Category Archives: Self Improvement Tips

10 Things Introverts Should Start Doing Today to Live a Happier Life

By Jenn Granneman

introverts happier

You’re reading 10 Things Introverts Should Start Doing Today to Live a Happier Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

It’s not easy being an introvert, because our society seems designed for extroverts. Job interviews favor those who are personable, smooth-talking, and quick-thinking. Classrooms are noisy, busy places that reward the students who raise their hands frequently and dive into group work. The social scene lauds those who are confident, outgoing, and quick to make small talk.

How can an introvert live a happy, fulfilling life in an “extroverted” world? In my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, I explore how introverts can work with their introversion rather than fight against it. Here are 10 ways introverts can do just that.

1. Get over your guilt of leaving the social event early. Have you ever started saying your goodbyes at a social event only to have someone incredulously exclaim, “You’re leaving already? We’re just getting started!” These types of comments used to fill me with guilt. Why was I the only one getting drained and wanting to leave? Was there something wrong with me? Thankfully, I later learned that I’m an introvert, and introverts get worn out by socializing because they respond to rewards differently than extroverts (you can learn more about the science behind introversion in my book). Now, I have no problem calling it an early night and heading for the door.

2. Have more meaningful conversations. Introverts tend to loathe small talk because it feels pointless and inauthentic, but we feel energized by talking about meaningful topics and big ideas. And there’s good news for introverts: research suggests that the happiest people have twice as many meaningful conversations — and do less surface-level chitchat — than the unhappiest. You may even find that big talk doesn’t drain you the way small talk does.

3. Be okay with turning down social invitations that promise little meaningful interaction. We’ve all been there. An acquaintance invites you to such-and-such event. You feel obligated to attend because you don’t want to hurt that person’s feelings or seem rude. But you know that the birthday party for your friend’s niece’s toddler or the guys’ night out won’t be fulfilling. In fact, it will not only lack meaningful interaction but also leave you with an introvert hangover, which is when you feel physically unwell from overextending yourself socially. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a good chunk of your life saying yes to social invitations out of guilt — then you paid for it later with exhaustion and overstimulation. Of course, there are some things you probably shouldn’t skip, like your good friend’s wedding or your spouse’s birthday dinner with the family. Bottom line, to live a happier life, pass on any unnecessary get-togethers you feel will drain your introvert battery, not energize it.

4. Schedule your alone time to avoid hurt feelings. I had the pleasure of sitting down with introverted Indie rocker jeremy messersmith to interview him for my book. He told me about a smart practice he’s been doing for quite some time: He makes sure he gets enough alone time by scheduling it once a week on the family calendar. That way his extroverted wife won’t feel hurt when he says he wants to be alone, and they can both work together to protect his restorative solitude by not scheduling other obligations at that time.

5. Don’t force yourself to live the “extroverted” life. Research from the University of Maryland suggests that acting falsely extroverted can lead to burnout, stress, and cardiovascular disease. Turns out, embracing your introverted nature isn’t just a feel-good axiom — it’s actually good for your health.

6. Back away from one-sided relationships. Sadly, because introverts listen well and are often content to take the back seat, we can be targets for toxic or emotionally needy people. These relationships — in which one person is taking more than they give — drain our already limited social energy. If there are people in your life who continually exhaust you, consider spending less time with them. You’ll get the bonus of freeing up more time and energy for the people who do fill you up.

7. Stop beating yourself up for that awkward thing you said…3 years ago. Perhaps because introverts have more electrical activity in their brains than extroverts, they tend to ruminate. Our overthinking may take the form of playing embarrassing mistakes over and over in our minds. Sadly, rumination can give way to anxiety and depression — and it rarely helps you solve the problem you’re chewing on. To break free from the rumination cycle, do something to get the powerful engine of your mind chugging down a different track. Try calling to mind a positive memory, putting on music, going for a walk, or doing any different activity than the one you’re currently doing.

8. Give yourself permission to not do it all. I have an extroverted friend who always has her hand in something. If she’s not organizing a get-together with our friends, she’s volunteering at her son’s pre-school or taking on an extra project at work. I’ll admit that I’ve wished for her energy because she really does seem like she’s doing it all. But I have to remind myself that my talents lie in deep analysis, reflective thinking, and quality over quantity — not in running around doing all the things.

9. Occasionally push yourself out of your comfort zone. To my absolute horror, after writing a book about introversion, I learned that people wanted to talk to me about said book. They even wanted me to give interviews, go on podcasts, and give speeches! Let’s just say it was a very real lesson in pushing myself out of my stay-at-home-and-watch-Netflix comfort zone. Honestly, I hated almost every minute of it (I really did!), but I did those things because I knew it would be good for me. Taking the occasional jaunt out of your comfort zone can help you grow, too.

