Successful People Invest Their Free Time!

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Get smart with your commute, your lunch break, and your downtime. 

All the minutes you spend on your commute, eating, waiting in lines, walking or sitting – they all add up.

Why not think of clever ways to maximize your day to do something that benefits you?

For example, listen to podcasts on your commute. Take advantage of your one-hour lunch break to take a walk and listen to an audiobook. Use the time while you wait in line at the post office to brainstorm and note down what you want to do the rest of the week.

Instead of sitting down in front of the TV each night, pick something different to entertain yourself: learn some skills, start writing in a journal, get a friend to join you for a game of chess, or read a few chapters of a book somebody recommended to you (instead of browsing your Facebook or Instagram feed).

 

– Nela Canovic

 

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Inside the mind of a master procrastinator!

 

 

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10 Decisions You Would Regret for the Rest of Your Life

By: Jeff Haden

Perspective is a funny thing. Look forward and the path seems uncertain, the future unpredictable. Look back and all the dots seem to connect… except the dots that mark the choices you didn’t make and the risks you didn’t take.

Here are 10 choices you will someday regret having made:

1. Choosing the pain of regret over the pain of discipline

The worst words you can say are, “If I had only…”

Think of all the things you’ve wanted to do but never have. What did you do instead? If you’re like me, you can’t recall. All you know is that time is gone and whatever you did instead wasn’t even worth remembering.

Think about one thing you dreamed of doing five or 10 years ago but didn’t work to do… and think about how good you’d be today at that one thing if you had. Think about all the time you wasted and can never get back.

Then, starting today, push yourself to do what you hope to do… so five or 10 years from now you won’t look back with regret. Sure it will be hard. Sure it will be painful.

But it will be a lot less painful than how it will someday feel when you look back on what could have been… but isn’t.

2. Choosing not to be brave

Being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid — in fact, the opposite is true. Courage without thought or meaning is simply recklessness. Brave people aren’t fearless; they’ve simply found something that matters more to them than fear.

Say you’re scared to start a business. Find a reason that means more: creating a better future for your family, wanting to make a real difference, or hoping for a more rewarding and fulfilling life.

Once you find a greater meaning, you also find courage. See fear not as something to shrink from but as something to overcome — because that’s all it is.

3. Choosing not to say, “I will.”

A boss once gave me what I thought was an impossible task. I said, “OK. I’ll try.”

He told me trying didn’t matter — as long as I didn’t quit, I’d finish it. Trying didn’t enter into it. Persistence was all that mattered.

Often we say, “I’ll try,” because that gives us an out. Our egos aren’t on the line. Our identities aren’t on the line. After all, we’re just “trying.”

Once you say, “I will,” your perspective changes. What previously seemed insurmountable is no longer a matter of luck or chance but of time and effort and persistence.

When what you want to do really matters, don’t say, “I’ll try.” Say, “I will,” and then do everything possible to keep that promise to yourself.

4. Choosing not to take plenty of shots

You may never create the perfect business plan, may never find the perfect partners or the perfect market or the perfect location, but you can find the perfect time to start — because that time is now.

Talent, experience, and connections are important, but put your all into enough new things, and some will work.

Plus, after you take enough shots, over time you’ll grow more skilled, more experienced, and more connected. And that will mean an even greater percentage of your efforts will succeed. Take enough shots, and learn from each experience, and in time you’ll have all the skills, knowledge, and connections you need.

Ultimately, success is a numbers game; it’s all about taking a shot, over and over and over again. The more shots you take, the more times you will succeed. So get the power of numbers on your side and take as many shots as you can.

There is no guarantee of success, but when you don’t take any shots at all, you’re guaranteed to always fail.

5. Choosing not to move

Familiarity creates comfort. But comfort is often the enemy of improvement.

If you have a great opportunity and the only thing holding you back is the thought of moving, move. If you want to be closer to family or friends and the only thing holding you back is the thought of moving, move. If you want to be closer to people who think and feel and act like you, move.

