Are you a badass woman? Of course you are!
Just because you’re a tough cookie, though, doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with issues.
No one’s 100% brave, bold, and perfect in every way 100% of the time (in spite of what they portray on Facebook). Am I right?
Sometimes, we have to trudge through some crap and clear up a little internal muck before we can truly stand strong and let our inner light shine for all to see.
One crippling fear that we absolutely must conquer on our path to greatness and personal freedom is the all-too-common fear of disappointing others.
How do you know if you’re afflicted with this soul-sucking, disabling fear?
Well, it usually looks something like this:
Most good-hearted people don’t like to disappoint others, of course, but for others, it goes much deeper than that.
The fear of disappointing others can be so pervasive and constant that anytime they need to interact with others, they experience physical symptoms of anxiety and fear. Maybe they get headaches, their palms get sweaty, or their stomach starts churning.
They’ve limited themselves so much by their desire to not displease others that they don’t even know who they truly are anymore. The needs, moods, and whims of others have taken precedence for so long that they are not even able to identify what they honestly feel inside or what they genuinely desire.
It gets worse:
Possibly the worst part of navigating the world with this onus hanging around your head is the utter sense of despair, powerlessness, and lack of self-esteem that comes with it.
Let me tell you something, though…
There’s bad news and there’s good news. I prefer to get bad news out of the way first, so…
Here’s the caveat:
Being stuck is a position few of us like. We want something new but cannot let go of the old – old ideas, beliefs, habits, even thoughts. We are out of contact with our own genius. Sometimes, we know we are stuck; sometimes we don’t. In both cases, we have to DO something.
The fear of disappointing others usually originates way back in our early childhood years. Back then, we used it to cope in a time and a place where it was necessary to please those who were bigger, stronger, and more powerful than us.
But while it was useful then, it’s harmful now. Usually, the fear of disappointing others has become so ingrained that we may not even realize all the ways we limit ourselves as a result.
The saddest part is when we don’t feel like we are even capable of demolishing it and banishing it from our lives forever. It has become an integral part of “who we are”.
Therefore, the bad news is that, since we’ve been letting it dictate our actions and reactions automatically and subconsciously for so long, it takes dedicated, persistent, and sometimes arduous work to expose it and tear it out by the roots.
Now that we understand the obstacles, we can focus on the GREAT news, though:
You most certainly CAN completely eradicate the fear of disappointing others so that you live more like this:
In other words, you live free:
Before we talk about how to make that a reality, though, let’s take a look at the most common reason why it exists in the first place…
For many people, the fear of disappointing others started way back in early childhood.
Parents or anyone with authority over you when you were young may have taught you that you had to earn their approval to get what you needed.
The message could come at you in many different ways, not just with words. Anyone who’s gotten “the look” from their mother or father will understand that you don’t need words to feel someone’s wrath or disappointment. But the message was always the same, “Do as I want you to or else I will punish or ostracize you”.
And what happens when you’re punished repeatedly as a kid?
You start to think, “I’m no good. I can’t please anyone or do anything right”. Shame and guilt set in, at least at first. Often, the message doesn’t come through as “You are a good person, but your actions are unacceptable”. Instead, the only message that gets through for many small kids is the one that says, “You are bad!”.
See the difference?
If you start believing that it’s about you and not about your actions, all sorts of repercussions pop up throughout your life as a result.
You doubt everything you say, do, or don’t do, because you’re afraid you’ll “make” someone mad or disappointed – or any other negative emotion. And if, God forbid, someone does get mad or disappointed by something you did, you feel, once again, that you’re a horrible person. It reinforces that old worry from childhood that you’re simply not good enough, you’ll be abandoned, and you’ll never get what you need. You think it’s “proof”.
In essence, it’s painful.
Have you ever had a splinter in your finger that you couldn’t remove?
It’s sore, but you just keep bumping it, which makes it hurt even more. You think, “I’ll just wrap it with gauze!”. But it still hurts when you bump it. So, you start using your other hand and try hiding the hand with the splinter. And you keep adjusting your actions so you don’t trigger that soreness.
When you truly believe that you may not be “good enough”, it’s the same thing. You adjust your whole life to avoid situations or people who might trigger that sore spot. You hyper-focus on what others want, feel, and need while suppressing your own wants and needs. You constantly look for facial expressions or small comments that indicate potential dissatisfaction.
When you’re around people, you simply must stop their disapproval before they laugh at you or “hate” you and prove once again that you’re “bad” or “unworthy”.
So, what do you do? You constantly adjust your behavior to appease them.
But none of your efforts will work long-term until you get rid of that splinter!
You have to change the root cause, which means changing your core belief. We’ll talk more about changing your beliefs later, but you need to internalize and knowwith 100% certainty that you don’t have to earn love and acceptance.
You are awesome.
Just the way you are.
Unless you’re a complete narcissistic, sociopathic asshole (and I’m pretty sure you’re not!), you deserve love, affection, and the freedom to be yourself, regardless of what others think.
When you encounter people who can’t see that – well, that really is their problem, not yours.
Anytime you rely on someone else for validation or a sense of worth, you’ll always be vulnerable – and let down.
Give yourself what you need.
If you love who you are and approve of yourself, it doesn’t matter whether there is a single soul on the face of the earth who agrees with you or not.
Once you know how wonderful you are, you don’t need someone “out there” to agree with or validate it for you.
I’m not saying it isn’t great when someone unconditionally sees your worth, because it is. But, it isn’t necessary.
by Alex Bratty
Do you feel overwhelmed or stretched thin sometimes? Everyone suffers burnout at some point. Keep reading to discover some simple ways to stop it before it gets out of hand.
Burnout is real and it sucks. Does any of this sound familiar…?
You may be nodding your head to all of these or just a few. Either way, you may already be burned out or headed for burnout highway in the fast lane. And it’s not just that burnout is a painful place to be. If left unchecked, burnout can cost you pretty much everything – your career, your physical and emotional health, and even your personal relationships.
I get it because this used to be my life.
The good news is it doesn’t need to be this way. I’m here to tell you that you can turn it around and reclaim your life so that you feel more fulfilled, happier, and re-energized. Here are five simple steps to beating burnout and creating more space and time for you.
Write down your entire to-do list and go through each item to determine if it’s important or urgent. Usually, the urgent things on our list tend to get done first because they’re, well, urgent.
But that means the important items can fall to the wayside and another day or week passes where you realize you didn’t get to the projects that mean so much to you.
And here’s the problem with that – often the urgent items are actually just distractions (checking social media, responding to emails or voicemail). Or they may be urgent for other people, but not for you. Still, you get pulled along on the wave of urgency and end up dropping everything to help.
Change how you approach your list. Instead of dealing with the urgent items first, address the important items. Make those your priority because that’s what’s going to nourish your mind and soul.
And here’s the dirty little secret about the urgent items – if they are truly urgent, you’re going to get to them before the end of the day anyway….because…they’re urgent. So take a little time to get clear on what’s urgent and what’s important, and then take action on the important items first. You may also find in doing this exercise that some things on your list are neither important nor urgent. If that happens, celebrate – they can be dropped and your list just got shorter!
A surefire way to experience burnout and feel worn out is by making yourself too available and saying yes to most requests that come your way. The fact is that when you make yourself accessible at all hours of the day and night, people expect you to always be there and it’s simply unsustainable.
You need to get proactive with your calendar and block out times when you’ll disconnect from email and other devices so you can focus on what matters most to you. The trick here, of course, is sticking to your commitment.
When that request comes in for a conference call during a time you’ve blocked out for yourself, you don’t need to feel guilty and give it up. Instead, you can simply respond that you’re already booked at that time (because you are) and offer some other options.
Now, let’s face it – even when you’re being pretty good about your boundaries, you’re always going to receive demands on your time. It’s how you deal with those demands that will determine whether you can protect your priorities. Before saying yes to a new project or request, ask yourself four questions first:
If the answer to all of these is yes, then have it. But if it’s not, chances are you’ll want to say no. Saying no doesn’t have to be awkward or scary. Oftentimes, saying no can actually earn you more respect!
But if you’re still worried about it, try this approach: say yes to the person and no to the request, explaining that you wouldn’t have the time/the resources/the fill-in-the-blank to fully commit to their request.
Now, I know that if you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you’ve got going on, chances are you’re defaulting to the good old habit of multi-tasking to get everything done. Most of us think it’s the only way we’ll ever manage our to-do list.
But here’s a newsflash: nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, multi-tasking actually reduces our productivity, makes us less competent, increases our stress, causes burnout and sends us into overwhelm mode. Essentially, all we’re doing is just switching from one thing to another and losing time and focus in the process.
Starting today, focus on one thing at a time. I know that may seem tough because your mind is moving at warp speed and you want to move ahead to the next thing while still doing your current task.
