Self Improvement

How To Be Successful In Your Pursuit Of Happiness

Freedom CourageYou’re sitting in your cubicle on a beautiful hot summer day thinking about the great time you’re going to have after work.

But about four thirty your boss suddenly is standing there, blocking the entrance of your cubicle demanding that you stay and put a couple of hours of overtime.

Suddenly a rush of anger just boils up from the core of your soul and you feel like sending your boss to hell…

But you don’t… you restrain and just sheepishly say: “Ok, I’ll stay!”

In a situation like this, you certainly wish you could be strong and courageous to be able to use your God given right of freedom of choice and do what you really want, which is to quit and get the hell out of there…

But you don’t!

You know that given the circumstances, you can’t take that type of apparently irrational action. However, in your head a burning desire starts to build up… you deeply want to find the secret to financial success, authentic happiness and freedom.

How to use your freedom of choice in your pursuit of happiness and financial freedom?

Even though in a lot of circumstances it doesn’t look like it, FREEDOM OF CHOICE is a God given or innate right that each one of us has.

The problem is that in a lot of situations and because of circumstances beyond our control, we might feel that the pursuit of happiness and financial freedom is in our case way out of reach and unattainable.

But is that actually so? I sincerely don’t think so…

I believe that your physical situation has no bearing on your ability to achieve authentic happiness and financial freedom.

It might not be easy, but it’s attainable if you subscribe to a definition of happiness that empowers you and helps you develop the courage to change and get ahead in life.

Let’s talk about happiness for a second

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Happiness is one of the biggest dreams or goals people have. In fact, people pursue it constantly. That’s why you hear it over and over that people just want to be happy!

They actually try all kinds of things to achieve that goal. The routes people take to try to attain this goal vary completely and what happens, is that lot of people think happiness is something they need to get to, something tangible they will be able to keep once they’ve reached it.

However, according to the majority of researchers and philosophers, happiness is related to the distinctions people have inside their heads about what will grant them that most desired wish of happiness.

Some will read lots of quotations on happiness thinking that, somehow, doing that will help motivate them to be happy. Others will subscribe to the belief that money doesn’t buy happiness, and therefore concentrate themselves in the search of nirvana or some special illuminated state.

When people embark on this quest without understanding the importance of what happens inside their heads, they’re falling prey the happiness trap, which results in them being more frustrated, unhappy and stressed at the end of their pursuit than what they were at the beginning.

The problem is that the misconceptions people have about what happiness itself actually is, throw them curve balls that derail them from their goal of achieving authentic happiness and financial freedom. And each person seems to have a completely different definition of what happiness is or, even better said, what would be required to make them feel happy.

But once you dig deep enough, you’ll discover that happiness is just a STATE OF MIND. And a state of mind is relatively easy to obtain, once you know how to do it.

But before we go into it, let’s dispel a common misconception…

Does money buy happiness?

In my mind, this is one of the biggest misconceptions that people have concerning happiness.

They either honestly believe that money cannot buy happiness and is actually the source of all evil and that, therefore, if they have money they can’t be happy at all or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, they subscribe to the school of thought that believes that they can’t be happy if they don’t have lots of money.

However, if you read my statement above in the previous section, where I said that happiness is a state of mind, something will somehow be kind of illogical with this money thing.

Ask yourself, what does money have to do with a state of mind? In reality, nothing!

A state of mind, as the words clearly say it, happens inside your head, in your mind. Money is just a physical representation of a very practical means for the exchange of goods and services.

Yes, I will 100% agree that having lots of money will allow you to arrive at your problems with style, but having money does not guarantee real love and authentic happiness.

In fact, when you look at the lives of wealthy people in public life, you’ll see a huge percentages of unhappiness, lack of mental freedom, betrayal and a bunch of things that are not conducive to happiness at all.

Why is this so?

Because these people have never learned to deal with their mental states and control them.

As we can see, money and happiness can go hand in hand, but only when the right mindset has been cultivated and nurtured independently of wealth and circumstances.

Freedom of Choice

As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, when we live in democratic countries, certain freedoms have been guaranteed by constitutional rights.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press and the ability to pursue financial freedom, are things that lots of countries guarantee.

And yet, in a lot of cases, you’ll find those freedoms lacking in the lives of many people.

Let’s not talk about the general circumstances of nations here, but let’s concentrate in what we as individuals can do in this respect.

Start with the right mindset

Given that happiness is a state of mind, it’s not something that can be obtained just by liking a bunch of “Pursuit of Happiness Quotes” in Facebook or Pinterest.

It does require having the courage to change your mindset. To do this, you need to first understand where you are in terms of mindset and attitude.

You must learn to accept that the freedom of choice does not mean that you can change everything in your life. There are certain things that you will have to learn to accept as they are and interpret their meaning in a completely different way… a way that’s positive and ends up benefiting you.

However, it’s not just acceptance. And this is of paramount importance; it also requires action. Action to change the things that you CAN change but have taken for granted for a long time.

You might be terrified of changing deeply entrenched behaviors and beliefs in your life. But have courage!

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to be terrified and still go ahead and do what we know we need to do.

Once you start acting the right way, once you have projects that fulfill you, that give you a purpose, once you start having a growth mindset, you will be in the “happiness mindset” on a regular basis.

You will not have to pursue happiness. You will just be happy the majority of the time.

Yes, you’ll enjoy quotations on happiness and freedom. But their impact will not just be a nice collection of words, but the fact that your own life will be a reflection of what most of those quotes say.

Hermann Bock


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Take a look at yourself
Blog, Self Improvement

The Ultimate Life Hack: Stop Whining About Everything!

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I don’t know about you, but I seem to have a magnet for them, they just seem to pop up all around me and they really get on my nerves.

Yes, I’m talking about complainers!

Those people who seem to have only one purpose in life, namely, whine about everything constantly.

So, am I turning into one of them right here? Erm… Nope!

This post is not a rant, it’s an observation and a way of making you think about it and together with me, discover that there is a better way. One that can take you to a different and better way of life.

See, when you are a whiner, you have a very specific focus in life. And that focus determines many things about how you experience life. This is so, because your focus determines your perception of life. It will determine which experiences you will zoom in and which ones you’ll actually delete from your experience.

Watch the video above, to see the excellent and amazing example of Nelson Mandela, who after spending 27 years in prison, was determined to NOT BE A COMPLAINER.

Can you learn something from his experience? You bet! In fact, we all can…

The only way to really get forward in life is by changing your interpretation of things and to do that, you need, no, you must change your focus. You must start focusing on the positive and thinking about how to improve and solve problems instead of just whining about them. Do you get my drift?

I hope you do!

If you want to know more about how you can completely change your attitude and focus in life, check out the video below and then click on the button.

Hermann Bock

 

 

 

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business, smartphone, communication
Online Home Business Opportunities

Joys and Pitfalls When You Work From Home In the 21st Century

business, smartphone, communication

It’s amazing how time flies, we are already over a decade and a half in the 21st century. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, I had dreams of the 21st century as something super advanced and modern.

The reality is that most things have remained the same; like the song goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. But there is one thing that has changed drastically, and it is…

Your ability to work from home online and make a living from the comfort of your own house

In this century so far, the possibilities of generating an income by doing online jobs and getting involved in legitimate online business opportunities are actually staggering. Some people have even become millionaires from their houses simply by getting themselves involved in very good home business opportunities that are legitimate, available to anyone and pay very well.

Given that this is a fact in these modern times, let’s take a look at the joys and perils that someone who works from their house needs to keep in mind to be successful.

I don’t know about you, but it’s always been my dream not to be tied to a geographical location and yet be able to make a decent living.

Up to the beginning of this century, when people thought of terms of not being attached to a place to make a living, people would immediately think of roaming sales people, who constantly moved from one place to another to make a sale, or maybe circus people, who were like nomads, and stayed in a place for a couple of weeks before moving on to a different town.

As you can see, the world back then was definitely not what I am talking about when I talk about a work from home world. It was more like being attached and tied to a forever moving workplace.

Number one, you couldn’t decide where you’d work from. You were attached to were your customers resided.

Take for instance the circus case. After a couple of weeks in a place, or if the city was relatively big, maybe even a couple of months, you would have to move on, because the attendance would reduce.

You’d have to move together with the circus on to a different city, you were FORCED to do that!

Something similar happened if you worked in sales. Once you offered something to a person, it didn’t make sense to revisit that same person and offer the same thing, at least not in the next week or maybe month. It made no business sense, so you were forced to move on to different neighborhoods or cities.

In the case of others, the equipment necessary to generate an income forced them to stay in one place. Think manufacturing enterprises, you couldn’t and still can’t move those huge machines that easily. So, if you got a job at one of them, you were tied to that particular place. No way around it.

