Fears change


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Fears change

  1. 1. You are constantly changing, but it’s hard to notice until it slaps you in the face with a leather glove. It’s not even a question of if you’re changing. It’s a question of in which direction are you changing. Most people want change because they want to get away from something. If you’re in this group, know that it doesn’t work. You can’t run away from yourself. Face your inner demons. Deal with them, and heal yourself. That is how you can change your life. Below are the 21 things you can do to change your life. It’s a hefty and spicy read, so grab your beverage of choice and enjoy. 1. Take Small Steps A baby learns to crawl before it can walk, and it learns to walk before it can run. Most people expect rapid life changes. If they’re wasting their time at a soul-sucking job, they expect success and fame within six months. I’m not saying it isn’t possible, because it is, but in most cases it’s not going to happen. People who need life changes now don’t realize that it’s not going to make them happy anyway. All they want is their dream of a future without any problems. When they get there, reality sets in, so they set another goal. And on it goes. Take small steps. Enjoy the process, and have fun. Those small steps will eventually evolve into quantum leaps. 2. Take Quantum Leaps Something I’ve learned in working with NLP is that changes can happen in an instant. Old pains, fears, and negative emotions can vanish and be replaced by something more useful. And this may seem contradictory to what I said above, but in reality it isn’t. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and. We don’t live in a black and white world. Quantum leaps are tipping points (as Malcolm Gladwell, the author likes to call them). As you keep taking one step at a time, you will eventually reach a tipping point where everything shifts. The problem is that most people never get to those shifts. They take a few steps, complain, whine, and give up. They stop drilling when they are about to hit gold. 3. Accept Where You Are
  2. 2. When I was 18, I started playing poker professionally. I wasn’t going to work at a regular job, because there was no way I would survive doing that. I just couldn’t stand it. Poker helped me realize many things, and one of them was that if I wanted to be happy, I had to accept where I was. I still to this day have a hard time doing this. My mind is constantly going somewhere else. Each day it gets better, and I’m okay with that (sometimes). Things come and go. People live and die. Your life feels good, and it feels bad. The more you accept this, the easier it is to change your life. 4. Be Patient I’ve been building my online business for the past five years. I say building, but what I really mean is learning the ropes. I stumbled a lot in the beginning. I made mistakes, I failed, and I gave up in frustration more times than I’d like to admit. I began seeing results when I became absolutely determined to succeed. It was a big lesson in patience. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. There will always be problems. But they don’t have to clutter up your whole life. Be patient with your progress. You can change your life. Sometimes it just happens in its own time. 5. Forgive We all have memories—painful memories. What you may not realize is that the person hurting you with those memories is you. You are the director of your mind. While the event may have happened in the past, it’s you who keeps playing them over and over again. Reliving the past will get you nowhere. That’s why it’s essential to forgive and forget all those people in your memories. When you do this, your life will begin to change. It takes a lot of energy to keep those memories running. 6. Heal Healing yourself goes hand in hand with point #5. When you know that you can let go of past memories, fears, and obstacles, you become confident. I personally use tools like NLP, EFT, and hypnotherapy on a daily basis to let go of negativity. Sometimes it feels like it’ll never end, but I keep on going. Most people aren’t ready for life changes. All they want to do is complain. They avoid any and all solutions, because they are comfortable where they are. And that’s fine with me, but if you make that choice, you have no right to complain or make
  3. 3. excuses. You either choose to be where you are, or you choose to change your life. It’s always up to you. 7. Face Your Fears When you face your fears, possibilities open up. I still have a slew of fears waiting to be faced, but I’ve come a long way since I started. And that brings up another important point. This is not about comparing yourself to someone else. This is about comparing yourself to you. How much have you learned since last year? Have you moved forward? If the answer is yes, then you’re doing well. 8. Kill Your Excuses Your excuses are mere illusions. You may have excuses about why you can’t follow your passion and build an online business, but are they really true? If you really wanted to, you could make those excuses disappear, and when you do, you know what’ll happen? That’s right. Your life will change, once again. 9. Take Responsibility Since talking with more and more readers, clients, and people in general, I’ve started to notice a scary pattern. That pattern is the lack of responsibility. I see people wanting to change their life, but they aren’t willing to take responsibility. They wait for a white knight (or black, depending on your preference) to sweep in to save the day and make change effortless and comfortable. I hate to burst your bubble, but it’s not going to happen. When you take responsibility for the life you’ve created, you can begin to move forward. If you’re blaming someone else for your situation, you’re stuck. 10. Follow Your Heart And what would an article of mine be without me telling you to follow your heart? If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that I keep writing about following your heart, and there’s a reason it keeps popping up. As I’ve been living my life, I’ve started listening to my heart more and more. And when I say following and listening to your heart, I mean it in the broadest sense of the word. It can mean anything, such as following your gut, intuition, feelings, or going with the flow of life.
