Category Archives: Techniques

Adopt The 10x Mindset

By Thomas Oppong

There are no absolutes in life. And there are no givens. Everything is up for grabs. Most people dream of accomplishing something extraordinary in life. But life slips by and their most meaningful dreams slide silently to the side while they’re getting everything else done.

Grant Cardone says, “Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses, and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams!”

Operating at an exponentially higher level is exactly what you need to do better and be successful in your endeavors. But everything starts with a decision to aim higher than usual. Only those with the right mindset, attitude and skill can take advantage of the enormous human potential.

You can’t achieve extraordinary results with an ordinary mindset

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”― Michelangelo Buonarroti

Many people are far below their expectations because they have big dreams, incredible ideas, and fantastic goals but put in little or no ACTION.

As you build on your accomplishments and your confidence grows, you will naturally want to aim higher. Now that you’ve got some momentum going, it’s time to double your effort.

Extreme success in your own terms can only be achieved by taking massive action with the 10X rule, a concept made popular by Grant Cardone.

The 10X rule is based on the idea you should figure out what you want to do, goals you want to achieve, and multiply the effort and time you think it’ll take to do by 10.

In his book, 10x Rule, The Only Difference Between Success and FailureGrant provides an awesome blueprint for how you can rise above the status quo to take “massive action” instead of behaving like everybody else and settling for average results.

“The greatest turning point of my life, both professionally and personally, was when I stopped casually waiting for success and instead started to approach it as a duty, obligation and responsibility,” says Cardone.

We have a tendency to underestimate what we can accomplish, and therefore set lower goals and not reach our full potential.

When you apply the 10x rule and mindset to your thinking, and apply it to how you act, you can do more in the shortest possible time. And you will still have time to take care of a lot of other things on your to-do list.

Stay hungry!

The idea of a 10x advantage is to aim ten times higher when you set your goals in business and life. You are probably not thinking big enough about your life’s work, projects, and what you want to achieve in your career.

A 10x mindset or goal means that if you come up short, you’ll still find yourself further along than if you had maintained your life’s current goals, visions and everything else you have planned to achieve.

Christopher Reeve once said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

And it also means that you open yourself up to bigger possibilities for the future that make it increasingly easier to make decisions and take action in the present. You can move and work your goals 10 times faster while being consistent and persistent.

But don’t underestimate how much energy and effort it will take to push things through though. Things could take longer to complete or cost more. Plan for these things you plan to focus on ahcieving more using the 10x rule.

Thinkers and dreamers are the new untouchables

“Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.” — Adolph Monod

We’ve been conditioned to think small, simplify and to expect less and demand less from life. Don’t be subject to the tyranny of “how things have always been done”. Find your true north and push past the default.

For centuries we’ve been trained by the system to stop thinking and do as we are told. But dreamers and thinkers change the world. They don’t follow any logic. It’s hard to replace the dreamers with algorithms.

Can you build something people will look for, will talk about or something we would miss if it were gone. Think about your capacity to think creatively and exponentially. And your your capacity to provide value to others. Start seeing things from a wider and far reaching perspective.

You should start thinking big without reservations. Practice thinking about your future being 10x bigger and better, and you’ll develop a new 10x standard for viewing the world.

You can only contribute more, learn more, become more and stretch yourself and your own abilities beyond their current psychological limitations if you give yourself permission to think beyond the obvious.

Turn mindset into action

The right intentions will only get you so far. You also must act. A 10x mindset radically shifts your thinking, your decision-making, and the actions you take.

Start identifying actions that are blocking your progress toward 10x growth and get rid of them. Focus on doing even better at those things you’re already good at and stop worrying about everything you struggle with.

Tackle every project with the 10X Rule, acting like you have to succeed because your life depends on it.

Before you go…

If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly (my free digest of the best productivity, career and self-improvement posts). Subscribe and get a free copy of my new eBook, “The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results”. Join 23,300+ readers.

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What’s the cheapest business to start?

By Erik Tozier

I was grabbing a coffee with a friend the other day and in the coffee shop, we got into a conversation with a gentleman who started telling us about his food truck. He was going on about how they originally took a $50k loan to get the business going, and how he was spending 16 hours a day on the business. I was supportive and respectful, but not how I look to go about my businesses. 16 hours a day at the beginning, maybe 1 hour a day once it’s launched.

Brick and mortar businesses are going out of style. Brick and mortar businesses are expensive as well ($50k for a food truck with no guarantee of success!!) If you want to make it big, you have to leverage your network and the reach of the internet.