10. Protect your needs. Because introverts tend to be conscientious people who keep their thoughts to themselves, they may find their needs getting overlooked. Most people probably aren’t purposely trying to burden you or take advantage of you — it may be that they simply aren’t aware of what you need! Do you need a few hours to yourself to recharge from a busy week? Say it! Do you need someone to stop talking to you for a few minutes so you can concentrate? Tell them! Your needs matter just as much as everyone else’s.

My book, The Secret Lives of Introverts, has been called a “decoder ring for introverts” and “one of the best books [on] introvert empowerment.” It’s available for purchase on Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

You’ve read 10 Things Introverts Should Start Doing Today to Live a Happier Life, 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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Meditation Isn’t the Answer to Overthinking

By Samy Felice

You’re reading Meditation Isn’t the Answer to Overthinking, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

You’ve been meditating daily for the last week, month, or maybe even years. In moments it’s blissful, in others it can be frustrating. Thoughts come and go – but you’re now more aware of them.

But not too long afterwards a meditation, your mind can go back to its habitual patterns of thinking, churning negative thoughts in different periods of the day.

Over time, I’ve come to learn that meditation, while incredibly therapeutic, isn’t always the answer to overthinking.

Why we overthink and what we can do about it

Meditation brings awareness into your being and your thoughts. Done consistently, it allows you to begin to understand how your mind works. But there’s an issue that lies behind most of overthinking that isn’t tied to meditation.

It’s tied to the way you breathe.

When you only breathe from the neck up, you’re likelier to stay stuck in your head. When you breathe through your body, as you feel your belly rising with you; it’s far easier to be grounded.

If you were to change the way you breathe, you would change every single living moment of your life. Let that sink in for a moment…Simple reminders to deepen your breathing can help. But for many of us, our muscles around our neck are so tight that this alone won’t work.

You’ve been conditioned not to breathe properly

So many things in our society perpetuate a castrated way of breathing. From the ties we wear, to the belts we tighten every Monday-Friday, to the monitor displays that force us to bend our necks down, to texting on our phones – most of our activities are training us to not breathe properly!

You may also not be breathing properly because:

  • You sit down too much
  • You have poor air quality in the house
  • You do far too many pushing exercises and not enough pulling movements at the gym
  • You have an allergy you haven’t addressed
  • You eat high sugar foods which increase your anxiety and shorten your breathing

Express more of your thoughts

The deeper you breathe, the more of life you let in. Surprisingly, what could also be holding you back from breathing fully is not speaking enough.

I remember months going by where I read so many books and had all these ideas swirling in my head which I didn’t share with anyone. The result was that my mind felt castrated, and my breathing patterns deteriorated as a result. I remember weeks going by where all I was doing was working, not seeing any friends. I now realize how important it is to engage in heartfelt conversations with people – for my humanity, sanity, and breathing.

Any sense of social isolation can quickly make part of us feel like we’re rattling in our cage, which then inhibits our breathing. Express yourself as often as your heart permits, through your friendships, your career, and even a journal.

“The more you overthink the less you will understand.” – Habeeb Akande

It’s far harder to take your thoughts too seriously when you’re breathing deeply – almost as if everything on your mind takes a back seat. I’ve certainly not reached that place permanently, but the idea here isn’t to seek perfection in our breathing patterns, but to merely make small gradual improvements over time.

Begin a Yoga or Pilates Weekly Class

There’s a reason why Yoga, Pilates, and other stretching classes are becoming more and popular. They essentially melt away our rigidities, allowing us to breathe deeper and feel more alive.

All our muscular tensions are symbiotically connected to our minds, and the more we lengthen, stretch, and relax our muscles, the more we can breathe with depth and vibrancy. The day I started stretching on a daily basis, was the day my mind became a lot more relaxed throughout the day.

I didn’t even start with a class – even stretching my hamstrings and chest for fifteen mins every morning created an unbelievable difference in the way I breathed – and that’s what I highly recommend at the start.

If you still get stuck overthinking

Remind yourself to breathe deeply by focusing on your belly button rising and falling. And if you ever find yourself lost in a tangle of thoughts, refer to this quote:

“You will have bad thoughts. The key is never to fight them. They are your friends. Accept them just like a loving parent would to their misbehaving child and let go so you can breathe deeply. Treat your mind with love, and love will flow and emanate from you, one breath at a time.”

If you’re a creative and interested in learning how to live meaningfully in this digital, get my free book.

  • You’ll learn how to see your time differently
  • How to heal Smartphone Addiction
  • Avoiding Internet Burnout
  • And so much more…

Samy Felice is a writer who brings meaning to words. His Free Book explores how to redefine success in a digital age.

You’ve read Meditation Isn’t the Answer to Overthinking, 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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How to Follow a Healthy Mental Diet

By lnielsen

You’re reading How to Follow a Healthy Mental Diet, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look.
-Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar”

I’ve never liked the word or concept of “diet”, because it implies something that’s temporary.

In fact, let’s put this eating plan into action, you make it permanent and rename it.

Come on over for a meal.

