Everyone wants to live a happy and fulfilled life.
So I went on a quest to find experiences that can boost life satisfaction.
Out of all the emotions and experiences, I found two phenomena that stood out the most. They both can boost your life satisfaction and make you lose the perception of time.
1. The State Of Flow
The concept of flow was introduced by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
To enter the state of flow, there are three conditions that need to match.
Clear goals and progress
Clear and immediate feedback
There must be a good balance between your perceived skills, and the perceived challenge at hand.
If your skills are better than the difficulty of the task, it leads to boredom. And if the difficulty of the task is more than your skills, it leads to anxiety.
You have experienced flow when you were so immersed in an activity that you forget the notion of time and space.
The best ways to find flow in your everyday life is while working, learning or playing. Just make sure to clear away all the distractions that may come during the peak state.
When you’re in the flow, you’re fully focused in the present moment. You lose the notion of time, space, and consciousness. You feel in control and confident that you can succeed. The activity becomes the reward as you gain the intrinsic motivation to perform the task.
According to Steven Kotler’s talk, when you get in the flow, your prefrontal cortex shuts off. So you no longer process time or make complex decisions. As a result, you get tremendous liberation. Your risk-taking, self-confidence, creativity, and productivity goes through the roof as you feel a sense of freedom.
2. The Feeling Of Awe
Awe is a magical phenomenon when you feel a mix of emotions such as curiosity, wonder, amazement, beauty, surprise or insignificance. It’s when you experience something beyond your understanding so you simply surrender to the feeling.
The feeling of awe doesn’t necessarily make you smile. You feel its presence when you feel something greater than yourself. In that moment, you lose yourself and your silly worries about your life.
Humans evolved to feel awe to help us transcend and live for a greater purpose than just surviving. In the past, we could not understand the science behind natural phenomenon so the concept of religion and god was invented.
Now, we have understood a lot more. But the side effect is that we are losing touch with awe. We stay stuck in our digital devices and the stress that comes with the corporate jobs.
You can get the benefits of spirituality without following any religion by bringing back awe in your life.
According to a research at UC Berkeley, awe even has anti-inflammatory effects on your body. Researchers found that feeling the beauty of nature, art, and spirituality lower the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
“Awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions — a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art — has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy,” — Dacher Keltner (Psychologist)
Elevated levels of cytokines are associated with poor health and conditions like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, alzheimer’s disease and clinical depression. Awe can help you prevent such conditions.
Children are masters at experiencing awe. For them, everything is new, surprising, amazing, and beyond their understanding. But we get used to what we see and experience every day. So we travel to new locations in the hunt of the same feeling.
Awe is one of the biggest reason we go on vacations or trips. We want to see monuments, natural environments, museums, and culture that are novel and leave us awestruck.
Besides traveling, you can also experience awe in your day-to-day life. Watching something great is not the only way to experience awe. You can also feel it when you think something and feel profound.
Take An Awe Walk
Get in nature and look around. You will find awe in every direction. Zoom in and notice the small details happening which you might not have noticed before.
The small buds coming out of the soil.
The tall trees which older than you.
The birds singing the songs.
The animals or insects working hard to find food.
Butterflies roaming around the flowers.
The sunshine touching your skin.
For once, forget all your worries and get lost in the moment.
There is nothing new about these sights. They happen all the time. The beauty is in the eyes of the watcher.
Watch Nature Documentary
A Research conducted by the scientists at Coventry University found that watching nature documentaries may be as good as meditation or mindfulness for wellbeing.
Nature documentaries are a shortcut to explore nature or animals on our planet. We used to have a deep connection with them before we built our own habitat — cities.
Feel your body. Notice your breath, heartbeat and other bodily sensations. Think about how hard your body is working to keep you alive.
Notice your thoughts and emotions. You are breathing. You are alive as a human. You can think. You can move your body at your own will.
Just like you can zoom in, you can also zoom out and see things from a higher perspective. Look at the sky. Notice the stillness and the shapes of the clouds. Think about your size compared to the size of the universe.
