How To Start Your 2017

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The Science of Goal Architecture

Fantasizing about your goal should be banned. At least until you have a solid action plan and have taken the first step. The real reward comes not from the dream, but achieving it. The first step in the program can be very dangerous and corrosive if you don’t follow up and build what’s next. Fantasizing about your goal without action is much like dreaming of building a house. But instead of actually building it, you have a party on your empty parcel of land; there’s no house, no foundation, no fencing, no rooms,  just grass. You then decide to tell other people about this party, and you all get drunk and high off that piece of land and never get to enjoy what’s made the dream special in the first place. Afterwards, you look at your piece of land, hungover and discouraged realized that you’ve accomplished nothing. DON’T DO THIS.

Set up your goals properly. 

What makes a good goal?

Some 86% of millionaires say they made their own wealth, according to Fidelity’s 2012 Millionaire Outlook Survey. Of these self-made millionaires, 30% told Fidelity that they struggled financially when they were young. These self-made millionaires didn’t get there by twiddling thumbs or wishing for success. They had clear and written goals. In a study conducted by Ferguson and Sheldon (2010), participants wrote ‘why’ and ‘how’ they will achieve a goal. They concluded that goals need to be:

Meaningful- you should know exactly what you want, and what it means for you, what is your WHY?

Measurable- your goals should have a metric. To be a Success Alchemist means we have to be scientific. How long will it take/how many hours, minutes, days etc? What is the metric used? Is it calories eaten, pages read, words typed, pounds lifted? What’s the frequency?

Challenging- If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. – Frank DeVito  Remember: Success is overcoming a challenge.

 

Sources:

Ferguson, Y., & Sheldon, K.M. (2010). Should goalstrivers
think about ‘why’ or ‘how’ to
strive? It depends on their skill level. Motivation and Emotion, 34, 253265.

How to Overcome Loneliness and Depression and Achieve Success

Most of people who know me have experienced my abnormally good attitude first hand. Today was little different on this Christmas Eve eve (insert sad face). However, I was driving a saw a building with the lights on and a bunch of cars. Curious, I went inside and immediately a gentleman offered me his seat. Turns out it was an AA meeting, and I entered right at its conclusion where we all joined hands, said the Lord’s Prayer, and socialized afterward. I will tell you this: always default to
1) Awareness and 2) Vulnerability when you fall short of your best self. When everything else seems stripped from you, know exactly where you are. You ever wondered why air flight attendants stress the location of the air masks or why movie theatre staff point to the exits of the building? You KNOW damn well people aren’t going to be logical and remember those things in case of, say, a shooting or a fire. With an awareness of exits and emergency procedures, however, they’ll at least panic “correctly” so to speak. Much like a disturbed crowd, when you’re upset, frustrated, or depressed, have awareness of where you are first. Opening up and being vulnerable will then allow you to see and move towards your exit. Listening to people who have problems bigger than my own really put things in perspective, and I really wanted to share this. Happy Holidays Everyone! 🙂

7 Destructive Ways You Waste Time

1. WATCHING TOO MUCH TV/NETFLIX

Life is way too short to be consumed in front of a screen at the cost of real, important, and fulfilling activities. Television can still be enjoyed and quitting all together isn’t the point I’m trying to make here. If you know you’re destroying hours everyday hypnotized, tuned in but buzzed out, then the remedy should be obvious.

2. BEING ADDICTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA

The swarm of sirens that pulls you to check your phone or computer and stay glued to your timeline are real. Scientific research points to the wiring of our brains and how we process images and videos that contain social information. The truth is, this addiction stems from the desire to be liked and approved as well as the need to evaluate the status of our peers. Build your self-esteem upon more stable attributes. The less emotionally dependent you are, the more freedom and control you have over your life.

3. FAILING TO PUT THINGS BACK WHERE THEY BELONG

We’ve all come back from work, been tired and the last thing we’re thinking about is hanging our coat, displacing newly checked mail, or cleaning out the lunch box.

Say this out lout:

Take it out. Put it back.

Then repeat.

Then do. :)

4. NOT HAVING A MORNING ROUTINE

A consistent theme rings true for most high performing professionals and geniuses ancient and modern: they all had morning routines. Writers like Kurt Vonnegut (etc etc etc) . Personally, I started implementing a 20 minute wake up earlier and clean my room. I cannot recommend creating a morning routine enough. It is a game changer!

5. NOT BEING FULLY PRESENT

Being fully present in any given moment not only allows us to work more efficiently, but it also helps us to enjoy life more. Research has shown that the most enjoyable moments of our life are the ones where we are most engaged. We will enjoy our activities and be prompted to do them more eagerly. Soak up every moment, even the ones where you are working on unpleasant tasks. I urge that if you to engage and pay attention to at least one or two things you do today, you find yourself performing them with an immersive power that you cannot resist.

