Archive for the 'Success' Category

How to Get Started on Reaching That Big Goal

June 16th, 2014 by LivingorSurviving.com

Starting is always the hardest part. Here’s a super simple trick to power you over the hump.

How many good intentions founder on the difficulty of simply getting started?

Your resolution to start exercising more regularly or your vow to keep up your company’s blog are laudable goals. But each morning when the alarm clock rings your intentions are good but your will is weak, and another day passes without you making progress toward your goal. How do you overcome this inertia?

Some experts offer elaborate systems. Others prescribe deep soul searching and intensive visualization. But David Kadavy, author of Design for Hackers: Reverse-Engineering Beauty, has a simpler solution, and it only takes 10 minutes a day, so you can’t possibly offer the excuse that you don’t have time for it.

10 Minutes to a New Habit

He described the technique on his blog: “Each day, after I wake up, as soon as is possible–before eating, before showering, before checking email, (but not before meditating)–I pick one task, set my iPhone timer for 10 minutes, and work on that one thing non-stop.” Sounds incredibly doable, right? But how effective could something so head slappingly simple actually be?

Very, according to Kadavy. “Sometimes, the 10 minutes seems like an eternity. I’m just waiting for it to end so I can eat something or go to the gym,” he admits, “but often–actually, usually–I don’t stop after 10 minutes. 10 minutes turns into 45 minutes, an hour, two hours, of non-stop work on one project.” Whether the ten minutes launches further productivity or is simply torture doesn’t really matter. “The point is, you get started,” he says.

2 Reasons Why It Works

And simply starting, even if you’re first steps are shaky at best, is incredibly powerful for a couple of reasons. The first is that when you are doing, it’s hard to be doubting. Or as Kadavy puts it, “once you get started, the trail has been carved. The rigidity of hesitation gives way to the fluidity of being in a project. Whatever second-guesses that had to be quelled to get started are knocked down by the possibilities introduced by being in motion.”

Second, ten minutes is too few for excuses. By setting yourself such a modest goal, you really leave yourself no option but to actually accomplish it. And, hey, as we already noted you can always do more if inspiration strikes.

So what sort of habits does this technique work for? Kadavy suggests the usual health-related changes like hitting the gym or stretching each morning, but also suggests it’s a good way to get started with meditation.

What habit would you like to establish with the 10-minute hack?

 

by Jessica Stillman

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What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

May 19th, 2014 by LivingorSurviving.com

A Question Most Can’t Answer
A powerful question, isn’t it? Most of us have heard this question before, or at least thought about it in one way or another. Yet we view it as unrealistic to live a life based purely on doing what we love. In fact, many people in our Western society completely devalue this.

 
If you want to be successful there are certain traditional ways of achieving that. One of them is getting a great job, at a great company, with great pay, and then retiring after 30 years. Unfortunately, as Alan Watts explains in the video above, it’s likely you’ll wake up one day and realize it was all just a scam. All those years of doing everything it took to be successful—for nothing.
Because it wasn’t about climbing a ladder or finishing first. It’s about enjoying the music and dancing while the song is playing, because it’s going to end one day. It’s about doing work that matters to you and those around you.

 
You might be working a job just because it pays your bills and keeps you comfortable. Solopreneurs and entrepreneurs aren’t excluded. You may have a business doing what you love, but you’re stuck working on aspects of it that drain you. Are you doing work that truly brings out your best skills?

 
The easiest way to find out is by asking yourself a question:
Do you get so lost in your work that time just seems to stop and you operate in an unstoppable flow?
Being in a state of flow is a strong sign that you’re happy, working creatively, and doing all the right things.

 
A Common Regret
The number one regret of people on their deathbeds is that they did not live their dreams. That they did not have the courage to live for themselves. Instead, they lived for other people and did what they expected of them. We have to realize that every day we have two choices. You might be thinking…

 
I do want to live a life doing what I love. I do want to be fulfilled and happy. But what am I supposed to do about money?
It’s a valid question. And while Alan Watts does address it clearly in the video, it’s not an easy answer to accept (or even believe). You see, during the first few months after leaving Google, I had one big worry: Making sure I made enough money to survive. Going from far over $100,000 (plus bonuses and perks), to much less was a huge change. I was scared and worried. I’m sure you’ve had the same thoughts.

 
Putting The Work First—Not The Money
It’s incredibly important to have a clear strategy in place before making such a change. It’s also important to make sure you’ve tasted the money, and you know the other side is real before stepping over. Even so, I made a mistake, and I don’t want you to make the same one.

