I am a 22-year-old making 95k in Seattle. Here is how I am spending my money. Am I allocating my income wisely?

Answer by Gene Khalyapin:

Excellent question!
Lot's of people don't have any point of reference to assess whether they save or spend too much. $500 for car, $1,700 for rent, etc…
  • Is it too much?
  • Should you reduce some expenses? If yes, then what items?
  • Have you ever asked WHY 10% is recommended and what it even means?
  • Is it the same for somebody making $2K/month or $10K/month?
  • Should you follow this guidance at your income level?
We built Detego to specifically answer these type of questions. Actually, let me rephrase that: we built Detego to help YOU answer your unique financial questions. That's because YOU hold the key to the answer (not a finance professional). You are just missing one important component needed to make the decision – the Impact on your life from your decisions.
Short answer:
Every $500 of monthly expense could delay your retirement by 4 years*. Said differently: spending $500/month less by giving up your Audi could give you extra 4 years to enjoy your life without work. Cut another $500/month by relocating to a cheaper place – and you could retire 8 years earlier.
Now you know everything you need to make a decision: you know the Impact from saving $500/mo and you already knew the Value you get by spending it. Do you have any current $500 expenses that DO NOT justify the extra 4 years of work-life for you? Do you still think you are saving enough?
Knowing the impact from each decision based on your unique life situation is the key to smart life choices(1)
1-this is based on our experience building Detego: our users no longer wonder whether they save enough or if some expenses need to be cut… they also don't care what some advisors somewhere recommended, on average, to some random people.

Detailed Answer:
Let's take your Audi A4 as an example
2009 Audi A4. $500 per month. It's a discretionary spending: you can cut it and Save more… or you can cut it and Spend more on something else.
When you look at this situation, you know the key component: you know the 'Value to You'.
What does Audi A4 means for you? Transportation? Childhood dream? Status symbol? Does it give you extra confidence? Sense of freedom? Accomplishment? This is the most important and very subjective information. This is something that Finance can't do better than you.
What you don't know, is the Impact on your life from having your Audi (hence you are asking the question: "How am I doing?"). Don't confuse this with the cost – your cost $500/ month. This part is clear.
The Impact, on the other hand, is measured in the activities that you could have afforded IF you gave up your Audi. In economics we call this the "opportunity cost". For example, what if the Audi screws up your finances and delays your retirement by 7 years (that is, by giving up your Audi you could gain 7 years of your work-free Life)? This impact is not obvious from just looking at the monthly expense amount.

FINANCE GUY'S ANSWER:
So, you come to a finance guy to ask whether you are spending too much. And you get this answer:
"If you invest $500 a month at 5% net return rate, then by the time you are 65 (in 43 years), you will have an extra $905,592! My advice: "GIVE UP YOUR AUDI ASAP! SAVE, SAVE, SAVE."
The push to save becomes even stronger if your finance guy makes the commission on you saving amount. But let's leave this to another post and assume that you get an unbiased advice.
This is the extra information that you get from your Finance guy:
See, instead of missing just one component (Impact), your finance guy is missing both of them (Value and Impact): he just gives you the Future Value. This is an objective measure (Finance is good at this!), but it's hard to evaluate it without placing it into the context of your unique life. $906K sounds like a lot of money, but what Impact will it have on your life?
Will you be forced to live on the streets just because you had your Audi or maybe you simply won't be able to buy a Porsche when you are 65? The answer to this question is needed to make the decision to keep or sell your Audi.

THE Detego APPROACH
Here's the approach that I think works the best: Detego shows you the Impact on your life – your True Cost – so that you can compare it to the Value that the item represents for you and decide whether you still want to keep it.
Think about it: you don't ask a sales assistant: "Should I buy blue cheese or not?" To answer this question, the sales assistant would need to know how much you like blue cheese (Value to You) and your detailed financial situation (the Impact on your life/finances). This would take hours and may still not lead to an optimal decision.
The better way is for you to simply ask for the price (the Impact from smaller items is easier to gauge just based on the price). Since you already know the Value to You – you can quickly make the decision.
Same thing with your Life. Don't ask finance professionals: is my rent too high – should I move to a cheaper place? Should I save more by selling my Audi, cutting my food budget, etc. Even the great ones will take hours to analyze your Values and finances and still may not give the optimal advice. Instead, check out Detego, see the impact from every action you plan to take and quickly decide for yourself.

Why do we show the Impact in the extra number of years you need to work? Because it's the most relevant context and the most relevant currency – Currency of Time. Your Time. It's the extra 4 years of your life that you will have to spend working if you want to keep your Audi.
The impact from the same action is different for different people. $906K is the same for you, me or anybody else (at the same age and with similar risk tolerance). While 4 years of YOUR LIFE is your currency. This is YOUR cost of having this Audi.
Let's look at the same Audi for 3 different people (same age and risk tolerance, but different Values and different lives):
Note that in all three cases, the Finance guy would arrive at the same Future Value and may have the same recommendation. It would be completely wrong in one situation.
Knowing the impact from each decision helps you make smart life choices… the choices based on Your Values and Your unique life context.
That's why we had to build Detego: you can add income, expense, what you currently have and what you plan to have… and when you see the impact from each item you will know if you save enough or if you should give up your damn Audi for good and save $500 more.
"Heard 10% was a solid amount to save" is meaningless.
Know the unique amount that is 'solid' to save for you!
Good luck!

P.S. I ran your high-level numbers through Detego's powerful algorithms. I took out $500 from your monthly expenses and added it as a Life Event from 22 to 65 years old. Note the 4 year impact I referenced above. You can add more information to fine-tune your Life Plan (add travel, kids, education, buy/rent house, car, get inheritance – pretty much anything!)
* This answer is not a financial advice. It is based on hypothetical scenario and is for illustrative purposes only. PM me if you want to test Detego and see the impact from every action you take based on your unique life situation.

I am a 22-year-old making 95k in Seattle. Here is how I am spending my money. Am I allocating my income wisely?

What are the most common life mistakes young people make?

Answer by James Altucher:

But first: common life mistakes young people make:

– HAVE AN OPINION

What opinion can you possibly have? Global warming? Ok, good luck changing the world. War? Ok, good luck stopping the $200 billion defense lobbying industry from having war.

She/He should treat me better! Again…good luck.

People say to me, “if everyone thought like you then the world would be a mess.”

Oh really? I have one word to say back (which breaks my later statement about defending myself).

“Manure”

4.5 million tons of manure were being dropped on the streets of Manhattan in 1890, EVERY YEAR, by horses carrying people to work.

That was the big environmental problem of the day. “NYC will be buried in horse manure by 1950!” screamed the headlines.

It doesn’t matter what your opinion about this was. None of the people living in NY solved the problem despite the 1000s of opinions.

People with passion for mechanics in Detroit made something called a car.

Problem solved.

Do what YOU love to do today. Surrender to the results. The more you surrender, the more results there will be.

The way you solve the world’s problems is to solve your problems. Then trust.

-THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL YOU ARE HERE TO DO

You realize there are 8.7 million different species on the planet. Do you think the trillions of members of all of them were put on this Earth with a special purpose? Like they have to be an opera singer. Or solve a hard math problem?

