How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

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Reading is a profound human ability, and its one that doesn’t receive enough attention these days. We expect everything to come to us quickly, and information is no exception. At this point, most people are scrolling and surfing instead of actually reading. According to a study by the Pew Research Center,[1] around 26% of adults in America didn’t pick up a book at all in 2016.

When we mindlessly scroll, we aren’t learning in the same way that we do when we read. Avid readers experience decreased anxiety when they get lost in a book, and reading builds empathy.[2] There are plenty of reasons to crack open a book on a frequent basis, if you want to know more you can readReading With Purpose Can Change Your Life.

Reading doesn’t have to be a slow process. If you think that reading is too time consuming, you might want to give speed reading a try.

You can read 6 times more books if you know how to speed read

When you speed read, you can take in significantly more information than the average person. A recent study suggests that the average adult can read about 300 words per minute. Proficient speed readers can read around 1,500 words per minute.[3] For those of you keeping score at home, the speed reader is able to consume five times as many words as the average adult. There are a few anomalous individuals who can read even more.

To put that into perspective, let’s say that the average book is around 100,000 words long. The average adult reader will spend approximately 5.5 hours reading a book of that length. A speed reader can complete the same task in about 50 minutes. This opens up significant possibilities for the speed readers to take in a book every day with a commitment of less than an hour, or 7 books per week. The average reader will only be able to enjoy 1.27 books per week if they read for an hour per day. At the end of the year, the speed reader could read over 365 books, while the average adult will complete 66.18.

These are the techniques that fast track your reading

Speed reading does take some practice, but you can start reaping the benefits of this reading method almost immediately.

1. The table of contents should be the first thing you read

We skip over the table of contents far too often when starting to read a book–especially if we intend to read the book in its entirety. The table of contents is a reader’s roadmap through the book. Since speed readers aren’t fixated on absorbing every word, knowing the big ideas of each chapter primes their brains to take in the information.

You wouldn’t head on a road trip without consulting a map. Reading aimlessly makes as much sense as driving without reading road signs. Sure, you can get through a book without looking at the table of contents, but you’re more likely to lose focus or waste time wondering about structural questions that could be answered with a quick look at the front matter.

If you need to know specific information from the book, the table of contents can tell you which chapters are relevant. This lets you skip over parts that aren’t pertinent to your research.

In some cases, the table of contents doesn’t offer much detail, or the author might use it to entice you to read more. Taking a quick look at the first chapter or two can offer you insight into how the author structures their work if the table of contents fails to give you clues.

2. Always read with an intention

After you identify the subject of the chapter, you’ll need to keep a question in the back of your mind. Asking, “What is the author trying to tell me?” is a great way to frame your thoughts. Your brain will work to figure out the answer to this question as you read.

When you read with a purpose in mind, you’ll be able to process relevant information and filter out extraneous material.

3. Identify the author’s point of view and read just enough references to understand

Books generally contain references to other academic works to support their standpoint. By taking a look at what the author chooses to cite, you can learn a bit more about how he or she will formulate their key points. This information can guide your thinking as you speed read.

Glancing at the references doesn’t mean that you need to stop to read through every note or source. References that merely reaffirm what the author says will quickly become monotonous to read. You just want to get the general idea. After you have enough information to make sense of the material you won’t gain anything extra by continuing to consume the same information.

Think about reading the way you think about eating. Just because the buffet is full of all sorts of delicious options doesn’t mean that you have to eat all of it. Just like you stop eating when you are full, you can move on from the references after you have enough information to understand the concept.

4. Never read aloud (or in your head)

Reading aloud is great for developing fluency in emerging readers, but it is a surefire way to slow you down. When kids read passages out loud in school, it’s for a specific purpose, but it’s unnecessary in the context of speed reading.

When we read passages out loud, our brain has to work a bit harder than when we read silently. The act of reading uses the same parts of your brain whether you read the information aloud or reading it silently.[4] The major difference between silent reading and reading aloud is that the act of speaking requires your brain to take an extra step.

Brocas’ Area is the part of the brain associated with turning the thoughts in your head into meaningful expression through speech. Wernicke’s Area is responsible for comprehension.[5] If you can minimize sub-vocalization and reading aloud, then you can eliminate the extra step of having to read and comprehend speech in Wernicke’s Area and then vocalize it in Broca’s Area.

When we read aloud, our brain not only sees the words on the page, but it also goes through the trouble of hearing the words and producing speech. We really don’t need to vocalize what we are reading to understand it. The extra steps can slow us down significantly.

You might have noticed that sometimes when you read aloud, you might have trouble comprehending what you just read. It may even be necessary to re-read the same sentence so that you can confirm that what you saw and spoke are in true alignment.

When you apply the third technique in this list, it becomes even more impractical to read out loud. That method requires you to consider chunks of information larger than sentences. When you are working through books paragraph by paragraph to identify the author’s perspective, having to go line by line to produce speech is a waste of time.

Speed reading is like enjoying the garden view instead on focusing on every single petal

When we read at a leisurely pace, it gives us a chance to appreciate words in a different way. Think of reading line by line like stopping to appreciate a beautiful flower garden with a magnifying glass or spending thirty minutes examining a piece of artwork three inches in front of your face. You might think that you need to look that closely, and you may see some incredible things, but you’re missing the totality of the scene.

