Category Archives: Business

Status Anxiety

Do You Suffer From “Status Anxiety?”

By Alex Green

In 1759, Adam Smith inquired in his Theory of Moral Sentiments about why we seek wealth. Is it to meet our basic wants and needs?

No, he concluded. “The wages of the meanest laborer can supply them.” The point of all our striving, he argued, is “to be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation.

William James, the father of American psychology, echoed this sentiment a century later when he declared that the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

We don’t like to admit it, but most men and women are in a near-constant pursuit of higher status.

Psychologists have even identified a new malady, one that afflicts millions. They call it “status anxiety.”

Throughout history and around the world, men and women have always sought status and recognition. But in the modern era, the yardstick is almost always the same: economic success.

More bluntly, money.

The benefits of money and status are obvious: freedom, resources, comfort, time, attention, and deference. A lack of status, on the other hand — even if it is only perceived — can lead to sadness, anxiety, and even depression.

Our capitalist system thrives on the pursuit of status. Entrepreneurs take elaborate risks in the pursuit of great rewards. Consumers buy superfluous products — especially luxury brands — they believe confer prestige. The pursuit of status motivates us to develop our talents, work hard, demonstrate excellence, and achieve worthy goals.

In today’s increasingly affluent society, however, our ideas about what are “essential” constantly change.

For example, consider the percentage of Americans who believed the following items were necessities in 1970:

  • More than one phone – 2%
  • Second television set – 3%
  • Dishwasher – 8%
  • Car air conditioning – 11%
  • Second car – 20%
  • Home air conditioning – 22%

If these were nonessential to Americans 45 years ago, why do hundreds of millions consider them necessities today?

It’s not just that these things make our lives easier and more comfortable. Many folks would feel embarrassed or ashamed to be without them.

Our sense of happiness is based on comparing ourselves to others. Unfortunately, that is a guaranteed recipe for unhappiness.

The problem with making economic success the foundation of personal happiness is that a) you cannot control the economy and b) most companies eventually fail. Needless to say, this undermines job security and financial well-being.

While life will always be uncertain, there is a simple and effective cure for status anxiety: changing the way you think.

Every time we feel satisfied with what we have, however little that may be, we can count ourselves rich.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau insisted there are two ways to make a man wealthier: Give him more money or curb his desires. Or, as Socrates declared as he passed the expensive goods on sale in the Athens agora, “How many things I can do without!”

As for other people’s opinions, whether you get the recognition you believe you deserve is out of your control. But if you haven’t done anything that deserves contempt or disrespect, what difference does it make what someone else thinks?

An obsessive pursuit of status may not just be a waste of time. It could be a waste of a life.

About the Author: Alex Green is the author of excellent books like, The Secret of Shelter Island: Money and What Matters, and Beyond Wealth, that show you how to lead a “rich” life during trying economic times.

Introvert’s 9 Secrets to Leadership

“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” —Farrah Gray

An Introvert’s 9 Secrets to Leadership

By Brenda Savoie

Leadership is not reserved for extroverts.

Mark Zuckerberg, the man behind the social media giant Facebook is an introvert. How’s that for a paradox.Some of the most acknowledged leaders are introverts.

You don’t have to be outgoing, crazy communicative, and incredibly charismatic to achieve greatness in this life.

A leader’s strength comes from creativity and ideas; not from social skills. But when you’re afraid to come out of your protective shell, you’re missing out on an opportunity. Introverts can be great leaders if they leverage their strengths, and cultivate some of their flaws.

Claire Donovan, a team leader at EssayOnTime, explains that being an introvert doesn’t make it easy for you to established yourself as a leader:

“As an introvert, it’s not easy for me to act natural in front of an audience. I’ve had my awkward moments in meetings, and it wasn’t easy. But guess what, no one has it easy. Can you name someone who woke up one day and became a leader? No, it takes a lot of effort for everyone, especially those who are willing to invest that effort. Introverts are just as capable for leadership as extroverts are.”

