To finish the year I asked you guys: “What’s one thing you learned about yourself in 2015 that actually improved your life somehow?” These are a few of the life improvement tips you sent in.
Bring on 2016!
Daniel – Turn Off Your Filter. Learn Self-Acceptance.
One thing I learned in 2015 that significantly improved my life was ‘turning off my filter’.
I’m a naturally shy guy. I was always that kid in the back of the classroom, with my hood on, not saying a word. Every year teachers would tell my parents the same thing over and over: “Daniel needs to speak up.”
In any case, I’ve spent the last 9 years working to overcome my shyness, and this year I had a huge revelation. Lower the bar and turn off my filter when I speak. I even developed an exercise that I can do alone to help me practice. It actually ended up getting featured on Inc.com and Business Insider. Check out the exercise here.
This has done wonders for my social life. I’ve found an incredible sense of freedom and self-acceptance. And this past month I decided to apply this online as well, and I saw incredible results.
Daniel has a free mini-course on learning to enjoy small talk at TheFriendFormula.com.
Janis – Build Confidence Through Habit.
There was one fundamental thing I learned to develop for myself in 2015: confidence. I noticed that most people are afraid of success, they struggle to achieve their goals because of a lack of confidence. And confidence is something you can learn to develop. It’s not rocket science.
You just have to develop some single daily tasks to change your habits, that change your attitude, that then strengthen your confidence. I started with a simple but effective approach – I set one task each day that takes some action from me to achieve it… whether it’s phone call, meeting, dealing with any uncomfortable situation – no matter what, but things where I can develop my attitude, improve my gestures, voice tone to get a positive outcome from any of these situations. This is how I became more confident whatever I did.
I made fundamental changes in my work life – changed jobs, got married, and in the middle of all this I finished my first Ironman triathlon, which I’ve wanted to do for the past 3-4 years. So looking back this has been a great year, and the truth is – you never know what will come next year. But one thing I can promise to myself – I will try better and harder in areas I am good at and hope for the best in areas I cannot affect.
So I wish to you and everybody a great next year and to become better than we all already are!
Janis has developed a simple, self-driven motivation method at five-tasks.com.
Emils – Meditation: Perfection Doesn’t Matter. Consistency Does.
It’s been a tough a year for me personally but I’ve managed to stay sane and focused thanks to meditation. In fact, my mind has never been as clear as it now.
The biggest lesson I learned is this:
It’s consistency that matters, not perfection. It’s okay to suck, don’t get discouraged if you feel like you are not doing it right. Truth is there is no right way, meditation is a very personal experience … you’ll get better with time as you’ll understand what works best for you.
But have a clear reason why you do it. It’s hard to maintain a habit if you’re constantly not sure why are you doing it.
I wanted to improve my focus and productivity as it is essential to my livelihood (if I’m not productive, I don’t get paid).
Now I can’t picture myself NOT meditating anymore because it helps me get in that flow state and get tons of shit done.
Not only that, I experienced benefits well beyond my professional life. I learned how to use it to overcome my personal difficulties.
Emils helps you turn more of your website visitors into paying customers and subscribers at emilsw.com.
Tobias – It’s Out There. Go Get It!
During 2015 I finished high school, worked as a nightclub runner and thereafter I flew to Costa Rica to become a SCUBA dive guide. During that Divemaster internship I realised that if I want to learn something interesting, do something remarkable, or become better in general, it is up for grabs and it’s up to me to go after it.
The fact that I had just travelled around the world, lived by myself and and become a Divemaster at the age of 19 left an ambitious feeling in me. Exposing myself daily to Elliott Hulse, Tai Lopez and different bloggers who all do their thing also made me realise it.
Tobias teaches people how to leave their comfort zone and improve their social skills at SimplifiedSocialSkills.com.
Louise – Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset.
I’ve recently learned about having a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset, and realised that I am very much of the fixed mindset school of thought. So I’ve now started to work on my thinking and changing to the growth mindset, by telling myself that it’s OK if I can’t do something right now, and that I can learn to get better.
