Category Archives: Life Hacks

Make your life better. Go on do it now!

Raptitude Wisdom

A wonderful list, worthy of a sticky post on the blog, just for the purposes of review and consideration and regular intervals. I like point 8 especially 🙂

original blog post

1) The sooner you do something, the more of your life you get to spend with that thing done — even though it takes less effort (or at least no more) than it will later. It’s the ultimate sure-thing investment and I pass it up all the time.

2) I never regret working out. I can’t count the number of times I’ve negotiated with myself to work out the next day instead of today because I’m worried it will be a “bad workout.” I seldom have a bad day on a day that I work out.

3) Whenever I’m playing with my phone I am only shortening my life. A smartphone is useful if you have a specific thing you want to do, but ninety per cent of the time the thing I want to do is avoid doing something harder than surfing Reddit. During those minutes or hours, all I’m doing is dying.

4) Nothing makes me more productive and in-the-moment than a clean house. There is mind-clearing magic in cleanliness. Waking up in a house where everything is put away is a glorious feeling. There seem to be more possibilities in the air, and all my things seem more useful.

5) Minute-for-minute, nothing I do is more rewarding than meditation. Even after just a very short session, it reliably makes me better at everything, especially making decisions. It lets me do my best. Yet I still do it only intermittently.

6) Creative work is something that can be done at any time. It’s no different than any other kind of work. Inspiration is nice but completely optional. I’ve almost completely come around on this one in 2013. But sometimes the Four Horsemen still trick me.

7) Acting the way you want to feel usually works. When I feel crappy just before I have to go do something, if I decide to act as if I am happy for a while (even though I’m not) I usually end up feeling happy after not too long, or at least much less crappy. This is straight out of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and it’s an extremely powerful thing to experiment with. [More on this in an upcoming post.]

8>> Ninety-five per cent of my happiness comes from having a home, a functioning body and something to eat. I live in utter luxury, by any sensible standard of what “luxury” is. If I am unhappy it’s because I’ve lost perspective about the other five per cent.

9) Our minds are geared to manage much less than we typically end up managing. Modern people have so many options they conflict with each other in almost every area. The fewer things I have, the more I enjoy my things. The fewer goals I have, the better I do them. The smaller the portion size, the better food tastes.

10) The quickest and most reliable path to personal improvement is to do the things on my list that I resist most. Internal resistance should be taken as a big red sign guaranteeing rapid growth and new capabilities. Given my experience with the ecstasy that comes with overcoming resistance, logically I should be attracted to it by now.

11) All you need to do to finish things is keep starting them until they’re done. The idea of doing something in its entirety always seems hard. But it’s easy to commit to simply starting on something, and then you’re past most of the resistance. Continuing is just as easy. (Thanks to Leo Babauta for this one.)

12) Whenever I think I’m mad at a person, I’m really just mad at a situation. I’m mad because suddenly life requires something new of me, and it’s easy to implicate a person who contributed to that situation. I want the situation to be responsible for fixing itself, so I attribute it to someone else’s moral failing, and then I don’t have to feel responsible for this new problem of mine.

13) Ultimately, to get something done you have to forget about everything else while you do it. The mind is always telling you that 85 things are on fire and you need to do everything now. However you respond emotionally to it, to move things along you have to pick one to deal with, and let the rest continue burning while you do.

14) The most consistently joyful activities for me are visiting with other people and reading books. Aside from earning a living and a bit of travel there isn’t much else I need in my life. Somehow these two things are still not clear priorities. What are yours?

15) If I find myself in an argument, I’ve made a mistake. It doesn’t matter whose position makes more sense, because by the time it’s an argument any real communication has ended. Marshall Rosenberg’s brilliant method of Nonviolent Communication is a far more useful default response than argument, but I often forget it completely.

16) Few things matter long-term other than relationships, health, personal finance and personal growth. Crises in almost every other area turn over so quickly there’s not much reason to get upset at them. Interestingly, those four are the areas that probably contribute most to happiness in the short term too.

6 Ways to Reduce Business Stress

It’s advice for business but no reason why you can’t use it for life in general. Worth a close read.

1. REMIND YOURSELF OF WHAT’S GOING RIGHT.
Usually people are stressed about just one or two areas of their life. If they only took a moment to look at the big picture, they would see that the vast majority of their life is going well. Grab a pen and some paper and write a list of all the stuff that’s going well in your life. (You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how long the list becomes.). Now stick that list next to your computer, so that you see it all day long. Watch how quickly your perspective changes and your mood lifts.

2. GET ULTRA CLEAR ON YOUR TO DO LIST.
Clarity enhances serenity. If you’re stressed by how much you have to do, get precise about exactly what tasks must be done (You’ll often realize it’s less than you thought). Once you’ve created your list put a circle around the truly crucial tasks. Most of the time stressed executives have exaggerated just how much they have to do. Getting it down on paper helps you see that mountain of work may be smaller than you thought.

