The Endless Battle Between Good and Popular

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Have you ever watched an awards show and wondered how the judges reached their decision? Specifically, is it really the most talented artists who receive accolades, or is it just about popularity? Some argue that it doesn’t matter how accomplished you are – if your work is not popular, it will never be perceived as “good.”

Let’s take the Grammys as an example. The Best New Artist, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Album Of The Year categories could theoretically be won by an artist of any musical genre. However, no classical work has ever won one of these awards.[1] Year after year, the Grammy judges seem to reward musicians who are popular, as opposed to those who are “good.”

Looking at the numbers, Taylor Swift’s “1989” won the 2016 Best Album award, whereas Adele’s “25” has been nominated for the 2017 prize. Both these albums have sold in their millions – “1989” sold five million copies by July 2015, and “25” sold over nine million copies in 2016. It would appear that there’s a clear split between “good” and “popular.”

How does this split come about?

At the beginning of an artist’s career, they use their creativity as a means of expressing their feelings. When they make music or create a painting, their aim is to work through difficult emotions and restore a state of contentment and calm. If the result isn’t to their liking, they work hard to make it as good as possible – perfection is the end goal for beginner artists. Popularity isn’t their first priority.

However, as someone learns their craft, they start to crave more attention, and to let others share in their work. Unfortunately, because art is subjective, their audience might not understand what they are trying to achieve, which can be disheartening. At this point, they have an epiphany – if they want to gain popularity and a wider audience, they need to tailor their art to the masses.

The typical artist will then work around other people’s tastes. Their first priority is no longer excellence. Instead, their focus has shifted to increasing their personal popularity.

Good vs Popular

People who focus on producing good work instead of popular end to strive for excellence. They do not care what other people think, and they know that it isn’t always a good idea to follow the crowd. In fact, the masses may not actually care what is best for them, and simply want them to churn out popular works. People who place “good” over “popular” are also free to be more creative.

At the same time, people who do not care whether their work is popular runs the risk of ignoring constructive criticism. They can become too single-minded, and may also become depressed if only a small minority of the population enjoy their work.

On the other hand, people who cater for a wide audience create pieces of work that take into account multiple perspectives, because they are concerned with the opinions of other people. Popular works are more commercially successful, and these people can gain a lot of satisfaction when they achieve a wide audience.

The downside is that people who try to appeal to the majority will lose their personal creativity. They might even develop a reputation as a predictable, “boring” person who produces a string of similar works. When you create things primarily for others, rather than yourself, it can become impersonal and bland.

Those who strive to be popular turn into people-pleasers. When your identity is tied up with your reputation, it’s a constant battle to keep up with the latest fashions. People who try to live up to others’ expectations will run into problems, because the whims and tastes of the public will change over time. A popular person may succeed in changing themselves to suit the majority of their fans, but this could come at a cost of their personal development. They might shift over time, but perhaps not for the better.

However, people who strive to simply produce good work and be the best of themselves can also stall in their development. They may stubbornly refuse to listen to others, and might never evolve beyond the present state.

Why not have both?

When you aim to be either good or popular, you will run into trouble. The answer is to make great stuff, but also takes the perspective of others into account. You need to remain true to your vision, yet remain open to comments and criticism from outsiders. When you combine your vision with the needs of your audience, you have a winning combination.

Let’s look at how this can work in practice. The Japanese lifestyle brand MUJI upholds the principle of minimalism. They take pride in producing high-quality products that come with few features. However, they also cater to a wide market by offering shoppers functionality. For example, they strive to create items that fit with their minimalist aesthetic, but they also take the average person’s needs into account, offering everyday items such as pens and notebooks that fit their philosophy.[2]

Just because our culture tends to divide us into these two categories doesn’t mean that you can’t balance both in you. The trick is to get clear about what you are trying to achieve, and stick to your principles – yet at the same time remaining open to new influences.

The next time you create something, work until it’s the best you can make it, be the best self you can be. Once you are satisfied, ask others for their opinion. Listen carefully, but don’t automatically assume they are right! Keep your integrity intact, and be what makes you happy. It’s great to bring joy to other people’s lives, but your self-respect is important too.


