Why Happiness Comes Before Success

happiness

“I’ll be happy when I become successful.” is one of those thoughts I think we all hold at one point, in different variations.

We feel like the destination will give us the feeling of satisfaction we desire, yet this way of thinking might actually be counter to our nature, as human beings.

You see, according to Happiness Researcher and New York Times bestselling author Shawn Achor, this way of thinking (success brings happiness) actually goes against the brain’s natural tendency which is to perform better under the influence of dopamine, and worse under the influence of cortisol.

You might already know dopamine is the “happiness” hormone; it’s release in the body is caused by positive emotions, laughter, good food, and things of that nature. 🙂

And cortisol being the opposite side of the coin, it’s release is triggered by stress in all its forms as well.

Taking the time to celebrate small achievements is important.

Usually as soon as that happens it’s on to the next one, satisfaction often doesn’t last long, so how do we expect the often too abstract concept of “success” to bring about any “happiness” if all we do is push it back further and further once we get too close. The idea is not to reach your goal, be content for ever and stop trying to maximize your potential, but think about how marathon runners wouldn’t enjoy marathons if the finish line kept being pushed back every time they came close.

It’s good to feel the ribbon across your waist from time to time.

If Achor’s research is any indication, it would seem that our brains actually evolved to use happiness as a kind of spring-board from which to reach success, whatever that may look like for you. In his 2011 Tedx talk Achor says:

“Dopamine which floods into your system when you’re positive has two functions, not only does it make you happier but it turns on all of the learning centers in your brain. Allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way.”

 

So essentially, dopamine is to the brain what oil is to cogs in a machine.

Being in a state of happiness would let you perform better, and in essence facilitate your success.

Achor calls this the happiness advantage. 

How much of an advantage? Well how about:

  • More brain-power
  • More creativity
  • More energy

All these buffs have been measured on people whose brains were under the influence of dopamine. So don’t scoff at happiness in the face of your goals, despite your goals still being goals.

Maybe instead of chasing money or chasing status what we should be really chasing, is happiness…

Cheesy I know, who would have thought science would back this up. 🙂

Finally, there’s a lot of advice out there on how to find your happiness, but if I could suggest just one thing to you:

Try not to worry about circumstances or events you have no control over. 

If you find that the outcome of a situation is definitely not in your hands, then do put the relevant authorities in charge of the situation for you, whoever that might be, If it’s not your fight, might as well spare the energy for things you do have the power to influence.

You never know what lies ahead for you, a shit-storm might turn out to be a perfect-storm, you can’t ever know in advance, but that’s what makes life worth living. 🙂


Alex Mombo is an author & blogger. He loves engineering, playing music, reading personal development litterature and wants to help you find ways to express yourself more fully at www.newconfidentlife.com

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3 Signs That You’re Hanging Onto Something Toxic

toxic

When is it time to let go? Or more specifically, how do we know when to stop doing things that don’t contribute to our long-term plans?

I used to have a hard time realizing what had worth, and what was thoroughly worthless.

Whether it was an activity, a class, a person, etc., I just couldn’t let it go. I had a problem with being loyal. Not that I was disloyal, but rather too loyal. I used to feel guilty when dropping things after I’d start them, and for a long time I would suffer through them just to avoid the guilt of being a “quitter.” My internal judge serves up a gnarly guilt sandwich. Maybe yours does too?

For example, I used to play in a slow-pitch softball league. It was just once a week and I liked it at first, but after a while it started to feel like an unnecessary burden. And worse still, it consumed one of my nights and did not contribute to a single one of my goals. Even though I knew this, I kept signing up season after season. I didn’t want to let the guys on my team down.

But, I’ve come to realize something—there is a time to say “no.”

Think of the time you are throwing away engaging in things that you don’t really want. Instead, think what you could be doing that moves you closer to your objectives.

Here are three clues that you might be holding onto something toxic that’s pulling you in the wrong direction and keeping you from your goals.

  1. Always On Your Mind

Do you constantly monitor the day in which you have deal with it? Like an alarm clock in your mind constantly reminding you that this thing is fast approaching. Is it always on your mind, but in a bad way?

And apart from keeping tabs on it, do you also feel relieved knowing that right after you deal with it, you get a break until the next time you have to deal with it?

If so, it’s time to take a closer look.

**Don’t mistake this for a passion that you thoroughly enjoy. That’s okay. You want to focus on things that will take you in the direction that you want to go**

  1. Left With Less

No, I’m not talking about your last trip to Las Vegas. I mean, when you leave this thing, do you feel worse than before you got there? Actually, that sounds a lot like Vegas, doesn’t it? Get that out of your mind already

Here’s what I’m getting at. Do you feel less confident? Does it suck the positivity out of you? In general, does it rob from your motivational bank account?