But today, due to the fact that we’re living in the Information Age, we can choose were we work from, and many people have chosen and decided to work from home or from anywhere actually.

Your location is irrelevant if your work is online. As an Information Worker you would only need your laptop and access to the internet to be productive, because you’d have some type of online business going on. And that gives you freedom, the type of freedom people could only dream about in times passed.

As you can imagine, there are lots of JOYS of working from home online, but when your goal is to earn a living through your work at home, you also must be aware of the PERILS that are waiting from behind every turn. Only by being aware, you can avoid them and really concentrate on the benefits brought on by the joys.

Let’s start on a positive note and talk first about the joys:

The Joys Of Working From Home Online (or Anywhere For That Matter)

Freedom:  There is a very popular definition of freedom is: “Do what you want, when you want it and with whom you want”. That’s the kind of freedom I’m referring when I talk about work from home online.

It’s freedom to set your own schedule, to be your own boss and be able to decide when to take a day, a week or even a month off without having to ask for the blessing of a difficult boss that doesn’t care about your needs and desires.

If you are a night person and you are more active in the evenings, you’d be free to work until 3 o’clock in the morning if you want, the online world never sleeps. You’d have the freedom to work whenever you want, day or night. It will be your prerogative.

Improved Family Life: Another great benefit of the freedom from working at home is the fact that you will be much closer to your family on a day to day basis. If you have small kids, you will be part of their lives. And they will be part of yours. You will not have the regrets of not having been there as they were growing up and you will not miss any of their milestones just because you had to work.

Control: Another amazing joy of having the ability to work online from home, is that you will be in complete control of your life. You will be able to control who you work with and when. As mentioned in the freedom section, you also will control your time.

Lack of control of someone’s life is one of the main reasons for falling in a depressive state. But having the feeling that you are in control, will help you boost  your self esteem and will surely develop in you a very positive attitude towards life and what’s possible.

Savings: Not having to commute means that you don’t have to spend on gasoline. It also means that you will not have to spend on expensive clothing or shoes. I mean, you could work in underwear if that’s your thing. The less you use your vehicle, the less wear and tear it will have, which can also result in less expenses.

You also won’t have to spend extra on expensive meals at restaurants or paying for delivery. You know how it is, just because your office is downtown, food prices are more expensive than in the suburbs. And these are just a couple of ways of spending less money because your job is to be online working from home now.

Less Stress: You know the expression: “Home, Sweet Home!” – Have you ever stopped and thought about the meaning behind it? You probably have and if so, you’ll understand why doing your job from your house is going to improve the productivity of your job a lot. You will have much less stress!

When you work from home, you are working from your nest, from the place you feel at best. You won’t have to deal with the backstabbing and gossiping of ill meaning colleagues. You will have peace!

More Productive: Especially if you control what you have to do, you will do what YOU KNOW is required, and this will make your job much more productive than when somebody tells you what to do. If you have a standard job, you know how it is; your boss comes and tells you to drop whatever you’re doing and gives you some shitty job that you must do yesterday.

What a recipe for lack of productivity but increase in stress!

You might finish the job on time, but your stress and frustration levels will skyrocket and you will certainly not be happy. Well, this will not be the case if you have a job that allows you to work from home or, even better, if you are an entrepreneur with an online business and are your own boss.

As you can see, there are many the joys of doing work from home. However, everything is not just a rosy paradise when you are doing jobs from your house. In fact, the perils lurking behind the curtains of those joys can completely destroy your dream of a legitimate online job from home.

That’s why it’s very important to be aware of them and know when they might show up their ugly head and do a job on you and your dreams.

The Pitfalls of Working From Home

As you’ll notice, most of these pitfalls are intimately related to the joys that I just mentioned above.

It’s like it’s a two edged sword and it certainly can cut both ways. The key is to learn to handle them with care, the same way a two edged sword can also be handled effectively.

So let’s take a look at the other side of each of the joys mentioned above, so that we’re not taken by surprise.

Freedom: In his book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, Robert Kiyosaki mentions that there are two different type of people who want to be their own bosses. Those who instead of having jobs outside, give themselves those jobs and those who understand the importance of scaling and outsourcing.

If you are your own boss, let’s say because of being an entrepreneur, you can set up the different jobs that need to be done in a way that frees you up for more important tasks.

It’s also depends on the type of jobs or work we’re talking about. If you are a doctor and have your own clinic, you are your own boss. However, since everything circles and depends on you, you will certainly not have lots of freedom.

You don’t work, you don’t earn.

The key is then to find the right jobs that will allow you to delegate, delegate, delegate once you’ve setup your business.

For this kind of freedom, you might read “The 4-hour week” by Tim Ferriss. Even though I don’t think it possible to have a 4 hour week, everything you do in that direction will free your time and give you freedom incredibly.

Family Life: As you work from home, you will require some kind of official separation from your family, even if you are in the same house. To make your work effective and productive, you need a daily routine.

The members of your family must understand that they are not to interrupt you during your work time. Because you are in your house, there will be a tendency for them to constantly interrupt and that could cause fights and generate stress.

Make sure to sit down with them and make them grasp the importance of the jobs you’re doing at home. They have to understand that it’s like going to work.

There is a big difference though, you can apportion your time in little chunks and you can come out of your cave and interact with your family much more often than if you were actually away in an office.

Make sure you plan those family breaks.

Control: This is the biggest pitfall that’s awaiting you around the corner. Because now you are in control, you can easily lose that control or just simply let things fall through the crack.

This means that you need to make a specific plan of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it.

If you don’t, things won’t get done and nobody is going to force you to do them. If that happens regularly, it could be the doom of your working at home experience and you’ll find yourself looking for jobs relatively soon.

It’s like having a high speed boat and not getting some training on how to control it. If you go fast with it and don’t control it, you might crash and you and the boat could be going down.

More Stress: As I mentioned in the joys section, most of us consider our house our castle and believe that we’re in control a most of what happens in it. However, if strict rules are not implemented, working from home can turn into a nightmare and cause lots of stress and quarrels in family life.

The key aspect is to have your family understand that your work is not a hobby, but more like your job, something your must do if you are to generate enough income to make it worth it.

That’s why a specific planned daily routine is super important. Your spouse needs to understand that you’re not to be interrupted for any small stuff that pops in their head, you’re there but you should be off limits, at least for reasonable periods of time. The same goes for your kids, if you have any.

Very important is your own attitude concerning this issue. You must develop that super important daily routine without which, your efforts will just dissipate and end up just evaporating.

You don’t want to end up not really working but feeling guilty because you don’t. That would increase your levels of stress a lot, specially if your income starts to dwindle because of your lack of commitment.

Less Productive: As you can see, it’s not guaranteed that being at home will make your jobs more productive. In fact, you could develop habits that will work in against your success.

Because your office is just a few feet away and you don’t need to commute, and you also don’t need to dress up to be seen at the office, you might develop bad habits even without being aware of it.

All this would work against your desire to be successful. On top of that, people will automatically believe that you just hang out and just have lots of fun and free time, yes, even your family at home will believe that.

To counteract this, some people develop a disciplined habit of doing everything as if they still had a job. They get up at the same time, they create a routine as if they still had normal jobs, they dress up, they “leave” and start their routine. Specially at the beginning when everybody just thinks that you’re watching porn on the computer all day.

If you have the space, it’s worth it to create a separate office area where you can go and do your online job. In fact, it’s even practical for tax purposes to do that.

Take Home Message

As you can see, in this day and age of online jobs and legitimate work from home business opportunities, working from your house can be very satisfying, because it can give you freedom, control, a much richer family life, increased productivity and much less stress. But ONLY IF YOU DO THINGS RIGHT.

Those same satisfying traits that having an online job from home brings, could be your doom if left unchecked. You have to master the ability to handle the very sharp double edged sword of online home jobs like a ninja master.

The most important aspects that you need to remember are to create a daily routine you can live with and make your family understand that the fact that you’re in the house working on the computer all the time, doesn’t mean you’re just having fun. You’re actually working and they need to respect that.

When those two aspects do not represent a problem for you, you’ll be way ahead and your chances of success will increase immensely.

As Jim Rohn stated once,

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”

As you can see, developing the right work discipline and a daily routine could be the difference between failure and success. So make sure to avoid the pitfalls and get ready to reap the joys of turning your house in your place of work.

Hermann Bock

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Self Improvement

Give yourself permission to DREAM BIG!

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to DREAM BIG AGAIN?

Or you just simply go with the flow, doing the same thing day in, day out, not daring to even change something in your routine. Then I have something to tell YOU!