1-Healthy Conditions for Food Preparation and Enjoyable Dining

I started planning today’s “food” by consulting yesterday’s diary, my recipe book.

Yesterday went well, with the right mix of ingredients, good preparation, mindful eating, productivity, rest, and exercise.

Come on in.

A well-lit, spacious, uncluttered kitchen and eating area are a must.

Emptiness is the most surprising beneficial quality of mind that I’ve ever found.

So, let’s sit and be mindful. If your mind is empty, it is also well-lit, with new thoughts and feelings easily spotted.

An empty mind provides a clean and dry floor so that cook and diner keep their balance.

The cook needs to be attentive and observant.

Not judgmental, not critical, just observant.

Remember, this is a meal together, but it’s also a template for daily healthy living


These elements don’t have to be in any particular order.

Mindful productivity is the protein or fuel of mental activity, keeping off procrastination on the one hand and obsessive activity on the other.

The chef needs to be attentive for maximum preparation, and the diner needs to eat slowly
Chew the protein, observe the bites mindfully, enjoy healthy activity.

Of course, part of this mental protein is regular exercise plus necessary tasks.


Take the plate, please.

Creativity is essential for sustenance, and its equivalent in the eating world is whole grains.
This class of food that satisfies, but, due to the difficulty in breaking it down, it helps keep off weight and provides essential fuels.

Contemplation, structured or not, are the fruits and vegetables of the diet, yielding essential nutrients and the healthiest forms of sugar.


Don’t be put off by the idea of fats.

Fats are extremely important.

They provide insulation and temperature regulation.

Fats provide energy, plus, they aid in absorbing vitamins and producing hormones.

In terms of living, authentic emotion comprises the fat of a balanced mental diet.

Too much fat, in the form of inauthentic emotion, forces our psychic body to work too hard to be healthy and perform its required tasks.

Meanwhile, the stifling of authentic emotion produces defensive thinking, cutting us off from experiencing life directly.


Pick up the bottle, and take out three of them. I’ve checked the dosage, so don’t worry.

Here’s some useful information.

Vitamins come mostly from the food we eat, so the better we eat, the more we’ll take in the vitamins we need.

Vitamins are the experience, (Remember, I had you take three above!) the sum of our actions, our history, and our creativity.


Hand me your glass…thanks.

Liquids and especially water are essential for health.

After all, 80% of our body is water. Thoughts are our water.

Sometimes it seems as if 80% of our experience is taken up with thought.

Water (not just ANY liquid) provides the best kind of healthy regulation of the body.

So, observed thought and productive thought that enhance intelligence and habit are psychological water.

Avoid the sugary sweet or intoxicating liquids of obsession, fear, or anxiety.

7-The Act of Eating

Okay, let’s sit for a moment and consider all that we’ve consumed.

Healthy eating requires mindful chewing and enjoyment of this balanced diet.

Both cook and diner must be patient and open to the experience.

Healthy companionship and relationships maximize a balanced life.

I hope you enjoyed sharing this meal; I enjoyed having you.

Sharing our gifts, like sharing food, is vital to helping both others as well as our own growth.

When we are “full” in a healthy way, we must note that observation and cease consumption.

8-Cleaning Up

While we enjoy the eating of life easily, we are reluctant to “clean up”.

As a result, some spiritual practices are hard.
But “cleaning up” requires forgiveness of others, repentance, self-sacrifice, and looking carefully at emotions such as anger and frustration.

So, when it comes to living, follow a balanced “eating” regime.
Call it whatever you wish, but eat follow a healthy psychic diet for the rest of your days.

Eat well, and be happy.

Lars Nielsen has decades of experience helping individuals and businesses discover and share their core message. Whatever your message or audience, grab his “Make YOUR Message Matter Cheat Sheet” ( and put his time-tested techniques to work immediately.

You’ve read How to Follow a Healthy Mental Diet, 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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Erin’s Things: August 20

By Erin Falconer

You’re reading Erin’s Things: August 20, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

This week is pretty much about podcasts – great podcasts – with a a touch of entertainment! From living a healthier life, cultural events and a focus on old Hollywood, you’ll have a fresh stock of inspiration for the upcoming week.

THE BEGUILED – Sofia Coppolla’s new film makes for the most enjoyable melodrama around. Compassionate female leads and a somewhat vulnerable male lead make this a wholly different version than the Don Siegel 1971 film. We’ve got bottled up passions and cool motivations that lie behind the first half of the film, only to explode toward its end. Winner of the Director’s prize at this year’s 2017 Cannes film festival, ‘The Beguiled’ will have you as captivated as its characters.

THE ULTIMATE HEALTH – This is a podcast that inspires to reach your potential in healthy living. There are interviews with health and wellness experts and its weekly show with Dr. Jesse Chappus serves up an array of tips toward achieving a proactive model of health. The podcast’s Marni Wassermann, believes a healthy lifestyle can begin to be as simple as eating real food every day, make it simple and delicious and you’re on your way.