There’s 1000 different species (species, not individual organisms, which are around 10,000,000) living on your body right now. 80 in your mouth. So you better shut up.

The last part of our body to evolve was our pre-frontal cortex, which allows us to adapt to different environments. No other species has one.

This let us move from hot Africa to cold Alaska and every place in between.

But it also is the part of our body that makes us think we have a special purpose.

Our own unique little, private purpose which will win us awards and acclaim and make us feel better.

We don’t.

But I understand you feel that way if you are young.

So here’s the solution and it works and can be applied at any age: get good at three or four or give things.

Then find the intersection.

Then become the best in the world at the intersection. That’s how you can pretend to do your special purpose.

When I say “get good” it doesn’t mean 10,000 hours of practice with intent.

Maybe it means 1000 hours. Or even less.

Then if you get good at 5 things you’ve now the only one in the world who has put 1000s of hours into the intersection.

Now you’re the best in the world at that.

– TALKING

You really don’t have to talk as much as you do.

The average human says 10,000 words a day. Maybe cut that in half. Or say nothing.

I tried saying nothing for a whole day the other day. It’s hard. But it felt like magic when I finally spoke again. I valued every word that came out of my mouth.

But try to talk less when you’re young and know nothing.

Like when you’re 19 years old and you want to talk about the status of your relationship.

There is no status. You’re 19.

Guess what. Even if you’re 50 you don’t need to talk about it. Treat the other person nice. Then your status will be good.

If you hit the person you are living with then your status won’t be good.

Talking won’t do anything.

This holds for most things.

Listen to me.

Or better yet, just listen.

-YOU HAVE NO CAREER

The average person has 14 careers. And that number is probably going up.

My careers have been: academia, computer programmer, writer, “web series creator”, CEO of a web design company, day trader, hedge fund manager, writer about finance, venture capitalist, book writer, speaker, internet entrepreneur (made a website that got popular), deal maker, self-improvement blogger and book writer, podcaster, and a few more I’d rather not say because they are either horribly embarrassing or might get me into legal trouble.

Young people say, “I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.” Or “I want to be a doctor”.

These two statements have a 99% chance of being wrong.

I got an email a few weeks ago: “I’m a nurse and I have $210,000 in student loan debt and now I don’t even want to be a nurse. What should I do?”

I don’t know. You’re probably screwed.

– I NEED X TO GET Y

“I need to look good (or have a good job), to meet a boyfriend/girlfriend.”

“I need to have a million dollars before I can write a novel and relax”.

“I need to go to travel the world to get life experience.”

“I need to do what my parents say.”

“I need to go to go a gym to get healthy”.

Here’s the reality that many people don’t get.

There are many paths to that mysterious “Y”. Don’t assume you know what they are.

I told my daughter something the other day. I said, “you know that quote I always tell you?”

She said, “Ugh. ‘There’s always a good reason and a real reason’.”

“Ok, I’m going to tell you another one.

‘There’s always a back door.’ “

“What does that even mean,” she said. We were walking around Washington Square Park. She was looking with envy at all the college students walking around. I think she wants to be one.

“It’s ok if you don’t know what it means,” I said. “I can’t explain it. Just don’t assume the front door is the only way to enter something you want.”

Right now Snoop Dogg is saying he wants to be the CEO of Twitter.

That’s never going to happen. But he can say it can. And then maybe it will. Who knows?

I’m sure he’s said 1000 ridiculous things in his life. And you know what? 1% of them have happened and have created an amazing life for him.

The rest of us don’t say any of these ridiculous things. So nothing ridiculous and amazing happens to us.

– IF I DON’T DO THIS THEN BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN

“If I don’t go to college I can’t get a job”

“If I don’t get a house, I won’t have roots. I’ll waste money on rent.”

“If I don’t have money, I won’t be able to buy anything. People won’t like me.”

Society is very powerful. We get 2500 media messages a day telling us our Dos and our Dont’s.

All 2500 of those message are wrong. How do I know? Because people wouldn’t have to pay to show you those messages if they are right.

They know the messages are wrong so they pay to put them in front of you.

If you believe the messages then you would think you can join the army, and either A) choose to go to war or B) go hiking and learn computer programming at the same time.

You can’t.

(the real army)

Don’t let the media messages program your brain.

Don’t let the media messages predict the future. Because it’s a fake future.

– YOU CAN’T LEAVE

Young people think they can’t leave.

How many times did I spend an extra year in a relationship, or a city, or a job, or a school, because I was afraid to leave.

Afraid I had the power to truly hurt someone with my decision.

You can get up and leave right now if you are not happy or if you want to do something new.

– YOU HAVE TO DEFEND

In the next 60 years, a lot of people are going to hate you.

In fact, the more people you try to help, the more people will hate you. I don’t know why this rule exists but it does.

For every ten people you help, one person will hate you. And you will want to defend, to explain, to argue, to respond back.

You can’t change their mind. They are going to hate you no matter what. They are going to try and get in your head so you wake up thinking about them.

Delete them. Delete their comments, their emails, their connections to you, any contact you have with them. You can’t change them. You can change YOU to not care.

The more haters you have, it means you will have 10 times the number of people who love you but are silent.

When they offend, don’t defend.

Don’t forget one thing:

You are the coach of your future self. You are the only coach of your future self.

Everything that happens in your future is a direct result of what you do today.

I’ve made a lot of money and lost it miserably and got scared and depressed and cheated and ran and hurt and cried and was suicidal.

None of that helped my future self.

Here’s what did, when I was at my lowest and darkest moments. When I had the pills right in front of me. When my kids were asleep in their bedrooms and the night kept ticking away in my brain, refusing to let me sleep, refusing to stop my heart from racing in panic.

I took a walk every day.

I stopped dealing with the people who I felt bad around. This was very very painful to me. But better that then dying. Or defending.

I spent more time with the people who I felt good to be around.

I started reading every day. Only 40% of people who graduate college ever read a book again. If you are in the 60% you are 1000x ahead of everyone else.

I started writing down 10 ideas a day. Then I started sending ideas to people, without expectation back, with the hopes that the ideas would help people.

I forced myself to practice being grateful for everything I had. Two arms. Two daughters. A friend. Then two friends. Then three.

The more grateful you are, the more you attract things to be grateful for.

And by doing so, all the mistakes I made in my youth started to change.

What are the most common life mistakes young people make?

 

 

50 Ways Happier, Healthier, And More Successful People Live On Their Own Terms

1. Stop consuming caffeine

Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status-quo. When we’re off it, we underperform and become incapable.

Isn’t this absurd?

With healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise, your body will naturally produce far more and better energy than caffeine could ever provide. Give it up and see what happens. You will probably get withdrawal headaches. But after a few days, you’ll feel amazing.

2. Pray or meditate morning, mid-day, and night

In a recent interview at the Genius Network mastermind event, Joe Polish asked Tony Robbins what he does to get focused. “Do you meditate? What do you do?” Joe asked.

“I don’t know that I meditate. I don’t know that I want to meditate and think about nothing,” Tony responded, “My goal is clarity.”

