Procrastination is Not the Challenge You Need to Conquer

“Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous.” ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Today is the first day of the ninth month of the year. The year has four months to go before it ends. Sometime in January, you made a list. A list of goals. Resolutions. Things you wanted to get done by year’s end.

Forbes contributor Dan Diamond, says in this article that only “8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions.” Take a moment to look at your list. Are you in the 8% or in the 92%? What has gotten done? Something? Nothing? Why has nothing been done?

You’re going to say procrastination. That’s not it.

Procrastination would be a mute point if 1 million dollars was attached to the accomplishment of each of your goals. Procrastination is not what stops us from getting things done. That responsibility lies solely in the hands of interest. The lack of it to be specific.

Growth always rattles your comfort zone. Its response is resistance. It works in tandem with your mind to find any reason not to change the status quo. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. They looked at me funny. I just can’t today. Etc., etc., etc.

Steven Pressfield says Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” Believe him. Give in to resistance and your comfort zone wins. A win for your comfort zone is a loss for you. For your growth and personal development. Growth is the only way to guarantee that the future will be better.

Your only weapon available to combat that resistance is authentic interest. Interest, not only in accomplishing the goal but in the journey leading up to it.

Authentic interest is a small act with a mighty reach. It is its own motivating force. It can keep you up at night or jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn.

Think back to a vacation you were truly interested in taking. Chances are, you could barely sleep the night before the trip. Even if all the packing was done.

When I started writing I would forget to go to sleep. Eventually, I had to set a ‘go to bed’ alarm. That interest is now generating revenue.

Pair interest with discipline and commitment and it compounds. As Jeff Olson says, “The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” 

Disinterest delays the power of compounding.

Lack of interest is a powerful driver. For example, if you’re not interested in what a new day holds, you’ll keep hitting the snooze button. You’ll stay up late doing nothing of substance.

If you’re not interested in meeting a friend, punctuality goes out the window. Punctuality is a sign of respect. The lack of it shows disrespect but also that your interest lies elsewhere.

Interest is not passion. Interest is what you start with. Passion is what you end up with. It’s the reward for starting with interest and showing up on the hardest days.

Go back to your list. Look at your unaccomplished goals. Whose interest are they reflecting? Without a doubt, they are not reflecting yours.

Rethink your unaccomplished goals. Replace them with goals that reflect your interests. Not sure of your interests. Let action show you. Learn your interest by doing. Do things. Do more things. Don’t just acquire knowledge. Get your hands dirty. Interest like purpose is discovered not created.

There are four months left in the year. That should not give you pause. “One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Make it a great month.



Choose to be All or Choose to be Less

“Every life form seems to strive to its maximum except human beings. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it possibly can. Human beings, on the other hand, have been given the dignity of choice. You can choose to be all or you can choose to be less. Why not stretch up to the full measure of the challenge and see what all you can do?” ~ Jim Rohn

A grocery store had two jam sampling stations set up. One station had twenty-four varieties. The other had only six. The purpose of this experiment was to observe how the brain handles choice. They monitored two activities.

  1. The number of visitors to each station.
  2. The number of sales at each station.

Professor Sheena Iyengar conducted the experiment. The study found:

  1. The station with twenty-four varieties had the most visitors. (60% vs. 40%)
  2. The station with only six options had the most sales. (30% vs. 3%)

The conclusion. Multiple choices are appealing in theory. They distract in reality.

Cognitive Limit

Your mind is a powerful tool. However, it has its limitations. With choice, the limit is five research says.

Fear sets in when the brain has more than five items to choose from. You’re afraid to make the wrong choice. The result. Either you make no choice at all or keep searching for a perfect choice.

The station with only six choices of jam presented less risk. The testers arrived at the buy/no buy decision quicker.

Twenty-four options were more attractive. However, the potential of making a wrong choice drove the testers to opt out of choosing altogether or spend more time trying to find a perfect palate match.

Lifestyle Impact

Abundance surrounds us. Choice has become a right.