 
It’s going to sound ridiculous, but I feel I have to share this with you anyway…

 
My business started to become successful only after I stopped focusing on the money. I told you it was going to sound ridiculous. But this is already proven by many others, and I am just the latest in a long line of people to experience the same thing.
To find greatness we have to let go of the money. And let me be clear I love money. Money gives you the ability to experience many of the things (not all) you love most in life. But money should never be your sole motivation.

 
What created this change was a simple shift in my mindset and priorities. My top focus now is looking for ways to deliver the greatest amount of value to you, rather than focusing on making another dollar. Additionally, I now build relationships only because I like the person, look up to them, or want to do creative work with them.

 
Sure I still check the metrics and all that. I have to, I’m running a business. It’s important to understand customer value optimization, cost per lead/acquisition, average and lifetime customer value, and so on. But the foundation that drives all this is my passion for delivering the skills, knowledge, and confidence you need to create a Freedom Lifestyle.

 
One email from a reader means more to me than another sale ever will. You have to find that same love. You have to find what it is that brings out the best in you. At first, you may not be the best at it—and that’s okay. As Alan Watts mentions in the video, you may wonder who on earth would ever pay you to perform XYZ service or buy ABC product in your tiny niche. It’s your mastery of that niche that enables the success (and money) that follows. Plus, the more niche the better.

 
Deciding What’s Next
You may not know what you love most in this world. You may not have identified your purpose, your passion, or what brings out your true inner genius yet—and that’s okay too. What’s important is that you continue searching, because the day will come when you do discover what it is you love the most. When that day comes you must trust the feeling in your gut. You must push forward no matter how afraid you are. Use that fear and uncertainty to light the fire inside. Create something that challenges you and contributes to the world around you.

 
If you’re lucky enough to know what it is you want, you’re halfway there. If you haven’t taken any steps yet, don’t be so mentally separate from it. A lot of people know what it is they want, but they bury it deep within them. I did that. I felt that the dream lifestyle I envisioned required certain things to be in place before it ever happened. I thought to be an entrepreneur I had to know the right people, have the right skills, have enough money, etc. All that is bullsh*t. Things have changed. You don’t need any of that.

 
Has this changed the way you feel at all about your current situation? Good. Hopefully a lot, maybe a little. You don’t have to make a decision today. I believe that it’s the cumulation of videos, documentaries, lectures, inspiring people, and articles you absorb over time that may change your life one day. That’s how it worked out for me.
So ask yourself: What would you do if money were no object?

 

by Arman Assadi
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How to Build a Strong Work Ethic

March 17th, 2014 by LivingorSurviving.com

There is no fatigue so wearisome as that which comes from lack of work. – Charles Spurgeon

If you’ve been stuck in a lazy rut lately, here are some suggestions to get yourself working productively.

 

1. Accept that many results require hard work.

Remind yourself of the simple causality chain from decision to action to results. That middle phase is where most of the work is.

If you have no willingness to ever work your ass off, if you have such resistance to the very notion of pushing yourself, if you have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement that all the goodness of life should flow to you with effortless ease, that’s great. You can read this article purely for entertainment purposes.

But if you’re a more pragmatic realist, if you can recognize that many goals are too big and challenging just to attract and manifest out of thin air, if you can see that the whole point of tackling bigger goals is to develop yourself into a person of bold action, if you can accept that avoiding action altogether is a recipe for stagnation, and especially if you’re tired of not getting the results you actually want and having to settle for less, then perhaps you can make this important leap and accept that some of your goals will require you to achieve them with hard work and lots of disciplined, focused action.

 

2. Notice how self-discipline vs. laziness feels to you.

Notice that during those times when you actually do discipline yourself to take action, it often feels fantastic once you get past the first 15 minutes or so. Sure it’s nice to enjoy the end result. But also remember what it feels like to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and get into the flow of action.

How did it feel to put in that extra hour? To go to work when you could have justified taking an extra day off? To put in the time to complete that optional creative project?

Sure it involved some sacrifice. But what did you give up? Extra TV time, a little web surfing, and some time lying flat on your back perhaps. What did you gain for your efforts? It wasn’t just the end result. You grew stronger.

Inaction can be unforgiving. It kills your results. It drains your energy. It drains you of hope. Self-discipline pays you back with all of these results and more, including significantly greater happiness, fulfillment, and self-esteem.