I’ll give you a few business ideas that cost less than $200 to start. Most are built around creating content and building an audience. Content creation is a great way to start a business. Essentially, build an audience, then monetize. I will also list a few others.

  • Blog (less than $50 for domain name and 12 months of hosting fees)
    • Start writing unique content on a specific niche and you will build an audience. Over time, you can add ads, affiliate links, products, coaching courses, etc. to your blog. Since you already have an audience, they will be open to buying.
  • Social Media Sites: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook (free)
    • Why not utilize a platform that already has millions of users? You can create an account on any of these platforms and start building a business this way.
    • I watch a lot of YouTube videos and it’s crazy how people can make a living off creating videos.
    • One downside of these platforms is if they change their algorithm or pay-out structure, then you may lose out on views, ad revenue, etc.
  • Consulting or Coaching (Free, but will take time to build a client book and reputation)
    • Are you an expert in a certain field? You can contract for and consult clients for a solid hourly wage. It’s a fun job and if you can communicate well, it would be a solid role for you.
  • Digital Product Creation (think e-book or how-to-guide, Free)
    • Creating a e-book on an area you are passionate about and sell it for a few bucks. The only time you spend is upfront, after that, it’s passive income.

It’s a great strategy these days to leverage the internet’s wide reach. There is so much money in the world right now… we just need to go and get it.

About me

I’m Angie! I was married for 13 years and I have two children from the marriage, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Gabrielle and our son Anthony. My children are karate instructors and I am very proud of them.

I am now 51 and although I was born and raised in Haiti, I now reside in the United States. I went to high school in NYC and my mother wanted my siblings and me to have a better life, so we moved to New Jersey!

My son Anthony Diaz-Cervo has a vlog channel on YouTube where he shares parts of his life, and my daughter has a blog www.fiercelybeautifulblog.com. I wanted my own creative outlet to express myself. With that being said, I originally started blogging for the karate school I had with my then husband, beginning of 1996 as somewhat of a hobby because I simply love to write.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial attitude and love owning something of my own. This blog has become so much more than a hobby to me, I’ve been fortunate enough to pursue this as my growing career, one I have always dreamed of.

I have so many interests; motherhood, parenting, fashion, writing, self-development and so much more which is why I chose my name to use as my blog title. I thought for months, “what kind of title represents me?” and I just couldn’t think of anything more fitting than my own name.

I am a go with the flow type of gal with a passion for creating. I am always looking for fun, exciting opportunities to work with brands and companies to create great content together!

How to Separate Yourself From the Competition

 


By Dorie Clark @dorieclark

Many entrepreneurs are stymied by the question: how am I actually different from the competition? We know it’s essential to identify a “unique selling proposition,” but in a competitive marketplace where it seems everything’s been done, it can sometimes be hard to articulate your specific value.

That’s why one of the people I profile in my new book Stand Out is television chef Rachael Ray — precisely because, on the surface, she didn’t stand out at all. But as her example shows, one important strategy entrepreneurs can follow is reframing your expertise so that what’s banal in one setting becomes revelatory in another.

In her world — the world of cooking — it’s pretty clear what “expert” means: you run a high-end restaurant, or you’ve been trained at elite cooking schools. Rachael Ray did neither. As Boris Groysberg and Kerry Herman revealed in a fascinating Harvard Business Review case study, she started out as the food buyer for a gourmet market in Albany, N.Y. and began doing “30-minute meal” cooking demonstrations at the store. The store didn’t choose her for the role because of her prodigious talents; it was because no chef in the area would accept the store’s low rates.

She eventually got her big break when someone gave a copy of her cookbook (published by a one-woman press) to a Today Show producer. When a snowstorm prompted a wave of guest cancellations, the producer called up Ray – who, after driving nine hours in the snow, made her first appearance and was an immediate hit, leading to a lucrative contract with the Food Network.

Ray was derided because she lacked the credentials of illustrious peers like Emeril Lagasse or Mario Batali. She acknowledged the criticism, the HBR case study notes, and even warned the Food Network that “I’m not a chef, you’ve been duped.” But that was exactly why they wanted her.

The Food Network was chock full of elite chefs who made beautiful meals but the trouble was, their professionalism and perfection risked making them unrelatable to everyday people. But viewers intuitively felt that if Rachael Ray — a spunky everywoman with no formal credentials — could make a dish work, they could, too. If she were just another neighbor on your block, her ability to make tasty 30-minute meals would be nice, but not earth shattering. But in the context of the Food Network — which had built a brand around celebrity chefs — she was a revelation.