  4. 4. When you begin putting the pieces together, and taking responsibility, and healing yourself, you will naturally begin to follow your heart. 11. Follow Your Passion If you drive up to a gas station, fill your car with the wrong kind of fuel, it won’t run very well, if at all. That’s what most people are trying to do in life. They are listening to outside influences, and that’s when all the “shoulds” come in. It’s the belief that you have to focus on money in order to build a successful online business. I did this in the beginning, so I know what it’s like. You want to do your research and know that there’s potential, but if you don’t do something you’re passionate about, your car will run out of fuel sooner or later. It is your passion that will fuel your journey for the rest of your life. The problem is that you may not know how to even start finding and following your passion. I had the same problem when I was starting out, but eventually things clicked. I share my whole story and how you can find and follow your passion in Passionate Living. 12. Meditate Ever had the experience of your mind racing out of control? It almost feels like you’re going crazy, doesn’t it? A great way to calm yourself (and your mind) down is to meditate. Even five minutes of meditation can do wonders. Did you know that a feeling can only stay in your body for about 90 seconds (chemically)? If it stays longer, you are doing something to maintain it. You have to throw wood in the fire to keep it going. Meditation is a great way to break that spell. So is exercise. So is eating. So is sex. But I think one of the healthiest ways is to meditate and notice what’s going on . 13. Express Yourself I find writing extremely therapeutic. It’s something I love to do. It calms me. It’s inspiring, and it infuses my life with serenity. I highly recommend you take up journaling or just writing down your thoughts after every day. If you’ve tried to solve problems in your head, you know it doesn’t work. Your mind is too scattered for that. You can have a conversation on paper, freewrite, and solve problems easily. It has the ability to change your life completely. A great book on freewriting is Accidental Genius by Mark Levy. I highly recommend it. 14. Comfort Zone Kill
  5. 5. If you want to change your life in the most positive sense, get comfortable with being out of your comfort zone. When you’re learning something new, you will bump into the walls of your comfort zone. Your spirit wants to be free. It’s when you put yourself into a little box that it feels the need to rebel. You will start feeling bored, and restless. You don’t have to suddenly infuse your life with discomfort. All you have to do is dip your toes from time to time. 15. Flow Let’s face it. You don’t know what you want. Sound harsh? Let me explain. Most people think they know what they want. They make five and ten year plans, acting as if nothing will change during that time. I’m on board with making plans and setting goals. But I don’t like rigidly sticking to them. You will miss opportunities if you do this. In fact, you will miss life. It’s like driving with all the windows painted black except the front window. You see where you’re going, but you miss everything else. Accept that life brings you possibilities. You don’t always know where your life will go. If you go with the flow, it will take you where you need to be. 16. Focus In order to change your life, you have to change your focus. If you don’t take control of your mind, it will run amok. You will focus on the negative. You will imagine the worst possible scenario. So, how do you focus? You take it step-by-step. Meditate five minutes a day. Take a walk and notice how your body feels. Relax and stop stressing. And when you do that, the way will open up. 17. Read I love reading. We live and die by stories. My life has changed several times by simply reading a book. I really need to compile a list of my favorite books into a post. Oh well, another time! The stories you read have a profound effect on how you view the world. You can be stuck on a problem, and the solution can pop into your mind while you’re reading something completely unrelated. Your mind does not work sequentially. You can be reading something, then something goes click,