Instead of full-on meditation, Tony has a morning routine that includes several breathing exercises and visualization techniques that get him to a state of clarity and focus. For me, I use prayer and pondering (my version of meditation) as the same vehicle.

Whatever your approach, the goal should be clarity and focus. What do you want to be about today?

What few things matter most during the next 24 hours?

I’ve gotten the best results as my morning prayer and meditation are motivational; my afternoon prayer and meditation are strategic; and my evening prayer and meditation are evaluative and educational.

3. Read 1 book per week

Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.

I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus. Taking even 15–30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.

Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.

Reference #19 on this list if you feel you’re “too busy” to read one book per week. There are methods to make this task extremely easy.

4. Write in your journal 5 minutes per day

This habit will change your life. Your journal will:

  • Clear your emotions serving as your personal therapist
  • Detail your personal history
  • Enhance your creativity
  • Ingrain and enhance your learning
  • Help you get clarity on the future you want to create
  • Accelerate your ability to manifest your goals
  • Increase your gratitude
  • Improve your writing skills
  • Lots more

Five minutes per day is more than enough. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, recommends writing far less than you want to — only a few sentences or paragraphs at most. This will help you avoid burnout.

5. Marry your best friend

“For all the productivity and success advice I’ve read, shaped and marketed for dozens of authors in the last decade, I’ve never really seen someone come out and say: Find yourself a spouse who complements and supports you and makes you better.” — Ryan Holiday

Research done by economists have found — even after controlling for age, education, and other demographics — that married people make 10 to 50 percent more than single people.

Why would this be?

Being married gives you a higher purpose for being productive. You are no longer a lone ranger, but have another person who relies on you.

Marriage also smacks you in the face with what’s really important in life. Sure, hanging out and partying are fun. But too many people get stuck in this phase and miss the meaning that comes from building a life with someone.

You will never find a better personal development seminar or book than marriage. It will highlight all of your flaws and weaknesses, challenging you to become a better person than you ever thought possible.

6. Make a bucket list and actively knock items off

Most people have it backwards — they design their ambitions around their life, rather than designing their life around their ambitions.

What are the things you absolutely must do before you die?

Start there.

Then design your life around those things. Or as Stephen Covey explained in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end clearly in mind.”

7. Stop consuming refined sugar

If you stop consuming sugar, your brain will radically change. Actually, study after study is showing that refined sugar is worse for our brains than it is for our waistlines. According to Dr. William Coda Martin, refined sugar is nothing more than poison because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals.

Refined sugar has now been shown to make us cranky, make us make rash decisions, and make us stupid.

Again, like caffeine, if you stop eating refined sugar, you will experience some negative withdrawals. But, like any good habit, the effects of this will be seen in the long-run. What would your health be like a year from now (or five) if you were completely refined sugar-free?

8. Fast from all food and caloric beverages 24 hours once per week

One-day (24-hour) food fasts are a popular way to maintain health and vigor. Fasting leverages the self-healing properties of the human body. Radical health improvements occur when the digestive system is given rest and the organs get ample time to repair and heal themselves.

A regular practice of fasting can:

  • Improve digestive efficiency
  • Increase mental clarity
  • Increase physical and mental vigor
  • Remove toxins
  • Improve vision
  • Give a general feeling of well being

Like all the other habits, fasting gets easier with practice. I’ve been fasting for years and it’s one of the best things I have done for my health.

Fasting is also one of the most recognized techniques in religious and spiritual practices. I also use fasting to get spiritual clarity and refinement.

Honestly, I could go on for hours about this one. Give it a try. You’ll never be the same.

9. Fast from the internet 24 hours once per week

Your body gets an intervention when you fast. Your mind and relationships could use one too. Unplug yourself from the matrix.

If you haven’t caught on already, human beings are highly addictive creatures. We love our coffee, sugar, and internet. And these things are all great. But our lives can be far more enhanced by using these tools in wisdom.

The purpose of the internet fast is to reconnect to yourself and your loved ones. So, you probably shouldn’t do it the same day you do your food fast. Because eating is one of the strongest ways to form bonds.

You’ll be blown away by how much more connected you feel to your loved ones when you can give them your undivided attention. It may even feel awkward for a while having a real-life conversation without looking at your phone every three minutes.

10. Stop consuming the news or reading the newspaper

Although the amount of warfare and deaths by human hands are reducing globally, you will not get that message watching televised news or reading the newspaper.

On the contrary, these media outlets have an agenda. Their goal is to appeal to your fears by inflating extreme cases — making them seem normal and commonplace. If they didn’t do so, their viewership would plummet. Which is why Peter Diamandis, one of the world’s experts on entrepreneurship and the future of innovation has said, “I’ve stopped watching TV news. They couldn’t pay me enough money.”

You can get high quality news curated from Google news. When you detox from the toxic filth that is public news, you’ll be startled as your worldview becomes radically more optimistic. There is no objective reality. Instead, we live in perceived realities and are thus responsible for the worldview we adopt.

11. Do something everyday that terrifies you

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss

But you don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. Actually, Darren Hardy has said that you can be a coward 99.9305556% of the time (to be exact). You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time.

Twenty seconds of fear is all you need. If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.

Make that call.

Ask that question.

Pitch that idea.

Post that video.

Whatever it is you feel you want to do–do it. The anticipation of the event is far more painful than the event itself. So just do it and end the inner-conflict.

In most cases, your fears are unfounded. As Seth Godin has explained, our comfort zone and our safety zone are not the same thing. It is completely safe to make an uncomfortable phone call. You are not going to die. Don’t equate the two. Recognize that most things outside your comfort zone are completely safe.

12. Do something kind for someone else daily

“Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone’s burden been lighter today, because I was willing to share? Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way? When they needed my help was I there?” — Will L. Thompson (music and text)

If we’re too busy to help other people, we’ve missed the mark. Taking the time to spontaneously — as well as planned — helping other people is one of the greatest joys in life. Helping others opens you up to new sides of yourself. It helps you connect deeper with those you help and humanity in general. It clarifies what really matters in life.

As Thomas Monson has said, “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” That would truly be a failure.

13. Go to bed early and rise early

According to countless research studies, people who go to bed and rise early are better students. Harvard biologist Christoph Randler found that early sleep/risers are more proactive and are more likely to anticipate problemsand minimize them efficiently, which leads to being more successful in the business.

Other benefits of going to bed and rising early — backed by research — include:

  • Being a better planner
  • Being holistically healthier as individuals
  • Getting better sleep
  • More optimistic, satisfied, and conscientious

Waking up early allows you to proactively and consciously design your day. You can start with a morning routine that sets the tone for your whole day. You show self-respect by putting yourself first. In your morning routine, you can pray/meditate, exercise, listen to or read inspiring content, and write in your journal. This routine will give you a much stronger buzz than a cup of coffee.

14. Get 7+ hours of sleep each night

Let’s face it: sleep is just as important as eating and drinking water. Despite this, millions of people do not sleep enough and experience insane problems as a result.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducted surveys revealing that at least 40 million Americans suffer from more than 70 different sleep disorders; furthermore, 60 percent of adults, and 69 percent of children, experience one or more sleep problems a few nights or more during a week.

