MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. NOT.

The majority of that headline originates from an iconic movie. However, there is a totally different type of force lurking in all our lives.

The force to be reckoned with many times /quite often, is that of delaying or postponing a task or tasks. In other words, to procrastinate.  Hands up if you know anyone who has fallen prey to this particular act. 

THE WHAT 

Pinpointing the what is most likely the easy part: it is the process of convincing ourselves that doing something else rather than what we are meant to do, is acceptable. Loosely translated: a lack of self-control

Procrastination is not a 21-century phenomena. It can be traced back all the way to the ancient Greeks. In particular philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle were aware of it. They actually called it Akrasia: acting against your better judgement. 

Whether we want to be Greek or modern about it, at the end of the day it’s the same: “it is a force that prevents us from following through on what we set out to do” to quote James Clear from this article of his which is an eye opener. After reading it I was fascinated even more than before by this occurrence. So I felt the need to put pen to paper (so to speak) and delve deeper into such a situation.

THE WHY

When it comes to why us as humans tend to succumb to this force of delaying, there is much more to it than being described as lazy. In actual fact, our life’s control centre, the brain, has the answer. 

The basics are that 2 parts are involved in the action. One being us in the Present and the other being us in the Future. Think of yourself as the Future You which is the person that creates longterm targets to aim for. Then, visualise yourself as the Present You which is the one that needs to take the action.  And to take action is not a future decision, right? It is something you have to do now - and that’s the moment you automatically start an argument (for want of a better word) with the Future You. 

The here and now requires and enjoys immediate results. No need to wonder about tomorrow. So even though you have set a target to complete a task in the near future, if the end result is not instant, the question arises “why do it now then?” We basically over-ride the good intentions of the Future You. 

THE NEXT MOVE

Now that we have a better understanding of what is going on when we put off what we were supposed to do, we need a solution. Some kind of method is required for us to overcome the stress and worry of not actually get going

Let’s face it, we do really want to complete or achieve the task in hand. After all, it will cause great satisfaction and in general we will feel quite proud of ourselves to reach the goal set out by the Future You. My suggestion is a simple, yet very effective recipe to reap the fruits of our labour.

I would like to share 8 steps that personally works for yours truly. They are neither outrageously difficult nor are they impossible. The crux of the matter is that only manageable steps will do the trick - or so I believe. 

  • Book A Time 

    As we make appointments for business meetings, to see a doctor, to attend an event, etc., do the same for your tasks. Literally mark your diary with a block of time to complete what needs to be done. Even set a reminder to notify you when you need to start. 

  • Time Yourself

    Linking this step to the above, set an alarm to go off when you are almost at the end of the allotted time you set out in your diary. The notification will remind you that your should be close to completing the task. 

  • Do it. Now.

    Many times we remind ourselves via a To Do List that something needs to be sorted out. Such a list, on many occasions, gets as long as an arm - which causes even more stress.  If at all possible, start that reminder now and get it over and done with. See it as one less thing to do tomorrow.

  • One At A Time

    The amount of humans in life that can multitask are few and far in between. If you’re one of the lucky ones, good on you. Most of us struggle with the concept leave alone mastering it. Therefore, focus on one thing at a time. 

  • No Diversions

    Distractions are quite possibly procrastination dressed up as a saint. Get rid of anything that will hinder you and make you loose concentration (i.e. mobile devices, etc.). Even if your environment (like working from a coffee shop) causes problems, change it. 

  • It’s Up To You

    It is a good idea to keep your daily (and long term) goals to yourself. Shouting them from the rooftops will trick your brain into believing you’v already accomplished them - hence reducing your motivation to actually work towards them. 

  • Be Aware Of Thieves

    Watch out for your mind as it will play tricks on you.  Many times it may feel much more attractive to quickly put a washing cycle on, do some hoovering or even allow yourself a 5 min break on your sofa. Don’t Fall Into The Trap!

  • Get Pumped

    Not referring to your muscles at this moment in time, but rather to your mind. Seek and inject your brain with uplifting images, positive people and nourishing, healthy foods. You will need energy for both body and mind to keep going. 

