Category Archives: Career

10 Things Confident People Don’t Do

Today’s material comes courtesy of Travis Bradberry who is the author of “Emotional Intelligence.”  I hope you enjoy the read and can utilize some of these tips as we head into 2017 to become a more confident person in every aspect of your life.

In The Empire Strikes Back, when Yoda is training Luke to be a Jedi, he demonstrates the power of the Force by raising an X-wing fighter from a swamp. Luke mutters, “I don’t believe it.” Yoda replies, “That is why you fail.”

As usual, Yoda was right—and science backs him up. Numerous studies have proved that confidence is the real key to success.

Studies exploring the performance gap between men and women in math and spatial skills have found that confidence plays a huge role. Women who were asked to identify their gender before taking a spatial skills test performed more poorly than those who weren’t. Women also performed better when they were told to envision themselves as men, and both genders performed better when they were told that their gender is better at the task.

What’s even more interesting is that the gender gap practically disappeared when participants were required to answer every question. Apparently, when the women were allowed to skip questions, they did so not because of a lack of knowledge, but because of a lack of confidence.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh

True confidence is very different from egotistical swagger. When people believe in themselves and their abilities without bravado, there are certain things they simply don’t do.

They don’t make excuses. If there’s one trait confident people have in spades, it’s self-efficacy—the belief that they can make things Image result for making excuseshappen. It’s about having an internal locus of control rather than an external one. That’s why you won’t hear confident people blaming traffic for making them late or an unf
air boss for their failure to get a promotion. Confident people don’t make excuses, because they believe they’re in control of their own lives.

They don’t quit. Confident people don’t give up the first time something Image result for Don't quitgoes wrong. They see both problems and failures as obstacles to overcome rather than impenetrable barriers to success. That doesn’t mean, however, that they keep trying the s
ame thing over and over. One of the first things confident people do when something goes wrong is to figure out why it went wrong and how they can prevent it the next time.

They don’t wait for permission to act. Confident people don’t need somebody to tell them what to do or when to do it. They don’t waste time asking themselves questions like “Can I?” or “Should I?” If they ask themselves anything, it’s “Why wouldn’tI?” Whether it’s running a meeting when the chairperson doesn’t show up or going the extra mile to solve a customer’s problem, it doesn’t even occur to them to wait for somebody else to take care of it. They see what needs to be done, and they do it.

They don’t seek attention. People are turned off by those who are desperate for attention. Confident people know that being yourself is much more effective than trying to prove that you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what, or how many, people you know. Image result for Seek attentionConfident people always seem to bring the right attitude. Confident people are masters of attention diffusion. When they’re receiving attention for an accomplishment, they quickly shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help get them there. They don’t crave approval or praise because they draw their self-worth from within.

They don’t need constant praise. Have you ever been around somebody who constantly needs to hear how great he or she is? Confident people don’t do that. It goes back to that internal locus of control. They don’t think that their success is dependent on other people’s approval, and they understand that no matter how well they perform, there’s always going to be somebody out there offering nothing but criticism. Confident people also know that the kind of confidence that’s dependent on praise from other people isn’t really confidence at all; it’s narcissism.

They don’t put things off. Why do people procrastinate? Sometimes it’s simply because they’re lazy. A lot of times, though, it’s because they’re afraid—that is, afraid of change, failure, or maybe even success. Confident people don’t put things off. Because they believe in themselves and expect that their actions will lead them closer to their goals, they don’t sit around waiting for the right time or the perfect circumstances. They know that today is the only time that matters. If they think it’s not the right time, they make it the right time.

They don’t pass judgment. Confident people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other Image result for Passing judgmentpeople down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Confident people don’t waste time sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up to everyone they meet.

They don’t avoid conflict. Confident people don’t see conflict as something to be avoided at all costs; they see it as something to manage effectively. They don’t go along to get along, even when that means having uncomfortable conversations or making unpleasant decisions. They know that conflict is part of life and that they can’t avoid it without cheating themselves out of the good stuff, too.