Those are serious symptoms that are trying to tell you something. Listen. 

  1. No Clear Purpose

Do you even remember the reason for doing it? Is there a clear goal you are trying to achieve by partaking in it?

For personal growth, there will be challenging endeavors which are intended to make you stronger. After all, when you first start something new it can be frustrating. I mean, who wants to suck at something? Nobody. But in these cases, it’s important to know why you are challenging yourself and to have clear intentions for what you hope to accomplish.

For example, maybe you have a problem speaking in front of groups. What you can do is find a Toastmasters club and join it. It’s not easy and it can be frustrating at times, but have a reason for doing it and you’ll be fine. The reason might be to communicate clearly or become better at selling your ideas. Once you reach competency, you can move on.

Using the same example above, there’s a good chance that you’d dread going if you didn’t have a clear objective for doing so. It would seem like needless suffering (If you’ve spoke in front of an audience before, you know what I mean).

So, set a clear purpose in all things that you do.

Understand that just one of these symptoms is enough to put an axe to it. A perfect three-for-three, though, is grounds for ending it with a vengeance.

You’ll know when you’ve made the right choice because of how you’ll feel after saying goodbye. It will feel like someone yanked a ten-ton-truck off your shoulders and then served you a chocolate sundae. Yummy.

Start your detox. Do what’s best for you and your vision; throw out the rest that’s holding you back. 

——————

Matt Kramer had an extreme fear of public speaking that nearly crippled his hope, but overcoming it has changed his life. His passion is simple: To help others crush the fear of public speaking so they can use the confidence to capture their dreams. Visit Matt’s blog to get tips on how to overcome the fear of public speaking.

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Why People Who Cry Often Are Actually Mentally Stronger

Why People Who Cry Often Are Actually Mentally Stronger

people who cry easily

Tears have always been looked down upon as signs of weakness & self-pity. But what many ten to ignore that crying is a natural state of expression while it’s natural for you to rejoice when something good is happening to you, it’s natural that you would cry when you are passing through testing times.

There is nothing to be ashamed of when you are crying and in no way your tearful outburst makes you a weak & unstable person. In fact, it’s said that people who cry often are actually mentally stronger. Is it true? Well, find it yourself from the pointers below.

They aren’t scared to show their emotions

If something great happens to you, say a promotion, won’t you smile and jump with joy? Similarly, if you have a breakup, it’s only real that you would burst out into tears. People who cry understand that crying and sadness is just an expression of emotions as smile or happiness is – and they are never afraid to show their true emotions.

They understand this basic thing that they are human & when they cry, they have this courage to explain themselves in their own ways beyond the typical run-of-the mill behavioral norm template of the society.

They understand tears are sole cleansers

While tears are condemned as signs of weakness, these actually come up with sole-cleansing properties. Yes, people who cry are actually stronger because they can let go off their stress through tears which helps them to feel a lot lighter and keep them mentally grounded.

The more you suppress your sorrow or sadness, more would be the emotional burden for you. Crying relieves the mind from negative emotions just as saliva is released from trumpet.

They know that crying helps them to feel good

Yes, call it a paradox or the irony of life yet crying can actually make a person feel good. A lot of studies taken on crying have revealed that people who cry have said that the very expression helps them to feel better and happy. How is that even possible? Well, actually the act of crying stimulates the brain to release the fee-good hormone endorphin which in turn a sense of calmness, joy & relief.

Crying even lowers the manganese levels in the body that might exasperate the body & brain if left exposed to for too long. Crying does not mean end of your problem. But people who cry knows that as crying leaves them with calmness and a happy feel, they get to think over the problem with a clearer & lighter mind.

They don’t bother about typical societal roles

A lot of people are afraid to cry out given the social stigma attached with the act. Men are almost banished of found crying and women too are looked down upon as a wreck or somebody who seeks too much of attention from others.

But the truth is not all women who cry are unstable and crying does not make one any less of a man. So, those who cry are brave enough to think beyond the typical societal stigmas which echo their mental strength.

They encourage others to be true with their feelings

People who are not afraid to cry encourage others to be true to their feelings, like them. They make people feel comfortable around them which enable one to be at his or her true self.

You would be amazed to know that tears not only release the negative emotionstraining-828741_1280 but also releases toxins, kill off 90-95% bacteria in 5-10 minutes & help to improve vision. So, it won’t be over stretching to infer that people who cry are not only emotionally stronger but are healthier and smarter as well.