CONCLUSION

Of course, as with so many issues in life, battling procrastination is far easier said than done. However, it is honestly not impossible. Apart from the guidance above (which I hope helped you), the ultimate ingredient for bashing any signs of delaying tasks, is a Positive Mindset

As a human you may think or even believe, you haven’t got much going in life, or, even if you do think you have quite a bit going for, there could be a time when your whole being is not entirely happy about anything - leave alone not finishing some tasks. Such moments require strength and determination. Both these ingredients can be obtained by telling yourself Your Are Enough and You Are Worth it. If you focus on a brighter outlook everyday the better you will become about feeling positive in general.

Once you have a strong positivity going on in your mind, the easier it becomes to achieve whatever you want to achieve. And we can only achieve milestones if we set them up for ourselves and we get going and do whatever it takes to reach our targets.

Take a confident first step. Don’t put off those important tasks, conversations or projects any longer. Give doing them an immediate go. The only way to get there in the end is to put your best foot forward. One. Step. At. A. Time.

And lastly, but very importantly, Forgive Yourself. To procrastinate is a common experience. Most will say it’s unavoidable. So don’t beat yourself up over it. Be kind to yourself especially after you've gotten through a bout of delayed tasks. Trust yourself to learn from the experience and do better next time.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY vs YOUR HEALTH

There is that sound again… the indication of another notification from one of your Social Media platforms. Question is: what do you do?

Are you one of the 60+% of people in the world who immediately and impulsively grab your mobile and check that notification? If so, your dependency on automatically looking what the notification is about, may be an indication that you are suffering from what is called Social Media Addiction.

It is always easy to slap a label onto something, so even though it may seems straight forward, let’s dive deep into the what and why of this human matter.

WHAT IS ADDICTION

To kick start this article, let’s see how dictionary.com explains the word, or symptom (as it is often called): “Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance or activity”. 

Take note, that the word activity is included in the explanation. After all, attending to your social feeds is an activity - something that are done fairly regular. 

WHAT ARE THE INDICATIONS 

Being spurred on by a post I read on It’s Time To Log Off it is clear that an overwhelming amount of people in the world are suffering from SMA (social media addiction). You may read this and think “oh well, this is not me”, but please take note: if you find it (rather) difficult not to respond to notifications by checking your feeds immediately or constantly recording/typing content for your sites, then it is time to wake up and smell the coffee. It is very possible that you are one of the 60+% in the world.

Let’s look at such a scenario from a different angle: how do you feel when you discover you have no signal to receive incoming alerts on your mobile device? That anxious feeling, together with not being able to post any content, can have a negative effect on your wellbeing. For instance, you may end up feeling down in the dumps, frustrated (to say the least) and/or even get really angry. These emotions, due to the lack of not being able to connect as such, spells danger. 

HOW TO COMBAT YOUR HABIT

There is a possibility one can argue that the existence of social sites are created to get you hooked. Albeit this being a very strong suggestion, take a minute and think clearly about it. One could easily find some truth in that statement. Going back to the explanation of addiction, hooked is exactly how people end up if they can’t leave their devices alone.  

Time, within the technology world, luckily moves at a speed almost as fast as light. Nowadays applications (Apps) are created to help people curb the time they spend on electronic devices. Assisted by those within the medical environments, these helpers are there to do exactly that. The crux lies within ones own decision to turn them on

The mere fact that institutions are making decisions to create electronic help, can be a clear indication that the statement about sites vs deliberate, obsessive behaviour may not be as far fetched as we want to believe. 

Changing the screen time  applications’ settings to on is one way to minimise your activities online. Another very simple, and effective, solution is to take a firm stand and cancel all notification alerts. Of course this can be seen by many as a drastic measure, but let’s keep our eyes on the longterm effects. There are clear indications that your health will improve when one exercise less negative emotions in life. Specially when it comes to the dependency on feedback such as likes from followers. 