  6. 6. and your life changes forever. And as you’re reading these very words, it causes you to think, doesn’t it? In order for you to make sense out of the funny letters you see here, you have to go inside, and make sense out of it from your own map of the world. Change is inevitable. It’s all about in what direction you’re changing. 18. Befriend the Unknown You never know what you need. Remember point #15, going with the flow? When you’re open to the unknown, which really is possibility, you accept that life may bring you something negative to teach you a positive lesson. I’ve had some pretty horrible days when I played poker. It can murder you psychologically, especially if you’re playing it for a living like I was. At one point I was looking up at the sky and asking “Why?” And I’m not at all religious. But it helped me realize what’s truly important in life. It isn’t money, or material wealth, although those things can be nice. You just never know what life will bring, so you might as well become curious. How will the seemingly negative turn to positive in your life? What are they teaching you? 19. Reclaim Your Personal Power Stop looking for others for approval. Just like taking responsibility (#9), you have to reclaim your personal power. You know what to do. You can feel it. You just haven’t been listening to that inner voice til’ now. It’s easy to give the decision to someone else, but it’s your life. The sooner you realize that, the more fun you will have. What do you want to do right now? If you don’t know, then start somewhere, because action will bring clarity. 20. Accept Failure You will make mistakes. And you won’t even know if they are mistakes when you make them, because mistakes and failures are skipping stones to success. You only fail if you give up, so if you never give up, you can never fail, only learn, and grow. 21. You Are Always More And above all, remember that you are always more than you think you are. You are more than your problems, more than your fears, and more than your body.
  7. 7. I learned this from an excellent NLP trainer called John Overdurf. It’s only when you focus on your problems and believe them to be you that you get into trouble. So, remember to relax, because life is way too important to take seriously And if you want to take things to the next level, check out my premium course, Passionate Living, where I share how I went from miserable to doing what I love. How to Start Overcoming Fear, Right Now 1. Awareness. Before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to know that they are causing havoc in your life. It’s easy to get so attached to your thoughts and feelings that you think they are all that exist, which couldn’t be further from the truth. 2. Identify. Get specific about what exactly you’re afraid of. Look at the pictures you have in your head about the situation. What is happening in them? What are you really scared of? Become an observer of your inner space. 3. Curiosity. While curiosity may have killed the cat, it certainly won’t do you any harm when investigating your fears. Get curious about what thoughts generate your fear, where do you feel the fear, and how do you react to it? Again, be an observer of what is going on. 4. The Now. What are you lacking right now? When you center yourself in the now, you realize that everything is how it is. You naturally accept what is. Tapping into the now can be as simple as feeling your body and breath. My favorite book on the subject is Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. 5. EFT. EFT is short for Emotional Freedom Techniques. You use your fingertips to tap meridian points on your body while thinking of a fear you have and it alleviates and sometimes gets rid of the fear altogether. Simple, yet extremely powerful. 6. Sedona Method. Another simple system to overcoming fear is the Sedona method. It consists of asking a few simple questions while focusing on your fear. It’s so simple that I dismissed it several times before taking it seriously. Bad move! 7. The Work. The Work is very similar to the Sedona method in that it asks questions. The Work is one of my favorite ways of overcoming fears, anxieties, and worries. If you go for nothing else on this list, go for The Work. It will rock your world, if you let it 8. Hypnosis. With hypnosis, you can program the right thoughts into your mind and eliminate negative beliefs. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it might for you. My brother uses it to consistently evoke positive change in his life. 9. Gratitude. Whenever you feel fear, switch it over to what you are grateful for instead. If you’re afraid of public speaking, be grateful for the opportunity to communicate with so many people, and that they are there to genuinely listen to what you have to say. 10. Journaling. Getting your fears down on paper is important, because trying to think them through never works. You get caught in endless loops of negativity that only lead you further down the rabbit hole, and make your life miserable. 11. Talk. No-brainer advice, but how often do we hold the negative in because we are afraid of how others might react, or because of some other reason? Talking helps, but don’t throw a pity party for yourself. 12. Therapy. If you can find a good therapist, therapy can be highly beneficial, even life-changing.
