How to Start Making Serious Gains With Compound Exercises

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Trying to sneak in a gym will give you or maybe confirm your perception that gym people have something in common. It is not about wearing the most known brands of training shoes, sports bra, or whatever it is that can be bought in consumer centers, rather the way they have built their bodies. This […]

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The 3 Step Formula to Consistently Staying Happy and Successful

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In life there are a lot of things that will make you unhappy. It could be a hectic schedule, things going wrong in your business, relationships in your life falling apart. It seems like some days you wake up and everything goes wrong. It puts you in a bad mood and ultimately makes you unhappy. The reality is that we each have a choice to make.

Even though things in our life are going wrong, and not as planned, we decide whether we are going to give in to our emotions and feelings or if we are going to make a decision to step up to the plate and do something about it. Ultimately you are the one that is responsible for your happiness.

Here are three things you can do in your life every day to stay in a consistent state of happiness:

1. Harmony Within Self

You wake in the morning and must prepare yourself for the day in every aspect, starting with taking care of you first. The idea that one cannot pour from an empty cup comes to mind during this process. In order to help others physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in any form we must first care for ourselves and nurture ourselves in these areas. A cold shower in the morning will wake you up out of any tired, lagging feeling; a fully alert and conscious mind is necessary.

Doing the typical morning preparations of brushing teeth, deodorant, combing hair, etc. are all needed as well; however, ending that routine with spraying a spritz of a nice fragrance that you enjoy having on your person, can and will help you be in a happier state of being.

Prayer, meditation, or taking a moment of a span of a few minutes to reflect on all of the good and positive things that you have going in your life. Surrounding yourself with a feeling of gratefulness and thankfulness will also ensure you are in a happy state of mind to take on your day and interact with others in a positive way.

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Harmony with Humanity

Now, that you have prepared yourself physically and mentally, as you start your day, outside of your home, do a random act of kindness for a stranger. Whether you pump gas in the morning at your local corner store, pick up coffee at a coffee shop, or are stopped at a red light, extend to someone an act of kindness. How?

Pay for someone’s gas, buy someone’s coffee for them, hand a couple of dollars to a homeless person at the corner, buy someone breakfast. The list can go on forever; but challenge yourself to reach beyond your comfort zone and choose something to do to make a complete stranger’s day just a little better.

3. Harmony With Others

Because of our love and respect for ourselves that we have and our willingness to help someone that we don’t even know, finding harmony in nurturing the relationships that we have with people in our lives will become a lot easier. Whether these people are co-workers, supervisors, clients, neighbors, friends, family, spouses, etc. Making sure that we are adding value to the relationships that we have with people is vital to our happiness and overall success.

Many times the uneasy and unsettling feeling that we have at the end of the day, that ultimately jeopardizes our happiness, is the uncertainty of our standing with those that we value in our lives. So, make sure to cultivate each of those valuable relationships with a kind word, a compliment, sharing a few moments asking how their day is going, a pat on the back, asking what you can do better or more to help them. All of these things can go a long way to make your relationships with others healthy and harmonious.

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” – Nelson Mandela

What are some things that you do each day that help keep you in a positive mood? Leave your thoughts below!

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10 Simple But Powerful Ways To Thrive After Traumatic Injury

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It was the longest night of my life — that night while I was trying to recover from injury.

I lay in the hospital bed, incapacitated, motionless and sweating profusely. It was night 5 after a terrible road cycling accident rendered me a quadriplegic. My mind was jumbled with orbiting thoughts of despair, anxiety, sadness and anger. I knew my life was at a crossroads.

Which way was I going to go? Surrender and give in, or fight the good fight and give it everything I had?

Here’s how I was able to recover from injury.


Nobody chooses to suffer a catastrophic injury. Nobody chooses to be afflicted with some terrible illness or disease. But, we can choose how we respond to such unexpected events.

You can make the choice to aspire, persevere and prevail. Do not look at the rearview mirror and second-guess your choice or wonder if you should turn around. Make the choice to fight the good fight and do whatever it takes for as long as it takes.

Without choice, there is no way forward. You are simply going in circles, going around on a treadmill. You can choose but choice without action will leave you in the same place — stalled.

Apply effort

It will not be easy. Whatever may be ailing you will require action on your part. You have to want it — whatever that choice is — and be willing to push through the forces that will try to hold you back. Be unwavering and commit to working on it every day with faith that you’ll achieve success after all your effort.

I remember in those early days post injury, I had a brief conversation with my physician. He said to me, “Jamie, get independent.” Those are two simple yet incredibly powerful words: get independent.

Find your focus

For the last decade since the injury, those words have guided every step of my recovery. I made it a point to do everything in my power not to be enabled by anyone or anything.

I made it my focus to attempt to do things on my own, as frustrating and painstakingly slow as it was. People always wanted to offer help but I would just thank them and say that I need to figure out how to do things on my own.

I was maniacal in those initial months post-injury to do everything possible with medical interventions of one kind or another. There were many times I would do 6, 10, sometimes 12 appointments a week. This included physical and occupational therapy, pool therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, massage and so much more.

I was under the wrong notion that the bulk of recovery occurs in the first 6 months post-injury and tapers after 1-2 years. I felt this tremendous sense of urgency and didn’t allow myself to rest.

See Also: 9 Immediate Tips To Stay Focused on Your Goals


My occupational therapist had said to me early on that there were 4 things I need to remember if I want to recover from injury: plan, prepare, prioritize and pace myself. The most important of them was pacing.

I didn’t listen, at least not initially.

My body was screaming at me to rest, especially in the first year when my body was still in a state of spinal shock. My failure to pace and rest when needed caused a serious “second” crash. I learned a very hard lesson.