In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month — with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.

On the flip side, getting a healthy amount of sleep is linked to:

  • Increased memory
  • Longer life
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased creativity
  • Increased attention and focus
  • Decreased fat and increased muscle mass with exercise
  • Lower stress
  • Decreased dependence on stimulants like caffeine
  • Decreased risk of getting into accidents
  • Decreased risk of depression

And tons more… Google it.

15. Replace warm showers with cold ones

Tony Robbins doesn’t consume caffeine at all. Instead, he starts every morning by jumping into a 57-degree Fahrenheit swimming pool.

Why would he do such a thing?

Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. It can also increase weight-loss because it boosts your metabolism.

2007 research study found that taking cold showers routinely can help treat depression symptoms often more effectively than prescription medications. That’s because cold water triggers a wave of mood-boosting neurochemicals which make you feel happy.

To me, it increases my willpower and boosts my creativity and inspiration. While standing with the cold water hitting my back, I practice slowing my breathing and calming down. After I’ve chilled out, I feel super happy and inspired. Lots of ideas start flowing and I become way motivated to achieve my goals.

16. Say “No” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on

“No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.” — Derek Sivers

Your 20 seconds of daily courage will most consistently involve saying “no” to stuff that doesn’t really matter. But how could you possibly say “no” to certain opportunities if you don’t know what you want? You can’t. Like most people, you’ll be seduced by the best thing that comes around. Or, you’ll crumble under other people’s agendas.

But if you know what you want, you’ll have the courage and foresight to pass up even brilliant opportunities — because ultimately they are distractors from your vision. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”

17. Say “Thank you” every time you’re served by someone

It’s amazing when you meet someone who is expressively and genuinely grateful. It’s amazing because, frankly, it’s rare.

I remember one day while working as a busser of a restaurant as a teenager. Every time I went by a certain table, whether I was refilling waters, bringing food, anything… the kid at the table (no more than 20 years old) graciously said “thank you.” I even heard him from close proximity saying it to all the other employees when they stopped by his table.

This experience had a dramatic impact on me. It was so simple what he was doing. Yet, so beautiful. I instantly loved this person and wanted to serve him even more.

I could tell by how he looked in my eyes when saying “thank you” that he meant it. It came from a place of gratitude and humility.

Interestingly, one study has found that saying “thank you,” facilitated a 66 percent increase in help offered by those serving. Although altruism is the goal, don’t be surprised as your habit of graciously saying “thank you” turns into even more to be thankful for.

18. Say “I love you” 3+ times a day to the most important people in your life

According to neuroscience research, the more you express love (like gratitude), the more other people feel love for you. Sadly, people are taught absurd mindsets about being vulnerable and loving in relationships. Just this morning, my wife and I had to coax and prod our three foster kids to say one nice thing about each other, and to say they loved each other.

It took several minutes for our 8 year old foster boy to muster the strength to say he loved his sister. Yet, all of our kids constantly berate and belittle each other.

You know the feeling: when you want to say “I love you” but hold back. What a horrible feeling.

Why do we hesitate to express our love?

Why do we hesitate to connect deeply with others?

This may be strange, but if you tell your friends and family you love them, they’ll be blown away. I once knew a Polynesian missionary who told everyone he loved them. It was clear he was sincere.

I asked him why he did it. What he told me changed my life. “When I tell people I love them, it not only changes them, but it changes me. Simply by saying the words, I feel more love for that person. I’ve been telling people all around me I love them. They feel treasured by me. Those who know me have come to expect it. When I forget to say it, they miss it.”

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” –Harriet Beecher Stowe

19. Consume 30 grams of protein within the first 30 minutes of waking up

Donald Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition at the University of Illinois, recommends consuming at least 30 grams of protein for breakfast. Similarly, Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, also recommends 30 grams of protein 30 minutes after waking up.

According to Tim, his father did this and lost 19 pounds in one month.

Protein-rich foods keep you full longer than other foods because they take longer to leave the stomach. Also, protein keeps blood-sugar levels steady, which prevents spikes in hunger.

Eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings. These are the types of carbs that get you fat. Think bagels, toast, and donuts.

Tim makes four recommendations for getting adequate protein in the morning:

  • Eat at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein
  • Do it with two or three whole eggs (each egg has about 6g protein)
  • If you don’t like eggs, use something like turkey bacon, organic pork bacon or sausage, or cottage cheese
  • Or, you could always do a protein shake with water

For people who avoid dairy, meat, and eggs, there are several plant-based proteins. Legumes, greens, nuts, and seeds all are rich in protein.

20. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts on 2x speed, your brain will change faster

Listening to audiobooks at normal speed is so three years ago. There is a going trend — particularly in Silicon Valley — to listen to audiobooks at 150 or 200 percent called “speed listening.”

In 2010, the tech blog GigaOm suggested “speed-listening to podcasts” as an overall time-saving technique. Software called FasterAudio promises to “cut your audio learning time in half.”

If you want to get hardcore, a particularly useful tool is Overcast — a podcast-playback app with a feature called Smart Speed. Smart Speed isn’t about simply playing audio content at 150 or 200 percent of the standard rate; but actually attempts algorithmically to remove fluff (e.g., dead air, pauses between sentences, intros and outros) that bulks up the play time of audio content.

Use this technique and you’ll be consuming as much information as you once consumed caffeine.

21. Decide where you’ll be in five years and get there in two

“How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?” — Peter Thiel

There is always a faster way than you originally conceive. Actually, goal-setting can slow your progress and diminish your potential if you rely too heavily upon it.

In an interview with Success Magazine, Tim Ferriss said that he doesn’t have five or ten year goals. Instead, he works on “experiments” or projects for a 6–12 week period of time. If they do extremely well, the possible doors that could open are endless. Tim would rather play to the best possibilities than get stuck on one track. He says this approach allows him to go drastically farther than he could ever plan for.

22. Remove all non-essentials from your life (start with your closet)

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — Greg McKeown

Most of the possessions you own, you don’t use. Most of the clothes in your closet, you don’t wear. Get rid of them. They are sucking energy from your life. Also, they are dormant value waiting to be exchanged for dollars.

Getting rid of underutilized resources is like injecting motivation and clarity into your bloodstream. While all of that untapped energy gets removed, a new wave of positive energy comes into your life. You can use that energy in more useful and productive ways.

23. Consume a tablespoon of coconut oil once per day

Coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Here are 7 reasons you should eat coconut oil every single day:

  • It boosts HDL (good) cholesterol and simultaneously blocks LDL (bad) cholesterol buildup
  • It has special fats that help you burn more fat, have more energy, and maintain healthy weight
  • It fights aging and keeps you looking and feeling young
  • It reduces fever and acts as an anti-inflammatory
  • It is antibacterial and thus wards off possible illnesses
  • It improves memory and cognitive functioning (even for people with Alzheimer’s)
  • It can boost testosterone for men and balance healthy hormones level for both men and women

Coconut oil is a healthy alternative to caffeine. Eating a small amount will give you a shot of energy without the side-effects.