  8. 8. Finding the right therapist for you can be hard. Listen to your heart and choose someone who resonates with you. 13. NLP. NLP is short for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I’ve been to a seminar with the cofounder, Richard Bandler. You learn how your mind works. In my experience, I’ve found The Work to be much more powerful for me personally, but I know that NLP has helped thousands in eliminating phobias, fears, and other emotional problems. 14. Life Coach. Do you have a fear of success, or a fear of failure? A good life coach can help you examine what you truly want from life, and where your fears come from. I’ve spoken to a few in my life and while it can be scary, it’s very helpful in getting clear about what you want and what’s stopping you. 15. Read. Reading a good book on your specific fear can open new doors on how you can get rid of it. I also like to read a lot of motivational and inspirational work on and around the topic I’m dealing with. 16. Take Action. I’m an action taker, and I know that fears are just fears. They are created by your imagination to make reality seem scarier than it is. When you take action and face your fears, they become weaker, because you realize that reality isn’t nearly as bad as your imagination. 17. Watch. Watching a movie or a documentary can be as enlightening as reading a book. Sometimes it’s nice to distract yourself from your fear, but if you really want to, you can find dozens of movies on the fear you’re dealing with. 18. Diet. Did you know that the food you eat can have a dramatic impact on how you feel? All the sugars, additives, sweeteners, and other chemicals in our foods have a surprisingly powerful effect in getting our body out of balance. Stick to a clean diet that suits you. 19. Positivity. Whenever fear strikes, flip it over. Instead of thinking of something bad that can happen, think of something positive. What’s a positive outcome to your fear? If you’re thinking about public speaking, imagine yourself being wildly successful instead of failing horribly. This is very similar to #9, but with a small twist. 20. Perspective. Overcoming fear is all about putting your negative thoughts in perspective. We tend to focus too much on the negative, so by looking at all the options, you often realize that you’re making a big deal of nothing. There are so many things that can happen that it’s impossible for you to predict. We aren’t psychics. 21. Surrender. Surrendering to what is is powerful, because as long as we try to change what is, we are in war with reality. To learn more about how to surrender to what is, I recommend you read Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. It’s the book on The Work I mentioned earlier. I personally love it. 22. Your Story. We all tell ourselves a story about our fear. If I’m afraid that no one will like my writing, I tell myself a story (in my head) about how I’ll fail horribly, people will laugh at me, or even worse, no one will read what I have to say. What’s your story? 23. Release Control. We want control and predictability, even though it’s impossible to get. Where we don’t have control, we experience fear. But is it possible to ever have control? Even if you can swim, you can drown. A professional guitar player can still make mistakes and butcher a gig. Give up the illusion of control, and you’re free. 24. Help. Be kind to others. If you’re shy, focus on helping people instead of being self-conscious about how you look or sound when you talk. Flip it on other people and make yourself feel good. This is very similar to #16.
  9. 9. 25. Meaning. I believe we all go through things for a reason. That includes the fears we have. It also includes overcoming fear and learning the lessons that come out of it. This may not be the case 100% of the time, but when I look back at the challenges and fears in my life, I see that more often than not, they delivered exactly the message I needed at that time. 26. Model. I’m not talking about modeling clothes here. I’m talking about finding someone who had the fear you have, but managed to get rid of it. Get in touch with them, ask them how they did it, and learn to use their strategies in your own life. 27. Pray. I’m not religious, but if you are, you may want to consider praying for guidance on how to start overcoming your specific fear. Prayer is very similar to meditation. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as it works for you. 28. WTWTCH. What’s the worst that could happen? If you’re afraid of public speaking, imagine yourself on a stage with everyone laughing at you. How do you feel afterward? You’re still alive, aren’t you? Life goes on. 29. Yoga. Energy can get trapped in your body. When you do Yoga and breathe, that energy can be released. Sometimes you release parts of your fears, or you might even find that you’ve dropped a few fears without even noticing after a few months of Yoga. 30. Ask. Your feelings are there to tell you something, ask what the purpose of them is. Ask your heart, God, the universe, or whatever you feel comfortable with. What are your fears trying to tell you? 31. Understand Failure. When you realize that failure is not the end of the world, you become free. Failure is just a stepping stone to success. And most of our fears are fear of failure, shame, or somehow not living up to the standards society has put up for us. 32. Explore Your Roots. What is the root of your fear? This may require some meditation. Look inside and ask yourself when the fear started. If you’re afraid of public failure for example, when did it happen? Where you shamed in public when you were younger? 