Things you should ignore in this life

1) Trying to make everyone else happy.

I used to try to make everyone else happy. My friends, my parents, teachers, random people. It was exhausting. I never even thought about my own happiness because that somehow didn’t matter. My “job” was to make and keep other people happy. Of course, now I know that not only can I not make everyone else happy, I can’t make anyone else happy. The only person I can MAKE happy is me.

2) Listening to what other people say you should do with your life.

Lots of people seem to have exact ideas of what other people should do with their lives, but when you ask them about their own… they falter. Other people aren’t you. Other people don’t have to live with the consequences of your choices. Other people don’t have to pick themselves up after your mistakes. What would happen if you stopped listening to other people and started listening to you?

3) Living in the past or future.

Living in the past means I’m living in regret. Living in the future means I’m living in anxiety. Learning from the past means I’m becoming wiser. Being excited for the future means I’m doing what I need to do now to make that exciting future happen.

4) Refusing to learn from mistakes.

How many times have you made the same mistakes? How many times will you have to make them before you learn from them? How much more pain do you think you deserve?

5) Holding on.

How many times have I done this? Man. So many. Lots of my examples of holding on involve women, and relationships, and sex. I hold on even though I know it’s over. But why? Well, I know why. It’s because I’m scared. Scared that I won’t find anything better. Scared that I’m making a mistake. Scared to let go because I know it will hurt. I’m scared to let go even though I know holding on isn’t worth it.

6) Worrying.

I used to be a worrier. It makes me laugh now because I used to actually say the words “I just always worry about things.” Man. Poor me. I love you, younger me. If I had to ask that younger me a question right now I’d say this: “how exactly does worrying help you?”

7) Acting on your thoughts and feelings.

I am not my thoughts and I am not my feelings. It seems so simple now that I wonder how I didn’t get it before. There’s no obligation to do something just because I think of doing it. There’s no obligation to do something just because I feel like doing it, or I feel like I have to do it. Knowing this is self-awareness.

8) Following anyone.

You’re you. They’re them. Why follow?

9) Spending time with people you don’t love or who don’t love you.

I used to spend time with people I didn’t love and people who didn’t love me because I thought I had to. Because we’d been friends for ages. Or because we were family. Those are just excuses. Nobody is required to spend time with anybody else. We get to choose. I love being around my friends now because I love them and they love me. It’s a complete feeling and I never want to settle for less than that.

10) Pretending.

What do you get out of pretending to be someone you’re not? Do you think you’re protecting yourself? Are you worried about the real you being judged? And what if you’re the real you and things still don’t work out for you? Not pretending might be the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. That moment where I realised “wow… I can be me” was one of the happiest moments of my life. Pretending isn’t important. Being me is more important than anything.

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How to be smarter

Intelligence is a work in progress. Everything a smart person knows, they learned from somewhere at one point or another. Getting smarter doesn’t necessarily mean a huge commitment of time and energy every day.

If you can consistently train your brain to adapt to new situations and information — you will get smarter with time.

Work on your personal priorities

In five minutes, you could decide what to do next week. Track what have you learnt so far to avoid getting complacent and help learn new things.

Planning in a few fun anchor events gives you something to look forward to. Make a list of things you want to learn in the upcoming days.

Don’t over-plan and under-act though. A decision alone changes nothing. Action is the greatest gift that only you can give to yourself, so get started.

Reading is insanely essential

Opinions vary on what’s the best brain-boosting reading material, with suggestions ranging from developing a daily reading habit to picking up a variety of fiction and nonfiction books.

Embrace life long learning

Learning is best when you connect it to things that you’ve already learned. The more you know the more you can connect.

Don’t stop looking for answers. If something doesn’t make sense to you, look for ways to expand your knowledge so that you do understand it.

Subscribe to insightful newsletters

It pays to have a knowledge source from where you can learn something new daily. Use Pocket to save insightful pieces you come across for later reading. Before going to sleep at night try to finish those.

Give yourself something to pursue

Do something. Create something of value. Share your works. Start a passion project. You will learn more in the process even if you failure. You will be a better person than you were before you gave it a shot.

No matter what you do: create value.

Every online break doesn’t have to be about checking social feeds. Replace an hours of social browsing with something more mentally nourishing activities.

Challenge yourself to do something original.