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How Infographics Go Wrong – Keep These In Mind…

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Infographics are an amazing tool to generate enormous traffic because they can relate to every type of reader. For example, people will visit your blog from all over the world and illustrations like infographics can get the point across to them quickly. Infographics are very efficient at the same time because they can compress thousands of words into a language that everyone understands. Another example of this can be seen from the growth of, which was amazing over the last couple of years. However, it’s important to know how to utilize infographics correctly because many bloggers make mediocre mistakes that are very costly. In the end, what good are infographics if they fail to get your main point across and don’t generate the type of buzz you planned for when publishing?

I conducted some research online and managed to come up with 4 tips that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes. Implement them into your marketing going forward, which will increase engagement and conversions. Let’s get started and look at how infographics go wrong and what you can do to correct the issue.

Too Much Text

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when publishing an infographic is having way too much text. Infographics are supposed to be easy to understand because they compress lengthy content into an illustration. Your main objective should be to get your point across through images, charts, and very little text. In other words, you should make sure your infographic is right to the point and the images do MOST of the work for you. However, I can’t believe how many people don’t take this advice and add too much text, making it cluttered. Having way too much text will decrease overall engagement, especially because people are probably on your page to find an easy way to absorb valuable content.

The trick is to keep text limited to ONLY getting the main point across. I recommend using bullet points for any type of text you’ll be adding to your infographic to illustrate a point. Keep in mind, too much text will destroy any infographic, no matter how attractive or optimized the design.

Inaccurate Data

Here’s something else you should keep in mind because this will destroy your infographic. A majority of times, these types of illustrations have been used to help illustrate a case study so will contain charts and numbers. One of the ways to destroy your infographic is to have numbers that don’t match with the corresponding charts or graphs. You have to remember, many people who visit your page are experienced so know when data does NOT make any sense, having made this mistake will destroy your credibility quickly and people will leave and might NOT even come back. You have to keep in mind, people are looking for a credible source of information to provide them with the knowledge they are looking for and inconsistent or inaccurate data is a quick way to destroy this.


The Internet is full of information and people need to find what they are looking for right away. This means getting right to the point on your infographics, but this also means to get rid of any data that doesn’t provide value. I can’t count the number of times I’ve skim over infographics and found some data to be completely irrelevant. If you want to increase engagement and build credibility, then pay attention to what you’re adding to your infographic. For example, write down and have your main purpose right in front of you when building your infographic because this will help guide you through the process. This will also make sure you stay relevant to your topic, providing information that answers the bottom line.

  • Keep objective in mind
  • Know your focus
  • DO a review before publishing making sure information is relevant

The Design

The design of your infographic is very important because it will either increase engagement or push people away. For example, think about how design plays a crucial role on your website and what it does for your audience. Having the navigational menu makes it easy to find information and colors that are easy on the eyes will allow people to stay on the page WITHOUT experiencing eye strain. Anyway, keep these things in mind when designing our infographic, minus the navigational menu, of course. Here are a few key components to pay close attention to:

  • Text size should be big enough to easily read
  • Font style should be universally accepted on all browsers
  • Font color should be clear to read
  • Infographic colors should be easy on the eyes so people are relaxed when viewing
  • Charts and graphs should be easy to read
  • Not too much clutter so you have space around the text, charts, titles, etc.

How To Make 6-Figure Monthly Online Income! Download John Chow’s New eBook!

Are You The Odd One Out?

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Everyone is looking for success and it is surely not that easy to achieve. It’s the thought that counts that help us get out of bed in the morning and keeps us up at night to pursue our passion. Most constantly work all their lives and would still not leave a single mark in history. So how then can we try to set ourselves apart? Is it purely hard work or doing something at the right time?

We strive day and night to find the answers to our questions. How did Bill Gates make it, how did Steve Jobs create his Apple empire? How can we replicate their success or create a new one for ourselves? These are just some of the questions we may ask ourselves from time to time. In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an inspiring journey into the minds of successful people in the world.

Journey of the successful

The book follows some of the most successful personalities from each area of history. The book follows how Bill Gates achieved his immense wealth, how the Beatles came to be the most popular band in history. He follows different factors that might have affected them, their culture, their birth month, their upbringing and struggles. The book repeatedly mentions the’10,000 hour rule’; the rule states that to succeed in any fielding practice is the key.

What makes the successful different?