33. Breathe. Your breath can set you free. It can anchor you in the now and help you vanquish and overcome your most pervasive fears. I saved it for last, because it’s one of the simplest and most powerful ways of overcoming fear. The Wrap Up While I think overcoming fear is a learned skill, I also believe that sometimes it takes time. If you find yourself rushing, take it easy. You will be able to get rid of your fear when the time is right. By reading this article, you’ve already taken the first step, and you’ve put the wheels in motion. The next step is taking action and using one of the 33 tips above. Trust your heart and always do what resonates with you. Overcoming fear of failure is not easy by any means, but it can be done, especially if you are determined to take your personal growth to the next level. There is no magic pill that will transform you into a fearless hero, only steps that will take you closer to freedom from the imaginary jail cell of your mind. 1. Identify the Root Cause
  10. 10. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald Where does your fear of failure originate? Sit down, take a few deep breaths, ask yourself when your fear of failure was formed, and observe what you see, feel, or hear. When you see what caused your fear of failure, you’ll also see that your mind’s interpretation is far from accurate. If your parents were overly protective, or if you had a particularly strict teacher, you’ll see that they did it because they want the best for you. It’s easy to see how the you of the past interpreted events as he or she did. But if you look at the event as an outsider, you will see that it had nothing to do with you. It’s crucial to examine all of your negative beliefs, because they have a big influence on how you live your life. 2. Simplify “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci Complexity is hard to visualize, and if you try, you will feel overwhelmed. Everything will feel hopeless and not worth doing, because you just don’t know how. When I began my online journey, I was overwhelmed to say the least. I had no idea of where to go, what to do, or how to do it. When I simplified the tasks that I needed to do, it all became much easier. I had no problem taking action because I had broken everything down into actionable pieces. And if I didn’t know what to do, I’d ask someone, or join a training program. I took the task of starting a website and broke it down to coming up with a domain name, buying hosting, getting a website up and running, and getting a simple design. It also didn’t hurt that I was determined to make it work. If you don’t have that fire burning inside of you, you should think twice about moving forward. Find your passion, and boldly go where you have never gone before. 3. Failure is Inevitable “It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid.” — Publius Syrus Let’s face it, failure is inevitable if you want to live a remarkable life. I know you want to live a life full of passion, meaning, and purpose. We all do. But it’s not going to happen if you succumb to your fears and try to look for a more comfortable way out, because there is none. Sooner or later you will have to overcome the fear of failure, and you will have to overcome many other fears during your lifetime.
  11. 11. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, frustrating, and exhausting. I know, I’ve been there, but the more you move through tough periods, the faster you’ll grow. If you want the life of your dreams, make failure a part of your life. Embrace it. 4. Fail More. Succeed More. “There is no failure. Only feedback.” — Robert Allen The more you fail, the more you succeed. I was lucky to learn that lesson early in my life. When I became a professional poker player, I was 18, and I already knew that the more feedback I got, the faster I would learn. I crave constructive criticism. It is a chance for me to improve what I’m doing. I never assume that I know it all, nor do I assume that I am above failure. Even the most successful people fail every single day. The difference between the successful and the not-yet-successful is the realization that failure is simply a stepping stone, not a permanent event. 5. Failure is Temporary “Failure is an event, never a person.” — William D. Brown Failure feels permanent, but it isn’t. You and I both know that, but we don’t act like it is so. You may imagine yourself failing and the movie in your head stops there. If you let the movie play, you will realize that that failure may be exactly what you needed. It may be the messenger of the lesson you needed to succeed down the road. Failure isn’t easy, but it is what will make you the person you want to become. I’ve failed more times than I can count, yet I still fear failure. The difference now versus when I was in my late teens is that I know that the fear of failure is just a thought. It conjures up feelings in my body that feel bad. It has no bearing in reality. It is often exaggerated and out of control. Most people never stop to observe their thoughts. And they never stop to ponder that their thoughts could be wrong. Why give your thoughts all that authority if they make you feel bad? 6. Free Your Mind “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” — Buddha See your thoughts for what they are … thoughts. Thoughts can be eliminated, feelings can be alleviated, and fears can be overcome. You can do this by taking massive action and facing your fears. You can also use methods such as The Work, EFT, and meditation.