Obviously, when one cancels a certain daily ritual, a gap is created and therefore the need to fill it is inevitable. Why not get back to good, ol’ natural remedies such as go outside and breathe in fresh air? Pick up a book, read and turn pages with your fingers (instead of swiping) and better still… talk to someone face to face. Let’s be honest, the possibilities are endless. It is only a matter of looking around and not focussing on a small screen in front of you. 

CONCLUSION

“I am going to take a hiatus from social media” is a line very often used in social media posts. However, are many of those really sticking to their words?

But that is exactly what you want them to do, you may say pointing your finger at me. Yes, that is what I’m on about - however, my questions still remains: Do They Really Do That?

My believe is that many online influencers/activists, etc. are confused by the words taking a break. Time and time again I witness regulars on social sites claiming the proverbial gone fishing scenario only to discover a few minutes/hours later they are in full glory, camera front facing and happily chatting away live to the world. And where do I see this happening? On various social media platforms that offers a stories or live function, where else! 

That  hiatus didn’t last long, right? “No, no, no, Evan, I am taking a break from publishing any work related content. I am away with my family at a beach resort. I am teasing your taste buds with the delicious food we’re eating?” Or the other classic: “I am building my personal brand on social platforms! Presence is what it is all about”.

I am afraid such individuals need to stop kidding themselves. That kind of behaviour is not leaving social media alone for a period of time. Purely because you change your content does not make it less of a habit.  Publishing your absence loud and clear is exactly what it should be. Stick to your guns - most importantly, show your audience you’re a sincere human focussed on many other opportunities than the matter in your hand

Content on platforms are important, don’t get me wrong. However, the content  is not what causes the addiction. The inability to see the wrong doing, is the underlining cause for concern, in my opinion. The bottom line is to first realise the habit and how damaging it is - and only then serious change can take place. 

I will leave you with some honest advice: Take A Well Deserved Break from Social Media and do Your Future Self a favour. Ultimately, enjoy the sunset views… taste the delicious food… have a great, fun time away from normality. It will do you the world of good. 

And finally a cheeky suggestion: share those taking-a-break-memories with us all by creating and publishing a digital album on your return. 

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

HOW DID YOU DO THIS YEAR?

It’s upon us. Yes, we’re about to wave ta-ta to 2018. 

As we sleigh (!) towards the end of another year, some very important action should be imposed on oneself. This is the time to take stock of our development during the past 12 months. It is also the time to be brutally honest with oneself when assessing the dos and don’ts of the past year. Well, I’m happy to share with you how I did…

WERE MY GOALS REALISTIC?

Setting goals for the immediate 12 months to come is an exercise I categorically do ever year. It actually is a very exciting activity that happens within the first week of the new year. The start of 2018 was no exception. Now with the end in sight it is time to evaluate those milestones.

The overall conclusion is that the goals set out were realistic and probable. In hindsight, to be honest, the odd one was a bit too conservative. Then again, it cancels out the one here and there that was over ambitious. All in all, the general consensus is that my 12-month vision was pragmatic and reasonable

All in all, many more similar goals with a few spanners thrown for next year. 

WERE MY ACTIONS PLAUSIBLE?

Even though ones goals can easily be realistic, the next step in the process is crucial. This is the next move within your path of reaching a goal.  Manoeuvring forward is, can be and most certainly will be, difficult. 

First, and foremost, the question jumping out is… were the limits pushed out all the way? Did you really put shoulder against the wheel and dig your heels in deep? As with every step of reconsolidating your goals, one has to be brutally honest with oneself.

Personally and to the point, the answer is: Yes, but Could’ve Been Better. The pushing was mostly intense, the dedication was there, but there were moments when dealings with goals were way too conservative. Even though I am in general a very positive person, motivation seemed to drift away from time to time. The desire to get back on track needed an efficient amount of energy to get ones’ mojo back. That time spent could’ve been put much more towards chasing and following up on possibilities. 

Lesson learned that focus on time management should be taken far more seriously in the new year. 

WERE MY PROGRESS ACCEPTABLE?

Step 3 within goal setting is the actual physical part of it all. This is where the action really takes place. Milestones is what it is all about. When you pen your vision for the months to come it is very important to add dates of when a goal should be completed. Yes, it’s tough, but without it a goal is only a dream without a plan. 