Going through a trauma of this magnitude turned my life upside down. Everything was shattered from a professional, familial, marital, relational, financial, recreational and spiritual perspective. My life crumbled. I thought I had the mental fortitude to deal with everything on my plate but quickly learned after the “second” crash that I desperately need mental health counseling.

Seek mental health intervention

mental health intervention

It took me a year post-injury before I finally did, which, in retrospect, was a monumental mistake. It nearly cost me my life. I could have easily committed suicide.

Once I did engage with a skilled therapist, I continued with her for the next 5 years. Initially reluctant and impatient, I slowly adjusted to the process and I can say that I have been able to successfully process feelings and emotions deep down in my psyche.

I used to think this was a sign of weakness and it’s not. In fact, it’s a sign of strength, a tacit acknowledgment that it’s best not to go through the process alone.

From the early days when I was in the hospital, I remember just trying to get my forefinger to touch my thumb. Seems pretty pedestrian, except when you are neurologically impaired. My level of injury from the spinal cord injury was C7, which meant that the paralysis started at my mid abdomen and extended all the way down to my toes. It affected all of my fingers.

Working tirelessly just to get the two to touch took weeks. Frustratingly slow, but, eventually, I was able to do it. That little benign, innocuous goal became a little victory.

This put in motion a parade of little goals which turned into little victories. Over time, the goals and victories became additive and cumulative that they grew into bigger goals and victories.

Have goals, constantly

The goals can be of any shape and size you want, but start off modestly. Keep working on them until you can check the boxes and move on to your next set of goals.

Think ahead of the goals you want to set for yourself and do whatever it takes to accomplish them. The victories will come and they will give you the confidence to take on your next targets. In time, you will be amazed at what you are able to do.

I had heard of the words mindfulness and visualization but didn’t understand what they meant or what they could do for me. Through friends and books, I gained a better understanding of them, especially visualization.

I would often visualize, for example, this beam of light emanating from the heavens, shining brightly and aimed at the lesion in my central cord. I pictured it like a laser beam, dissipating the damage like the morning sun burning off morning clouds. A decade later, I still hold on to this vision, particularly in my quiet moments or when I’m stretching after exercise.


effective visualization

I have utilized this visualization process, coupled with mindfulness, to make internal movies of things I want to accomplish. I think of myself as a moviemaker, the author, scriptwriter, editor, and publisher of my own movies.

Back then, I would visualize what accomplishing those goals would look like, choreograph them in great detail and play them over and over in my mind until the movie could play itself without any conscious prompting on my part. It has been instrumental in allowing me to make the extraordinary recovery I have achieved since 2007.

I got dealt a very bad hand in this injury and I knew I wasn’t alone. Most people are either dealing with something themselves or know someone who is. I don’t have a monopoly on misery. I am not a victim and don’t feel sorry for myself that something bad happened.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t many more good hands to play. Nobody ever promised life would be fair and, for most of us, that has been the case.

See Also: The Art Of Effective Visualization

Make the best of it

It would be easy to think about all the things I can’t do anymore. So many things used to bring me joy, fulfillment, and identity. I have struggled for years trying to figure out my new purpose.

Why am I still here? What am I supposed to do?

I understand now what my mother-in-law, Muriel, would often say after she was faced with the consequences of an auto accident that caused a traumatic brain injury to her second husband. She would frequently tell me, “Jamie, I make the best of it.”

I understand now what she meant and I’m dedicating myself to doing something I did very little of in my early and mid-adult years. That is to give back.

I remember many years ago when I was seeing a mental health therapist unrelated to this injury. She asked me a number of deeply personal questions.

My answers kept skirting around her questions and she finally quipped, “Jamie, you’re like a greased pig. I can’t seem to nudge you to speak from your heart.” She then asked me, “Do you know what it’s like to be vulnerable?” I didn’t even know what the word meant. It could be that or I had built up such an external armor that wouldn’t allow myself to feel such way.

Be vulnerable

When faced with any kind of trauma, it can be easy to want to hide from others. Being infirmed can be shameful and embarrassing. It can even make us to want to be reclusive.

I believe that if we can shed that veneer and allow ourselves to be real, raw, authentic and even vulnerable, we can draw people closer to us. Being engaged and connected with others can be as important as taking medicines, doing therapies or following doctors’ orders.

After I suffered that terrible “second” crash, I became very fearful. I was very afraid of doing too much that might, in any way, set myself back and negate all the hard-fought progress I had made. I was cautious about everything – working, driving and exercising.

Fear is helpful up to a point. It can guard us against doing things that could be too risky or harmful. Beyond that, fear can also become an impediment or a roadblock that can get in the way of making meaningful progress.

Trust yourself

After 3 years of intensive physical, occupational, and pool therapy, it was suggested that I join a gym and continue rehabbing on my own. I did join a club I belonged to years before and got reacquainted with a friend who was also very knowledgeable about the weight room.

He took me under his wing and trained with me. In the early days of working out together, I said to him, “Sam, when I tell you enough is enough, enough is enough!” He replied, “Jamie, you need to learn to trust yourself!”

He was so right. Fear was in the way of me making further progress in my recovery and his words helped removed that significant barrier.

The work that Sam and I did together in the ensuing years changed everything about my recovery and helped defy the odds in spinal cord injury recovery. After several years, I have been able to ride a road bicycle and get on skis again – all without assistance or accommodation.

I submit that incorporating these 10 methods can help you recover from injury and get your life back together. You just have to realize that it starts with choosing.

The post 10 Simple But Powerful Ways To Thrive After Traumatic Injury appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Eliminate “Trying” It’s For Wimps

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I’ve been “trying” to achieve a goal for the past twelve months. That one word trying is where the problems begun.