Speed reading gives you the opportunity to look at the big picture so that you can see how many kinds of flowers there are or how different brush strokes combine to make a cohesive image. When look at the big picture, you can extract more meaning from what you see.

Instead of wasting time focusing on the petals of a single type of flower, you can enjoy the whole garden. Applying speed reading comprehension techniques makes it possible for you to extract more of the big ideas from the things that you read. You not only get more information from every book that you read, but you get to enjoy more books along the way, too.

Reference

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7-Figure Blogging – You Ask, We Answer!

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Hello from New York City! I’m here for the 2017 Affiliate Summit East. The twice a year trade show opened with the 7-figure blogging panel. The panel speakers were myself, Zac Johnson, Syed Balkhii, and John Rampton.

Four of the industry’s most well-known and successful bloggers and online marketers come together to share their expertise, insight, and knowledge on how to build a successful business through blogging.

We had the highest attended session during the last Affiliate Summit East in New York, so Affiliate Summit invited us to do another session for #ASE17. The hour long session was filled with tips and strategy on how to become a millionaire blogger. It included a Q&A with the audience.

Based on audience feedback, I’m confident that we’ll be invited to do another panel at the 2018 Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas. Tickets for that show are available now. Great early bird discounts too!

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

I Survived Burnout More Than a Few Times, and Here's What I Learned

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Burnout used to be like an old wild and disruptive friend who would show up in my life at the most unlikely times. One summer in particular when I was on a vacation with my family, I was a wreck. I couldn’t enjoy my time with my husband and daughter who were soaking up the sun, swimming, and enjoying their free time. I, however, could only see life through a very negative lens and spent more time brooding than playing. In the weeks and months leading up to that vacation, I had worked myself to the bone, was feeling under pressure on some personal family matters, and hit the proverbial wall. I had nothing left in my engine for myself or anyone else.

Burnout is a regular visitor to my life as I always step in to help others

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first time burnout showed up. A hard worker and high achiever dating back to elementary school, my primary focus was on achieving at all costs. I am also a caregiver by nature feeling the need to step in and help when others need help. Through law school and then working in the nonprofit sector, I would work and work and work ignoring my building stress until I flamed out.

On that particular vacation though, I finally grew tired of burning out. Because after I came home, I decided to do something different. I decided I was tired of hitting the burnout wall and instead wanted to figure out how to avoid it the next time around.

In time, I came to learn the early warning signs of burn out and how to face it off before it took over. And here is what I learned.

The fine line between “stressed” and “burned out”

Burnout happens when you are under excessive and prolonged stress. People are often able to respond to short bursts of pressure and demand without much trouble. But when that pressure continues day after day without a break, the stress can mound and potentially become burnout.

Importantly, you can be stressed but not burned out.

When you are stressed you are facing a lot of different pressures both mentally and physically but even still you can imagine getting things under control. On the other hand, if you have burnout, you are feeling empty, a lack of motivation, and don’t see a hope of positive change. Burnout is when you begin to detach and feel cynical or ineffective.

You may not recognize burnout when it’s right in front of you

We often think “burnout” looks like someone who is so incapacitated they are unable to work. Burnout doesn’t have to look so extreme. You can continue to work when you have burnout but instead feel every day at work is a bad day. You could be feeling disinterested in your work or maybe even depressed by it. You could feel overwhelmed by responsibilities and turn to distracting activities like drinking or social media.

The most common sign of burnout is when your stress is so high you start to see diminishing returns at work and you are lacking interest in work or life.

Some of the other warning signs:

  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of appetite
  • Inability to focus
  • Physically and emotionally exhausted
  • Drained and depleted
  • Low or no motivation
  • Forgetful
  • Physical stress (e.g. chest pain)
  • Getting chronically sick
  • Anxiety
  • Anger

To be clear, there is not an official diagnosis of burnout – unlike depression which is a widely studied condition. And sometimes burnout may start to look more like depression which is why it can be important to seek professional attention. What is most insidious about burnout is that it creeps up on you over time. All of the indicators may be there but you may fail to recognize it when it is right in front of you.

Types of people who are more prone to burnout

The best place to start is to identify what is causing excessive and prolonged stress in your life. This can come from the workplace, home, or both.

So while there isn’t any one type of person that is prone to burnout, there are some common themes of the types of people who are more likely to face burnout:

  • People who face heavy workloads or high stress positions.
  • High achievers
  • Caregivers including healthcare professionals at the front line of care
  • Working parents
  • Students

Burnout may not simply come because of excessive work

Keep in mind that burnout doesn’t just happen because of significant demands on people lives. It can happen if our mindset shifts.

In my coaching work, I have clients that exhibit signs of burnout but it may not come necessarily simply because of excessive work. Take, for example, Jennifer (name changed to protect confidentiality). She has an intensive job that has her working many evenings and most weekends. This is something she has been doing for years. But recently she has realized how exhausted she is from work. She is getting more upset with demands made on her than she has in the past. She is beginning to hate her job and can’t understand why all of a sudden she can’t “deal” with work. For Jennifer, the cause of the emerging burnout wasn’t the demands of the job itself. It began when she felt unappreciated and ignored. Therefore, burnout can manifest when we become disappointed by dashed expectations.