They don’t let a lack of resources get in their way. Confident people don’t get thrown off course just because they don’t have the right title, the right staff, or the money to make things happen. Either they find a way to get what they need, or they figure out how to get by without it.

They don’t get too comfortable. Confident people understand that getting too comfortable is the mortal enemy of achieving their goals. That’s because they know that comfort leads to complacency, and complacency leads to stagnation. When they start feeling comfortable, they take that as a big red flag and start pushing their boundaries again so that they can continue to grow as both a person and a professional. They understand that a little discomfort is a good thing.

Bringing It All Together

Embracing the behaviors of confident people is a great way to increase your odds for success, which, in turn, will lead to more confidence. The science is clear; now you just have to decide to act on it.

Tell us if you agree or not!

When Should You Say No To Your Boss (Courtesy of Travis Bradberry)

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Happy hump day people!  As the mornings continue to get cooler and cooler (even if the afternoons don’t) I am getting more and more excited for the fall season.  If you are a frequent reader of our blog than you know how important I believe work-life balance is not only to a healthy lifestyle but also to a successful marriage and family life. Thus, whether you are single or married balancing both is an important aspect that should be taken seriously.

I am a big fan of Travis Bradberry who has authored several books including Emotional Intelligence 2.0 This is a highly recommend read regardless of your career path, experience level or age. Whenever I see a new article he has written on LinkedIn I always make it a point to read it as soon as possible.  I have found his insights invaluable while I was debating my next career move.

Below is his most recent article on LinkedIn and since many of my readers have demanding jobs and in turn demanding bosses, I wanted to share this with you.  I have learned the hard way that balance is key and wished I had used some of this advice 12 months ago.  Enjoy!

The typical workday is long enough as it is, and technology is making it even longer. When you do finally get home from a full day at the office, your mobile phone rings off the hook, and emails drop into your inbox from people who expect immediate responses.

While most people claim to disconnect as soon as they get home, recent research says otherwise. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that more than 50% of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we’re sick. Even worse, 44% of us check work email while on vacation.

A Northern Illinois University study that came out this summer shows just how bad this level of connection really is. The study found that the expectation that people need to respond to emails during off-work hours produces a prolonged stress response, which the researchers named telepressure. Telepressure ensures that you are never able to relax and truly disengage from work. This prolonged state of stress is terrible for your health. Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance.

We need to establish boundaries between our personal and professional lives. When we don’t, our work, our health, and our personal lives suffer.

Responding to emails during off-work hours isn’t the only area in which you need to set boundaries. You need to make the critical distinction between what belongs to your employer and what belongs to you and you only. The items that follow are yours. If you don’t set boundaries around them and learn to say no to your boss, you’re giving away something with immeasurable value.

Your health. It’s difficult to know when to set boundaries around your health at work because the decline is so gradual. Allowing stress to build up, losing sleep, and sitting all day without exercising all add up. Before you know it, you’re rubbing your aching back with one hand and your zombie-like eyes with the other, and you’re looking down at your newly-acquired belly. The key here is to not let things sneak up on you, and the way you do that is by keeping a consistent routine. Think about what you need to do to keep yourself healthy (taking walks during lunch, not working weekends, taking your vacations as scheduled, etc.), make a plan, and stick to it no matter what. If you don’t, you’re allowing your work to overstep its bounds.

maxresdefaultYour family. It’s easy to let your family suffer for your work. Many of us do this because we see our jobs as a means of maintaining our families. We have thoughts such as “I need to make more money so that my kids can go to college debt-free.” Though these thoughts are well-intentioned, they can burden your family with the biggest debt of all—a lack of quality time with you. When you’re on your deathbed, you won’t remember how much money you made for your spouse and kids. You’ll remember the memories you created with them.

Your sanity. While weCTivGgYUsAAz9lF all have our own levels of this to begin with, you don’t owe a shred of it to your employer. A job that takes even a small portion of your sanity is taking more than it’s entitled to. Your sanity is something that’s difficult for your boss to keep track of. You have to monitor it on your own and set good limits to keep yourself healthy. Often, it’s your life outside of work that keeps you sane. When you’ve already put in a good day’s (or week’s) work and your boss wants more, the most productive thing you can do is say no, then go and enjoy your friends and hobbies. This way, you return to work refreshed and de-stressed. You certainly can work extra hours if you want to, but it’s important to be able to say no to your boss when you need time away from work.