CLASS DOJO APP – A free App that is available via Apple Store and Google Play is essentially a social media community for parents, students and teachers. Parents can see their children’s schoolwork by photos and videos the teachers upload. It’s a shared classroom experience, one where parents can even ‘like’ what they are viewing. Taking it even further, a behavior tracking element to this app, allows parents to see how their child is doing based on how the teachers take or give points based on their conduct. In some instances this can be useful.

YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS – Karina Longworth’s best kept secret is out. This podcast gives me so much happiness, she narrates, records, edits each episode in her home. The storytelling is on point and is all about the forgotten history of Hollywood. It is raw and gives a real insider perspective to the stories that mystify us when it comes to the legends of the screen, the movies we love and those who made them. Guests include: Dana Carvey, Adam Goldberg, and Wil Wheaton.

WAKING UP – Yet another podcast, this week, I know! But from neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris, comes a fantastic podcast exploring facets of the human mind, society and all manner of current events. Harris is also a best selling author of ‘The End of Faith’ (winner of 2005 PEN award) and ‘Free Will’, among many others. Many of the topics are controversial and touch on the nature of our moral lives.

Got something worth sharing? What is inspiring you this week? Share your thoughts and suggestions below!

Be well,


You’ve read Erin’s Things: August 20, 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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Never Let Go of a Childhood Dream

By Stonehouse Press

You’re reading Never Let Go of a Childhood Dream, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston S. Churchill

Becoming a published novelist is a story of blind luck and perseverance—of never losing a childhood dream, even when life seems to steer you into a different direction.

As with many novelists, I began as an avid reader from a young age, starting with a collection of books called My Book House. It was a beautifully produced twelve-volume collection that first introduced me to nursery rhymes, and as I grew older, to fairy tales and eventually Shakespeare. I recall my parents reading me the nurseries as a pre-bedtime ritual, and eventually reading the books on my own as the years started to accumulate. Who would have known that a childhood book would influence the course of my life so deeply—I certainly didn’t.

I was a voracious reader. I fondly recall the moment I entered the hushed, sacred precinct of the Brownsville Children’s Library in Brooklyn where I grew up in the mid 1930’s. I think I cleared the library shelves and read every book of Bomba the Jungle Boy, The Hardy Boys, and Allies Boys. But my most profoundly joyous memory is walking through the crowded, noisy, aroma-filled atmosphere of Sutter Avenue, between rows of pushcarts selling everything edible and wearable, on my way to that vine-covered magic castle of books. It was like crossing a moat from the reality of a contemporary world of struggle and strife, to a paradise of storytelling, which opened infinite possibilities and aspirations in a young boy confronting a strange and scary future.

By the age of fifteen, my love affair with reading inspired my seedling of a dream to become a novelist. After high school, I went to New York University and pursued a degree in English Literature, where I was introduced to the roster of great American novelists, becoming bewitched by the works of Hemingway, Faulkner, and Fitzgerald. My freshman English professor, Dr. Don Wolfe, inspired me and I later went on to study creative writing with him at the New School, along with Mario Puzo and William Styron. Throughout the years I’ve had many careers, but even when I was working a million jobs to make ends meet, I always made time to write and haunt the library — I could not stop doing either.

I didn’t end up publishing my first novel until I was forty-five. Before that I had published some short stories in anthologies, and I had even written several novels over the years, but I never tried publishing those manuscripts; I never preserved them either.

At age forty-five I was running an advertising and public relations agency in Washington, which I had founded, but my true ambition to become a working novelist stayed lit within me. I had finished my manuscript, Options, and it had received the usual rejections that a first novel typically receives.

Then a man walked into my office and changed my life.

The man, John David Garcia, had written a brilliant book titled The Moral Society. He arrived at my office by simply picking my agency name out of the yellow pages. His objective was to find an agency that could help him promote his book published by a small publisher in Philadelphia. I liked John instantly and although I had not read his book I agreed to help him publicize it, a difficult task at best.

When he asked me what our fee would be, I had the eureka moment that would profoundly impact my future. I told him that if he could persuade his small publisher to publish my first novel, that would serve as the fee. He apparently liked the challenge, submitted the book to his publisher and I had a deal. My first novel Options (I later renamed to Undertow) was to be published. No advance was involved but publishing the novel was good enough for me. As they say, the rest is history.

I was ecstatic—I was beyond happy. It was one of the happiest days of my life, a celebration and a vindication. Even though Options had practically no sales, publishing my first novel was a feat—a gateway—a break through into my writing career. It was the acceptance of my second novel by Putnam, a major publisher, that was my real breakthrough.

We all heard this a thousand times before when it comes to our dreams, but it is true: never surrender—never give up. Keep the flame lit. If it’s the real thing it will stay lit. If it’s not it will flame out. I continue to believe that. Of course you must have the self-validation and perseverance that spurs you on, not to mention the element of luck, which remains a mystery.