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5 Prime Blockers To Developing Confidence

On the surface, it may appear that confident people never make mistakes and know what to do in any given situation. But when I started to pay close attention to the actions of someone I perceived as confident,  I realized just how many times they failed during a single day. And yet, no one, including myself, seemed to take any notice of their failures. How did they get away with it? And what are the five prime blockers that stop most of us from developing that kind of confidence?

 

Perfectionism

If I were to picture perfectionism as a person, it would work as a respectable gynecologist during the day, but at night he’d be performing illegal abortions to make some dirty cash on the side. He’d be there, scalpel in hand, coldly amputating any idea before it’s even born, or had a chance to develop a nose or an ear, or determine its own gender.  Many of us have ideas, but they never get past the sharp scalpel of Dr Perfectionism. And the more we sacrifice our own ideas to the vicious doctor, the more we grow dissatisfied with ourselves, and start demanding perfection of others around us. In the words of Liz Gilbert, the best-selling author of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear ‘perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear.’

Fear

Most often our confidence is knocked down by fear. And, more specifically, it is the fear of an unknown outcome which can disguise itself as fear of failure. I’ve often wondered why people who like to proclaim that they ‘live in the real world’ where dreams are useless when trying to secure a good pension fund, argue that ‘the unknown’ will necessarily lead to a bad outcome. And that’s enough of a reason for them to never take a single risk. They fiercely believe that they live in ‘reality’, despite the fact that the odds between a good and a bad outcome in any given situation are pretty much 50/50. Why do we give into fear more than we give into faith that things will work out, if the chances between either outcome are fairly equal? And our biggest fear of the unknown manifests itself in the fear of dying – we are so afraid of death, although in reality we have no idea what lies on the other side. Quoting Socrates (allegedly the wisest man who ever lived) ‘No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.’

Mistakes

Let me say it again. Confident people make mistakes and fail ALL THE TIME. I we suppose for a moment that the term ‘mistake’ is nothing more than a myth, then believing in this myth reveals something about our own values. A mistake for one person could mean success for someone else, who grew up in a different family or cultural context. Believing we made a mistake implies that we also believe that there is a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ outcome. It suggests that we believe our system of judgement to be ‘the right way’, that we live in a largely ‘black and white’ world. We see mistakes in ourselves and in others  – actions that disagree with our inner set of acceptable behavior. But it may be that none of our judgements even belong to us in the first place – most are just ideas we have inherited from our family or culture, and keep repeating because we don’t know any different. But when you push your comfort zone (which confident people seem to do a lot), you begin to discover what views are truly yours and what are the product of your past. Then you can at last have the confidence to build a life that will make you happy, rather than satisfy your family or serve the culture you come from.

Negative thoughts

There’s nothing hugely wrong with them. It’s just that they are absolutely useless, serving as one of the prime blockers in our capacity to learn, develop and become more confident.  Thoughts we probably all recognise, such as ‘I don’t get it, I’m too slow, I’ll never be an expert in this’ are actually the root cause that stops us from progressing and becoming experts at whatever it is we are trying to master. I’ve often had the desire to learn the piano but before I even sit down at the keyboard, I have to fight off a whole battalion of negative thoughts. Each has a different flag they are boasting as they rush towards me: ‘You’re too old to learn,’ one of them says. ‘You’ll never get it,’ declares another. ‘You’ll never be able to compose music.’ Patiently, I let them argue and run their course, as I try to match each key to its depiction on the piano score – a rather dull and mundane task, with little creativity or positive thinking involved. But really, that’s all there is to becoming an ‘expert’ in a field – a desire to learn, persistence and patience.  Remember Aesop’s classic tale about the hare that lost the a race to a tortoise? The tortoise didn’t have a positive mental attitude, or a distinctive personality – and yet he beat the hare to it.

The feeling of uselessness

Have you ever thought to yourself ‘why am I doing this, who is going to care if I do this or not?’ Well, I have for sure. Even as I write this post, I am consumed with the feeling that no one is going to read it, so why waste my time writing it at all? And the truth is that a lot of people probably won’t read it and won’t care. But someone just might. Either way, I’ve enjoyed the process of writing the post – it has helped me to identify and define my own blockers to confidence more clearly. And why should anything we do have much more purpose than simply the enjoyment of doing it? If we pictured the life-span of our planet as a clock, then we as humans would represent a fraction of a second – if that. Just picture what a tiny part of that fraction is your own individual life, thrown into the vast pool of all the others. Of course, our individual lives are important and we can make them very meaningful – but in the grand scheme of things, we are all doing useless things. So we might as well keep doing them!

What do you understand with the term ‘confidence’? What qualities would someone need to have in order for you to perceive them as confident? We are all learners here, students in the grand school of life, so feel free to share your views in the comments!

