Saturday, January 21, 2012

Matthew Gray Gubler

Take criticism, smash it into dust, add colour and use it to paint breathtaking images of unicorns frolicking through fields of greatness.
-Matthew Gray Gubler

28 Ways to Stop Complicating Your Life

Life is not complicated.  We are complicated.  When we stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things, life is simple.
So starting today…
  1. Stop berating yourself for being a work in progress. – Start embracing it!  Because being a work in progress doesn’t mean you’re not good enough today.  It means you want a better tomorrow, and you wish to love yourself completely, so you can live your life fully.  It means you’re determined to heal your heart, expand your mind and cultivate the gifts you know you’re meant to share. May we all be works in progress forever, and celebrate the fact that we are!
  2. Stop doing immoral things simply because you can. – Start being honest with yourself and everyone else.  Don’t cheat.  Be faithful.  Be kind.  Do the right thing!  It is a less complicated way to live.  Integrity is the essence of everything successful.  When you break the rules of integrity you invite serious complications into your life.  Keep life simpleand enjoyable by doing what you know in your heart is right.
  3. Stop meaning what you don’t say. – Start communicating clearly.  Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours.  Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationship, start with bad communication.  Someone isn’t being clear.
  4. Stop wasting time and money trying to acquire more of everything. – Start focusing on quality.  High quality is worth more than any quantity, in possessions, friends and experiences.  Truly ‘rich’ people need less to be happy.  Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one.  Too many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know.  Do not spend to impress others.  Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects.  Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you.  Read The Millionaire Next Door.
  5. Stop spending time with negative people. – Start spending time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.  Relationships should help you, not hurt you.  Surround yourself with people who reflectthe person you want to be.  Choose friends who you are proud to know, people you admire, who love and respect you – people who make your day a little brighter simply by being in it.  Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  When you free yourself of negative people, you free yourself to be YOU – and being YOU is the simplest way to live.
  6. Stop trying to change people. – Start accepting people just the way they are.  In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try.  So save yourself from needless stress.  Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example.
  7. Stop being lazy and cutting corners. – Start avoiding future headaches by doing things right the first time.  Always put your best foot forward.  Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.  Why give less than 100%?  Life is too short to waste it by living below your full potential.  If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing well.
  8. Stop procrastinating. – Start taking action and making changes.  Action and change are often resisted when they’re needed most.  Get a hold of yourself and have discipline.  Discipline is choosing what you really want over what you want right now.  Putting something off makes it instantly harder and scarier.  What we don’t start today won’t be finished by tomorrow.  And there’s nothing more stressful than the perpetual lingering of an unfinished task.
  9. Stop worrying and complaining. – Start focusing on the things you can control and do something about them.  Those who complain the most accomplish the least.  And when you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want.  It’s usually only as good or bad as you think it is.
  10. Stop being dramatic. – Start spending less time gossiping about problems and more time helping yourself and others solve them.  Stay out of people’s needless drama and don’t create your own.
  11. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Start focusing on being everything to someone.  Helping or pleasing everyone is impossible.  But making one person smile can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus and be yourself.
  12. Stop making promises you can’t keep. – Starting under-promising and over-delivering on everything you do.  Period.
  13. Stop blaming others. – Start accepting responsibility for everything in your life.  Blaming others accomplishes nothing and prolongs the complications you’re facing.  Either you own your problems, or they will own you.  Your choice.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give up your power over that part of your life.
  14. Stop reacting without a plan. – Start planning and working toward specific goals.  Make a list of your top 3 – 5 goals.  What’s most important to you?  What do you value most?  What 3 – 5 things do you most want to do in your life?  Simplifying your life starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.  Having a plan, even a flawed one at first, is better than no plan at all.  There is good reason why you should wake each morning and mindfully consider what and who you will give your day to: Because unlike other things in life – love, money, respect, good health, hope, opportunities, etc. – time is the one thing you can never get back once it’s gone.
  15. Stop confusing ‘being busy’ with ‘being productive.’ – Start tracking and measuring your progress.  Being busy and being productiveare two very different things.  Results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.