Warren Adler is best known for his bestseller turned box office hit The War of the Roses, starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito. He has written 50+ works of fiction, including Random Hearts and The Sunset Gang. You can explore Warren’s most popular titles here.

You’ve read Never Let Go of a Childhood Dream, 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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Insanely Simple Time Management Tips that Actually Work

By Syed Mohammad Anwer

You’re reading Insanely Simple Time Management Tips that Actually Work, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Time management can be a tough job. What is important and what is urgent are often times two totally different things.

This same principle is actually true for your health. Where the important issues are almost not that urgent but the urgent issues normally get ignored.

For instance not going to the gym isn’t an urgent task but it is important in the long run.

Now the question is, is there anything you can do in 24 hours, how do we actually use these hours more effectively?

Here are 3 tips that can help you be more productive throughout the day:

  • Eliminate half-work done

In this era of constant distraction, it is really a stupid decision to work on several things at the same time. Usually, we juggle between emails and text messages and to-do lists, trying to get things done. But we don’t get the most out of anything.

In our age of constant distraction, it’s stupidly easy to split our attention between what we should be doing and what society bombards us with. Usually, we’re balancing the needs of messages, emails, and to–do lists at the same time that we are trying to get something accomplished. It’s rare that we are fully engaged in the task at hand.

  • Do the most important things first

Disorder and chaos tend to increase as your day goes by. At the same time, the decision you take in the spur of the moment decides your tomorrow. Maybe the decision you take today will forecast your coming life for 5 years.

If you really think something is important then do the important things first and get them over with. Don’t wait and risk getting distracted. Take out the to-do list and do the most difficult and important things first thing in the morning. This will not only reduce stress levels, it will also motivate you to achieve more things in less time.

3) Reduce the scope but be Flexible with the approach

When it comes to day to day, work it is important to know where you are going. As I have said before make your to-do list first thing in the morning. Do the most difficult task first and move on to the next one. Keep in mind that you need to achieve all the tasks on the list but what you can do is to change your approach. If something is taking more time than usual, you need to change your approach and see how it can be done. Allowing for flexibility and fluidity in your day, to find your most efficient rhythm will really help get things done.

To conclude it all

There are thousands of time management apps and productivity gadgets that can help you to work fast and smart. You’ll find more advanced calendars and task list managers to get things done in the most efficient way. But whatever you choose to do, make sure you follow these 3 basic tips that can help you with any time management project.

When it comes to a healthy and productive life, I do focus my energy on the above-mentioned things:

Eliminate half–work and focus deeply.

Do the most important thing first.

Reduce the scope but be Flexible with the approach

How have you managed your time better and accomplished more at work, at home, or at the gym?

Anwer’s unique blend of passion & expertise makes him one of the most highly pursued Digital Marketing evangelists across the globe. Currently employed in TaskQue – task management software, Anwer specializes in search engine marketing, influential blogging, managerial business tips and digital marketing.

Photo Credit: petradr

You’ve read Insanely Simple Time Management Tips that Actually Work, 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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How To Quit Your Job (with romantic worst-case scenarios)

By perubuesa

You’re reading How To Quit Your Job (with romantic worst-case scenarios), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

If you feel sick with the prospect of being an employee for the next 20 to 30 years of your life then I hope that what you will read will put you a minute closer to showing the teeth to the crazy idea of scheduling the best years of your life to a time when your body is frail.

Free beer on Fridays is not enough freedom

I always thought to be ‘successful’ meant having a permanent job, earning 40k, working for 7,5 hours a day and then spending the rest of your time in cool places doing the things you really ‘love’ doing.

When I finally made it through the muddy and cold waters of internships and low-paid entry jobs and I got my first permanent job, I instantly realised how wrong I had been all along.

I would not only do my 7.5 or 8 hours Mon to Fri but I would add a 2-hour commute plus another hour getting ready and planning for work. Only this way I could deliver my work to the highest standards. Because any negative feedback at work would make me feel anxious for weeks or even months.

But it didn’t end there. The roles I was doing were designed to continuously get me promoted to the next level, which was great in the sense that my companies cared about my career progress, but this meant I needed to work overtime to make sure I excelled on the long-feared wintery appraisal.

Instead, watching others climb ahead of me would effectively make me feel like a loser. In this context, seeing my colleagues getting promoted while spending their weekends partying until dawn made me jealous. “I don’t have any energy for that, I am so wiped out during the weekend that all I want to do is stay at home quietly and do productive activities” I used to say to myself.

But wait, I was too tired to do anything productive!

“I am investing my whole life in the benefit of somebody else and I don’t have enough time to do the things that really enrich me, like playing guitar and learning languages.” I thought.

“Will this go on until I’m 65 or before (as long as I die before that age)?”

Reading the four-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss didn’t help, for it made aspire that freedom to design your lifestyle but didn’t really convince me to pursue it, which in turn made me more frustrated.

Life puts you where you belong

Unexpectedly, I met someone who had recently done what I wanted to do so bad. He wholeheartedly encouraged me to quit and follow my dream. I was almost convinced.