Your identity. While your work is an important part of your identity, it’s dangerous to allow your work to become your whole identity. You know you’ve allowed this to go too far when you reflect on what’s important to you and work is all that (or most of what) comes to mind. Having an identity outside of work is about more than just having fun. It also helps you relieve stress, grow as a person, and avoid burnout.

Your contacts. While you do owe your employer your best effort, you certainly don’t owe him or her the contacts you’ve developed over the course of your career. Your contacts are a product of your hard work and effort, and while you might share them with your company, they belong to you.

Your integrity. Sacrificing your integrity causes you to experience massive amounts of stress. Once you realize that your actions and beliefs are no longer in alignment, it’s time to make it clear to your employer that you’re not willing to do things his or her way. If that’s a problem for your boss, it might be time to part ways.

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Bringing It All Together

Success and fulfillment often depend upon your ability to set good boundaries. Once you can do this, everything else just falls into place.

What do you do to set boundaries around your work? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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In Order to Be Successful, You Will Need to Find Joy in Cleaning Up Your Own Mess

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I came across this article on LinkedIn this week and while not profound I certainly could relate given my recent move to Nashville. If you have been following us for the last 20 months you are aware how awful our time in St. Louis (on every level just about) had been.

I found it impossible to not let all the bad things influence my attitude, life choices and overall outlook on life.  It was a pretty quick downward spiral that I stayed in for most of the time I was there (just ask my wife.)  It wasn’t until early June when I finally realized our time in St. Louis was coming to an official end that I once again found joy.

Our journey in life, love and career truly is never a straight line nor does it typically continue in an upward trajectory.  Instead it is filled with moments of heartbreak, disappoint, joy, success and everything in between.  It is how we handle the good and the bad that will determine our outlook on life (yes you can handle the good stuff poorly.)

Okay  I will get off my soap box and let Bruce Kasanoff take over. Hope you enjoy!

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One morning last week, I made myself a bowl of oatmeal, poured an iced tea, and headed towards my home office. But I was already preoccupied with work and not really paying attention. My toe caught the edge of the second step. Wham! Oatmeal and tea splattered everywhere.

At 7:58:01 I was excited about a great new idea. At 7:58:31 I was mopping up a mess.

This is a trivial example, but it’s also the way life is. Fresh out of business school, I took a job with Citibank and headed to Europe to travel for a month before joining the workforce. While I was away, the division that hired me shut down, and I lost my job before it started.

Fortunately, things also work in unexpectedly positive ways. I found the best job of my career by answering an ad that Seth Godin placed in the New York Times. His ad said, “Before you come to our open house, read The One to One Future by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers.”

I bought the book on the way to Seth’s event, intending to skim it in his parking lot, but ended up reading almost the whole book in my car. Weeks later, I was working for Don and Martha’s company.

You walk through one door and a bucket of water falls on your head. You walk through another and someone doubles your salary. (Of course, most times when you walk through a door, you simply enter another room.)

Since people don’t like uncertainty, many of us delude ourselves that we know what’s on the other side of each door through which we pass.

This, of course, is wrong.

Once you understand this, you end up with only two logical strategies:

1. When you fail, act as though success is following close behind: Don’t give up or give into self-pity. Don’t accept that your fate is bleak or hopeless. Just dig in and work your way back towards the light.

In real life, many people get worn down by adversity. They start to believe that their fate is to do badly. Your fate is what you believe it to be, so never accept this conclusion.

2. When you succeed, act as though failure is following close behind: If and when you get to the top of the mountain, do not scream, “I’m king (or queen) of the mountain!” Be as nice to people as when you were working your way up from the bottom. Be cautious with your newly-earned gains. Recognize that this, too, shall pass.

In real life, people love to believe that they are 100% responsible for their success. Not true.

The people around you are largely responsible for your success; never, ever forget that.