 

3. Embrace responsibility.

Recognize that no one is coming to rescue you. No one will force you into the flow of action. You must do this for yourself.

The lazy avoidance of responsibility isn’t for you. You don’t want stagnation. You want growth, and this requires action, movement, and change. This requires you to make some decisions and get going.

Don’t confuse laziness with ease. In the long run, laziness yields only pointless difficulties and painful regret — and rightly so since you’ll always know you could have avoided those difficulties if you’d really stepped up.

Don’t put this burden of action on anyone else. It rests squarely on your shoulders, if for no other reason than because you’re the one who ultimately has to shoulder the results.

 

4. Start your day strongly.

A strong work ethic begins with a disciplined morning routine. Don’t be caught lying on your back half-conscious, dragging yourself out of bed in a lazy half-start to your day.

When you wake up, get up. Get moving and get going. This will soon become a habit. If you aren’t doing this naturally already, then respect the utility of a quality alarm clock. When your alarm sounds, pop out of bed and stand up first; then switch it off with your feet firmly on the ground.

If you can’t wake up strongly in the morning, then fix your disgusting diet that’s draining you of energy and motivation instead of fueling you powerfully.

Start each day with a strong morning, and the rest of the day will tend to follow. Move with power and purpose during that first hour. Own your mornings. Then maintain this attitude of mastery over your time as far into each day as possible.

 

5. Exercise.

If the President of the USA can find time in his exceedingly busy schedule to exercise for 45 minutes each morning, you surely have time.

Exercising strongly will energize you. Your body is meant to move. Your brain especially suffers from a lack of exercise, leading to imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters. Physical exercise is one of the brain’s best rejuvenators. Don’t allow your mind to be dragged down by a sluggish body.

If you have difficulty focusing your mind, start by focusing on your body.

When you exercise, make it challenging. Don’t just do the same thing over and over. Mix it up. Push yourself. Make it intense. Give yourself not only a physical challenge but also a mental one. Embrace the terrific feeling of accomplishing something difficult each day, ideally in the morning. Kick off your day with a physical victory.

Exercise isn’t just training for your body. It’s training for your mind — and especially for your self-discipline.

 

6. Tackle a real challenge before lunch.

Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind. – Henry Ford

Kick off each workday with a mental challenge. Don’t start with something light and cushy. Dive right into a challenging task that some part of you would rather avoid. Train yourself to embrace what’s difficult instead of pushing it away.

When you avoid difficult tasks by pushing them later into your day, soon you’ll justify bumping them into the next day… and then the next one… and then into next week… and then you’ll realize this little postponement has somehow ballooned into months of procrastination.

To avoid a difficult task this moment is to condition the habit of postponing difficulties indefinitely. This is no way to claim the benefits that come from doing difficult work.

Don’t resist difficult tasks. Embrace them as your daily resistance training.

 

7. Get to it.

Determine never to be idle… It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing. – Thomas Jefferson

Stop waffling. Stop talking about it. Go do it.

Taking action produces faster results than thinking about taking action. Many of the problems people discuss endlessly could be resolved with less than 10 minutes of direct action.

Repeatedly driving yourself to get into action creates flow and feels good. Thinking about doing (while not doing) will produce pile-ups of unnecessary obstacles.

 

8. Act with good purpose.

When you work, work towards an end result that you desire. Don’t spin in circles doing pointless busywork that won’t lead you to your desired results.

Set your purpose straight. Then act in alignment with that purpose.

Plan each day in advance, ideally at the end of the previous workday. During this time, check back in with your mission. If you don’t have a mission or if you don’t have clear goals, then go read the article on clarity and fix that.

Plan your days in alignment with your long-term priorities. As you consider possible actions to take, ask yourself which ones will matter in a year. Load the bulk of your time with actions that you expect will produce long-term improvement.

 

9. Condition disciplined habits.

Disciplined habits are those that make a difference in the long run. If a habit will do you little or no good to maintain it for the next five years, then why are you keeping it in your life?

Use the 30-day trial method to test and condition new habits.

Don’t try to break bad habits. You can’t replace a habit with a void. Instead, select better substitutes that you can condition in place of the old ones.

 

10. Work first, then play.

The idle man does not know what it is to enjoy rest, for he has not earned it. – John Lubbock

Play is sweetest when it’s earned. So is sleep. Earn your sleep each night by working hard on your goals during the day. Go to bed with the sweet smile of accomplishment still on your lips.

Take your rewards. Enjoy your life. But earn your rewards first.