——–

Ieva is a Bristol-based freelance writer, originally from Latvia. Having finished an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, she hopes to feed her love of writing by completing novels, non-fiction, short stories and poetry, some of which can already be found on her blog at www.ramblings-of-a-latvian.blogspot.co.uk

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7 Tips to Find Time To Exercise When You’re Busy

7 Tips To Find Time To Exercise When You're Busy

Do you seek a more active lifestyle, but you’re hard-pressed for time because of work and family? How many times have you sat on your office chair simply idling and surfing the web, when you’ve wished you could be outside working out? Much of our time can simply be wasted to activities that don’t help at all in getting us in good shape. But there are many ways you can get yourself moving without having to sacrifice work time or family time. Here are smart ways you can find time for exercise:

1. Rise Early

Waking up early can be a hard thing to do, but 30 minutes over your usual wake-up time is enough for a daily surge of physical activity. A mile-run when the sun is high can have a lot of health benefits for your body. Aside from getting your much needed vitamin D, you can get an early start from work which will boost your productivity for the whole day.

2. Hit The Road

No matter how busy you are, you always find time for grocery. So, instead of using the car, take the 10-minute walk to the grocery store. A little walk to the grocery store and back is a good exercise for your body. Who knows? You might even run across your old friend, have a little chat with your friendly neighbor and enjoy the scenery as you walk. While driving may seem like a convenient and easy way to get to your destination. Walking will give you time to exercise your body.

3. Settle for Little Inconveniences

You can take the longest route to office, to the bathroom, or to your boss’ office.  Give yourself little inconvenience in exchange of a little stretch to work your body. If you can’t find time for exercise during your free time, then do it while you’re on your work time. There are plenty of ways to make your body move.  You can stand while working on your desk, use your breaks to take short walks across your office or just move.

4. Get an Active Hobby

No matter how much your work is robbing you of time for yourself, you should always find time for the things you love. So, why not get an active hobby? Active hobbies will work out your body twice more than the usual passive hobby like writing, knitting or painting. Try signing yourself up for an active hobby like Karate, Archery, or Ballroom!

5. Make Chore Time Exercise Time!

Give your cleaning lady a day off and scrub the floor yourself! It’s not only exercise; you can also save money and keep your place clean. If you can make time for important things like work appointments, why not give time for exercise. It’s a good investment for the betterment of your body.

6. Walk While You Wait

If you’re waiting for a phone call, an email or simply waiting for the meeting time, don’t use those hours to get stuck in your chair.  Stand up and take a little walk. Even if you have just a few feet of walking space, do it! Idle time will never feel wasted, and you can even burn calories from those dietary fats you eat during lunch time.

7. Play with Your Kids

If you’re a 9-5 worker, with kids that wait for you when you arrive at home, then you’re in for a fun exercise by playing with your kids. You can go wrestling with them, playing hide and seek, or a tug of war! You’re not only giving your body a good exercise but also making your precious little sweethearts happy.

Why Exercise?

Exercise helps keep our body in proper condition as we age. Aside from the many physical benefits, exercise is also good for our brain and overall health. So don’t let your job slowly kill your health, and your life – get active, and do more.

Armela Escalona is a content editor at scoopfed.com. She writes motivational articles about work, health and college life. Stay connected with her through her LinkedIn Account.

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6 Surprising Reasons to Welcome Failure

6 Surprising Reasons to Welcome Failure

welcome failure

Who likes to fail?

That’s what I thought.

For most of us failure’s shameful, embarrassing, and even scary. Maybe it means you don’t have what it takes. Maybe this dream isn’t meant to be. What if everyone’s laughing or judging?

But if you ask the very successful, they’ll tell you a different story. They’ll tell you failure’s not only good, but necessary for these 6 reasons…

Reason#1: 

Failure means you’re trying—Congratulations. There’s no succeeding without getting off your bottom and throwing your hat in the ring. If you’re starting to fail, it means you’ve begun the journey. You’re making concerted efforts to get somewhere or learn a skill or achieve something.

Okay, the road may be bumpy and full of potholes, but you’re taking the steps (and making the mistakes) necessary to get to that destination. If you stop, its true you won’t fail anymore. But you also won’t succeed.

Reason#2: 

Failure brings you closer to your goal– Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. You’ve started that trek, but it’s harder than you thought or scarier. Maybe it’s taking too long.

