spend a lot of time with other drug addicts, or other overweight people, and the thing about it is that just like anything in life, different people go through different stages of life in different times. You might be ready to grow and improve your life, but that might or might not be the case for the people around you, and when the latter is the truth, they might willingly or unwillingly be detrimental to your momentum, by eating unhealthy diets when you’re around, and at worst even trying to openly convince you to break your diet. 

      So, the point is to pay attention to potential momentum killers, be that the people you spend most of your time around, or even the negative and self-sabotaging voices in your head, and the first and most important step is to be aware of their potential effects, so that  way you won’t be at risk of being caught off guard and by the time you are aware your momentum is already lost. So, find momentum killers before they kill your momentum, and look for ways to minimize, or preferably nullify their effects. Taking the friends example again, you could nullify their effect by making new friendships with people who want the same things as you, preferably people who already have some momentum, so they in a way also pull you forward.

      It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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      How To Come Up With More Ideas

      In this post you’ll find a few tips on how to come u[ with more ideas.

      In the world of business and invention in general, the level of your success tends to be highly influenced by the number of great ideas you can come up with. Since anyone can imagine anything at any time, and not everything you imagine is worthy of your effort, there is an increased emphasis on the quality of your ideas, probably even more than the quantity.

      If we look at the way we evolved mentally, we started in a time in which most didn’t even dare coming up with potential ideas for business or inventions, since there was still that deep rooted belief that ideas come only to the ones who are blessed  with the talent of coming up with ideas. As time went more and more people divorced from that kind of mentality, and though some people still live by it, a good deal has gained the courage to take a step forward and dare to dream. Now we live in a time of enhanced self-esteem, which is good, but also comes with its own evils. With an enhanced sense of self belief, it’s very easy for anyone to go far down the other side of the fence. When before we had a hard time believing we could think of something great, now, most people fall prey for the temptation of believing that everything they think about is golden.

      How to come up with more ideas

      The question of this post is How to come up with more ideas, but as counter intuitive as it might sound, coming up with more ideas is more about the ability to look at an idea and regardless of how much in love we are with it, to tell whether it really is as good as we would like it to be.

      1) Distinguish diamond from worthless shiny glass

        The first step is to be able to tell when you have something good in your hands, and when you have nothing. This is by far one of the hardest things for anyone to do, since we tend in general to be biased towards the things made/created by ourselves. What we want here is clarity, and when you find your biases clouding this clarity you so desperately seek, the easiest thing to do is to ask a handful of people about this idea you think is great but that you’re not completely sure of. The downside of this approach is as you’re probably thinking about, that someone could steal it, and/or that the feedback is does not reflect the truth you’re looking for. In other words, the idea truly is good, but the feedback is negative and vice versa.

        For the two problems above the best solution is to find a good sample of people that you can trust with your potential diamond, and with a good track record on decision making.

        2)Consume more varied content

        The way to mastery in any field is through specialization, simply because of the fact that when you narrow your target you get more available time to spend studying it. The problem with specialization is that when taken too far can cause us to have a myopic view of life. You do get good at one specific thing, but you also give up on the kinds of insights and cross disciplinary connections you only get  by studying a variety of subjects. You learn about a classical, and often used problem solving strategy in one field, apply in another area that never used the same strategy and you’re seen as a genius. Learning more about more gives you the power to better judge your own ideas, as well as coming up with newer ideas simply by applying this simple cross disciplinary copy of ideas and concepts. When you run dry on ideas, sometimes the way to go is not to look for something totally new, but to instead look for the already existing, and finding ways to translate it  to other unexplored areas.

        3)Constantly think about new ideas

        The third way to coming up with more ideas is to constantly think about them. We’re used to the story of the person who makes absolutely no effort to having a good idea, and through a surge of inspiration no one is able to explain the source, the person comes up with a work of art. The thing about this view of the world is that although possible, it’s not the only one. When you practice thinking about new things, this so caveated surge of creativity and motivation becomes even more likely to appear. Sometimes the juices only start flowing after a few minutes of effort followed by 10 or 20 mediocre ideas written in paper. Either way the process is unpredictable, and sometimes it is the case that it takes a little longer to get a stream of ideas.