  16. Stop over-committing and trying to do too much at once. – Start saying “no” more often.  If you never say “no,” you will take on too much and get nothing accomplished.  In the beginning, you need to say “yes” to a lot of things to discover and establish your goals.  Later on, you need to say “no” to a lot of things and concentrate on your goals.  Once your goals are established, focus on doing one thing at a time and doing it well.  Also, leave space around commitments in your day.  Whether you have appointments, or things you need to do, don’t stack them back-to-back.  Leave a little space between things you need to do, so you will have room for contingencies, and you’ll go through your day much more relaxed.
  17. Stop being inefficient simply because you’ve always done it that way. – Start opening your mind to making positive changes.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Many times we live with unplanned, complex systems in our lives simply because we haven’t given them much thought.  Instead, streamline your life by finding better ways of handling common tasks.  Focus on one system at a time (your cleaning system, your errands system, your paperwork system, your email system, etc.) and try to make it simplified, efficient, and logical.  Then, once you have it perfected, stick to it.  ReadGetting Things Done and The Power of Less.
  18. Stop cluttering your space. – Start clearing clutter.  Get rid of stuff you don’t use and then organize what’s left.  If you have a cluttered living or working space, it can be distracting and stressful.  A clear space is like a blank canvas, available to be used to create something great.  Getting truly organized and clutter-free can vastly improve anyone’s life.
  19. Stop overloading your mind by consuming useless information. – Start unsubscribing from useless e-lists and news feeds, and keep the TV off.  Limit your time on Facebook, Twitter, and your other favorite websites, etc.
  20. Stop obsessing over the past and future. – Start being present. Paying more attention to the current moment can make a huge difference in simplifying your life.  It keeps you aware of life, of what’s going on around you and within you.  It does wonders for your sanity and stress levels.
  21. Stop waiting for things to be perfect. – Start thinking of how many things don’t get done in this world simply because people are waiting for the perfect time, place and circumstance.  If you’re waiting for the perfect conditions, ideas or plans to get started, you’ll never achieve anything.  A good idea without action is nothing at all.  Keep it simple and just start.  Focus on the next positive step forward.
  22. Stop focusing so much energy on trying to avoid mistakes. – Start learning from your mistakes, then smile and move on.  No matter how smart you are, you will make mistakes.  Trying to avoid them will only waste time and complicate your life.  There is a lesson in every mistake you make, and learning the lesson is how you move forward.
  23. Stop making emotional decisions. – Start taking a few steps back so you can think things through.  When you’re caught up in the moment and your emotions are soaring, you’re bound to make poor decisions that will lead to needless complications.  The best advice here is simple:  Don’t let your emotions trump your intelligence.  Slow down and think things through before you make any big decisions.
  24. Stop being unhealthy. – Start taking care of your body.  Start sleeping eight hours every night.  A tired, malnourished mind is over-stressed and rarely productive.  Your health is your life, don’t let it go.  Eat right, exercise and get an annual physical check-up.  The The 4-Hour Body is an insightful and entertaining read on this topic.
  25. Stop holding on to intimate relationships that make you unhappy. – Start looking out for yourself when it comes to intimate relationships.  It’s better to WAIT, and give your hand to someone who will never let go, rather than holding on to the outside of a hand that has never fully opened for you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  Remember, anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you.  But it takes someone really special to stay in your life and show you how much they love you.  So slow it down.  True love is worth the wait.
  26. Stop holding on to hate. – Starting letting hate go!  Keep your sights set on the future.  Holding on to hate and anger is like grasping hot coals with the intent of throwing them at someone else – you are the one who gets burned.  If you want to forget someone, and move on, you must give up hating them.  It’s hard to forget someone you hate, because hate takes pieces of your heart – thereby keeping this person within your heart.  If you want to forget them, let go of the hate, and create peace in your heart instead.  Also, remember that whenever you hate something, it usually hates you back: people, situations, and inanimate objects alike; which will only further complicate your life.
  27. Stop pretending like you know everything. – Start accepting the fact that there’s a lot you don’t know.  Nobody has it all figured out.  Nobody knows more than a minuscule fraction of what’s going on in the world.  Why?  Because the world is simply way too vast for any one person to know everything well.  And most of what we see is only what we think about what we see.  The sooner you accept this, the sooner you will stop making the same unnecessary mistakes, and the sooner new doors of opportunity will open in your life.
  28. Stop giving what you don’t want to receive. – Start practicing the golden rule.  If you want love, give love.  If you want friends, be friendly.  If you want money, provide value.  It works.  It really is this simple.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Work Hard & Be Kind