Remember, every step, no matter how hard and frustrating, brings you closer. Keep walking. Stay the course. With each hardship you overcome, you’re inching your way toward that vision. You’re learning. You’re growing. You’re developing that important thick hide which leads me to…

Reason#3: 

Failure toughens you up — Ever met a successful person who was a wussy? Me neither. It doesn’t mean they’re hard, cynical people. But along the way, they adapted resiliency. They kept going despite terrible odds or sometimes crushing defeat. They adapted. They rebounded. They got back on that horse. They strengthened the muscles needed to go on.

Failure teaches you this. In fact, success is impossible without toughness. And if you don’t have it to begin with, believe me, failure will help you develop it.

Reason#4: 

Failure teaches you important life lessons— Alas, for most of us, there’s no other way to learn than making mistakes. How else do we know what to do except for trying? But even mistakes shouldn’t be seen as failures. They’re lessons. They’re steppingstones. They’re guideposts.

Mistakes mean you’re paying your dues. If you read the story of most (if not all) successful people, it wasn’t an easy glide to the home plate of victory. It was a long, arduous journey pitted with frustration and sometimes pain. But they learned and kept going. And in the end, they reaped the rewards.

Reason#5: 

Failure is better than regret – The world is littered with people who gave up. And many feel a certain ache because of it. Maybe things got too hard. Or it took too long. Maybe someone said something snarky they took to heart.

There are always a million reasons to quit. But there’s usually only one reason to go on. And it’s an important one. You’ll have a happier, more fulfilled life if you keep trying, even when it’s hard. Instead of that ache, you’ll feel a sense of pride.

Reason#6:

Failure teaches you what you love – What are you willing to go through for your dream? I learned this hard lesson myself with writing. Let’s face it, for every drop of encouragement, there’s an ocean of discouragement. And some people decide it’s not worth the effort. And I get that.

But then there are the masochistic crazies (like myself) who decide, yup, this hurts so good. I’m going to keep going despite the torturous frustration at times. It wasn’t till I got thrown off that horse again and again that I realized I’m here for the long haul. Writing Gods, I said, you might as well get used to me. I’m not going anywhere. I climbed back on.

Is that how you feel about your dream? Will you do whatever it takes to achieve it? Then you’ve been given a gift. You’ve been taught what you love. And not everyone has that. 

In the end, failure’s not the opposite of success. Failure’s the bridge. Failure’s the initiation rite, those necessary steps you must take, no matter how hard, no matter how tenuous.

Next time you’re thrown off that horse do the following. Stand up. Brush yourself off. Check for broken bones.

Then thank failure for teaching you to be tough and resilient. Thank failure for guiding you to your destiny. Thank failure for giving you that steely determination needed to keep going.

Are you ready?

Good. Climb back on and start heading for that dream.

—————-

Laurie Stone is a blogger, writer of fiction, and reporter. Her essays have appeared in the Connecticut Post, Connecticut Kids Magazine and In The Know Traveler Website, among many others. Laurie blogs about midlife, family, and the ups and downs that come with growing up and growing older.

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9 Steps to Creating Self-Awareness

9 Steps To Create Self-Awareness

self awareness

The path to self-improvement starts with self-awareness – the ability to have a clear understanding of your personality, strengths, values, weaknesses, motivations and emotions. The awareness of why you do what you do helps you develop the process that will move you forward. Where you focus your behavior, thoughts and emotions determines the direction your life will take.

When I was in college I took a swimming class. The professor made a statement that has stayed with me to this day. As we were learning new swimming styles she said we had to know what our body was doing. We had to be aware of how our legs, arms and breathing were all moving to make sure they were working together. This awareness would propel us through the water efficiently and effectively.

Creating Self-Awareness

This working together of all the parts isn’t learned from a book. It’s a skill we have to practice, by staying aware and making a concerted effort to create a necessary change mid-stream. Changes in your behavior is easier if you catch them in the early stage before your emotions and thoughts have taken over.

Define your core values. What are the five most important things about you? Yes you may be a hard worker or a good parent, but dig deeper. Is it honesty, creativity, integrity, joy, faith, that is important to you? These core values are the net you can fall back on when a trying event occurs. Go a step further and write a short personal mission statement with your top five core values.

Keep a journal. One of the most effective ways I have found to keep me on track is to write daily. In addition to other thoughts, I write down at least three items that went really well for me and the at least one opportunity for improvement. Go even further and;

Engage in self-reflection. As I look at the events that didn’t quite go as well as they could, how could I have turned that into a victory? Cut off in traffic – instead of engaging in a bout of road rage, breath and think about why this event made you angry? Are you late for work? Just had a fight with your spouse? Is the way you are about to handle this event congruent with your core values?

Write your own manifesto. A manifesto is defined as a declaration of one’s beliefs, opinions, motives and intentions. It’s simply a written statement that declares what is important to you. Incorporate your core values and your personal mission statement into your manifesto.