Today, Ray has created an entrepreneurial empire, replete with television shows, endorsement deals and product extensions — and her example holds lessons for all entrepreneurs. Too often, we compare ourselves to the most “qualified” people in our field and are concerned about not having the most prestigious diplomas or formal qualifications. But as Ray shows, those often aren’t necessary, and you don’t need to compete head-to-head on credentials. If you can offer something distinctive in a given context, you can succeed.

Think about who needs your skills or approach but doesn’t typically have access to them. There are 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide, but there may be very few who serve people in your industry or your community and that could be your competitive advantage. And there may be plenty of people with good communication skills but surprisingly few who blend that with an understanding of engineering or technology. The talents that seem banal in one context can lead to breakthroughs in another.

Ask yourself what perceived weakness could become your strength, and if there’s an area where you don’t have credentials or expertise, which could become a selling point. You may not think you have anything unique to offer but as Rachael Ray discovered, changing the context changes everything.

What You Can Learn From Misty Copeland About Achieving the Impossible

By Catherine Clifford @CatClifford

 

The world of elite, professional ballet is tiny, brutal and exacting. It operates within a long history of well-established traditions to define excellence in the industry. In that world, ballet dancers are long, lean, have delicate waists, small busts, lithe legs and are white.

And then there’s Misty Copeland: 5’2”, curvy, muscular and black.

This week, Copeland, 32, was promoted to the highest rank in one of the premier ballet companies in the world: principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater. Her promotion goes into effect on Aug. 1, according to an announcement from the theater.

Copeland is changing the face of the world of ballet and fueling the dreams of so many young dancers out there. But more than that, she’s an inspiration to anyone trying to overcome barriers or achieve what sometimes feels impossible.

Here are five lessons from her story.

1. It’s never too late to get started.

Copeland, one of six children raised by an itinerant and poor family, took her first ballet class at the ripe-old age of 13. That may sound young, but for a female ballet dancer, taking a first class at 13 is ancient. Men often start training older than professional female ballet dancers, but women who are considering a professional ballet career start training by 6 or 7 years old. (Ideally, you want to start training a woman’s body to move in the lines of ballet before muscles and limbs get too rigid.)

The takeaway: If you’re thinking about making a big move — starting a business, taking up a new hobby — don’t let your age be an excuse. Some of the most successful leaders in history found their purpose later in life.

2. Don’t let money be a barrier.

Professional ballet classes are expensive, and Copeland grew up in a family with a lot of kids and not much money. Her first ballet class was a free class offered on a basketball course at a Boys & Girls Club. She didn’t have a leotard, tights and ballet shoes, so she wore gym shorts, a shirt and socks.

Recognizing her natural talent and grace, the volunteer teacher at the Boys & Girls center brought her into her own ballet school on a full scholarship for the next four years. After that, she was accepted at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensives on full scholarship. She joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000 and the main company as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001. She was made soloist in August of 2007.

The takeaway: There’s no price on passion. Pursue your dreams, surround yourself with good people and seek the wisdom of mentors.

3. Don’t let precedents determine your future.

Copeland is the star of a viral Under Armour commercial where she is seen dancing while a girl reads a rejection letter from a ballet company. As someone who didn’t fit the typical ballerina mold, she understood feelings of rejection acutely.

“Because I was being told you’re not right for this role and you’re not right for that role, I really believed it. I thought that maybe I should leave ABT or join a company where I’m surrounded by other black dancers that look like me,” she told Vogue Italia in 2013. “But for me that is completely giving up, because my goal was always to dance for ABT. That went on for most of my early twenties. It was hard to dig myself out of that hole.”

The takeaway: There will be times in your life where you face failure and rejection. Learn from those moments, but don’t give up.

4. Promote yourself.

Copeland is more active outside the ballet studio than most other elite dancers. She published a bestselling autobiography, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, was on the cover of Time magazine, is the subject of a documentary, keeps an active presence on social media, and the list goes on.

Copeland’s desire to get her story out is to inspire other girls who aren’t built like the typical ballerina. And getting her story out requires her to be a savvy business woman in a tough market.

“It’s important to believe in yourself. Especially when you get to a professional level, you have to be the one that is promoting yourself. There are so many dancers that you are competing against and that you have to stand out with. And if you don’t believe that you are worthy, then no one else will,” Copeland said in an interview in April.  