Luckily, most important goals were hit at the right time due to my action steps being thoroughly in place. One such a step was to sign up a client from the USA which materialised within the timeframe set out.  Hitting the right target moment is incredible. It causes much happiness and drives ones desire to go forth and be more productive. 

I also believe in the saying… trust the timing of your life. This quote is not to be dismissed as being lazy or show a lacklustre attitude.  Some goals did seem to become out of reach throughout the months. However, just as I thought I may not complete those, they were achieved - albeit at a much later stage as originally set out. Best is they came together fairly out of the blue.  So remember… Magic happens when you do not give up, even if you want to. The Universe always falls in love with a Stubborn Heart. 

Let’s remember that Patience is a Virtue. 

WERE MY OUTCOMES SATISFACTORY?

The last section of your yearly, very important exercise, should be the most exciting part. To get to that level of euphoria you need to have been committed to having a fierce mindset. Your mindset must be driven by your desires at the start of penning your goals. Focus is a crucial part of not only getting things done, but being in command of your thought process. 

My outcomes at this stage of the year are both acceptable and surprising. I am happy that the element of surprise raised its head. It often does, so one must not ignore the possibility of the odd thing coming along without any warning. 

The additional (surprising) achievement came in the way of a request to appear as a guest on a well known podcast. This was most certainly not on the cards - and, honestly, I didn’t even thought of it at the start of the year. However, luckily the forces to be dealt me this amazing card. Best of all is that I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and successfully stepped into a brand new world. The reactions of people via social media and in person were fantastic. It didn’t end there though… I am already booked (for mid January 2019) to record another appearance on a different show.

The end result of some goals that was less satisfactory is not the end of the world. I don’t consider I failed my goals because I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to or didn’t do as many courses as I thought I could. The same is to be said for attending local networking events and adding another tattoo to my collection. Saying that, I did however attend courses, webinars and online discussions efficiently. My travel was sufficient and I have met and connected with a few most incredible people that is now firmly part of my community. For not getting the tattoo… well, the closure of my favourite tattoo parlour in Minorca was totally out of my hands. 

A golden rule is to be Prepared for the moment Opportunity knocks. 

CONCLUSION

Drawing a line under one set of goals is great - and opens up the door to set another lot of possible achievements. Looking back and realising that the outlook for the year gone by was on par with ones’ desires is very motivating. And that is where you want to be at the end of a year. Let your motivation for doing even more and even better next year drive you forwards. Precisely what I will be doing within a few weeks. 

Now is also the right time to get the ball rolling for next year. Don’t wait until you hit January to get your ducks in a row for what your goals are going to be. Start your thought process before you hit the Christmas Season (that way you can enjoy the festivities with family, loved ones and friends guilt free). Bullet point your initial thoughts now. Make a start rather sooner than later. And that is exactly where I am now. 

I am taking the lessons I learned from 2018 and applying them to my outlook for 2019. Since I mentioned the issue with motivation, it is obvious that it will be seriously addressed. Time management is another part that I will look at and be far more bold about. One other aspect that I will need to work on is that of being far, far too hard on myself. A certain amount of toughness is desirable, but going over the top with demands on yourself is not good. 

To be realistic was again a good move this year, so more of that to come. Basically, if I could (for example) achieve building relationships as I did this past year, nothing is stopping me from forming even more ones next year. Adding great people to my list of acquaintances will be inspirational to say the least. I will also keep a much more open mind when it comes to surprises. 

I am looking very much forward to 2019. Kicking off a New Year with a Clean Sheet. My mind is already set to achieve a lot, even though I have no idea what the new year will bring. But that’s the beauty of it all. If we knew what was coming our way, life will be quite boring and easy. And who wants that? Most definitely not me and I’m sure You don’t want it either. 

Here’s wishing you an Incredible Festive Season! Have a Very Merry Christmas and take time out and spend it with all the wonderful people in your life. If your loved ones are unfortunately not near, don’t forget to call, text/SMS or even send a card. 

Most of all… Let’s hit 2019 with roller blades on! See you on the other side of December 31.