What are your habits? Most of us go through the day thinking we make conscious decisions. When in reality, our behaviors are rote from years of habits.  What activities do you engage in when you first wake up?  Do you hit the snooze button? Or do you get up right away, drink a glass of water and write in a journal.  The person who hits the snooze button and turns over for an extra half hour of sleep is a very different person than the one who engages in productive morning activities.

Do your emotions rule the day?  Many of us allow our emotions to decide the course of action we will take at any given moment.  When we react in the moment – we don’t allow that time to consider another alternative or perhaps just not reacting at all.  When an emotion, such as anger, pops up just sit with it and see what happens.  It may take five minutes or an hour but the emotion will pass.  Also, going for a walk or a jog will help you from engaging in a decision you may regret later!

Keep engaging in self-awareness exercises. Make this a habit and strengthen your self-awareness muscle. Surround yourself with people who encourage your exploration into self-awareness activities.

Take care of yourself. Exercise and proper nutrition feed our body and keep us alert. When we feel our best it’s easier to be positive.

Life is a journey not a destination. As you delve more into your own awareness you will discover your authenticity and what is really important to you. Over time you can evaluate your core values and where you are with your job, relationships, etc. and adjust. I know today I am a different person than I was twenty years ago. Being able to let go of the things in my life that don’t fit anymore and getting my emotions and habits on track were instrumental in making substantial improvement in my life.

Shelly Drymon – a Damsel no longer in distress has gone through her own amazing transformation.  She is the founder of The Rescue Yourself Project – where she helps women in mid-life transitions pursue their passion and purpose and to be their own knights in shining armor.  You can read her story on her website – The Rescue Yourself Project. 

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7 Reasons Being Rejected Improves Your Life

7 Reasons Being Rejected Makes You A Better Person

I grew up in a community where going to college is a dream instead of an expectation.

Through hard work and luck, I completed my dream of graduating college debt-free last May.

It took me 283 rejections to get there.

From January 2009 to May 2011, I applied for more than 300 scholarships. Each Friday, I would walk to my mailbox, mail off two new application packets, and walk back in my house with a handful of rejections.

I was rejected for multiple reasons: my test scores weren’t high enough; my essays weren’t compelling enough; my stories weren’t interesting enough.

But each week I continued to send more applications until enough people said “Congratulations” and I had enough scholarship money to attend any university and graduate debt-free. At Yale University, that meant leaving without a $250,000 bill.

If I were to start over again, I would gladly take another 283 rejections.

Rejection teaches you how to be successful and in the process, improves your life.

When you are rejected

1. You realize you’re still alive

When you go after what you want be it a person, a job, or a scholarship, you realize that the worst thing that could happen is someone tells you “no”. Yes, there is a painful feeling afterwards, but you didn’t die.

2. You don’t have regret

Rejection comes as a potential outcome of going after what you want. The alternative was to not go after what you wanted. Had you not gone after what you wanted, you would have only regrets. The pain of rejection lasts temporarily; the pain of regret lasts forever.

3. You separate yourself from other people

It is tough to ask for what you want; so most people don’t. By just taking action, you already moved closer to your goal than others could ever dream to be. Fear of rejection isn’t meant to stop you, it is meant to stop everyone else who didn’t want what you want badly enough.

4. You become a better person

With every rejection, you begin to evaluate the reason for your rejection. Every piece of feedback you receive only helps you to become better and increase your odds of succeeding next time. As your number of rejection increases, so does your number of successes.

5. You feel more motivated

There is nothing like being told you couldn’t do something that motivates you to want to prove your doubters wrong. Learn to use your rejection as fuel and you’ll never run out of energy.

6. You grow tougher skin

The first rejection is tough; the second is easier. You’re already caught in the storm, what is a little more rain?

7. You appreciate what is going right in your life

When you get hit with enough rejections to line your bedroom walls, you learn to appreciate those people who had given you an opportunity, those who supported you, and those who believed in you. We spend so much time thinking about what we isn’t going right in our lives, that we forget about all the beautiful things that are going right. Rejection gently reminds us of all the great things and people in our lives.

Our successes allow us to achieve the things we want to achieve. Instead of chasing after success, we should become the type of person that success is attracted to. Rejection teaches us how to be that person. If you’re not willing to risk rejection than you’re not willing to accept success.

Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) grew up living on food stamps and welfare. Today he is a graduate of Yale. He uses his experience to give people the tools to build better lives for themselves and their families such as passing on the success secrets he learned during his time at Yale.

The post 7 Reasons Being Rejected Improves Your Life appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.