24. Buy a juicer and juice a few times per week

Juicing is an incredible way to get loads of vitamins and nutrients from fruits and vegetables. These nutrients can:

  • Help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and various inflammatory diseases
  • Guard against oxidative cellular damage from everyday cellular maintenance and exposure to chemicals and pollution.

There are several approaches you can take to juicing. You can reset your body by doing a 3–10 day juice “cleanse.” Or, you could simply incorporate juice into your regular diet. I do both from time to time.

I always feel enormously better after juicing. Especially when I get lots of intense greens like kale into my system.

25. Choose to have faith in something bigger than yourself, skepticism is easy

In the timeless book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill explains that a fundamental principle of wealth creation is having faith — which he defines as visualization and belief in the attainment of desire.

As he famously said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”

If you don’t believe in your dreams, the chances of them happening are slim to none. But if you can come to fully know the things you seek will occur, the universe will conspire to make it happen.

According to Hill (see page 49 of Think and Grow Rich), here’s how that works:

  • “Faith is the starting point of all accumulation of riches!”
  • “Faith is the basis of all ‘miracles’ and mysteries that cannot be analyzed by the rules of science!”
  • “Faith is the element that transforms the ordinary vibration of thought, created by the finite mind of man, into the spiritual equivalent.”
  • “Faith is the only agency through which the cosmic force of Infinite Intelligence can be harnessed and used.”
  • “Faith is the element, the ‘chemical’ which, when mixed with prayer, gives one direct communication with Infinite Intelligence.”

Like expressing love, in our culture, many have become uncomfortable with ideas like faith. Yet, to all of the best business minds in recent history, faith was fundamental to their success.

26. Stop obsessing about the outcome

Research has found that expectations in one’s own ability serves as a better predictor of high performance than expectations about a specific outcome. In his book, The Personal MBAJosh Kaufman explains that when setting goals, your locus of control should target what you can control (i.e., your efforts) instead of results you can’t control (e.g., whether you get the part).

Expect optimal performance from yourself and let the chips fall where they may. The organic output will be your highest quality work.

“Put most simply: Do what is right, let the consequence follow.”

27. Give at least one guilt-free hour to relaxation per day

In our quest for success, many of us have become workaholics. However, relaxation is crucial for success. It is akin to resting between sets at the gym. Without resting, your workout will be far less than it could have been.

Foolishly, people approach their lives like a workout without rest breaks. Instead, they take stimulants to keep themselves going longer and longer. But this isn’t sustainable or healthy. It’s also bad for productivity and creativity in the short and long run.

28. Genuinely apologize to people you’ve mistreated

People make mistakes several times every single day. Sadly — and hilariously — much of the time we act like kids and blame our mistakes on external factors. Research has found that people who don’t openly and often apologize experiencehigher levels of stress and anxiety.

You don’t need that pent-up energy in your life. Make amends and let it go. It’s not your choice if people choose to forgive you.

29. Make friends with five people who inspire you

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn

Who you spend time with is incredibly important. Even more fundamental is: what types of people are you comfortable around?

Your comfort level is one of the clearest indicators of your character. Are the people you enjoy being around inspiring or degrading, hard-working or lazy?

What kinds of beliefs do you friends have?

What kinds of goals are they pursuing?

How much money do they make?

What does their health look like?

All of these things dramatically impact you. And it is one of the most painful experiences in the world to become uncomfortable around people who have long been your friends. When you grow and evolve and long for more, you’ll begin seeking a different crowd to surround yourself with.

Misery loves company. Don’t let them hold you back. Move on but never detach from the love you have for those people.

30. Save 10 percent or more of your income

“I would have saved 10 percent automatically from my paycheck by direct deposit into a savings account earning the best possible interest compounded daily. I would have also disciplined myself to deposit 10 percent of any additional money from gifts, refunds or other earned income. I would have bought a small house outright with the money I had saved (instead of renting an apartment for over 30 years). I would have found a job that I loved and devoted my life to it. At least you could be happy even if you were not where you wanted to be financially. Hope this helps someone out there.” — D. Lorinser

Tithing yourself is a core principle of wealth creation. Most people pay other people first. Most people live above their means.

In total, American consumers owe:

  • $11.85 trillion in debt
  • An increase of 1.4% from last year
  • $918.5 billion in credit card debt
  • $8.09 trillion in mortgages
  • $1.19 trillion in student loans
  • An increase of 5.9% from last year

The U.S. Census in 2010 reported that there were 234.56 million people over the age of 18 years old, suggesting the average adult owes $3,761 in revolving credit to lenders. Across the average household, American adults also owe $11,244 in student loans, $8,163 on their autos, and $70,322 on their mortgage.

Simply switching to home-brewed coffee will save you an average of $64.48 per month (or $2 per day) or $773.80 per year. By putting the savings into a mutual fund with average earnings of 6.5% interest and reinvesting the dividends into more mutual funds over a decade, the $64.48 saved every month would grow into $10,981.93.

31. Tithe or give 10 percent of your income away

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer.” — Proverbs 11:24

Many of the wealthiest people in the world attribute their healthy financial life and abundance to giving some of it away.

Most people are trying to accumulate as much as they can. However, a natural principle of wealth creation is generosity. As Joe Polish has said, “The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.”

From a spiritual perspective, everything we have is God’s (or the Earth’s). We are merely stewards over our possessions. When we die, we don’t take our money with us. So why hoard it?

As you give generously and wisely, you’ll be stunned by the increases in your earning potential. You’ll develop traits needed for radical wealth creation.

32. Drink 64–100 ounces of water per day

Human beings are mostly water. As we drink healthy amounts of water, we have smaller waistlines, healthier skin, and better functioning brains. Actually, as we drink enough water, it’s safe to say we’re better in every way.

It’s a no-brainer. If you’re not drinking the healthy amount of water each day, you should critically assess your priorities in life.

33. Buy a small place rather than rent

Unless you live in a big city (which many of you do), I’m baffled how many people pay outlandish amounts on rent each month.

When my wife and I moved to Clemson to begin graduate school, we did a lot of front end work to ensure we’d be able to buy a home. What’s shocking is that our mortgage payment is far less than most of our friend’s rent payments. By the end of our four years here in Clemson, we’ll have earned several thousand dollars in equity and even more in appreciation. Conversely, many of our friends are simply dumping hundreds of dollars into someone else’s pockets every month.

Paying rent is like working hourly. You get money while you’re on the clock. When you’re not on the clock, you get no money. Earning equity is like having residual income. Every month you pay down your mortgage, you actually keep that money. So you’re not “spending to live” like most people do. You’re living for free while saving — often earning in appreciation.

34. Check your email and social media at least 60–90 minutes after you wake up

Most people check their email and social media immediately upon waking up. This puts them in a reactive state for the remainder of the day. Instead of living life on their own terms, they’d rather respond to other people’s agendas.

Hence, the importance of having a solid morning routine. When you wake up and put yourself, not other people first, you position yourself to win before you ever begin playing.

“Private victory always precedes public victory.” –Stephen Covey

Make the first few hours of your morning about you, so that you can be the best you can for other people. My morning routine consists of prayer, journal writing, listening to audiobooks and podcasts while I workout, and taking a cold shower.