When the fear of moving is the only thing holding you back, move.

Don’t worry. You’ll soon find cool new places to hang out. You’ll soon develop new routines. You’ll soon make new friends. And you’ll gain a great new perspective on your life.

Besides, Thomas Wolfe was wrong. If it doesn’t work out, you can go home again.

6. Choosing not to let go

Bitterness, resentment, and jealousy are like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. You are the only one who loses.

Life is too short to resent all the people who may have hurt you. Let hard feelings go, then spend the energy you save cherishing the people you love and who love you.

7. Choosing not to say you’re sorry

We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, to be there when we’re needed…

Swallow your fear — or pride — and say you’re sorry. Then you’ll help the other person let go of their resentment or bitterness.

And then you both get to make the freshest of fresh starts, sooner instead of later — or instead of never.

8. Choosing not to throw out your backup plans

Backup plans can help you sleep easier at night. But backup plans can also create an easy out when times get tough.

You will work a lot harder and a longer if your primary plan has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment — without a safety net — will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

Then, if somehow the worst does happen (although the “worst” is never as bad as you think), trust that you will find a way to rebound.

As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, you always will.

9. Choosing to be too proud

Don’t be too proud to admit you made a mistake. Don’t be too proud to have big dreams, or to poke fun at yourself, or to ask other people for help.

Don’t be afraid to take a chance and fall on your face… and then to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go again.

Instead, take pride in the fact that no matter what might happen, you will always get up and go again.

That way, you never truly lose — and your dreams can never, ever die.

10. Choosing not to care

Rejection hurts. Sadness hurts. Failure hurts; sometimes a lot. So what do you do?

You avoid getting hurt by deciding you no longer care. But then you never get to experience the joy of connection, the joy of happiness, and the joy of success.

Choose to still be in the game. Choose to care.

Choose to live.

Now it’s your turn. What things do you regret… or hope to someday never have to regret?

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What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

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10 Clever Tricks to Trigger Positive Emotions

The “as if” principle says if we act like we’re happy and confident, we can become more happy and confident. Try these positive-action exercises to lift your mood—and boost your confidence and increase your willpower and deepen your relationships and…

By: Richard Wiseman

People who see the glass half-full are certainly happier than the pessimists of the world, and learning to think positively is worthwhile. However, changing the way you think can be surprisingly tricky, especially when the going gets tough. What if there were a way—a shortcut or hack—that positively affected how you feel when you just can’t seem to shake the blues?

A few years ago, I came across a simple idea that has been validated in hundreds of experiments and has given rise to quick and effective exercises that can help you feel happier, avoid anxiety, increase your willpower, deepen relationships and boost confidence. Perhaps most surprising of all, it does not involve trying to change how you think.

The idea dates back to the turn of the 20th century and to the work of Victorian philosopher William James. Working at Harvard University, James proposed a radical new theory about the link between thinking and behavior. According to conventional wisdom, your thoughts and feelings cause you to behave in certain ways. Feeling happy makes you smile, and feeling sad makes you frown. James wondered whether the exact opposite might also be true, namely that the way you behave can change how you feel.

According to James’s theory, forcing your face into a smile should make you feel happy, and frowning should make you feel sad. James realized that if his theory were true, people should be able to create any feeling they desired simply by acting “as if” they were experiencing that emotion. Although the potential power of his idea clearly energized James (he often referred to it as “bottled lightning”), it was years ahead of its time and received scant attention from his fellow academics.

In the late 1960s, psychologist James Laird from the University of Rochester stumbled across James’s theory and decided to test it. Laird knew that he couldn’t simply ask people to smile and then report how they felt, because they might guess what the experiment was about and play along.

To overcome the problem, Laird advertised for volunteers to take part in a study on the electrical activity of facial muscles. When the volunteers arrived at the laboratory, Laird placed electrodes between their eyebrows and at the corners of their mouths.

The electrodes were fake, but the clever cover story enabled Laird to discreetly manipulate his volunteers’ faces into a smile or frown.