Go ahead, and click on the video and get inspired to start dreaming again. Who knows, you might surprise yourself!


Remember, only if you start, you will have the possibility to finish anything. And absolutely everything you see around you that was created by men, started in a head first as a dream or an idea.

That’s why SOOOO important that you go ahead and just start, it’s never too late!

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Blog, Self Improvement

Don’t just try; DO!

How to get rid of the inability to ACT!

Don't TRY; DO!We all have been confronted with a situation where we intellectually knew what was best for us and yet, it was very hard to actually do what was required of us to properly benefit from it.

The reason things like this happen to us, is due to the fact that, very seldom, we do stuff because our intellect consciously tells us to do it. The truth is, that there are many things that determine how we act and why we do what we do. It’s however a fact, that most of what we end up doing, is controlled by our subconscious.

Think about it, people do stuff because they are “used to doing it that way”, or because “it feels good”, or “it’s part of my temperament”, or “it’s a habit for me”, etc. If you examine these claims to a deeper level, you’ll discover that they are “ALL” controlled by that part of us that we tend to forget, but that rules our lives 24/7, namely, our subconscious mind.

This is why, whenever you say that you are going to try to do something, you will most likely not do it. Or, if you start, as soon as the going gets tough, you’ll stop. Probably telling yourself proudly, Hey, at least I tried!

One thing we forget most of the time though, is how fast our brain or mind acts. When you’re being presented with a course of action, your brain starts immediately evaluating how painful or pleasurable will it be to follow that course.

If the result of the evaluation is, VERY PAINFUL, you’ll most likely completely avoid doing it, at whatever cost. However, if the result is just painful, you might offer a: I’LL TRY!

The thing is though, that your subconscious mind already knows that it won’t like the process, that it will cause it discomfort and pain and it doesn’t want to commit. But your conscious mind, your intellect, which is aware of the possible social repercussions of not following that course of action, compromises. And forces you to say those awful words I’LL TRY TO DO IT!

Being aware of this will help you succeed

Now that you know what happens behind the scenes in your mind, when you’re confronted with an unpleasant task, you can take countermeasures.

It’s not going to be easy, given that we tend to go through life like robots. We have so many habits and routines or, like Tony Robbins calls them, RITUALS that have been installed by who knows who, that we just keep repeating in an automatic fashion.

That’s why we react the same way, most of the time. You come back from work and, most likely, do exactly the same everyday. Hang the keys, take your shoes off, head for the fridge to get something to drink and so on and on and on.

And that is also why, when we get to the point of interrupting a pattern in an abrupt manner, we have the possibility of installing a new one.

What I’m trying to achieve, is to make you stop and think about the things you do, and the reactions you exhibit to the different things that occur in your life. Deactivate the Autopilot and take the manual control of your reactions.

Don’t ever again say, I’ll try! Instead, say either I WILL! or I WON’T!

Remember, your mind already made an evaluation (though not necessarily a correct one) of the situation. So, if you don’t like it at all, say I won’t do it. It’s so simple!

But what if it’s something unpleasant and arduous that requires lots of time, money and effort, but is to your own benefit?

It’s time to use the powers of your mind to your own favor

We all have been in that situation. We want something but it’s hard to get and could even take years to achieve. Time during which we will have to spend money and put in lots of effort. What can we do?

Well, it depends!

Think about school. Most of us went through it for years. We had to, day in and day out, attend those boring classes and we were not even sure WHY we had to.

How come the majority of us finish at least basic school?

We had somebody pushing us and holding us accountable. Be it your parents or even the government. It’s something you just have to do in modern society.

But have you been able to achieve something as monumental as that, by yourself?

If you have, it’s because you tapped into the powers of both, your conscious and subconscious minds. They helped you become accountable and keep the goal in front of your eyes as real as possible, so you didn’t detour and kept going in the right direction. You made a commitment to DO IT, and you did it. But how did you manage?

Did you notice the things I mentioned above? They’re bold, just in case! 🙂

You committed, you held yourself accountable and you kept your goal in front of you as real as possible!

That’s the key to doing it and not just trying it.

The power of RITUALS

As I mentioned above, each one of us has habits or rituals that we do, even unconsciously. The problem is that most of those rituals were not installed by us with a specific result in mind. But, we definitely CAN do that!

Imagine creating routines that help you achieve your goals, by keeping them in front of you as much as possible. Are you going to write a blog post every single day?

Create a ritual that helps you achieve that!

Do you want to change your way of eating? Maybe reducing the amount of sugar and starches that you eat?

Engineer a ritual that will help you in not even buying the stuff in the first place!

These rituals are the results of CHOICES and DECISIONS that you make at some point. Then you take the time to develop a series of steps or behaviors that will help you get what you want. And then, you repeat those steps until they become automatic. You create a ritual!

So, what you gonna do?

The ball is now on your side of the pitch. It’s your decision if you’re going to do something with this or, if it’s just going to be like one of those thousands of memes going viral on the Internet on sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter or Pinterest.

Try to take just one lesson from this and make the choice to implement it as fast as possible. By having a little success, you’ll feel motivated to keep it up. Make it a ritual to improve yourself a little bit each day.

Believe me, it’s worth it!

Hermann Bock

 

 

 

 

 

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Blog, Nutrition

10 Normal Things That Are Killing You Softly

10 normal that are killing you softlyThe world in which you and I live today changes really fast and, not only that, the speed of that change is constantly accelerating, so much so, that we have no real idea of what the future holds.

Not that anybody throughout history has had a very definite idea of what the future held, but there was a time, many moons ago, when yesterday, today and tomorrow was mostly the same and didn’t change for years on end.

That’s not the case in our time. The only thing we can be completely sure of, is CHANGE. Others include death (which is change in itself) and taxes in this list of things we can be sure of. So, for the sake of completeness, let‘s say that there are three things we can be sure of.

Going back to my change argument, it means that what today is the rule, will probably be forgotten tomorrow. What’s IN today, will be OUT tomorrow, literally! There are fads and fashions that start one day, go viral and in a couple of days are completely forgotten. You just have to take a look around you to notice that this is so. Change is the ONLY constant in today‘s world.

So much so, that what we called normal today, is very different from what our parents and grandparents considered normal. There was even a TV show recently called “The New Normal“.

How the hell is that possible? Isn’t “normal”, normal?

The fact that we can speak of a NEW normal, proves that something has changed, but what? Oh, and by the way, the show only lasted ONE season, so even the new normal got old and was booted out.

We have to realize that our perception of what is normal runs in tandem with change and what the majority of the people do. If people suddenly start doing stuff differently, it will slowly be considered normal if enough people follow the same pattern.

That’s precisely what has happened a lot in our times. Changes in technology, new discoveries in science and the fact that information travels much faster now, have practically forced people to do things differently which, in turn, has changed their perception of what’s standard behavior.

The problem is though, that not necessarily what the majority does is what‘s good for you as an individual, specially if you‘re thinking LONG TERM. Or, said in a different way, normal is not synonym with good. It can mean ordinary and not special and very often does.

This is why, in my opinion, it’s important to take the time and just examine what you do, at least once in a while, to notice whether it‘s taking you in a good and positive direction or not.

To help you do that, I have picked 10 things that TODAY are considered normal but might be taking YOU in the wrong direction in the long run. Remember, what the majority of the people do, is only worth copying if it’s also beneficial to you.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at them:

Avoiding Dirt

Huh? Yep, that’s probably your expression after reading that. You most likely thought of the title “10 things that might be KILLING you softly” and comparing it with this assertion; it, somehow, doesn’t compute.

Let me explain myself, I am talking about the obsession with cleanliness prevalent in our modern society. The “Hygiene Hypothesis” says that a lot of the modern autoimmune problems we have today, are the result of the highly sterile environments we strive to live our lives in.

We’re constantly buying cleaning products, full of chemicals, that promise to kill 99.9% of all bacteria in our surroundings.

The bad thing about it, is that contact with bacteria is very important to develop our immune system appropriately, and we’re doing our utmost to avoid such contact. It reminds me of the problem caused by antibiotics. Due to the “overuse” of them for even the mildest infection, we’re dealing now with super bugs that are antibiotic resistant.

With this I’m not saying that we should wallow in mud like pigs. I’m just trying to highlight that constant hand washing, the overuse of disinfectants and avoiding nature, among other things, might explain how we’ve exchanged infectious diseases that kill you fast, for autoimmune diseases and allergies that make your lives miserable for years and in the end, might still end up killing you.

Avoiding the sun

Ok, Hermann, what’s up with you? Everybody knows that too much exposure to the sun causes melanoma or skin cancer. Aren’t you aware of that? – you might now be thinking.

Yes, I’m aware! But let’s examine this from a different angle.