Here’s a guide for introverts to cultivate their leadership efforts…

1. Acknowledge the Strength of Empathy

The force of empathy is strong with introverts. Extroverts may be the better speakers, however, introverts are great listeners. An introvert leader is able to see a problem from another person’s POV. They understand how people feel in a certain situation, and can take proper action to calm them down. When it comes to misunderstandings and conflicts, introvert leaders are exquisite at solving them.

2. Communicate One-On-One

Most introverts don’t like speaking in front of an audience, but they’re good at making connections with fewer people. One-on-one talks are their forte, since they don’t waste words and listen carefully before giving a response.

You can use this skill as a leader by welcoming face-to-face meetings with your employees; this should also give you the reputation of being approachable. (A major win.)

3. Don’t Throw Away Me-Time

An extrovert gets his strength from socializing. That’s why extrovert leaders are so appreciated in their organizations. They’re always inviting people for lunch and dominate the conversation at office parties. Introverts, on the other hand, feel exhausted after spending a lot of time among people. They need time alone to reconnect with their inner peace. Don’t cut yourself short from that necessity. Whenever you need time for yourself, take it. As a leader, you have a responsibility to interact with other people, but that won’t be 24/7.

Recharge while still growing your skills as a leader by taking a daily 20-minute break to read in your office. Start with The Perfect Day Formula, which can help you hone any anxiety associated with leading more employees. The book itself comes with an interactive kit ($199) that includes journals and worksheets.

Apply now

4. Lay Your Cards on the Table

Most teams are used to working with extrovert leaders. Your employees might be surprised by your quiet approach. The first thing you need to do is make your leadership style known. You’re not the guy they worked with; you’re a completely unique person with a different approach. As long as you prove yourself to be a good leader, the style shouldn’t be a make or break.

Continue to No. 5 and learn how to best leverage technology as an introvert leader

About the Author: Brenda Savoie is a productivity coach, private English tutor, and desperate dreamer. She is currently writing her first novel and seeking contentment through mindfulness….

The Lost Art of Discipline

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fthepurpleninjette%2Fvideos%2F231427823979497%2F&show_text=0&width=560“>Gaby Diaz-Cervo

A message from an ETR sponsor

Hey, it’s Chad Howse here.

I’m a former 9-5er turned entrepreneur… also a former scrawny amateur boxer turned muscular published fitness author.

But a decade ago I had no money. Actually, less than no money, was in debt, and got out of shape for the first time in my life.

Rather than searching for a ‘get rich quick’ product or workout to get me in shape, I focused on developing discipline.

Nothing else, just creating the habits that the ‘rich, ripped, and successful’ version of me would have to develop.

Discipline, however, rarely endures when it’s dependent on willpower.

Just like your ideal body, discipline can’t be built with motivation alone. It requires a process, plan, and strategy if it’s going to live forever.

That’s what I focused on. I devoured every book I could possibly find on the subject, from theory and philosophy, to solid scientific evidence on what works. I read about great historical figures, guys I wanted to emulate, and realized it wasn’t talent or willpower that made them great; it was discipline.

I got on a routine. I became the same man every day rather than the guy with no money who depended on inspiration to write content and create products.

To be honest, it didn’t take long to turn things around.

After a few months of my discipline program I began to make more money and my body changed in front of my eyes.

Here’s a secret that marketers don’t want to tell you: the program doesn’t matter as much as your discipline in following it.

Discipline makes transformations.

I’m still a work-in-progress and I always will be, but the freedom I have today from stress, from a boss breathing down my neck, and the freedom to travel the world, buy a house, and live life on my own terms isn’t due to intelligence.

I owe it all to discipline. And the more discipline I develop, the more freedom I have in my life.

That’s the greatest misconception about discipline— that it’s confining. In reality, it’s liberating.

But I’m not a naturally disciplined guy. I need a program to follow, some kind of daily guidance that gives me clarity on where my attention needs to be focused.

I’m guessing you’re the same.

In fact, I’ve never met a ‘naturally disciplined person’ in my life.

Everyone I know who’s killing it, struggles. They all struggle. Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, even Napoleon Bonaparte struggled mightily to be the disciplined men that would develop greatness.