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5 Steps to Making 2016 the Best Year of Your Life (Free Download)

I absolutely love this time of year!

It’s a time for celebrating and getting together with family. It’s a time for reflecting on all of your achievements for the year. It’s a time for backyard cricket and it’s a time for beach, sun and plenty of outdoor activities (at least here in Australia!).

But it’s also a time that I use to plan ahead for the next year. 2016 is now just one week away and I absolutely love kicking off each New Year in style!

If you want to get serious results in your life or business in 2016 then it’s important you are clear on what you are doing and when you are doing it and ensuring it’s actually scheduled.

Nothing gets done unless it’s scheduled.

That’s why today I want to share with you a simple but powerful tool that I use to ensure that I am clear and focused on what needs to get done in the following year.

It all starts with this 2016 calendar…

2015 Yearly Planner

 

5 Steps to Scheduling the Best Year of Your Life

Scheduling your lifestyle and the activities you plan to do in 2016 will help you to forecast your income and ensure your life is balanced the way you desire it to be.

So often people have a dream and a vision for their life but they don’t spend the time to actually map out what that looks like.

  • If you want to take more holidays, schedule them in!
  • If you want to make more money by developing and selling a product or service, schedule it in!
  • If you want to  achieve major goals like completing a marathon or losing 20kg of weight, schedule the deadline in!

Here’s how I plan out my year. Feel free to copy or adjust it or add to it depending on what you’re trying to achieve in your life.

 

Step 1) Schedule all of the birthdays of your family and your closest friends.

It’s important to celebrate with those closest to you and having it scheduled reminds you of planning ahead to get something special and also so you keep the date free.

 

Step 2) Schedule all of the holidays you wish to take.

For this, start with the public holidays. If you’re in Australia, I’ve already scheduled the public holidays for you in the template. Otherwise, delete the Australian holidays and insert the public holidays for your location.

Next, schedule the time your leave from your job or the time off you wish to take from your business. Next year, I’m planning to take a break once every 3 months and take a short trip somewhere with Sylvia.

Scheduling holidays is super-important. It gives you something to look forward to which keeps you engaged during the time you’re working, but it also serves as a time to relax, rejuvenate and refocus on what you’re achieving in your life.

 

Step 3) Schedule the major business/career events that you want to achieve.

For example, I’ve scheduled the product launches, community challenges or other promotions that I plan to do in 2016 for my business. This provides me clarity on what I need to focus on and when as well as a better prediction of my income for the year.

 

Step 4) Schedule weekly or regular activities that you will need to complete to move you towards your larger goals.

For example, I’ve scheduled when I’m going to be publishing a blog post or video to my business. Although I haven’t yet determined exactly what each blog post is going to be about, I’ve given each date a general topic that I will be covering which feeds back to what you have asked to know more about (eg, is it Personal Development or is it Business).

 

Step 5) Schedule the due dates of your goals for the year or any other ad-hoc activities that you want to accomplish.

This is another great way of reminding you of the major goals you’re trying to achieve. As you have already scheduled your major work commitments, this could be any other goal related to your health, relationships, finances, personal growth, fun & recreation or physical environment.

To see how satisfied you currently are in each of the different areas of your life, do the Wheel of Life assessment. It takes 5 minutes and provides a great starting point for this exercise.

 

Entering the New Year With Clarity

This process doesn’t take long to do. I whipped my calendar up a couple of days ago in about an hour. Over the next few days I’ll be fine-tuning it.

Going into the New Year with clarity on how many days you’re going to have off versus how many days you’re going to be spending on creating versus how many days you’re going to be spending on promoting etc really helps you to feel calm and collected about the year ahead.

You can enter the New Year with full knowledge that your life is going to be balanced and that you will achieve the things that you have planned to do (as long as you stick to it). It will also help you to avoid getting stressed or overwhelmed.

Next Year I have 117 days scheduled to be off. This means I’m going to be working for the remaining 248 days. Now that I know this, I have a real sense of peace knowing that about 1 in every 3 days for the whole year is going to be a day that I can relax and do anything I wish to that I haven’t planned for.

It also gives me comfort that I can better predict how my year is going to unfold and how much income I’m going to make from my businesses.

 

Your Turn

I’ve given you the tool and the process for getting clarity on the year ahead. Now, my challenge to you is to take 30 minutes, right now, and create your year. At this time of year, lots of people talk about making the next year their best ever but few actually take the time to plan it out and make it so.

If you can’t do it right now, then schedule 30 minutes to do it in the next few days.

If you know of someone that might benefit from this tool and process, I encourage you to share this with them.