The takeaway: Identify what it is that makes you or your business special and run with it. Your belief in yourself will help others take notice.

5. Seize the moment.

When Copeland was a soloist, the rank below principal, she was given the opportunity to take the lead role in Firebird, a Russian ballet about a magical bird. It was April of 2012, and she had six stress fractures in her leg at the time, but she went on with the performance without telling her artistic director.

“Any of those times could have been the last times I danced, had my bone completely snapped,” she told 60 Minutes in December 2014. “I was 29 years old and I was really given the biggest role of my career at that point and I felt had I not done this performance and proven myself that I was capable and mature enough to become this character, that I wouldn’t be given the opportunity again.” She says, with a bit of a nervous, relieved laugh, “I think it paid off.”

Indeed, Misty. Indeed.

The takeaway: You aren’t going to get to most elite levels of success by always playing the safe card. Take risks, but be strategic

Failure Is Not the End. It’s an Opportunity to Learn.

 


By Ronald Burr @ronburr

 

It was 1998. I walked into my first meeting with my now friend Bill Gross, the founder and CEO of Idealab. I was shown to a conference room that had quotes on the wall, and one of them, from Thomas Edison, immediately jumped out at me: “I have not failed 1,000 times, I have successfully found 1,000 ways that will not make a light bulb.” This quote, or at least some version of it, is the mantra of every successful entrepreneur.

We learn about failure early in life. Kids race each other on the playground and are tested in school and given grades each year, quickly learning what it means to win or lose, pass or fail. Not winning tends to have a stigma around it, and can ultimately lead to labels like “failure” or “loser.” Too many people allow external views to define their self-worth and thus are afraid of ridicule stemming from these unfair labels, which we even give to our own friends and family. Through societal behavior, we teach people to not be risk takers.

I’m not here to say there is no such thing as failure. Failure is very real, but it is not an end destination — it’s another event in the course of life. Experiencing one failure or 100 does not make you a failure. Failure is an external event that happens. It is not a personality characteristic. One who fails a lot, we could say, takes a lot of risks. It’s important to separate the events of failure from the personal characteristic of being a failure.

Failure is an opportunity to learn. When we confuse our personal sense of self-value with success, we are restricting our ability to learn because our ego becomes another factor in this equation. Our ego tells us we succeeded because we’re so smart and so great, or that we failed because we are a loser and can’t win at anything.

This clouds the analytical process of simply looking at the results of a situation and asking ourselves, “What happened?” There are key questions to ask in order to learn and grow from past mistakes.

  • How did I approach this?”
  • How prepared was I?”
  • What was within my control to change and what was not?”
  • Of the things within my control, what other actions could I have taken that might have produced a different outcome?”

Likewise, success can equally blind us from learning. Just like failure, success is an external event and does not necessarily define you as a winner. Many entrepreneurs who have experienced success make the mistake of believing they did it all on their own, forgetting the team and support that helped them achieve their goals. Of course, they made good decisions at the right time, worked hard and achieved success, but in almost all cases, there were other team members who assisted in the win.

Because failure is so bitingly painful, it tends to get more personal introspection than success. However, it’s the entrepreneurs’ optimistic “never say die” attitude that can also get in the way of self-evaluation and looking at the contributing causes of failure. Learn to separate the event of failure from your personal identity and invest in objectively reviewing the situation and trying a different approach next time. This relates to a core message I share with every entrepreneur — be ruthlessly honest with yourself and others. Denial is your worst enemy.

Strive to find flaws in your ideas or processes and eliminate them. You are only doomed to repeatedly fail if you choose not to learn from your past mistake

Catcher

1) Make yourself vulnerable
2) Demonstrate grace
3) Stand apart
4) Identify with the broken people
5) Speak life

Learn from my mistakes
Use what you have
Do everything for the Lord

Wanting Someone Else to Fulfill Our Lives

BY LEO BABAUTA

I have a friend who is lonely, who has such a good heart and desperately wants to find a partner who appreciates that goodness, to share a life with.

We have all felt this, I’m guessing: this desire for a deep connection, this hope that another person will just get us and want an intimate relationship with us, the idea that if we could just find this person and merge with them, we’d be fulfilled.

What if we tossed that idea out on its head?

What if everything we need for happiness and fulfillment is within us?

What if all the requirements for fulfillment were in this very moment, not in some imagined ideal future?

What if the idea of a romantic partner who is perfect (because of their imperfections!) and who fills our every need is just a fantasy that isn’t helping us?

