Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World

Book Summary - Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss

What You’ll Learn

  • High-achieving individual’s keys to success and personal growth
  • Advice and wisdom top performers in their field would give to recent college graduates
  • The importance of maintaining physical and mental health, maintaining strong personal relationships, and establishing personal and professional boundaries
  • A recommended reading list from high-achieving individuals.

Who Is This For

  • Recent graduates looking to start their careers
  •  Professionals who want to advance in their fields
  • Any individuals seeking advice from top performers and high achieving professionals

Key Insights

Tech expert and fitness guru Tim Ferriss set out to compile advice from 140 successful individuals who were top performers in their fields, which ranged from finance and tech to film, academia, sports, and even poker. Ferriss asked each of these high-performing mentors a series of 11 questions and recorded their answers.

Ferriss asked each mentor questions about their beneficial habits, good investments, and professional failures. He also asked about how they prioritize and filter out distractions, their techniques for dealing with stress, and what wisdom they would give to recent college graduates or display on a billboard, as well as for book and purchasing recommendations.

Most mentors mentioned the benefit of hard work and the importance of pursuing personal passions and embracing failure. They also stressed the importance of maintaining physical and mental well being, by investing in strong personal relationships and meaningful experiences, continuing education, and improving health through exercise and meditation. Individuals have the power to make choices that positively benefit their lives, increase their well-being, and improve their chances of success.

Key Points

Working Hard

Most of the high-performing individuals Ferriss interviewed attributed the bulk of their success to hard work. The life coach Marie Forleo described hard work as “going above and beyond.” However, many people are hard workers and do not achieve the same level of success as other high-performing individuals. Luck and social status also play a big role in individual success.

However, most successful people attribute the majority of their success to hard work, rather than external factors. According to the Cornell University economics Robert Frank, this is due to a cognitive bias known as the halo effect. This phenomenon causes one impression of a single aspect of someone’s life to influence their perception of all other aspects of their life. Therefore, if someone is successful, they are more likely to also be perceived to be smart and talented. Another reason people are more likely to credit hard work for their success is attribution bias. This causes people to attribute their individual successes to their personal accomplishments while blaming their failures on negative external causes.

People are also more likely to remember the times when they worked hard, which makes it easier for the brain to attribute success as a result of their individual efforts while remaining blind to outside factors and internal biases.

You Need To Fail To Succeed

Rejection and failure, while painful, can also cause some people to take an internal assessment of their life and consider what their true goals and desires are, which can be an impetus for self-improvement and personal growth. Failure can help build character, personal strength, and motivation. It can also help inspire the freedom to pursue something different because it releases the burden of expectations.

For example, the writer Steven Pressfield had been rejected by publishers for fifteen years before he moved to Hollywood and found success as a screenwriter, selling scripts like The Legend of Bagger Vance and Joshua Tree. The Beastie Boys had also experienced professional failure when their second album did not sell well. However, instead of becoming discouraged, they refocused their artistic and creative vision and ended up releasing their very successful third album, Check Your Head.

However, the merits of failure are not always the same for everyone. People who have a more privileged societal position are more likely to have increased opportunities to fail and learn from their past mistakes. People with less privilege, however, often do not have the opportunity to pursue second chances after a big failure.

For example, people of color in America are often more likely to get stuck after a setback. According to a 2014 John Hopkins study of 800 poor and middle-class black and white children in Baltimore, both low-income white and black children used drugs at roughly the same rate. However, black youth were more likely to be arrested and charged with a drug crime, therefore giving them a criminal record that negatively impacted their future employment opportunities and income. Additionally, 89 percent of white students who dropped out of school were able to find employment by the age of 22, compared to only 40 percent of black students. White children were, on the whole, more likely to have the opportunity to bounce back after a failure. Additionally, of the interviewees who responded that they believed failure contributed to the success, about 80 percent of them were white.

Passion Improves Performance

Many mentors emphasized the importance of pursuing a passion, rather than a secure, socially-accepted life path. Studies have shown that pursuing intrinsic life experiences like meaningful relationships, fulfilling causes, and spiritual growth leads to a better quality of life than pursuing external validation, like wealth, fame, or social status. However, that tends to only hold true for people that already have a degree of social and financial security, rather than lower-income people.

According to a study published in Tim Kasser and Richard Ryan’s 2001 book Life Goals and Well-being: Towards a Positive Psychology of Human Striving, intrinsic goals tend to be more fulfilling because they meet important psychological human needs like personal growth, deeper meaning, connectedness, and strong relationships, and individual freedom. People who fulfill these needs by pursuing intrinsic goals are generally healthier, happier, and more confident and content. They also tend to have stronger relationships and get along better with others.