People who tend to avoid the sun, do it mostly because they’re afraid of skin cancer. However, completely avoiding the sun, or covering yourself with SPF 45 sunscreen before exposing yourself to the sun, might have unexpected and negative results.

There are studies showing that people who use sunscreen a lot, tend to develop more screen cancer than the ones that don’t. Maybe due to the chemicals in the creams, or the fact that sunscreen reduces the absorption of Vitamin D in 95%. Nobody knows for sure at this moment.

On the other hand, there are many, many benefits of moderate and direct skin exposure to the sun. Vitamin D, it turns out, is not really a vitamin, in the sense that our bodies CAN manufacture it and, indeed, that’s done during skin sun exposure.

Vitamin D is more like a hormone involved in innumerable different functions in our bodies. And being deficient in it, causes all kinds of problems, some of which can end up taking us all the way down to the grave, like cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment or cancer.

Did you ever think that avoiding the sun could give you a heart attack? I’m sure you didn’t and neither did I, until recently.

Avoiding FAT

In the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, there is a scene where Steve Martin and John Candy end up driving in the wrong direction on the highway. A driver on the other side of the highway screams at them that “they’re going the wrong way!”. John Candy replies “how can they know we’re going the wrong way, if they don’t know where we’re headed”. (You can watch the 2:30 minute clip here)

I see myself like the good Samaritan driver screaming “you’re going the wrong way!!!” when I see how people are so afraid of eating whole eggs or the skin of chickens.

Eggs and chicken have been eaten for thousands of years. Can you imagine hunters/gatherers 500 years ago just eating egg whites or throwing away the chicken skin?

Since around the 1950s, governments around the world and the food industry took advantage of certain situations to demonize fat and launch a very lucrative “low fat” craze that has lasted decades already.

Stop for a second and think about it! During the last 60 years, people have reduced their intake of animal and traditional fats and replaced them with carbohydrates, sugar and ‘artificial‘ fats.

Interestingly, during precisely this period, all kinds of silent killers have multiplied themselves. Problems like obesity, diabetes type II, Alzheimer, dementia, atherosclerosis, heart disease, cancer and some others that are called “civilization diseases” are becoming the main killers of our time.

Obviously, the problem causing the civilization diseases that are killing us softly, are not the fats people are avoiding but the replacements they’re constantly eating.

Consuming Vegetable Oils

This actually could be part of the previous point, but since it seems to contradict it, given that vegetable oils are fat, I decided to make it a separate point to have a chance to explain myself.

The problem is the type of FAT that vegetable oils contain and the complicated procedure required to manufacture these oils. If you noticed in the previous point, I talked about “traditional fats“. These are fats created by nature and easily extracted by humans, mainly through ‘cold pressing’.

Modern vegetable oils like Canola, Sunflower Oil, Mazola and lots of the “no cholesterol” oils abundant today, are not extracted just by cold pressing. They are basically ‘created‘ by humans through a very complicated process that oxidizes, heats and makes those fats rancid. Resulting in trans fats and other types of fats that are not good for human consumption in the long run, since they’ve been linked with all the maladies mentioned above that are killing our modern sophisticated society of today.

When thinking fats or oils, follow this rule mentioned by Dr. Cate Shanahan: “Nature doesn’t make bad fats, factories do!

To learn more about fats and what types are better for cooking, this article can definitely shed a light.

Eating products containing Gluten

But I’m not gluten sensitive! – you might say. The thing is, you might be completely wrong.

I grew up in a third world country in central america and we, sometimes, didn’t have much money. Do you know what we used as glue when we were short on money? Home made glue. And, what do you think we made it with? White flour!

That’s what gluten actually is, GLUE! Think about it, GLU-ten. It’s what makes dough stick together and be malleable. You’ve seen the pizza guy throwing the pizza dough up in the air and how it doesn’t disintegrate. It’s the gluten that keeps it all in one huge flexible mass.

The issue is what this gluten causes inside our bodies. And I’m not talking about people with celiac disease. They definitely have a huge problem with gluten and should avoid it like the pest. I’m talking more about the rest of us.

Dr. Perlmutter in his book “Grain Brain“, shows proof that gluten in one of the main culprits in cognitive problems like Alzheimer, dementia, depression and the like.

Grain Brian - Dr. PerlmutterThe thing is, that it takes so many years for these maladies to develop that we don’t make the connection. It’s not like with lactose intolerance, for instance. You drink milk and, in 10 minutes, you have a bomb exploding in your gut. You know what caused it!

Gluten has been proven to cause problems, even when there are NO SYMPTOMS in the gut. Therefore, as he recommends in the book mentioned, it’s not a bad idea to have yourself tested for gluten sensitivity. You don’t want to become a victim of gluten’s ability to kill you softly, 20 or 30 years in the future, while making your life miserable the whole time.

Having cereal every morning for breakfast

Really? I thought cereals were the staple of a healthy breakfast! What the hell are you talking about?

To say it simply, cereals are “refined carbohydrates” and they immediately turn into SUGAR during the digestion process, initiating a chain reaction that will cause lack of energy, constant hunger pangs, insulin overproduction and fat accumulation among many other things.

The bad thing though, is that cereals and most other types of ‘healthy‘ breakfasts based on refined carbs, will ‘softly‘ take you down the path of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses of the modern world, which in their worst manifestation,s are the main killers of our society, you know, things like heart attacks and stroke.

Oh, and just to reiterate, cereals are also big suppliers of gluten in the diet, given that they’re made of grains; so all the points mentioned in the previous point, apply here as well.

Consuming fruit juices

Fruit juices are very popular, but can be counterproductive in the long run. Why? Same reason mentioned in the previous point. They’re loaded with sugar!

In reality, any food or drink that contains sugar or any other type of carbohydrates, ends up turning into sugar in the blood and gets dealt with in the same manner by the body. The problem with juices is that it’s sooo easy to just gulp them down. No need to chew, just swallow.

Bad thing though, that the digestion of sugars starts ‘in the mouth’ when, through the process of chewing, carbs get mixed with enzymes found in the saliva. This process gets derailed when sugars just get swallowed down.

On top of that, the fact that you don’t have to chew might increase the amounts you drink, increasing the amount of sugars you ingest, which, as mentioned before, is killing you softly in the long run.

Taking Calcium supplements

We all know the drill! You want to have strong bones and avoid osteoporosis? You have to pay attention to your calcium intake.

This means drinking lots of diary products and, specially as you get older, taking calcium supplements.

One thing that doesn’t get mentioned in the calcium supplement commercials, is that for calcium to work the way it should work, you MUST have ample and adequate amounts of MAGNESIUM in your system.

Don’t get me wrong, calcium is a very important mineral in our body, in fact, it‘s the most abundant one. The problem lies in the skewed vision that doctors and lots of nutrition experts have of how the system works and what’s required in our bodies.

Calcium and magnesium work in tandem. The former being in charge of muscle contraction, while the latter rules muscle relaxation. Now imagine what would happen if there is an acute overabundance of calcium and not enough magnesium to counterbalance the situation?

You’ve probably experienced it, cramps! But that’s an ‘extreme situation‘ where we can feel the effects immediately.

However, if this imbalance continues for long, problems like calcification of the arteries, higher blood pressure, kidney stones, irritation of neurons, migraines and, once again, the top killers in our modern world, heart attacks and strokes are more likely.

If only calcium (or calcium and vitamin D) is taken as a supplement, it is actually counterproductive, because without magnesium, calcium cannot do it’s job. For instance, to prevent osteoporosis, calcium has to end up in the bone cells. But that only happens, if there’s is enough magnesium to guide the calcium to the right places. Not enough magnesium and the calcium remains in the ‘soft tissue’ causing all kinds of problems, like certain types of arthritis.

Not sleeping enough

For a lot of people in today’s world, it’s like my dear friend Walter once told me: “Sleeping is overrated“.

But, is it really?

The sleeping process is not like turning off a light bulb. It’s more like running Norton Utilities on your computer to defragment the hard drive and optimize the computer memory and then turning off the monitor.

While we’re sleeping, our brains are doing lots of stuff, in order to repair our body and organize our thoughts and memories. On top of that, enzymes and hormones are secreted to strengthen our immune system and prepare us for the next day.

When everything happens correctly and we get complete regeneration and recuperation on a nightly basis, we become healthier individuals.

When this is not the case, we slowly and softly degenerate with the obvious results to our health and longevity, just like a computer that never gets defragmented or optimized eventually slows down to a crawl and must be rebooted.

The problem, though, is that we cannot reboot ourselves as easily as we do it with our computers, so it’s worth it to take the time and let our bodies optimize and defragment themselves.