And without a plan, you’re out of luck.

That’s why I created The Lost Art of Discipline – a mission to not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.

Take the challenge that is the Lost Art of Discipline and be the person that even your most ambitious dreams didn’t imagine you’d become.

Tired Of Being Overworked, Sacrificing Your Health, And Missing Out On Time With Your Family?

Want to Be Taken More Seriously? Start Doing These 5 Things

 

There are a number of contributing factors that make it challenging to be taken seriously in the professional world. It can be something irrational like your age, sex, height, or even voice that cause others to incorrectly assess your worth. Sometimes it can even be certain behaviors you exhibited that were misperceived by others and now you’ve been pigeon-holed and deemed less-professional or adept than you really are. However you’ve been misunderstood, change the attitudes of your work colleagues by committing to a certain way of carrying yourself and living by a clear value system that earns respect.

Inc. recently listed powerful moves you can commit to to influence how you’re seen in the eyes of others and ultimately be taken more seriously. We’ve highlighted our top choices here so you can begin implementing them in your interactions today.

Always be informed. It is better to be silent than to speak when you don’t know what you’re saying. Communicate effectively and knowledgeably on every subject. If you need some brushing up, put in the time to make sure you have all the facts before saying words you can’t take back. Being intelligent is not enough.

Keep your word. If you say you’re going to do something, you better get it done. Never promise something you can’t deliver on 100%. It is always better to be honest than fall short of what you’ve committed to and disappoint your colleagues.

Dress well. You’ve heard about dressing for the job you want, not the job you have. The way you show up to work is an indicator of the respect you have for yourself and the company and the kind of success you’re after.

Be mindful of your tone. In addition to the way you carry yourself, how you speak can communicate beyond the words you’re actually saying. Speak with confidence but also respect, always keeping your ear out for the tone you’re using.

Always be on time. Showing up late is a sign of disrespect and disorganization, two traits that have no place at the office. Practice punctuality and you’re communicating you can be counted on.

Steps To Take Every Friday

Follow This 4-Step Routine Every Friday

By Andrew Merle

Don’t make the mistake of treating Friday like any other workday.

Having a specific and intentional routine on Friday will set you up for a relaxing weekend and a successful following week.

Follow this 4-step process every Friday to maximize your productivity and peace of mind:

1. Block off your calendar for all of Friday afternoon

This means not scheduling any meetings or calls after 12 noon on Friday (trust me, your co-workers will thank you for this), and declining all invites unless they are absolutely critical (e.g. mandated by your boss).

With some open space on your calendar, now you will be able to close out the week on your own terms.

2. Spend 2+ hours working on unfinished top-priority tasks

If there are still any major outstanding items on your weekly to-do list — specifically ones that will cause anxiety and stress over the weekend — now is the time to tackle them.

Find a quiet place to work where you won’t be interrupted, and spend a couple of focused hours on these top-priority tasks, completing them or getting them into a good place before the weekend.

Once progress has been made against these big items, you can turn your attention to the little ones.

3. Spend 1 hour cleaning out your inbox

Scroll through your entire inbox for emails or calls that slipped through the cracks during the week.

If sending a response or giving a quick call back will only take a few minutes, do it right away.

Consider whether some of these items really need to be done at all. If they aren’t that important — and you will never actually get around to doing them anyway — just delete now and save yourself the stress of seeing them again.

Do make a note of any items that are important and require more time to complete, and will need to wait until the following week. It can alleviate pressure (and is a nice courtesy) to take a moment to quickly respond, saying you’ll get back to them with a more in-depth answer next week. This leads right into the next step.

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Discover The Secrets to Overcome Overwhelm and Win the Work-Life Balance Struggle Once and For All

“It’s not about the hour you wake up, it’s about what you do with the hours that you are up. Whenever you start your day, start it with a powerful morning routine to get your mind right, then focus on your #1 priority for at least 15 minutes and win a victory that the world can’t take away from you no matter how crazy the rest of the day gets. You got this.” -Craig Ballantyne

Get the secrets to success today — for free

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4. Write out your to-do list for the following week

With a clear understanding of where things are being left off with all big and little items, you can now prioritize what you will do the following week (and equally as important, what you will not do).