12 Ways to Get a Second Chance in Life

We all need second chances.  This isn’t a perfect world.  We’re not perfect people.  I’m probably on my 1000th second chance right now and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Because even though I’ve failed a lot, it means I’ve tried a lot too.
We rarely get things right the first time.  Almost every major accomplishment in a person’s life starts with the decision to try again and again – to get up after every failed attempt and give it another shot.
The only difference between an opportunity and an obstacle is attitude.  Getting a second chance in life is about giving yourself the opportunity to grow beyond your past failures.  It’s about positively adjusting your attitude toward future possibilities.  Here’s how:

1.  Let go of the past.

What’s done is done.  When life throws us nasty curveballs it typically doesn’t make any sense to us, and our natural emotional reaction might be to get extremely upset and scream obscenities at the top of our lungs.  But how does this help our dilemma?  Obviously, it doesn’t.
The smartest, and oftentimes hardest, thing we can do in these kinds of situations is to be more tempered in our reactions.  To want to scream obscenities, but to wiser and more disciplined than that.  To remember that emotional rage only makes matters worse.  And to remember that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to grow stronger.
Every difficult moment in our lives is accompanied by an opportunity for personal growth and creativity.  But in order to attain this growth and creativity, we must first learn to let go of the past.  We must recognize that difficulties pass like everything else in life.  And once they pass, all we’re left with are our unique experiences and the lessons required two make a better attempt next time.

2.  Identify the lesson.

Everything is a life lesson.  Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc.  They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’
Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go yourway.  If you don’t get a job you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting.  And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.

3.  Lose the negative attitude.

Negative thinking creates negative results.  Positive thinking creates positive results.  Period.
Every one of the other suggestions in this article is irrelevant if your mind is stuck in the gutter.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  For some practical positive thinking guidance I recommend readingThe Power of Positive Thinking.

4.  Accept accountability for your current situation.

Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.
You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  You must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is giving up.

5.  Focus on the things you can change.

Some forces are out of your control.  The best thing you can do is do the best with what’s in front of you with the resources you do have access to.
Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can change.

6.  Figure out what you really want.

You’ll be running on a hamster wheel forever if you never decide where you want to go.  Figure out what’s meaningful to you so you can be who you were born to be.
Some of us were born to be musicians – to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings with the strings of a guitar.  Some of us were born to be poets – to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose.  Some of us were born to be entrepreneurs – to create growth and opportunity where others saw rubbish.  And still, some of us were born to be or do whatever it is, specifically, that moves you.
Don’t quit just because you didn’t get it right on your first shot.  And don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires.  You must follow your intuition and make a decision to never give up on who you are capable of becoming.

7.  Eliminate the non-essential.

First, identify the essential – the things in your life that matter most to you.  Then eliminate the fluff. This drastically simplifies things and leaves you with a clean slate – a fresh, solid foundation to build upon without needless interferences.  This process works with any aspect of your life – work projects, relationships, general to-do lists, etc.
Remember, you can’t accomplish anything if you’re trying to accomplish everything.  Concentrate on the essential.  Get rid of the rest.  The Joy of Less is a great read on this topic.