6. NOT HAVING A SCHEDULE IN PLACE

Putting a flexible structure in place for the rest of the day helps put your brain in cruise control so that the energy you have can be used for actually performing what you need to do instead of figuring out “what do I do now?” Write down at least 5 items on a planner. I prefer to make my schedule the previous night so I can wake up with confidence.

Anyone wouldn’t have much trouble realize the importance of organization. As a simple and redundant as the advice is, there should be no excuse for not following it. If you want to improve your life and you don’t use a planner, you’re loosing half of the battle already. Being organized is one of the absolute best ways to save yourself time on a daily basis.

7. CONSTANTLY MULTITASKING

Focusing on any one thing will seem like an eternity for those who multitask. But the urgent need to bounce back and forth is what destroys our progress. The search for novelty and better opportunities causes us to neglect the call to action we have right now. Stop trying to do a million things at once, and I think you’ll find yourself not only producing better work, but being a lot more efficient too.

Control Your Life by Controlling Your Time Part 2

Suppose you just got off your lunch break from work and I call you all the way from New York. I say “Listen, if you meet me here at the John F. Kennedy airport by 3pm sharp, I’ll give you $750,000.” You look at the time and it’s a quarter past noon. You’re first reaction is no way. Impossible. That’s a little under 3 hours. The flight is two, and traffic alone to the airport would be an hour. But wait with three quarters of a million on the line you get creative.

We talk ourselves into believing we cannot control events that we can really control. The better you feel about yourself, the most productive you will be. What types of things do you do that make you feel best? You feel best when you do things that matter most to you. What are the highest priorities in your life? Of these, which do you value the most?

Why do we have so much trouble accomplishing the things that mean the most to us in the long term? We think we are going to have more time at some unspecified future date than we do now. “Well, I’ll do that next week, or next month, or next year, or when I retire, or when I make better money,  when the economy is better etc”. We think we can somehow save time. As if you don’t have it already. That’s like trying to jog a mile faster by saving your energy. You have all the energy you need. Instead of walking half the damn time, we should focus on actually running.

You would be very upset if someone gained access to your bank account and stole all of your money. Why then don’t most people blink an eye when all sorts of distractions creep into our lives and steal our time?Procrastination. The dirty word. Why do we procrastinate? Important tasks are likely unpleasant. What’s sexy about balancing a checkbook, counting calories, or taking out the garbage? Be productive and successful requires us to leave our comfort zones.

Set a deadline. Do the most unpleasant part first. Make a game out of it. Build in a reward.

Control your life by controlling your time: Part 1

What is time? What a silly philosophical question, right? Most of us would rather ask for the time than ponder it’s existence and meaning. Think of time like this: The train does not arrive at the station at 7:00PM, the train arrives at the station at the same moment the little hand reaches seven. The basic element of time is an event. Controlling your life means controlling your time aka the set of events in your life.

What’s the best example of someone who is out of control? A drug addict. They are no longer in control of their lives and are only reacting to their addiction, and the events surrounding their poor lifestyle. The best example of someone who is in complete control of their professional environments? A symphony conductor. Which a flick of a baton, an entire group of people respond and perform. Events fall into a control continuum of things we have control over and things we don’t.

control-continuum

What are some events in which you have no control? The sunrise, tornadoes, the World Series, your height, your boss. How do you feel when you face events that you can’t control? Stressful, angry, fearful, and frustrated most likely..

Perhaps you’ve tried a dance class. For me, dancing is an out-of-control experience. When I joined my first class, I could not control my dance moves at first. Whenever I tried to imitate the other performers in the group, my body would do flail, twist, flop, or do something completely different, or sometimes nothing at all because of complete bewilderment! I must have control over how we can move our body, right?  But without practice I didn’t at first.

There is a surprising amount that we can control.control-of-events

Rate these events from 1-5 with 5 being the MOST in control. How would you describe the feeling when take control of the events that you have control over? Happy, exhilarated, powerful, confident, maybe even surprised most likely. Focusing on event control makes all the difference.

Part of the reason some of us fail to take control rests upon the conditioning we’ve been raised to accept. Take a circus elephant. These massive 5 ton animals are able to be bound and constrained by a silly rope attached to a stake. When the elephants are young, they believed they couldn’t move freely. The tethers in their minds were stronger than any chain or rope.

There are events we can’t control, but believe we can, and there are events we can control, but believe we can’t.

HOW TO REACH THE NEXT STEP IN YOUR TRADING

The amount of people who should know how to trade by now is disgusting. Many traders study for years but become stuck chasing their tails. Having an edge is only a part of the equation for churning out profits consistently. You can devour trading material for a decade and still be in the red at the end of the day. You need to focus on developing the counter intuitive mindset that leads to success; the playbook that the majority of the masses use will not cut it. If you are not reaching your trading objectives, it is not due to the events or circumstances around you, bad luck or even volatile markets. It is because you create what you expect. How can someone achieve their objectives when they consciously and subconsciously sabotage their own process with excuses and bias? You may work your ever living ass off without producing a single dime, convincing yourself the whole time that you have the right strategy, the right mindset, and that all of your results are due to external circumstances. When you detach your ego and really dig deep down and examine the issue, you will find the missing commitment that is responsible for your void.