Feel Your Food
Notice the texture, color, shape, and smell of your food. Think about how the food will provide you energy and nourishment. Think how hard the farmer worked to grow the food for you. Then, somebody packed it and brought it to your nearest store. You had the convenience to get it whenever you wanted. And now, you or someone else cooked it for you before it landed on your plate.
Read or watch engaging stories.
Watch awe-inspiring photographs or paintings in a museum or on the internet.
Listen to beautiful pieces of music. Close your eyes and lose yourself in music you find inspiring or euphoric.
Flow and awe are the two ways you can experience life beyond yourself. They will help you make the switch from the complaints and boredom that comes with the daily life to a life full of appreciation and excitement.
You may be a true fan of him. Maybe you’ve just heard of him. Or maybe you’ve never heard this name before.
In any case, here’s a quick introduction to get started.
Tim Ferriss is the host of his famous podcast — The Tim Ferriss Show where he interviews success people from different fields. He asks them great questions and breaks down their success into bite size chunks which we can take away into our lives.
He is also the author of the books — 4-hour Workweek, 4-hour Chef, 4-hour Body, Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors.
Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors have a different theme. They are about getting advice, tips, tools, tactics, routine or inspiration from successful people in different fields.
Tim Ferriss is a self-proclaimed “human guinea pig” which means he believes in self-experimentation to test out assumptions and find out what most people could never imagine.
He has inspired millions of people to pursue their dreams and become lifelong learners. He continues to grow as he teaches us to be healthy, wealthy and wise.
His mission is to create an army of thinkers who can become better than him. If the student becomes better than the master, the master becomes successful.
Two of his major guiding principles are:
“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” — Jerzy Gregorek.
The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask.
Hard Choices + Good Questions = Good Life
Making Hard Choices
What if making hard choices were easy? That’s a type of question he would ask himself.
So, let’s consider it.
Hard choices are not hard by nature. They look hard to us because of fear, uncertainty, doubt or lack of clarity.
The antidote is a simple exercise which he refers to as “Fear-setting”.
In the exercise, he asks us to take a sheet of paper and make three columns titled “Define”, “Prevent” and “Repair”.
In the first column, you list out every fear you have that stops you from living the life you want. In the next column, write everything you can do to prevent the situation from happening. In the last column, write everything you can do to mitigate the damage if the worst-case scenario came true.
On the next page, switch sides and write everything good that can come out from taking the risk.
The last step is the most important step of the exercise. On the third page, determine the cost of inaction. How would your life look like in the next months or years if you didn’t take the action?
Consider every aspect such as emotional, physical and financial when you think about the cost of inaction.
The purpose of the exercise is to take a microscopic view of the situation. Most people don’t make the hard choices because they are paralyzed by fear.
When we define fear and capture it on a piece of paper, it doesn’t look that intimidating anymore. Many times, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Courage comes from clarity. The exercise helps us to switch from thefear mindset to the possibility mindset.
Most of our thoughts are fear based:
What if I go broke?
What if I’m not good enough?
What if I miss the opportunity?
What if I lose my girlfriend or boyfriend?
What if I get rejected?
When you define your fears on a paper, you don’t dwell on them any longer. Now, your mind is free to think about your untapped capabilities and the new possibilities. You ask bigger questions:
What if I change the rules?
What if I develop a new skill?
What if there’s a better opportunity coming my way?
What if I’m meant to do something greater?
What if I just start?
Asking Good Questions
You are only limited by the questions you ask yourself. Poor quality questions give poor results. Good questions can change your life.
The purpose of asking good questions is not to get an answer every time. But, it’s to explore the possibilities and expand your imagination.
By asking good questions, you train your mind to think in the ways that others might not have considered before.
So how do you ask good questions, you may ask?
The answer — question assumptions and be specific if you can.
Tim questions the status quo and the norms that society assumes as rules to live by.
Most people work 9–5 jobs, hate their lives and wait for the retirement to enjoy their lives. But he read Vagabonding, questioned assumptions and created a guide for a regular person who is stuck in a traditional lifestyle. That book became The New York Times Bestseller — The 4-Hour Workweek.