To create a frown, the volunteers were asked to pull together the two electrodes between their eyebrows. For the happy expression, they were asked to draw back the electrodes at the corners of their mouths. After they had contorted their faces into the required positions, participants were asked how they felt. The results were remarkable.

Exactly as predicted by James, the volunteers felt happier when they forced their faces into smiles and sadder when they were frowning.

Curious about this remarkable finding, other scientists started to carry out their own versions of Laird’s groundbreaking experiment. Rather than repeatedly placing fake electrodes on people’s faces, each laboratory produced its own version of the study.

Inspired by photographers who encourage people to smile by getting them to say, “Cheese,” University of Michigan researchers asked volunteers repeatedly to make an “ee” sound (as in easy) to force their faces into smiles, or an “eu” sound (as in yule) to produce expressions nearer to disgust. Similarly, researchers in Germany were investigating how to teach people who were paralyzed below the neck to write, and asked volunteers either to support pencils horizontally between their teeth (thus forcing their faces into a smile) or hold pencils between their lips (thus pulling their faces into a frown).

Time and again, the results revealed that James’s theory was correct, with volunteers who repeatedly chanted “ee” or supported pencils between their teeth suddenly feeling much happier. In short, behaving “as if” you were experiencing a certain emotion triggers that same emotion.

Other researchers have set out to discover whether the “as if” principle also worked in other areas of everyday life. Results have shown that very small changes in your actions can have a fast and long-lasting effect on your happiness, motivation, willpower, creativity and personality. So why not adopt more positive actions in your life?

Here are 10 positive-action exercises to try:

  1. Feeling Happy

There is more to lifting your mood than forcing your face into a brief, unfelt smile that finishes in the blink of an eye. Instead:

  • Relax the muscles in your forehead and cheeks, and let your mouth drop slightly open.

  • Contract the muscles near the corners of your mouth, drawing them back toward your ears. Make the smile as wide as possible and extend your eyebrow muscles slightly upward. Hold the resulting expression for about 20 seconds.

Try to incorporate this mood-brightening exercise into your daily routine by, for example, smiling just before you answer the telephone or setting a reminder on your computer.

  1. Moving On

Struggling to get over an upsetting choice you had to make? Researcher Xiuping Li from the National University of Singapore Business School asked each participant in a study to write down a recent decision he or she regretted. Li then asked some of the participants to seal their regrets in an envelope. Those who did so then reported feeling significantly better about their past decisions. Although they were just acting on a physically symbolic closure, their actions helped them reach psychological closure.

Next time you want some help getting over the loss of a client or a bad business decision, write a brief description of what happened on a piece of paper, put the paper in an envelope, and kiss the past goodbye. And if you really want to have fun, reach for the matches and convert your envelope into a pile of ashes.

  1. The Power of Secrets

The more couples get to know one another, the more they disclose personal information. Psychologist Arthur Aron with the State University of New York at Stony Brook wondered whether asking two people to disclose personal information (and so acting “as if” they were more intimate) would make them feel especially close.

Aron paired strangers, gave them a set of 36 questions that allowed them to open up about increasingly private aspects of their lives and then had them rate how they felt about each other. As predicted, the questions promoted a sense of intimacy and attraction. When using this technique to deepen your relationship with a colleague, family member or friend, take things one step at a time and make sure you’re both comfortable with the conversation.

Here are 10 sample questions from Aron’s experiment:

  • Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

  • Would you like to be famous? In what way?

  • Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

  • What would constitute a perfect day for you?

  • When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

  • If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

  • What is your most treasured memory?

  • What is your most terrible memory?

  • For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

  • If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

  1. Pull Me–Push You

If you are dieting, try behaving as if you don’t like unhealthy food. Research shows that pushing an object away from you (and so behaving as if you didn’t like it) makes you dislike the object. Whereas, pulling it toward you (behaving as if you liked it) makes you feel far more positively about it. Next time you are confronted with a plate of sugary or fried snacks, simply push the plate away from you and feel the temptation fade.