Start reflecting in writing

Write down what you learn. It doesn’t have to be pretty or long, but taking a few minutes each day to reflect in writing about what you learned is sure to boost your brainpower.

Write a few hundred words a day on things that you learned. Always take notes. Records brilliant thoughts you get through the day for later use. Be willing to try new things — even if they don’t seem immediately useful or productive.

You never know what will be useful ahead of time. You just need to try new things and wait to see how they connect with the rest of your experiences later on.

Share what you learn

One of the best ways to learn something is to teach it. If you really want to learn something, find a way to teach it to others.

When you share, you remember better. It challenges your understanding and forces you to think.

Take time to sit in silence

Take purposeful breaks. Giving yourself space for your brain to process what it’s learned.

A growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves creativity and that skipping breaks can lead to stress, exhaustion, and creative block.

Idleness is not a vice, it is indispensable for making those unexpected connections in the brain you crave and necessary to getting creative work done.

Spend some time to think

There is one activity that will have a tremendously beneficial impact on your results: thinking.

Unless you schedule time to think, to really do nothing else but think, you won’t do it.

Don’t just read for other people’s opinions, read for facts and then think. This requires time and effort. You’ll have to learn how to focus.

That space needs to be free from distractions. Your mind is a novelty-seeking device. It evolved to pay attention to things that are new and interesting.

Evaluate your ideas. Ponder them. Thinking is asking yourself questions about ideas.

Increase mental intensity

Developing mental strength is a work in progress. Mental strength requires that you continue building new neural pathways by learning new things.

Mental strength involves more than just willpower; it requires hard work and commitment.

Force yourself to use your brain more.

The more regularly you pick up a new skill, or study a new subject, the stronger your mind becomes. Try to pick up one new thing every week, then continue working on it as you learn new things.

Focus, strategy, logic and creativity are just a few of the mental muscles you should be exercising more regularly.

Cultivate self-awareness

Awareness is a powerful tool.

The power of being self-aware is that it helps you become conscious of your own habits and decide if you need to change them.

Self-awareness keeps you in touch with your emotions and the underlying feelings that influence your actions and thoughts.

Self-awareness is a tremendous tool for helping us understand ourselves and be at peace with who we are. It leads to self confidence by building on knowledge of who you are.

Create a daily habit of self-reflection.

Observe your mind when you are immersed in an emotion.

Compete with yourself

Get one percent better everyday. Focus on tiny consistent improvements everyday.

Learn to beat your expectations of yourself. You will learn how to handle your limits and challenges in the process.

If everything is too good, you’re probably stuck not being awesome.

Calvin Coolidge says “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.”

If you want long-term success, stop avoiding what’s hard.

Stay hungry!

Nothing impossible in this life

You can learn, have, or be anything if you are willing to pay the price.

You can be a millionaire in not a long period of time.

You could be an established expert on any topic.

You could be a successful business owner.

You could have deep spiritual understanding.

You could do an Iron Man triathlon.

You could be an empathetic, caring, and loving person.

You could have beautiful and meaningful relationships with your romantic partner, business colleagues, mentors, and other people who inspire you.

You could be the person you know within yourself you can be.

You can live the life you know within yourself you are meant to live.

But you have to pay the price.

You have to actually make a decision. If you try to be everywhere, you’ll end up nowhere. If you try to be everyone, you’ll end up no one.

You have to choose what you want to do and who you want to be.

You have to forego the trivial many for the essential few.

You have to forego the endless good options for the few best ones.

You have to manage your mind and your time.

You can’t continue to justify living beneath your dreams.

You have to really want it. Because once you do, nothing will be able to stop you from having it.

You have to let go of your bad habits.

You have to re-arrange your priorities.

You have to say “No” more.

You need to put first things first, every single day.

You have to pay the price.

If you’re willing to pay the price, you can have absolutely anything you want.

But you need to be uncomfortable enough with your current situation to get off Facebook. To stop consuming and wasting your time.

To focus on learning and creating rather than being entertained and distracted.

There are probably dozens are recurring activities you do on a daily basis that aren’t serving you.

You need to drop those activities from your life. Leave them in your past and fill your future with the activities that will take you to where you really want to go.

When you have 5 extra minutes, what do you do? Do you entertain and distract yourself? Or do you pay the price?

When your alarm goes off in the morning, do you hit the snooze button or do you pay the price?