Look everything with skepticism and be open-minded. As a bonus, you can add specificity to your questions. Being specific gives you the context and constraints which sparks creativity and helps you form a plan of action. It also helps to deconstruct the answer which may lead you to find alternative solutions.
Here are some questions he asked himself that changed Tim’s life with my remarks in the brackets:
What if I did the opposite(questioning assumption)for 48 hours?(being specific)
What would I do/have/be if I had $10 million(being specific)? What’s my real Target Monthly Income?(questioning assumption)
If I could only work 2 hours per week(being specific)on my business, what would I do?
What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly?(questioning assumption)
Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?(questioning assumption)
What if I could only subtract to solve problems?(questioning assumption)
Asking good questions is not an easy task. It comes with practice. To get better, increase the number of questions you ask yourself and identify how much you’re questioning assumptions or being specific.
Quantity brings quality. And to further improve the quality of your questions, reflect to make constant improvement.
Asking good questions is about thinking and making hard choices is about doing. Both are essential ingredients to live the life you want.
If you keep thinking, there will be no progress. And if you keep taking action without thinking, you’ll end up in the middle of nowhere.
Keep the cycle of ‘making hard choices’ and ‘asking good questions’ running.
Now, It’s your turn.
What hard choices will you make? It could be a big life decision or small daily actions.
What questions can you ask yourself that will make the biggest impact on your life?
It doesn’t mean it’s made of plastic. What I mean is that it can change throughout your entire life.
Neuroplasticity is how we learn new things and train our brain to think or act in a way. Whenever you learn something new, the brain forms new connections between neurons (the brain cells).
Each time you practice or revisit your learnings, the connection becomes stronger as it becomes part of your thought process. The information then transfers into your subconscious mind which works even when you’re sleeping.
“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” — Earl Nightingale
Like we practice skills and train our muscles, we must constantly train our brain to perform at an optimal level.
1. Stress Tolerance
Keeping calm under pressure is a skill which can be developed. Most people can’t handle stress and when they face high-stress situations, they burn out and make poor decisions.
If you develop stress tolerance, you not only stay relaxed under such situations, you can use the stress for high performance.
Not all stress is bad. The good stress, called as eustress is often acute. It helps you grow and achieve life satisfaction. Distress, on the other hand, makes you worry or anxious. Chronic distress can lead to a wide range of health problems.
Another difference between eustress and distress is how we perceive the stressor. With eustress, we associate the cause of stress to be helpful. Distress makes us feel terrible, and it leads to burn out.
Yerkes and Dodson created a curve and stated that we need the right amount of arousal for optimal performance.
The amount of arousal depends on an individual so you must find your own balance. Try to stay within your range and if you have to go outside your comfort zone, use your superpower of stress tolerance followed by a period of recovery. Don’t fear stress. Visit the discomfort zone and face stress when it can help you grow.
To increase your stress tolerance, perform High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), take cold showers, speak in front of public or take challenges outside your comfort zone.
2. Mental Stability
We are emotional creatures. One nasty comment from a stranger can easily ruin our day. This is where mental stability comes into place.
Everyone has a threshold after which their mood turns down. But, like any other mental skill, mental stability can also be trained.
To increase your mental stability, notice how you react to negative events or thoughts. Keep a mood log if you have to and notice how you allow outside events to ruin your mood.
I know it is hard to stay sane especially when people who are closest to us upset us. It is normal to have a few expectations from close relationships. But, each time you get upset, remember it is your problem that you set the expectations in the first place.
Besides, people are too busy to think about the consequences of what they do or say to you. They often don’t even realize how some actions or words can harm us. In an ideal world, everyone should behave in the best way with each other but we are not perfect. We all make mistakes. Some people realize it and some don’t and it’s okay if they don’t. There is no need to hold grudges.
Maybe someone was going through tough times when they misbehaved with you. Give people the benefit of doubt for your own peace of mind. Be empathetic and look things from their perspective. Most things won’t matter in the long term. You always forgive yourself in the end, so why not forgive others? We all are humans, after all. Be kind, forgive, and move on.