We buy to have a choice more than to satisfy a need. We add people and things to our lives not to have the right things but to revel in the possibilities of what they present.

Variety is the spice of life. However, more choice does not equal better outcomes. Furthermore, what we ‘gain’ through choice we lose in time.


“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” ~ Lee Iacocca

We access time via a fixed daily measure. No one gets more. No one gets less. However,  when you compare the lives of two people born on the exact same day and at the exact same time, you’ll notice that the list of achievements will always vary.  The one who did more learned how to make more time.

Making more time involves discipline. Discipline is not present at birth. You build it. One surefire way to build discipline is to eliminate or minimize choice.

Planning Vs. Doing

In life, you are either doing something or thinking about doing something.

Thinking precedes all action. Effective thinking allows for immediate instead of delayed action. Efficient thinking saves time, focus and energy. The life you desire requires all three in high doses. Choice leads to distraction. You will accomplish more if you learn to limit your distractions.

Take a look at your life. Make a list of the choices you make. Group them into two categories. “Choose to be all choices.” “Choose to be less choices.” Learn to eliminate the “choose to be less choices.”

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Mastering the Art of Recovery

“When you hit a wrong note, it’s the next note that makes it good or bad.” ~ Miles Davis

At his first acting audition, a 16-year-old kid was told, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something.”

If you were that 16-year old kid, what would you have done?

  • Would you have gone off and become a dishwasher or something or,
  • Would you have rattled off a list of why you were indeed qualified for the role you were auditioning for or,
  • Would you have a one-on-one conversation with your ego and say let’s go to work and get the skills required to do this job right.?

The kid chose the latter. That kid was Sidney Poitier and you know what happened next and continued to keep happening for many years to come.

Many who have experienced both success and failure say that while success is sweet, failure has the best lessons. You will be unable to access those lessons though if failure wipes you out.

If you’re trying. If you’re exerting effort, there’s a very high probability that you’re going to mess up. You’re going to fail. To safeguard against failure knocking you down and keeping you there, you need to master the art of recovery.

The art of recovery involves the following five steps.

1. Acknowledge the Failure

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”  ~Theodore Roosevelt

Failure is not hallowed ground. It bears the footprints of many. Ignoring its occurrence sets you twenty steps back as opposed to just two.

When it comes to power, knowledge continues to hold pace with the best of them. When you attempt to do something and that effort results in failure you are equipped with knowledge that you would otherwise have never had access to. This knowledge can place you at the head of the pack if you learn to use it right.

As you acknowledge the failure, it is equally important to acknowledge your role in its creation. Many of us were taught this lesson a long time ago. He who gets the blame gets the punishment. Lurking in the shadows of failure is fear of blame and also pride.

You know what they say about pride, it comes before a fall. In addition, if pride is standing in between you and acknowledging failure, it means that you’re caring too much about what others think.When it comes to the blame portion, learn to view the

When it comes to the blame portion, learn to view the acknowledgment of your part in a failed event not as a source of punishment but of learning.

When you fail to acknowledge your role in a negative outcome, you reserve yourself a lifetime roundtrip ticket on a plane with only one destination. Failure.

2. Fill in the Gaps

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”  ~Henry Ford

Never allow yourself to go blindly from failure to failure. No matter how inconsequential that failure may seem to be.

Failure has its place but it should never be the plan. The occurrence of it means that there are gaps that need to be filled. Ignoring the gaps leads to canyons down the road that you will struggle needlessly and unsuccessfully to climb out of.

Fill in the gaps. Be completely honest with yourself and discipline yourself to go beyond the obvious. As you analyze why your efforts resulted in failure, beware of your pre-existing beliefs that may steer you towards seeing things as you wish them to be versus as they are.

We always gravitate towards our strengths. To master the art of the recovery” though, you must face your weaknesses. Dissect the failure from all angles and do patch work as dictated by what you find and not what you feel.

If the lens through which you’re reviewing the failure is cloudy, call for reinforcements to help clear the haze.