The truth is that even those of us who have partners know that it’s not all honeymoon, and in fact a long-term relationship contains a lot of struggle. The fulfillment that we get in life ends up (mostly) not coming from the other person, but from ourselves.

What would it be like if we let go of this fantasy of a fulfilling partner, this fantasy of a better future … and instead focused on finding fulfillment in the here and now, within ourselves?

Where We Get Fulfillment

Another person isn’t going to fulfill us — at best, they’ll make us feel better about ourselves, and listen to us. The listening part is great, but we can get that from friends or family as well. The feeling better about ourselves is a function we can fulfill on our own as well. I’m not saying a partner is useless, but I am saying that a partner isn’t needed for fulfillment.

So how can we fulfill ourselves, by ourselves?

Well, what brings fulfillment? In my experience, focusing on pleasures like food, entertainment, online distractions, sex, drugs, alcohol, and thrills … these only bring temporary pleasure, but in the end you’re left wanting more.

Fulfillment comes from something deeper — finding meaning in life, finding appreciation for the fleeting beauty of every moment, being in service of others, loving.

But we don’t need a partner for those things. We can find meaning by searching within ourselves and in the world around us. We can start to appreciate the impermanence and joyful moments around us all the time. We can be in service of others in our community. We can love anyone, from those already in our lives (even if they don’t know we’re doing it) to strangers on the street, to all living beings.

Fulfillment From Within

What if we could do all these things just sitting here, doing nothing?

What if this very moment contained all we need for fulfillment?

Try looking within:

  • Stop and be still. Sit and do nothing, finding stillness and just noticing the moment.
  • Notice your body, your breath, emotions that happen in your body (like a tightness in your chest, or a warmth in your heart area), your thoughts.
  • See that there is constant change within you, and a loving goodness as well.
  • Fall in love with all that you see, from the emotions and thoughts to the body and breath, from the impermanence to the underlying goodness.
  • Reflect on a desire to be in service of yourself, and others.
  • Cultivate a love for yourself and all others by radiating a wish for everyone, including yourself, to be free of suffering, to be happy, to find joy.
  • Reflect on your innate connection to others — reflect on how others support your life, how the food that nourishes you is brought to you by thousands of others, how you’ve been created into the person you are because of the influences of every person you’ve met and connected with. This web of connections is how you are always a part of everything and everyone around you, a deep connection that is ever-changing and everlasting.
  • Reflect on your surroundings and in the constant change and beauty that is in every single thing, in the ocean of matter and energy that you are a part of.

These and more are always available, right now and in every moment, in you and all around you.

This practice can bring fulfillment, and nothing is required but attention, appreciation, gratitude and love. You have that in you.

7 Most Important Mindsets That Will Set You Up For Long-Term Success

By Thomas Oppong

Book Of Dreams

Your life is your creation. You have most things you need to shape it and make it incredible. It’s not something that happens to you — unless you abandon your position as its chief architect. If you think your life is out of your control, it’s because you’ve chosen to relinquish the controls.

Your life will improve the moment you realize life isn’t something to be endured or tolerated. It’s an experience of your own creation. If your life sucks, it’s because you’ve been a sucky creator. But you can get better.

Getting unstuck is about making simple decisions and taking actions, always moving away from what you don’t want and towards what you want. If you don’t know what you want, then just move away from what you don’t want until you figure it out.

You are immensely resilient. Even when you’re in seemingly hopeless situations, we can still dig yourself out and make something better of it. These mindsets can radically improve your success and make you a stronger person.

1. Self discovery is a process

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ― Aristotle

Life and living it is all about the journey. When you follow your own true north you create new opportunities, have different experiences and create a the life you want.

Simply sitting back and letting things happen doesn’t yield the quality of life you aspire. Most people’s lives are still not perfectly clear.

It’s a struggle almost every adult goes through. “What do I want to do with my life?” “What do I not suck at?” Millions of people have no clue what they want to do with themselves. And that’s okay.

No assessment is going to provide you with immediate clarity and sense of purpose. Seeking clarity in uncertain times can be a daunting experience, and it can be very stressful if the solutions you seek don’t appear when you need them.

Make no mistake, self-discovery is a journey!

There’s no better feeling than suddenly becoming clear on something that had previously been a road block in your life. Those “aha!” moments are a real blessing when they come. “The only journey is the one within.” says Rainer Maria Rilke.

Curiosity, being open to explore the unknown, ready to embrace the surprises that come along the way, are essential attitudes for self-discovery and for gaining clarity about your own life purpose.