My favorite saying, which comes in many slightly different forms, is this: Gain your pleasure from the journey itself, not from some distant destination.

Don’t let your happiness depend on a perfect outcome to your day, year, or decade.

In other words, when you spill your oatmeal, have fun cleaning it up.

Tell us if you agree or not!

Fashion Friday! Dress to Impress

Happy Friday everyone!

I am not working today and instead am enjoying the day off with my favorite lady.  I hope you have all had an amazing week!  Below’s fashion advice comes courtesy of The Art of Manliness.  The blog is a little long but it has some solid fashion and career advice.  There were even a few nuggets in there that made me realize I need to step my game up.  Hope you enjoy!

Are you intentionally making mistakes at work to make yourself look incompetent?  Are you purposely sabotaging your presentations?

Are you setting yourself up for failure as an instructor? Hopefully, the answer is no.

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Yet the vast majority of men I see who want to be influential fail to master the three tips I’ll share today. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Men spend a lot of time, money, and effort learning to be more persuasive speakers and negotiators. And for good reason — mastering these skills can reap huge returns when it comes to business and personal success.

But what if there were something you could do that would dramatically increase your persuasiveness without any extra effort or training on your part?

Would you take advantage of it?

If the answer is yes, it’s time to start thinking more about your personal appearance and how it relates to the art of persuasion and influence.

Attractiveness and Persuasion

We like to think that persuasion is a matter of good arguments and compelling rhetoric — in part because we don’t want to believe that we can be swayed by anything less.

The research says otherwise.

There have been a number of studies in the last fifty years that demonstrate people’s tendency to be more persuaded by attractive speakers than by unattractive ones.

In 1979, Shelly Chaiken published a paper on her study of instructors in academic settings. She found that instructors rated as “attractive” by their students could generate significantly higher levels of agreement from their audience than ones rated as “unattractive.” Even more impressively, the study also demonstrated that students actually performed better when they had an instructor they found attractive.

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 Why Attractiveness Affects Influence

It’s a little disheartening to think that just being handsome can make people under your leadership perform better, or make audiences more likely to agree with your point of view.

Worth bearing in mind is that it’s not a one-way street. Attractive individuals tend, on the whole, to have an easier time in social situations than unattractive ones. That, in turn, encourages them to be more outgoing and social, which gives them more practice with their interactive skills.

But with that said, there’s also an effect on the viewer’s brain when a person is particularly attractive. Our brains are big into shortcuts. Give them a chance and they’ll save mental energy by categorizing people into simple, all-or-nothing terms like “good” and “bad,” or in this case, “attractive” and “unattractive.”

That gives us a tendency to take a broad, generalized assumption about a person, such as “he looks good,” and then ascribe that quality to specific judgments as well, such as “he’s probably a good teacher,” or “he must be a good father.”

This is called the “halo effect.” It was first studied in the 1920s by a researcher named Edward Thorndike, who had noticed that in military evaluations, officers who were ranked highly in some qualities were ranked highly in other, unrelated categories as well. Similarly, officers with low rankings in some categories usually had low rankings in others.

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What does a squared-away uniform say about a Marine?

Objectively, the results didn’t make sense. Unrelated qualities like physical fitness and mental attentiveness should, in theory, be randomly distributed. You might get one or two high performers very good at everything they do, and one or two washouts who aren’t good at anything, but in general people should be good at some things and not at others.

What Thorndike found, however, was that one strong positive impression — an officer’s physique, say, or his attention to neatness and punctuality — was enough to generate an overall “good feeling” that spilled over into the rest of the evaluation. Once the person filling out the evaluation noticed something good about an individual, he assumed that they were good at other things too. The result was true for negative impressions as well.

Studies have shown, with remarkable consistency, that the halo effect is real and has a statistically significant effect on people’s success, in everything ranging from education to politics to courtroom defenses (one study showed that attractive people received much more lenient sentences than unattractive ones, even when convicted of the exact same crime).

This effect comes into play when you’re trying to persuade, in any setting or situation. The more positive people’s first visual impression of you is, the more positive traits they’ll associate with everything you say. A 1975 study found that clothing had more impact on first impressions in social settings than the person wearing the clothing — powerful stuff when you’re getting up in front of an audience!