  12. 12. I have personally been using EFT since I was 16. I have been meditating on and off for the same time. And I recently got acquainted with The Work. I won’t delve into how you can use them in this article, because it would simply take up too much space, so I suggest you visit the websites of EFT and The Work, and read my article on how to meditate. There’s more to life than being a slave to your mind, your programming, and the beliefs of society. You think what you become, so make sure you get it right on the inside before you blame the outside. So many people try to get more money, better relationships, and seek happiness only to end up where they started. They seek something outside of themselves, when everything they wanted was right in front of them. 7. Shift Your Perspective “Failure teaches success.” — Japanese Saying Who taught you that failure was a bad thing? It feels bad, so it must be bad. Is that really true? Every belief and thought that makes us feel bad needs to be examined. What good does a fear of failure do us? It’s easier said than done to eliminate negative beliefs, but it all starts with being aware that a problem actually exists. The last thing you want to do is get mad at yourself for not being perfect. We all have our unique fears and they are there for a reason. Your fears will help you grow in the way you need to grow. You realize your negative beliefs when they need to be realized. There is no rush. This is not a competition. You’re doing perfectly. Look at each failure as a blessing in disguise. It is not through success that we become wise, but through our failures. I learned this lesson particularly well when I played poker for a living for half a decade. In poker, luck is a big factor, which means that you can play well, but still lose for weeks and months. It can be extremely frustrating, but what it teaches you is discipline, and it teaches you to constantly improve your game. It taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life, which is to look at the negative periods as times of learning. The same goes for life. Whenever you’re faced with something particularly difficult, learn from it and grow, because it will pass. 8. Self Growth “Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford
  13. 13. We all have the same basic fears. While same get through them easily, others get stuck. Use your fears as signposts that tell you where you have room to grow. Fear of failure is something everyone faces at one point or another. This isn’t the end of the world, but the beginning of an amazing journey. I know you may feel like being afraid of failure is horrible. That is because you imagine it to be so in your mind. Look at the pictures and thoughts that come up when you think about the fear of failure. What do you see? Do you see yourself failing in front of a large group of people, which then proceed to laugh and point? They are nothing but thoughts. You can get through them if you want to. You’ve already taken the first step by reading this article. Even if you wanted to go back to your comfortable existence, it’s already too late, because the seed has been planted by you reading this article 9. Embrace Fear “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” — Eleanor Roosevelt Everyone is afraid to one degree or another. No one is different. It’s ingrown into our biological mechanism. The sooner you befriend your fear, the faster you can keep moving forward. It is not fear that stops you from going after your dreams, but what you decide to do because of those fears. You can reprogram the way you react to your fears, thoughts, and worries. Whenever I am working on something that is important, such as doing what I love, and a fear pops up, I know I will get through it. The alternative is giving up, which isn’t an option. If you are determined to go after your passion, your fears will become insignificant in comparison. 10. Take Action “I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison We have more knowledge at our fingertips now than ever before in history. The internet gives you access to endless amounts of courses, guides, and training programs. No matter what you want to do, you can learn. It’s fantastic. But it can also be paralyzing and a breeding ground for fear. The what if thoughts enter your mind and you start worrying about this and that. No matter what, if you take action, you will eventually end up in the right place. When you blend action with the guidance that comes from your heart, your progress will be fast, powerful, and fulfilling. You see, while most people sit at the sidelines waiting for the perfect moment, you will be out there learning, doing, and growing.