Embrace that pace and make it work in your favor by shortening meetings, conference calls, and giving yourself deadlines to get tasks done. Set yourself up for success by turning off distractions and avoiding predictable interruptions – close your office door, shut off your email program and app notifications when you’re on the phone or you need to write.
Try mono-tasking for a week and you’ll be amazed at the results. You’ll feel less stressed and you’ll be more efficient than you ever imagined.
Do you ever have days where you just feel like you’re drowning? Work and life can feel like you’re swimming upstream or just trying to keep your head above water.
You get to the end of your day and you’re just so depleted because you’ve been spending your energy doing, doing, doing – and usually for everyone else. You’re getting projects done for the boss or your clients; you’re taking care of household errands; maybe you’re also caring for kids or pets. The list goes on and on.
In the midst of all that you can forget about the most important person: you. Remember, there’s a reason that flight attendants tell you to “put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.”It’s because if you don’t take care of you, you’re not going to be much use to anyone else.
It’s the same in everyday life. If you’re not taking a little time for you each day and you’re just constantly being pulled in different directions, you’re not showing up as your best self for all those people you want to serve.
So find just a little time each day. I’m not talking an hour or even 30 minutes. I’m talking 10 minutes – just 1% of your busy day. Take 10 minutes to switch off your devices, find some quiet time and do something that gives you a little break. Take a nap, meditate, close your eyes and breathe, get outside for a walk, listen to some uplifting music – whatever feels good to you.
Yup, all the cool behavioral strategies in the world won’t make any difference unless you’re paying attention to what your body needs.
So that’s it – these are the five quick and simple things you can start doing TODAY to ease your burnout, stress, and exhaustion. Have at it!
You can beat burnout and prevent it from happening in the first place if you just take a little time to recognize the need for these basic self-care strategies amidst all the chaos. It’s about realizing that you deserve the respect and time you freely give away all day every day to others.
What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For?
Sign up today and we'll send you a new inspirational video, blog, book, and quote straight to your in-box every Monday when you subscribe to our "Weekly Wave" newsletter. Join the Nation and stay inspired!
by Kathryn Sandford
In society today, knowing your purpose in life and what you should live for has become the major criteria for measuring how happy your life is. There is a lot of pressure to know your purpose in life, because if you don’t know, then the chances of you living a fulfilling and happy life are nil. This is absolute rubbish.
Ralph Emerson’s states in his quote that our purpose in life has nothing to do with happiness but more to do with how well we lived our lives. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
That is the secret recipe to living a happy fulfilled life.
My best friend John suddenly passed away a few weeks ago. John was a person who lived a purposeful life that was centered on his commitment and love for his family and serving others.
John did not seek out his purpose in life. He didn’t read personal development books on how to find your life purpose and he never asked the question “what should I live for?” He just knew what gave him joy and that was to serve his family and the people who were in his life.
John was that person that Ralph Emerson was referring to in his quote: a man who showed compassion and kindness and who lived a full life with purpose and commitment.
John was not a famous man who had achieved world recognition for his amazing feats. He was my long-time friend, a truly great man who to me lived his life purpose to the fullest.
Not all of us are like John who just knew what his purpose in life was and then just did it. Some of us need guidance as to how we can start this journey…
Here are 3 very simple steps that if you follow will help you to attain purpose and fulfillment in life.
With social media, we are relentlessly exposed to thousands of people who present a life where they seem to be living incredibly fulfilled and successful lives with purpose.
It seems to be for many people that figuring out your life purpose today is complicated and a drawn out process that can take forever. This is in fact not true at all. On social media, you only see the fabulous and fun parts of peoples lives, you do not see their true life that can be as challenging and as complicated as yours. No one escapes the realities of life – those life curve-balls that come from nowhere.
If you are comparing your quality of life and your happiness with those people on social media, then you need to stop. You need to find your own measures of success as to what a fulfilled happy life means to you. Social Media will not give you what you are seeking when it comes to finding what it is that will bring joy to your life. When you are consistently experiencing joy in your life, you are living a purposeful life. You know what the kind of life you want to live that is important to you. Using other peoples experiences of joy on social media is not best way for you to determine your life purpose.
To start your journey to figuring out your purpose in life ask yourself these 3 key questions:
The answers to these 3 questions will help you determine your purpose in life.
Once you have defined these answers, the next step is for you is to take action and consistently demonstrate those qualities you believe are important for you to attain living a life with purpose and joy.
“You do not write your life with words. . . You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do”
— Patrick Ness
Discovering your purpose in life and what you should live for is the same for everyone in the world – rich or poor. Everyone has the opportunity to live life to the fullest. It is not complex, difficult or out of your reach. Finding your life purpose is very achievable. All you have to do is decide what it is that living a fulfilled happy life means to you and then you go do it. Go and be kind to others and live your life the best way you can every day.
Acts of kindness, generosity, gratitude and love are the core actions of living a life with purpose. If you focus on these actions on a daily basis, you will be living your life with purpose. It is at this point that the feelings of happiness fill your life.
The more you do for others, the more happy you will be.
When you are living your life with purpose, it does not mean that you will transform into living the life of an angel.
Remember your reality – you will still have your faults, make huge mistakes, fail and have to navigate your way through the challenges that life throws at you. However, living a life with purpose and commitment builds your resilience and enables you to deal with life challenges from a place of strength and certainty.
Your power of choice is the only thing that you have that enables you to live a life with purpose and joy. My friend John knew how to use his power of choice to the fullest. He chose to live a life with purpose and he knew what he had to do to bring joy into his life and to those people he loved – a very simple recipe to living life to the fullest.
The journey to knowing your life purpose and living your life purpose is within your reach. You are the only person who can do it and you have control over how you want to live your life.
Remember that nobody else does – it is all down to you.
I suggest that you go do it now!
What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For?
By Amanda Swanson
Quitting jobs has always been one of my absolute biggest fears in life, and a decision that gives me so much anxiety I quite literally get sick over it.
It’s actually ironic, considering how many jobs I’ve had in the last 10 years of my life, as I’ve struggled to find my place in the working world post-college, but yet it never gets any easier each time I decide it’s time for me to move on.
In many cases, and by no means am I proud of this, I’ve done anything possible to avoid the act of quitting, including never showing up again, mailing back keys to the employer so I wouldn’t have to see them, sending email resignations, sending text resignations. You name it and in the past 15 years, I’ve probably done it. It’s embarrassing. But I’ve ultimately learned a lot from those choices.
My incredibly unrealistic fear of quitting is something that has been on my mind a lot when diving into my own self-reflections. Maybe my fear comes from the thought of giving up on something; maybe it’s the idea of being considered a failure and not “good enough” to handle the job; maybe it’s a fear of how I’m perceived. But I also think it’s something within myself that makes me feel like I just can’t seem to figure this whole working world thing out. Regardless of what it is, it’s an irrational fear I’ve worked hard to conquer over the last four years as I’ve quit two “big girl” positions.
Since I was 26 years old, I’ve been working in Corporate America –– offices and cubicles, break rooms and meeting rooms, outlook scheduling, and conference calls. This has been my life, and I really have mostly enjoyed it! I worked hard to create a name for myself in both corporate jobs I’ve been in the past four years.
It ultimately means quitting with grace would be even more expected of me –– and rightfully so! Within my most recent position I also reported directly to our company’s CEO, which held me to a higher standard than other positions I’ve had before. While that means leaving may be even scarier, it also means that leaving on good terms is even more important.
So what do you do when you decide an opportunity isn’t right for you anymore? Where do you start? Do you quit in person or over email? How much notice do you give?
These are all really great conversations to have with yourself and questions that will depend most on your own unique position and situation. Speaking from experience, here is what I’ve found to be the best tips to keep in mind when leaving a job of any kind.
QUITING BEST PRACTICES
Put yourself first
Step one for me is creating a strong sense of self. For me this means finding any way possible to remain calm and in control. As I’ve mentioned above, the thought of quitting a job sends me into a completely paralyzing state of fear. Sleepless nights, flutters, anxiety jitters, digestive issues, crazy eating schedule, stomach aches and literal sickness as my immune system gets all out of whack.
I create a terrible amount of stress on myself, all of which is ultimately not needed and not going to help me transition through my process.
The self-care practices I’ve found the most helpful in preparing for my transition include: structured exercise, journaling, anxiety reducing supplements like CBD, creating an action plan in my head of what to say and how to say it (and practicing what I would want to say either out loud to myself or to someone else), and trying my best to get adequate sleep.
Pro tip: Remember, worrying about the outcome of the future doesn’t serve you at all and makes you have to live through that experience twice! (Easier said than done, I know, but still!)