Create ‘margin’ in your reschedule

We tend to over schedule our lives. So our days can be jam packed with work, appointments, and other obligations. This has us running from place to place without a moment to breathe. Look at how you can start to schedule breathing room in your day. Avoid scheduling meetings back to back in your day. Schedule out time on your schedule to do some important catch up.

Adopt resilience tools at work

While work itself can be stressful, there are ways to build in strategies that allow us to de-stress during the day. This includes doing some deep breathing, meditation, or just taking a walk outdoors. Productivity hacks suggest dedicating specific chunks of uninterrupted time (read: no email or social media) and then taking solid breaks around 10 or 15 minutes to clear your mind.

Adopt the strategy of “no”

People feeling burnout are often feel they must “do it all.” Stepping back from burnout means finding ways to lessen the stress which means saying the powerful two letter word NO. It may be hard at first but look for opportunities to delegate demands to others, shift priorities off your plate, or delay obligations.

Find regular times to unplug yourself

Don’t be under the illusion you always need to be moving to make progress. Sometimes, doing nothing is exactly what your body and mind are looking for. Find time to recharge by unplugging from it all. Taking real breaks – to eat, sleep, decompress – can give us the energy we need to remain productive.

To be sure, taking a real break can be difficult in today’s world when we are all expected to remain in constant communication though messaging and email. Consider giving yourself an electronics-free time so you can remove yourself from the noise of work, social media, and email.

There was a time I was convinced that I was on a regular cycle of burnout and that my old familiar friend would re-enter my life maybe once a year or every couple of years. I thought I was just a person who faced burnout and that was just part of who I was. But that trip to the beach woke me up and forced me to finally face down how I was the cause of my own burnout.

I now have a personal program to manage my stress and avoid burnout. Sure, I can still get pretty stressed at times but I am much quicker to see the signs and take immediate action. You too can be empowered to tackle and stop burnout in its tracks.

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12 Characteristics of Toxic People and How You Can Deal With Them Effectively

Posted from http://addicted2success.com/life/12-characteristics-of-toxic-people-and-how-you-can-deal-with-them-effectively/

We live in a world full of all kinds of different people, and learning how to interact with them successfully is a foundational life skill.  When we’re young, we often enter into relationships believing we will be able to change the other person. The sooner we realize nobody changes just because we want them to, the sooner we can get to work on resolving interpersonal issues.

A caring attitude, mutual respect and clear communication are usually enough to break through roadblocks between friends, lovers and co-workers. When we’re dealing with toxic people, however, the standard rules do not apply.

Toxic people can be extremely charismatic. We often find ourselves charmed and immersed in a relationship before we realize what’s happening. Because toxic people behave in ways that are damaging to others, it is important to recognize them early.

Here are 12 ways you can recognize a toxic person:
  1. Toxic people live lives of intense drama, and it’s easy to get sucked in.
  2. Toxic people are completely self-centered. They make sure all attention focuses on them.
  3. Toxic people often appear to need constant rescuing.
  4. They are mean. A toxic person may mistreat you over and over, if you allow it.
  5. Toxic people try to control you through emotional manipulation.
  6. You never know what behavior to expect. Toxic people can be alternately kind or hurtful, calm or enraged. They keep you off balance.
  7. Toxic people frequently test you, asking you to prove your love or friendship.
  8. Toxic people lie. You can’t believe anything they tell you.
  9. Toxic people may be around when you have a crisis, but they will rarely share a happy moment. They like it when you are struggling more than when you are succeeding.
  10. They take every chance to bring you down.
  11. Toxic people judge you.
  12. They manipulate conversations to keep you confused.

“Sometimes you have to accept the truth and stop wasting time on the wrong people.”

How can you protect yourself from a toxic person?

Once you have identified a toxic person, the best way to deal with that person is to keep your interactions at a minimum. When possible, detach from the relationship altogether.  Of course, complete withdrawal is not always practical.

Sometimes the toxic person is someone you must see at work, or a person in your family. If you make the choice to continue interacting with the toxic person, it is vital that you determine in advance the form of your interaction. Make a decision in which you will approach every interaction feeling centered and clear.

See the toxic person when necessary, but keep them at arm’s length. Check in with your body, and note any inner tension or anxiety. Give yourself plenty of space.

Do not be drawn into unnecessary conversation with a toxic person, and never attempt to justify yourself. Toxic people approach conversations as a win/lose proposition, so don’t waste your valuable time. Keep your interactions brief, polite, but superficial.

Have a clear sense of your own boundaries. If you are in a position of working with a toxic person on a project, decide early on what you will do and what is not acceptable to you. Be courteous but consistent. Having a toxic person in the vicinity is a great opportunity for you to practice establishing and enforcing your personal boundaries.

“Because at some point you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.” – Sandi Lynn

Most of us will encounter at least one toxic person during our lifetime. When you are able to identify them and protect yourself, you can think of this as a gift. Toxic people provide a great opportunity to practice operating autonomously, from a position of your own personal power.

How do you avoid letting toxic people into your life? Let us know by commenting below!