In his book, Malcolm Gladwell refers to a select few as the ‘outliers’ – the best of the best, the successful and the rich. He explains to us how the elite are different from us and how we are missing out on understanding their success. He answers this by stating that we pay too much attention to their post-success lifestyle when instead we should focus on their past. Their upbringing, their education, their struggles, these are the things we should focus on, they bring us closer to them and give us a better understanding of them because we can see them in our shoes. This helps with decision making and boosts confidence in our abilities.

The book is a must-read for anyone that is wanting to succeed. The in-depth interview with Bill Gates provides readers with an insight into the mind of the richest man in the world, and is inspiring to young people everywhere.

Reading duration: 6 hours 56 mins

Get Outliers: The Story of Success from Amazon at $12.35.

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32 P.T. Barnum Quotes On Succeeding In Life

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P.T. Barnum, known as The Greatest Showman, was one of the most progressive entrepreneurs of the 19th Century. Co-founding Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, P.T. made a name for himself by exposing the world to oddities and a show the likes of which had never been seen before. He is recognized for creating an entertainment empire whose legacy has lasted for almost 150 years.

Here are some of P.T. Barnum’s most motivational quotes:

1. “Money is in some respect life’s fire: it is a very excellent servant, but a terrible master.” – P.T. Barnum

2. “Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business.” – P.T. Barnum

3. “Literature is one of the most interesting and significant expressions of humanity.” – P.T. Barnum

4. “Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself.” – P.T. Barnum

5. “Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!” – P.T. Barnum

6. “Unless a man enters upon the vocation intended for him by nature, and best suited to his peculiar genius, he cannot succeed. I am glad to believe that the majority of persons do find their right vocation.” – P.T. Barnum

7. “If you hesitate, some bolder hand will stretch out before you and get the prize.” – P.T. Barnum

8. “No man has a right to expect to succeed in life unless he understands his business, and nobody can understand his business thoroughly unless he learns it by personal application and experience.” – P.T. Barnum

9. “The best charity is to help those who are willing to help themselves.” – P.T. Barnum

10. “When a man is in the right path, he must persevere.” – P.T. Barnum

11. “More persons, on the whole, are humbugged by believing in nothing, than by believing too much.” – P.T. Barnum

12. “The truth is, the more kind and liberal a man is, the more generous will be the patronage bestowed upon him.” – P.T. Barnum

13. “Science is the pursuit of pure truth, and the systematizing of it.” – P.T. Barnum

14. “The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.” – P.T. Barnum

15. “You must exercise your caution in laying your plans, but be bold in carrying them out.” – P.T. Barnum

16. “The possession of a perfect knowledge of your business is an absolute necessity in order to insure success.” – P.T. Barnum

Like this old school entrepreneur wisdom? Check out these Henry Ford Quotes!

17. “If I shoot at the sun, I may hit a star.” – P.T. Barnum

18. “Whatever you do, do it with all your might. Work at it early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can be done just as well as now.”  – P.T. Barnum

19. “Money is good for nothing unless you know the value of it by experience.”  – P.T. Barnum

20. “To me there is no picture so beautiful as smiling, bright-eyed, happy children; no music so sweet as their clear and ringing laughter.” – P.T. Barnum

21. “Energy and patience in business are two indispensable elements of success.” – P.T. Barnum

22. “Every crowd has a silver lining.” – P.T. Barnum

23. “There is no such thing in the world as luck. There never was a man who could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street today, and another tomorrow, and so on, day after day: He may do so once in his life; but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it.” – P.T. Barnum

24. “To forgive heals the wound, to forget heals the scar.” – P.T. Barnum

25. “The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation.” – P.T. Barnum

26. “Never attempt to catch a whale with a minnow.” – P.T. Barnum

27. “The plan of ‘counting the chickens before they are hatched’ is an error of ancient date, but it does not seem to improve by age.” – P.T. Barnum

28. “Your success depends on what you do yourself, with your own means.” – P.T. Barnum

29. “Let your motto be ‘Excelsior,’ for living up to it there is no such word as fail.” – P.T. Barnum

30. “Constant hammering on one nail will generally drive it home at last, so that it can be clinched. When a man’s undivided attention is centered on one object, his mind will constantly be suggesting improvements of value, which would escape him if his brain was occupied by a dozen different subjects at once.” – P.T. Barnum

31. “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” – P.T. Barnum

32. “There is scarcely anything that drags a person down like debt.” – P.T. Barnum

Which quote resonated with you the most? Comment below!