Give your notice in person
The number one ultimate fearful part of quitting a job: doing it in person. This has always terrified me in every way possible. The thought of confrontation, in having to tell your boss that you don’t want to do this anymore, completely overwhelms me. I think this stems from my intrapersonal connective nature of relating to others and forming bonds and relationships with people I meet, and having them think I “give up on them” or “quit them” versus the job itself.
Regardless of what fear you may have, you should always quit your job in person, out of respect and to allow you the ability to have a face-to-face conversation about your situation. Who knows, maybe there is something that can be worked out to better your position and allow you to stay, or further networking opportunities available. Either way, this is a bridge best not burned and you will be given the highest regard from your superiors by quitting your job in person.
Don’t get me wrong, email is a way easier method, especially in this technological era we live in. But if I’m being honest, it’s also a cop out. It’s a way to avoid.
Most recently, in quitting my corporate Executive Assistant position, I was 100% fully prepared to send an email. I even had the entire draft written. But I knew deep down inside that it didn’t feel right and so I thought it over for a few days and even talked with some friends who ultimately made me realize that sending an email would be a humongous mistake. Providing your notice in person shows maturity, and respect for yourself and others.
Pro tip: You may also find it helpful to bring a printed copy of your written notice with you when quitting in person. Write your notice in a letter format and print on letterhead or as is. State an overview of why you are leaving, what you have learned from working here and what value you have found in your position or those you have worked with.
Tell your Boss before telling others
Do yourself, and your employer a big favor and don’t go around spreading your news to others before you have had a chance to tell your leader. You wouldn’t want it to get around to them before you have had a chance to talk to them, because who knows…that could result in immediate release.
The best practice here is to tell your leader prior to telling anyone else, and to discuss with them any timeline or specific way that they would like you to share the news with others in the company or within your own department. In most cases you should be able to collaborate together a way that works best for all.
In my experience, I have scheduled a time to tell my team in a meeting and also discussed a date when an email would go out to other leaders in the company to allow me to anticipate the reactions.
Pro tip: The only exclusion to this best practice is if you have a very TRUSTED work bestie –– someone who you can ultimately work through this process with to help guide you and offer you helpful, positive advise through your process. It would be expected that this person also does not go around spreading your news to others and fully supports you throughout all your decisions.
So you’ve decided to leave, for any number of reasons, and that’s great! But that doesn’t mean that you should talk negatively about the company or anyone you know while fulfilling your last two weeks.
Frankly, it’s just not classy and it’s not a good way to shine your true colors on your way out the door. Karma is real, so make sure not to skip over the golden rule here: Treat others how you would want to be treated.
Pro tip: In many cases, you may also have an exit interview or have an opportunity while speaking with your leader to provide feedback on your time with the company or on your position. I like to state things that worked well, and things that could be done differently or improved upon.
Brace yourselves, a farewell email is coming
The biggest key in quitting any job is to trust yourself, go with your gut instinct and remember your own worth. There will always be other jobs and other opportunities in life. There are also many more ways to live a successful life making money, aside from the typical corporate/working routine most generations before us have grown up in and are used to.
It’s okay to be different and it’s okay to want more out of life. If you’ve decided a job isn’t right for you, either for another kind of opportunity or altogether, that’s OK. Just remember that no matter what, it’s not any reason to burn the bridges you’ve created or to purposefully disrespect those you have worked with.
Always quit your job with grace, as you never know when you might need these people or opportunities down the road. Keep your best composure, be confident in your own decisions, and then move on with your life! You’ve got this. I believe in you!
ABOUT Amanda Swanson
Minnesota grown, but her heart constantly wanders to places she's never been to. She's a positive vibes enthusiast and health & wellness advocate always in search of her next big adventure. Doing project management by day, and tackling fitness, blogging and goal digging (or daydreaming) by night. Spirituality and the cosmos are another ongoing passion project she has and continuously learns and grows from! She has two Bengal cats to keep her busy, but when she can she likes to get outdoors, get to happy hour, and spend time with friends and family. lifegoalsmag.com
by Tanja Hester
The last several months of our careers were more procedural drama than victorious epic, with a long string of to do items and trips keeping us focused on checking things off the list rather than really absorbing what was happening.
Fly to DC, give notice, tell colleagues and clients, reveal ourselves on the blog, go to FinCon, wrap up work projects, go on more work travel, plan first post-retirement trip, more work travels, go back to DC for farewells, travel for Christmas, take first international trip…
And though we’ve had plenty of days so far when we’ve really felt this whole early retirement thing in our bones, to us it has felt, more than anything, deeply normal.
We’ve been planning this life in a serious way for six years, after all, and I’ve written well more than 300 blog posts about it, and have chatted with you all to the tune of more than 25,000 comments and responses. And that’s not counting the emails (which I’m still embarrassingly slow on — working on this, friends!), the Twitter chats and the real life meetups with so many of you, all of which have brainwashed us into believing that early retirement is something that lots of people do — because we talk with a lot of people about it!
But of course it’s not. It only feels that way when we surround ourselves with people who are as bought into the idea as we are. That’s the power of the echo chamber.
It’s only been in the last month or so, now that we’re spending more time at home than at any point since we moved to Tahoe six years ago, as we’ve been talking to more people in real life and telling them our story that we’ve actually started to see:
This is a Big Freaking Deal. We did something kind of amazing.
Not that we are especially amazing. Nor that we overcame any particular obstacles. On the contrary, we had plenty of boosts in life that put us in a position to do this. And not that early retirement is all that hard to accomplish if you have the means to do so. But just that, in the scheme of things, almost no one does this. (Yet.)
I wonder how many people who do big things really feel the bigness of them in the moment when they achieve their goal, or if it takes them until later to appreciate it. Because when you set out to achieve a big goal, you plan for it, you work toward it for years and then you eventually get there, it doesn’t feel momentous. It just feels inevitable.
But it’s not inevitable at all. It takes much more than the passage of time to achieve the big things.
Reaching a multi-year goal that defies societal expectations takes sustained determination and focus. In the case of early retirement, it’s for sure helped by more income and lower expenses, though those aren’t required. But it takes more than all that.
What does it really take to achieve early retirement? Let’s dig into it.
This isn’t about how much money you earn or what kind of savings rate you can achieve. Those are a given. That’s like saying that to win a boxing match, you have to know how to land a punch. To even get into the ring for early retirement, you need to understand that living as far below your means as you can will accelerate your journey, and that your wealth will grow fastest in low-fee investments. But if you want to do more than get into the ring, and actually win the match, there’s extra stuff you need to have within you.
(I swear that’s the end of the boxing metaphor. And I almost said something about needing the right stuff, but I’m not going to mix a space program movie into my boxing analogy, because I like you and you deserve better.)
Beyond all those financial knowledge givens, here’s what it really takes to retire early:
Conviction That You’re Right
While some of the underlying acts that precede early retirement — basic saving, debt payoff, frugality — can be practiced without any strong convictions, to achieve early retirement, you must know that this is what you want, and that you’re right for wanting it. Because you will be tested. You’ll be tested by the big spending temptations like trips and nicer places to live, and by the insidious, everyday pull of mindless spending. And you’ll be tested by other people who don’t share your vision and want to dictate how you should spend your money. To get through all that — over the multiple years that it takes to save — you’ve got to believe with every ounce of your being that you’re right, and that early retirement is what you truly want.
Willingness to Be Wrong
But. Get ready to embrace some paradoxes. Because not only do you have to be sure you’re right, you also have to be completely willing to be wrong. Because you will be wrong, a lot. You’ll be wrong about how parts of the journey will feel. You’ll be wrong about how early retirement will feel. Not because you’re dumb or haven’t thought it through, but because you can’t know without experiencing it for yourself. And you’ll be wrong about when the markets will go up or down, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be wrong about how long it will take you to reach early retirement, because you’ll actually take less time than you imagined.
More Hard Talks
Every relationship involves some hard talks. But if you’re partnered up and you both decide to pursue early retirement, prepare yourself for many more of ’em. Even if you’re lucky like we were and immediate got on board with the FIRE idea, and one of you didn’t have to convince the other (more hard talks!), you’ve still got lots to hash out. How much is really enough to let you both sleep at night. How long you both have to keep working. How much you’re spending when your partner is feeling more frugal. How much your partner is spending when you’re feeling more frugal. What to do about big offers at work that you know you can’t take. What to do when you’re burned out and exhausted and want to quit already but haven’t hit your number. If you want to get to early retirement with your marriage or partnership intact, these hard talks over the years aren’t optional.
Retiring decades early requires taking complete, radical responsibility for your life and your circumstances. It means never saying, “Well I could never do that because…” You have to know that what happens is ultimately up to you, and is the direct result of the actions you take or don’t take.
