What’s the Best Investment You Can Make?

Want to have a better life? Who doesn’t? Maybe a masochist, but most of us strive to improve our lives. I hope you’re among those who do.

The pastimes that occupy many people’s leisure time, and probably some of their ideally productive time, produce nothing more than momentary highs or, when the communication is negative, lows. Unfortunately, the lows probably last longer than the highs! Most of the “relationships” people pursue on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are fleeting and meaningless.

Read on to discover a better way, and the best investment you can make in your future!

the Best Investment You Can Make like a white flower

Jason Gutierrez has some great ideas for making life better. They all have elements of doing enjoyable things. However, none of them are about spending time doing the things many people do for “enjoyment.”

What’s the most important relationship you can build? The relationship with yourself! When you’ve accomplished that, pursue relationships with those you can collaborate with to mutual benefit.

Searching for the latter of these without the intimate knowledge of who you are will almost surely be futile. Even if you stumble on the right collaborations, you’re likely not to recognize them.Enough words from me! I suggest you check out Jason’s article, where he laments reaching his thirties before discovering the truths he reveals. Many of us can rejoice in learning them much later in life. They have great value whenever you discover them. I hope you find them when you’re 18 years old, or even younger. If you discover them when you’re 70, 80, 90, or 100, great – they’ll improve the rest of your life!

Do Less To Accomplish More!

Want to improve your self-esteem? What better way to do that than to feel productive?

When you feel like you’re accomplishing something valuable, you feel worthy. When you feel worthy, you’re inspired to create more worth.

A true sense of self-worth comes from how valuable you feel. Not what someone else thinks of you. Not how cool or stylish you look. Solely by your own judgment, you must believe you’re adding value. It could be to your own life. Perhaps to a friend’s or a client’s life. Or maybe in a worthy cause. The key is: It must be your personal judgment, unclouded by someone else’s opinion of you.

Read on for a good recipe to generate that feeling of accomplishment.

Hint: It’s not about doing more. Do less!

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Here’s Anthony Yeung with some excellent tips on how to accomplish more in a few hours than most people do in several days.

A quick summary of Anthony’s recommendations:

  • Skip the time-wasters, especially first thing in the morning. Incoming messages are just allowing someone else to control your time. Also, eliminate notifications.
  • Stay focused on important tasks early in the day. He quotes Abraham Lincoln: “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first 6 of them sharpening my axe.”
  • Create bite-sized tasks. Break down big projects into small steps.
  • Prioritize! Then prioritize the priorities!
  • Set time limits to give yourself a sense of urgency.
  • Set a timer. When if rings take a short break, then repeat this process.
  • Batch your tasks to work most efficiently,
  • If you listen to music while you work, keep replaying one song. Anthony explains why.
  • If you like what you’re doing, you’ll be much more productive. “Farm out,” or otherwise eliminate the things you don’t enjoy doing.

This is a quick summary of a long-ish article. It’s worth reading. Or at least skimming for the ideas that resonate with you. Anthony “fleshes them out.”

Vulnerability = The Greatest Courage!

Long-time followers of my writing know that I consider relationships the key to life.

The next question is “What’s the key to relationships?” Author Brené Brown recently added to her string of books on vulnerability with the book we focus on today. Read on for the link to the book, and see how solid relationships require vulnerability.

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; …who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” 

– Quote from Theodore Roosevelt

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Many people consider vulnerability to be a sign of weakness. As Teddy Roosevelt tells us in the quotation cited above, it’s anything but! In fact, making yourself vulnerable is perhaps the greatest indication of courage.

Certainly, vulnerability can be at the root of much heartache – fear, grief, disappointment, etc. However, it is also the source of love, belonging, joy, creativity, and other signs of a happy, well-grounded person. Brené Brown has written several books about vulnerability. Her latest is titled Daring Greatly.

Brown examines vulnerability as it relates to parenting, work relationships, and interactions among people on the street and in life. She comments that people often lament the sorry state of customer service. She laments the sorry state of customer behavior!

We’ve all seen the restaurant patron who violently berates a waitress because her steak was not cooked to her liking. Or the guy at the airline counter railing at the agent because he can’t get the seat he wants. And worse, all this is done with no eye contact.