A final kick by the most important person in my life put me straight in that meeting room handing over my notice and negotiating the end of my contract. I felt the wings popping up from my back.

The first thing I did was going on an amazing road trip to celebrate such a milestone in my life. I don’t go on a road-trip every day, but I still celebrate that decision EVERY SINGLE DAY.

This post commemorates the first year of my life after-employment. I must say my 7 years of higher education (bachelors and two masters’ degrees) didn’t teach me half of what I have learnt in the past year. And I have been able to not only support myself but also…

  • Create a brand
  • Design a range of awesome service products
  • Deliver a talk to an audience of local entrepreneurs
  • Move to an amazing location in Spain on a protected natural dune.
  • Get a rescue dog
  • Learn how to sing to a ‘cringe-free’ level
  • Learn how to play two of the most difficult classical guitar pieces ever written
  • Have experienced life-affirming near death experiences while surfing
  • Fire a client (and loving the result)
  • Get married with the love of my life
  • Visit Thailand
  • Lose my fear to surfing
  • Join a martial arts club
  • Work one week in Berlin
  • Take two road trips to South of Spain
  • Visit Lithuania and work from there
  • Learn how to record and edit videos
  • Complete a 3-month coaching course that changed my life
  • Wake up whenever I want (early anyway)
  • Experiment with intermittent fasting regimes
  • Fully express myself with my family

I am not a millionaire nor I aspire to be one. I am something more powerful than that. I have seen what is possible when you commit yourself to living on your own terms, and I am fully committed to continuing optimising my lifestyle and thus reminding myself that the sky is the limit.

I am so passionate about growing and consolidating my dream lifestyle that I will never stop. And I promise you, if I run out of money somewhere in the process, I will grab my guitar and busk on the streets rather than work on somebody else’s terms.

Here is how you can get started (this is what worked for me):

  • Work with a coach to make you set and stick to your goals
  • Create very specific products based on what you know creates value
  • Get a website and build your own brand
  • Read your email once or less per day
  • Put effort on the non-income-generating things you love doing

If you are not exuding joy at your current job but think it somehow is the best thing you can get (as I did when I was in that position), you are wrong. The world has nothing but opportunities ready for you to take them.

Are you ready to commit?

Peru Buesa is the founder and digital strategist at Gozen Media, an agency determined to help innovative ideas and products reach far.

You’ve read How To Quit Your Job (with romantic worst-case scenarios), 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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How to Setup Your Personal Development Plan in 3 Simple Steps

By Cristian

You’re reading How to Setup Your Personal Development Plan in 3 Simple Steps, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Getting your life in order can seem pretty tricky sometimes, but as you are about to see in just a few lines down below, it is actually pretty simple if you have a solid plan.

I never truly understood what I want to do with my life until just about 12 months ago when I listened to an interview of Bob Proctor about goal setting and changing habits. It was then when I became aware that all you need to do in order to design your own personal development plan is to know where you are and where you want to go.

Once you have that sorted out you just need to start implementing, take action and put in all the effort in achieving your goals.

Step #1 Find out where you are

The very first thing you need to do is make an in-depth assessment of all the aspects of your life. Take a really open and honest look at where you are in your life right now.

Are you happy with how much money you are making? Are you happy with the direction your career is going? How about your relationship with your friends and family?

These are just a few examples of the aspects you want to look at. You might find that you have your own specific things that are important to you which might be different from the ones outlined here.

Take a look at those things and see where you are standing. As you are creating this really honest assessment of your life, you will actually become more aware of the things that you might feel like they need some change or a little bit of extra work.

Me personally, when I made this assessment for myself I was actually doing pretty badly. I was not happy with my job; I was not happy with my health and definitely not happy with my personal finances. That’s what determined me to quit my full time job and dedicate by life to video editing – one of my biggest passion in life.

Now I am doing something I love, I can work whenever I want with whoever I want, and I make more money than I ever did when I was working 9 to 5.

Becoming aware of your current situation is the very first step towards achieving success, so don’t rush through this and be totally honest with yourself.

Step #2 Find out where you want to be

Once you have identified the areas you want to improve, set specific goals for each and every one of those areas. Set just one major goal for each area of your life and make it very specific. It should be something that you can easily measure.

Then put a deadline on it. I like to set a relatively short deadline on my goals – something like 6 to 12 months. By focusing on the shorter term goals you will be more likely to take action right away. And, on top of that, it will also be much easier for you to actually see measurable progress.

It will also be much easier to course correct as you learn new things about yourself and as you evolve into a better person. Setting the right goals might be a little bit tricky to do at first. You will know when you have set a good goal when you will feel both excitement and fear.

You will feel excitement because you will be doing something that you love, something that brings you to life. And if the goal is big enough you will also feel a little bit of fear, because you know that achieving that goal is going to be difficult and it will require a lot of work.