10 Simple Steps for Self-Motivation

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Renowned American motivational speaker and author, Dr. Stephen R. Covey once remarked: “Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” How do you define motivation?

There are two distinct types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic: Motivation that comes from within ourselves.
  • Extrinsic: Motivation that is derived from outside source such as a friend, colleagues, seniors at workplace, religious or spiritual leaders, spouse, kids and lots more.

Briefly, motivation can be described as a reason or cause by which a person or a group of people behave in a certain manner. The cause or the reason has to be extremely strong, and it often involves self interest.

Considering you have good and healthy plans that do not conflict with any laws, rules and regulations, staying motivated is quite easy. Basically, motivation is merely a state of mind. Utilized properly, it can take you to heights you may have never dreamed of.

However, our simple steps below will guide you on how to remain motivated at all times, despite any adversities you may encounter:

1. Goal Setting

Setting a goal for yourself is a time-tested and proven method to remain motivated. However, it is important to set realistic and achievable goals. Set yourself a deadline by which you intend to achieve these goals.

There are three types of goals:

  • Short term goals: These may be achieved in a few weeks or a couple of months.
  • Mid-term goals: These usually take a year or two to achieve.
  • Long-term goals: Here you can include your career options, plans for marriage, buying a home or anything that takes a longer span of time.

2. Money matters

Regardless whether we like it or not, money does matter in remaining motivated. Here, we are not speaking about millions of dollars. We are saying that having sufficient funds to lead a decent life is a great motivator by itself. You can start by saving a healthy portion of your income daily or monthly.

3. Shun any loans

Undoubtedly, people encumbered with loans exhibit a tendency to lose motivation. The reason is simple:  A considerable portion of your earnings will go towards servicing whatever loans or credit card dues you have. Avoid getting into loans as much as possible, unless it is for some genuine and strong reason such as buying a home.

4. Stay with positive people

Generally, people with a positive mindset and attitude are the best motivators. Regardless of your situation, they will always try and uplift your state of mind. Such positive minded people will motivate you even if you are feeling low and beaten. Further, whenever you encounter negative thoughts, speak with such people by either meeting them or on phone.

5. Appreciate yourself first

Whenever you lose motivation, think of all the positive stuff you have done in the past and reflect on great experiences you have had. Also, remember all the adverse times you have been through and how you sailed out of them unharmed. Appreciating yourself for your achievements is a great motivational tool.

“When you’re trying to motivate yourself, appreciate the fact that you’re even thinking about making a change. And as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough.” – Alice Domar

6. Use mistakes as experiences

This means learning from your past mistakes, because as humans we are all prone to mistakes due to inherent defects or flaws in our character. Remember, mistakes are not final. They hold vital lessons for us. Most people tend to lose motivation when things go awry and desired results are not forthcoming.

7. Examine your motive

Once again, as Dr. Stephen R. Covey puts it, the key to motivation lies in the motive itself. Should your motives be good and in conformity with laws, motivation follows automatically. But beware, wrong motives can lead to misplaced motivation which can land even the most stable and sober person into deep trouble. Once your motives are positive and clear, motivation follows automatically.

8. Avoid getting over-stressed

Stress can be divided into two different categories:

  1. Negative stress: That arises out of negative actions, interacting with obnoxious people and lethargy or laziness, continuing exposure to painful or unpleasant situations and loneliness.
  2. Positive stress: Accrues by solving work related or domestic problems. Positive stress usually leaves you satisfied and happy once the issue has been resolved or after a hard day’s work.

Stress in daily life is imminent. Staying motivated helps you to remain motivated.

9. Choose to be happy

Now this may sound like a tall order for anyone encountering adverse situations. However, it is worthwhile to note, every bad situation always passes. Be aware that every bad circumstance will eventually vanish. Losing motivation will not help solve any problem and neither will worrying about something. You can maintain your motivation with the sheer thought that every problem is temporary.

10. Chart your map

Sadly, most people embark on a project or endeavor without much heed to the end result. Instead, you can chart your own roadmap. Take an inventory about how you want to begin and why. This in itself is a great motivational factor. Simultaneously, bear in mind what is the exact objective or the end where your endeavor should culminate. Be fearless in your pursuit of your dreams and goals.

“I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy.” – Will Arnett

It is worthwhile to remember, we all lose motivation at some point of life. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. Analyzing cause of losing motivation, understanding and finding ways and means to counter it, works miracles indeed. Lack of motivation, left untreated, can lead to mental ailments.