As always, please feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you have any questions and/or can relate to this post. 

You can reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading. 

BECOME A MENTAL NINJA

How would you describe the phrase being successful? So many times, from the top of our heads, we go with having no financial worries or being famous or living in a mansion, etc. etc... Funny thing is, those connotations may not always be exact. What is exact though, is the by-product of success which all successful people have – and that is: a mental toughness. 

TOUGHIN’ UP

The one thing that drives a person to reach a level that refers to be a success, is their minds. At the end of the day, it’s truly about what is going on in their minds that make them reach levels others can only admire from afar.

That said, you may ask… "are you saying I should adjust my mind and then I can reach a level of success?". Great question, and here’s a great answer for you: YES! That is what I, and many others, are saying. Basically, get tough with your mind.

START SWEATING

It’s rather common knowledge that working our bodies is good for our health. Adding to that eating right and we are on our way to build a physique that not only is admired by others but cause great satisfaction to ourselves when we look in the mirror. Hence the reason so many of us take to working up a sweat at home or in the gym.

Guess what? The same goes for your mind. To give your mind a vigorous workout on a regular basis will contribute to you being happy with yourself as a person inside as well. You can become a ninja of your own mental world. The amazing thing about it all is that it’s not at all that difficult to do.

Being an avid believer in the power of the mind, I have been working out my mind for many years. Actually, for far more years than working on my body. I honestly believe I am where I am today because of the attention I constantly give to my thought process every day.

CONQUER FROM WITHIN.001.jpeg

CREATE A ROUTINE

Like many physical trainers will tell you, a routine is of the essence when it comes to working out. The same goes for mental stimulation. Let’s dive into 4 sets of exercises to get you going:

  • BANISH THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER

How often does it not happen that you find yourself in an unpleasant situation which leads to you feeling inferior and beating yourself up about it? The solution is to get body physical as soon as you feel negativity swamping you. 

Do any kind of physical movements. And I do mean, any kind. However, use your favourite exercise. That could be jumping up and down, running on the spot or even push-ups if that’s your thing. As long as you push your mind to focus on something other than the feeling of self-doubt. More to the point… Get Moving! This will break the cycle of negativity and reinforce stability in your mind. 

  • BULK UP YOUR EYESIGHT

Having the ability to see your future is a fascinating attribute. If you currently think you don’t have this, hang in there. You may be able to surprise yourself when you adopt the following exercise which is: put on glasses. Well, not reading glasses, but Success Glasses. 

Part and parcel of wearing your new-found glasses are to look at experiences through a different lens. For instance, take the issue you had which made you feel upset and unhappy. Embrace your emotions by looking at it from a new perspective and start to learn from your experiences. Realise that what you did or how you managed that opportunity wrongly, is a great step forward to having a strong mental attitude. Remember to take notes so as not to repeat your actions. 

Personally, I see setbacks as motivation to move on. So can you. Work on facing a setback with the mental awareness of solving a problem. 

  • PROTECT WHAT YOU'VE GOT

Now it’s time to get really physical. Yes, I am referring to your body. The link between a healthy body and a healthy mind is a statistic we cannot get away from or ignore. The two goes hand in hand.

I am by now means saying that you should become a gym fanatic. If you’re already regularly working out, then that’s great. My point is to take care of your body by what you put into it. Since we are starting to fill our minds with healthy, nutritious thoughts, the same should go for your body. 

Saturate your body with water and steer away from processed foods. Get to sleep as early as possible and stay in that state for at least 6 hours if not more (whatever works for your body clock). It’s common knowledge that lack of sleep has a terrible effect on your cognitive abilities. 

  • COOL DOWN

After physical exercise, it is recommended that you should perform some sort of exercise (like stretching) to get your muscles to relax after you have given them a bashing. The same goes for a mental workout.

Learn the art of meditation. As per the dictionary, it is "a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state". The emphasis is on calm.  Basically, you have to slow down your thinking. After all, you have been working hard in your head to move into a positive state of mind so to speak. 