Alternatively, people who pursue externally validated goals, like money, fame, or social status, tend to be less psychologically and emotionally healthy, and have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. They are more competitive and less cooperative and often have less fulfilling and meaningful relationships. External goals are also not intrinsically self-fulfilling, so people tend to continue to seek validation by pursuing these goals even more intensely, making them less content and more insecure.

Personal Investments Are Essential For Well-Being

Most mentors agree that making personal investments in continuing education, close personal relationships, and health is essential for long-term well-being. Investing in education, or even unpaid internships where one can build skills, improve long-term opportunities. For example, the relationship therapist Esther Perel invested in furthering her education by teaching herself nine languages, which helped her advance professionally because she can now communicate with clients from all over the world. Additionally, spending time cultivating close friendships with family and friends is also a worthwhile investment for personal well-being.

Furthermore, investing in personal health, including cutting back on sugary foods, reducing screen time, and getting plenty of sleep, are also essential for happiness and well-being. Exercise also plays a critical factor in improving both physical and mental health.

According to a 2007 study, exercise was similarly effective in helping treat the major depressive disorder as antidepressants. Exercise can also reduce anxiety and improve mood. According to the American Psychological Association’s journal Monitor on Psychology, it could be because exercise releases serotonin in the brain, which reduces depression. Other scientists believe that exercise also improves sleep and contributes to a feeling of personal accomplishment, both of which can help improve mood.

The founder of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, discovered the importance of maintaining health the hard way after she suffered a collapse from exhaustion at work in 2007. After that experience, she focused on maintaining balance and investing in her own health and well-being.

Meditation is another key practice that improves mental health. Meditation, yoga, and other breath-centered practices can help reduce stress and anxiety. Top performing individuals who swear by the effectiveness of a meditation practice include everyone from director David Lynch to TV host Jimmy Fallon and investor Ray Dalio.

Transcendental Meditation is particularly effective in treating a host of issues, from reducing negative symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD to improving sleep, heart health, and cognitive function, and it has even been shown to help with addiction. According to one 2012 study, Transcendental Meditation led to a 51 percent reduction in HIV-related physical problems for patients with the virus, and the Resilient Warrior Program found a 40 to 55 percent reduction in PTSD and depression in veterans.

Transcendental Meditation, founded by Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is a meditation technique that involves repeating a mantra. It does not require maintaining mindfulness of thoughts that is typical in other types of mediation. It is supposed to be practiced for 20 minutes a day, and there are even retreats and courses for individual instruction available. They typically cost between $500 - $1,000 and federal grants are sometimes available.

However, some people are skeptical of the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation. Two separate studies claimed in 2003 and 2004 that previous studies claiming the positive effects of Transcendental Meditation were written by researchers who were affiliated with the organization and were not peer-reviewed.

The Importance of Saying No

Saying no to nonessential invitations and obligations is essential to reducing distraction and defining priorities. Some mentors, like actress Richa Chadha, say no to anyone who she feels depletes her energy. Invitations should only be accepted when they align with your goals and priorities, and all others merely clutter your schedule and should be turned down.

It is important to take time to recenter, declutter your mind, and assess your priorities. Some mentors explained the benefit of having restorative practices, such as long walks, naps, or practicing gratitude, to clear your mind and realign your focus. Weightlifting champion Aniela Gregorek practices “forest bathing,” which is a Japanese technique that involves walking in the forest and allowing the sights, sounds, and smells of nature to envelop you. Restorative practices help you refocus your priorities and ensure you are only agreeing to obligations that align with your long term goals.

However, it is easier to turn down commitments that are happening soon, and easier to accept invitations that are scheduled for months away. When an event is far away, it doesn’t feel real and you don’t have to find a way to fit it into an already busy schedule. So, to avoid agreeing to obligations too far in advance, imagine the event is really happening in a few days before agreeing to commit.

It is also difficult to turn down obligations when social expectations dictate their necessity. According to Suzannah Weiss, women are socially expected to perform many obligations for free, including the emotional labor of providing support in personal and professional relationships, without pay or acknowledgment. For example, emotional labor can include lending an ear to listen to someone’s troubles, giving out advice, mentoring new employees, and improving general office culture and smoothing over conflicts. This type of work is emotionally draining, but it is almost never socially acceptable for women to say no to these obligations.

Buy Experiences, Not Products

Spending money on experiences is more meaningful than spending money on objects, assuming all an individual’s basic needs, like food and shelter, are met. The most highly recommended purchases are those that contribute to or improve an experience, such as accessories for exercising or sleeping, or a fee for an enjoyable activity, like going swimming.

According to a 2009 study in The Journal of Positive Psychology, 154 different people were surveyed about the last time they had purchased something to make themselves happier. Half were asked to remember an experience, and the other half recalled a product. The participants who recalled an experience, such as a nice dinner or a vacation, reported the purchase made both them and others happier and was worth the money. Experiences contribute to increased happiness because they often involve improving personal relationships with others while avoiding the temptation to compare yourself to others that is sometimes caused by purchasing goods like clothing or jewelry.