Make sure to sleep enough FOR YOU. Normally it’s said that you have to have eight hours of sleep to feel rested, but that’s not necessarily the case. It actually depends on you, and there are studies that prove that between 6 and 8 hours of sleep are ok, but you have to find out what’s optimal for you.

One tip that works for me. Make sure you wake up at the end of a sleeping cycle, meaning that you wake up by yourself and don’t really need an alarm clock. In my case, I’ve used an alarm clock just as a extra insurance, but normally I am awake between 5 and 2 minutes before the alarm goes off.

Since most of us have to wake up at a specific time most of the days, experiment with the going to bed time, until you can wake up by yourself at the right time for you. Just a tip!

Not exercising enough or going overboard with it

We all know about this one and, to be honest, there is a big majority that simply think “I‘ll start tomorrow!”

The problem is that tomorrow never gets here, because today is tomorrow.

Why is exercise important? Forget about thinking in terms of exercising to lose weight. That doesn‘t work as advertised!

Just to make you think for a second, have you noticed that all the exercise machines sold in those midnight infomercials promising weight loss, come ALWAYS with a booklet teaching you how to change your diet? Hmmm! Why would that be?

If you buy the system and do it according to plan, you WILL change your diet and lose weight. You might think it was the exercise alone that did it, but actually it was the change in your nutritional habits that did.

This doesn‘t mean that exercise doesn‘t have its place. And what a place it does have!

Although it‘s not the main reason you lose weight; when you are active, you use more calories than when you‘re sedentary and that is the perfect companion to good nutritional habits. It supports the weight loss and helps keep the weight off.

On top of that, being active and specially lifting heavy things will improve your HDL cholesterol levels, promotes better sleeping habits, improves your moods, gives you more energy, adapts your muscles so you don‘t suffer for acute muscle soreness, improves cognitive function in older adults, cooperates with the rest of your good habits to help fend off the metabolic syndrome and all the problems attached to it, makes you look good naked, which will definitely boost your sex life.

However, and this is the reason of the “not going overboard” with it on the subtitle, too much of it can cause inflammation, which again works against you in the long run, given that inflammation is the culprit of the metabolic syndrome and is at the heart of all the maladies killing our modern society.

If you overtrain, you‘ll suffer from lack of energy, muscle soreness and won‘t recuperate as fast after a workout. If this happens, you should back off and give yourself some recovery time. You need to find the appropriate balance and not overdo it.

Don‘t take this as an excuse and do less than you should. Your body is capable of much more than you think, specially if you‘re just starting. Be moderate and increase your intensity gradually.

If you do this, you‘ll definitely reap the benefits that come with having an active lifestyle and you‘ll be mobile for a long time, which is definitely a very happy advantage in old age.

So, there you have them! Ten things from many out there that are considered normal, but that might be killing you softly.

My intention is not for you to suddenly stop eating cereals, or going to bed early, or even start eating fat just because I said what I said here. It’s more to give you a push in the right direction and initiate a conversation about the importance of not just accepting on face value what the mainstream media or industry says. To help you realize that normal is not necessarily better for you. And ‘better for you‘ should actually be high in your priority list, if you care about yourself.

Investigate these issues and make an informed decision that works for you. Think long term and set priorities you can live with.

In the end, what you do with your life is your own decision. Just remember, whatever you do or don’t do, will have repercussions, which can be positive or negative.

It’s really all up to you!

Hermann Bock

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

don't worry be happyI can still remember it like if it were yesterday. We were visiting our family in New York City for the first time. It was late in the evening of the 3rd of September 1988, we had had a crazy day walking and visiting different tourist attractions. Suddenly, in the middle of dinner at friends, labor pains started, my then sister in law had overdone it, her husband all excited and scrambling to get everything needed to take her to the hospital, didn’t know where up or down was. Faster than what I could have imagined, 5 of us, all crammed in their small Hyundai, were driving to the hospital.

I don’t remember why, but when we got there, 3 of us stayed in the car while my sister in law and her husband went into the hospital. We were worried, is the baby coming now? Is everything all right? Had she overdone the whole ‘touristing’ thing?

And then it happened! On the radio this amazingly simple reggae style song started playing: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” by Bobby McFerrin. Immediately we knew everything was gonna be all right, and it was. Two hours later, a new healthy beautiful baby had arrived in this world.

Listening to that song over the years after that, has always brought a smile to my face. There is so much truth in that song, specially because worrying seems to be the number one sport for lots of people on this planet.

Which begs the question:

How can you control your worries and, like the song says, be happy? For that, you first need to understand…

HOW worrying happens

Let me be clear about this, we ALL tend to worry, it seems to be a very “human condition” and it’s very well and strongly attached to our ability to imagine. So, this is not about not worrying AT ALL. I don’t think it is possible to eliminate worrying completely. Like I said, it’s part of being human.

I personally see worrying as a type of fear. Fear is acute, you have to react immediately. It activates your “fight or flight” response at once, although sometimes it just paralyzes you.

With fear, be it real or imagined, you’re reacting to an immediate threat. You have the feeling of being in danger and therefore you have this immediate sensation of apprehension.

Worrying, on the other hand, is more like a delayed fear, a “chronic fear”. It’s normally NOT a response to an immediate threat, and it’s mostly in our heads.

Let’s say, for instance, you recently watched in the news that someone was mugged and ended up dead. This happened at the other side of the country and there are no reasons to believe that it’s happening in your neighborhood.

For whatever reason though, on that day your son (let’s assume you have one) is not coming home at the expected time and, in fact, it’s getting late and you haven’t heard anything from him. What’s your reaction? What do you imagine has happened? What goes through your head?

For a lot of parents, this would be a very stressful situation. The movies in their head would start playing all kinds of horror scenarios. I don’t wish to go into the details of what people imagine, but I’ve heard and witnessed some very extreme ones and to tell you the truth, it’s not nice.

The sad part though, is that at that particular moment, when you have NO IDEA what’s going on and everything is happening JUST IN YOUR HEAD, your body reactions are just as if what you’ve imagined had actually happened in real life. And that’s where the problem lies.

But let’s backtrack a little bit and examine what actually happened. Did you notice my emphasis on the fact that it all takes place IN YOUR HEAD? That’s the problem with worrying. It’s, in my opinion, the worse use you can give to your God given ability to imagine stuff.

Even worse, over 99% of what you imagine NEVER HAPPENS. In most cases you’ll discover that your son was just distracted with something and totally lost track of time. And that is just ONE example, I could give lots!

The point of this article is not to prove that people worry. I don’t think that needs proving at all, we all know it happens.

Why do we need to do something about it then, if everybody does it? Because the amount of EXTRA STRESS that a worrier causes himself or the people surrounding him, is not healthy.

Stress, according to this Scientific American article, makes our immune system less effective, because it actually elicits an immune response itself. And doing this ‘chronically’ weakens the whole defense system of your body.

What happens when your immune system is compromised? I guess the answer is obvious. But here is a list of things that, according to the Mayo Clinic, show you’re under too much stress and your immune system is being affected: headaches, muscle tension or pain, stomach upset, fatigue, sleep problems and more.

Notice one thing though, worrying starts in your head, as ‘what if’ scenarios that could or could not happen. Your brain uses a reconfiguration of your past experiences to create an imagined future that most likely is not going to become reality. You play these movies to yourself and, if you keep doing it, your brain believes it’s happening for real, causing a VERY REAL stress response. Which, in turn, causes a series of VERY REAL effects to the detriment of your body.

Do you see how it can go from ‘imagined’ to ‘very real’? That’s the problem of constant worrying!

How to handle worrying?

In order to get a firm grip on your worrying, you need to first define what you’re afraid of. Remember, worrying is closely related to FEAR. So, what are you really afraid of in this circumstance that’s worrying you?

Once you define that, you have to ask yourself what would be the worst case scenario. However, remember that this scenario happens very, very seldom. On top of that, just worrying in advance about the possibility of it occurring, achieves absolutely nothing.

So, what then?

You need to confront worrying with this motto on a consistent basis:

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“Don’t worry,
DO SOMETHING;
you cannot do something?
Don’t worry then!”

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Let’s examine this quote in more detail.

It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t worry. That, as mentioned, is almost impossible. However, when you discover yourself worrying, think immediately “What can I do now?”.

Proceed then to define your fear and the worst case scenario and “put together a definite action plan” of what you could do IF this worst case scenario would become a reality.

Now notice the second part of the quote: “You cannot do something? Don’t worry then!

It implicitly accepts the fact that, sometimes, there is nothing you can do. In these cases, it highlights the truth that, if you can’t do anything, to keep worrying will achieve LESS!