When you know you should be creating, do you distract yourself or do you pay the price?

When you’re with your loved ones, do you look at your smart phone or do you pay the price?

Are you serious or still pretending?

Do you really want it or are you still unsure?

Are you moving one step in 20 directions or 20 steps in one direction?

How many hours did you waste today? How many hours were you paying the price?

What do you really want?

Are you willing to pay the price?

Nothing in life is free, especially your time. Everything has a cost. And when it comes to your time, the cost is heavy. You can never get even one second back.

You can live your life on purpose. You can spend your time on things you value. You can be who you intended to become. You can continue to progress and evolve, even after you’ve become successful and fulfilled.

But the price must be payed.

You can’t fake it.

It’s available if you want it. But you must choose it.

What is commitment?

How do you know if you’re truly committed to something?

When it comes to achieving goals, commitment involves:

  1. Investing upfront
  2. Making it public
  3. Setting a timeline
  4. Installing several forms of feedback/accountability
  5. Removing or altering everything in your environment that opposes your commitment

If you’re truly committed to something, in your mind, it’s as though you’ve already succeeded. All doubt and disbelief are gone.

If you’re committed to running a marathon, you’re going to put everything in place to make sure it happens. You’re not going to leave it up to chance.

You’re going to start by signing up for a race (investment). You’re going to make it public (phase one of accountability). You’re going to get a running partner who holds you accountable. You’re going to track your progress (feedback) and account your progress to your accountability partner. Lastly, you’re going to remove things in your life that keep you from running.

Commitment means you build external defense systems around your goals.Your internal resolve, naked to an undefended and opposing environment is not commitment.

How to actually change your life

If you want to make any permanent change in your life, willpower won’t get you there.

Whether you want to get healthier, stop using social media so much, improve your relationships, be happier, write a book, or start a business — willpower won’t help you with any of these things.

Personal progress and achieving success are best approached like you’re overcoming addiction. Because, quite literally, that’s what you’re doing. As human-beings, we all have addictions.

I openly admit being addicted to social media, my current belief system, my comfort zone, and my excuses. I’m also addicted to a lot of other behaviors that contradict my goals.

We are all addicted. And the cognitive dissonance is numbing.

If you’re serious about the changes you want to make, willpower won’t be enough. Quite the opposite. Willpower is what’s holding you back

According to psychological research, your willpower is like a muscle. It’s a finite resource that depletes with use. As a result, by the end of your strenuous days, your willpower muscles are exhausted and you’re left to your naked and defenseless self — with zero control to stop the night-time munchies and time wasters.

At least, that’s what you’ve been taught.

Clearly, the research on willpower explains human behavior. But only on the surface level — the effects. The very fact that willpower is required comes from two more fundamental sources — the causes:

1. You don’t know what you want, and are thus internally conflicted.

2. You haven’t committed to something and created conditions that facilitate your commitment.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

If your life requires willpower, you haven’t fully determined what you want. Because once you make a decision, the internal debate is over. As Michael Jordan has said, “Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”

After you decide what you want, the decision is made. Thus, all future decisions regarding that matter have also been made. No questions.

So, are you serious about this? Or are you just talking? Are you still on the fence, or have you decided?

Until you decide, you’ll be required to use willpower, and will continue making minimal progress.

Why should write on the internet?

There are lots of reasons why you should try to write in the internet. It is not only because it is free, yet…
You can make your argument without any arguments. There’s nobody coming in and deleting the rest of what you’re about to say because they want a chance to talk. It’s you and a white page, and it’s there — all of it — so those reading have to deal with it.

I love that.

But it’s also quite scary. When somebody “beats you” in a real-life argument it might not be because they had a better point of view, it may be because they can yell louder or jumped in when you had a small lapse in your explanation.

When you’re writing on the internet you have the time to fact-check. You have the time to build something up on both the argument side and the rhetoric side (so it sounds good).

You can captivate people with dashes and short sentences and even run-on sentences to prove that there’s so much you have to say.

See what I did there?

But there’s a flip side to that.

What makes someone a good person?

What is good person like? Are they exist?

Is a good person someone who puts their interests aside for the sake of others? Someone who puts others before them, no questions asked and no matter what?