Trying assumes you have no certainty, confidence, strategy or belief in what the hell you’re doing. If I want to achieve a goal, then I’ve got to get off my ass and do something about it. It’s so easy to lie to ourselves and drown in a pool of negative emotions.

My definition of trying is to give something a go without any passion or certainty around the outcome. Trying, to me, is about telling people you did something so you can look good without really achieving anything at all.

Like nearly every person on the planet, I have a dream and I want to achieve it. I want to reach my own version of success. The trouble is that trying won’t get any of us there.

The word “trying” is closely followed by the words “giving up.”

Next time you think of a goal, think to yourself “do I want to take action or not take action?” That question will get you a lot further in business and in life than the word trying ever will.

Here’s why you need to eliminate trying:


1. Trying equals indecision

I meet people all the time that can’t decide. Deciding is hard work so of course, we avoid it. That’s why we fall into the trap of trying. When we can’t make up our mind, we start trying to achieve goals in the hope that maybe that will move us into either a yes or a no about that goal.

Trying is a way for us to dabble, but we all know that mastery is where it’s at. I met this dude who pitched my his startup (nothing wrong with that.) The only problem was that for the next six months he pitched me six more startups.

I told him to stop trying and stop being indecisive. I told him to make a decision about the startup he wants to do and then just go do it. I told him that if he doesn’t love what this startup does, then he’ll keep trying to convince himself of the lie that the money and success will be worth it.

Guess what? The money and success will never happen if you try. And even if you get the success, it won’t keep you motivated. Again, my advice is simply do or not do.


2. Telling someone you will try is like slapping them in the face

Trying is flat out rude. If I ask you to come to my wedding and you say, “I’ll try” you’re basically telling me my wedding is not important. Telling someone you will try is sending the message that you’ll accept the invitation for now unless something more interesting, critical, joyous, inviting, happy, worthy etc, comes up.

In fact, telling someone you will try is like slapping them in the face and telling them they are worthless. Do you like slapping people in the face?


3. Trying gives you an excuse

Excuses are like cocaine: they motivate us until the point where we realize we’ve lost our mind and we’ve been lying to ourselves. None of us want to be coke addicts so let’s think differently. People that take action, with a sense of purpose, don’t give you excuses about how they tried and it didn’t work. Here are some common excuses I hear:

– I tried but it’s not my time
– I tried but I don’t have enough money
– I tried but he or she just doesn’t like me
– I tried but X event got in my way

If you were told that you were having your first child next week would you make excuses about how you’re not ready? No, you wouldn’t. You would be so excited that you would go out there and do what had to be done. You wouldn’t have time for excuses because there was something more important called “your baby” on the way.

Here is how you overcome the above excuses that lead to the dark place called trying:

– It’s never a good time to do anything pal
– Define enough money. Maybe you are blowing money on useless crap hence the shortage
– How do you know he or she doesn’t like you? Maybe you haven’t demonstrated who you are. Or maybe you need to take more action and see someone else
– Events are always going to get in your way. Assume distractions, detours and catastrophes are going to occur

Rather than try and then use it as an excuse, replace this way of thinking with doing instead. Trying is an excuse for not giving it your all.

“Trying is giving you an excuse before you’ve even started so you can blame the failure on something other than you”

You’re in control and you’ll determine the outcome and the meaning that is derived from that outcome. Once you start speaking about action and stop speaking about trying, people will back you more and you’ll find success is easier than you think.


4. Say no, then you won’t need to try

Half the reason you get stuck trying all the time is because you keep saying yes. If someone asks you to do something and it doesn’t make you say HELL YES then say a big fat no. Don’t get emotional, don’t feel regretful, just say no.

I’ve found that when I have to go into a state of trying it’s because the task was something I should never have begun in the first place. We need to be inspired to do our best work. Doing work with a sense of passion lights us up and makes us achieve more than we thought was possible.

The fewer things you say yes to that don’t align with your goals, the more you get to avoid the awful feeling of “having to try.”

Who wants to try for the hell of it? I sure as hell don’t. I want to be full of energy and change the world. This bold plan can’t be achieved through trying. I can either change the world or I can’t.

There’s no middle ground. I decide. I make the decisions around here. I am good enough not to try and to do instead.



5. Trying makes no sense

Imagine you are going to bungee jump for the first time in your life and the instructor says to you “I’ll try and make sure you survive.” You wouldn’t be too happy with this response.

Imagine you are having heart surgery and the doctor says, “I’ll try and fix your heart, but who knows.”
Is that a surgeon that you wouldn’t want to punch in the face and ask him why he’s not giving it his all?

These scenarios show us that trying is not acceptable. Why should trying not be acceptable when it’s life or death, but be acceptable in everything else we do in life?

You can’t get away with trying. Trying is showing the world that you don’t care and you’ll see how you feel on the day and maybe give a rats about whatever action you’ve been asked to take. Success is about getting serious. Success is about being committed and not settling for second best.

Hold yourself to a higher standard. Commit to taking real action not half-assed, I’ll see how I go on the day BS. Take action or don’t take action. Forget trying.


6. Trying shows a lack of confidence

Confidence comes from being decisive and being able to cut off from all other options and go with your gut.

People who are not confident sit on the fence and think about things until their brain talks them out of it. Your brain can convince you to give up if you give it enough time. Show some confidence, take a risk and commit. Confidence is sexy whereas trying is ugly.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on

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How To Be a Better Person Using These 11 Simple Steps

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Do you recognize this scenario? You find yourself reacting or handling changes in a way that feels less than graceful. You begin feeling down and wondering why you can’t seem to do better. Most of us have been there. Don’t worry; there’s always a way to improve.  If you want to be a better person […]

The post How To Be a Better Person Using These 11 Simple Steps appeared first on MotivationGrid.