        4) Brainstorming with others

        Another way to have more ideas for businesses, or for new inventions is to look discuss with other people. Sometimes we can tap into other peoples flow when we can’t  for whatever reason get there by ourselves, and this is often an effective and productive thing to do when we’re in teams, trying to figure out the next step the group should go towards. Suddenly one member starts with a small and slightly brilliant idea, and because the group shares the same moment of inspiration, this small and inconsequential idea quickly becomes something major whose one single source is difficult to pinpoint, since the idea has become an organism of many parents.

        One thing that makes accepting this point difficult for some is that old view we all have that if we are to come up with a great idea, we have to do so by ourselves with absolutely zero aid of anyone. This view is of course not a good representation of the truth. Keeping it is the same old idea of the person who obsesses about how she should achieve her goal even more than achieving the goal itself. It’s the old problem of obsessing about the path, instead of the destination.

        5) Experience more

        The last tip from this post is to seek for more experiences. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, and chances are that you failed to apply this amazing creativity strategy. If you didn’t really have a reason to do so, here is one. Sometimes the reason why we don’t feel creative is because the feelings and emotions we currently have don’t let us access the new stream of ideas. Meaning that one possible reason for any creative block is that an emotional block. When we are bored it can be difficult to feel creative. So, the way to more creativity might be to seek for more emotion to your life regardless of the kind. Meaning that as long as not harmful to you or to others, even feelings of sadness, and mild indignation can spur our creative juices. If taking extreme sports is what it takes, then this should definitely be added to your creative tool belt. Most of us are witnesses to the sad and still creative energy that comes right after a breakup. Some chose to take some time alone and think about it, some direct that creativity to tweets, while others write poems or even novels from it. The point is to check whether you’ve been touched by the muse whenever you find yourself having strong emotions, and if yes to take advantage of it immediately. And if you feel apathetic, maybe seeking these same strong emotions is the next intuitive step in your inspiration generation strategy.

        Summary

        To summarize this post, coming up with brand new ideas is more than just plain old sourceless inspiration. Just like our body and brains, the idea generation machine is the kind of thing that can and should be worked on in many levels, and the first step towards more ideas is perhaps to eliminate the belief that you’re either born a genius for ideas or not. The first step is to assume that if you have a  brain, and some degree of awareness, you can come up with brand new and unique ideas for your life, and business, and you can see the truth weight of this statement through your own life. I’m sure you can think of a moment or two where you came up with something unique. It needn’t be something world changing. Just something you didn’t know where it came from, and that since then you’ve been looking for the same kind of inspiration.

        It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

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        How To Like Work

        In this post you’ll find a few ideas on how to like work.

        If there is one thing in life and business such that by doing it you’re almost guaranteed to get whatever you want, that thing is work. We can look for shortcuts to either reduce the amount of work required, or the duration, but in the end of the day putting zero work guarantees your failure. Unless of course you’re planning to take a lottery kind of approach, where you rely on luck to get what you want, but even then, there is still the old idea that we at least have to buy the ticket to even have a shot at being lucky.

        The problem with work is that for most of us, it’s one of these unpleasant and yet necessary things we have to do. We work as hard as we have to so we can enjoy the moments we don’t as much as we can. The problem is that often working only has hard as you have to it’s not enough to get extraordinary results. To get amazing results another level of work is required. One in which you get past the level considered “normal”, and for that we need a new mindset first. Because with the one we all inherit from our peers and society in general, the only feel the word Work can bring to any mind is that of repulsion.

        How To Like Work

        So, how do you get the liking for work? First things first work just like exercising is one of the many necessary evils of life, and to even think we can like it, is for most a step they don’t dare take for the fear of being either labelled crazy, and if they  really really like it, getting the famous tag of a workaholic, along with all the stereotypical traits of misery, poor relationships and an unfulfilled life that come along with it. So, the first step is to replace this old belief that all work sucks, and that all work is created equal.

        Not all work is created equal

        The idea of not liking work is just like many things in life unjustly generalized. We find a few activities we don’t enjoy, as we’re growing up, and soon we assume that everything apart from the widely accepted “fun” stuff is boring or uninteresting. The truth is that  your motivation to work depends on at least two things: the purpose of it, and your level of proficiency/mastery at it, not whether we like it the first time we do it.