Conversely, if you are in sales and want to make prospective clients feel more positive about a product, try placing it on a table in front of them and encouraging them to slide it closer.

  1. Muscle Magic

People who are highly motivated often tense their muscles as they prepare to spring into action. But research from Iris Hung, an associate professor of marketing at the National University of Singapore, has shown that the opposite is also true—you can boost your willpower simply by tensing your muscles. Next time you feel your willpower draining away, try, for example, making a fist, contracting your biceps, pressing your thumb and first finger together, or gripping a pen in your hand.

Similarly, if you want to persevere with something, try crossing your arms. Ron Friedman, social psychologist and founder of ignite80, asked people to tackle difficult anagrams with their arms either crossed or resting on their thighs.

By folding their arms, people were acting as if they were persistent, and they continued trying to solve the puzzle for nearly twice as long as those with their hands on their thighs.

  1. Breaking Habits

You can help crack unwanted habits by behaving as if you are someone who never gets stuck in a routine. Psychologists Ben Fletcher and Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. carried out research in which people trying to lose weight were asked to adopt a more flexible approach to life (by, for example, being asked to stop watching television for a day or traveling to work using different routes).

These small changes helped people break their bad patterns. Try to undo unwanted habits by behaving as if you are a flexible person and carrying out one of the following every few days:

  • Try an unusual form of food.

  • Visit a new art gallery or museum.

  • Go to a shop that you have never visited before.

  • Make time to see a film that you don’t think you will enjoy.

  1. How to Negotiate

The chairs that you sit in affect your behavior, which in turn affects how you think. In a study by Joshua Ackerman, an assistant professor of marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management, volunteers sat on either hard chairs or soft-cushioned chairs while paired with strangers to role-play the negotiation of selling a new car. Those in the hard chairs sat rigidly, while those sitting in the soft chairs felt comfortable—and sure enough, their behavior was significantly different. Those in the hard chairs were more inflexible in their negotiations and demanded a higher price for the car.

Hard furniture creates hard behavior, which underlines the importance of having soft furnishings in your home and office (except for when you need to be the bad cop).

  1. The Power of Warm

From an early age, we associate the feeling of warmth with safety and security (think hugs and open fires), and coldness with unfriendliness (think “getting the cold shoulder” and “icy stare”).

The “as if” principle predicts that warming people up should make them feel far more friendly. Research conducted by University of Colorado psychologist Lawrence Williams suggests that this is indeed the case. Williams handed volunteers either a hot cup of coffee or a cold drink, asked them to read a short description of a stranger, and then asked them to rate the stranger’s personality. The volunteers who had been warmed up by the coffee thought that the stranger seemed much friendlier than those who had been clutching iced drinks.

If you are trying to befriend someone, skip the frozen cocktails in an air-conditioned bar and instead opt for a steaming mug of tea in front of a roaring fire.

  1. All Together Now

Want to get a group to bond together quickly and believe in a single cause? Get them to act in unison. Assistant professor Scott Wiltermuth from the University of Southern California gathered groups of three volunteers. Some of the groups were asked to walk around the university campus normally, while others were formed into a small army and asked to march around the same route in step.

In another part of the study, groups were asked to listen to a national anthem, and others were asked to sing along and move in time to the music. The people in each of the groups were then asked to play a board game in which they could choose to help or hinder one another.

Those who had been walking in sync and singing in unison quickly bonded, and they were significantly more likely to help one another during the game.

People who have bonded together often act in unison. Similarly, acting in unison helps people bond together.

  1. Power Posing

A study done at Columbia University discovered that when people are put into “power poses,” they feel more confident, have higher levels of testosterone (a chemical associated with dominance) and lower levels of cortisol (a chemical associated with stress).

So if you are sitting down, lean back, look up and interlock your fingers behind your head. If you are standing up, then place your feet flat on the floor and push your shoulders back and your chest forward.