2. You alone are responsible for your life

“Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” — Book Of Dreams

The first and the greatest courage in life is the courage to take responsiblity for own life. Like it not, you alone are responsible for the person you are today.

Bob Moawad says this about taken ownership of your life:

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours — it is an amazing journey — and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”

This shift in mindset isn’t easy, but it can help you take control of your own success. It can help you do better at work, develop stronger and more positive relationships, improve your personal productivity and satisfaction.

You already have this ability and the responsibility for your life. Everyone does. But most us aren’t willing to accept that we alone have the power to live our lives how we want it.

The most important thing you need is the mindset of commitment and ownership to a result before you set out to do something, whether it’s to get through your day or start a project!

Stop blaming your problems and failures — big or small — on the people around you. Stop using “circumstances beyond my control” as the scapegoat for your own choices, decisions, behaviours, and actions. Be accountable for your actions.

Adopt a mindset of taking more responsibility in your life. Take control of your own success right now!

3. Life isn’t perfect: not everything goes as planned

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. — George Bernard Shaw

There is no such thing as perfect. The perfect outcome can sometimes elude you. You won’t achieve every goal. But it’s important to make plans and move on. Spend just as much time learning what to do when things inevitably stray off your path as you do to create the plan in the first place.

Landon Donovan says “Life isn’t perfect, of course, but we all know it’s how you react to things that counts.”

Your best strategy when making a plan is to make contingency plans for the inevitable result that life will not unfold according to plan.

Your plans for tomorrow, next month or next year may not unfold as you expect. Don’t be crippled by your failures. Don’t stop trying. If you know that changes to your plan are inevitable, it is best to seek them out and adapt when necessary.

Life is unpredictable. And that’s okay. Embrace it. Always be ready for change. It’s what makes life so interesting.

When nothing is certain, everything is possible!

4. Every obstacle is the way forward

“I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step. If that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult. I know that small attempts, repeated, will complete any undertaking.” — Og Mandino

You will come across obstacles in life — fair and unfair.

And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure.

You will learn that this reaction determines how successful we will be in overcoming — or possibly thriving because of — them.

On Dec. 10, 1914, a massive explosion erupted in West Orange, New Jersey. Ten buildings in legendary inventor Thomas Edison’s plant, which made up more than half of the site, were engulfed in flames. Machinery worth millions and all the papers pertaining to his lifelong research were burnt to ashes.

Later, at the scene of the blaze, Edison was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.”

Thomas Edison’s persistence was exemplified in his famous quote, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

A.H. Wilson, his vice president and general manager, told The Times after the flames died down: “There’s only one thing to do, and that is to jump right in and rebuild.”

In his book, “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph, Ryan Holiday writes:

“We forget: In life, it doesn’t matter what happens to you or where you came from. It matters what you do with what happens and what you’ve been given.”

People who persist no matter the obstacles, sooner or later are bound to succeed. Despite the setbacks, it’s in your best interest to turn obstacles into stepping stones. Don’t choose to complain, or worse, to just give up. These choices do nothing to get you across the finish line.

Elbert Hubbard once made a profound statement about the importance of not given up. She said “A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.”

The obstacle in your path is the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.

5. Everything in life is a journey

Life is a journey and it’s about growing and changing and coming to terms with who and what you are and loving who and what you are. — Kelly McGillis

If you are not putting your 100% energy, effort and time into any process, progress will be slow or not happen at all.

Our minds are a bit funny, full of cognitive biases that have been shaped overtime by experiences, events, and memories. Over time, your beliefs can cause your brains to draw false conclusions about life that affects the way you think, and the decisions you make.

Carol Dweck, author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” said:

“The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you live your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.”

You don’t always need the perfect plan. Sometimes you just need to give it a try, let go, and see what happens. That’s courage. Action begets outcome. Outcome begets action. Rinse, lather and repeat and you have momentum. You’ll become unstoppable.

You have more than one shot to create the life you want!

I have screwed up many, many times in the past, but I have moved on. You’re going to make your own, and that’s okay so long as you learn from them and figure out a different path towards the same goal.

The biggest screw up you can make is to just give up and accept that you can’t succeed because of you who you are or where you come from. If you are going through hell, don’t stop. And if you catch hell, don’t hold it.