Keep in mind (pun intended) that worrying happens completely in your head. It’s the worst use of your imagination possible. So, make your best effort to control the movies and, like a movie director, make it a happy ending!

But what if the worst case scenario DOES HAPPEN? – You might ask.

Let me ask you a question: Do you think worrying helps in this case? NO! It simply makes you suffer twice! Once in your head, in advance and another one in reality. Wouldn’t it be enough just one time?

On top of that, realize that, when something goes really bad, it’s most likely unexpected. It will take you by surprise.

In conclusion

Worrying by itself achieves only one thing. It’s letting you know that you’re afraid of something. Once you’re AWARE of that, you can start taking action. Ask yourself what you’re afraid of? Define that and make a plan to confront the worst case scenario.

Remember, the worst case scenario happens VERY SELDOM and when it does, you don’t want to inflict pain to yourself twice. Would you?

Worrying happens solely in your head and it’s the worst use of imagination possible. But you can be the director of your own ‘head movies’ and give them a happy ending. Which, in reality is what happens most of the time anyway.

Since worrying is such an automatic process, you need to find a way to interrupt that pattern and start being AWARE of what you’re doing. To achieve this, you might need to recruit the help of a friend or a coach that brings it to your attention when you go into the endless loop of worrying.

Hermann Bock

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10 Tips To Be More Successful At Anything

Fear of failing while trying to succeedEach one of us has an innate desire to be successful. You only have to look at little kids and notice how fast they develop the desire to WIN and be more successful in anything they try. In fact, one of the biggest challenges as a parent is teaching kids how to deal with „losing“.

Why is that? Winning feels GOOOOD! Losing, not so much. Winning means you‘ve been successful in a competition of some sort and, because it gives you a feeling of accomplishment and pleasure, you love it!

But as we get older, we might let the noise of day to day life get in the way of our striving for success, our striving to win in the game of life. We forget how good it feels to win, to be successful and we accept, somehow, the notion that something called “Fear Of Success” actually exists.

To rekindle that fire and, not only that, but also to show that it’s worth the effort, here are 10 tips that will help you win or succeed more often in the game of life, independently of what succeeding means to you.

1. Become a Starter

To be able to achieve ANYTHING, you have to „start something“. It might sound simplistic and very logical, but it‘s unbelievable the amount of people who keep dreaming about a goal but NEVER DO ANYTHING to get themselves closer to making it a reality.

Only if you start, you‘ll have a chance at finishing. That first step is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to become successful. I don‘t care how big or small, how easy or difficult your dreams are. If you don‘t start, NOTHING will happen in the REAL WORLD.

2. Set INTENTIONS not EXPECTATIONS

Expectations are a picture in your head about how something SHOULD be. The problem is, reality might deliver a surprise. If what reality delivers differs from the picture in your head, you might feel completely frustrated and disappointed.

So, by leading with expectations, you might be setting yourself up for those negative feelings.

Intentions, on the other hand, reveal a DIRECTION you wish to take to achieve something. Since it‘s ‚just‘ a direction, you have always the ability to CORRECT YOUR PATH if you discover, that you‘ve been somehow drifted from the main goal. It might take longer, but you know that if you continue going, you‘ll eventually get to your INTENDED destination.

3. Learn to deal with FAILURE

No matter what you want to achieve, you will fail and, likely, more than once. How do you react when this happens? Do you just give up and consider yourself a failure?

One little illustration should help you understand the PURPOSE OF FAILURE. Yes, it has a purpose you should never forget.

Think of babies and how they learn to walk. How many times do they fail when starting to walk? Do they give up?

Watch this video and try to determine what failure actually teaches us: 

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From this video it should be clear that FAILURE helps us be BETTER AT SUCCEEDING!

So, get excited if you fail, for you‘re getting better at understanding success.

4. Cast away the FEAR

Fear of succeeding, what is that? If you think logically, it makes NO SENSE. Why would anyone be afraid of succeeding, when succeeding feels soooo good?

To be honest, it‘s more likely you have FEAR OF FAILING AT TRYING TO SUCCEED, or you‘re afraid of change.

How to deal with fear then?

One way is understanding what fear really is. Let me use a very popular acronym to bring the point home:
F alse
E vidence
A ppearing
R eal

Do you get it? Fear is regularly something that happens IN YOUR HEAD caused by movies you play in your mind. These movies might not even be based on reality.

Therefore, examine the movies in your head and determine if they‘re in accordance with facts and reality.

Basically, be afraid but DO IT anyway!

5. Be a LIFELONG learner

I don‘t know how old are you. But I‘m pretty sure that if you‘ve read to this point, you‘ve witnessed big changes in the world during your lifetime. It might be the demise of the old cell phones in favor of the smartphones or, if we go back in time, you might remember when cell phones didn‘t even exist. Or MP3s, or the Internet.

The point is, this world is changing everyday and the speed of change is accelerating.That means that almost anything you learn today has a very short lifespan.

It will soon be obsolete and forgotten and new things will come along and replace them. Things we can‘t even imagine today.
It‘s therefore imperative that you are willing to CONSTANTLY be in a LEARNING MODE. Embrace new stuff, welcome change, be curious about your sorroundings and what it can teach you. Change is the only constant of the new world.

And whatever you learned or are learning in school, is probably obsolete by now. So, make up your mind and be ready to learn for the rest of your life.

6. Use the Power of Decisions

Remember tip number 1 about starting stuff? It can only be possible if you DECIDE to start. So, actually, before even starting you have to use your power to make decisions.

We make lots of decisions everyday, some small, some a bit bigger.

However, decisions about achieving our dreams tend to be a bit more, how could I say it, lost in the noise of day to day life. This is actually very sad, because only by having a purpose, which comes from doing something that we really want to do, is that we can be really happy. Which highlights the importance of making decisions about starting or continuing to pursue our dreams.

To know more about how to take decisions, take a look at my previous article about this subject. 

7. Don‘t live IN the PAST or the FUTURE

The PAST is gone! And even your memories of it might be distorted.

What‘s actually the past good for? To TEACH us lessons that can be used to live a better life IN THE PRESENT. Obviously, you should be VERY PICKY and only choose lessons that are to your advantage in your quest for success. You have the power to decide which lessons you‘ll take from your past.

What about the FUTURE? To be honest, the future is pure speculation. Nobody knows for real what‘s gonna happen in the next week, let alone in the next 5 years. And since ANY and EVERY decision you make today is a cause set in motion, your future is not set in stone, but…

.…you can create a DIRECTION and use it to make your future be more like what you wish. (See tip number 2 again for more on this)

Imagine the future you want and be as clear about it as possible, and then take actions IN THE PRESENT to increase the chances to make that intended future a reality.

8. Take advantage of SYSTEMS

Every successful person has systems in place that saves them time and effort. Systems allow a person to not waste time.

What are systems you ask? Anything that works in an almost automatic way for your benefit.

Utilizing HABITS for your advantage could be a way of implementing systems at the personal level. Once you‘ve implemented a habit, you don‘t have to think. And once it happens automatically, it becomes a system!

But there are systems at other levels. For instance, if you are a blogger ,having an AUTORESPONDER to collect emails and send automated messages to your list, is a way of having a system. It frees you to do other‚ more important‘ stuff, increasing your chances of success.

Take a look around you and try to discover better and more efficient ways of doing stuff. Habits and automation are two good examples of using systems for success.

9. Take care of YOURSELF

What benefit does it have if when you‘re finally successful you cannot enjoy your success because you‘re ill or have no energy?Becoming a success „normally“ takes time. Becoming a sufferer of what is called a „civilization‘s disease“ takes time as well.

So, how to improve your chances of being healthy by the time you achieve your success? By taking care of yourself. That means, exercising, eating healthy and having some kind of regime to keep your inner, spiritual, emotional self healthy too.

Gone are the days when success was measured by the size of your waist. Doing stuff to stay healthy is not just a fad that‘s ‚IN‘ now. It should be something you do for the rest of your days.

And it has the benefit that it helps you enjoy, not only the destination of success, but the journey as well. It gives you more energy, more zest for doing those things that might mold the future that you intend.

10. Be CONSISTENT and have PATIENCE

You‘ve heard it before: „Rome wasn‘t built in a day“, but I‘m sure everyday a bit was built until it became the magnificent city we all know about. Same thing with you. Your success requires consistency and patience.

Consistency to keep at it day after day, when it looks like nothing is being achieved. When it seems that you‘re wasting your time. And patience to be able to wait until that sweet success arrives. Because, when it does, you realize that it was all worth it because it feels GOOOD!

So there you go, 10 tips that will greatly improve your chances of success in whatever it is you want to achieve.

Do you have other tips that you‘ve applied that have also brought you closer to success? I’d love to know about them in the comments below.