Willingness to Surrender Control
But then you have to be just as willing to let that mindset go, because you truly can’t control everything, perhaps nothing less than the stock markets (and whether it snows in Tahoe). When we’re talking about investing, it’s up to you to do everything in your power to make smart choices, but then to surrender to the fact that you can’t control a thing. And regardless of what your emotions tell you you want to do, and regardless of what the markets are doing, you keep investing, over and over and over. And you ride that wave wherever it takes you.
To READ the Full Article, Click HERE
Tanja worked as a political and cause marketing consultant before retiring at age 38 to live a life of adventure and creativity with her husband, Mark Bunge. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way
She is the writer of the award-winning blog Our Next Life, an influencer within the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) movement, a columnist for MarketWatch, and co-host of The Fairer Cents podcast about women and financial equality. After spending most of her career in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, she now lives in North Lake Tahoe, California, with Mark and two tiny rescue dogs.
by Amanda Gore, huffingtonpost.com
A while ago I was chatting with an author and expert on how to make money work for you. Discussing people’s pasts, he commented on the value of having someone in your life who “does something for you without keeping a score.”
A person who is happy to help you, guide you or set you on the right path and expects nothing in return. They don’t think in terms of “reward,” or expecting you to reciprocate. Their joy is in seeing you prosper, grow or develop.
In particular we were discussing the impact a person like this can have on a child who has no parents — or children whose parents are absent or abusive — or anyone with a low or damaged self esteem. One person who sees potential in another and gives love (when love hasn’t been given for a long time) in the form of “something without keeping a score” can change a life direction. That gesture or gift can make a person realize they are valuable or capable or worthwhile.
Thinking about this idea, I realized what a wonderful gift it would be for anyone, let alone a loved one. And often that’s all a human needs to charge ahead and be successful in life — where success is defined as living a balanced, happy and useful life. Once a person has done something for us and never expected anything in return, we are more likely to do the same for another. It’s as though a seed is planted the first time we experience this gift and although we may not nourish and fertilize and water the seed, it grows anyway — just more slowly.
Can you think of anyone in your life who has helped you this way? Our true friends do this all the time, as do many parents. Mentors are great for giving without expecting a return — their reward is watching you blossom.
The more I thought about this the more I realized that this is one of the components of unconditional love — doing things for others and never even contemplating seeing a reward or response or payback.
Is it one of your common behaviors? It’s a fantastic way to create, enhance or develop relationships. And it’s very rewarding both psychologically and physically for us.
If it isn’t a routine part of your day, why not write “do something for someone today without keeping a score” on a piece of paper and stick it on a wall where you see it every day to make that behavior one you integrate into your daily life.
By Stephen Guise
I recently came across a quote that instantly became my favorite quote of all time.
“We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.”
This quote absolutely destroys the perspective that keeps people mediocre. It rejects the ineffective mainstream ideas of growth, which are based on using emotional manipulation to provoke action. This quote shatters that false hope, and replaces it with real hope.
I’ve found that the more I expect of myself, the less I actually do. I’ve tried to be that ultra-productive workbot, and the results have been awful. This is classic perfectionism at work: as expectations rise, so does the bar to entry. Then it’s just math. A higher bar to entry means fewer entries! I’ve written about this concept numerous times, including just last week.
Applied in a practical manner, this means that we should not prioritize pie-in-the-sky achievements and milestones, but rather simple, dull training. We should strive to train consistently above all else. If we do this, we’ll effectively raise the floor for that area of our lives. Then just as the quote states, at worst, we’ll “fall to the level of our training.”
Floors Vs. Ceilings
Where are your feet right now? Are they resting on the ceiling? Unlikely! They’re probably on the floor, and that’s a good analogy of reality. In reality, we walk on the floor, and though we may fantasize about flying to the ceiling, day after day, to our dismay, it’s the floor we find ourselves on.
Now think carefully about your life, the ups and downs in it. What is the greatest threat to your well-being? For me, that’s easy. It’s the threat of downward spirals of depression, inactivity, boredom, or complacency. Stated simply, the greatest threat to a person’s well-being is regression. That is, the greatest threat isn’t that we can’t fly to the ceiling, it’s that we crash through the floor and hurt ourselves.
Otherwise, as long as you’re moving forward in some capacity and your floor stays solid, you’re better off today than you were yesterday. Your amount of regression or growth is far less important than if you’re growing or regressing. If the floor in your home was falling out and leaving holes to fall into, you wouldn’t be saying, “Ah, it’s only 15% of our home.” You’d be more like, “AHHHH! The floor is caving in!” In the same way, if you started to fly a little bit, you wouldn’t say, “But I’m only 10 ft off the ground. Peter Pan flew much higher.” You’d be more like, “WOW! I’m FLYING!!!”
In other words, it’s very much win/lose and one/zero instead of a spectrum. You’re either moving forwards or backwards.
Most people think about how much they’d like to grow and accomplish. They’re looking up at the ceiling, wondering how they can lift it and fly higher. But massive amounts of forward progress aren’t much better than small amounts of forward progress. Flying is flying. To be fair, massive amounts of regression can be a lot worse than small amounts of regression, but they’re both still terrible and ideally avoided. Who wants any holes in their flooring?
So forward is good, backward is bad. Quantity isn’t important because of momentum and cycling—what starts small tends to grow larger anyway. Whether it’s holes in your floor or flying, any amount is significant.
Forget Your Ceiling and Bolster Your Floor
The reason I believe in raising the floor over the ceiling is twofold.
1. Raising the floor prevents regression. This is a core part of enjoying life and staying healthy mentally and physically. The higher your floor (defined by your training and habits), the safer you are against life’s many challenges.
2. Raising the floor raises your ceiling, too. The floor is the “base” of who you are. Like any strong foundation, it can be built higher and higher without risk of crumbling. A strong base gives you the confidence to build higher.
Here’s the problem I see in my own life and others’ lives: We are constantly tempted and told to aim for massive victories. It sounds sexy when all it means is that with a minimum workout of one hour, you’ll work out (much) less often than someone who accepts 30 seconds of dancing as a workout. When the criteria is “must be impressive,” you won’t try as often. When you aren’t trying, you’re not training, and that means you’ll have a weak foundation.
“But Stephen, Everyone Says to Dream Big”
The worst misconception about my books is that they encourage people to aim for mediocrity. Ha! How opposite! Let this next sentence sink into the deep recesses of your brain. File it away in the “never forget” section.
Whether you fail or succeed is not determined by your intentions, but by the actions you (do not) take.
You know how they say talk is cheap? Intentions are just that. Self talk. Anyone can tell themselves that they’re going to lose 50 pounds or make a million dollars. What’s the objective value of that sentiment if they don’t do it? ZERO. This is a silver bullet into the heart of motivation-based books and articles. They want you to believe that you can talk and expectyourself into greatness. I’m telling you to skip that BS and start with simple actions that can snowball. Forget expectations and enter the reality of action, which sounds less impressive but is far more exciting.
I’m proud of the fact that my methods are self-proven. I wrote Mini Habits (and my other books) by using a mini habit. “Stupid small” action has resulted in me writing three books. Success. Those books became successful. Double success. Before we get to thoughts like “that’s just luck” and “not every book will succeed,” let’s establish something far more important—you have to play the game for a chance to get lucky and win. You have to try to succeed!
The self-published books I wrote before Mini Habits didn’t succeed because… oh… I didn’t write any. It’s really difficult to sell books that don’t exist. After 10 years of writing, I had only written a short freebie book as a subscriber bonus. I had wanted to write a book to sell in those years, but I fell to the level of my training in that area, which was zero. I expected/wanted to write the best book in history back then, but nothing happened because I didn’t try. I didn’t try because I didn’t know how to write the best book in history (and still don’t). See how my big intention was worthless?
But I did know how to write 50 or more words per day, and that worked.
Forget the Pressure and Just Try
There’s a core concept here that unites big dreaming with small actions. Trying! Doing!
Anything that inhibits your ability or desire to take action is BAD, even if it is well intentioned. Examples include: motivation-driven living, big dreams and expectations, wanting to change your life quickly, and trying to “take massive action.” Any perspective or strategy that gets you to try is GOOD, even if it is counterintuitive or sounds ridiculous. Examples include: Mini habits, “I’ll just ___”, and having low-to-no expectations and a willingness to try.
There’s a tricky, thin, wavy line between dreaming big and expecting big. If you expect yourself to achieve your big dreams (ASAP!), the resulting pressure can paralyze you. How and why would this paralyze us? Because high stakes situations mean BIG success or BIG failure. Humans fiercely avoid pain and failure, so what seemed like a source of motivation is now a detriment to action.
Having big dreams is fine. I do best by focusing on small daily goals that align with my dreams. But I haven’t noticed any benefits from “dreaming big” and focusing on the ambitious things I want to achieve. Everything I’ve achieved to this point has come from small, unimpressive training!