6. It’s okay to suck at most things in the beginning!

“A genius! For 37 years I’ve practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!” — Pablo Sarasate

You don’t have to be great to start anything you care about. But you have to start right now if you want to be great at some point in your career. The decision to start is the most important step you can ever take to be the best in the world at what you want to do. Your first book, post, podcast, app, real business meeting, interview, pitch will not be great. But don’t let that get the best of you.

Mary Tyler Moore once said “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”

Most people quit the moment they experience that first dissapointment. It’s a test. You have to fight your way through. That’s what matters. A few people stick around until they get it right. In fact, you rarely get it right in the beginning.

I still suck at writing. I didn’t even like writing. But I like the process. It feeds my curiosity. But guess what, I have never stopped reading and practicing. I love to share my imperfections. I can only become better with practice. I value the process.

The greatest impediment to creativity is our impatience, the almost inevitable desire to hurry up the process, express something, and make a quick splash. If you want to be the best at anything, you need to be the best at practicing more than anyone else. The value of practice can have profound effects on your career.

When we start to believe that we can do no wrong, we lose the edge that keeps us alert and open to new opportunities for growth.

When you practice something — anything — you improve, you grow, you advance, you gain a skill and heaps of confidence in the process, because you get better with time.

7. Done is better than perfect

“Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” — Kim Collins

The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists. It rewards people who get things done. Being perfect is not important, but getting the job done matters.

Professor Tracey Wade of the School of Psychology at Flinders University in South Australia defines “unhealthy perfectionism” as “high standards combined with brutal self-criticism.” It’s the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.

Give yourself time in your life to wonder what’s possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction. Following through and finishing things is one of the most important things you can learn.

You will screw up in the process but it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake or making a wrong choice. It will only lead to self destructive behaviour.

It’s okay to screw up as long as you are willing to try again. Non- conformists and originals screw up a lot. But they move on, knowing that at some point, the breakthrough will happen.

No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.

Always remember that good enough and done are better than perfect.

15 Ways to Retire Earlier

AN EARLY START TO YOUR GOLDEN YEARS

The word “retirement” and number “65” are as linked in the North American psyche as “bacon” and “eggs.” Then again, that all depends on how fast you want your eggs, right?

Retiring early — or leaving the work force for the golf course, if you like — might sound like an unattainable goal. But there are many ways to make it, so long as you take numerous approaches into account.

Yes, 65 is the standard — but what’s 21st century life all about if not exceeding standards? Here are 15 major financial and lifestyle moves you can make to achieve this goal.

Are you fantasizing about early retirement. Here’s how to make that dream a reality.

1. LIVE TWO TO THREE TIMES BELOW YOUR MEANS

Sorry, folks: Simply skipping that $4 latte in the morning ain’t gonna cut it. It takes a much more committed approach where “sacrifices” are viewed in a new light. “It’s amazing when I work through the numbers that some people think manicures, landscapers and maids are a need,” said Michael Chadwick, a certified financial planner and CEO of Chadwick Financial Advisors in Unionville, Conn.

2. REDEFINE ‘COMFORTABLE RETIREMENT’

Less spending later constitutes the flip side of less spending now. If you imagine comfy retirement as a vacation home and monthly cruise ship trips, revisit that vision so you don’t have to bleed cash — but can still retire in style. Instead of two homes, for example, why not live in your vacation destination and pocket the principal from selling your primary residence?

3. PAY OFF ALL YOUR DEBT

That’s right, all of it. First: Is it time to pay off your home? You might not have the resources now to plunk down one huge check, but consider savvy alternatives such as switching from a 30-year to 15-year mortgage. Monthly payments aren’t much higher, but the principal payoff is much greater. Second: Do the same with loans and credit cards, as high interest eats up income faster than termites chewing a log. A credit card balance of just $15,000 with an APR of 19.99 percent will take you five years to eradicate at $400 a month — and you’ll dish out a total of $23,764.48, the calculator on timevalue.com shows.

4. CONSIDER OVERLOOKED FINANCIAL RESOURCES

While it’s risky to count on unknowns such as an inheritance, you might have cash streams available outside the traditional retirement realm, said Jennifer E. Acuff, wealth advisor with TrueWealth Management in Atlanta. For example, “Understand your options with respect to any pensions you might be entitled to from current or previous employers.”

5. INVEST EARLY AND AGGRESSIVELY

If you’re in your 20s and start investing now, you’re in luck, said Joseph Jennings Jr., investment director for PNC Wealth Management in Baltimore. “Due to the power of compounding, the first dollar saved is the most important, as it has the most growth potential over time.” As an example, Jennings compares $10,000 saved at age 25 versus 60. “The 25-year-old has 40 years of growth potential at the average retirement age of 65, whereas $10,000 saved at age 60 only has five years of growth potential.”