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Blog, Self Improvement

10 Tips To Improve Your Personal Decision Making Process

Decision-making-processEvery single day in your life, you make personal decisions that take you in specific directions throughout your life. Things like, what am I going to wear or, what am I going to eat, or should I press the ‘snooze’ button on the alarm clock, seem very trivial and sometimes irrelevant when thinking about decision making. However, even those apparently ‘tiny’ decisions might have a HUGE impact in what your destiny ultimately is going to be.

Let’s, for instance, take a look at the second decision mentioned above: What am I going to eat? I’m sure you certainly answer this question more than three times a day in our modern western world full of food offers. And the answer that you ‘consistently‘ give to that question, reflects decisions that can take you through a path of health and energy or down, through ‘Hell Alley’ in health terms.

Think about the millions who suffer from being overweight, diabetes and most of the other civilization’s ailments. The MAIN factor in their ‘destiny‘ is intimately related to the decisions they make when answering that question several times a day: What am I going to eat?

This goes to show that you don’t necessarily need to be the CEO of a big corporation, or even a Small Business Owner to have to face the making decision process regularly. It’s therefore very important, that you understand why taking the process of making decisions serious is for your own benefit, in the short, and in the long run.

Since most of the articles about the DECISION MAKING PROCESS are aimed at Managers and CEOs. I decided to come up with something for the individual. Not based on complicated formulas and checklists, but more on practical stuff. I know I don’t plan my meals using them checklists. And many other decisions I make everyday, are made even without thinking much.[feature_box style=”23″ only_advanced=”There are no title options for the choosen style” width=”350″ alignment=”center”]

“It is in your moments of decision that your DESTINY is shaped.”
Anthony Robbins

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To help with this, here is a list of 10 principles that, as INDIVIDUALS in your personal life, I believe, you should keep in mind when considering the decision making process:

1. Know What You Want In The Long Run

The decision making process has only one purpose, which is to help you take the appropriate actions that will bring you closer to your ultimate goal. Therefore, it’s very important to, at least, know what that ULTIMATE GOAL should be or, what YOU want it to be. That means that you’ve stopped and thought about what you want to achieve.

Let’s, once more, go back to the example of what to eat. The decisions that you make in this aspect of your life, will reflect what will ultimately be your destiny in terms of health and nutrition. For a lot of people, this is actually a non-issue, they don’t even consider food in relation to health in the long run. It’s more of a spur of the moment pleasure thing and, because of this fact, their ‘food’ decisions are based on mood or cravings of the moment.

The point that ALWAYS needs to be kept in mind is that, no matter what decision is taken, even a decision to not make a decision, will have an effect on the person’s future. So, at least from my standpoint, it’s worth it to take the time and kind of determine what you want from the future in the different aspects of your life

2. Be Aware

Humans are creatures of habit. Once a habit has been installed, a decision has been eliminated in advance. You don’t need to THINK anymore about that situation, you just react as a preprogrammed robot. This can definitely be used to our advantage, when we develop habits that work with us to help us achieve what we desire.

On the other hand, there are habits that have been installed by others, that could work in detriment of your wellbeing. Are you aware of them? Let’s take, for instance, the case of smoking. Do you smoke? Did you make a ‘conscious‘ decision to smoke or was it something installed by others at a very young age? Maybe, by your peers and under pressure?

Even though there is lots of evidence out there that smoking can be damaging to your health, I’m no one to judge you for smoking, if you do. My point is only to wake up AWARENESS in you concerning stuff that you do because you’ve always done it. Stuff you do because it’s a HABIT!

There are other habits that seem inoffensive, but are not necessarily beneficial. They have probably not been installed by others. We might just have fallen in that particular routine of doing things.

What do you do when you get home from work? Do you have a routine? Do you AUTOMATICALLY enter your home, put keys down, take shoes off, open the fridge, grab a beer or something to eat, sit on the sofa and turn the TV on? (or some variation of this?)

Again, not trying to judge, just trying to bring your conscious attention to habits that you might have.

Take the time to take a look at your habits and find out if they’re working with you or against you. Only you can determine that, based on the first point above: What do you want it to be your destiny?

3. Use Previous Experience But Remember The Past Is Not The Future

When confronted with the need to make a decision, we will automatically use our past experience to evaluate the circumstances and see what the possibilities are. If a similar situation is linked to bad experiences in our past, we might either avoid the decision or try to decide against it.

One thing that you need to keep in mind is something that Tony Robbins constantly repeats in his seminars: “The past does not equal the future”. Which means that, even though you might have had a bad experience in the past, let’s say in the realm of relationships, it doesn’t mean that every relationship you have in the future will be exactly the same.

In fact, every relationship you have is going to be different because, at least, one of the members of that relationship will be a different person. That makes the equation completely different, even though they seem similar. 1 + 2 is not the same as 1 + 3 although both are addition problems. Do you see my point?

So, when confronting decisions, use your previous experiences wisely, but remember that even though situations are ‘similar’, they’re not the same, and the different variables might make this particular instance have a completely different result than anything you might have experienced in your past.

4. You Will Make Bad Decisions

We’ve heard it a thousand times: “Nobody is perfect” and the point is, IT’S TRUE!

So, you WILL make BAD decisions. There is no way to avoid that. Remember that, even making NO decision at all, might be a BAD decision in the long run.

How do you react when you suddenly discover that you made a bad decision? Is it the end of the world? Well, it depends on the decision you made. But for the majority of the people, it’s not. Obviously, I’m not talking here about decisions about committing crimes. Those are definitely BAD decisions and might mean the ‘end of the world’ for the person making them.

On the other hand, if you think of people like Nelson Mandela or even the Founding Fathers of the United States, you’ll remember that their most important decisions were considered ‘crimes’ at the time. So, even what a ‘bad decision’ is, can be debatable.

The point is that you need to understand that bad decisions will be made and you should learn to live with them and move on. When that happens, learn from your mistake, take responsibility, make the necessary amends and, if possible, change what you’re doing to produce a result that’s more akin to what you expect.

5. Don’t Dwell On Failure

This is related to the previous point and, actually, could be part of it. I decided to separate it, because it’s something that makes people FEAR making decisions.

See failure as an opportunity to learn a lesson. Learn from Edison’s attitude. As Thomas Edison was trying to invent the light bulb, he ‘failed’ or, better said, tried 10,000 times unsuccessfully and was then asked if he had failed. His answer: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

When you ‘fail’ in your decision making process, find the lesson that can be learned and move on. Imitate Thomas Alva Edison in this aspect.

6. Forget The Other Options

The word ‘DECIDE‘ comes from the Latin ‘DECIDERE‘ that literally means ‘to cut off‘.

This can give you perspective when you make a decision. You’re actually NOT picking one option from a group of options available. In reality, you’re ELIMINATING or CUTTING OFF the other options until only one remains.

This means that you should commit to the decision you’ve made and should do your best to make it work. In “Think and Grow Rich“, Napoleon Hill mentions the example of Henry Ford as someone who was fast to make decisions and slow to change them and that was the reason why Henry Ford was a successful entrepreneur.

Obviously, your decisions should be made taking the different principles mentioned here into account.

Before I leave this point, let me mentioned one example of making a decision by ‘cutting off’ the other options that gets done very, very regularly, namely, the decision to share your life with a particular person by marrying them.

This is a decision that, if it’s to prosper, requires the cutting off of all other options. Not that it always happens though! But only when that’s the case, a marriage has a chance of really succeeding. The same thing with any other decision you make. By cutting off all other options and committing to the one you’ve picked, you will increase your chances of success exponentially.

7. Don’t Be An Emotional Wreck

There is no way to COMPLETELY eliminate emotions from the decision making process. In fact, according to discoveries by Antonio Damasio, emotions are an intrinsic part of decision making. If you don’t have emotions, you CANNOT make decisions.

You’ve probably seen it. You’re helping somebody make a decision, you know, like maybe your significant other or better half, and in the end, even though you present logic and facts, they end up making a decision based on their ‘feelings‘. It might seem completely out of logic, but there is scientific proof that this is the way it is and, it’s unavoidable.

The problem is though, that some people get completely swamped with the feelings part of making decisions, that their fears don’t allow them to make any decisions. What happens in the end, is that others end up making decisions for them or, circumstances become so ‘urgent‘ that they have to just go with the flow.

If this happens regularly, they will end up in a place much different from what they might have wished. Don’t let something similar happen to you.

8. Take Immediate Action

Never leave the place of a decision without having taken some action in its direction“. This is wise advice because it immediately starts building momentum in the appropriate direction. Never forget that whenever something is DONE, you will get a result.