Or, if you haven’t got time to strike a powerful pose, just make a fist. Psychologist Thomas Schubert from the University of Oslo asked a group of men to rate how confident they felt, then to form their hand into a fist for a few seconds, and then to re-rate their confidence. The volunteers’ bodies influenced their brains, with the men enjoying a significant boost in confidence because they had spent a few moments forming a fist.

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Why we do what we do?

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10 Daily Habits of the Most Confident People

Stay motivated and confident.

By: Chris Dessi

I’m not here to patronize you. We know if you walk with better posture, force a fake smile, or get a new haircut you can trick your brain and boost your self-confidence.  Perhaps for 20 minutes you’ll think you’re the next Richard Branson.

I’m here to tell you there are proven ways to improve your self-confidence that will drive real, long lasting change in your life.

  1. Meditate

When we feel insecure, it manifests itself in myriad ways. Our bodies don’t work. We can’t focus. Insecurity creeps in when we’re not living in the present moment.

Taking control of our monkey brain is a profound step toward true self-confidence.  I recommend you try the Headspace app.  You can select five minute, 10 minute, and 20 minute simple guided meditations.

  1. Think Inside The Box

Having the freedom to make choices with your time might be one of the main reasons you decided to become an entrepreneur.

But too many options can be your downfall.

We speak in platitudes that we think carry weight–like “think outside the box.” There is a freeing joy in thinking inside the box. Executing on what you know, focusing, and moving the needle are empowering.

  1. Learn Something New Every Day

The average audio book is 10 hours. If you commute 60 minutes a day, you can listen to about 24 books a year.

That’s a life changing habit. The more knowledge you have, the greater your confidence will be. Simple. Check out Audible for some choices.

  1. Teach

If you’re an expert in your field, sharing your knowledge will add to your fulfillment as a human being. Feeling fulfilled will add to your confidence.

If public speaking terrifies you, consider posting content on platforms like LinkedIn or Medium. Or you can create an online course on Teachable.com.

  1. Take Control of Your Career

The best way I know of to do this is to launch your own personal blog. I recommend the URL be: first name, last name DOT COM.

It’s a simple notion. If you take control of your personal brand and create content that inspires you, confidence will follow.

  1. Exercise

Instead of buying expensive clothes, you can workout. Clothes will fit better. Instead of trying to walk with your shoulders back, exercise. Your core muscle strength will enhance your posture and gait.

Instead of buying skin products, exercise and hydrate. Your skin will look better. Instead of forcing that fake smile to make you feel happier–exercise. The Mayo Clinic says, “You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.”

  1. Get More Sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, try the Sleep Cycle app. Getting enough sleep helps your brain and body. The Harvard Mental Health Letter states: “The deepest stage of quiet sleep produces physiological changes that help boost immune system functioning.”

Sleep Cycle helps you see when you fall into the deepest, most healing stages of sleep. It goes off with a gentle chime that wakes you at your peak awakeness cycle. Better sleep, sharper mind, better mood, and greater self-confidence.

  1. Volunteer and Give Back

I used to volunteer at the Den for Grieving Kids in Greenwich, Connecticut.  September 11th happened. My fellow volunteers became my support network.

I thought I was giving. I thought I was sacrificing.  All the love I cold conjure couldn’t match the love I felt from that group in the weeks and months after 9/11.  Who knows, you may heal someone, and you may heal your own soul.

  1. Socialize

This can be a difficult one for introverts. Socializing, or finding your tribe, doesn’t always have to happen in person. Joining an online community of like-minded people can enhance your self-worth.

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs includes belongingness among the essentials. Contributing on Quora or posting compelling content to your network on LinkedIn can create a real sense of belonging. Similarly, building community via your Twitter account can also stimulate this powerful feeling.

  1. Get Curious

Seek people who are more experienced than you. Learning from them will instill a powerful calm of knowing. Chances are; the lessons they share will be invaluable.

Most “overnight success” stories have experienced the trials and tribulations that you may also be experiencing. They have all survived and may be able to help you.

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