For now, have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Sylvia and I are heading to my parents place where we’re having a big family gathering and a huge, food bonanza. Weather depending, I’m hoping to sneak in a few games of backyard cricket :)

Enjoy!

Brendan

The post 5 Steps to Making 2016 the Best Year of Your Life (Free Download) appeared first on The Start of Happiness.


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Why Christmas is (Unknowingly) Making You Unhappy

Why Christmas is (Unknowingly) Making You Unhappy

holiday anxiety

Ahh Christmas. The time of year when we lie to our children, put on an average of 4lb between the 25th December and New Year and pay for numerous gifts and meals with money we don’t have.

What could be better?

Of course, there is the other side to it. A few days holiday amidst what has been a relentlessly demanding working year, the chance to spend some quality time with loved ones without having to worry about email or your next day at work and quality entertainment on the TV (probably not the case if you live in the UK like me!).

But none of these factors are what I really want to discuss today. You see I want to take a deeper look at Christmas, its implications and pose the question of why we settle for so little.

Selling Ourselves Short

Did you know that the ancient Romans equivalent of Christmas – The Festival of Saturnalia – lasted a full month? During this time their normal, strict social order was turned upside down and businesses and schools were closed so that everyone could join in.

Even the Scandinavian Norse people had it better than us. Their celebration of the Winter Solstice sometimes saw up to 12 days of feasting.

Yet here we are seemingly overjoyed with our measly two days of holiday!    

Something isn’t right. Why are we so happy with so little and don’t we have a right to ask for more?

Getting to the bottom of the hype behind Christmas is not difficult. Culprit number one are the corporations.

Every year, Christmas fever seems to start a little earlier. Adverts are reminding us by late October or early November, so by the time December comes, we’re at a fever pitch of anticipation.

“It’s going to be amazing. A miracle will happen,” is what we’re thinking, but then the day comes and nothing really changes.

Of course, it’s great to open some presents, eat a (potentially) delicious meal and spend time with the ones you love, but are our lives forever altered as a result?

Not really! The enjoyment soon wears off and a few days later we’re back to the drudgery of work.

And this, dear reader, is my point. We’re selling ourselves short!

Anticipationitis

There’s a great Seth Godin quote about vacations which goes like this,

‘Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.’

His words highlight a modern epidemic that many of us experience – ‘anticipationitis’.

The symptoms are an overly strong focus on future events that are imagined to bring us some form of relief, rest, excitement or escape from the drudgery of our day to day lives. The outcome of catching it is an inability to enjoy the now and feelings of disappointment when the imagined event doesn’t live up to the hype. It usually afflicts us on a daily basis when we anticipate the onset of the weekend and also occurs once or twice a year when we know we have a vacation booked.

It also strikes; you’ve guessed it, at Christmas. And this is why ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ might actually be making you unhappy. Not in the sense that you don’t enjoy the festivities, but in the sense that the system we live in has you caught in a trap. By influencing you into cherishing, and looking forward to, the very few moments when you have complete control over your time, it gets you to overlook the vast majority of your experience when you’re wishing you were somewhere else.

Think about it, if you weren’t given those two days out of seven, or that brief holiday season at the end of the year, then the situation would be utterly intolerable. You would revolt, and band together with other people to set up a system where you all had greater self-determination over how you spent your time.

However, because we are placated to some degree, through holidays like Christmas, it takes the edge off our discontent and we accept the status quo.

This is why I’m writing this cautionary Christmas tale. Not so that you are miserable over the holidays, but so that you start 2016 by giving your future some real consideration.

As Seth Godin said, isn’t it time you, ‘set up a life you don’t need to escape from’? I want to challenge your thinking and get you setting your sights higher than a couple of weeks’ vacation every year, weekends and Christmas holidays.

What about a life where you spend every day doing something you love and never catch yourself longing for the moments when you are free? What about a life where, if you want to spend more time celebrating with your loved ones, then you have enough control over your working hours to enable you to do so?

You may think I’m asking the impossible but there’s nothing chaining us to the way we currently live. All we need to do is question the assumptions that so many people take for granted. We’d soon realise that we have control, both individually and collectively, over the direction of our lives and that if we want something greater, then we can create it.

So enjoy your Christmas, have a great time, but realise that celebration should be a way of life and not a one off event!

Want a FREE Christmas Gift?

Then head over to Joe Barnes’s website Screw the System and download your copy of 50 Reality Changing Insights. He’s also the author of the critically acclaimed Escape the System Now which you can learn more about here.

Joe divides his time between writing, hypnotherapy and tennis coaching and has a passion for helping people to Succeed on their own Terms.

The post Why Christmas is (Unknowingly) Making You Unhappy appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.


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