It is critical to take time on Friday to write out your to-do list for the next week. Your top priorities will be much fresher than trying to do this on Sunday night or Monday morning.

This will also give you the peace of mind to know that your top priorities have been captured on paper, and will enable you to hit the ground running the next week.

Limit your weekly to-do list to no more than 3–5 essential items.
And that completes the fourth step of the routine.

* I know I said this was a 4-step process, but there is a bonus step that might be most important of all.

5. Leave the office early

At this point in the day, you have made progress against your major projects, cleared out as many minor-but-necessary items as possible, and set yourself up for a successful week ahead.

With a highly-productive Friday afternoon in the books, it’s time to get out of the office early.

Even leaving at 4 or 4:30 p.m. will make your weekend feel significantly longer.

You deserve it!

About the Author: Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his e-mail list at andrewmerle.com and follow him on Twitter.

Your Day

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

 MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING

Planning Your Day

 Fiercelybeautifulblog.com

By Craig Ballantyne

Let’s face it. As someone who wants extraordinary results in every area of your life, there are always going to be obstacles in your way. Two of the most common are overcoming procrastination and keeping control of your daily schedule.

The good news is that we conquer both with one solution. And that’s simply by planning your day.

So let’s allay your fears and stresses about the seemingly complex task at hand. Planning makes success simple.

Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t make success easy, but it makes it simple. There is a big difference between the two.

Easy means little effort. And we both know that success takes hard work. Simple means that the path to success has already been tread, and we just need to follow that path. But, of course, there’s a path that has been tread to the top of Mount Everest, too, and we know that isn’t easy.

All paths to success take planning. In our recent discussions about “Operation 2X,” our plan to help you achieve twice the results over the rest of the year, ETR Publisher Matt Smith said, “You cannot have a 2X day when you don’t plan. That includes planning kids/family activities. 2X happens only when you lead. It only happens when you’re proactive and are actually pushing things forward. 2X only happens when there is intention.”

So what does that mean?

You need to:

  •     Plan your day/schedule
  •     Block out your time for specific tasks
  •     Get ONE big thing done first thing in the morning for momentum
  •     Prioritize your to-do list
  •     Make a commitment to contacting the right people
  •     Eliminate unnecessary communication
  •     Avoid getting sucked into emails
  •     Set daily deadlines
  •     Stick to your schedule (this is where things often go wrong)
  •     Set up your environment for maximum productivity.
  •     Institute a strict sleeping schedule
  •     Surround yourself with competent people who can do some work for you.

Or you can say, “Oh, I don’t want to be that rigid. I want a flexible, spontaneous lifestyle.”

And that’s fine, but the fact is you’ll fail at almost everything you want to do in life. PERIOD.

Your choice.

You must have total control over your working conditions and those that can interrupt it. It must be made known that your work time is do-not-disturb time.

This will disappoint others but it will protect your time and is essential to your success. Make this decision. Separate work from play. Commit. Stay focused.

*****************SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT****************** ***
Discover The Secrets to Overcome Overwhelm and Win the Work-Life Balance Struggle Once and For All

“It’s not about the hour you wake up, it’s about what you do with the hours that you are up. Whenever you start your day, start it with a powerful morning routine to get your mind right, then focus on your #1 priority for at least 15 minutes and win a victory that the world can’t take away from you no matter how crazy the rest of the day gets. You got this.” -Craig Ballantyne

Get the secrets to success today — for free

****************************** ****************************** **************

Remember… you get freedom from structure.

You don’t get freedom from a 4-hour work week. That’s false freedom, or as your parents described it, “Laziness.”

So listen…

If you’re struggling with your schedule, go back and do a “time journal.” Then ruthlessly plan your work day.

The more work you can get done during work hours, the less time you’ll have to steal from your family, friends, fitness, and fun hobbies by working when it’s not “work time.”

That’s what is meant by getting more freedom from structure.

You can work hard a good many hours and still have a life. Most people don’t have a balance problem, they have a time-wasting problem.