By trying to raise my floor, I’ve blown the roof off of my ceiling. My books were all written with a mini habit goal of 50 words per day. My book sales probably put me in the top 5-10% of authors worldwide, which is firmly in “my wildest dreams” territory. Mini Habits was in the top 100 bestselling books in Japan recently. With a goal of writing 50 words a day, I obviously didn’t get here by “dreaming big.”
According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence (or EQ) is “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.”
Unfortunately, traditional definitions of emotional intelligence lead many to misunderstand EQ as being nothing more than a kind of emotional awareness.
Emotional intelligence isn’t quite so simple, though. It consists of three primary abilities all with various sub-traits within them:
As you can see, emotional intelligence extends far beyond just emotional awareness. This is why it’s so critical in virtually anything you do, especially when it comes to interacting with others.
If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.
– Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.
Whether you’re interested because you want to know if you have a high EQ or you want to improve your EQ to increase your chances of success in your endeavors, here are seven traits that emotionally intelligent people display:
1. They have self-awareness
One of the most fundamental qualities of emotionally intelligent people is their emotional self-awareness. Self-awareness has huge benefits, including the ability to notice problems arise so that you can handle them swiftly– before they get bigger– to the ability to see things from a clearer perspective, making your response to emotions healthier.
2. They can pick up on how others are feeling
Emotional intelligence is one part you, one part others. In addition to high emotional self-awareness, emotionally intelligent people are also aware of the emotions of others.
Awareness of others’ emotions has unlimited uses, from knowing just when to comfort a friendwhen they’re hurting to noticing a team member’s frustration so you can investigate and handle the situation before it becomes a full-blown fire.
3. They’re great listeners
Emotionally intelligent people have the gift of being able to listen acutely to what’s going on around them on an emotional level. It turns out, this may be the key to developing good listening skills in general.
Perhaps it has to do with the ability to more easily understand what is going through someone’s head. Whatever the case, most of us aren’t great listeners, and that’s unfortunate because effective communication can’t happen if all you know how to do is talk.
Emotionally intelligent people know how to listen, not just to others’ words but their emotional content as well.
4. They have environmental awareness
More than just awareness of others’ emotions, environmental awareness is the ability to pick up on moods and energy levels in groups.
This is one of several qualities that makes emotionally intelligent people great leaders, they can pick up on the energy of their team and steer them in the right direction as well as offer encouragement and motivation when the mood is low or call a team meeting when frustration is running high.
5. They can anticipate and respond effectively
More than just awareness of what is already happening, emotionally intelligent people often have the ability to anticipate what is going to happen by reading the emotional content of those they interact with. This can be anything from anticipating bad news to someone quitting in the workplace.
This gives the emotionally intelligent person the ability to respond more effectively to situations as they occur as opposed to constantly reacting, putting them in control.
6. They’re empathetic
According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ and the person who brought emotional intelligence to popularity in the new century, empathy is one of five primary components of EQ. Empathy includes the ability to relate to others and understand how they feel. Those two things alone are incredibly valuable traits which will not only make you happier and more successful, but also help those around you.
7. They’re good under pressure
Because emotionally intelligent people have greater self-awareness, so when under a large amount of stress, they know when and how to provide themselves with a little self-care. This is one of the most significant benefits of a high emotional intelligence, whether natural or developed, because it helps you navigate the pressures of work and life more effectively.
In a world which is becoming increasingly more stressful and high-pressure, self-care is more important than ever, and emotionally intelligent people are ready and equipped to deal with that pressure in a healthy and productive way.
By Matt Valentine, Goalcast
1. Everyone has dreams and goals...
However, very few people actually achieve them. This is because majority of us let our limits hold us back. These limits take various forms. Examples are physical inability, doubt, fear or a negative past. When you meet your personal limits, you feel resistance. This makes everything feel much harder to accomplish. Many people around the world are unable to hold on when it gets to this point. Therefore, they give up. It is important to learn how to beat your limits and overcome them. This enables you to achieve your goals. Here is how to push beyond your limits and achieve your biggest goals.
2. Find someone to assist you...
Sometimes, all that you need to overcome your limits and keep moving towards your dreams is a little encouragement. It is important to have someone to support you when things get tough. They can be a counter-balance for any negative thinking or self-talk that you could have when the going gets hard. By showing you how strong you are, they can help you to shift focus from your limitations to your strengths. As a result, you can accomplish more and push yourself to do the things that exist beyond your comfort zone. This is a sure way to achieve your big dream.
3. Adjust your mindset...
The mind is the greatest weapon in our personal arsenals. It is capable of any thought hence can help us to accomplish anything we want. For many, it convinces them to quit when the path gets too challenging. Our minds instinctively protect us. Therefore, when we face imminent hardship, the first response is to give up. If you become used to accepting this, you will become a quitter. If done regularly, this can create a limit and keep you within it. To achieve your goals, you have to overcome the desire to give up. This can be accomplished by looking up to someone whose resilience you admire such as your role model, a movie star, your parents or your mentor. Watch how they overcome the desire to give up. Then you can visualize yourself doing the same every time that you face hardship and feel like giving up. You will find yourself holding on for longer, training your mind to become more optimistic and eventually become strong enough to overcome your limits.
4. Embrace bigger challenges than you think you are capable of...
The fundamental activity required in pushing beyond your limits is to take on challenges that are harder than what you are used to. If you do not push past your capability regularly, you get stuck within your comfort zone and do not experience any growth. This causes stagnation and eventually despair. Therefore, enthusiastically embrace challenges that are bigger, harder and more complex than what you are used to. This will help you to get comfortable being outside your comfort zone and get you closer to your dreams.
5. Go for what is unknown to you...
Majority of us are afraid of the unknown. We feel threatened when we even think of going past our comfort zones. This shows a low ability to handle ambiguity. When there is an unknown chance of success or failure, we are afraid to move forward. Research shows that children are more willing to embrace the unknown more than adults. This is because the desire for safety and security is much stronger as we grow older. This makes us want to stay within our comfort zone more. However, the only way to overcome our limits is to embrace the unknown. Moreover, if you currently enjoy and are satisfied with your current work, you will be able to embrace the discomfort that comes with the unknown. According to Bill Walsh who is the San Francisco 49ers' former head coach, if your reason why is bold enough, then you will know how to get where you want to be.
6. Visualize yourself at the next level...
One of the most important activities to perform so as to push past your limits is to stay focused. Visualization is a handy tool that you can use towards this effect. You need to focus on what you want so as to get motivated in pursuing your plan despite your imagined limits. Many times, we know where we have been and where we currently are. However, we rarely know exactly where we need to go. Take the time to imagine where you want to be by a certain time in future. Visualize this every single morning when you get up. This will motivate you to go out of your comfort zone and achieve your goals.
7. Establish clarity about your next step...
If you have a great goal, then your path will be unclear. This causes you not to know exactly what the future holds. It can cause a fear of the unknown. If this fear is big enough, you can easily give up on your passionate dreams and pursue more familiar plans for example getting a stable job. It is essential to have clarity for your goals but you do not have to see all the way down the path. All you need to see is the next step or two. To do this, you need to have clear milestones or list of checkpoints. You also need the tools required to achieve this step. A strict timeline is also essential for success. Last but not least, you need a support system to keep you focused. This is a manageable way to handle a big dream. Therefore, work to establish a clear plan of action for the next step and follow up on it. This will help you to gradually overcome your limits and achieve your goals.
8. Eliminate your weaknesses...
It is important to know that where there are weaknesses, there are limits. Each one of us has specific strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses take away from our strengths. They deduct as we make efforts to add. They are a leak in the ship of your life. Many motivational speakers encourage us to focus on our strengths and ignore our weaknesses. However, ignoring a problem will not make it go away. We have to face our weaknesses and transform them. We can either turn them into strengths or eliminate them completely. This is the only way to overcome our limits and achieve our biggest goals. It is a painful process with lifetime benefits.
9. The Important Take Away...
By pushing beyond your limits, you can become everything that you ever wanted to be. You can achieve your dreams and leave a lasting legacy. The tips above can help you to achieve this. Read and apply them in your life to observe a gradual, positive transformation.
by Stan Goldberg
Self-change is tough, but it's not impossible, nor does it have to be traumatic, according to change expert Stan Goldberg, Ph.D. Here, he lays out the 10 principles he deems necessary for successful change.
My mother died on Christmas day of a massive heart attack. I later counted 15 self-help books on her shelves, but found each offered only broad ideas; none provided the specifics necessary to save her life.
Like my mother, many of us want to change but simply don't know how to do it. After 25 years of researching how people change, I've discovered 10 major principles that encompass all self-change strategies. I've broken down those principles and, using one example—a man's desire to be more punctual—I demonstrate strategies for implementing change in your own life.