Brown writes, “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.” Watch a group of, usually young, people sitting in a social situation. More than half of them are likely on their phones, paying no attention whatever to the live friends sitting next to them. While I made this comment about young people, more mature people can certainly be guilty of this as well.

One of her great observations is that a sense of sufficiency, rather than abundance, is the antidote to a scarcity mindset. Even though we strive to improve and do more busness, we must see that where we are is enough for now.

So, if you want more joy and happiness in your life, and better relationships with everyone: 

Step up! 

Dare greatly! 

Be vulnerable!

Read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly!

What Do You Do When Someone “Dumps” On You?

How do you react when someone cuts you off on the highway or gives you the time-honored “single-finger salute”?

You have no control over what that person does or thinks. What you can control is how you react.

David Polly got a great lesson on this from, of all people, a New York City taxi driver. 

So, in addition to the specific lesson he learned, here’s another. Never discount the wisdom of someone doing something that seems mundane or menial. They may be wiser than you give them credit for!

So what was the lesson David learned from the taxi driver?

Faced with Discourtesy? React with Courtesy!

Here’s Michael Thompson telling David’s story. There’s a valuable lesson in it.

Let’s face it! The world is full of people with all sorts of attitudes and mindsets. Many people are reacting to something in their lives. Maybe that guy’s wife left him this morning. Maybe that lady just suffered a million-dollar loss. Or, maybe some people just got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, or are naturally belligerent to everyone for no real reason.

Whatever is causing someone to snarl at you or do something to irritate you is their business. Your business is to move on unperturbed and stay focused on what you have to do. And, while you’re at it, smile at the nasty person. Maybe for the first time today, or in their life, they’ll take note of your smile and reconsider their approach!

When someone gets majorly distracted from their focus, research shows that it takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus. That’s nearly a half-hour of loss in productivity. Can you afford that several times a day? I can’t. 

Many things can distract us from time to time. We can learn to remove most of those things from our view. Don’t let the actions of others cause a distraction for you.

Smile at them and move on with your day.

Consider often the lesson David Polly learned from his taxi driver!

Ways to Stop Procrastinating!

We all know our best work is done in a flow state. For some, like writer Tim Drenning, It can be a slow process getting into flow. 

Probably that reluctance to start is quite common. I find it myself sometimes, though I’ve gotten better at starting.

How about you? If you catch yourself “fiddling” with everything but your work when you have something important to do, you may find Tim’s solution helpful.

Procrastination is one of the biggest thieves of time known to people who usually work  without direct supervision.

an image of hour glass timer which implies -Ways to Stop Procrastinating!

Start with Something You’re Not Proud of!

Tim found that, if he lowered his expectations, his resistance to start disappeared. He was struggling to start meeting a high standard rather than to start work.

By lowering his expectations, he found it easy to start. Once he’d completed the initial low-expectation work, he had attained the flow state and could move on to work he’d be proud to sign.

More Ways to Beat Procrastination

Some people may find that, whatever help they found in the lower expectation suggestion, they’re still unhappy with their “starting gait”. If that’s you, try these:

  • Schedule an enjoyable event at a time when you’d like to have your work completed. If you know there’s a social event or a sports activity at a specific time, you’ll be motivated to stay with your work, so it’s done in time for the event.
  • Promise yourself a treat when you’ve completed the job. A cookie, a cup of coffee, or other snack is a great reward to motivate you to reach the point where you’ve earned the reward. You can do this with stages for a longer project. When you’ve written a certain number of paragraphs, a small reward helps you celebrate your progress.
  • When you put out energy, it comes back to you. Think of your flow state as energy you put out to the world. You get it back when someone offers an enthusiastic comment about what you’ve written or offered.
  • Watch people who are in flow state. Musicians, sports figures, and other performers can set a great example, and it’s easy to see their fans give that energy back to them very quickly.

If you’re among the procrastinators of the world, take heart! As with anything you do, the first step in overcoming this obstacle is to recognize the issue. The next step is to seek help rather than just try to beat your way through it. I hope you find the help you need in Ted’s article.