Stop blaming other people and take full responsibility for your expectations. If they don’t meet your expectations, lower them down. And if they do better than expected, be grateful.
The same goes for life. When life is good, be grateful and when it throws unexpected challenges at you, respond with kindness and take it as an opportunity to train your mind. All your life, you’re either at peace or you’re training your mind. Both are necessary and good for you.
There are plenty of reasons why our mood worsens, but the principle remains the same. Identify the cause, adjust your reaction, and choose to look at the brighter side.
Stop judging yourself, other people or your life situation. Choose love and kindness. Love life as it is. Love yourself as you are. Love others as they are.
Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.
3. Passionate Work
Life’s drama steals many people’s vision from them. But the drama is not the enemy, it’s rather your friend. It’s a test you must pass to prove how strongly committed you are. If it were easy, everyone would get what they visualize — like magic.
Law of attraction says you get what you focus on. While it can be true, I don’t agree with it 100%. It’s not a law. We hear the law of attraction success stories only from the people who succeed. Nobody knows how many failed while using the law of attraction.
So, instead of thinking of it as a law, think of it as a principle. It’s a tool. It can be true if you work hard enough to reach your vision. Focus on your number one goal and give your 100% to it.
Practice excellence. Give 10x efforts. Keep commitments. Be on time. Do what you said you’re going to do. Focus.
Remind yourself what success means to you. Set daily intentions and take regular actions even if the steps are small. And most importantly, enjoy your journey by celebrating small wins.
Don’t chase vision as a means to happiness. Escape the rat race. Happiness is now. Reaching your vision will only amplify your sense of fulfilment. Make your journey the reward and you will never waste a day of your life.
Trust that everything is happening for you.
Trust that everything will be okay.
Trust in your ability to figure things out.
Trust in the higher version of yourself. You’re much more capable than you think you are. You can develop any skill you want. You can improve no matter where you are in life.
Trust alone is not enough though. In his book, Good To Great, Jim Collins explains the Stockdale paradox, and it goes like this:
“You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. And at the same time… You must confront the brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
Be brutally honest with yourself and do whatever it takes to turn your dreams into reality. Work on your strengths, fix your weakness (if you need to), and make the sacrifices you need to make.
Take bold steps and keep moving forward to build self-efficacy. Silence the naysayers (including your stupid mind). Learn skills and get feedback. Never stop growing.
Fear is the enemy of trust. Fear keeps you in a prison and stops you from following your heart. Don’t let that happen. Trust.
The beautiful thing about following your heart is that whether you succeed or you fail, you always become someone you never expected to become in your comfort zone.
By visiting the discomfort zone and failing a million times, you become a different person. Your character transforms. You gain clarity on what you want to do in the future.
Patience is the ability to persevere even when things take longer than expected.
Life has its own way. Sometimes, you’re surprised by your performance and other times, you get disappointed due to unexpected obstacles in your way.
If you stay patient, you can achieve anything you wish because you’ve made a pre-commitment and you can’t back off no matter if it gets dirty, boring, or harder than expected. You’ve burned the bridges and now the only option you have is to stay patient and keep taking action.
You can practice being patient by fasting, performing endurance activity or meditating.
Be resilient, be relentless, be determined, be stubborn, and never give up.
Your purpose in life is to create yourself, become better, and have the courage to be yourself. But, your life mission is different from your purpose.
Your mission is how you serve the humanity. It does not matter how small or big your mission is. It’s your duty to serve to the best of your ability as you can.
So often we make everything about ourselves. We focus on our goals, our growth, and our happiness. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But, if you never take out the time to help, support, and serve others; you will feel disconnected from the world.
Even after reaching big accomplishments and titles, you will remain unfulfilled. So be part of a mission and contribute. Give, give, give and when you’ve nothing else left to give, give more.
Giving involves donating your time, money, attention or energy. And when you’re giving, don’t keep a score of how much or how many times you’ve served.
Practice being in giving mode. When you give, give with all your heart with zero expectations of getting anything in return (not even praise, love, attention or affirmation).