After I’ve had an epic morning, and I’m clear on the direction of my day, I can utilize email and social media for my benefit rather than detriment.

35. Make a few radical changes to your life each year

Reinvent yourself every year. Novelty is an antidote to monotony. Jump into new pursuits and relationships.

Try things you’ve never done before.

Take risks.

Have more fun.

Pursue big things you’ve been procrastinating for years.

In the past year, my wife and I went from having no kids to having three foster kids (ages 4, 6, and 8). I’ve started blogging. I quit my job and started writing full-time. I completely changed my diet. I’ve changed my entire daily routine.

Without question, this year has been the most transformative year of my life. It’s taught me that you can change your whole life in one year. I plan on changing my whole life for the better every year.

36. Define what wealth and happiness mean to you

“Be everything to everybody and you’ll be nothing for yourself.” — John Rushton

No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.

Instead, you recognize that every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal. We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us — and we will always fall short. We’ll always be left wanting. We’ll always be stuck comparing ourselves and competing with other people. Our lives will be an endless race for the next best thing. We’ll never experience contentment.

37. Change the way you think, feel, and act about money

Most people have an unhealthy relationship with money. It’s not necessarily their fault; it’s what they were taught.

In order to change your financial world, you need to alter your paradigm and feelings about money.

Here are some key beliefs the most successful people in the world have:

  • In a free-market economy, anyone can make as much money as they want.
  • Your background, highest level of education, or IQ is irrelevant when it comes to earning money.
  • The bigger the problem you solve, the more money you make.
  • Expect to make lots of money. Think BIG: $100,000, $500,000, or why not $1 million?
  • What you focus on expands. If you believe in scarcity, you’ll have little.
  • If you believe there is unlimited abundance, you’ll attract abundance.
  • When you create incredible value for others, you have the right to make as much money as you want.
  • You’re not going to be discovered, saved, or made rich by someone else. If you want to be successful, you have to build it yourself.

When you develop a healthy relationship, you will have more. You won’t spend money on the crap most people waste their money on. You’ll focus more on value than price.

38. Invest only in industries you are informed about

Warren Buffett doesn’t invest in technology because he doesn’t understand it. Instead, he invests in banking and insurance. He’s not a tech guy. He invests in what he understands.

Yet, so many people invest in things they don’t understand. I’ve made that mistake. I once invested several thousand dollars in an overseas rice distribution. Although the investment sounded incredible on paper, it’s turned out to be a disaster.

I didn’t have the understanding to make an informed decision. I put my trust in someone else’s hands. And no one cares about your success more than you do.

From now on, I’m going to responsibly invest in things I can make informed decisions on.

39. Create an automated income source that takes care of the fundamentals

We live in unprecedented times. It has never been easier to create automated income streams. No matter your skill-set and interests, you can put a business in place that runs 24/7 even while you’re sleeping, sitting on the beach, or playing with your kids.

An entrepreneur is someone who works for a few years like no one will so they can live the rest of their life like no one else can.

If you want to free up your time and energy for the things that matter most, either invest in stuff you’re informed on (e.g., real estate, businesses, mutual funds), or, create a business that doesn’t require you (e.g., create an online educational course about something you’re passionate about).

40. Have multiple income streams (the more the better)

Most people’s income comes from the same source. However, most wealthy people’s income comes from multiple sources. I know people with hundreds of income streams coming in each month.

What would happen if you set things up so you were getting income from 5 or 10 different places each month?

What if several of those were automated?

Again, with a few short years of intentional and focused work, you can have several income streams.

41. Track at least one habit/behavior you’re trying to improve

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” — Thomas Monson

Tracking is difficult. If you’ve tried it before, chances are, you quit within a few days.

Research has repeatedly found that when behavior is tracked and evaluated, it improves drastically.

It’s best to track only a few things. Maybe just one at a time.

If you want to track your diet, a fun approach is taking a picture of everything you eat. Everything. This allows you the time to determine if you really want to put that in your body.

So, your tracking can be creative. Do what works for you. Use a method you will actually do.

But start tracking. After you’ve made solid improvement on your desired area and formed new habits, start tracking something else.

42. Have no more than 3 items on your to-do list each day

When you shift your life from day-to-day reactivity to one of creation and purpose, your goals become a lot bigger. Consequently, your priority list becomes smaller. Instead of doing a million things poorly, the goal becomes to do a few things incredibly — or better yet, to do one thing better than anyone else in the world.

“If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.” — Jim Collins

So, instead of trying to do a million small things, what one or two things would make the biggest impact?

Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, explains that there are two economies: The Economy of Hard Work and The Economy of Results.

Some people think hard work is the recipe. Others think about the most efficient way to get a desired result.

Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, explains what he calls Minimum Effective Dose (MED), which is simply the smallest dose that will yield a desired result and anything past the MED is wasteful. Water boils at 100°C at standard air pressure — it is not “more boiled” if you add more heat.

What is the fastest way to get your desired outcome?

43. Make your bed first thing in the morning

According to psychological research, people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t. If that’s not enough, here’s more:

  • 71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy
  • While 62 percent of non-bed-makers are unhappy
  • Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested
  • Whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.

Crazy, right?

Something so simple. Yet, when you make your bed first thing in the morning, you knock-off your first accomplishment of the day. This puts you in a mindset of “winning.”

Do it! It only takes 30 seconds.

44. Make one audacious request per week (what do you have to lose?)

“Rainmakers generate revenue by making asks. They ask for donations. They ask for contracts. They ask for deals. They ask for opportunities. They ask to meet with leaders or speak to them over the phone. They ask for publicity. They come up with ideas and ask for a few minutes of your time to pitch it. They ask for help. Don’t let rainmaking deter you from your dream. It’s one of the barriers to entry, and you can overcome it. Once you taste the sweet victory of a positive response, you’ll not only become comfortable with it, you might even enjoy it. But making asks is the only way to bring your dream to life.” — Ben Arment

I got into graduate school way after applications were due because I asked.

I’ve gotten free NBA tickets by asking a few players I saw at a hotel.

I’ve gotten my work published on high tier outlets because I ask.

Very few things in life are just randomly given to you as an adult. In most cases, you need to earn it and/or ask for it.

Yet, there are many opportunities currently available to everyone if they would muster the courage and humility to ask.

The entire crowdfunding industry is based on making asks.

Start making bold and audacious asks. What’s the worst that could happen? They say “No”?

What’s the best that could happen?

When you don’t ask, you lose by default. And you’ll never know the opportunities you missed out on.

Don’t sell yourself short. Ask that beautiful girl on a date. Ask for that raise or big opportunity at work. Ask people to invest in your idea.

Put yourself out there. You’ll be blown away by what happens.

45. Be spontaneously generous with a stranger at least once per month

Life isn’t all about what you can achieve or acquire. It’s more about who you become and what you contribute.

Interestingly, research done at Yale has found that people are instinctively cooperative and generous. However, if you stall and think about being helpful or generous, you’re less likely to do it. And the longer you wait, the likelihood of you being helpful diminishes.