How do you remain self-motivated? Let us know in the comments below!

My Daily Habits: A Day In My Life.

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Without having the facts, you could easily see success for what it isn’t: easy.

Success is largely made up of your habits (go figure).

What you do every day will determine what direction you head. You may be heading to Loserville, or you may be heading to Success Mansion. Where you’re heading is powered by your habits.

Here’s what my day looks like:


4:00 am

My phone is on the floor on the other side of the room. This trick forces me to get out of bed and turn off the chimes. I chose chimes by the way because it’s a gentler way of waking up.


4:05 am

Drink 500ml’s to 1 liter of water. I then rinse my face with cold water to avoid the temptation of going back to bed.


4:15 am

I begin editing and formatting my next blog post. Blogging is my passion, so I ensure that it’s one of the first things I do when I have the most energy. Trying to do it at the end of the day is too difficult because I don’t have the same energy levels.


6:00 am

Go to the kitchen and make a cold press green juice made of celery, cucumber, orange, silverbeet and carrot. This juice feels ten times better than coffee and hydrates me perfectly. It also gives me all the vitamins and minerals I need which is why I rarely get sick.

Right after the juice I then make breakfast. Usually avocado on toast or peanut butter on toast with tofu.


7:30 am

Walk to the train station and get some exercise. It’s about twenty minutes walk, but I feel refreshed after it (unless that Melbourne rain comes down and then it’s not as fun).


8:00 am

While on the train, I do 10 minutes of meditation using the calm app to prepare my mind for work and empty out my thoughts.


9:00 am

Once I’m in the office, the first thing I do is check my work phone. Notice how I don’t do this earlier? The reason is that I want my journey to work to be a good one.

I don’t want work to distract me when most of the time there’s nothing I can do about it until I get to the office anyway. My trip to work is always combined with a podcast from either Tim Ferriss, Gary Vee or Lewis Howes.

Important to note that this habit doesn’t occur all of the time. Nothing is ever going to be the same every day. What I’m documenting here is how it happens most of the time so you get an idea of how you can shape your own habits for success.


10:00 am

Time to get off the email and connect with my team. Human conversations are how stuff gets done, not emails. In fact, emails are very unproductive although they do quickly allow me to see what’s happening. Most emails get deleted within a few seconds though unless they carry value and are relevant to me.


11:45 am

I beat the lunch rush and have a healthy sandwich. I never make my own lunch and buy it every day. It’s my one treat every day and it gives me the energy I need to do difficult tasks. I think that’s a good investment for us all.



I take ten minutes away from work to get out of my head and just do some deep thinking. I think about my schedule. I think about my priorities. I think about the love of my life and the people I care for.

This habit helps me put the last few hours of the day into perspective. It gives me the juice I need to go the extra mile and push through any fatigue I may be experiencing.


6:00 pm

Arrive home and head to the gym. I do a quick workout to get rid of all the day’s stress and relax as well as fatigue my body so I can get a good night’s rest.

I also love workouts before I blog because it puts me in a positive state of mind and awakens my sometimes sleepy brain. The endorphins also make me feel happy as well.


7:00 pm

Dinner time is where I have lots of veggies and some protein to help give me energy for the last few activities before bed.


8:00 pm

I have a conversation with my other half and spend time with her. After all, what’s the point of life if you’re so busy and don’t get time with your loved ones? I make sure I’m completely focused on her and make her feel like the center of attention.


9:00 pm

I do more formatting and posting of articles before bed. I also prepare my social media posts for the following day and think about what I want to share with the world. I focus on what I have to say that is positive and try to put the negative thoughts of the day to rest.

“Yes, they say you shouldn’t have screen time before bed but screw that! Blogging is my passion and no BS rule is going to stop me from following my passion and inspiring the world”


10:00 pm

Bedtime has arrived. Without sleep, I have zero chance of crushing the next day. 7 hours does me fine although any less and I wake up like a zombie looking for its next kill. My phone is placed back on the other side of the room with the alarm set for 4 am.


List of weekly habits (these don’t occur every day but they occur every week).

– Couple time with my girlfriend (phone on flight mode).
– A trip to the market to buy fresh fruit and veggies.
– An entire day of blogging (typically Saturday afternoon).
– A car wash session (This helps me feel like my life is clean. It’s also very relaxing).
– Time spent reading a book on my iPad Kindle app. Education is how I grow and learn new strategies.