You must find your Magic Time to get more done in less time.

You must also set an end to your day. Do a brain dump and then shut your working mind down. Go spend time with your family. Don’t answer email at all hours of the day. Set limits. Know what you should be doing at all times, and do it.

The more structure you have in your work day, the more you plan, the more you will accomplish — and the closer you will get to achieving a 2X day — and life.

Remember these words of wisdom from Dave Kekich:

“Cherish time, your most valuable resource. You can never make up the time you lose. It’s the most important value for any productive happy individual and is the only limitation to all accomplishment. To waste time is to waste your life. The most important choices you’ll ever make are how you use your time.”

So always be prepared. Plan ahead. If you do, and if you get focused, you can dominate your days and own your life in 2017.

If you need help, I’m your man.

Click here to discover how to work in-person with me on creating your Perfect Days

About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the founder of EarlyToRise University and the author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision. Click here to learn more from Craig so that you can get more done, make more money, and live the life of your dreams.

The Toughest Question You Have to Answer

By Craig Ballantyne

There’s a battle being waged in all of us.

One part of us wishes to remain safely inside of our comfort zone. The other part of us knows we should be brave, step-up, and move out and onward to greater challenges.

Your comfort zone might mean the safety and security of a high-paying job at a major corporation. You make more, and have more, than your parents ever did.

“Don’t you dare risk losing that job,” says the voice of your mother in your mind. Just sit tight until the kids are done college, and then we can think about starting a business of your own.

The other voice you hear, encouraging you to explore greater opportunities, is your Big Self (a fantastic phrase I first heard from my friend and mentor, Matt Furey).

Your Big Self represents what you could truly accomplish in life.

Unfortunately, the real world contains many enemies of the Big Self, and it is constantly delivering reinforcements to your Comfort Zone. These reinforcements come in the way of excuses, negative naysayers, fear, lack of self-confidence or self-control, and the bad habits we’ve built up over our lifetime.

And that is why you are in the same spot today as you were twelve months ago, only just a year older.

Today I’ll show you how to break through the stalemate.

But it will only work if you are willing to set down your weapons and stop protecting yourself for a while. Call a truce on the battlefield. Have each side bring out its best thinkers and have them work together as one on this big thinking exercise.

Recently I made this same challenge to over 150 entrepreneurs at a recent seminar. Over the course of two days, my guest experts and I had stood and delivered complete blueprints for making more money, getting more done, and having a bigger impact on the world.

But I knew that many people in the audience would go home, let life get in the way, and return next year without having made any significant changes.

I wasn’t going to let that happen again, and I won’t let that happen to you.

That meant I had to challenge the attendees. I had to show them exactly how to make the mental changes that would allow their Big Self to win the battle.

After I summarized the best moments of the weekend, I paused for dramatic effect, made eye contact with as many people in the room that dared to look at me, and asked, “Are you really living as your Big Self? Are you being the Limitless Leaders that I know you can be? Or are you letting Little Limitations hold you back from greatness?”

These were tough questions. They are tough on the ego.

No one, particularly relatively successful people, wants to feel like a disappointment. But we need to be honest. Are we doing all we can with what we have been blessed with in life?

And we have one of my mentors, Dan Kennedy, to thank for this. You see, several years ago I attended one of Kennedy’s seminars just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. He covered the topic of internal resistance — something I know is holding back many ETR readers.

Dan said, “The failure to act is much more often the product of inner, emotional resistance than external resistance. To move forward you must give up your story, whether it is excuses about your childhood, lack of education, your ‘bad luck’, your unsupportive family, your low metabolism, where you live, etc., etc.”

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………………………………………………………………………

It’s time to give up your excuses. It’s time to overcome your natural inclinations of holding back and staying in your comfort zone. It’s time to Man-Up.

It’s harsh, but true. As Kennedy explained, what separates the leaders from the strugglers is often confidence and follow-through, both of which can be derailed by internal resistance. That’s when he taught me “The Exercise”.