 

The Essence of Living Consciously

Romanticizing the past and worrying about the future all take us away from where we need to be. Living consciously means leaning into resistance and embracing the presence of now. We have the power to change when we let resistance work for us and not against us. When you don’t “feel” like doing what needs to be done, you can lean into the power of conviction for WHY it needs to be done. Resistance is a good thing; it means there’s an opportunity for change, and an opportunity to live a more conscious life.

A Lesson From My Piano Teacher That Changed My Life (And How It Can Change Yours Too)

Have you ever been good at something? I hope you have. Have you ever been exceptionally good at something? I hope this applies to you as well. The purpose of me writing this is because I never want you to doubt yourself and your abilities again. Right now you have doubts. Everyone does. If I told you that you have every right and every opportunity to change the world, have the healthiest and most loving relationships, be in the best shape of your life, experience true freedom from financial obligations and stress, and operate on time that YOU manage, would you doubt me? Naturally, the big whopping feats, the monster accomplishments, and super human skills we all want seem unobtainable. However I want you to look at what you’re good at today; what you own, what you completely dominate, and what you’re confident about. If you don’t have a reference like this, you need to dig deep. Einstein, one of the greatest geniuses to ever live said, “everyone is a genius at something”. Own your skills, own your abilities because they are yours. You did not arrive at your skill or level from mere accident, coincidence, or luck. No, you got where you are exactly how everyone else did. There is no substitute, no shortcuts, nor elixir that brings you to anything worth achieving. No one has the magical item. If they did, it would be the hottest selling product on the shelves today. It just does not exist, yet it is easy to sit back and act like it does; as if the hard work and effort that it takes to get colossal amounts of success come from mythical nothingness and is waved by wand like some fairy tale. I will tell you something mind blowing. We live in the real world, the one where you can make larger than life goals and have them reached. Take my piano teacher. I took lessons for five years under a master pianist named Jeremy. I never knew how getting forced by my parents to sit on an uncomfortable wooden chair every week in front of black and white keys would mark the beginning of my journey to success. If you’ve ever touched a piano or fiddled around, you know simple tunes can be played by ear with one hand. String together a couple of notes and you have, “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. Play around a bit more and you will manage to compose, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and so on. Isolating one hand presents a mild challenge and it is nothing terribly difficult when you run through the melody to the point of mindless confidence. Playing piano with two hands, however, is an entirely different and phenomenally difficult beast. Playing piano with two hands is the easiest way to demonstrate that humans are not programmed to multitask. The timing and the rhythms of one hand actively screams against the other. They’re like an arguing couple. How does this relate to success and help you achieve the goals you’ve been holding back on? Well “attempting” anything without the work and dedication needed to nurture the process of mastery is like trying to play piano with two hands. You will not get it done. However, my piano teacher, Jermey, read music all the time, and could play as if performing a difficult piece took no more energy than breathing. Right before he died, I reached a high level of success with the piano as well, and it did not come from randomness or wishing to become better. No, it took practice and work. We all know about the laws of common sense around working hard and success, but it was more than just practice and work that got me to where I was. Jeremy taught me how a master practice; how an expert goes about perfecting their craft. You see, when you play piano you are not playing with two hands. You’re making both of your hands obey their rhythm under a single beat. Instead of a couple arguing angrily against each other, you have them both agree to a single and simple beat. 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &. Jermey would make me repeat boring, evenly spaced beats and count them out loud. Then I would play the right hand music as slow as possible, and I mean slow. It was like a snail taking vacation and every time it was ridiculous. I was stuck for almost 60 minutes counting, “One and Two and Three and Four and” while dragging through the musical piece. After I mastered one hand he would make me practice the left hand with the same routine, “One and Two and Three and Four and”. Every note had to land in a specific spot, or else he would make me start over and play it SLOWER and correctly ten times until I was ready to play it faster. Eventually, however, when I went back home and continued my practice I become better and better to point where playing was natural. What my piano teacher taught me was that success comes through repetition and consistency. In the beginning stages of the song, what I played sounded nothing like the finished product. Much like how you are today, you may not be able to envision yourself achieving what you deserve, but trust me, it is possible. It takes a faithful resilience and a dedication so strong to what you desire that you will become what you do. If you practice anything enough times you will become it. I never let my teacher die in vain and I take his lessons as a testimony for other areas of my life and you should to. Remember the things you are good and imagine the work and effort it took for you to get there. You already have the blueprint inside of you. No it’s time to take action and get it done.