What are the daily habits I need to cut back?

Checking bitcoin and stock prices.
Checking social media notifications every 30 minutes.
Spending time worrying about the future.,


My list is not that over the top. Here’s what matters:

I’ve followed the success habits of people that have done cool stuff. In comparison, my list may seem mediocre and I’m okay with that. I believe that as long as your passion is prioritized in your day and you’re spending a bit of time with the people that matter to you, you’ll be successful.

The reality is that some of these habit lists you see are just plain crap. They’re not practical and the person writing them is exaggerating what they do. Every day is going to be a bit different and that’s normal. You can’t be a robot trying to follow exactly the same list of tasks every day. We need variety as humans.

Repeat habits that support your goals.
Stay healthy and keep your energy levels up.
Spend time with the people you care about.
Prioritise what is important to you and no one else.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on

What Makes You Think Doubting Yourself Can Lead To Success?

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Doubts are our enemies. Self-doubt slows everything down, or even put a pause on our passion and our dream.

Don’t limit yourself with your ability. Think about how to push your boundaries and achieve great work with it instead. It’s more important that you keep moving forward in order to become a stronger and better person.

There must be criticism and failures along the way but don’t worry, take them as word of wisdom that guide you towards what you want. Let them help you but not stopping you.

The post What Makes You Think Doubting Yourself Can Lead To Success? appeared first on Lifehack.

A Simple Guide on How to Handle Destructive Criticism

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People criticized me. So I changed. But people still criticized me. So I changed more. And still people criticized me. Then finally I realized it’s what they will do, no matter what. And I changed once more, by no longer listening to those people.

Does that mean I have stopped listening to people’s advice? Of course not, I welcome it, I’m grateful for it. But there is a not-so-fine-line between those who destructively criticize, and those offering “constructive criticism” — that is, the advice that can be the most important, even and perhaps especially the tough love variety.

The difference resides in the intention of the person delivering the criticism:

  • Are they someone who genuinely cares about you, and/or about the results of your actions, first of all?
  • Are they saying whatever they are saying because they genuinely care about your improvement, or the improvement of whatever it is your actions are impacting, even if their words may not be the best they could have chosen?
  • Are they truly speaking from an emotional place of insecurity, jealousy, guilt, anger, or hate?

Responding Versus Reacting

If you and I were purely rational beings, it would be pretty easy to routinely recognize others’ intentions, and therefore the difference between constructive versus destructive criticism. Be we too have these little things called “emotions” that can sometimes get in our way… in a big way.

So one of the most beneficial things you can learn is to “scan yourself” to recognize your own emotions at any given time. (This is a habit that serves you well in many respects of life, of course; people can get better and better at it, but no one ever perfects it.)

When it comes to determining the difference between someone giving constructive versus destructive criticism, assess if you have any emotional disturbances or walls up inside you. For example, are you feeling insecure in the face of the particular constructive criticism you are receiving, taking things personally when they are not so, and misinterpreting it as destructive?

Do you have your own internal anger or sadness about something in relation to the person who is delivering what they mean as good advice, which therefore may be tainting how you hear it? Are you simply crabby?

It is not always easy to scan and analyze your own emotions in this manner, but then little that is worth doing is ever easy. The more you can recognize your own emotions so you can respond versus react, the more strife you will avoid and growth you will achieve.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond”

Recognizing the Destructive

If you do have your own emotions in check, then, it is typically not hard to recognize those who are destructively criticizing you. If their criticism is full of downright insults — calling you stupid and the like, implying or stating outright you’ll never amount to much, etc. — that is clearly destructive.

But also watch their facial and bodily expressions, and listen to the tone of their voices. Instead of the look and sound of care, concern, or worry, destructive criticism usually looks and feels like an attack.

Sometimes you will even sense a sort of sick delight in the person destructively criticizing you, because these “broken” people draw a temporary and false sense of strength and joy from tearing you and likely others down.

The Only Thing to Do

When you are certain a person is in the business of destructively criticizing you, the best thing or the ONLY thing you can do is let them go. Shut them off. Detach. Stop listening. Easier said than done, I know, but amongst the most important things you’ll ever do in your life. If this person is someone you can physically part from in your life, do so.

What If It’s Someone Close to You?