Answering these questions is tough on the Ego, but the answers could change your life (if you take action on them). Take the following mental challenge:

1) Ask yourself “The Question:”

“Where you would like to be and have known you would like to be but aren’t?”

2) Be brutally specific and honest.

3) Now list why you are NOT there.

4) Next, identify the changes you need to make.

5) Then take massive action!

Don’t let another year go by stuck in the same place!

You must identify the causes of your internal resistance. Ask yourself “Why?” you want something but refuse to act in congruence with achieving it.

Either say “no” to achievement OR dig in and get to the bottom of the persistent incongruence between what you say and what you do. It is OK to admit you are not willing to pay the price – and by doing so, that will stop self-sabotage. Once you know the enemy, then you can work on overcoming it.

Listen, I know Kennedy can be a little gruff and grumpy, but he speaks the truth and has your best interests at heart. In fact, it’s almost like he’s channeling the wise philosophers of Ancient Greece. I’m currently re-reading a book called, “The Art of Living”, which is a translation of teachings from the Stoic philosopher, Epictetus. In it, I discovered this wisdom:

“Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws, as if it were indeed sinful to compromise them. Don’t mind if others don’t share your convictions. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer. Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better. From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.”

Take the challenges set forth by Kennedy and Epictetus.

Identify what is holding you back.

Release the brakes.

Become the Big Self and Limitless Leader that I know you can be.

Overcome your obstacles. Defeat your internal resistance. Never give up on what is important to you. So much can be accomplished with a long-term vision and resilience to short term setbacks. If you persist and never give in, you WILL succeed. You can have the life of your dreams while helping and transforming the lives of millions.

Get out there and take action today. Throw the rock of helping into the pond of transformation and watch as the ripples take shape.

Change a life today — starting with yours.

If you need to make a change in your health, start here with my biggest challenge ever to you

About the Author: Craig Ballantyne is the founder of EarlyToRise University and the author of The Perfect Day Formula. His straightforward, sometimes “politically-incorrect” advice has helped millions of people transform their lives both physically and financially. Craig’s secret weapons for success include his personal commandments, his 5 pillars, and his Perfect Life vision. Click here to learn more from Craig so that you can get more done, make more money, and live the life of your dreams.

“Haitian Entrepreneurs Launch Emoji App”

fiercelybeautifulblog

Get ready to express yourself with Lingoji – the revolutionary new emoji app dedicated to cultural diversity. Bringing a shared cultural context to the digital world, Lingoji has opened an entirely new way to communicate to those close to you.

Lingoji combines lingo and emojis to create culturally-specific, sticker-sized icons. These can be used to convey humor, context, tone, and even complex expressions and emotions. Lingoji’s point of distinction is the engagement of local artists. The development team is integrating artists from cultures all across the globe. Here, they create culturally authentic art, specific to each culture.


Lingoji is the first of its kind. The app provides a wide array of emoji sets, each custom-tailored to a single country and culture. Users can easily choose the set that is the best fit for themselves, their friends, and their families. Available for just $1.99, each of these emojis sets can be easily accessed from the keyboard of a mobile device. Lingoji currently supports a total of four Caribbean countries: Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. From there, Lingoji will be expanding steadily into other countries.


These culture-based emoji catalogs provide a common language between individuals from distinct cultures and regions, thereby making it easier for them to communicate with their community. Widespread usage of these emojis will eventually highlight a variety of cultures around the world that are not currently represented.


As a Caribbean native, Lingoji’s co-founder Patrice Gervais developed a love of other cultures while working in New York for Colure Media. Patrice and his co-founders David-Georges Renaud, Gerald Brun, and William Belle have all worked to create a highly unique tool. This visual story-telling palette is designed for our diverse, modern cultures.

Lingoji is currently available at both the Google Play and the App Store. For questions or feedback, the Lingoji team can be reached at

 lingojiapps@gmail.com.

Setting Goals

“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.” – Viktor E. Frankl

A Surprising Thing I Learned About Setting Goals

By Mark Ford

Why is it, I kept asking myself, that nobody follows my advice on personal productivity?

Every January, I write an essay bragging about all the things I got done the previous year, urging readers to use my personal productivity program.