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You're Paid to Work, Not to Endure Verbal Abuse. Don't Be Intimidated

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As adults, most of us don’t have to deal with the same kind of bullying and verbal abuse we might have faced as kids, but this kind of abuse does happen in the workplace fairly regularly.

A 2014 survey from the Workplace Bullying Institute [1]found that 27 percent of all American workers are being bullied at work or have been in the past, and 21 percent have witnessed episodes of verbal abuse against co-workers.

In all, more than 65 million Americans have been affected by bullying at work.

What Defines Verbal Abuse at Work?

Verbal abuse is one part of workplace bullying, which can also include sabotaging a person’s work to prevent them from doing what they are supposed to be doing at work. Taking just the verbal piece, abuse is defined as language that is intimidating, threatening or humiliating.

It may or may not include yelling, cursing, insulting or mocking the victim. This abuse may be tied to sexual harassment or not.

How Do You Know You’re Being Verbally Abused?

One reason it can be difficult to pin down what is abusive behavior — and to get the bully punished — is because people with different personalities have different levels of tolerance for teasing, gossip or sexual jokes. One person might be OK with it while another dreads coming to work and is ready to quit over the same situation.

There is clearly a difference between blowing off steam and complaining about work or your co-workers and being abusing to the point of harassment. But the difference can sometimes be hard to pin down.

You might begin to call the behavior verbal abuse when it regularly affects your attitude and performance [2]at work. If you are dreading work and obsessing about what might happen there in your off hours, that can be a sign. Other changes like higher blood pressure when around the abuser, feelings of shame or guilt or not wanting to do things you once enjoyed can all be effects of abuse in the workplace.

Why Do People Abuse Others in the Workplace?

If there’s such a thing as an average abuser, most are men in positions of power above the person they are abusing. Fifty-six percent of the bullies in the Workplace Bullying Institute survey had authority over their victims, and 69 percent were men (60 percent of targets were female).

An abuser often has a group of friends [3] who may egg him or her on or who serve as witnesses to the abuse. These people will often laugh and try to make the abused person feel like the verbal abuse was all a joke that they shouldn’t be so sensitive about. But sometimes abusers will wait until they are alone with their victim so there is no proof of the abuse.

Either way, as with a lot of bullying outside the workplace, this verbal abuse is often related to the abuser wanting to feel more powerful and in control. They’ll abuse people they feel are weak in some way and use that person to make them feel better when they are under stress or in other situations when they feel the need to control someone.

Why is it Important to Understand Workplace Abuse?

Even if it’s not happening to you right now, it’s important to understand workplace abuse and what can be done about it so that you can support other people who might be in that situation or know what to do if it happens to you.

The most important thing to know is that there is no law against bullying or verbal abuse in the workplace in the United States. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence.

Bullying can and often does rise to the level of harassment or creating a hostile work environment, which can be documented and presented as a formal complaint to a superior or to human resources.

How to Deal with Verbal Abuse at Work

The main thing you need to understand first is that the verbal abuse and bullying you are experiencing is not your fault. It’s not because you’re bad at your job and usually doesn’t have much to do with you at all.

Second, recognize that what is happening to you is not normal, and it is abuse. Don’t say “oh, she’s just having a bad day” or “he has a bad temper” to excuse the behavior.

Begin by trying to talk to the abusive person about their behavior. Tell them you don’t like it when they talk that way and you feel they are being abusive. They may laugh it off, or they may take you seriously.

Some people secretly tape their abuser and play the tape back to them to show them their behavior, which they might not even fully realize they are doing.

Check your employee handbook for next steps. While there’s no state or federal law against bullying, your company may have respectful workplace policies in place or a procedure for dealing with harassment.

Document what’s been happening if you can so it doesn’t become a he said, she said battle.

But be aware of the possibility that you won’t be believed or supported by people who should be on your side. The company may feel the superior is more important and try to protect them even when they are in the wrong. Sometimes the only answer to verbal abuse in the workplace, unfortunately, is finding a new job or transferring away from that person.

Also consider getting help in the form of therapy, talking to a trusted friend or seeking out stories of people who have survived workplace abuse. It always helps to know that you are not alone.


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3 Powerful Strategies On How To Improve Concentration

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Admit it.

You’ve identified your most important task (MIT) for the day, grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to work on it. Ten minutes in and the urge to check your email, send a text and visit news sites kicks in. You do your routine check and get back to your MIT and, after another 10 minutes, you are on your routine check again.

Sounds familiar?

Most people think this is normal and this way of thinking forces them to spend way more time on a task than it actually requires. No wonder why work weeks aren’t 40 hours anymore.

On Focused Attention

The ability to focus for a long time on a single task is diminishing in 21st-century knowledge workers despite it being one of today’s most valuable skills. It’s not something you put on your resume but it’s something you actually use on a daily basis to get stuff done.

I’ve always wondered how come I can complete my tasks well ahead of the other people at work. I noticed that most of them allow all kinds of distractions while working so they end up spending way more time to complete their tasks.

We all know what these distractions are and they aren’t going anywhere soon. So, instead of talking about distractions, we will focus on the solutions to help you get more things done in less time.

Today, I am going to share three powerful strategies that I have implemented and tested in my personal and work life. These are the strategies that taught me how to improve concentration.

Redefine Your Friendship with the Internet

avoid social media

The Internet is the core of all distractions, so let’s start with it.

These days, most of us have social media, emails or instant messaging apps open while working on a task that requires a lot of brainpower.

Most people think they can focus on a cognitively demanding task while surfing the internet and receiving constant notifications. It’s a huge misconception and research has proven it, too.

If you want to improve your focus, you need to look at how you are using the internet. Is it making your life easier or is it distracting you from your most important task (MIT) on most days?