All Behaviors Are Complex
Research by psychologist James O. Prochaska, Ph.D., an internationally renowned expert on planned change, has repeatedly found that change occurs in stages. To increase the overall probability of success, divide a behavior into parts and learn each part successively.
Strategy: Break down the behavior
Almost all behaviors can be broken down. Separate your desired behavior into smaller, self-contained units. He wanted to be on time for work, so he wrote down what that would entail: waking up, showering, dressing, preparing breakfast, eating, driving, parking and buying coffee—all before 9 a.m.
Change Is Frightening
We resist change, but fear of the unknown can result in clinging to status quo behaviors—no matter how bad they are.
Strategy: Examine the consequences
Compare all possible consequences of both your status quo and desired behaviors. If there are more positive results associated with the new behavior, your fears of the unknown are unwarranted. If he didn't become more punctual, the next thing he'd be late for is the unemployment office. There was definitely a greater benefit to changing than to not changing.
Strategy: Prepare your observers
New behaviors can frighten the people observing them, so introduce them slowly. Becoming timely overnight would make co-workers suspicious. He started arriving by 9 a.m. only on important days.
Strategy: Be realistic
Unrealistic goals increase fear. Fear increases the probability of failure. Mornings found him sluggish, so he began preparing the night before and doubled his morning time.
Change Must Be Positive
As B.F. Skinner's early research demonstrates, reinforcement-not punishment-is necessary for permanent change. Reinforcement can be intrinsic, extrinsic or extraneous. According to Carol Sansone, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Utah, one type of reinforcement must be present for self-change, two would be better than one, and three would be best.
Strategy: Enjoy the act
Intrinsic reinforcement occurs when the act is reinforcing. He loved dressing well. Seeing his clothes laid out at night was a joyful experience.
Strategy: Admire the outcome
An act doesn't have to be enjoyable when the end result is extrinsically reinforcing. For instance, I hate cleaning my kitchen, but I do it because I like the sight of a clean kitchen. After dressing, he looked in the mirror and enjoyed the payoff from his evening preparation: He looked impeccable.
Strategy: Reward yourself
Extraneous reinforcement isn't directly connected to the act or its completion. A worker may despise his manufacturing job but will continue working for a good paycheck. Whenever he met his target, he put $20 into his Hawaii vacation fund.
Being Is Easier Than Becoming
In my karate class of 20 students, the instructor yelled, "No pain, no gain," amid grueling instructions. After four weeks, only three students remained. Uncomfortable change becomes punishing, and rational people don't continue activities that are more painful than they are rewarding.
Strategy: Take baby steps
In one San Francisco State University study, researchers found that participants were more successful when their goals were gradually approximated. Write down the behavior you want to change. Then to the right, write your goal. Draw four lines between the two and write a progressive step on each that takes you closer to your goal. The first week, he would arrive by 9:20 a.m., then five minutes earlier each subsequent week until he achieved his goal.
Strategy: Simplify the process
Methods of changing are often unnecessarily complicated and frenetic. Through simplicity, clarity arises. Instead of waiting in line at Starbucks, he would buy coffee in his office building.
Strategy: Prepare for problems
Perfect worlds don't exist, and neither do perfect learning situations. Pamela Dunston, Ph.D., of Clemson University, found cueing to be an effective strategy. His alarm clock failed to rouse him, so for the first month he'd use a telephone wake-up service.
Slower Is Better
Everything has its own natural speed; when altered, unpleasant things happen. Change is most effective when it occurs slowly, allowing behaviors to become automatic.
Strategy: Establish calm
Life is like a stirred-up lake: Allow it to calm and the mud will settle, clearing the water. The same is true for change. To make mornings less harried, he no longer ran errands on his way to work.
Strategy: Appreciate the path
Author Ursula LeGuin once said, "It's good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." Don't devise an arduous path; it should be as rewarding as the goal. He enjoyed almost everything involved in being punctual. The coffee could be better, but it was a small price to pay.
Know More, Do Better
Surprise spells disaster for people seeking change. Knowing more about the process allows more control over it.
Strategy: Monitor your behaviors
Some therapists insist on awareness of both current and desired behaviors, but research suggests it's sufficient to be aware of just the new one. In a journal, he recorded the time taken for each step of work preparation.
Strategy: Request feedback
A study in the British Journal of Psychology found that reflecting on personal experiences with others is key to successful change. But because complimenting new behavior implies that the observer disliked the old one, it can make observers feel uncomfortable. If, for example, you were once demeaning to people, few would now say, "It's nice talking with you since you stopped being a jerk." Give the observer permission, suggests Paul Schutz, Ph.D., of the University of Georgia, and you will receive feedback.
Every Friday he asked a friend how well he was doing with his time problem.
Strategy: Understand the outcome
Success is satisfying, and if you know why you succeeded or failed, similar strategies can be applied when changing other behaviors. Every morning, he analyzed why he did or did not arrive to work on time.
Change Requires Structure
Many people view structure as restrictive, something that inhibits spontaneity. While spontaneity is wonderful for some activities, it's a surefire method for sabotaging change.
Strategy: Identify what works
Classify all activities and materials you're using as either helpful, neutral or unhelpful in achieving your goal. Eliminate unhelpful ones, make neutrals into positives and keep or increase the positives. After evaluating his morning routine, he replaced time-consuming breakfasts with quick protein drinks.
Strategy: Revisit your plan regularly
Review every day how and why you're changing and the consequences of success and failure. Research by Daniel Willingham, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Virginia, showed that repetition increases the probability of success. Each night he reviewed his plan, smiled and said, "Hawaii, here I come."
Strategy: Logically sequence events
According to behavior expert Richard Foxx, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Penn State University at Harrisburg, it's important to sequence the aspects associated with learning a new behavior in order of level of difficulty or timing. He completed all bathroom activities, then ate breakfast.
Practice Is Necessary
Practice is another key approach to change, suggests one study on changing conscious experience published recently in the British Journal of Psychology. I've found that the majority of failures occur because this principle is ignored. Practice makes new behaviors automatic and a natural part of who we are.
Strategy: Use helpers
Not all behaviors can be learned on your own. Sometimes it's useful to enlist the help of a trusted friend. When even the telephone answering service failed to wake him up, he asked his secretary to call.
Strategy: Practice in many settings
If you want to use a new behavior in different environments, practice it in those or similar settings. Dubbing this "generalization," psychologists T.F. Stokes and D.M. Baer found it critical in maintaining new behaviors. During the first week he would try to be punctual for work. The following week, he would try to be on time for his regularly scheduled tennis game.
New Behaviors Must Be Protected
Even when flawlessly performed, new behaviors are fragile and disappear if unprotected.
Strategy: Control your environment
Environmental issues such as noise and level of alertness may interfere with learning new behaviors. After identifying what helps and what hinders, increase the helpers and eliminate the rest. Having a nightcap before bed made it difficult to wake up in the morning, so he avoided alcohol after 7 p.m.
Strategy: Use memory aides
Because a new behavior is neither familiar nor automatic, it's easy to forget. Anything that helps memory is beneficial. He kept a list in each room of his apartment describing the sequence of things to be done and the maximum allowable time to complete them.
Small Successes Are Big
Unfortunately, plans for big successes often result in big failures. Focus instead on a series of small successes. Each little success builds your reservoir of self-esteem; one big failure devastates it.
Strategy: Map your success
Approach each step as a separate mission and you'll eventually arrive at the end goal. For each morning activity he completed within his self-allotted time limit, he rewarded himself by putting money into his Hawaii-getaway fund.
The process of changing from what you are to what you would like to become can be either arduous and frustrating or easy and rewarding. The effort required for both paths is the same. Choose the first and you'll probably recycle yourself endlessly. Apply my 10 principles, and change, once only a slight possibility, becomes an absolute certainty. The choice is yours.
About The Author
Stan Goldberg, Ph.D., is a private speech therapist , a change consultant, and the author of four books on change.
Written by peacefulbanyantree.com
“Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation. All of our self-talk, our internal dialogue, is a stream of affirmations. You’re using affirmations every moment whether you know it or not. You’re affirming and creating your life experiences with every word and thought.” ∼ Louise Hay
Almost all of us are confronted with negative thoughts every once in a while. But unfortunately, the number of people who have negative thoughts on a regular basis is seriously increasing. And for some, negative thinking has become a chronic habit.
However, most of us pay very little attention to these thoughts. We don’t realize how destructive this thought pattern can be. Negative thinking affects our mood and can slowly change our general outlook on life.
We shouldn’t create the thought of what our life is right now. We should create the thought of what our life should be. Because we know the equation – our life doesn’t create our thoughts, our thoughts create our life. So, we need to create the thought of what we want our life to be.