Self-awareness is one of the top skills you need to live a complete life and mindfulness is the essence of awareness.
Being aware requires practice. Take notice of what you’re thinking. Observe how you think, feel, and act in response to different circumstances.
What biases do you hold?
What logical fallacies do you fall for?
When do you misbehave?
What triggers negative thinking in you?
Mindfulness not only helps you to become aware, it also builds your focus. You get better at concentrating on the task at hand. As you get better, you identify when you get lost in thoughts and you direct your attention back to the task.
The best way to practice mindfulness is meditation. You can also practice it during short periods of mundane tasks such as washing dishes, cleaning, cooking, eating, drinking or walking.
With mindfulness, you’ll feel, think and see what most people never experience in their lives. It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of life. But, it requires wisdom and a child-like perspective to switch to the beauty filter of life.
Always do the right thing. The ‘right’ thing depends on your principles and values. To develop integrity, the first step is to define your guiding principles and values in life.
Once you’ve done so, act accordingly even when no one’s watching. You can fool other people but you can never trick yourself. Be a hero in your own eyes.
Integrity makes you an authentic man or a woman. Being authentic doesn’t mean you never lie to people. Sometimes, you have to lie for the welfare of others and yourself. But you must never lie to yourself.
Practice integrity every day when you get the opportunity to make a reasoned choice. Examine your actions and ask yourself if you did the right thing. Are you acting on impulses? Or are you acting in alignment with your principles and values?
Who doesn’t hate rejection? We are wired to avoid rejections because we used to live in small tribes and getting rejected from a tribe could be the difference between life and death.
Today, the situation is different. There are plenty of people on Earth and through the internet, we can reach more people than ever before. If we were to seek approval from everyone, we’d end up miserable.
Remind yourself that there are many people just like you. Find your community and stick with them. You don’t need the opinion of people who don’t matter to you.
Besides, every rejection is not about you. Even you can’t accept every request from everyone, right? So, expect to get rejected and be okay with it. With rejection, comes feedback or a lesson. Take it and trust that there are better things waiting for you.
Practice rejection by using your negotiation skills every once in a while. Difficult conversations have high chances of you getting rejected.
People talk about minimalism a lot. Most people associate minimalism with owning less stuff, which is true. But, there’s more to it than that. It also means letting go of emotional attachments.
Letting go is hard. But it’s part of life. The sooner we learn it, the better off our life will be. Things, people, happiness, sadness, pain, love — all come and go. Life gives what we need at the right time. Accept the gifts from life and learn to let them go.
Start by letting go of small physical and digital stuff. As you practice the skill, you’ll be able to let go during the hard times in life. Let go of the people or stuff that no longer serves you. Let go of distractions that stand in the way of your vision.
When you get good at letting go, you don’t rely on things to be happy. You stop dwelling on the past. You become less anxious about the things you can’t control. You’re able to release the toxic thoughts and emotions from your mind. You become independent. You become free.
If you want to work hard, you must learn to relax and recover. If you don’t recover, you will burn out, perform poorly at work, become a workaholic, and cause serious damage to your wellbeing or your relationships.
I see relaxation as an art. It takes skill to quite down and truly enjoy the time without being ‘productive’ for a while.
On the other hand, some people overindulge and lose track of the purpose of relaxation. Then, they crave even more rest because they start getting addicted to it.
You must find the right balance and take the right recovery dosage you need. Find out what relaxing means to you and make sure your method recharges your batteries.
Another important skill to practice for recovery is your humor skill. Don’t take things personally, find silly reasons to laugh, and make others laugh without insulting anyone.
Lastly, some of the best ideas come up when you’re not working. Allow your mind to wander. Take inspiration from different sources. Train your mind to think divergently. Let your mind wander by setting it free.
“Busy your mind with the concepts of harmony, health, peace, and good will, and wonders will happen in your life.” — Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
The school never taught us how to train the mind for optimal living. But, now you know what skills you can teach your brain if you keep practicing the skills in your day-to-day life. These skills are:
Be honest with where you are at right now and start making progress. Save this post, set a reminder and revisit it to reflect on your progress. Keep reminding yourself of the skills and live your legendary life.