        Purpose

        In general if you give yourself the change to pay attention, we enjoy anything qualified to take the work tag a whole lot more when it is the way to some exciting reward. When there is something concrete at the end of the tunnel we’re often willing to work overtime, regardless of how meaningless the work is to us, or the level of pain and exhaustion we have at the moment.  It’s as if, for a moment, the sprinkles of the reward were rubbed a little on the work itself. In some cases we’re so excited that we do the work we have to do smiling, even if just days before we dreaded the alarm clock. And yes, waking up early too becomes enjoyable, and in more extreme cases we find it difficult to fall asleep.

        Proficiency/Mastery

        Mastery has been known for a while to be one of the motivators of mankind. The feeling we have when we find that we can do something well can be so overwhelming at times, that calling it work, even when that’s how it’s commonly viewed by society almost feels like a betrayal to the activity itself. You find yourself having a hard time relating when people say they dread the activity in question, and no matter how much alike you are to them, this brings to some extent the feeling of sadness, because of how much apart it makes you. I’m talking about commonly known to be difficult activities that in some way or another you were able to master , and hours  easily pass in seconds, and you almost get that guilty feeling we all do when we engage in activities that are known to not be productive, even if what you’re doing is productive. For a second you wonder if you shouldn’t be doing something else, since, as it’s commonly known, anything can be easily called work if it’s not exciting.

        Using purpose and mastery to your benefit

        Mastery and purpose turn anything that would otherwise be boring into the most interesting thing there is. If you want to like work, the way to do it is to change your relationship to it. Just like a partner you want to get back in touch to you pay attention to the things about them that you like. Here that one thing is the purpose behind it. The activity in an on itself can be as boring as the universe by nature, so the way to go is not to look for excitement where there isn’t, but to look at it as a tool for some exciting end goal. Here you make work a tool for the accomplishment of something great that interests you, and before long the feeling rubs on the work itself. If there is no apparent purpose, a good solution would be to look for it. If you plan to start a business and working is your way of raising money that would be one. If you have kids and it’s important for you to provide them with all they need that would be another. The idea is to reframe work as the way to something greater you really value. If even then nothing moves you this might be telling you how you feel deep down about the activity in particular, and not about how the word work as a whole. Different people like different things, and this might just be the time to look for something else to do.

        As for mastery, one reason why you might not like the work you do is because you’re not proficient at it. In general we like and tend to do more of the things we’re good at, no matter how small, and as for the things we’re not, we feel more timid, and shy away from them. So, finding ways to get better at the activity itself might be the way to do to increase your enjoyment. The better you become at it, the more you enjoy it, and this is so for many reasons. One of them being that the feeling that we can do something well by ourselves hits on that probably evolutionary self-reliance button. It means that we’re not powerless, and when we are not  powerless we have a greater sense of piece and self-respect for ourselves. The other button it hits is that of appreciation and peer recognition. When we’re good at something people tend to praise us for it, and as you’re probably aware of, this feeling can be quite intoxicating.

        Not all work should be fun

        One last thing to take out of the way is the idea that if you really love something you love all parts of it, not matter how naturally boring it might be. The problem with this is that it’s easy to fool ourselves into believing we don’t like a certain activity enough when we find a part/area of it we find unpleasant. The truth is that not all areas of anything can be said to be equally pleasant or equally unpleasant. Even for the activities and people we dread we can find something we like about them, and the same applies to the things we like to do in reverse. Some work will be unpleasant for everybody, in the same way that all apprentices will go through periods of boredom when on their way to mastering their arts, and yet this is not a reason to not do what you have to do. When this happens the solution is simple: just do your job.

        The last last thing is to delete from your mind the stereotype of the unhappy workaholic. Work is not necessarily supposed to be unpleasant, and if you find a person who’s willing to put the extra hours on a regular basis the question shouldn’t be whether they have a life or not, but why  we don’t feel the same about what we do.

        Summary

        To go somewhere you need to do something, like work. Being at the same place year in and year out is often at the root of the lingering unhappiness most of us feel but try to ignore. In other words momentum is required, and for momentum we need work, therefore work = happiness. The ideas above are just two of the many out there on how to get more enjoyment of the so necessary work, but applying them and see how they work is definitely a must. Who  knows? You might even find you like working after all.

        Seeing work as the way to true happiness and fulfillment