At the age of 44 I am on my way to getting a university degree, something which I have wanted for years because I have that niggling feeling that I didn’t quite complete my education. This October I started my first level 3 and I suddenly felt totally out of my depth and started doubting my ability to study at this level.
It had come to the point where I was wondering if it was wiser to just admit it wasn’t for me and stop stressing myself out. However the idea of giving up on my dream really saddened me. And that’s when I found a link to this article. I have always been firmly of the belief that you either have it or you don’t when it comes to intelligence and aptitude – for example that you have a certain level of intelligence and once you get to the max of that, there’s no more you can do. That has also been my belief with regards to aptitude for maths, talent for art, music, handiwork, such as fine needlepoint, etc. I have always regarded myself as totally unable to draw, for example, or to do any other art.
Reading that article was like a lightbulb switching on in my brain. I was suddenly filled with determination. Now when I find myself wondering if I can do an assignment and reading others’ work and thinking to myself, with a sinking of the heart, “I can never write like that.”, I remind myself that I might not be able to do it right now… but I can learn.
Note from Pete: Seriously, read the “Fixed vs. Growth Mindset” article mentioned above. It might change your life.
Me (Pete) – Excessive Selflessness Is Selfish.
Being a little selfish is better than being excessively selfless.
I can’t remember the exact situation, but when I was a kid I somehow picked up the idea that being selfish is the worst thing in the world, and that I should never be selfish. Because of that belief I tend to do things out of obligation or guilt.
I do things for people when they ask me to, even when I don’t have time. So I sacrifice things that I want to do.
I say “yes” to social invitations when I don’t want to.
I do things because I feel like I “should”.
Sometimes I don’t really consider saying “no” as an option. Saying “yes” feels inevitable. I don’t ask myself if I want to do this thing or not, I just skip straight to resenting the fact that I’m doing it.
Here’s an example.
My Dad breaks his computer fairly often then calls me up to fix it. He always calls in the morning because of the time difference. I know that helping him will throw out my schedule for the rest of the day and I’ll end up getting nothing done, yet I agree to help anyway.
I get progressively angrier at myself as the hours tick by because I’m still stuck fixing the damn computer. It comes through in my voice and I’m sure Dad can sense it. Now he has a broken computer AND a snappy, frustrated son. He probably thinks I’m angry at him when I’m actually angry at myself.
That’s not the kind of help that people want. You can see how that kind of “selflessness” can ruin relationships, not strengthen them.
My behaviour is automatic because I made the decision to not be selfish long ago and it turned into a belief through repetition. It’s a decision I don’t even remember making and it’s one that no longer serves me, so I’ve intervened.
Now every time I feel that pang of guilt or obligation or “should”, I ask myself if doing this thing will bring me joy. The decision isn’t automatic anymore. It’s a conscious one.
I consider the consequences of saying “no”. The funny thing is that in many cases the consequences are imaginary. I used to think people would like me less if I didn’t give give give, but they actually seem to respect me more.
If I’m busy when Dad calls I tell him I’m busy. And it’s totally fine. We schedule another time when I’m free, when we can actually spend some quality time together fixing his computer.
It’s so simple, yet it never occurred to me before. A little bit of selfishness can actually strengthen relationships.
I’ve started helping people on my terms. Now I’m happy to do it instead of resentful. That happiness rubs off on others too.
I’ve started saying “no” to social invitations that don’t bring me joy, because life is short and I’d rather spend it with people who make me happy.
I’ve stopped doing things because I “should” and now I have more fun. It turns out that other people judge me way less than I thought. I’ve learnt that many of the things I think I “should” do exist only in my head, and that lesson has taken a huge load off my shoulders.
Doing something automatically because you feel like you should, and doing something because you choose to are two very different things. The former is empty. The latter is meaningful. You can feel the difference yourself, and so can others.
If you don’t value yourself by being a little selfish, then why would anyone else value you?