3. Make a Plan

“Few people have any next, they live from hand to mouth without a plan, and are always at the end of their line.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who’ve mastered the art of recovery did not do it by chance. They had a plan. Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years. When asked by Tony Robbins how he survived he responded, “I didn’t survive, I prepared.” 

You’re going to need a plan and not just any plan will do. Good plans tell you what to do. Great plans tell you what to do when you start to veer off course or life interrupts. You should know that life is designed to interrupt.

For example, let’s say you decide to hit the gym 5 times a week at 4 pm. On the 5th day, 4 pm finds you unexpectedly nowhere near your gym.

Do you:

  • Shrug it off and say there’s always tomorrow or,
  • Do you start whining to whomever you’re with about what you should be doing at this time or,
  • Do you pick from the list of alternatives that you had pre-planned for moments just like this?

Without a great plan, you’d spend your time berating yourself over the workout you missed, sharing that negativity with those around you and stacking up too many tomorrows. With a great plan, you would have simply picked from the list of alternatives that you had pre-planned for moments just like this.

Something else to keep in mind as you make your plan is that you may come to find that what you are trying to accomplish has been done by somebody else. Somebody who you may even admire. A word of caution in this regard.

Never set out to copy word for word or action for action the plan that your favorite mogul, start-up guru or mentor used to get them where they are.  That plan was not designed for you and is not all-inclusive.This is because they have learned over time that most people don’t want to hear what they really sacrificed and did to get where they are today. They only want to hear what they feel they can also accomplish.

In addition, people who have already succeeded at something know this hard truth. People don’t want to hear what you really sacrificed and did to get where you are today. They only want to hear what they feel they can also accomplish.

Be inspired by the plans of others but always make a plan for who you are at the point where you are at. Your mentor might only be sleeping for four hours because that is what they need. You might need more but your commitment is such that you are able to accomplish the things you set out to achieve but are choosing instead, to get stuck on the fact that you’re sleeping for two hours more than they are.

So make a plan. Make a plan that challenges you and works for you as that’s the only plan you’re going to end up sticking to.

4. Recommit Yourself

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses – only results.” ~ Ken Blanchard

Failure no matter how proudly or nobly faced will leave you with some doubts. It will shake some things loose that will need to be tightened. If you allow it to, it will rob you of the enthusiasm and sense of persistence required to step back onto the field.

So, take some time to recommit to yourself and to your worth that still stands in spite of what you have just experienced. Then, recommit yourself mentally to your goals and to your journey. Step back and look at the big picture and remind yourself why it matters. Why this journey must be seen through to the end.

During this time you might make the discovery that your why is not strong enough to see you through because it was poorly chosen. This represents growth and your honesty should be applauded. Starting for the wrong reasons can be understood. Staying for the wrong reason reflects poor character and a lack of responsibility for ones own life.

So change the why or change the goal. If you change the goal remember, that you may need to go back to the previous step and change the plan to match the new goal.

5. Try Again

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  ~ Winston Churchill

Everything you have done above has equipped you with various pieces of knowledge. Knowledge is just the start and learning does not happen at the table. What makes knowledge worth all the time and effort you took to collect it is action. Persistent, consistent action.

So try again. Try again before you talk yourself out of trying and get in your own way. Try sooner rather than later before fear increases its footprint in your life and you deem the risk to costly.

As you try again and step back onto the field remember this. Treat the past failure as a single event. This isn’t every other time. This time is now. It only exists in this moment. You’ve never been here before. Don’t weigh this moment down with baggage from past failures. Take a clean shot.


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How Writing Every Day Reminded Me of The Power of Choice

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” ~William Jennings Bryan

Some time back I got together with some of the ladies I went to high school with. It was an informal reunion of sorts. As with all these types of events, the time soon came to share what we were currently occupying our time with.

When my turn came I mentioned a whole slew of stuff but I never mentioned the writing. I choose to blame the imposter syndrome for that.