If meditation is unknown territory for you, seek help to get your head around it (no pun intended!). There are many applications (apps) on your mobile device that can teach you various techniques. Also, ask your family, friends or work colleagues for advice. Mediation takes on various forms. It is important that you find a way that works for you. It may be a trial and error situation at the start but persevere. 

CONCLUSION

I mentioned before that I am a very positive person. I find it much easier to be positive than negative in life. Since I live in the real world, it is obvious that I will come across situations in life that create a negative environment. These are the moments I apply the above exercises to keep moving forward. 

You may say that I make it sound so easy. To put you at ease, it took consistent attempts and a lot of determination to get to the level where I find myself nowadays. Remember that saying… Rome wasn’t built in a day? That is true of my mental workouts. As I had to get used to exercising my body, the same is said for mental workouts. Once you have experienced how pumped your mind feels afterwards, you will begin to get into it in a big way. 

One last note of advice: Keep Practising. Remember why you started – to be a Success. Once your mindset is your boss, the rest will fall into place. The Power of Positive Thinking can and will ultimately be a Force To Be Reckon With. Be patient with yourself and soon You will also find it easy to do. 

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.

And most of all… Thank You for reading.

THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR LIFE

Here’s a question of you: how happy are you? Not only at this exact moment in time, but overall and in general. Now, there are as many people that can answer in a positive manner than what there are who are totally taken aback by the question.  

If you have to think about the answer, then that says a lot. It doesn’t necessarily mean your life is bad, but hesitating most likely suggests there are certain parts that may not be as you would prefer it to be.

ONE’S HAPPINESS LEVEL

Maybe you think why fix it if it’s not broken and to a degree I agree. But, if you then think about it, in all seriousness, and then be brave enough to admit that the negatives overshadow the positives, something should be done, I believe.

We all have so many tasks to do per day that when I came across an article by Dennis Brown in HUFFPOST it made me stop for a moment and make an inventory check. Dennis points out 7 ways for us to get back on the happy trail of life. 

HAPPINESS CHECKLIST

The article highlights points in life that are very easy to overlook in today’s world. Since I can resonate with all the points in the article I am happy to share with you:

Firstly, my version of the checklist…

  • Look After Number 1
  • Take A Break
  • Practise Gratitude
  • Communicate
  • Return The Favour
  • Take a Friendventory
  • Be Positive

… and secondly, my suggestions of dealing with the tasks:

You are the most important person in your life. So Take Care of Yourself by allocating a few minutes a day to learning, improving your mindset and do some exercising.

With electronic platforms being such a predominant feature in our lives, I do myself a favour and literally Ignore My Devices for a period of time each day. Give it a try, you will be amazed at how good it makes you feel.

Take note of what you have in life and Be Thankful for it all. Even if I think I don’t have that much, I remind myself that millions out there have far less than me.

Make time on a regular basis to Be In Touch with the people in your life. Even a small gesture will be much appreciated – plus I enjoy the act of selflessness within me for remembering others.

Share With Others your time, knowledge and love. Even though it can be tough, I work hard to do it unconditionally.  That way you will most likely get it back tenfold. 

Leave The Haters behind and stick to those who show compassion and love for you. Negative people obviously drains me from energy and joy in life.

Stand Firm when self-doubt rears its head.  Believe you are a great human and that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.  Practising self-belief is a daily exercise for my mind. 

CONCLUSION

Life is much, much shorter than what we think and believe it is. Therefore, make the most of it. Don’t just count every single day, but count every single second. We have no idea what lies around the corner, so don’t let Life gives you a nasty surprise.

Set out on a daily basis to take full advantage of what you are being given. Yes, that is a tall order, but do it in any case. I guarantee you will be more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome of your actions.

Do not wait for others to grant you happiness and fulfilment. Do it for yourself. What will happen is that those around you will be affected in such a positive manner that they will look up to you for inspiration and motivation.

The bottom line is… Make. Every. Day. Counts. Fall asleep every night knowing that you did the best you possibly can today. And most of all, that You Are Happy.

Feel free to share, comment or send me a message if you can relate to this post. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach me here, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.