3. TIDY YOUR ENVIRONMENT.
The renowned personal development guru, Wayne Dwyer, says you can tell the state of a person’s mind by the state of their car. I agree. if you’re feeling overwhelmed one of the most effective strategies is to create order in your immediate environment – car, office, home. As you take charge of your surroundings your feelings of control will increase. And as the esteemed behavioural psychologist Martin Seligman has shown, there’s a strong correlation between feelings of control and well being.

4. TRY THE 3 BREATH RELEASE.
I mentor executives and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Whenever they come to me complaining about stress I get them to do this simple exercise:
Take a deep breath. Then as you exhale imagine all your problems and stress leaving you. Do this just 3 times and I bet your feeling of stressed has dissipated significantly.

5. FOCUS ON HELPING OTHER PEOPLE.
One of the most effective techniques for reducing your stress is to take the focus off yourself. When you start devoting time to helping others around you inevitably spend less time thinking about your own problems. There are several studies from the University of Pennsylvania linking happiness with service to others. It may seem strange to connect the two, but the truth is many people who are stressed in the corporate world are so partly because they are incessantly thinking about their own issues and situation, rather than others. We need to balance the two.

6. TAKE MASSIVE ACTION.
There is a concept in psychology known as Learned Helplessness – failing to respond or act to improve our circumstances. Originally discovered in rats, learned helplessness is also evident in some humans who feel overwhelmed by their roles and responsibilities. They feel that things are so bad there is little that they can do to change things. We have all felt this at some point in our business lives and it is a depressing feeling to say the least.

The cure though is simple. Take action to fix things. By proactively acting to improve our circumstances we regain a feeling of control and possibility. If we continue acting we soon get a change in our situation. Soon our situation improves, which encourages us to act further. A virtuous cycle develops which usually quickly improves our predicament.

The key is to act greatly, taking multiple steps to change things, even if we’re not sure if they’ll work. If we act enough, we will usually see vast improvements in almost any area we focus on.

So next time you’re feeling stressed at work, try one or two of these techniques. You’ll find every one of them is highly effective in both reducing your stress and improving your performance.

Source: Siimon Reynolds blog

New Years Resolutions

From a newsletter I subscribe to.

Over the next few days millions of people from around the world will sit down and try to figure out how to make 2007 a better year than they had in 2006.

Some will decide they need to work harder…even though they feel like they’re working pretty hard right now. Chances are that this decision won’t get the result they’re hoping for because working harder is almost never the answer. As Bob Proctor says, “there are literally thousands upon thousands of honest, good, hard-working people who labor diligently for their entire stay on this planet, yet never become wealthy.”

A large number of people will decide to make a New Year’s Resolution or two — maybe to go on a diet, quit smoking or get out of debt. According to the experts, more than 90% will fail to achieve their resolutions, with most having abandoned them by the end of January.

Then there’s a tragic group of folks who will think briefly about how they’d like to see things change…but will remember all of the years they’ve failed…and will simply do nothing, hoping that their “luck” will change for the better.

100 Written Goals

Your Road Travelled

Write down 100 life goals.

I picked up this useful idea from a seminar I attended earlier this year. I believe the value with doing this is that you will be forced to step outside the box of every day thinking and come up with something creative just to reach number 100, I found it very difficult filling in the last 60 or so.

I’m a heavy consumer of self help literature and am not ashamed to say so, frankly there are better things to be self conscious about I think. There is a lot of hot air and misinformation in the field but thats hardly surprising, there is also a lot of gold to be discovered. I’m continually thinking why my school wasn’t teaching (and likely still isn’t teaching) useful things like * Goal Setting * Happiness * Philosophy *Business skills and making money, now thats something I truly regret.

Incidentally it was an Amway conference where I first heard of this idea. That’s one interesting organization they have going on there, lots of business lessons (not the obvious ones often) and insights to be gained into the human condition I think. But that’s a subject for another post entirely.

On goal setting I’m pretty well versed in the theory but very ordinary in the application, but I’m a true believer in the value of doing such things. What I believe might be happening is that writing down your goals does actually help align your subconscious and future actions with where you want to be heading, at least to some extent. I know this from looking back at journals from years ago where I had written goals which I wrote down and forgot and still achieved, there could be something going on there. I imagine the alpha goal setter who reviews their goals and mission statement daily would have even better results.

One thought is that the value of goals is not what the goal delivers to you but what person you become in the pursuit of your goals.

Anyway I did mention that I struggled to reach 100…. Observe

43) Play tennis with Roger Federer
51) Visit Wall Street
52) Visit Chigaco Board of Trade
53) Meet the US president
62) Go prospecting for gold
65) Teach a university course
69) House a homeless family
76) Go spelunking
78) Travel in a submarine ……. gosh still have 22 to fill out……
79) Travel in a fighter jet
86) Write a self help book ….. Could be onto something here …..
91) Discover a new species ….. I think I got bitten by a few on a recent canoeing trip ……
93) Invent a new technology
97) Grow some flowers …. Gosh that seems lame looking back but there are only 3 to go now …
99) Live to age 99
100) See Halley’s comet for the second time (returns every 75 years or so… haven’t checked if the math on this syncs with goal 99 yet)

And so on….