One of the ladies, a consistent reader of my writing, filled the group in. She mentioned that I write. Not only that but that I write well. (I give many thanks for my friends who read what I write.)

“Before others will believe what is true about you, you’ll have to first believe it yourself.” ~ Jeff Goins, You Are A Writer

I write. I am a writer. I’ve been writing now for almost two years. It’s been a fantastic experience and a period of personal growth. I’ve achieved a number of self-identified and unexpected milestones on this journey.

One unexpected yet much welcome side effect of writing that I’m enjoying is a growing sense of consciousness with regards to the power of choice and how it informs my reality.

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” ~ Maya Angelou

Reading makes better writers. In the course of my reading, I came across a quote by Maya Angelou that says, “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

To get to the heart requires being more conscientious with the selection of the words you choose to inform on the topic you have selected. Failing to do this in my book, is to add to the noise that already exists.

Writers tend to write how they speak. As I become more conscious of the words I chose in my writing, I noticed something else happening.

I was growing more and more conscious of the words that I allowed to occupy my mind and those that I chose to utter when I spoke. Subsequently also becoming more conscious of the reality I was trying to create.

A small snippet of this process.

Narrative Version 1

  • When I’m feeling sad I reach for a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake. 
  • When I’m feeling scared, I don’t talk to my support system to engage in fear-setting. Instead, I retreat to the not so silent corners of my mind. 
  • When fear takes hold, I find every excuse under the sun why something won’t work. 
  • When I get angry, my words hit below the belt.

Since I started writing, the above narrative has changed to

Narrative Version 2

  • When I’m feeling sad I choose to reach for a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake. 
  • When I’m feeling scared, I choose not to talk to my support system to engage in fear-setting. Instead, I choose to retreat to the not so silent corners of my mind.
  • When fear takes hold, I choose to find every excuse under the sun why something won’t work.
  • When I choose to get angry, I choose words that hit below the belt.

This might seem like an inconsequential change but let me challenge you to do the same.

You will begin to notice like I did, that you have more control over your reality than you want to admit. You will begin to pay more attention to the fact that the good in your life is happening because you are choosing it and that you’re not simply missing things but in fact, choosing to miss them.

In my case, I began to notice that there’s only so many times you can keep reaching for a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake to deal with the hurt before you realize that either there is too much hurt or that you’ve begun to tip the scales and you need a healthier coping method.

Or that there’s only so many times you can keep finding excuses to explain your fears before you realize that you’re beginning to get further and further away from the things you desire to have.

Your Circle of Influence

Steven R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, introduces its readers to the concept of the circle of influence under the first habit — Be proactive.

It identifies the circle of influence as the area of our lives that present problems, challenges, and opportunities that we have control over to solve, rise to and take advantage of.

Your language, the words you choose to use, fall squarely in your circle of influence.

Life happens in spite of you. Tomorrow, if you refuse to wake up even though you can. If you refuse to open your eyes. If you refuse to have a single thought cross your mind, life will not wait for you to catch up to it. It will continue along on its merry little way.

What Reality are You Creating?

When thinking about the title of this post I initially wanted to use the word taught instead of reminded. Walking back through my memories though, I realized that I know the power of choice. I’ve exercised it myself from time to time.

There was the time that my heart got broken and sadness was all I knew. I could have chosen to grab a slice of chocolate cake and a vanilla milkshake but instead, I chose an alternate course of action. I saw the sadness and its insatiable consumption of my happier self, a self I much prefer and I chose a different reality.

When the heartbreak tears would announce themselves in the corners of my eyes, I would grab my sneakers and go for a run. I was not much of a runner then and I’m still not. I did, however, love how it made me feel. That choice allowed me to heal and as a bonus, I got to add half-marathoner to my proud list of accomplishments.

Life is the sum total of the choices we make. Whether we’re conscious of those choices or not.

We’re putting too much off for the future. Too much stock in what we will do when we get there. We’re forgetting that the present is all that is available to us. That, the future you want to arrive at can only be built today. In today’s choices.