6. MARRIED COUPLES: PLAY RETIREMENT ACCOUNT MATCHMAKER

The wisdom of taking advantage of a company match on the 401(k) is well established — but think about how that power is accelerated if a working couple does it with two such company matches. “If your employer has a matching contribution inside of your company’s plan, make sure you always contribute at least enough to receive it,” said Kevin J. Meehan, regional president-Chicago with Wealth Enhancement Group. “You are essentially leaving money on the table if you don’t.”

7. PRACTICE SOUND CASH FLOW MANAGEMENT

The methodology is simple, yet the results can be profound: Put money at least monthly into systematic investments during your working years. “There’s no other element of investment planning or portfolio management that’s more essential over the long term,” said Jesse Mackey, chief investment officer of 4Thought Financial Group in Syosset, N.Y.

8. JUMP ON EMPLOYER STOCK PURCHASE PLANS

How about some free money? The ESPP typically works by payroll deduction, with the company converting the money into shares every six months at a 15 percent discount. If you immediately liquidate those shares every time they’re delivered, it’s like get a guaranteed 15 percent rate of return,” said Dave Yeske, managing director at the wealth management firm Yeske Buie and director of the financial planning program at Golden Gate University. “Add the after-tax proceeds to your supplemental retirement savings.”

9. START THAT RETIREMENT ACCOUNT TODAY

That is, the earlier the better. Millennials who kick off retirement accounts early will reap big rewards later. A 25-year-old who socks away $4,000 a year for just 10 years (with a 10 percent annual return rate) will accrue more than $883,000 by the time she turns 60. Now then: Can’t you just taste those pina coladas on the beach?

10. PLAN SMART VACATIONS AND TRAVEL — AND INVEST THE DIFFERENCE

There’s no sense in depriving yourself of every single thing, especially well-deserved time off. But Yeske points out that you can save a ton in 150 countries through a service called HomeExchange.com. “My wife and I have stayed for free in London, Amsterdam, New York and Costa Rica,” he said. “And when you’re staying in someone’s home or apartment, you don’t have to eat out at a restaurant for every meal, so your food costs nothing more than if you were at home.”

11. DON’T LET YOUR MONEY SIT IDLE

To get to an early retirement, you have to periodically revisit your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement account to make sure your money doesn’t grow cobwebs. For example, the way your retirement account is diversified shouldn’t put too much emphasis on low-yield investments — such as money market funds and low-yielding bonds. “Dividends can pile up in the money market account, typically earning one one-hundredth of a percent,” Yeske said. “Make sure your cash is invested properly.

12. HOP OFF THE HEDONIC TREADMILL

In this curse of consumerism, you buy something expensive, feel excited and then scout for something else to purchase when the “new car smell” wears off. And it’s a huge trap if you want early retirement, said Pete, a finance blogger who retired in his 30s. Another advantage: “Here in the rich world,” he wrote at MrMoneyMoustache.com, “the only widespread form of slavery is the economic type.”

 

13. LOOK FOR PASSIVE SOURCES OF INCOME

Early retirement doesn’t necessarily mean retiring all of your income, especially if you find ways to bring in money without hard work. Investing in rental properties is one way you can create a cash flow stream — and you can minimize the labor by hiring a property manager. Or: Set up an internet sales business and hire a part-timer to fulfill orders and track stock based on volume

14. ENLIST IN THE ARMED FORCES

Here’s an alternative way to get to “At ease, men.” By serving in the military, you can also serve yourself. Members commonly retire after 20 years, living off generous pensions and health insurance. Even though President Obama in March proposed sweeping changes to military retirement and health benefits, earlier-than-normal retirement should still remain an option for many men and women in uniform.

15. HIT THE ROAD OR GO JUMP IN A LAKE, INDEFINITELY

Some middle agers are selling the bulk of their possessions — including the home — and moving into tricked-out mobile homes and houseboats. These options also open the door to a life of leisure travel and can eliminate major expenses, such as property taxes and mortgage payments.

If you think of retiring early as simply walking away from everyday life — and thus a pipe dream — it’s time to take a step back and look at how others have done it. You might enjoy your job immensely and have friends in the trenches with you. But if work is taking too much away from your family time, community bonds, overall health and peace of mind, you might do well to consider one of the smartest alternative investments of all: yourself.