However, often the biggest challenge comes when someone you care about, and who “should” care about you, such as a parent, sibling, spouse, or even someone who once did care about you like an ex or old friend — turns to destructive criticism.

This can feel especially disheartening and like it just doesn’t add up. Because this is a person we ought to be able trust, and so it is extremely easy to take their criticism to heart, even if we rationally know their criticism is not well-intentioned and frankly, full of crap.

But in these cases too, difficult as it may be, you must detach. You may not be able to physically leave in some cases, but you can increasingly teach yourself to mentally and emotionally depart and NOT take any of their destructive words to heart. Yes, it takes work to do this, but believe me, the work is worth it.

“Your circle of influence dictates your path” – Oprah

By the way, if you cannot, or choose not to, physically depart from this person, do remember you cannot fix anyone else, no matter how much you love them and wish you could. You can attempt your own constructive advice to try to help them, but be prepared for extensive resistance, to say the least. The good news is that most “lost souls” do find their way back, starting with one trigger or another; the bad news is that not all do.

Only you, with your own set of values, know who it is you won’t physically leave despite their destructive criticism and negativity, or how far your lines are drawn before you must physically leave them. This is something you should assess and understand for yourself now, hard as it may be, if you don’t yet know.

Misguided Daggers

No matter what, you absolutely CAN choose who you will listen to, whose words you will let inside your head, and whose you will keep out. Even if they’re in the next office over, or in the bed right next to you.

My strong constructive advice is to choose carefully, choose wisely, and for any and all who would destructively criticize you, remember their daggers are misguided. Those who destructively criticize others have one form or another of self-loathing, and the daggers they throw at others are really meant for themselves. Do the work to ban their misguided daggers from piercing your heart.

How are you dealing with criticism? Comment below!

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The Proactive Performance Review

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Yes, I know that this blog is mostly about the dot com lifestyle and how you can make a serious living online (on part-time hours at that) from the comfort of your home or while enjoying the sunshine in Costa Rica. That being said, most readers likely have at least some experience with a more “traditional” job, even if you are mostly interested in getting out of the rat race completely.

The thing is that even if you want to be independent and make money online, you can still learn a lot from more traditional businesses and how they operate… so long as you put a bit of a different spin on these lessons and messages. A terrific example of this is the typical annual (or quarterly or whenever) performance review.

Please Take a Seat

Your manager or supervisor drags you into her office and the two of you go over what you accomplished in the past year and where you came up short. Based on the details of your performance review, you may have reasonable justification to request a raise in salary. If things didn’t go so well, your manager may have justification for holding you back from a promotion or sending you in for more training.

When you run your own online business, whatever it may be, you can go through a similar kind of performance review on yourself too. Did you grow the number of followers on social media? Were you able to increase the unique monthly visitors on your blog? Did you pursue more private advertising and sponsored content opportunities? These are all good questions to ask.

But they all suffer from the same significant flaw: they’re looking in the past. They’re looking at what already happened and, as you know, you can’t change the past. You can only change the future based on what you do in the present.

Looking Ahead Before Looking Back

What if you were to think about this idea in a completely different way? Instead of looking back at the past year (or quarter or month or whatever), you were to look ahead for the upcoming year (or quarter or month)? If you wanted to have a glowingly positive performance review at the end of the year, what would that look like? What do you see when you gaze into the crystal ball?

“Jerry, you had a truly impressive year with your Internet marketing efforts. You more than doubled the number of followers you have on Instagram and the engagement rate is truly tremendous. This is coupled with a significant increase in blog traffic and in affiliate income too. That ebook really added a lot of subscribers to your email list.”

We want to strike the beautiful balance between being realistic with our expectations and being ambitious with our goals. You don’t want to set goals so lofty that they’re impossible to achieve, but you don’t want them to be so modest as to be practically worthless and meaningless either. A proactive performance review is similar to goal-setting, except the real objective is to travel through time in your mind’s eye and truly envision what you want to see in the future.

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad

Just like a regular performance review, then, you must not only consider the positive outcomes that you wish to see in your proactive performance review, but also your potential areas for improvement. Trade-offs are inevitable and unavoidable, so by focusing your efforts on Instagram and your ebook, for instance, you necessarily won’t have the time and attention to devote to other possible areas of growth. Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot dedicate yourself to.