Perception of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is formed early in our childhood years. Distinguishing good and bad is one of the most important lessons parents have to convey to their children. And it is a very hard lesson to convey, too. While many notions of what being ‘good’ means are perfectly innocent and necessary, there are also notions of behaviors considered ‘good’ by our parents or other authority figures, which are harmful and/or hurtful for the child at the same time (for instance, proclaiming that absolute obedience is a good behavior— teaches a child to be obedient while supressing their feelings and opinions).

As adults, we still rely on many notions on ‘being good’ which derive from what we’ve learned early on from our parents, society, religion, peers, siblings, and other authorities.

With these notions, we are pretty much on autopilot, we do not question them; mostly because we’re usually not even aware of them. These notions have, over time, become our deep beliefs around which we form our identity.

For example: Being raised by authoritative parents, who encouraged absolute obedience as ‘good’ behavior, might result with a belief that being submissive and not voicing your opinion, is ‘good’ behaviour.

Being raised by emotionally immature or unstable parents, might result with a belief that you are only good if you take too much upon yourself, no matter what the cost.

Being raised by overly demanding parents, might result in a belief that you are only ‘good’ if you never make mistakes.

These notions are very powerful, especially when we have formed our identities around them. They are so powerful that we might not even be aware how many things we do just to live up to expectations which we implemented early on.

Here are some examples how these notions of being ‘good’ can affect someone’s adult life: working overtime so you can show your boss how dedicated and willing to sacrifice you are — meanwhile hating your boss for not acknowledging it; being overly cooperative with coworkers or family members at your expense — while being frustrated for not standing up for yourself at the same time; putting everyone else’s needs before your own — but being resentful deep inside because no one sees and values how far you are stretched.

So, being good obviously doesn’t mean doing a good deed out of wrong reason (whether it is fear, shame, blame, or some other negative emotion). In other words, doing good because not doing it would paint us in a bad way (as lazy, selfish, or not enough of a victim), is not a good motive. And doing good out of that kind of motive doesn’t make you a good person, either.

Being good means doing good out of the right reason. Motivation behind doing something good is the key difference. Doing good just for the sake of doing good also makes us feel good instead of frustrated, resentful and angry, which is what we feel when we feel pressured into doing good.

Feel good to do good

So, when do people feel inclined to do good just because it feels good to do good?

Basically, they do it when they feel good about themselves. Feeling confident enough to state your own opinion, gives you the freedom to do good, as well as the freedom to decline to do good. Exercising this freedom is the real test of character, and with it comes the real satisfaction in doing good.

What can you do to change your underlying motive?

  1. Detect

The hardest part with making a change is detecting what needs to be changed. Since we are subjective by nature, and since we pretty much appear super normal to ourselves, this part is a challenge. On the other hand, just by detecting notions that are harmful, more than half your job is done.

You can try to deduct your conclusion by taking into account many experiences you‘ve had and try to add them all up deciphre what they tell you.

Or you can try inductive reasoning — ask yourself in a specific situation what is the motivation behind your action. Are you doing good because it’s the right thing to do and it feels right, or because not doing it would make you seem bad? How does it play into the messages you received as a child?

If you have taken the time to write down the definition of what being good means in your vocabulary, you might find bits of your answer there. What does it feel like, being good by your definition of good? If the answer is positive, great; if not, than you should detect what are the lessons you learned earlier on, that produce the belief that you should feel like thatwhen you do ‘good’.

2. Deflect

When you’ve realised what you need to work on, or when you recognise in a certain situation that your motivation is off, make the effort to make the change in the right direction. This will sometimes mean saying no to some people you have usually said yes to; it might also mean standing up to people you never stood up to before. It is very trying, but well worth it.

3. Respect

Yourself.

Make a conscious choice to have higher regard for your personal boundaries. Respect yourself enough to give yourself a gift of personal freedom.

If you want to be the guy who puts in a lot of overtime, that’s perfectly fine, as long as it makes you feel happy instead of frustrated. If you like to put your family’s needs first, and subsequently haven’t got a lot of time for yourself, it’s okay as long as you don’t resent them for it.

Doing ‘good’ because you have to, and not because you really want to, can lead to frustration and lifelong resentment for you and others.

By being kind to yourself, by respecting yourself, you won’t have the need to prove to others how ‘good’ you are by demeaning yourself in any way. True satisfaction of doing good comes from a conscious choice to do good, not from being coerced into it.