And if you get a result, this will improve your belief in yourself and your decision making.

9. Be Courageous

To become a decision maker that takes the lead of his or her life, you have to be a courageous person. Given that some of your decisions will be bad, you might have to suffer the consequences of what happens after results start to happen.

Nobody knows the future and there’s no guarantee that everything is going to be smooth in your decision making process. This doesn’t mean that you should stop being proactive and making decisions.

Even if you DON’T do anything and don’t make any active decisions and even if you don’t take any positive action, there is NO GUARANTEE that everything is gonna be alright.

So, why not increase the chances of obtaining what you want by causing changes in your circumstances through making decisions independently of what could happen? If you take the other options into account, chances are your decision making process will bring you more successes than failures.

10. Trust Your Gut Feeling (But Make Sure It’s Trained)

This is a big one. Should you trust your ‘gut feeling’? Successful people claim to do this all the time. Even when logic and facts point them in one direction, if their gut feeling points them in another, they might go with their gut feeling.

This gut feeling is also called intuition, and some people are very good ‘in tune’ with their gut feeling.

My mother had an aunt, for instance, that had a VERY GOOD relationship with her ‘intuition’. Her ‘gut feeling’ or ‘inner voice’ as she called it, saved her from snakes in the jungles of Venezuela when she was a little girl, and from a traffic accident that claimed the life of her best friend in France, as an adult. It even ‘told her‘ NOT to go to a bomb shelter during World War II when she was living in Marseille, France. In the end, she managed to live 107 (1897-2004) years and died in peace from old age.

The thing is, not everybody has that ‘fine tuning’ or ‘relationship’ with their gut feeling or intuition. If you’re one of the ones that doesn’t have a history of listening to your gut feeling, you need to train yourself and start ‘paying attention‘.

You also have to train your ‘mindset‘. Are you a someone with a mainly positive mindset? Or with a mainly negative mindset? I’m of the opinion that your main mindset inclination will influence what your gut feeling tells you. This is why it’s important to train your mindset appropriately.

Then, you can start trusting your gut feeling in small things and slowly go from there to bigger decisions and, please, remember the other points and take them into account.

Bottom Line

You make decisions every day, whether you like it or not. Your decision making process is affected by many things around you.

Facts and Logic, as the base for the decision making process,  should be tempered with what you really want to achieve in the long run with your life.

You will make some really bad decisions at some point, but being flexible and courageous will help you learn your lessons and move on, instead of dwelling on your mistakes forever.

Let your gut feeling and emotions play their role in your decision making, but don’t let them fill you so much with FEAR, that you cannot make any decent decisions anymore.

And, in the end, as soon as you make a decision, TAKE SOME ACTION in its direction to start seeing results fast.

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Blog, Self Improvement

How To Get What You Really Want

How To Get What You WantObviously, to be able to get what you REALLY want, you first must know WHAT IS IT that you want. You have to have clarity in that respect.

Once you know what you really want to achieve in life, how do you go about obtaining it?

This is something that actually should be taught in school, because we ALL want something but only few actually know how to systematically go about obtaining it.

Don’t get me wrong, knowing the HOW TO won’t guarantee that you will obtain anything. Why is that so? Well, no matter what, obtaining what you really want in life requires EFFORT on your part. It also most likely will require TIME. But if you’re consistent in your applying of whatever it is you wish, you WILL eventually obtain it, if you don’t give up.

So, let’s get down to it and see what specific steps are a must to make your dreams a reality. Let’s start at nothing and see how it goes up in a spiral like fashion.

Step 1 – Your Potential

As I said at the beginning, you have to FIRST know what you really want to achieve. But, you also have to BELIEVE that you have the innate ability to obtain it. In other words, you have an untapped POTENTIAL to achieve what you want.

Notice that all this happens FIRST in your head. This is the reason why the ‘Law Of Attraction’ states that THOUGHTS have power. It ALL starts in the mind. And, if we’re honest, it’s 100% true. Look around yourself, wherever you are. Do you see something created by humans? Of course you do, otherwise, how the hell are you reading this? 🙂

If you stop for a second, you’ll have to accept that EVERYTHING humans have created, started FIRST in their mind. They had an IDEA that was the starting point for their creation.

The same with you! Your mind has the potential, through THOUGHTS and IDEAS, to create any type of reality for you. You just have to believe this is true. So, to start, you go from NOTHING to having an idea, a wish or a goal that you want to achieve. This is YOUR POTENTIAL!

Step 2 – Taking Action

Now imagine the first person, thousands of years ago who THOUGHT “Damn, I don’t want to eat off the floor anymore. My back hurts and I’m tired of bending all the way down. I guess I could elevate everything and put it on some platform. That would be easy to reach and my back won’t hurt as much. Hmmm!”

What did he have to DO now? Well, the fact that we do have TABLES now, proves that he did TAKE ACTION and created a table, I don’t care how rudimentary it was, it was something. Maybe three legs instead of four, we don’t know, but SOMETHING was done. Somebody else must have seen that and a viral trend was established to the extent that the majority of humanity uses tables now. So, what was the KEY of his success? TAKING ACTION!!!!

So, once you have your IDEA, WISH or GOAL, you have to TAKE ACTION. The more action you take, the better. In fact, ‘self-help gurus’ talk about not just ‘taking action’, but about ‘taking MASSIVE action‘. Only if you DO SOMETHING, something will happen with your idea, wish or goal.

When you take action, your thoughts start ‘materializing‘ themselves. When I say this, it sounds VERY logical and it has nothing to do with the ‘esoteric’. It’s just common sense, you could even think. But, you’d have no clue of the amount of ideas that have just ‘evaporated‘ because their creators simply didn’t take action.

Step 3 – Obtain Results

Once you take actions, something amazing is going to happen. You’ll get RESULTS!

Ok, maybe the results you get at the beginning are not exactly what you were expecting, but you WILL get some sort of result. Think about this. What if you just ‘can’t be bothered‘ doing anything, what kind of results would you get? That’s easy to figure out… NOTHING!

But if you do SOMETHING, you WILL get some results. Getting results basically means that you’ve set a cause in motion. In other words, you’ve started a chain reaction that will have some kind of effect in the end. If you keep doing that, it will eventually produce the result that you want and, even if this result is small, it should be something to celebrate!

As a way of understanding this, it will help to consider for a bit what’s a classical plot in ALL movies that deal with ‘TIME TRAVELING‘. And what’s that? Well, that if you CHANGE something in the past, it will cause changes in the present. Isn’t it true that EVERY single time travel movie or book deals with that? Well, it’s time for you to realize that TODAY is tomorrow’s past, and if you change something TODAY, it will cause changes in your future, just make sure that future is more in line with what you really want.

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TODAY is tomorrow’s past,
and if you change something TODAY,
it will cause changes in your tomorrow!

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Step 4 – Your BELIEF of what is possible

Let’s go back for a second to step number 1. Remember, you had to BELIEVE that you had the potential to achieve something. At that moment however, it was just something that you ‘potentially‘ could achieve. You’ve never done it before. It was more like Faith!

Now, however, you’ve produced RESULTS and these prove that you CAN achieve more than what you’ve achieved so far. Your potential has become reality and your FAITH/BELIEF grows exponentially and turns into CERTAINTY. Obviously, having results under your belt gives you confidence that you can do more. And through this, your potential increases.

Think about the Olympic athletes trying to break records. At the beginning they just believe or have Faith they can, but they’ve NEVER done it before, but then, they DO IT! That gives them more confidence and then they go ahead, take action by practicing consistently and after a while, they break their previous record and sometimes that goes on and on several times. Why is that? It’s because every time you achieve something, your mind sees it now as NORMAL and the bar gets set a bit higher.

It just spirals upwards!

What happens is that once you get to that point of believing you can more, you automagically go back to step 1, but with the bar set higher, which results in more and so, you end up achieving much more than what you thought was even possible for you at the beginning.

If you keep consistently on a path like this, do you think you’ll get what you want? You bet!

Just To Be Clear

In this entry I’ve described the general path, which successful self made people go through to achieve their sometimes unbelievable goals. They never go from 0 to success in 1 second. There are ALWAYS steps in between that the public might not have seen, but that are always there.

On the other hand, there is always the possibility that you’ll hit obstacles on your path to success. You might not get the results that you want, once you start taking action. What to do when this happens? Just give up and stop? Never!

Keep taking action, just change the action you’re taking. Remember, every action generates a reaction, but no action generates NOTHING. In simple words, when something doesn’t go your way, do something a bit different, assess the results by evaluating if it’s what you want and, if it isn’t, do something a bit different again and reevaluate again.

If it is what you expected, RINSE AND REPEAT!

Hermann Bock

 

 

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