Why It’s Difficult to Be Creative: An Underdeveloped Right Brain

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Most of the works in the society are driven by the left-brain, which does best with linear and logical thought processes. Think about the academic settings, everything from class content to assessments of languages, maths and sciences are designed to work in a logical manner. When it comes to work, most jobs involve tasks that are procedural work and most forms of fact-checking. The performance of all these tasks executed by the left-brain are easily quantified. This has set the left-brain for better training than the right-brain.

The power of the right-brain, which rests in creativity and problem solving, is often ignored or dismissed because it is harder to understand and its performance is more difficult to be quantified.

But complex problems require the creativity of the right-brain. New solutions can’t be implemented without a logical left-brain. Before anyone could manufacture the first Model A Ford, the car had to be designed from scratch. Henry Ford needed imagination to invent the car before he could ever hope to put one together.

The Long-Forgotten Value of Intuition

The left-brain is excellent at solving math problems or working out a science experiment using linear processes rooted in facts and empirical evidence. Some problems don’t require linear solutions, however. The right-brain, which uses intuition to solve a problem, may come up with a greater number of solutions or approaches to a situation.

To create something entirely new, it’s important to envision things that have never been done before. The right-brain embraces the unknown unknowns best at the forefront of innovation.

Society’s need for a safe alternative to the gaslight led Thomas Edison to invent the incandescent light bulb.[1] It’s hard to envision a world without light bulbs, but before they existed, they had to be imagined. Wilbur and Orville Wright’s obsession with becoming airborne flew in the face of scientific facts. The airplane they invented changed the course of human history, but that could not have happened if the Wright brothers’ thinking was rooted in logic.

Logic Alone Doesn’t Accelerate Creativity

Things need to make sense, but ideas which rely solely on left-brained modes of operating tend to lack relatability. It is the right-brained person’s ability to balance logic and emotion that leads to innovation that people can rally around. Logical ideas may be based in fact, but it often takes an appeal to emotion, a right-brained talent, to make people want to invest time or energy into the idea.

It may seem like left and right brained tendencies are polar opposites, but the brain produces the best work when it connects creativity and logicality. Imagine that you have to write a speech. You need the logical disposition of the left-brain to organize your thoughts so that your purpose is clear. You also need to be able to create an emotional connection to your listeners to bring your points to life, or else the speech will sound like an instruction manual to the audience.

Writers experience this same need to combine their creative and logical forces. When Stephen King describes the act of creating stories in On Writing, he says,

“Writing is telepathy.”[2]

No, writers don’t read minds, but they must possess the logical ability to string words together and the emotional capacity to forge a connection to another person’s mind where one does not exist.

Train the Right-Brain Without a Hitch

In school, we train left-brain qualities through repeated math drills, scientific experiments, and language studies. The right-brain is often relegated to elective courses such as art, home economics, or the wood shop. The dominant pattern in society suggests that tasks which involve are creativity are just extras that we tack onto the day after reading, writing, and arithmetic.

But just because the world is left-brain dominant doesn’t mean that our right-brain tendencies should decline from lack of use. There are ways that you can use your right-brain every day — using your imagination.

1. Flip your perspective.

One way that you can do this is through imagining the world from another person’s perspective.

Video game aficionados do this with certain types of role-playing games, but you can also accomplish this by putting yourself into a hypothetical scenario. You might say, “If I were Steven Spielberg, I would ____,” or “If I were Tesla, I would____.”

2. Do a 10-minute creativity exercise every day.

Creativity exercises are another great way to stretch your imagination. The 10-minute exercise, The Journey of a Man and a Dog, is an example of how you can use creativity to expound on relationships we might see in our everyday lives.

You essentially create a story about any two people, animals or objects that you see together, whether it’s a man and his dog or a rich person and a homeless person.

3. Take up a creative hobby.

If thinking your way into increased creativity isn’t your speed, take up hobbies to improve your right-brain processing. Drawing, painting, woodworking, making crafts, playing music, dancing, and folding origami are a few examples of right-brain dominant activities.

You don’t have to be incredibly talented at a hobby to benefit from it. Performing these tasks keeps your right-brain active. The value is in the journey, and not in the destination.

The Right-Brain Deserves as Much Attention as the Left-Brain

Society places an emphasis on left-brained activities associated with knowledge and information, but right-brained pursuits remain on the periphery. Think about how much time you’ve spent training your left-brain since you were a child. Unless you also dedicated many hours of your day to creativity from a young age, there’s a chance that your right-brain competencies have not had the attention they need to reach their full potential.

Just like we never stop performing left-brain dominant tasks in our day to day lives, right-brain training is a continuous practice. The more you practice, the more you will improve.

Featured photo credit: Ad of the World via adsoftheworld.com

Reference

[1] History: Thomas Edison
[2] Goodreads: Stephen King Quotes

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Why I Have a Morning Routine and How It Makes Me Sharper Every Day

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Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, remarked that approximately 95% of our society settles for less than what they want in life. In fact, Elrod hit rock bottom after a tragic car accident. Then one morning he decided to go for a run and listen to a podcast and he was hooked. Once he committed to this newfound routine, he uncovered his path to success.