  14. 14. That is what will get you to the life of your dreams. 11. Imagine Your Future “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” — Vincent van Gogh Sometimes negativity helps. Imagine your future if you let every fear you had control your life. What does it look like? Where would you end up? Do you think you would regret it when you’re at the end of your life? Now imagine your life if you had overcome every fear on your path. You would be living the life of you always desired. You would look back at your life without regrets. Sure, you may have done some foolish things, but they just added some spice to your life. You can sit home and feel sorry for yourself all you want, but it isn’t going to make your life different. Only you have the power to change your life, so you might as well start now. 12. Stay in the Now “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha Most of us live in either the past or in the future. We regret what we’ve done (or not done), or we worry about what’s to come. Using the past and present is fine when done with a purpose, like #11 up there, but letting your mind run amok will do you no good, as you probably already know. There are no problems in the present. You are okay right now. You have a roof over your head, you have food in the fridge, and you feel fine. You would be fine without a roof as well. What would make it not okay is your mind, and the stories it tells around your situation. Accept the gift that is the present moment. Breathe, smell, hear, and enjoy who you are, right now. You already have the key to your happiness. 13. Follow Your Passion “No man is a failure who is enjoying life.” — William Feather Last, but definitely not least is to follow your passion. We both knew this was coming . If you decide to follow your passion, you will be much more likely to blast through your fears. You know, like me, that doing anything other than going after your dreams is not an option. I might
  15. 15. feel secure in a regular job, but I would never be happy or fulfilled. Sometimes I feel like I am not living life, but life is living me. I go with my feelings and my heart. I do what excites me. It’s an interesting way to live, and I invite you to try it. Overcoming fear of failure is as hard as you make it. When you face your fears, you will realize that they are nowhere as bad as you thought they would be. So what will it be? Your fears, or the life of your dreams? Timeboxing is a simple time management technique I first learned about it in software development terms. Let’s say you have a fixed deadline for a new product you need to release, such as an annual upgrade to software for calculating income taxes. You must have a new version ready by a certain date. So you’ll probably use timeboxing for your development cycle, meaning that you do the best job you can within the time available. What new features you can implement are totally determined by the time frame. Slipping the schedule is simply not an option, so if you get behind, you must cut features. In terms of managing your own tasks, timeboxing can be a helpful technique. I primarily use it in two different ways. First, let’s say you want to get something done, but there’s a risk it could end up taking far more time than it’s worth because it’s the kind of task where you might exhibit perfectionist tendencies. So you give yourself a specific amount of time, which you won’t go over, and you simply do the best job you can within that time. As an example I use timeboxing when doing my Christmas shopping each year. I usually allocate a total of 2 hours to the task, which for me involves buying gifts for 8 people (my wife handles the rest). I decide in advance what kind of gift I should get each person on my list, and then I order as much as I can online and then head off to the local mall, where I zoom from one store to the next picking up gifts as I go. I also usually take advantage of my flexible schedule, doing the shopping on a weekday morning when the stores aren’t busy and I don’t have to wait in line. So I’m in and out with everyone’s gifts in under two hours. (I know some people love holiday shopping, and taking multiple trips to browse is fine if it’s something you enjoy. But if you’re shopping-challenged like me, and you’re no more likely to get gifts that are any better if you invest an extra 10 hours in the task, then it may be best to simply resign yourself to doing the best job you can within the time you have available.) The second way I use timeboxing is when I have a task or project that I wish to complete, but I don’t really know where to begin, or it seems like it’s going to be a long time before I can finish a meaningful chunk. Or maybe it’s something I find really tedious and would have a tendency to procrastinate on. Then I use timeboxing to simply commit to working on the task for a given period of time to make a dent in it. I normally use a period in the range of 30-120 minutes. I release any concern about reaching a particular milestone within that time — I simply commit to putting in the time, regardless of how far I get. An example where I use this approach would be when I’m writing a new article. Finishing a complete article will usually take
  16. 16. me 3-8 hours. Sometimes I can complete an article in a single stretch, but most of the time I’ll stretch it over multiple sessions. So I use timeboxing to just put a dent in the article and get started, committing myself to writing for 1-2 hours without worrying about how far I get. Then I just repeat the process until the work is complete. A side effect of this last method is that I’ll often end up working much longer than I originally intended. If I commit to working on a tedious task for just 30 minutes, it’s easy to get started because I’ve given myself permission to stop after only 30 minutes. But once I’ve overcome that inertia and am now focused on the task, 90 minutes may pass before I even feel the desire to stop. Timeboxing’s ability to circumvent perfectionism and avoid procrastination makes it a useful time management technique. I even used it for this blog entry, and now that my wife has returned home with dinner and a movie rental, it’s time to say goodbye…