Even if you skip a day, you’ve got 3 hours in a week to change your life.
That’s a lot of time.
The problem is not the time; it’s the lack of intentions.
We have so many options, especially today.
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp — each app shows you stories of how people are spending their time.
Before you know it, there’s another story telling you what you’re missing out on.
There’s a constant battle of attention. Look at me. Buy this. Do that.
Humans are complex creatures. We don’t go after what we want. We go after what others want.
When we don’t get what others want; we hate, shame or blame our lives. We rarely take the time to set intentions in our lives. Instead, we chase what others go after.
You might have clicked on the article to find out what you should do in 30 minutes to change your life.
I can’t tell you that because I don’t know. But I can help you find out yourself what you must do in those 30 minutes that will change your life.
To discover what you need in life, examine your life and see what’s missing from these productive uses of time:
Working (creative, important)
Learning (reading, listening, watching or doing)
Playing or relaxing
Thinking or reflecting
Meditating or buffering (empty spaces)
Connecting (with right people)
Moving and eating (healthy foods)
Once you identify the number one thing missing from your life, use those 30 minutes to bring balance to your life.
If you don’t work on a creative project or hobby, start.
If you don’t learn something, start.
If you don’t already take out time to relax or play, start.
If you don’t reflect by journalling or thinking, start.
If you don’t meditate or don’t have empty spaces in life, start.
If you don’t connect with like-minded people, start.
If you don’t move your body or make healthy meals for yourself, start.
If you get less than 7 hours of sleep, add 30 minutes to your sleep.
What if you have many things missing from your life?
If that’s the case, cut out excess from your life. Excess or lack of any of the above uses of time may not be good.
Find out what you’re doing too much of and cut some time out of it. There’s always enough hours in the day. It’s a matter of setting your priorities and intentions straight.
What if you still don’t have enough time?
I’ve got a solution for that too.
You can further divide your 3 hours into 1.5 hours and 1.5 hours to add two things in your life. If you want to add 3 things, use 1 hour a week for each activity.
The breakdown depends on your situation and circumstances. Customize how you want to schedule those 30 minutes. Remember, you also have a weekend when you can give more time.
Another solution is to combine activities to kill two (or three) birds with one stone. For example, you can play, move and connect at the same time if you workout with a buddy and turn it into play.
Learn to manage and save your energy for your 30 minutes. Give your full focus and attention no matter what you do. Whether it is deep work, deep learning, deep relaxation, deep thinking, deep meditation, deep connection, deep sleep or a challenging workout.
The best times to carve out your 30 minutes are at the start or the end of the day. Use whatever time suits your lifestyle. But make sure those 30 minutes are distractions free.
When you start something, you will not always love it from the beginning. Sometimes, it takes time for you to realize the importance of an activity. Small actions every day can transform your life.
When you look back at your life, you can only thank yourself for each second of those 30 minutes a day.
So, how are you going to spend your golden 30 minutes?
In fact, I was addicted to playing. All I thought and talked about was about playing.
Before video games entered my life, I was only drawn to outdoor and indoor games.
When I started playing video games, nothing was better than the feeling of make-believe and adventure.
I was hooked.
So much so that I could not study during my school time. At school, I would talk about video games with my friends. At home, I would play video games most of the time and when I tried to study, I could not focus because all I could think about was video games.
I did not realize how much addicted I was. It was not only destroying my academic life; it was also influencing my social life.
A few years later, when it was time for college, I enrolled in a game design course because games had become my passion.
As college started, I found the study of games fascinating. I could finally take an interest in the studies.
But as the study of games became my work, I stopped playing.
Then, I was hooked on learning.
Even when I played games, I played them to study them. I rarely played games for leisure.
All my focus was gaining as much knowledge as possible.
We are only humans and we need spaces of unproductive times in our life. Staying ‘on’ all the time is a recipe for disaster. It leads to low willpower and motivation when we need it the most.