We can do this with the help of positive affirmations. Affirmation is such a powerful tool with what we can create miracles in our lives. But unaware of the technique, we are creating thoughts which are opposite to what we want in our life.
For example; I am stressed, I am depressed, I am tired, what a depressing weather! We keep on repeating these phrases and negativity of it becomes our reality. These are all negative affirmations you repeat to yourself not knowing that you are actually attracting all this.
Affirmation is a statement that you repeat to yourself in order to get your subconscious mind reprogrammed. Basically, it’s really anything you say or think. In most cases, we are unaware of this process.
If we do not pay attention to this process, it can work against us. We might subconsciously affirm negative beliefs which can even cause us to self-sabotage our progress in life.
We can use positive affirmations as a breakthrough to come out of this self-sabotaging process. However, saying positive affirmations is only a part of the process. The secret to having your affirmations work is to believe in them. You can not just say your affirmations and later doubt on them.
You have to consistently prepare an atmosphere for affirmations to work by keeping your thoughts positive and clean. Just think about, how you want your life to be and make your own affirmations around those desires.
Your life won’t change overnight, but if you use positive affirmations consistently every single day, you will definitely see improvement in every area of your life.
I am able to find positivity in every situation.
I create only positive thoughts and radiates positivity.
I am getting stronger and healthier every day.
I am taking good care of my mental and physical health.
I am becoming a better version of myself every day.
I am confident to overcome any hurdles.
I know my self-worth and I am worthy of the best.
I believe in myself.
I am overflowing with happiness, joy, and satisfaction.
I choose happiness over doubt and fear.
I forgive myself and everyone else for all the mistakes.
I choose to release hurt and resentment.
I am a money magnet and attract money easily.
The universe is creating opportunities for me to earn more and more money.
I see success and abundance everywhere.
I am becoming more and more successful every day.
Every breath I take fills my soul with calmness and ease.
I am at peace now.
Today is the most beautiful day.
Today I lay the foundation for a wonderful future.
If used correctly and consistently, affirmations can be incredibly powerful. However, we should not expect some magic here. Positive affirmations allow you to cultivate the necessary mindset that helps to accomplish your dreams.
You still need to take actions to make your dreams come true and to achieve the quality of life you desire.
By Erica Ariel Fox
Mobius Executive Leadership
Martin leads the largest division of a global company. You feel his presence immediately when he walks into a room. Not because he’s flashy or full of ego, but because he’s neither. Instead, it’s the unshakable confidence that comes from knowing exactly who you are, and the star power that accompanies a certain kind of seniority. It’s hard to imagine him in a moment of self-doubt.
And yet on the inside, he does berate himself. If something catches him by surprise, he’ll think, “You should’ve seen that coming.” After giving a keynote, he tells himself, “Lousy talk!” If a client turns down a proposal, he asks himself the aching question: “What’s wrong with you?”
Dominique, an executive at a European company, has a similar kind of inspiring confidence — and critical inner monologue. I’ve seen rooms full of people stop talking and turn their attention to the door when she shows up. She’s a force of nature, but they look up to her with admiration, not fear. She’s tough but fair. She hears people out. Still, at the end of the day, it’s her team, and no one is confused about who makes the final calls.
But despite her hard-earned stature, she’s pulled down by an inner voice that questions her every move. Though her team talks to her with respect, the way she talks to herself is far from it. “Why should they listen to you?” she sometimes thinks. “Why didn’t you prepare more?” And other times, “You’re a fraud.”
Advising Martin, Dominique, and other C-suite executives, I’ve learned that for successful senior leaders like them, the hardest difficult conversations they have are the ones they have with themselves.
When it comes to having tough conversations with their colleagues, clients, or direct reports, they often take them in stride, seeing them as just “part of the job.” A common reaction is, as one leader told me: “We have an opportunity to build something truly special here. I don’t shy away from tackling anything — including “people issues” — that stands in the way of our mission.” To be sure, none of the people I work with enjoy confronting people on performance issues, or delivering bad news. Yet, they tell me, it comes with the territory. They expect it.
Though these executives are comfortable dealing with topics most people would find stressful to discuss, they still struggle with how they talk to themselves. What I’ve learned, however, is that leaders whose gravitas runs deep don’t run away from this struggle. The ones who make it to the top learn to deal with the universal voice of self-doubt head on.
When I ask executives how they think about difficult conversations with others, they say things like, “We’ve built a culture I call ‘high challenge, high support.’” So I build on that, encouraging them to apply the same standard to that critical innervoice.
The negative voice in your head wants something. It wants to be heard. It needssomething, too: a bit of compassion and friendly reassurance. When you provide these, the conversations with yourself start to go a lot better. Instead of silencing or denying that inner voice, respond to it. Here’s how it sounds:
Other techniques you use for difficult conversations with others can also work when contesting with your own inner voice. With other people, you ask yourself “is this battle worth fighting?” Pick your battles with yourself, too. You know best practice is not to lecture someone, but rather to have a dialogue. Embrace the tone of dialogue in your inner speech as well. Hostile confrontation is rarely the way to go, with other people, or with yourself. Do you give people second chances? Do you forgive a small mistake? Then give yourself a second chance, too. Forgive yourself when you miss the mark. If you expect the people around you to learn from their mistakes and move on, then you can, too.
What makes conversations difficult is the desire to avoid them, and the way we lose our cool when we have them. Practice makes powerful. The same is true whether you’re talking to someone else, or to yourself.
About the Author
Erica Ariel Fox is the author of the New York Times bestseller Winning From Within: A Breakthrough Method for Leading, Living, and Lasting Change. She is a founding partner at Mobius Executive Leadership and she teaches negotiation at Harvard Law School. She also teaches negotiation at Harvard Law School, and is founder of the Harvard Negotiation Insight Initiative (HNII) and the Global Network for Negotiation Insight and Exchange (GNNIE). A highly sought-after advisor, Erica works with senior leaders around the world with her partners at Mobius Executive Leadership, and she is also a Senior Advisor to McKinsey Leadership Development.
A simple guide to be mindful throughout the day—whether you're washing the dishes, eating a snack, or sitting down to meditate.
By Jeffrey Brantley
Have you ever started eating an ice cream cone, taken a lick or two, then noticed all you had was a sticky napkin in your hand? Or been going somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realize you haven’t noticed anything or anyone you met along the way? Of course you have! These are common examples of “mindlessness,” or as some people put it, “going on automatic pilot.” Which may lead you to wonder—how can I bring more mindfulness into my everyday life?
We all fall into habits of mind and body, of attention and inattention, which result in our not being present for our own lives. The consequences of this inattention can be quite costly. They can result in our missing some really good things, and also in our ignoring really important information and messages about our life, our relationships, and even our own health.
We all fall into habits of mind and body, of attention and inattention, which result in our not being present for our own lives.
An important antidote to this tendency to “tune-out,” to go on “automatic pilot,” is to practice mindfulness. To practice mindfulness means to pay more careful attention in a particular way. We all have the quality of mindfulness in us. It is the quality of bare awareness that knows what is here in the present moment. Mindfulness knows what is going on outside, and also, inside our own skin.
Our reactions to the stressful events of our lives can become so habituated that they occur essentially out of our awareness, until, because of physical or emotional or psychological dysfunction, we cannot ignore them any longer. These reactions can include tensing the body, experiencing painful emotional states, even panic and depression, and being prisoners of habits of thinking and self-talk including obsessional list making, and intense, even toxic self-criticism.
All we have to do is to establish attention in the present moment, and to allow ourselves to be with what is here.
So, we can practice mindfulness and become more present. All we have to do is to establish attention in the present moment, and to allow ourselves to be with what is here. To rest in the awareness of what is here. To pay attention without trying to change anything. To allow ourselves to become more deeply and completely aware of what it is we are sensing. And to be with what it is we are experiencing. To rest in this quality of being, of being aware, in each moment as our life unfolds.
And, to the extent we can practice “being” and become more present and more aware of our life and in our life, the “doing” we do about all of it, will be more informed, more responsive, and less driven by the habits of reaction and inattention.
Make the effort! Whenever you think of it in your day or night, remember that you can be more mindful. See for yourself what it might be like to pay more careful attention and to allow yourself to experience directly what is here, especially including what is here in your own body, heart, and mind.
There are three simple ways you can add more mindfulness to your daily life:
In these situations, use the sensation of the breath as the “anchor” for awareness in the present moment. Establish mindfulness on the narrow focus of just the breath sensation. Allow yourself to feel the breath as it goes in, and goes out and the pause between in and out. Do not try to control the breath. Simply let it come and go. Bring as much attention, as completely and continuously as you can to the direct sensation of the breath.
After awhile, if you wish, when you have established awareness on the breath sensation, you could widen the focus to include all body sensations along with the breath sensation. Again, not trying to change anything at all. Simply allow yourself to feel, and be aware of the changing sensations in the body.