I remember I was scared to death when I quit my job to start editing videos for a living. But I was also very excited to get started on following my dreams.

Another thing I found to be very effective is to write down your goal on a piece of paper. Create a goal card that you carry in your wallet or pocket and that you read a couple of times every day. I know I was reluctant about this method, but reading out loud your goal often enough will keep you focused on achieving that goal. By reading it over and over again, your mind will start to work on achieving it even without you consciously realizing it.

Step #3 Create an action plan

The third and final step is to write down some clear action points. These actions should take you from where you are right now to where it is that you want to be. What does it take to achieve your goal?

You might not know every single step but there definitely are a few things that you do know. Most of the times these will be sufficient to get you started. You just need to start somewhere. You don’t need to have the whole plan outlined beforehand.

Start with a draft and add new actions to it along the way. Learn as you go, don’t be afraid to try out new things, experiment. Some things will work, some will not. Each failure will just get you one step closer your goal. I remember I made a ton of mistakes when I started my business. But each mistake taught me a new thing and so on and so forth.

Just start, don’t wait to have the perfect plan!

Over to you

I challenge you to go over this 3 step process and share with us what is it that you’re committing to do for yourself. Where do you want to be 12 months from now? What are the actions that you know you’re going to need to take in order to move your life forward?

Cristian used the exact same steps outline above to figure out he wants to run a video editing company. Right now he is in charge of the operations of Veedyou Media, a business which is offering video editing services to customers all around the world.

You’ve read How to Setup Your Personal Development Plan in 3 Simple Steps, 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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4 Surefire Steps to Create a Way When People Say “There Is No Way”

By Joseph Chukwube

You’re reading 4 Surefire Steps to Create a Way When People Say “There Is No Way”, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

I don’t know what you’ve heard but I’ve heard it said quite often, “there is no way.”

This can be very frustrating, especially when you have actually depended on that source as the last resort.

For all intents and purposes, the word “no” connotes absolute negativity. It has a finality sound about it.

And taking no for an answer is like settling for the less. It’s worse than quitting because in this case, you didn’t even try to push your limits, you just decided to settle for people’s point of view.

And in most cases, the people you’re heeding advice from might actually be people who never pushed the limit either. The speak based on what they heard, not based on experience.

So, when all the odds are stacked up against you, you mustn’t settle for their negativity. You are definitely smarter and braver than the mediocrity.

Below therefore, are steps you must take at that junction to point the arrows upwards.

  1. Fire up your doggedness

What the bulldozer requires to start paving a road in the forest are diesel and oil. What you require in your own case is doggedness. It is the oil that will lubricate all the stiffened part of your body, that will prime you up.

Don’t overlook any tidbit, no matter how small. That may turn out to be the ignition key. Don’t take anybody and anything for granted. That may turn out to be a sucker punch.

Your doggedness coupled with resilience will do the magic. Your resilience will be the antidote you need to wrestle with the highs and inevitable lows you will encounter.

Computers came before Bill Gates, it is sheer doggedness on his part that made Microsoft a household name today.

  1. Be optimistic

It can never be over until it is over. Inasmuch as you still have a breath left in you, don’t give up.

The going could be tough and rough, but you must go at it ruggedly. Don’t be fazed out easily.

Tell yourself that you have something vital and important to contribute to the world and that you are coming out with a bang. There are millions of innovations nobody has thought up.

3D printing was initiated by somebody. Driverless cars was somebody’s idea. You can come up with your own mind blowing stuff. The world is waiting for you. Kickstart it now.

  1. Be initiative

Quite often some small ideas may crop into your head and you try to wish them off. Those ideas are your real gut feelings. Allow them to blossom and you will be doing yourself a lot of good.

Most innovations in the world today, think Microsoft, Facebook, WordPress, or even theme platforms that were built to further improve WordPress, came up as flickers and they were then nurtured and fanned into the mega holdings you see today.

That small idea you have been allowing to flutter and then go off may be your own great contribution that will radically change the world. That your good plan today is sure better than the perfect plan you have tomorrow.

  1. Articulate your thoughts

Don’t allow randomness in your thoughts. Make concerted efforts to gather your thoughts together. Create a sort of sieve within yourself that can quickly remove all those thought processes that can hinder your smooth sailing.

Don’t also give room to detractors, they can never do you any good. They will rather bring about a backwardness which will be detrimental to the goals you have set out to achieve.

Don’t ever leave what should be done today for another day. You will only end up dawdling and at the end, nothing will be achieved.

Hit the iron when it is red hot, that is the only way you can get the real shape you want.

Ignore Naysayers and never view NO as final, but as the starting point to getting a better, innovative result.

Joseph Chukwube is an experienced content writer, link builder and SEO specialist. He is the Founder and CEO of Dream Chase Achieve, a rapidly growing lifestyle and self-improvement blog.