However, if you schedule spaces of unproductive or play time, you will come back disciplined and focused when you need it during the time of work.
Life is not all about accomplishing big goals. Learn from children. They show us how being happy looks like.
So, take some time out and play for a while.
The Importance Of Learning
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi
The old times are gone.
Before, you could stick to one job without the fear of losing it if you kept doing average work.
Today, the world is changing at the fastest rate than ever before. The theory of evolution says that we need to adapt to the changes in order to survive.
So, you must stay up to date with the new tools and become a student over and over again.
Become a beginner and follow the pursuit of lifelong learning to excel at work and life.
Lifelong learning keeps your brain active and curious. It helps you to learn new skills or improve your current skillsets. It can take your personal and professional life to the next level.
Learning once, twice or thrice is not enough.
I don’t know about you but I don’t remember 95% of what was taught to me in school.
Learning happens when repetition happens. We can’t expect to see results if we keep consuming content without repeated practice or learning.
Our subconscious takes time before it can digest information.
Create short summaries or notes when you learn something and use them to revisit the main concepts. Also, you can consume the work of other people on the same topic to get new and fresh perspective.
The Importance Of (Creative) Work
“Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart, to give yourself to it.” — Buddha
If you want to make a living by doing something you love, you must become a creator. And if you love your work, it can be the source of fulfilment in life.
But if we don’t let creative habits be the source of dopamine production in our brains, we can become addicted to unhealthy habits.
It has become so easy to consume drugs, smoke, alcohol, junk food, porn, etc. It leads people to use addictions to produce dopamine in their brain whenever they want. And then, they need more of the same behavior to produce the same level of dopamine.
To escape the addiction cycle, learn to express and become a creator.
Creating and expressing are the best things you can do to serve your audience and your soul.
When you do creative work, you don’t need external motivation, apps or tactics to stay on track. You do the work because that’s your home.
Creating crappy content is easy. But masterpieces are the result of play, learning, and devoted work.
My best work comes out when there’s a balance between play, learning, and work in my life.
If I skip one of the three, my life falls out of balance. At the same time, I make sure I don’t overindulge in any of the three.
What’s one thing that is lagging in your life? Or are you overindulging?
I’m lacking some play in my life and I’m probably consuming more content than I need to create balance in my life.
What about you?
Want To Succeed Every Day?
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They told me that if I find success, I will be happy. And some told me that life is all about happiness and enjoyment.
I disagree with both.
You can achieve so much and still feel hollow from inside. In the same way, you can feel happy and still perform unhealthy or destructive activities. It may also lead to being settled or ignorant of your capabilities.
Success is about achieving more. Happiness is about being content with what you have.
If you desire less, you suffer less. Thus, you become happier.
If you desire more, you suffer more. But, you may become more successful.
So which one should you choose?
You can choose both.
We all suffer in one way or another. But the question is — What are you willing to suffer for?
The problem is that most people desire too many things at one time.
The more things you desire, the more you have to suffer.
So, what’s the solution?
Desire less, but desire strong.
We go about desiring things all day long and then wondering why we’re unhappy. So, I like to stay aware of that because then I can choose my desires very carefully. I try not to have more than one big desire in my life at any given time, and I also recognize that as the axis of my suffering. I realize that that’s where I’ve chosen to be unhappy. — Naval Ravikant
When we desire a lot, we may remain unsatisfied with life.
Even if you have a huge bucket list of things you want to do before dying, focus only on checking a few items first instead of trying to do all at once.
Pick your priorities and desires carefully and then let them be the source of your suffering.
Borrow happiness from the appreciation of what you’ve already achieved and then desire a few things strongly.
Once you get what you want, take the time to appreciate and move on to your next achievement.
Kill Regrets Before Death
Regrets can either come from desiring too many things or not having the courage to follow your inner voice.
What do you enjoy doing?
What are you willing to struggle for?
What sacrifices are you willing to make?
How do you want to be remembered?
These are the key questions you must answer to avoid the biggest regrets in life.
Don’t chase what success means to other people. Define what success means to you.