8.  Be very specific.

When you set new goals for yourself, try to be as specific as possible.  “I want to lose twenty pounds” is a goal you can aim to achieve.  “I want to lose weight” is not.  Knowing the specific measurements of what you want to achieve is the only way you will ever get to the end result you desire.
Also, be specific with your actions too.  “I will exercise” is not actionable.  It’s far too vague.  “I will take a 30 minute jog every weekday at 6PM” is something you can actually do – something you can build a routine around – something you can measure.

9.  Concentrate on DOING instead of NOT DOING.

“Don’t think about eating that chocolate donut!”  What are you thinking about now?  Eating that chocolate donut, right?  When you concentrate on not thinking about something, you end up thinking about it.
The same philosophy holds true when it comes to breaking our bad habits.  By relentlessly trying not to do something, we end up thinking about it so much that we subconsciously provoke ourselves to cheat – to do the exact thing we are trying not to do.
Instead of concentrating on eliminating bad habits, concentrate on creating good habits (that just happen to replace the bad ones).  For instance, if you’re trying to eliminate snacking on junk food, you might create a new mental habit like this:  “At 3PM each day, about the time I’m usually ready for a snack, I will eat five whole wheat crackers.”  After a few weeks or months of concentrating on this good habit it will become part of your routine.  You’ll start doing the right thing without even thinking about it.

10.  Create a daily routine.

It’s so simple, but creating a daily routine for yourself can change your life.  The most productive routines, I’ve found, come at the start and end of the day – both your workday and your day in general.  That means, develop a routine for when you wake up, for when you first start working, for when you finish your work, and for the hour or two before you go to sleep.
Doing so will help you start each day on point, and end each day in a way that prepares you for tomorrow.  It will help you focus on the important stuff, instead of the distractions that keep popping up.  And most importantly, it will help you make steady progress – which is what second chances are all about.

11.  Maintain self-control and work on it for real.

The harder you work the luckier you will become.  Stop waiting around for things to work out.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By “working on it,” I mean truly devoting oneself to the end result.  The rest of us never act on our decision.  Or, at best, we pretend to act on it by putting forth an uninspired, half-assed effort.
If you want a real second chance, you’ve got to be willing to give it all you got.  No slacking off!  This means you have to strengthen and maintain your self-control.  The best way I’ve found to do this is to take one small bite of the elephant at a time.  Start with just one activity, and make a plan for how you will deal with troubles when they arise.  For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, come up with a list of healthy snacks you can eat when you get the craving for snacks.  It will be hard in the beginning, but it will get easier.  And that’s the whole point.  As your strength grows, you can take on bigger challenges.
Remember, life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Achieving your dreams can be a lot of work, even the second time around.  Be ready for it.  Read Getting Things Done for some practical guidance in this arena.

12.  Forget about impressing people.

So many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know.  Or some variation thereof…
Don’t be one of these people.  It’s a waste of time.  And it’s probably one of the reasons you need a second chance in the first place.
Just keep doing what you know is right.  And if it doesn’t work, adjust your approach and try again.  You’ll get there eventually.

Dreams Don't Work Unless You Do

Maria Robinson

Taylor Swift’s Relationship “Red-Flags”

Red-flags in relationships she’s learned along the way: (From Vogue)
1. “If someone doesn’t seem to want to get to know me as a person but instead seems to have kind of bought into the whole idea of me and he approves of my Wikipedia page? And falls in love based on zero hours spent with me? That’s maybe something to be aware of. That will fade fast. You can’t be in love with a Google search.”
2. If a dude is threatened by the fact that I need security, if they make me feel like I am some sort of princessy diva – that’s a bad sign. I don’t have security to make myself look cool, or like I have an entourage. I have security because there’s a file of stalkers who want to take me home and chain me to a pipe in their basement.”
3. “If you need to put me down a lot in order to level the playing field or something? If you are threatened by some part of what I do and want to cut me down to size in order to make it even? That won’t work either.”
4. “Also I can’t deal with someone who’s obsessed with privacy. People kind of care if there are two famous people dating. But no one cares that much. If you care about privacy to the point where we need to dig a tunnel under this restaraunt so we can leave? I can’t do that.”