You’ve read 4 Surefire Steps to Create a Way When People Say “There Is No Way”, 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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Lost and Stuck in Your Job: 7 Simple Truths to Shift to a Career You Love

By Shanfoo

You’re reading Lost and Stuck in Your Job: 7 Simple Truths to Shift to a Career You Love, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

You look at the time every few minutes, counting down the hours and minutes until the work day ends and you can leave.

The last hour feels like forever.

It’s another frustrating day at work. Stuck in yet another project you couldn’t care less about. You feel an utter lack of motivation.

There’s this nagging feeling that you are not utilizing your strengths, talents, and abilities to your fullest potential in your job.

Deep down you know you need to change. But it feels so overwhelming.

Where do you start? What do you do?

The truth is that feeling stuck is a good sign – because it is an acknowledgment that where you are is not working for you anymore.

Moving into a career that fits you, that motivates you and makes you feel alive doesn’t have to be stumbling in the dark. Here are 8 simple truths to help you shift into a career you love.

Pay Attention to Your Denial

Often times, we think we should want certain things in our careers, such as making $X amount, or a specific type of career – all the while ignoring that inner voice that’s whispering something else.

That denial suppresses what we really desire because we are terrified to face it. We worry about the uncertainty, that we might fail. We are afraid of what others would think. So we continue to deny that inner voice while we aspire to what we “should” be wanting.

However, living a life of “shoulds” simply bring us further away from what really gives us meaning and satisfaction. We are not living our lives – we are living the lives that others want for us.

So let go of the “shoulds”, ask yourself what it is that you are denying, and listen to what your inner voice is telling you.

Pick Out What You Actually Enjoy

We typically think that we want a job with certain characteristics. E.g. challenging, interesting, etc etc. However, what we actually enjoy based on our previous jobs is usually a better clue of what suits us.

I thought I would enjoy solving complex strategy problems for clients. But upon closer inspection of what I actually enjoyed in my past careers, it was always mentoring and motivating my team that gave me the greatest satisfaction.

So start diving into your work history and past experiences. Figure out what were the things that gave you the greatest satisfaction. Use that as a basis to figure out what you want in your career.

Don’t Let Your Frustrations Color Your Career Move

When we are in a job that we hate, we know acutely what is it that we dislike and what pushes our buttons at work. However, there’s a danger that we might swing to the exact opposite in our next career, as a reaction to the frustration of where we are now.

Take a moment to process what are your motivators for your next job. If it’s fueled primarily by your anger and negative feelings of your situation now, it’s better to take a step back.

Enlist a close friend or mentor who can be impartial, and help you process if this next job is the right move for you.

Follow Your Gut If the Career Assessments Says Otherwise

I have quite a few mentees who tell me “I have taken these career assessments, and it says my current career fits me best. But I am unhappy.” These tests are just another tool to help you figure things out – but they don’t know you as well as you do.

A computer test is no substitute for you.

Listen to what your gut is trying to tell you. What is that little voice in your gut that you are ignoring trying to say? Why is it telling you this? What is it trying to do?

Honor and trust yourself. Often times we have the answers we seek if we are willing to sit with ourselves and ask the questions.

Being Stuck Is Part of the Process

In a society where we are always told to be productive, to keep striving and keep doing, there’s this need to “do”. We try to nail down what’s the next career quickly and work towards it. We beat ourselves up for not figuring out what we want. Or get angry with ourselves for feeling trapped but not knowing where to turn.

The thing is, feeling stuck is part of the process. It’s messy, murky and uncomfortable, but it’s normal growing pains as we move through the process of figuring out what we want. So give yourself some room to breathe. Accept it for what it is, and cut yourself some slack.

You Are Never Tied to One Career for Life

There’s a lot of pressure to choose the “right” path and find “the one” career or passion. But the truth is, your values and needs may change.

What appeals to you now may not suit you 10 years later, much less 30 years down the road. Moreover, the old idea of having 1 career for life is no longer true today, with changing careers becoming increasingly common.

So don’t feel as if “that’s it” for life. You can always change your mind.

Be Compassionate with Yourself

The process of changing to a new job or career is scary.

It can feel vulnerable starting over. You worry what your family and friends might think. You don’t know if you can make it. Some days, it can feel like two steps forward, one step back.

But it’s a brave step you are taking. So treat yourself with compassion and kindness. What you are doing is brave, hard work.

Ready For the Next Step?

Imagine waking up, feeling a sense of purpose as you get ready for work.

You relish the challenges you face at work because it’s the type of challenge that you enjoy. That helps you grow, live up to your fullest potential and be who you really are

You’ve got your road map – now all you need to do is take a step forward.

Your new life of freedom and success awaits.

Shan Foo is a former corporate suit turned irreverent Sociologist who’s on a mission to help folks stamp out BS, leverage their full potential and step into a career they love. Check out her Free Career Clarity Course, a roadmap to get you out of confusion and frustration and into the career that’s meant for you, on your terms.

You’ve read Lost and Stuck in Your Job: 7 Simple Truths to Shift to a Career You Love, 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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