So, how can you avoid being in the 95% and join the 5% who live up to their potential in life? The answer is simple, you have to wake up! In the words of C.T. Fletcher,

“This is your wakeup call, this is your week to make it happen, wakeup the Hercules in you!”

My goal is to demonstrate to you why a morning routine will provide a literal boost in your life and how it will make you a mentally sharper person. I will then show you how to flip the switch and kickstart your own morning routine.

My Crazy Morning Routine

Consider this a revised edition to an article I previously published – 5 Ways My Crazy Morning Routine Will Transform You into Superman. Since I published my morning routine, I have continually tweaked it. I am attempting to manufacture the perfect morning routine, which will then manufacture the perfect day. Let me show you what my routine currently looks like.

  • 3:30 am: wake up, stretch, take a pre-workout supplement, do 80 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds or more, 30 bicep curls, and listen to an audiobook.
  • 4 am: take a nootropic, do 80 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds or more, 30 bicep curls, and run for 5 miles while listening to an audiobook.
  • 5 am: cool-down, shower, and personal hygiene while listening to an audiobook.
  • 5:30 am: use a posture belt and practice speed reading.
  • 6 am: write or research, do 80 push-ups, plank for 60 seconds or more, and 30 bicep curls.
  • 7 am: eat breakfast (unless intermittent fasting), drink Bulletproof coffee, write in 5-minute growth journal, and spend time with family before heading off to work.

Enter Beast Mode!

Think about your normal routine. Do you find you are typically in a hurry, do you feel tired, or feel like your day always starts off poorly? This is how most people typically start their day.

By entering Beast Mode and establishing a morning routine, you will set a positive tone for the day. In fact, it has been proven that morning types are more likely to report higher levels of a positive affect and are healthier than non-morning types.[1]

Your morning routine should be your selfish time. This is time to spend improving you. If you wake up before everyone else, you will find you are free of distractions. If you carve out your own time every morning, you will find that you can focus on the important people in your life when they wake up. Think of it like putting your oxygen mask on first in the event of a crash landing.

Increase Your ‘Aha’ Moments

We should allow our brain to operate on autopilot every morning. People typically operate on autopilot when they mediate or go for a long run. When we do this, ideas just seem to just pop into our mind. Stop and think about what you were doing the last time you received an ‘aha’ moment. There is a good chance it came to you while you were meditating, exercising, or taking a shower. When you are on autopilot you are actually entering into what is known as the Default Mode Network (DMN).

Andrew Smart, author of Autopilot: The Art & Science of Doing Nothing writes that our brain is more active when it is not focused on something specific; basically, it is idle. People typically think that we must be working and thinking all the time, however, neurologist Dr. Marcus Raichle found this to be dead wrong. In fact, he found that certain regions of our brain were deactivated during concentration, yet became super active when we were not focused on a task, where we were on autopilot or in DMN. [2]

So, if you were ever looking for scientific proof for the importance of meditation or why taking a shower brought you a moment of brilliance, then look no further than DMN. Moreover, the most important thing I found with DMN is that I am able to maximize it with my morning routine. This in turn maximizes my creativity.

Kickstart Your Brain and Metabolism

By waking up early, exercising, taking a cold shower, drinking a large glass of ice water, you will find that your brain and metabolism will function at a higher level. Again… think about it, you are doing more before 7am for your brain and metabolism than most people do in an entire day.

Just as our brain is malleable, our metabolism is as well. Exercise physiologist Gary Ditsch remarked,

“Your metabolism isn’t fixed. You can impact it significantly with your daily activity and diet.”

Let’s look at how a morning routine can improve your brain and metabolism.

  • Exercising in the morning prepares the brain for optimal learning. Best-selling author and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard, Dr. John Ratey found that exercise is strongly correlated with increased brain mass, improved cognition, and new brain cell production. Neurogenesis is sparked by a magical substance known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Aerobic exercise is the optimal vehicle for the production of this magical substance.
  • A morning workout will help you burn more calories in a day. Similar to our car, we burn less fuel at rest compared to when we are moving. Simply put, the more active we are during the day, the more we burn, and the higher our metabolism. It’s simple math, the earlier you start burning calories, the more you will burn in a day.

Now that you understand the importance and the why of a morning routine, let’s take a look at how you can create your own morning routine.

Hack Your Sleep

Our ‘aha’ moments also increase the moment we wake up from a great night of sleep.[3]

So, how can you hack your sleep? Let’s take a look.

  • Avoid caffeine or sugar after 5pm.
  • Shut off your phone, TV, or computer 45 minutes before going to sleep.
  • Use a Fitbit (or similar device) to track your sleep.
  • Supplement with melatonin.

Also, practice the following breathing exercise.

The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise

For this exercise, sit with your back straight, place the tip of our tongue behind your front teeth (upper), inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Then do the following: [4]

  • Make sure you exhale completely through your mouth.
  • Close your mouth while you inhale through your nose (count of 4).
  • Hold your breath (count of 7).
  • Exhale through your mouth (count of 8).
  • Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Wake up Early the Easy Way

Let’s now take a look at some tips for waking up early.