If it’s the source of distractions, then you need to set new terms. This requires three elements.

A. Get notified on your own terms

Don’t let an email message from a coworker or social media notifications ruin your flow.

Turn off notifications from all social sites as well as your email on your smartphone. If you really want to get notified, choose to receive notifications only for emails or messages that are extremely important.

If you can’t turn off all notifications on your phone, at least minimize them. Decide what is important in your life.

B. Acknowledge FOMO (Fear of Missing out)

While working on a task, we all have a tendency to check social media or news sites because we feel like we are missing out on something important if we don’t. Millennials are badly impacted by FOMO and it really disrupts their ability to focus.

Instead of checking social or news sites 633 times during workday, have a couple of times during the day when you can go all in on it. Try it out for a couple days and notice how liberated you’ll feel.

C. Build a cave

If you have an option to work in a separate space, such as in a closed door office or just away from your colleagues, then turn that space into a focus cave for a couple of hours. Here’s how cave environment looks like:

· Tasks to be worked on has been identified already
· No distraction (electric or human) allowed
· Brain music (ex: for focus is on with earphones
· Coffee/Tea is ready to be sipped

Schedule Your Training Sessions

training schedule

Learning how to improve concentration is like going to the gym to lose weight or build muscles. To improve focus, you need to have training sessions throughout the workweek as well.

The best way to do these training sessions and get stuff done at the same time is to use the good old Pomodoro technique. No one can beat Pomodoro technique when it comes to focusing.

If you aren’t familiar with the Pomodoro technique, here it is in a nutshell:

· Select your MIT.
· Set the timer for a specified time (example 30 min).
· Work on one task for the set time period with no distractions allowed.
· Take a quick break of 5-10 mins and then get back to another session Tip: Take a break away from your

Tip: Take a break away from your workspace.

You can download a Pomodoro timer easily from the internet. I use a tool called Tomighty.

If you can do 4 to 5 sessions of 30 to 45 minutes a day, you can’t even imagine how much stuff you can get done. Beginners find it hard to complete 4-5 sessions, so if you can’t, don’t get discouraged. Just start with 2 or whatever is comfortable for you.

If you are a beginner, you won’t be able for focus for 30 minutes straight on a single task because your brain isn’t used to it yet. Just start with a small number and increment from there.

See Also: Hack the Pomodoro Technique to Boost Your Productivity

Learn to Multitask

So far, hundreds, if not thousands, of research papers have proved that multitasking is bad for the human brain. Am I stupid to recommend multitasking then? No.

Even with all the research and literature proving multitasking is bad, more and more people are getting into it every day. One common complaint people have is that they have so much to do so they have to multitask.

To make a better use of it, learn how to differentiate your tasks. Some of them can be done simultaneously but others require intense focus.

For example, you can easily fill out a status report while chatting with your colleague on an instant messaging tool. On the other side, there are tasks, such as writing software design documentation, that require 100% focus and can’t be done effectively while multitasking.

So, the takeaway here is to look at your list of tasks every day and decide which tasks require intense focus and use Pomodoro technique to go through them.

Pro Tip: Use afternoons for multitasking and morning for tasks that require focus.

Steps On How To Improve Concentration

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to apply these three strategies to increase your concentration:

1. Before you start anything else at work, look at your tasks and identify those that require 100% focus and which tasks can be completed while multitasking.
2. Select your MIT (most important task).
3. Make sure all notifications are turned off, except highly important ones.
4. Set your Pomodoro timer to your desired working time.
5. Work through that time and resist the urge to give up, browse the internet or check your phone.
6. Once the time is over, take a break for 5 to 10 mins. Step away from your desk and get some fresh air if possible.
7. Return to your desk for another intense session. Continue with your existing task or start a new one.
8. After you are done with your most important tasks, you can continue completing the other tasks on your lists which you can do even while getting interrupted.


It sucks to be late for deadlines or to stay late at work just because you can’t finish your tasks due to all the distractions. However, if you follow the methods outlined above, I can promise you that you can accomplish your tasks in half the time. Now, imagine having extra time for things you love to do because you learned to curb distractions and save time due to improved focus.

What are the common barriers that prevent you from focusing on a single task for more than 30 minutes?

See Also: 4 Habits That Will Improve Your Focus And Destroy Procrastination


The post 3 Powerful Strategies On How To Improve Concentration appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Amazing Reasons to Live Life like a Beginner

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You're reading 4 Amazing Reasons to Live Life like a Beginner, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

There’s something about our world that frowns upon people for being beginners. Job boards are riddled with entry-level positions asking for 4+ years of experience. No one wants the newbie on their sports team because they suck and won’t help them win. No guy in his right mind would want a virg…wait, that’s probably a bad example... Anyways, beginners often get a bad rap, and this deters many people from experiencing a lot of awesome things in life. Even when the backlash isn’t coming from an outside source, we berate ourselves internally for sucking at something new. We say things like, “This is stupid. Why am I doing this?” Then quit before allowing the time to learn and grow from the process. I’m here to tell you that there is a better way.