Playing before you’ve earned your play time robs the play of much of its pleasure. If you love to play, then you’d better love to work.

When you rest or play, leave your work at work. Don’t destroy the restorative value of non-work activities by bleeding half-work into them.

 

11. Choose your peers with care.

A lazy person, whatever the talents with which he set out, will have condemned himself to second-hand thoughts and to second-rate friends. – Cyril Connolly

Maintain high standards for your social circle. Keep yourself at arm’s length from the lazy, the unproductive, and the negative minded. A weak social circle is a psychological prison.

Befriend and associate with the hard-working, ambitious, successful people of this world, and you’ll soon count yourself among them.

 

12. Don’t use the Law of Attraction as an excuse for laziness.

Most of the LoA fans I know are great at manifesting — pennies.

Wishing for more from life is wonderful. Keep doing that. But recognize that your own hard, disciplined work efforts are often integral to the manifesting process.

The LoA works best when every fiber of your being is congruent with your desires. How congruent are you when you’re sitting on your couch watching TV while intending more abundance to come into your life?

I’d say you look a lot more congruent when you work your ass off during the day taking actions that you believe will help you achieve your goal faster. But if you fritter away most of your days by sleeping in late, if you spend hours doing low value tasks that don’t need to be done (and calling it research), and if you end most of your days with that sinking feeling that you could have done a lot better, that isn’t manifesting. That’s just being lazy.

If you want to become better at manifesting your desires, then step into the difficulties of making tough decisions. Accept the challenge of staying focused in a world of increasing distraction. See how far you can push your self-discipline. Explore fresh ways to create and share value with the world.

If you think you’re good at manifesting, then manifest some focus, drive, and self-discipline, and you’ll find that your ability to experience what you desire increases significantly. No more sitting on the sidelines hoping for changes that never arrive.

Manifest strength. Then use it. That’s what you really desire. Don’t waste your time on unworthy short-cut intentions that would only weaken you if you actually received them.

* * *

Wielding a strong work ethic is ultimately a matter of becoming an action-oriented person. Steer your self-development path in this direction. Decide that you’ll grow into a person with a strong, powerful work ethic. The doing part will flow more easily if you can embrace the being part.

Can you allow yourself to become a hard worker? When someone asks if you have a strong work ethic, can you see yourself saying YES without hesitation?

Now go do something truly challenging for the next few hours.

 

by Steve Pavlina
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Yes, You Can Be Happy While Pushing Yourself to Success

January 24th, 2014 by LivingorSurviving.com

Most of us, at some point or another, think that we will be happy once we achieve a particular goal.

I’ll be happy after I…

  • graduate from college
  • make a million dollars
  • get married
  • lose 40 pounds
  • get a job

 

…and so on.

To be clear, I have been guilty of this as well. There have been plenty of times that I have assumed that satisfaction and success would come after I won a championship or after I built a successful business or after XYZ goal.

Society tells us that this is a good thing. We hear about athletes that are never satisfied until they have reached the top. We hear about entrepreneurs who worked like crazy to build a business that changed the world. The basic idea is that to be driven, you also have to be dissatisfied. Dissatisfied with second place. Dissatisfied with average.

Then you have the other side of the equation: people who are happy with life as it is. They say that you need to develop the skill of “not wanting more.” That you can be happy where you are right now. That you are already perfect.

The Problem

Here’s the problem: I want both. Maybe you do too.

I like being happy. It’s fun. I don’t want to delay happiness until I reach some milestone. But I also like getting better. I don’t want to settle for less than I can do in life. I’d like to be happy along the way and achieve my goals.

For a long time, it bothered me that being happy (being satisfied) and being driven (being dissatisfied) seemed to be at odds with one another.

I still don’t have a lot of this figured out, but the more I study people who have had a great deal of success, the more I think that it’s possible to be happy and driven.

Here’s how…

 

Driven and Happy

Let’s start with being driven. If you want to maximize your potential, then you will need to continue to work to become better both before and after you achieve a given goal.

Why would someone do that?

For example, if your goal was to make a million dollars and you made it, why would you keep working hard after that?

The answer is a little more complicated than you might think.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

In economics, there is a fundamental principle known as the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Here’s the short definition: as you get more of something, it becomes less valuable. This isn’t just economic theory, a similar trend happens in real life.

If you have zero money and you make $10,000, then it’s going to be a big deal. But if you have already earned $1 million, then making another $10,000 doesn’t seem as significant. Making each dollar means a lot in the beginning, but less over time.