But it seems like I convince no one. We get no emails from readers saying they are going to get on board. Nor do we get notes at the end of the year about all they’ve accomplished.

I’ve pitched it at business meetings, dinners, and family reunions, but I have yet to convince a colleague, friend, or family member to do it. What the heck am I doing wrong?

I got tired of asking those questions last month and decided to find out. I invited a small group of people to participate in a year-long project, during which I would teach them my system and coach them to follow it.

We just had our first meeting. And I have already discovered something important.

An idea I had about goal setting was wrong.

I began the meeting by talking about how my life changed when I decided to get rich. I always use that phrase — decided to get rich — to emphasize what was for me the most important part of that experience. I spent 30 years wanting to get rich and never did.

And then, one day, I decided that getting rich was going to be my top priority, and that’s when the money started piling up.

So, that’s one thing: the difference between wanting and deciding.

Deciding implies intention and purpose, not just volition. (That was not my discovery. I’ll come to that now. But keep that thought in mind.)

Next, I told them that when I retired for the second time and began writing Early to Rise, I had the opportunity to think about that experience and assess what was good and bad about it.

I came to the conclusion that making one goal your only goal is very powerful. It changes the way you think dramatically. Your mind becomes shark-like in its ability to make both big and small decisions. Such clarity means the likelihood you will achieve that goal becomes a near certainty.

That is good. But there is another effect of having only one goal that is bad. It means you will inevitably sacrifice other wants you have listed on your mental desiderata. In my case, for example, I sacrificed my health, my hopes of writing fiction, and my desire to be happy.

So, in developing a goal-setting strategy for Early to Rise readers, I offered a choice: If you want the best possible chance of achieving one goal, make it your only goal. But if you want a well-balanced life, create four goals: one financial, one health, one personal, and one social.

That’s what we did at last week’s meeting. I asked everyone to think about whether they wanted to choose one goal or four. And then I asked if anyone wanted to share a major goal. Bob Irish (a friend and colleague) said that after he retired, he decided he would get into the best shape of his life. And then Joe shared his goal: having passive income of $150,000 in five years.

Now, if you have read anything about goal setting, you are already thinking that Joe’s goal was better than Bob’s because Joe’s goal was very specific. It was specific in two ways: a particular objective in terms of how rich ($150,000 in passive income) and a particular time frame (five years). Bob’s goal, in contrast, was vague on both counts.

In writing about goal setting in the past, I had, like most others, advocated specificity. And yet, I knew in my gut that Bob’s vague goal was actually a good and achievable goal, whereas Joe’s was not.

Because of commitment bias, I felt like I should commend Joe for making his goal so specific. But I knew, because I knew his personal situation, that it was a badly designed goal and that it would lead to frustration and self-doubt rather than success.

And then it hit me: The goal I set for myself 30-odd years ago, the goal of “being rich,” was a vague goal, just as vague as Bob’s.

So, I’m writing to you now to tell you that I think this whole idea of being very specific when setting big goals is wrong. I do believe in specificity when it comes to identifying shorter-term objectives. But when it comes to the big goals, I’m now saying make them vague.

There are two big benefits in doing this.

First, when you make your big goals doubly specific (quantifying the objective and setting a time frame), you may be setting yourself up for failure. In Joe’s case, as I mentioned, there was no way I could imagine him achieving that goal unless he quit his job immediately and took the risk of becoming an entrepreneur. But to do that, he would have to put the financial security of his family at risk. And knowing him and his core values, I was certain that was a bad idea.

Now, if Joe’s goals were considerably more modest — say, doubling his salary in five years — then his chances of success would have been very good. But that would be a small goal, not a big goal. To set and accomplish big goals, you should make them vague.

Second, the true reward you get by setting and accomplishing goals is not in the final accomplishment, but in the process of moving forward. In Bob’s case, he would begin to feel better about himself the very first day he began to get into better shape.

And that good feeling would motivate him to continue working toward the goal. And all the while he’d be feeling that goodness.