Take the time to define your values, core desire, deeper purpose and a vision.
When your daily actions reflect who you are and what you want to become, you will feel calm and fulfilled. And once you achieve your goals, you will feel immense joy and gratitude.
After success, you have to realign and check with yourself if you’re moving in the right direction.
Misalignment with yourself keeps you unhappy even after achieving your goals.
Integrity keeps you happy on the path of success.
Your decisions and action must be aligned with your values. The moment you betray your values, you will feel unsatisfied.
Alternatives To Success and Happiness
Instead of chasing success, chase growth. And instead of chasing happiness, chase peace.
Being on a path of continuous growth and passion helps you live a meaningful life.
Don’t tie your happiness with your goals. Pursue goals for continuous growth, not for a set destination.
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. — Benjamin Franklin
While suffering, you may not find success or happiness. But you can always find growth and peace in any situation.
The combination of growth and peace leads to a life of fulfilment.
So, don’t settle. Change the things you don’t like about your life but also accept the things you can’t change.
Success may involve comparison with others whereas growth is about the comparison with your past self. Happiness is just a state of mind whereas peace is a way of living.
People think delaying gratification for future success is to delay happiness. But it’s not true.
The act of delaying gratification can become joyful if you treat it such way. When you’re intrinsically motivated, the struggle becomes the joy.
Keep pushing your boundaries and take the time to appreciate your growth.
Stay curious about how much you can grow and learn. (Hint: There is no limit)
It’s a rat race where beautiful moments are forgotten and the present is based on misery. It leads to burnout and then we may find unhealthy ways to make ourselves feel better.
It’s a walk towards the top of the mountain. You can look back to appreciate your achievement. You can feel the beauty in the present moment. You keep moving forward. You stay focused on your vision. Here, you intentionally make time for rest, relaxation and recovery.
On this pursuit, success tastes much better than achieving success on a hedonic treadmill. And after achieving success, what do you do? — You appreciate and move forward.
Skip the hedonic treadmill, go on a trek instead.
Suffering is inevitable, and it’s important for success. Misery is when you suffer for the wrong reasons.
Suffer for the right reasons and enjoy the pursuit of growth and peace. Success and happiness will come along.
Remain grateful and strive for what truly matters to you.
Looking for more alternatives to happiness and success?
If you’ve lost a relationship in the past, write about the beautiful time you spent with each other.
If you stress about work, write how your work is serving other people.
If you don’t like your coworker’s behavior, write about one positive thing about that person.
Shifting perspective sounds easy. But it’s not.
It takes practice.
This is why I want you to do this exercise right now. Once you do this exercise, your mind will remember it.
It will become part of your thinking process. Whenever you think of a negative thought, counter it with a positive one
Nervous about giving a speech in public? Think of the positive impact you will make.
Lost money? Think of one thing you have remain.
Feeling jealous? Appreciate one thing about yourself.
Make it a habit. Give yourself a one day challenge to balance your thoughts.
The aim is to make this habit part of your subconscious. Once it has become part of your thinking process, you will shift your perspective like Tony Robbins does.
Tony says we live in either of the two mental states — A beautiful state or a suffering state.
A beautiful state is when you feel love, joy, gratitude, awe, playfulness, ease, creativity, drive, caring, growth, curiosity or appreciation.
A suffering state is when you feel stressed out, worried, frustrated, angry, depressed, irritable, overwhelmed, resentful or fearful.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Tony was not born optimistic. He practiced it. He put in the effort.
You can do the same.
Your thoughts are the roots of your destiny. Your next action results from your next thought. You owe it to yourself to improve the quality of your thoughts.
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” — Lao Tzu
Do the exercise and give yourself a one day challenge to get started.
It takes a cue, routine and a reward to form a habit. The cue here is an automatic negative thought (ANT), the routine is a positive thought to balance it out, and the reward is how you feel.
Repeat until it becomes part of your thought process.
Comment below and let me know how it goes.
Want To Succeed Every Day?
Design your daily success checklist for high performance and success. Click here to download the free PDF file.