Your life is never just happening to you, it’s simply following your lead. Your life also does not happen for you unless you’re intentional with your choices.

Actions will forever speak louder than words. Those actions are informed by your choices. In your choices lies your character.

Who do you choose to be? What reality do you choose to bring to life?

“And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life. If you don’t like how things are, change it! 

You’re not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life-and it all begins with your very own power of choice.”  ~ Jim Rohn

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What Albert Einstein can Teach us About The Power of Imperfect Moments

“A beautiful thing is never perfect.” ~Proverb

Annus mirabilis is a Latin phrase that means wonderful, miraculous or amazing year. Scientists refer to 1905 as Albert Einstein’s annus mirabilis. This was the year that Einstein published four scientific papers that would go on to set the stage for modern physics by documenting findings that would greatly influence the understanding of time, space, mass and energy. It also the year that Einstein obtained his doctorate after submitting his thesis.

The default thinking when one hears of such an accomplishment is that the individual found their perfect window of time and opportunity within which to work. In addition, they must have been working in collaboration with like-minded peers. For some, this might be true. For many, it is never the case. For Einstein, it certainly was not.

Einstein always wanted to be a teacher of the sciences. However, as a result of not fitting into the mold of a preferred student, he found himself struggling to find the type of work he wanted after he graduated.

Jeff Bezos said that “Complaining isn’t a strategy. You have to work with the world as you find it, not as you would have it be.” That is exactly what Einstein did. When landing his dream job proved unsuccessful, he worked with what the world was offering.

He allowed for what outwardly appeared to be an imperfect moment. He took a job as a patent examiner. His days were spent reviewing patent applications, executing art searches and advising applicants on whether their inventions would receive a patent. The job called for an eight-hour day and a six-day work week.

His job was unquestionably imperfect when you line it up against a job he would rather be doing – teaching science. However, he did not let that fact deter him. He had identified his purpose and he was determined to stay true to it all while honoring the demands of his current job.

Einstein found his way to academia eventually. When the accolades for his work started pouring in and he was awarded the Nobel prize, it was not for the work he was currently involved in, but for the work he produced in his annus mirabilis.

2 Great Lessons from Einstein’s time as a Patent Examiner

1. If it is important to you, you must find the time to make sure it gets done.

“It’s not about ‘having’ time. It’s about making time. If it matters, you will make time.” ~ Unknown

In a biography written by his son-in-law, Rudolf Kayser, it is said, with regards to Einstein finding the time to work on his thesis and the four papers that,“ he soon discovered that he could find time to devote to his own scientific studies if he did his work in less time.” 

What is your purpose? What do you want to achieve in and with your life? Once you figure what it is, you must go in search of the time to make your purpose come to life. You should never allow waiting to become a habit.

2. Great people always do good work regardless of what the work is.

“The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Even though he aimed to do his work in less time, Einstein did not half-ass it. He applied the same level of commitment and excellence to it as he would have to his scientific pursuits.

As a result, he excelled as a patent officer and not only got promoted but when he submitted his resignation, his boss indicated that his departure was a great loss to the patent office.

The job you hate. The imperfect moment that you find yourself in is teaching you something. The lesson could be as simple as patience or a work ethic or as challenging as time management, resilience or persistence.

Doing poor work is a waste of your time. Not only does poor work consume time in the execution of the tasks that it requires but it also steals creative energies. All work is worth doing well if only to allow for time to do even better work.

That ‘imperfect’ job you currently have is allowing you to take care of what would undoubtedly cause you stress. Things like paying your electricity and water bills. Feeding you and your family if you have one. Paying for lessons to gain skills that would make you better at what you ultimately want to do.

You may argue that Einstein was lucky but what is luck? Is it not simply an engineered construct of preparation meeting opportunity?

Are you waiting for the perfect moment? The perfect job to produce your best work? You have only one life. Life doesn’t wait and perfection always comes at a cost. Are you sure you can afford it?