After awhile, again if you wish, you can further widen the focus to include all that is present. This means whatever you are hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, touching, or even thinking. Just practice being with these different experiences as they unfold. Allowing yourself to feel your life in this moment. Resting in mindfulness, the open-hearted choiceless awareness of what is here in this moment.
Anytime you feel lost or confused or frustrated, gently narrow the focus and return awareness to the sensation of the breath. You may have to do this frequently. It is ok. Or you may wish to concentrate mainly on the breath, especially if you are new to meditation. That, too, is ok. The important thing is the quality of awareness you bring to the moment. One moment of mindfulness, one breath when we are truly present, can be quite profound. See for yourself.
You can practice mindfulness in this way throughout the day and night. Practice for a few breaths at a time, even for a few mindful moments. And, if you wish, you can make this a more “formal” meditation practice, by setting aside some time (from a few minutes to an hour or more, as you wish) free from other activity or distraction to devote full attention to simply being present, being mindful of what is present. Over time you may find that the “formal” practice supports and strengthens your ability to practice “informally” throughout the day and night in different situations.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Psychiatrist Jeffrey Brantley is the director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. He is author of Calming Your Angry Mind.
Many times, new customers come to us in times of hardship. Usually, they are experiencing illness, grief, financial struggle or simply the feeling of being stuck. They turn to crystals to reconnect with nature, heal from the past and receive new energy to move forward.
One of the things crystals are able to teach us during these times is the power of positive thinking. They remind us that no matter what challenge we are faced with, that there is good within it. The key, however, is to be open and patient in recognizing that good. It may come to us in a day or it may be years down the road when we realize why things occurred when and how they did. The crystals help us remember that the Divine has a bigger and better plan for us than we do.
How to Increase Positive Thinking in Your Life
~ Writing in a journal — Research has found that people who write down a positive experience in a journal each day had better mood levels, fewer visits to the doctor and fewer illnesses.
~ Daily meditation — Those who meditate daily have more positive emotions than those who do not, according to research. Those who meditate have also been found to display increased mindfulness, purpose in life, decreased illness symptoms. This contributes to being able to stay positive even during the most challenging times.
~ Discovering your inner child — Schedule a time each day to do something that brings you joy. Having fun shouldn’t be left for just on the weekends if you have time. It needs to be part of our everyday life. By creating your own happiness and joyful experiences, you will foster more positive thoughts.
~ Live in the present moment — Often times, we put our happiness in the future. “I will be happy if I make more money.” But we have no control over what happens in the future, only the present moment. Think of the ways you can learn from your current situation, how you can make tangible adjustments to improve it, and what can make you happy that day, versus down the road. Try a positivity mantra that you can repeat throughout the day when you need extra strength.
Creating a more positive outlook does not mean that we avoid feels of anger, sadness or frustration. Feeling those emotions is extremely important to our well-being. It is when we become stuck in them, unable to see the light in all things, that causes us to enter into more darkness.
by ENERGY MUSE
The Power of Positive Thinking Attracts Opportunity motivation inspiration
"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and in the belief in a thing makes it happen."
- Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 projects resulting in more than 500 completed works, recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1991 as the greatest American architect of all time (1867-1959)It may sound like a case of circular logic, but the quote by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright is, in fact, an example of what often happens in life. Others have said words to the effect that imagining your future is the first step toward making it a reality. The unspoken part of that line of thinking, however, is that nothing just happens to allow us to achieve our goals. It requires action of us to make it a reality.
Still, there can be no denying that having a positive outlook strongly impacts or influences what actions we do take. Whether our actions are already what we have set down as a deliberate plan to take, step-by-step toward a particular goal or they are those that we revise as we are actively working our plan in anticipation of achievement of that goal, when we look forward with optimism to the realization of those goals, we are more strongly motivated to keep pushing ahead.
Positive thinking and belief that we can do something also helps us overcome challenges along the way that may otherwise discourage us and deter us from staying the course.
The power of belief and its ability to help us make what we want and dream about a reality does not, however, imply that this will always happen. Sometimes it is our belief that is misguided or outright wrong. For example, if we believe that we can overcome our addiction simply by the strength of our willpower or just because we said we want to do so, we are likely to be destined for both disappointment and possibly relapse.
The opposite of positive belief is also true. If we believe with every fiber of our being that we are doomed to failure, that we don't deserve happiness and will never achieve it, that we are evil and condemned to live a life of pain and suffering, guess what? The reality that may very well be our future is strongly tinted by such dark beliefs. In that case, believing in a negative outcome influences what actually happens.
Why is belief so powerful and what can we do to make sure we employ it to help propel us forward? Belief is like water that helps plants grow. Without it, we would wither and shrivel up, becoming desiccated and shrunken vestiges of what we could have been. With it, we have the chance to flourish and thrive, to grow in stature and abundance, to glisten and radiate life and energy.
Think of the power of belief, then, as part of our essence. Strive to find that which we strongly believe in and allow that belief to energize and motivate us to take action to achieve our desired goals. If we find that we lack the ability to believe in anything right now, either because we have never felt our beliefs held any weight or we are simply beat down and trying to climb back up after addiction, just give it some time. Allow for the possibility that we can believe in something, and seek guidance and counsel so that we may be able to recognize the first signs of our beginning to believe when they do occur.
And they will. Recovery doesn't happen in a single day or week or month. We have a long time, literally the rest of our lives, in recovery. We have time to begin to believe and to make things happen.
By Jim Rohn, Success.com
Take care to feed and stimulate your brain and you will expand your mind. The two are inextricably connected. We need to see the human brain and mind with wonder, awe and inspiration.
The brain is the equivalent of a human supercomputer. It is more complicated than any computer mankind has ever made, and maximizing its ability is essential to becoming the success you want to be—because it controls who you are. It is the command center involved in and controlling absolutely everything you do, determining how you think, feel and act.
Simply put: When your brain is working at peak performance, it allows you to be your best because it controls the rest.
Related: How to Exponentially Improve Your Performance
There are some basic influences on the brain that shape how it functions and how far it develops, including genes, self-talk, life experiences, stress and study. Although these things influence the brain, they do not determine how far you can go or what you can learn. In other words, you have the incredible opportunity to go as far as you desire.
So with such a tremendous tool at our disposal, what keeps so many people from experiencing the possibilities that it can bring? There are some simple barriers that have the potential to wreak havoc on your learning if you allow them to, but you can overcome them. The key to breaking through these barriers is to do the opposite…
1. Change your beliefs.
Many people do not believe that they can learn, master knowledge or become “smart.” These are deeply held beliefs for many, and ultimately, if we do not believe it, we will not achieve it.
So change your beliefs. It is up to you to do the work of changing your beliefs. And when you do, you will be opening up new worlds—literally! Feed your mind with information that will change your belief. The truth is that you have an amazing mind with a capacity for learning that is beyond your comprehension. You must believe this. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind.
2. Get the right knowledge.
What keeps some people from learning is that they choose not to access or do not have access to knowledge. Knowledge comes from experiences, books, people and other “knowledge dispensers.” We must tap into that knowledge.
So get the right knowledge. Words if they are not true are meaningless. I hear children say, “I read it in a book.” But is it true? Just because someone says it or writes it, doesn’t mean it is true. As a learner, you want to get the right knowledge, not just information or opinions. It is your job to seek out information and knowledge and then test it and run it through your mind to see if it is true, and if it can be rightfully applied to your life in order to make it better and help you succeed. You need to weigh and measure what you learn in order to gain the right knowledge. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind.
3. Become passionate about learning.
Some people simply do not have the desire to learn. They may be lazy, or they may not see the positive impact that learning would have on them. They have no passion inside that drives them to learn.
So become passionate about learning. This will take some work, but the only way to do it is to begin learning about things that have an immediate impact in your life. When you learn about a new financial concept that helps you earn money or get out of debt, that will get you fired up. When you learn about how to interact with your family in a healthy way and your relationships get better, that will inspire you. Become passionate about learning. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind.
4. Discipline yourself through the hard work of study.
Gaining knowledge is hard work and takes a lifetime to master. It is an ongoing discipline that is never complete.
So discipline yourself through the hard work of study. Learning will take work. Until someone comes up with modules that can plug into your mind and give you instant access to knowledge, you are on your own, and that takes work. The process of learning is a long one. Yes, we can speed it up, but it is still a process of reading, listening, reviewing, repetition, applying the knowledge, experiencing the outcomes, readjusting, etc. Simply put, that takes time. Slowly but surely, when you discipline yourself, you gain knowledge and learn. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind.
Learning is possible, no matter what your age. You are never too young or too old. Your mind was created to learn and has a huge capacity to do so. This week, make a commitment to unlock the potential of your mind!