Learning to Embrace Life as a Beginner

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki There is a concept in Zen Buddhism called Shoshin, which translates to “beginner’s mind”. Shoshin essentially means checking your ego at the door and leaving it there. It’s dropping preconceptions or beliefs about a topic and approaching things with eagerness, an open mind, and an understanding that there is always more to learn. This concept doesn’t just pertain to learning new things - it can be applied to everyday life as well. It means becoming more aware and mindful of your actions; not just wondering if you’re doing things right, but enjoying and experiencing them as if it’s your very first time. This morning for breakfast I ate a spinach omelet with fruit and avocado on the side. I took an extra few minutes to appreciate how amazing it was, and to think of everything it took to make that meal possible. Stuff literally grew out of the ground, was harvested, packaged, transported, bought by me, then cooked and prepared a special way to end up on my plate. How often do you stop and think exactly how incredible that is? I felt pretty darn happy today, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

4 Reasons Being a Beginner Is Awesome

If we could all embrace the idea of a beginner’s mind, a lot of pain, frustration, and unhappiness could be avoided. There are SO many reasons why this is a good practice to get into. Here are 4 of my favorite…

Reason #1: Less Anxiety

Anxiety is an issue very near and dear to my heart. I struggled with it for years as a kid finishing high school and well into college. I now believe that anxiety is a good thing. Its purpose is to protect us from emerging threats. The problem is that most of those threats aren’t things we experience every day anymore, unlike our ancestors. Anxiety only gets bad when we let it fester and control our lives. This is usually when people go to extremes to eliminate it all-together, but that's not the right way to approach it. Instead, we’ve each got to accept anxiety and learn how to cope with it in our own unique ways, and there are many. Beginner’s mind is one way I’ve found to calm my anxiety in a number of situations. For example, rather than letting it consume me before an important presentation at work, I’ve started embracing the present moment and thinking curiously about how things will turn out. If I do well, then great. If things go bad, well, at least I learned something. Anxiety rules with fear. Once you take fear out of the equation through a method such as Shoshin, its reign over you doesn’t seem so powerful.

Reason #2: More Fun

Anytime you approach an activity as a beginner with an open mind, you’re going to have more fun. Let's say you’re just starting out with chess. From the beginner's standpoint, you relish in the excitement of learning something completely new. If you’re an experienced chess player (with an open mind), then perhaps you’ll discover something fascinating that you never realized before. It's important to remember that there are very few actual experts in this world, just people who are slightly better than you. In every field, there is always more to learn. The best doctors are the ones that keep up with new technology and research. While less-desired doctors stick to their old ways and reject new, likely better procedures or techniques. If you’re stuck in a mind-numbing routine, you have two options for improving the situation. You can either break out of it to do something totally new, or you can put a different perspective on it and view yourself as a beginner - like a child who is amazed by even the simplest of things. Routine won’t seem so boring then.

Reason #3: Better Sticking Power with Habits

What’s the hardest part about building better habits? Staying with them long enough to make them stick. One major reason for this is routine. Over time, routine becomes dull or flat-out boring. As we learned from Reason #2, beginner’s mind can make routine fun again, which makes forming habits easier. Also, getting pissed off and quitting isn’t going to help build habits. Beginner’s mind helps you to “embrace the suck” and find joy in the process. I listen to Joe Rogan, and he’s been quoting something recently that motivates me in times of frustration – “diamonds are made under pressure.” Beginner’s mind helps alleviate the pressure you feel at any given moment.

Reason #4: More and Higher Quality Friendships

People are complicated, and people are different. We tend to gravitate towards people who share the same values and ideologies as ourselves, but that greatly limits the number of relationships we can form. If you’re chatting with someone and getting frustrated by their viewpoints, take a moment in your head to stop and change your perspective. Try to see things from their point of view. Instead of dismissing anything or anyone that doesn’t jive with your logic, be open-minded and curious about why they think that way. You don’t have to change who you are or what you believe in, but you will make many more friends by listening and being accepting of who other people are. Many people have good intentions at heart, even if a little misguided, and sometimes all it takes is one person who understands to change a life. I personally love Leo Babauta’s take on people who should practice beginner’s mind: “Nobody likes an asshole. Beginners are the farthest thing from it since they’re open and willing to learn.” Where to Start? Hopefully, you’ve been convinced to at least give this beginner’s mind thing a shot. You can start right now, without much effort at all. Simply take a brief moment to notice whatever it is that you’re doing. Like me for instance… I’m typing on a keyboard on a laptop that was likely made by a machine hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away based on technology that took years to develop. As I’m sitting here, words are appearing on a screen in sync with the movement of my fingers. If you don’t think that’s amazing, then you’re downright crazy. After your initial moment of realization, look into becoming more aware in any new or old activity you partake in. I think you’ll be amazed at how beginner’s mind can change your perspective and increase your happiness.
Jason Gutierrez teaches young professionals and entrepreneurs how to build better habits. He writes at about optimizing health, overcoming resistance, and achieving your goals. Sign up for his free newsletter to get practical advice and tips for becoming better, faster, healthier.

You've read 4 Amazing Reasons to Live Life like a Beginner, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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Why You Feel Anxious In Relationships and How To Stop

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“I was feeling insecure you might not love me anymore.” ~John Lennon

After doing years and years of self-esteem work, I thought I was fairly well adjusted and secure. I thought I was fairly confident, self-assured, and not at all needy. But all that changed when I got into my recent relationship.

My subtle thought pattern of fear, distrust, projection, and unhappiness started creeping in. Again? Seriously? I thought I was past all that.

As it turns out my attachment disorder runs much deeper than I thought it did. What about yours? I mentioned attachment theory in one of my previous posts, but to elaborate…

Are You Insecure?

Attachment theory was first developed by John Bowlby in the 1960’s. This is an evolutionary theory of attachment, which suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others (caregivers) because this allows them to survive, and the way in which you attach during childhood becomes the prototype for all future attachments.

Bowldy asserts that there are three fundamental types of attachments which include secure, avoidant, and anxious attachment.

If you are secure, you probably aren’t reading this. Someone who is securely attached had a parent who was fairly stable and secure in meeting their needs. Because of this, as they become adults they assume other adults will meet their needs, so they do not suffer from relationship anxiety.