  • Take a cold shower as soon as you wake up. I guarantee you this will shock your body and wake you up!
  • If taking a cold shower first thing in the morning is too extreme, try simply splashing cold water on your face.
  • Drink a large glass of ice cold water as soon as you wake up. This will also fire up your metabolism.
  • Move your alarm clock across the room so you have to force yourself to physically get up.
  • Sleep in your gym clothing.

The Bruce Lee Challenge

There are many paths we can take when formulating a plan to achieve our goals. I recently came across a unique way provided by travismcashan.com. Travis McAshan calls this The Bruce Lee Challenge. McAshan poses the following question,

“The Bruce Lee Challenge starts by asking yourself one question: If you could make one simple change on a daily basis that would make the most significant positive change in your life, what would it be? What happens next is up to you…”

Here is how you can establish your morning routine using The Bruce Lee Challenge.[5]

  • Step 1: Choose your goal. This could be simply starting a morning routine.
  • Step 2: Decide your key objective. Here you are looking to break your goal down into specific and measurable metrics that you can track. For example, let’s say you have the following goals: 1) Wake up every morning by 5am; 2) Run 5 days a week (starting at 5:30am); 3) Read for 30 minutes every morning.
  • Step 3: Commit for 21 days. Human mind takes nearly 21 days to adjust to major life changes. So, try sticking to your new morning routine for 21 days and see what happens.
  • Step 4: Take immediate action. This one is simple… get started now!
  • Step 5: Make a decision. After you have committed for 21 days, now it is time to make a decision. Are you going to continue your new morning routine or not?

You Have to Want It!

You can create the best strategy, outline successful and achievable goals, and have the greatest intentions; however, you have to want it. You have to become obsessed with it.

The key to success with anything is discipline plus desire. Recently, I wrote an article about C.T. Fletcher. C.T. aspires to be the best and the baddest man on the planet. Let’s see what C.T. has to say about being obsessed with success. [6]

“If you don’t have the mental capacity to be that obsessed about what you’re trying to get… then you’re never going to have it.” – C.T. Fletcher

C.T.’s mom used to tell him all the time that sometimes if he’s just a bit too high, he must be brought down. He will be taught a really bad lesson because there’s someone out there just badder than him. But he said no, somebody had got to be the baddest and it would be him.

Finally, if you remember anything from this article, remember this,

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” – Eric Thomas

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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5 Powerful Life Lessons From the Book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Posted from http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/5-powerful-life-lessons-from-the-book-tools-of-titans-by-tim-ferriss/

We love reading success stories. People like Steve Jobs and Michael Jordan inspire us to shoot for the stars. We may even insert ourselves into their story and ask ‘what if I could do that?’ But when the last chapter is read, we’re often left with a warm fuzzy feeling, but no actionable steps to take towards our own success.

There’s a disconnect because we can’t necessarily replicate Jobs’ environment or skill sets. But, if we know the practical life lessons that successful people live by, we can test these out. We can take what works and build our own blueprint for success and happiness.

In Tim Ferris’ new book Tools of Titans, he skillfully deconstructs world-class performers to extract the tactics, tools, and routines we can use.

Here are my five favorite life lessons from the book that are deceivingly simple, but powerfully effective:

1. Go First

Gabrielle Reece is a world-renowned athlete, model, New York Times bestselling author, and fitness leader. She has a practice that is simple but powerful. She always goes first. If she’s at the supermarket checkout, she’s the first to say hello. When she comes across someone and makes eye contact, she smiles first.

This practice teaches us to take initiative and connect with people. We don’t need to wait for a cue from others before we act. Put yourself out there. Start conversations with strangers. Take a genuine interest in other people’s lives. You never know where the next conversation will lead you.

2. The Obstacle Is the Way

Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist. The Obstacle is the Way is the title of his third book. It’s also a powerful life lesson that we should repeat when facing challenges. The idea is that every obstacle presents an opportunity to get better, stronger, and tougher. It reminds us that we should be seeking out the things that scare and challenge us. This is the space in which growth occurs.

Think about your biggest achievements in life. Whether it was starting a business, completing a university degree, or running a marathon. You probably had your fair share of stress and obstacles to overcome. But you came out the other side a better person. Build a habit of getting outside of your comfort zone regularly. Realise that you’ll face tough situations, but they are the experiences that pave the way to success.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”
Marcus Aurelius

3. Show Up Consistently

Christopher Sommer is the former US national team gymnastics coach. He talks about making a single important decision to stay on course when working towards a goal.

We often overlook the simple things that create success, like deciding to show up consistently. When we start out building a business or learning a skill, it’s easy to get deterred in the initial stages. But if we focus on a single important decision—showing up consistently—the goal doesn’t seem so big.

So, when you start working toward a goal, don’t worry about performance. Initially, you have a single focus: show up and do the work every time.

“The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise.” – Christopher Sommer 

4. Don’t Follow the Herd

Robert Rodriguez is a writer, producer, director, and composer. He talks about the importance of going against the grain. If everybody’s going left, you go right. Don’t follow the herd. You’re bound to stumble and fall, but you’ll find new ideas and success when you blaze your own trail. There’s also less competition when you don’t pursue the crowded channels.