If you have never won a championship, then that first one is going to be incredible. But if you already have five championship rings, then adding a sixth isn’t going to be as sweet as getting the first. Standing at the top means a lot in the beginning, but less over time.

If you are starting a company, then getting your first customer is an incredible rush. But if you already have 100 paying clients, then adding one more doesn’t provide the same thrill. Landing each client means a lot in the beginning, but less over time.

In other words, the goals and results that seem so valuable to you in the beginning actually become less valuable as you achieve more of them.

 

How to Stay Driven

So, if the results mean less as you achieve more of them, how do you stay driven?

By loving the practice of what you do. It’s only the people who embrace their work as a craft and fall in love with the boredom of doing it day in and day out that stay driven over the long-term.

Here are some examples…

Richard Branson is already a billionaire. He has already built hundreds of companies. He’s not still doing it because of the money. The money stopped meaning a lot to him a long time ago. He’s doing it because he loves the practice of doing it.

Nick Saban has already won four national championships (1 with LSU and 3 with Alabama). He makes over $5 million dollars per year. He’s not coaching football for the money anymore. He’s not coaching to “make it to the top.” He’s coaching because he loves the process (and he talks about process all the time).

Jack LaLanne was setting fitness records for 40+ years. He wasn’t working out to lose a few pounds. He exercised every day because he loved it.

Summary: the only way to stay driven before and after achieving goals is to love the practice of what you do.

 

How to Be Happy

Guess what? This answer is now easy. If you love the practice of what you do, if you love the daily work, then you can be happy before and after you achieve your goals.

When you learn to love the process of what you are doing and not focus so much on the goal, you automatically find happiness while staying driven.

If you learn to love the practice of working out, then you’ll be happy right now and you’ll see results later. If you learn to love the practice of marketing your business, then you’ll be happy right now and you’ll see results later. If you learn to love the practice of supporting your friends and family, then you’ll be happy now and see the results later.

Happy and driven. Just one more reason why the system is better than the goal.
by James Clear

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Make 2014 the Year You Reach for Your Goals

January 10th, 2014 by LivingorSurviving.com

New Year’s resolutions are cliche, but they aren’t without value, because taking the time to think about what is holding us back from our dreams has enormous benefits. Unfortunately, most of us don’t reassess what we’re doing and why nearly often enough. What are your priorities this year? What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to spend your time? And frankly — what’s stopping you?

We all hold fixed beliefs about ourselves. Maybe you secretly think you’re not a hard worker or you won’t find love. These assumptions, which we may not even realize we believe in, prevent us from getting what we want. Make 2014 the year you force yourself to become aware of them.

Get off the couch and fully embrace the realization that this is your year to do things you’ve wanted to for so long.

First, stop observing, and start doing. This is one of my priorities for the new year. Stop refreshing your Facebook page. Stop changing your profile picture. Stop pointless updates. (The truth is, no one cares what you had for dinner.)

Between cable TV, Netflix, Apple TV and smart TV … there’s so much to watch. But it’s not doing anything for you. Don’t spend your precious time on things that don’t give you a return. The same goes for YouTube.

Second, realize that you’re perfect. It’s true: You don’t even know it. Be unafraid of appearing as you really are. Our childlike, na?ve sense of wonder and curiosity are some of our greatest assets as entrepreneurs — and as people, I’d argue. If you’re not making mistakes this year, you’re doing it wrong. Because making mistakes shows that you’re willing to take risks, to put yourself out there, and to dare to be and do a little more.

Third, ask insanely dumb questions — because there are no dumb questions! Don’t stop at reading a book or an article. The very best way to learn is from other people, because you can keep asking them the questions you need and want answered. You may find this advice amusing, coming from a dude who just wrote two books. But my decades of professional experience have taught me that there’s only so much you can learn in print. You may feel good after reading one how-to book, but you’ll probably search for a second and then a third. Over-saturating yourself with information can lead to inaction. There are no hard and fast rules. For better or worse, everyone learns by doing. There’s only so much you can prepare yourself for. Try to not be scared of that.

The reason resolutions fail is because they’re not system-oriented. They’re not bite-size. We live our lives daily. Think about what you want to accomplish each day and the person you want to be. Start there. A goal is something to reach for, but having a system — a set of actions — will actually get you there. I was really inspired by James Clear’s December post on the difference between goals and systems. I encourage you to check it out.

There’s no reason you can’t start today.

by Stephen Key

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