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How Tim Ferriss Learnt to Tackle His Fears

“Typically, people don’t overcome their fears because the fears are nebulous and undefined.” ~ Tim Ferriss

Your mind is your greatest asset. Tom Ferriss’s mind has gone toe to toe with bipolar depression. Bipolar depression causes extreme shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behavior. Having been to the center of darkness enough times to threaten his future, he chose to find a way to manage the extreme ups and downs.

For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer. In sickness and in health. Until death do we part, fear will forever be along for the ride. From the uber successful to those just starting out, there is no one, not a single human being, for whom fear has not manifested in one form or another.

Fear has its purpose. A purpose as old as the ages. That purpose is survival. Fear is why we exist today. Without a healthy dose of fear, our ancestors would have adopted all the carnivorous animals as pets and ended up as pet food. They would have eaten the poisonous berries because they were just too pretty to resist and hugged each and every person carrying a deathly contagious disease because to be human is to be socially inclined. Fear is part of our genetic inheritance.

What fear we don’t get from our genetics, we get from conditioning. Conditioning is why two people can have two extremely opposing views of the same experience.

Fear conditioning is a form of classical conditioning, the type of associative learning pioneered by Ivan Pavlov in the 1920s. It involves the repeated pairing of a non-threatening stimulus such as a light, called the conditioned stimulus, with a noxious stimulus such as a mild shock, called the unconditioned stimulus, until the animal shows a fear response not just to the shock but to the light alone, called a conditioned response.

Fear itself is not the enemy says, Seth Godin. Paralysis is. It is the paralytic effect of fear and the conditioned response to stressful events in one’s life that Tim Ferriss’s approach seeks to conquer.

Ferriss’s journey led him to Stoicism where the teachings of Seneca caught his attention. It started with the quote “We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” The quote led him to Seneca’s letters where he learned of the practice of “premeditatio malorum.” The premeditation of evils. The exercise involved detailed visualization of worst-case scenarios with the aim of taking action to overcome fear-induced paralysis.

Fear-setting, a simple yet powerful three-paged exercise was born of this journey.


Page 1 — What if I …?

The first page of the fear-setting exercise is titled What if I …? and is divided into three columns. Define, Prevent, Repair.

Define — List whatever you fear, whatever is causing you anxiety/tension, whatever you’re putting off/resisting.

Prevent — List what you could do to prevent or decrease the likelihood each of the fears you defined from happening.

Repair — List what you can do or who you can ask for assistance should the fears you defined actually come to life.

When working on this page, Ferriss reminds us to keep an important fact in mind. Our fears are not unique. Someone somewhere has experienced them and figured out how to prevent them and or repair them. If they can, so can you. Should you get stuck, seek them out for inspiration.

Page 2 — The Benefits of an Attempt or a Partial Success

The second page of the fear-setting exercise channels the power of positive thinking by reframing the fear.

I have written before on the brain’s bias for negativity which makes us more comfortable talking about all the bad things that could go wrong as a result of our actions. Fear-setting looks at the other side of the coin. The benefits of trying and of achieving a partial success.

Page 3 — The Cost of Inaction

The third and last page of the fear-setting exercise looks at the cost of doing nothing. Of maintaining the status quo.

On this page, you will list what all the ways, emotionally, financially, physically, mentally, spiritually, in a span of six months, 12 months, three years, what the price of staying as is would cost you.

When it comes to overcoming fear, exposure works better than avoidance. You can’t, however, expose yourself with any degree of success to something which you cannot clearly define. Fear-setting is an exercise in defining fear at its true source. The mind. Of identifying and breaking the invisible barriers of fears that are more yelp than bark or bite.

“You actually do live a fuller life when you face your fear,” says Dr. Srini Pillay, a Harvard psychiatrist. Ferriss says “I can trace all of my biggest wins and all of my biggest disasters averted back to doing fear-setting at least once a quarter.”

Become the person you’ve always dreamed about in your bold and wild mind. Use Ferriss’s fear-setting exercise to train your mind to act more courageously in everyday life. Not to eliminate fear in the hopes of becoming fearless but with the goal of fearing less and boldly acting when you should act.