Secure individuals tend to be happier and more content in their relationships because they are acting and reacting from a secure place, which allows each partner to move freely within the world. They’re able to offer support to their partners and are more open and honest in their interactions

If you are avoidant, you may or not be reading this because often those who avoid intimacy often avoid introspection. If you are avoidant, you keep people at a distance and believe that you don’t really need others to exist in the world. Those who are avoidantly attached had a parent who was not really attentive to their needs, so the child learned to just avoid seeking reassurance.

Avoidant individuals tend to emotionally distance themselves from a partner. They believe they are better off alone (even if in a relationship) and live in an internal world where their needs are most important. Even avoidant individuals need connection, but when their partner looks to them for comfort they turn of their feelings and fail to react.

However, if you are at all anxious or insecurely attached, like I am, you are probably going to read this and say, “A Ha!” and a light bulb may even go off over your head. If you are anxiously attached, then you feel anxiety when your partner is separated from you or you do not feel emotionally reassured by them.

Anxious attachment derives from a parent who was emotionally and/or physically unavailable, non-responsive, and/or possibly intrusive.

People with anxious attachment are desperate to form a bond, but don’t actually trust their partner to meet their needs, so when their partner fails assuage every emotion they have, they blame their partner or become jealous or critical. This often prompts their partner to distance themselves, thereby reinforcing their belief that they are not lovable.

Anxiously attached individuals continually seek external validation, as if still looking to that parent to soothe them and make them feel secure in the world. The problem with this is that it’s too much of burden for a romantic partner to carry and it isn’t their job.

Let’s Focus

I’m going to focus on anxious attachment and especially pre-occupied anxious attachment.

Let me ask this:

Are you pre-occupied with what you are or are not getting from your partner?

Are you self-critical?

Do you constantly seek approval and reassurance?

If your partner doesn’t react the way you think they should, do you blame or become upset?

Do you always anticipate your partner rejecting you, losing interesting, or abandoning you?

Do you continually worry and obsess and not really trust them? If so, this is you.

This is me.

I have known that I was anxious for a while now and I have known and read about attachment theory, but I never really understood the depths to which it had inhabited my life, my thoughts, and my behaviors. I can’t explain why, but suddenly it all became so clear.

I don’t recall my infant years, but I do recall that when I turned four or five my mom pretty much left me alone. I could walk and talk and feed myself. She had things to do. I started playing next door at the neighbor’s house. He had toys and games and a swing. He had a hopscotch and candy and wood-making tools. We played. He paid attention to me. He also molested me.

When I was eight or so, my mom went back to work and left my sister and me alone. A friend of the family started coming over while she was gone. He also molested me.

But what does the molestation have to do with the attachment, you ask? I never really got it until now. Being left alone and being ignored by someone who was supposed to care for me literally put me in physical and emotional danger.

So, every time I get into a romantic relationship and I start to feel ignored (whether imagined or real), I freak out. I start to get palpitations. My brain starts to flood with thoughts and emotions. I start seeking reassurance.

For years I learned to push the feelings down and to ignore them.

What I didn’t realize is that you can’t do that. There is a thing called “primal panic,” which sets in when you are anxiously attached and not getting your needs met. What I didn’t know or understand is that when I feel ignored, my brain goes into “fight or flight” mode in order to protect itself. My brain believes it’s going to be taken advantage again and my body starts reacting.

Although I can logically understand this is not true, my brain does not subconsciously know it to be true and reacts accordingly.

What Happened

What this meant was that every infraction from my partner, every sense of injustice, every wrong step or every interpretation of a wrongdoing, no matter how slight, I met with a intolerability that I had no idea I was even imposing on my partner.

I would be so preoccupied with feeling better and getting them to make me feel better that I’d spend all my time and energy obsessing about how to get my needs met. And if they weren’t met properly, I would blame them and start to label them “untrustworthy.”

Think about it. If you haven’t heard from your partner in a day or so, do you automatically start thinking, “He/she doesn’t love me,” or “I knew he/she would do this,” or “I knew this would happen again”? Do you constantly think about what your partner isn’t giving you and what you aren’t getting?

Do you become calm and happy when your partner reassures you only to become anxious and insecure the minute you feel something is off or you feel you are being ignored or disrespected?

All of these things were (okay, sometimes still are) me in a nutshell.

The problem with all these feelings and behaviors is that they keep you from realizing true intimacy because you are living in fear and anxiety, and you may not even consciously realize it. You are still living as if you were that child who’s going to get hurt. But, guess what? You aren’t.

How to Fix It

Once I realized how this pattern was affecting my life, I knew I had to change it but I wasn’t sure how. I started doing some research. I read a few books including Insecure in Love.

One day I woke up and it had been two days since I had heard from my boyfriend. My body started going into panic mode. Where was he? Doesn’t he care? How can he do this? Maybe I should just leave him. My body and mind were going into panic mode. Anxiety set in. What should I do?

I tried some meditation but I couldn’t stop thinking and my heart wouldn’t stop racing. I decided to sit with the anxiety and think about why I was feeling anxious. What did I really feel? Why was I so anxious? Where was this coming from?

As I sat there and began to go deeper into the true meaning of my anxiety, I realized that I was literally feeling scared that someone would come hurt me. I was scared of being physically and emotionally alone and having no one there to rescue me. I realized that his ignoring me had triggered this subconscious belief that I’ve been holding onto that I never knew was there.

Then, I cried. I cried because I was scared. I was actually really petrified. Then, I told myself, “You’re okay. You will be okay. You are not there anymore. You are safe.” I cried and I reassured myself, and when I stopped and it was over the anxiety had lifted.

I had faced my fears. I had felt my pain and I had released it. I don’t think it will be gone forever, but it is gone for today and that is a good start.

Keep Trying

I thought I had dealt with all of this anxiety and insecurity stuff. I thought it was gone and buried. I thought I had made inroads into my new relationship and that because I had attracted a seemingly secure individual, it meant I was all better. Surprise! Insecurity was still running my life.