How to Dress to Persuade

It should be obvious, then, that anyone who needs to persuade — for a job, a cause, or anything else — wants to look as “good” as possible.

But what is “good,” in personal appearance?

1. Be Free of Imperfections

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Can you spot the imperfections that different clothing exaggerates or masks on the same man?

To persuade, be meticulous.

Be meticulous about your hair, be meticulous about your shoes, be meticulous about your clothes. Everything counts.

Your goal when you prepare for a persuasive speech or sales pitch is to eliminate imperfections.

A tuft of hair out of place or a scuff on your shoes may not seem like much, and realistically, most people won’t consciously notice something minor like that, but their subconscious mind is still picking up the visual signal of asymmetry, and that tells the back of their brain that something isn’t quite right. The result is a vague, indefinable and off-putting sensation that the viewer won’t even be aware of — but that will be coloring his or her judgment of you.

Our brains evolved to use basic bilateral symmetry as a sign of good health and development, so they easily pick up on anything that deviates from that pattern. Always strive for a symmetrical look — or, when you break it, for a firm and deliberate asymmetry. A bright splash of color on one breast from a pocket square is fine; a faint stain on one lapel is not.

Remember that humans can generally only pay attention to one thing at a time. Our brains and our eyes are good at focusing, but bad at interpreting multiple stimuli at once. If you give people something out of place to focus on, they’re going to zero in on it. Thinking about how your tie doesn’t go well with your pants takes up the brain space they should be using to consider your message.

When you think about it, even things that we recognize as major gaffes aren’t much more than small details done wrong. Showing up at a presentation with your fly unzipped is, in practical terms, a flaw in maybe 1-2% of your total appearance. The rest of your outfit looks just fine! But we all know how big of a difference that one little zipper out of place is — it’s a deal breaker, guaranteed.

Things that logically have nothing to do with your intelligence or with the value of the message can still leave people thinking that you’re unconvincing. So take the time you need to get everything just right.

Aim for perfection. Go for the extra slow shave, the just-right-for-you hair product, the shoeshine in the airport. They end up mattering.

2. Be Well-FittedTailor-measuring-tall-man-clothing-400

The neat, crisp outline of well-fitted clothing serves the same purpose as painstaking attention to detail — it removes subtle asymmetries from your overall image.

You’re never going to look as attractive as you can if you have loose folds of cloth sagging off your body. A too-tight fit is just as bad, since it wrinkles and bunches when you move, so aim for a fit that’s close to the skin, but not restrictive. Click here for a refresher on how a suit should fit.

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Pay attention to your proportions here as well, especially if you’re outside the average build for a man. It’s easy for details like the pockets on shirts and jackets or the length of cuffs to get pulled far enough away from “normal” that the look is off-putting if you’re unusually large or small.

Part of this is avoiding off-putting imperfections. Another part is evolutionary — human brains like straight-limbed, well-proportioned bodies. They look like strong leaders and capable providers. When you look like that, you become the sort of person that other humans instinctively want to have in their group. The urge to fit in with you — and to agree with you — gets stronger.

Having clothing adjusted to flatter your body as much as possible encourages that eagerness to agree with you. If your posture and your outline has already convinced the audience that you’d be a good guy to keep around, you’re halfway to convincing them of anything else as well.

A little tailoring goes a long way. Plan on having the majority of your clothes adjusted by a tailorwho knows you well. The differences are subtle, but the cumulative effect is impressive.

3. Be Dressed Up, Not Dressed Down

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Finding the exact level of formality can be tricky, especially if you’re speaking in a casual or non-traditional setting.

More than one politician has gotten himself in trouble by showing up at a soup kitchen or a disaster shelter wearing a tailored suit and an expensive silk tie.

In general, when attempting to persuade, you want to err on the side of looking like you dressedup for the occasion, not dressed down. Lean toward the more formal end of what your audience will be wearing (but not too much beyond that).

There’s a very simple reason for this: you’re trying to influence, and therefore your clothes should be the clothes of an influential man. The halo effect will kick in for you once again, making people much more receptive to your words and ideas.