Rethink the ‘safe routes’ that the herd follow. Do you really want to work a 9-5 corporate job for the rest of your life? Or are you willing to follow your passion and build your own business? Are you going to eat fast food regularly and end up as a statistic? Or will you go the other way and look after your body?

“The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.” – Alan Ashley-Pitt

5. The Secrets of Life Are Hidden Behind the Word Cliché

Shay Carl went from manual labourer to having a YouTube channel with around 2.3 billion views. He explains how the secrets of life are hidden behind the clichés we often overlook.

Shay lost over 100 lb and cites the example of ‘eat more vegetables’. Something he’d been told millions of times but ignored. We hear things all the time like ‘actions speak louder than words’, ‘exercise regularly’, ‘get more sleep’, ‘be consistent’, and so on. These clichés hold powerful truths, but we don’t always put them into practice. At the end of the day, it’s the simple things in life that work.

Shay’s advice is to perk up and pay attention anytime you hear something that you think is a cliché. Go a step further and take one cliché and test it out for two weeks to see if your life improves.

So, there are the five powerful life lessons you can start using right away. Don’t let this be another post you read in passing. Make a choice to test one of these out for a few weeks. Decision creates action. Action creates results.

What is the most important step you need to take to reach success? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

How to Get What You Want in Every Negotiation

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/MOgIsdamzmY/how-to-get-what-you-want-in-every-negotiation

Negotiation is an everyday human interaction — a process that takes place when two or more people with different stance try to work together for a mutually beneficial result. This includes anything from an employee/employer discussing a pay rise, to a customer trying to get better deals, to a mother/son discussing leaving home. Negotiate happens all the time, but most rarely realize it. This is why negotiation skill is something that everyone should take up.

In a negotiation, compromise is key — each party will likely have to sacrifice something to get what they want — and they may not get all that they want. Negotiation without compromise will never work. Here I will help you get the best out of a negotiation without sacrificing too much benefit to please others.

Know the Other and Know Yourself

Identify your position.

This will make you strong yet flexible, and less susceptible to rash decision-making or influence from your counterpart, even when negotiations become intense.

  • Specify your objectives. Envision what the ideal outcome will look like to you – be specific. Articulate what the conclusion to your negotiation is so you know how to work towards it. Now do a reality-check.
  • Ask yourself – what might I need to sacrifice to get what I want? Categorize these items into what’s negotiable, and what isn’t. This helps you identify two important parameters: (i) your ideal outcome and (ii) your minimum acceptable outcome – the point at which you are no longer willing to negotiate.
  • Prepare a backup action in the event that the negotiation does fail. Otherwise, you’ll be a weak negotiator, making regretful sacrifices under pressure in order to come to an agreement at any cost.

Identify their position.

Get as much information as possible about what your counterpart really wants. If you can understand what they truly value, you can offer them an appealing solution that also benefits you.

Both parties should disclose all of the points that are up for negotiation. When you both know what’s at stake, it becomes clearer where you can both benefit (a win-win scenario) and where some give-and-take will be necessary.

Say a disgruntled employee who used to be conscientious suddenly complains about her salary. At face value, your main options are to increase her pay for doing the same work or refuse and risk losing her.  However, when you take the time to talk with her, you discover that it’s not really about the salary. She has high ambitions but was overlooked for a recent promotion opportunity. Then you can propose to support her to help her rise in the company.

Build Trust, Not Enemy

A key goal in any negotiation is to build trust. Earning trust helps you both during the negotiation and in the longer term.

Even with difficult negotiations, always be the party open to finding a mutually beneficial solution. Remain professional and follow the above steps, from preparation, to manoeuvring, to the negotiation’s conclusion.

Firstly, being professional gives you the edge in the process, as it encourages transparency and cooperation from your counterpart.

Secondly, even if you can’t come to an agreement in a particular negotiation, your counterpart will leave the encounter knowing that you are firm, flexible, clear, and honest. Worthy counterparts will return to you for future negotiations, and non-worthy opponents will realise that they need not try their luck with you.

Give Them Freedom

Prepare multiple give-and-take options. To give your counterpart the ability to choose is a powerful bargaining advantage to you.

Imagine you’re a parent who wants your toddler to eat more vegetables. Instead of repeatedly asking them to eat, and getting a ‘no’ as a response, you could prepare two different types of vegetables and ask them if they want to eat the broccoli or the peas.

Doing this reframes the options from ‘yes’ vs. ‘no’ into ‘this’ vs. ‘that’. Your toddler feels empowered because they’ve made an independent choice. And of course, since your goal was for them to eat more vegetables, ‘this’ vs. ‘that’ is really a disguised ‘yes’ vs. ‘yes’.

Be Silent About Your Sacrifices

Don’t reveal the value of your sacrifices. I’m not suggesting that you be dishonest. Keep matters straightforward because value is in the eye of the beholder.

A small sacrifice for you may be of great benefit to your counterpart. If you inadvertently reveal to them your most painful sacrifice, they’ll perceive that to be the thing of high value.

Offer low value sacrifices early in the negotiation as another way of showing goodwill. It helps to lower their defences and sets a cooperative tone. Similarly, package together several low value sacrifices to satisfy your counterpart.