So, be spontaneous. When you get the wild thought of buying the person’s food in the car behind you, just do it. Don’t think about it.

If you’re driving down the road and see someone with car trouble off to the side, just do it. Don’t think about it.

When you want to say “I love you,” to a loved one, just do it. Don’t think about it.

Paralysis by analysis is dumb. And Malcolm Gladwell explains in Blink that snap-decisions are often far better than well-thought out ones.

46. Write and place a short, thoughtful note for someone once per day

The messages of handwritten letters impact deeper and are remembered longer than electronic messages. There is no comparison to this traditional form of conversation. Handwritten messages are so powerful that people often keep these notes for a long time. Sometimes a lifetime.

Jack Canfield has taught that writing 3–5 handwritten notes per day will change your relationships. In our email world, it can seem inefficient to hand-write and mail a letter. But relationships aren’t about efficiency.

Not only will handwriting letters change your relationships, it will change you.Research has shown that writing by hand increases brain development and cognition more than typing can.

Consequently, the things you write will be seared into your own memory as well, allowing both you and the recipient to reflect back on cherished moments.

Writing handwritten notes spices up your relationships, adding an element of fun. It’s exciting placing kind and loving notes in random places for your loved ones to find. Put a note under the windshield wipers of your loved one’s car to find after a hard day’s’ work. Hidden, wait til they come out and watch them from across the street. You’ll see their eyes light up and smile spread.

Other fun places include:

  • In the fridge
  • In the closet
  • On the computer keyboard
  • In their shoe
  • In their wallet
  • The mail box

Anywhere that makes the experience a surprise…

47. Become good friends with your parents

Many people have horrible relationships with their parents. I once did myself. Growing up can be tough and sometimes are parents make horrible decisions that negatively impact us.

However, my parents have become my best friends. They are my confidants. I turn to them for wisdom and advice. They understand me like no one else. Biology is a powerful thing.

Although I don’t see things the same way my parents do, I love them and respect their viewpoints. I love working out with my dad and talking about big ideas with my mom.

I couldn’t imagine not being close to them.

If your parents are still around, rekindle those ties or increase the flame. You’ll find enormous joy in those relationships.

48. Floss your teeth

About 50 percent of Americans claim to floss daily. My guess is that’s a large over-estimate. Either way, the benefits of flossing are incredible.

Doing so daily prevents gum disease and tooth loss. Everyone gets plaque, and it can only be removed by flossing or a deep cleaning from your dentist. Plaque buildup can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can be a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and a high body mass index.

Yes, not flossing can make you fat.

Not only that, but it greatly reduces bad breath.

49. Eat at least one meal with your family per day

If possible, eat a sit-down meal with your loved ones daily. It doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We’ve become so high-paced in the world that everything we do is on the go. We’ve forgotten what it means to just be with our loved ones.

Eating together creates a sense of community like nothing else.

Teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol, according to the CASA report.

50. Spend time reflecting on your blessings at least once per day

Gratitude is the cure-all for all the world’s problems. It has been called, “the mother of all virtues,” by the Roman philosopher Cicero.

When you practice gratitude, your world changes. There is no objective reality. All people perceive reality as they selectively attend to things that are meaningful to them. Hence, some people notice the good while others notice the bad.

Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.

People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attract more of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious. It changes not only your world, but everyone else’s you come in contact with.

original by medium

The Only One Skill That, If You Have, Will Completely Change Your Life

This article originally appeared on Growthzer.

We all look for the key recipe for the success. The secret element which will make all the difference.

The only true answer doesn’t exist. There’re plenty of skills which once mastered would change your life completely.

However, a skill that I believe is incredibly important in today’s world, and it’s something the vast majority of people lacks, is self-control.

Deeply inside, nobody wants to be unhealthy and practice self-destructing habits. But if you look around, people kill themselves every single day. The death may not come immediately, but it’s going to arrive way sooner than it supposed to. Diabetes and cancer are sold on every corner. Profit is what counts to most of the companies, your health doesn’t. So it’s you who’s responsible for controlling yourself.

Continue reading The Only One Skill That, If You Have, Will Completely Change Your Life

Relearning the Art of Asking Questions

Proper questioning has become a lost art. The curious four-year-old asks a lot of questions — incessant streams of “Why?” and “Why not?” might sound familiar — but as we grow older, our questioning decreases. In a recent poll of more than 200 of our clients, we found that those with children estimated that 70-80% of their kids’ dialogues with others were comprised of questions. But those same clients said that only 15-25% of their own interactions consisted of questions. Why the drop off?

Think back to your time growing up and in school. Chances are you received the most recognition or reward when you got the correct answers. Later in life, that incentive continues. At work, we often reward those who answer questions, not those who ask them. Questioning conventional wisdom can even lead to being sidelined, isolated, or considered a threat.

Because expectations for decision-making have gone from “get it done soon” to “get it done now” to “it should have been done yesterday,” we tend to jump to conclusions instead of asking more questions. And the unfortunate side effect of not asking enough questions is poor decision-making. That’s why it’s imperative that we slow down and take the time to ask more — and better — questions. At best, we’ll arrive at better conclusions. At worst, we’ll avoid a lot of rework later on.

Aside from not speaking up enough, many professionals don’t think about how different types of questions can lead to different outcomes. You should steer a conversation by asking the right kinds of questions, based on the problem you’re trying to solve. In some cases, you’ll want to expand your view of the problem, rather than keeping it narrowly focused. In others, you may want to challenge basic assumptions or affirm your understanding in order to feel more confident in your conclusions.

Consider these four types of questions — Clarifying, Adjoining, Funneling, and Elevating — each aimed at achieving a different goal:

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Continue reading Relearning the Art of Asking Questions

Leading People When They Know More than You Do

If you’re a manager in a knowledge-driven industry, chances are you’re an expert in the area you manage. Try to imagine a leader without this expertise doing your job. You’ll probably conclude it couldn’t be done. But as your career advances, at some point you will be promoted into a job which includes responsibility for areas outside your specialty. Your subordinates will ask questions that you cannot answer and may not even understand. How can you lead them when they know a lot more about their work than you do? Welcome to reality: You are now the leader without expertise—and this is where you, possibly for the first time in your career, find yourself failing. You feel frustrated, tired and disoriented, even angry. This is the point where careers can derail. If you get to this point, or see yourself headed in this direction, what can you do?

First, you need to resist your natural inclination, which is to put your head down and work harder to master the situation. Leaders who come up an expertise track almost always derail here because they react to the challenge by relying on their core strengths: high intelligence and the capacity for hard work. They frame the challenge this way: “I need to master this subject. Okay, no problem, I’m smart. I can learn.” And so they buckle down, and dive into the mastering the details so they can be an expert again. This is the road to disaster.

It is a disaster because if it took ten or twenty years to master your specialty you are not going to achieve a similar mastery in a new domain in the first 90 days—and 90 days may be all you have before you have to show results. Your staff, who know a lot more about their domain than you do, won’t respect you, your lack of confidence in the details will show when you talk to top management, and your attempt to work twice as hard as you already are will wear you down.