For most of the Western world, that usually means a suit or blazer-style jacket. The V-shaped chest opening and squared shoulders speak to our subconscious minds of power and influence— and as an added bonus, they flatter the male physiology too, making you look more dominant.

Don’t be afraid to look a little more dressed up than the people around you. That’s your way of showing them respect. Subconsciously, they’ll assume that your ideas are important too.

There’s a practical element here as well: it’s much easier to correct being “overdressed” than under-dressed. If you show up somewhere in a tie and jacket and you realize that absolutely no one else there is wearing anything nicer than a casual collared shirt, it’s not that hard to slip off your jacket and tie, roll up your sleeves, and fit right in.

If you show up in blue jeans and a work shirt and find everyone else wearing suits, that’s a lot harder to correct for. So err on the side of dressing up more than everyone else, and shed accents or layers as needed to bring it back down if you really feel out of place.

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Be Attractive. Be Persuasive.

If it sounds irrational to you that something so unrelated to your other merits can have such a powerful effect, don’t worry — you’re not alone.

The halo effect is just one of many seemingly irrational ways that the human brain processes external stimuli. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

Most people, if they really think about it, can recognize at least a few times when they’ve let a public figure’s appearance or charm affect their perception of other, unrelated issues.

It’s why Hollywood celebrities so often get away with extreme behaviors that would be off-putting in others — we already have a perception of them as larger-than-life characters (since that’s how we see them in their on-screen roles), so it seems “okay” for them to behave that way on the streets of Los Angeles as well.

So yes, it can be hard to believe that something as simple as wearing nice clothing can actively improve your powers of persuasion. But have a little faith in the science and in your own understanding of human nature.

It’s not a magic charm. Just having a good suit isn’t going to make people agree with everything you say. For one thing, there are a lot of other guys out there in good suits already, so you have lots of competition for people’s attention!

But you can create a positive first impression by being neat, by having the attractive outline that well-fitted clothing brings, and by looking just a little more dressed-up than the men around you. That edge might just be enough to tip the scales in your favor and get you the job, the sale, the votes — whatever it is you need from other people.

There are limits to the effect, certainly. Even a very well-dressed man isn’t going to be listened to if he’s shouting about the aliens in his head. But a well-dressed man speaking calmly about reasonable-sounding ideas is much more likely to be believed than the same man giving the same speech in a sloppy outfit.

Avoid Shortcuts In Order to Achieve Success!

7 Shortcuts You Will Regret Taking in Life

“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder – or impossible – to lose.”
Sarah Dessen

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

Today’s post comes to us from our friends at Marc and Angel Hack Life.  Reading this earlier this morning it provided some much need inspiration for me so I thought I would share on today’s blog.  I have added a few inspiration quotes (and of course some YouTube clips to keep it exciting, but otherwise this is pretty much unedited.  Hope you enjoy!

There is no shortcut to anywhere worth going. There is no substitute for doing the work. Meditate on this every day: “I will do the work.” As Einstein once said, “Genius is 1% talent and 99% effort.” You must run to be a runner. You must write to be a writer. You must actively attend to your relationships if you want them to flourish.

By all means, find ways to be more efficient. But make no mistake that it takes diligent effort to build something worthwhile. There are certainly some success stories out there about people who excelled rather quickly, but you will usually find they had put in years of related work long before anyone was paying attention to their seemingly rapid success. In other words, their current state of achievement is simply all those years of work coming together flawlessly in the present.

The most effective way to handle what must be done is to do it. Put in the required labor. Don’t sell yourself short by taking shortcuts like these:

1. Taking the easiest route possible.

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Becausenarrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14

“Two roads diverged in a woods – and I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference” Robert Frost

Someday you will look back on your life and realize that everything worthwhile you’ve ever accomplished initially challenged you. And that is as it should be, because big challenges often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary success.

Every struggle arises for a reason – for experience or a lesson. A great journey is never easy, and no dose of adversity along the way is ever a waste of time if you learn and grow from it.