Now imagine you’re going to a fishing region for your next family holiday. It’s further away than where you usually go for holidays, and isn’t quite as fun for children. After discussing it with the family, they’ve agreed to the holiday that you want. And you’ve agreed that you’ll (i) clean and tidy the car before you leave, (ii) do all the driving, (iii) take your 10-year old to the nearby zoo on two of the days away. This seems like a lot of work, but you enjoy driving, you need to tidy the car anyway to fit in your fishing gear, and you like spending time with your 10-year old.

Make Yours a Limited Edition

In other words, emphazise its value by informing your counterpart that your offer has a time limit. The goal is to get them to envision a possible future where your deal is no longer available to them. This should compel them to apply value to your offer in the present, and take action.

I have a friend, Michelle, who makes dresses. She agrees to make six dresses for a client (a boutique clothing store) at a discounted rate because it will solve a pressing cash-flow problem. However, she doesn’t apply a deadline to her offer. As a result, the client has achieved what he wanted in principle and doesn’t bother executing the deal for several weeks. Since then, Michelle has made sure that any deals she makes are strictly on the condition that her clients accept the offer within the week.

Delay, Delay, Delay

Don’t be too quick to respond, otherwise you may seem desperate. This may make your counterpart suspicious. Or a ruthless opponent may take advantage of your apparent desperation to close. Furthermore, the party who can afford to wait can increase their bargaining power.

Say you are really keen on a certain PA role and you know they’re keen to take you on, but their salary offer is lower than the minimum amount you’d accept. Instead of making a quick decision, emails them to say you’re not convinced, and that you’ll look at your options and let them know. Wait a few days, the HR will find you to ask if you’ve made your decision yet. If you say no, they may even raise their offer.

All’s Well That Ends Well

Keep the above tactics in mind and you will master every negotiation. Remember, negotiation requires compromise. The outcome of a negotiation should always be beneficial to both parties.

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Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here's How to Stop It

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/ZZDgf1HEY6s/procrastination-is-a-matter-of-emotion-heres-how-to-stop-it

Procrastination is in human’s biological makeup. Thanks to our limbic system, the neurological powerhouse that controls our emotions and memory, we are inclined to feel before we think. To avoid experiencing negative feelings, we keep away from tasks that may overwhelm or inconvenience us.

Because we are inclined to seek and enjoy pleasure first, we tend to give in to things that make us happy instantly. It is so instant that we don’t see a point in neglecting ourselves. But it blinds us from viewing the consequences due to procrastination — more than 3 hours go missing every single day, and about 55 days — almost 2 months are lost every year.

It All Comes down to Our Emotions

The essential way to overcome procrastination is by regulating the emotions. When obligations are dreadful, they drag our feet to complete them. Most people tend to confuse work with emotional suffering because the task at hand may appear to be complicated or difficult; which can cause panic or despair.

The more complicated or challenging the work may be, the more paranoid we become. All of these negative feelings and reservations add up, making people avoid the tasks altogether to keep from experiencing suffering or negativity.

Adjust the Task and Your Mood Will Change

Difficult or complicated tasks tend to easily overwhelm people, causing them to lose interest in the project and faith in themselves. The key is to make these tasks more manageable.

How do you do this? By breaking them up into smaller, digestible elements that will eventually add up to complete the big picture. This way, a lot of the strain is lifted, and you can find a little more enjoyment in your work.

Before breaking down the tasks, as a whole they appear to be time consuming and challenging. That is why you need to break the project down into small, manageable parts that you can take action on immediately. The smaller the tasks, the easier you will find them to manage. It’s good to break down your tasks into elements that will only take you 45 minutes or less to complete.

Keep the big picture in mind, but keep your workload light and only focus on one small task at a time. When you commit your attention to one element at a time, you are gradually making your way towards the larger goal.

Since we are inclined to seek out things that bring us pleasure, small rewards can go a long way to help to satisfy our need for pleasure and positivity. Rewards give you small goals to work towards, which will help to keep you motivated. Even if you aren’t able to physically reward yourself, still celebrate the progress you’ve made along the way.

Celebrate the completion of each small step to encourage morale. Keep up momentum throughout the entire project, and tiny celebrations will help you to do just that. Expecting to see results of the task at hand immediately is unrealistic. Accomplishments are measured by the differences you have made along the way, not the end result.

Imagine holding an event at work, you must find a venue, caterer, and entertainment. You also need to come up with a theme, and decorate the venue and table settings. This is a huge project. Break it down into smaller parts and maybe focus on deciding on a theme first. When you’ve completed that, give yourself a small break as a reward before moving on to the next part. One thing at a time and reward yourself to stay motivated. Then the big project will not overwhelm you.

What if no matter how small the task is, it’s still dreadful?No job is perfect. You will always at some point find yourself faced with tedious and uninteresting tasks that you must complete. Sometimes you just need to suck it up, buttercup. To stay motivated, plan to complete positive tasks along with the negative ones. This will regulate your emotions, and ensure that you don’t only do the things that you “feel like” doing.

When you alter your attitude towards your obligations, it will make the tasks seem less tedious. It takes a lot of practice and reinforcement, but eventually it will change your work ethic. Refer to these tips to help you beat procrastination every time!

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