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5 Key Life Lessons from a 106-year-old Culinary Genius & YouTube Sensation

At 106 years of fine life, Mastanamma is definitely overqualified when it comes to the topic of life lessons. Her story is now being retold far and wide but just in case you don’t know who she is let me tell you a little bit about her.

Mastanammaa is a grandmother from India. The fact that she is 106 years old is great but what makes her story even greater in this social media driven age, is that she is on YouTube. Even greater still, she’s totally crushing it!

She joined (okay actually her great grandson and a friend got her on) YouTube in August 2016 and to date, her channel has over 340,000 subscribers.

Mastanamma’s is a bonafide culinary genius whose creations include egg omelets in cucumber and chicken in watermelon. Not flavored by cucumber or watermelon, but actually cooked in a cucumber and in a watermelon. Foodies around the world are no doubt all raising their hands in salute and wondering whether there’s room at the table for one more.

Here are five key life lessons that I’ve taken from her inspiring story.

Lesson #1 — Simplicity always Reigns Supreme

Mastanamma is the epitome of simplicity. She uses only the most basic of tools. Cooks over an open flame while sitting in a field. Peels vegetables with her fingernails and slices food with a ‘Bonti’, a traditional Indian knife. She forbids the use of cutlery and this makes perfect delicious sense for food eaten by hand often tends to be the very best kind.

Lesson #2 — Aging Should Never Signify the End

Betty Friedan said, “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

You may slow down, but aging does not mean you now simply have a life and should stop living a life. You’re only done when you’re dead.

Lesson#3 — Aging is an Attitude

You can’t stop the hands of time but you don’t have to get old. Mastanamma is proof positive that aging is nothing but a reflection of time on the body and that aging gracefully has more to do with attitude than it has to do with having access to a factory-made beauty product.

Lesson #4 — Always Stay True to You

Mastanamma’s grandson could have insisted that grandma moves to a modern kitchen and takes advantage of the latest technology. She said no and he listened. She stayed true to herself and this is why 340,000+ subscribers have tuned in. They’ve tuned in to watch her story that just happens to be told through food.

Lesson #5 — Food will Forever be a huge part of Your Story

When asked to give advice to her subscribers, Mastanamma said we should “cook a lot of curries and eat well.” You might not agree with the curry bit but we should all be nodding our heads in the affirmative about eating well. Well not in quantity but in quality.

The food you consume either builds you up or breaks you down. There is no in between. You are powered from the inside out. You are not a trash can. The sooner you can master this, the sooner you can start to flourish.

They are yet to crack the code of eternal youth on the physical but in the mind, eternal youth is thriving. We are just temporarily blinded to it.

We as members of the society we live in have turned the view of aging from one of wisdom and experience to something that should be feared and found a cure for. We have the power to change that.

So until the sands of time run out, may you remember that Mastanamma lives in all of us. Stay curious. Stay hungry. Stay learning and maybe plan a trip to see a 106-year-old culinary genius while you’re at it.

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3 Powerful Mindsets to Start each Day With

Since mornings cannot start at 10:00 am for the general majority here are three powerful mindsets to adopt that will have you channeling your inner Tom Cruise (when he was jumping on the couch) and have you raring to start your day.

1. Say Yes to Each Day

There are seven days in a week. Two of those days are greeted like bearers of the week’s winning lotto numbers. The rest are merely tolerated as placeholders for the preferred two. If this is your approach, you’ve signed up for the short end of an even shorter stick.

The power of yes is undeniable. Starting with “yes” energizes. It puts you in a position to seize opportunities as they arise and to stretch yourself and grow your grit.

Tomorrow when your alarm goes off, reach for it with thanks for waking you up. When the rising sun struggles to curl past your curtains, throw them back and welcome it in. When the first notes of the early bird’s call begin to rise, delight in its melody.

Life and luck favor the bold. Seize every moment. Seize every day. Say yes to each day.