Remember, an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards, and such is life. When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to eventually launch you forward in a positive direction. So keep focusing, and keep aiming!

2. Settling for the way things are by default.

The decision to settle for mediocrity is a real killer. If you settle for just anything, you’ll never know what you’re truly worthy of. There is ample time for you to be who you want to be. Despite the struggles that you might be facing, never give up on yourself. Don’t just take the easy way out and settle for less than what you know you are capable of.

Realize that it’s not always about trying to fix something that’s broken either. Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something new. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly. Sometimes growing stronger means growing apart from old habits, relationships, and situations, and finding something different that truly moves you – something that gets you so excited you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. That’s what LIVING is all about. Don’t settle.

3. Leaving everything to chance.

It’s not what you do every once in a while, but what you dedicate yourself to on a daily basis that makes a difference in the end. Having a plan, even a flawed one at first, is better than no plan at all.

Don’t trap yourself, endlessly, in a state where you are unable to ask for directions, even though you’re terribly lost, simply because you don’t know your destination. Figure out what you want. When you get real about the true feelings you crave, you end up surprising yourself with an abundance of new opportunities and possibilities.

Bottom line: One day your life will flash before your eyes. Do your best every day to make sure it’s worth watching. Work towards something that brings meaning to your moments.

4. Following the crowd.

Allen Ginsberg once said, “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” In other words, in this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to be your incredible self.

Never let what other people expect from you dictate what you expect from yourself. Clarity about your true desires is so liberating because you get to stop proving yourself to everyone, including yourself.

We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own way, and we will never be happy if we live someone else’s idea of life. So stop being ashamed of how you feel. You have the right to feel any emotion that comes to you, and to follow a path that makes you happy. Don’t compare yourself to others, or get discouraged by the success of others. Follow your intuition, never give up on yourself, and stop expecting others to understand your journey, especially if they have not walked your same path.

5. Putting things off.

Be frank with yourself. The things you say you will deal with later rarely get done. It’s time to get up and make an immediate difference in your life. You know all those things you’ve been meaning to get done for the past month, year, etc.? Pick one right now and start doing it. Get your hands dirty, challenge your mind, and get sweaty if you have to. Break out of your comforting lull and get involved. If you feel crummy, it’ll make you feel better. If you already feel good, it will make you feel great.

Ultimately, you will not be judged by what you say; you will be judged by what you do. Wake up each morning determined, so you can go to bed satisfied. Have the courage and discipline today to do what is needed instead of simply what is convenient. Or as Pablo Picasso once said, “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

6. Ignoring people instead of forgiving them.

Forgetting people who hurt you is your gift to them; forgiving people who hurt you is your gift to yourself. Always forgive others, not because they necessarily deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace of mind. We are all one, so when we forgive others we forgive ourselves, which is the first step in the healing process. Without forgiveness, the potential for true happiness in your life is limited.

In addition, we often tell ourselves that we’re better off without some people in our lives, and while this can be true, you should also build forgiveness into your character. Keep in mind that some relationships will temporarily split, only to come back together twice as strong as before. Forgiveness alone makes this possible.

7. Cutting too many corners with your important relationships.

It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return, but what hurts even more is to love someone and never find the time to let them know how you feel. There is no greater sadness than holding on to the loving words and deeds you never delivered to those you love.

The people you take for granted today may turn out to be the only ones you need tomorrow. So make plenty of time for those who truly matter. The best gift you can give them is the purity of your full attention. Just be present with them and pay attention to the little things, because when you really miss someone, you miss the little things the most, like just laughing together.

Afterthoughts

The journey begins when we are born. The destination is death. So the journey is far superior to the destination. Don’t sell yourself short! Make your journey worthwhile every single day, because the distance we each get to travel is a mystery.

Getting where you want to go in life is not about finding a shortcut, it’s about putting in the required time and effort. You have to set goals and fulfill your commitments, even when no one would notice but you, and know in your heart why doing so matters.

Your turn…

What would you add to this post? When have you cut yourself short by trying to take a shortcut in life? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

Until tomorrow make it a better day!

Andrew

@ACSloss

@BetterMenNow