What do you want to have accomplished in one year’s time? Where do you want your online business to be? Will you be sipping on umbrella drinks on a tropical beach, while checking on your growing affiliate earnings?

How To Make 6-Figure Monthly Online Income! Download John Chow’s New eBook!

Others Judge You Even Before You Meet Them, Here's Why

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We all have that friend that we need to warn others of before they meet them. Before you meet them, your friend tells you to brace yourself because they can be kind of rude. He tends to make fun of people, but she’s known him for years so she’s used to him. But now before you’ve even met him, you have a negative impression of him.

This inclination to judge before you’ve even met someone is natural. They say that the first impression is important, but sometimes you can make an impression before even meeting someone.

A judgement call is made at light speed

Impressions are instant. It only takes 100 milliseconds to make an impression. When forming a first impression, two areas of the brain are utilized: the amygdala and the posterior cingulated cortex (PCC).

The amygdala is more practical, translating the data received by your senses and linking them to social signals. While the PCC is related to emotion and memory, linking your life experiences to your emotions. These two responses help you to quickly decide whether or not you approve the person you are meeting and want to keep them around.[1]

It’s a survival instinct to quickly assess a person to determine if they are a threat. Things such as how they dress or their initial behavior help you to make a quick judgment upon meeting a person. But hearing about their behavior without ever having even met them can cause you to form an opinion as well.

When presented with this information, your brain will try to draw a connection to a related memory. But if you don’t have any relevant memories, your brain will try to compensate for the lack of information.

The reason why our brains try to connect this new information with previous experiences is so that you can quickly assess the value of this new person and if they are worthy of meeting again. Just the same, if someone that you are close to expresses their opinion of someone you’ve never met, it will cause you to form an opinion as well.

Now that you have a vague impression of this person, your brain may start making up stories about them. This will give yourself a better idea of who they are with what little information that you have.

The instant judgement could be false

Without meaning to, you now have a set bias against this person even though you really don’t know them. When you’ve formed a  negative opinion of someone you haven’t met, it can be difficult to change the way you feel. Your bias may even be apparent to the person without you meaning to.

When you do finally meet them, everything they do and say will confirm your opinion of them. Any behavior to the contrary will be written off as an exception, because you think that you already know who they really are. This preemptive bias can possibly sabotage what could have been a good relationship.

Contrarily, if someone that you are close to compliments an individual before you meet them, this will cause you to form a positive opinion of them prior to meeting them. This opinion of them will be difficult to sway, cause although it is a positive opinion, it’s still a bias opinion.

A toxic person who is described to you as a good friend has an advantage because you are already accepting them. This will give them more opportunity to prove themselves as a good person despite their numerous displays of toxic behavior. This bias could cause you to potentially build a relationship with someone you probably don’t need in your life.

Others judge you the same way

Many people may already have opinions of you without ever having met you. If your peers are told good things about you before meeting you, it will probably make it easier for you to mingle with them because they already have a good impression of you.

The opposite applies if your peers were told negative stories before meeting you. Even if they weren’t intentionally badmouthing you, it can still cause a rift between you and your new acquaintances.

To prevent falling into this trap of forming any toxic relationship, or setting anyone up for a bad impression which you don’t intend to, start with correcting the way you think.

Think for yourself

Although it is natural to form impressions based on the opinions of others, don’t. Our brains are hardwired to make these assessments. But you can choose to question them. Hold off on solidifying them. Give this new person a chance to prove you wrong.

Keep an open mind. You don’t know what other variables may influence their opinion. Attempt to objectively observe the person and their behavior. Not specifically just how they interact with you, but how they interact with other people as well.

When you don’t let other opinions effect your own, you are more open to developing strong relationships with people you may have not given a chance. You are capable of forming your own opinions and deciding who is worthy of staying in your life.

Watch what you say

Don’t badmouth people. Not only is it unbecoming, but you are causing other people to form negative opinions about someone that you do actually like.

For instance, people tend to complain about their lovers when they aren’t getting along. It isn’t that they don’t actually want to be with them, but they need to vent. But now everyone who has heard them complain thinks that their partner is no good for them and should get kicked to the curb.

Notice how your words can effect and shape how others view reality. You can use this trick to your advantage by putting those you care for in a positive light before introducing them to people who are important to you.

By helping to form a good impression of someone before introducing them, you are creating an opportunity for a postive bond between the two parties and you too.


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