But, once I realized this to be true I made a vow that I would do whatever it takes to beat this insecurity over the head and run it out of my life.

I realized that if I kept going the way I was I would eventually push every boyfriend out of my life, and that I would never find a partner I was happy and content with. The truth can hurt.

I also realized that I’m not a bad person. I’m not mean or insincere or ruthless. I’m scared. I have a biological response to a real experience. I learned this coping mechanism to help me survive and it did its job, but its time has come and it needs to retire.

If you are insecurely attached and seek constant external validation and approval to feel good about yourself, how long do you think your partner will put up with it? It isn’t their job to make you feel better about yourself. Yes, they can and should support you and be encouraging, but you have to learn to support and encourage yourself.

If you want to find true love you have to learn to love yourself, as cheesy as that sounds, and if you are anxiously attached you also have to learn to calm yourself, reassure yourself, and comfort yourself. The past is over and you cannot change it, but the future has not yet occurred.

Do you want to be your own worst enemy or your own best friend? You decide. I know my answer.

About Carrie L. Burns

Carrie L. Burns is a blogger on a mission of self-discovery. As a sexual abuse survivor that struggled for years with depression anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of self-love, and relationship issues, she found her purpose through writing and sharing her story with others. Check out her other writing at

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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How To Nail Down Your Life Plan For The Next 12 Months

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If you’ve ever felt that you’ve been at a crossroads, unsure of which way to go, you’re not alone! Many people face this problem every day in today’s busy world. No one enjoys feeling lost in their life, yet it happens all the time.

Planning out your future is one effective method to tackle the problem of feeling lost and confused about the future. Planning is like a road map for your life. You’re much less likely to get lost with a detailed map. A great place to start is by planning out your next 12 months.

So much can happen between today and this exact day in the next year. But with a map of your future in hand, you’ll have a clearer path for the life you want to experience. What better time than now to plan ahead for your future?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of planning ahead, put your worries to rest. Breaking down the planning process into a list of things to do (and things to avoid) is a helpful step towards a more organized life.

Things to do:
  • Prioritize your plans by putting the bigger, more important plans at the forefront. You increase their visibility not forget about them. The less important plans can take the backseat until after the more important plans are complete.
  • Get specific with your goals and plans. The clearer these are, the better. Clean-cut objectives are easier to accomplish because there is less room for confusion to derail you. If you know exactly what needs to be done, you can confidently take the steps required to complete your goal.
  • Be bold. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone when making plans. By pushing your boundaries, you open yourself up to unforeseen possibilities that you would not encounter otherwise by playing it safe.
  • Pay attention to your resources. You might have some of them to get you started, but you might need to acquire new resources down the line. How will you adapt to these new obstacles?

“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.” – Earl Nightingale

Things to avoid:
  • Don’t be vague with your plans. Your plans and the road to reach them becomes hindered if they include foggy steps and an unclear finish line. An unclear plan leads to confusion and inefficiency. To fix this, be sure to eliminate or limit any distractions such as side projects and other plans that aren’t as prioritized.
  • Don’t sabotage yourself. Making too many unrealistic plans will overwhelm you in the long run and bog you down. This may lead to missed or cancelled plans, which hurts relationships with others and yourself. Respect your limits to avoid running into this problem.
  • Don’t worry if you can do it or not. Setting a plan doesn’t set it in stone. Allow some space for changing plans if needed.
  • Don’t make the plan impersonal. The more impersonal you make your plans, the more difficult it is to see yourself participating in them. If your plans seem unrealistic and uncharacteristic of you, they will seem foreign when you revisit them in the future.
  • Don’t copy other people’s goals. Living up to others’ future aspirations may jeopardize your own. Redirect focus to your life, and find what is most important to you. Sticking to this plan will lead you to achieve more of the goals that you set.
Break the vicious chain

Don’t randomly pass through life. Take a moment and think about your future journey. Take 1 hour (with zero interruptions) to answer the action step questions and write down your plan for the next 12 months. Find a friend you can share your plan with. Ask him or her to be your accountability partner for the next 12 months.

Having a friend involved makes the process more fun and ensures you’ll have motivation to stick to your plans. Having this in writing makes it much more concrete and real in your life. With just this, you are already more prepared to fulfill your future.

What emotions might you experience during the 12 month planning process?
  • Anxiety. You may feel afraid of the uncertainty of the future. This is totally normal. Staying present will help you to avoid worrying too much about what lies ahead.
  • You may feel anger at first, as a result of frustration about planning. While the beginning of the 12 month planning process may seem daunting at first, rest assured that things will become easier the more time you spend on it.
  • Rushed. It my seem that you don’t have the patience to sit down in silence and think of your plans, and you want to jump directly to action. Resist it!
  • Hope should resonate with you as you gain more confidence in your ability to conquer the planning process.
  • Ultimately, it would be best if happiness is felt at some point when you see your effort of bettering yourself is taking shape.

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France

How might you feel after the process?
  • Relief in knowing that you are now in a better place than before you started.
  • You will likely feel more at peace with yourself. The plans about your future are more definitive and in writing.
  • You will likely feel less stressed, because the previously uncertain future for yourself becomes more certain. This allows you to think more clearly about what’s happening now.
  • Productivity in all aspects of your life will increase when you have a solid plan for the future.
Start today with these simple questions:
  1. Where will you put your time and energy in the next 12 months?
  2. What motivates you?
  3. What resources do you have, and don’t have?
  4. What steps (milestones) will you follow?
  5. Who will track your progress?

Write down these answers on a dated journal or notebook (so you can have a time and date you can always refer to while you’re progressing) and enjoy your journey.

Are you going to start your 12 month plan today? Leave your thoughts below!

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