So what should you do instead? To succeed in this situation, you must learn and practice a new leadership style. Your old style of management, which I call “specialist management”, depended on expertise. You need to put that behind you and adopt a new style of management: the generalist style. Based on my work with leaders who have successfully made the transition, here are the four key skills to develop and practice:

Continue reading Leading People When They Know More than You Do

Screw motivation, what you need is discipline.

If you want to get anything done, there are two basic ways to get yourself to do it.

The first, more popular and devastatingly wrong option is to try to motivate yourself.

The second, somewhat unpopular and entirely correct choice is to cultivate discipline.

This is one of these situations where adopting a different perspective immediately results in superior outcomes. Few uses of the term “paradigm shift” are actually legitimate, but this one is. It’s a lightbulb moment.

What’s the difference?

Motivation, broadly speaking, operates on the erroneous assumption that a particular mental or emotional state is necessary to complete a task.

That’s completely the wrong way around.

Discipline, by contrast, separates outwards functioning from moods and feelings and thereby ironically circumvents the problem by consistently improving them.

The implications are huge.

Successful completion of tasks brings about the inner states that chronic procrastinators think they need to initiate tasks in the first place.

Put in simpler form, you don’t wait until you’re in olympic form to start training. You train to get into olympic form.

If action is conditional on feelings, waiting for the right mood becomes a particularly insidious form of procrastination. I know that too well, and wish somebody pointed it out for me twenty, fifteen or ten years ago before I learned the difference the hard way.

If you wait until you feel like doing stuff, you’re fucked . That’s precisely how the dreaded procrastinatory loops come about.

Source of picture 

At its core, chasing motivation is insistence on the infantile fantasy that we should only be doing things we feel like doing. The problem is then framed thus: “How do I get myself to feel like doing what I have rationally decided to do?”. Bad.

The proper question is “How do I make my feelings inconsequential and do the things I consciously want to do without being a little bitch about it?”.

The point is to cut the link between feelings and actions, and do it anyway. You get to feel good and buzzed and energetic and eager afterwards.

Motivation has is the wrong way around. I am utterly 100% convinced that this faulty frame is the main driver of the “sitting about in underwear playing Xbox, and with yourself” epidemic currently sweeping developed countries.

There are psychological problems with relying on motivation as well.

Because real life in the real world occasionally requires people do things that nobody in their right mind can be massively enthusiastic about, “motivation” runs into the insurmountable obstacle of trying to elicit enthusiasm for things that objectively do not merit it. The only solution besides slackery, then, is to put people out of their right minds. That’s a horrible, and fortunately fallacious, dilemma.

Trying to drum up enthusiasm for fundamentally dull and soul crushing activities is literally a form of deliberate psychological self-harm, a voluntary insanity: “I AM SO PASSIONATE ABOUT THESE SPREADSHEETS, I CAN’T WAIT TO FILL OUT THE EQUATION FOR FUTURE VALUE OF ANNUITY, I LOVE MY JOB SOOO MUCH!”

I do not consider self-inflicted episodes of hypomania the optimal driver of human activity. Athymic compensation via depressive episodes is inevitable, since the human brain will not tolerate abuse indefinitely. There are stops and safety valves. There are hormonal hangovers.

The worst thing that can happen is succeeding at the wrong thing – temporarily. A far superior scenario is retaining sanity, which unfortunately tends to be misinterpreted as moral failure: “I still don’t love my pointless paper-shuffling job, I must be doing something wrong.” “I still prefer cake to brocolli and can’t lose weight, maybe I’m just weak”. “I should buy another book about motivation”. Bullshit. The critical error is even approaching those issus in terms of motivation or lack thereof. The answer is discipline, not motivation.

There is another, practical problem with motivation. It has a tiny shelf life, and needs constant refreshing.

Motivation is like manually winding up a crank to deliver a burst of force. At best, it stores and converts energy to a particular purpose. There are situations where it is the correct attitude, one-offs where getting psyched and spring-loading a metric fuckton of mental energy upfront is the best course of action. Olympic races and prison breaks come to mind. But it is a horrible basis for regular day-to-day functioning, and anything like consistent long-term results.

By contrast, discipline is like an engine that, once kickstarted, actually supplies energy to the system.

Productivity has no requisite mental states. For consistent, long-term results, discipline trumps motivation, runs circles around it, bangs its mom and eats its lunch.

In summary, motivation is trying to feel like doing stuff. Discipline is doing it even if you don’t feel like it.

You get to feel good afterwards.

Discipline, in short, is a system, whereas motivation is analogous to goals. There is a symmetry. Discipline is more or less self-perpetuating and constant, whereas motivation is a bursty kind of thing.

How do you cultivate discipline? By building habits – starting as small as you can manage, even microscopic, and gathering momentum, reinvesting it in progressively bigger changes to your routine, and building a positive feedback loop.

Motivation is a counterproductive attitude to productivity. What counts is discipline.

(с) wisdomination.com

How This Showering Trick Can Make You More Energized for the Workday

You’ll spend about 4,000 hours of your adult life showering — possibly more time than you spend reading, exercising or watching TV — but chances are, you’ve been doing it wrong.

If you take a morning shower, you probably think it energizes you for the day, but it can actually have the opposite effect.

In fact, a hot shower or bath is what many doctors recommend for people who have trouble falling asleep — to help them fall asleep. The reason: Emerging from a hot shower into cooler air brings a sudden decrease in body temperature, leading to a tranquil state of mind. This is helpful when you’re looking to fall asleep but not what you need before you start your day.

If your goal is to wake up in your morning shower, then you need to make a 90-second tweak.

Continue reading How This Showering Trick Can Make You More Energized for the Workday

10 Overlooked Truths About Taking Action

Everyone absolutely need to read whole this article

1. Action is Cheaper Than Planning
2. Action Allows Emergence
3. Inaction is Scarier
4. Motivation Follows Action
5. Action is an Existential Answer
6. Action Creates Courage
7. Explanations Follow Actions
8. Action Beats the Odds
9. Action Makes You Humble
10. Action Isn’t Petty

Practicing Action:

I. Systems Over Goals
II. Input Deprivation Week

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The best lessons from ‘Art of War’ by Sun Tzu

Actually, I didn’t read whole this book, only part of it.
But, I wanna share the best practice and brilliant theories from this book.
As always, big thanks for this article to Business Insider :)

Milestones:

1. Care about your team, but also be tough
2. Hire great people, because weak, frustrated subordinates will cripple you.
3. Know your enemy
4. All warfare is based on deception
5. Be decisive and quick
6. Exploit your enemy’s weaknesses, avoid his strengths
7. Don’t just do something for the sake of doing something — make sure it helps you
8. Plan ahead — don’t make it up as you go
9. Don’t attack someone just because they made you mad
10. Don’t go into battle without knowing what you’re up against
11. Tell your people to do something they can’t; promote incapable people; or work your team to death
12. Drag yourself out of bed early — and other tips

ON WINNING

Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:

He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks.
He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.

Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field.

The good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.

Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.

THE BOTTOM LINE

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

Continue reading The best lessons from ‘Art of War’ by Sun Tzu