2. Restate your Goals

The thoughts that you express through your words shape your life. Your brain is processing between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day. Words and thoughts that are repeated often get stronger with each repetition. They sink into the subconscious mind and affect the behavior, actions and reactions of the person involved.

Restate your goals and the why behind them every day and you will ensure that your actions stay congruent to the actions required for their achievement.

3. Reset your Expectations about Others

People aren’t perfect, so you shouldn’t expect them to act perfectly says Patrik Edblad

Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius recommends that “when you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.”

If that sounds too harsh then the Ernio Hernandez approach might be more your style. “Treat every person like they are having the worst day. Treat yourself like you are having the best day.”

Or you may want to try what Joe Rogan suggests “Treat everyone as if they are you, living in another body.”

“If you want your life to change, your choices must change, and today is your best opportunity to begin!” ~ Author Unknown

. . .

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Lifeisms In A Nutshell – #108 – How to Destroy Envy in 1 Step

Train yourself to remember that there’s always more to someone’s story than meets the eye.

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Find Your Lighthouse so You can Ignore the Sea

Life has its Lighthouse, in each fleeting stage,
In youth, in manhood, and in hoary age…
In age illum’d with philosophic flame,
From Reason’s Lighthouse still we steer the same;
Calm and serene our vessels onward glide,
And share the comforts of a middle tide;
Till, the last squall by fate’s own edict blown,
Death wrecks our vessels on a coast unknown.

~John William Smith~

The Lighthouse

A lighthouse. A tower. Always placed up high. In an important or dangerous place. Always equipped with a light that shines brightly. Its main purpose. Navigational assistance. The lighthouse is the traffic sign of the sea.

In life, when we get lost it’s not the lack of knowledge of where we are that presents the challenge but a loss of sight of where one was going and ultimately one’s loss of their sense of purpose, that opens the door for despair. For when we always have sight of our purpose, we know our current situation is only temporary.

As much as we try, and superficially succeed, to cast blame upon our circumstances, our decisions have gotten as to where we are or don’t want to be. Driving every action is a decision powered by an acknowledged or unacknowledged purpose.

Your purpose is your traffic sign on the high seas of life. Your ‘why’ guiding you forward. When you get lost, find yourself off track, your purpose brings you home. Your purpose is what allows you to say, I AM NOT LOST.

The Lighthouse Keeper

“Never judge a man’s actions until you know his motives.” ~Unknown

Your purpose is your lighthouse. You are the lighthouse keeper. You are the person responsible for tending and caring for your lighthouse.

You are the person responsible for ensuring that your lighthouse can propel you past exhaustion. Inspire you from the depths of despair. Give you a reason that keeps doubt a spectator and not an active participant.

You are the person responsible, for when your sea of dreams start to multiple and conflict, to provide signage that will give you clarity and guide you to the dream you must focus on now and the one that you must allow to wait or kick to the curb.

You are the person who must craft a lighthouse that keeps you focused on great and not distracted or settled by good.

You are the person that must ensure that your lighthouse keeps your feet firmly planted in the present while your mind grinds away on creating your future. Whose lighthouse must allow for the organization of thought around that which is unknown with the sole aim of making it no longer so.

When you delegate the responsibility of tending and caring for your lighthouse. You get lost more often than you should and stay lost longer than is beneficial. You lose momentum and flow. You end up at destinations that will always be unrecognizable. That bring you zero comfort.

How You Find Your Lighthouse

“He who has a why can endure any how.” ~Frederick Nietzsche

Mark Manson, NYTimes bestselling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck offers this advice.

“Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-and-error process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.

So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself? And no, you can’t just go sit in a coffee shop and browse Facebook. You probably already do that. Let’s pretend there are no useless websites, no video games, no TV. You have to be outside of the house all day every day until it’s time to go to bed — where would you go and what would you do?”

Others may be counting on you but even more important. You are counting on YOU. When you’re powered by a clear purpose, there is little you cannot do. When you’re powered by a clear purpose, you can ignore the sea.

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