That’s what happened to me with my vague “get rich” goal. I began to feel “richer” the very next day when I was making decisions at work that I knew would eventually make me richer. I then felt good about every step I took along the way: when my salary doubled from $35,000 to $70,000, when I paid off my debts, when I made my first million, and so on. But the pleasure of achieving that goal came mostly from the process of moving forward, not from the accomplishment of it, which would only have come once at the very end.

Do you see what I’m saying?

Your big, long-term goals should be vague or at least somewhat vague (if you want to make the objective specific, leave the date out, or put the date in and make the objective unspecific), because that vagueness will allow you to enjoy every day along the path, not just the final day when you reach the destination.

And enjoying the process is about living well and happily in the here and now. And that’s really the most important thing, isn’t it?

I feel very strongly about this core idea of setting and attaining goals — and the goal-setting project I’ve begun to that end. In fact, I’ve tentatively named the group “The Goaltenders.” I’ll continue mentoring the participants, and we’ll meet monthly to track everyone’s progress. Look for updates about how the Goaltenders are doing in future issues of The Palm Beach Letter.

 

About the Editor: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes thePalm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.
HEALTHY

Breaking the Addiction to Your Phone

From The Atlantic

Tristan Harris, a former product philosopher at Google, is the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience. As the co‑founder of Time Well Spent, an advocacy group, he is trying to bring moral integrity to software design: essentially, to persuade the tech world to help us disengage more easily from its devices.

While some blame our collective tech addiction on personal failings, like weak willpower, Harris points a finger at the software itself. That itch to glance at our phone is a natural reaction to apps and websites engineered to get us scrolling as frequently as possible. The attention economy, which showers profits on companies that seize our focus, has kicked off what Harris calls a “race to the bottom of the brain stem.”

“You could say that it’s my responsibility” to exert self-control when it comes to digital usage, he explains, “but that’s not acknowledging that there’s a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job is to break down whatever responsibility I can maintain.” In short, we’ve lost control of our relationship with technology because technology has become better at controlling us.

Read about Harris’ movement to rally product designers to adopt a “Hippocratic oath” for software that would check the practice of “exposing people’s psychological vulnerabilities.”

 

Ghostwriting

 


Writing in the Background: A Glimpse into Ghostwriting

By Assuanta Howard @astapubl

Ghostwriting can be synonymous with translating or editing, but it can also mean researching or organizing a written piece. Perhaps the word “translating” is the best way to characterize ghostwriting, whether it’s translating scattered ideas into a cohesive work or capturing and translating the style and voice of an author.

Although ghostwriters perform a myriad of functions in the production of a publication, ghostwriters often remain completely anonymous, unknown to their readers. Sometimes an author may choose to name a ghostwriter as coauthor and credit the ghostwriter’s contribution to the overall creative formation of the work. Other times a ghostwriter might simply be thanked in the acknowledgements.

So, why hire a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriters can organize thoughts and perform research for you. These services can be extremely helpful, especially if your book is primarily purposed to instruct or inform. You may have general knowledge and ideas for your book that a ghostwriter can help you build upon. You can give your ghostwriter your vision for your work and then he or she can help your brainstorm or research to find more ideas.

Ghostwriters also help an author express his or her voice in written form. Speaking is certainly different from writing, and although one might have ideas and enthusiasm, it can sometimes be difficult to translate that onto paper. Not everyone with a great book idea is as comfortable with writing as they are with speaking. In these cases, the ghostwriter’s greatest task is interviewing the author and then capturing the author’s tone as he or she writes the book for the author.

Whose work is it really?

The “credit” for the creative work of ghostwriting may seem like a point of contention. There are several ways to view this issue. One is to see the “creator” of the work as the one who first had the idea, and the other is to view the creator as the one who wrote the piece. If one understands “creation” as the conception of ideas, then creative credit must go to the author.

Ghostwriters can be a wonderful asset to authors; they ease the burden of research, editing, and revising, and they help authors turn thoughts and ideas into publishable material. Ghostwriters are like the pen in an author’s hand. With the author’s direction, they move to find a way to best communicate the author’s message.

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

www.astapublications.com