A 2014 Psychological Science study also found that anticipating an experience is more pleasant than anticipating purchasing an object. Therefore, spending money on experiences improves well being both before and during the purchase, while material goods do not.

A High-Achieving Reading List

For most high-achieving individuals, reading plays an essential part in personal growth and development. The three books that the majority of high-achieving mentors recommended most strongly were Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger by Charlie Munger, and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Sapiens uses history and biology to explore human evolution. Poor Charlie’s Almanack is a compilation of Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger’s speeches.

Man’s Search for Meaning is psychologist Viktor Frankl’s memoir of his time in Dachau concentration camp during the Holocaust. While there, he wrote that the prisoners who were able to survive were those who were able to hold onto a sense of meaning in their lives.

Frankl was released in 1945. Afterward, he developed the psychological practice of “logotherapy,” in which people try to determine a sense of purpose in order to find meaning in their life. Frankl wrote that the drive to find meaning is human beings’ most important motivation, and people can find meaning in a multitude of ways, including art, generosity to others, or adjusting one’s mental state when faced with adversity. It was named one of the Library of Congress’s most 10 influential books in the United States in 1991.

Some mentors even found valuable life lessons from children’s books, like Jon Stone’s The Monster at the End of the Book, which emphasizes the importance of developing bravery, or The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, which helps spark the imagination.

The Main Take-away

Top performing individuals in their field offered their wisdom on the importance of working hard, pursuing passions, and building up resilience by embracing failure. Prioritizing physical and mental health, practicing meditation, and cultivating strong personal relationships and meaningful experiences are also essential to promoting well-being and long term success. Individuals who choose to cultivate these traits and focus on personal growth increase their chances of personal and professional success and long term well being.

About the Author

Timothy Ferriss is an investor, entrepreneur, and New York Times bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, and Tools of Titans.

He is the founder of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast and the blog Fourhourblog. He has been featured by The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, CNN, and CBS.

Ferriss has been named one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and one of Fortune’s “40 under 40.” He holds a B.A. in East Asian studies from Princeton University.

Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy

Life After Google By George Gilder

Key Insights

There is no denying that Google is a modern powerhouse of information.

But, what happens if one day Google just disappears?

Where will all our free knowledge go?

Who will swoop in to save us?

This is where cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and bitcoin enter the scene.

In “Life After Google” George Gilder explores how Google is certain to come to an end in the future. And, how cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and bitcoin will replace it.

“Yet I believe the Google system of the world will fail, indeed be swept away in our time (and I am seventy-eight!). It will fail because its every major premise will fail.”- George Gilder

By understanding how technology is changing and how Google will no longer suit us in the future, you will be able to see the ever-changing world through Gilder’s eyes.

Key Points

  • It’s All About That Big Data

Google’s system has most definitely defined the world today. Google informs the technology we use every day. It defines our institutions. And, it shapes our lives with the knowledge it gives to us.

Google’s vision is set up around big data. It collects all the information that’s put out into the internet universe. With that information it extracts new information from it through their famous ever-changing algorithms.

Google started with a database of just internet information. But, since then it has come to include maps, books, and even face recognition! Google wants to know everything, so privacy does not go hand-in-hand with their vision.

On top of that, they have expanded to Google Docs, Google Sheets, Gmail, you name it!

Google makes their money through advertising. People are paying Google by showing them attention, rather than sending them a subscription fee.

“Google offers to its “customers” is free. Internet searches are free. Email is free. The vast resources of the data centers, costing Google an estimated thirty billion dollars to build, are provided essentially for free. Free is not by accident. If your business plan is to have access to the data of the entire world, then free is an imperative.”- George Gilder

Though Google seems like it has everything under the sun to offer, it has gained the title of “Siren Server” by Jason Lanier, who argues that Google is going to be the death of itself in the future.

  • Artificial Intelligence

The field of artificial intelligence is growing. And, people involved with the cause understand that though it is dangerous work, it is inevitable. So, even though they are working toward the cause, they believe in informing people of its danger too.

Though, for artificial intelligence to really be a threat, it needs to be a complete system. That means it has one theory that covers everything. And, for that it would have to be specifically programmed that way.

But, any logical system depends on the situation, so it cannot be complete. There always needs to be an external authority or force.

“Whereas Google envisages an era of machine dominance through artificial intelligence, you will rule your machines, and they will serve you as intelligent, willing slaves. You will be the “oracle” that programs your life and dictates to your tools.”- George Gilder

  • Thiel’s Foundation

In 2013 bitcoin payments became accepted at a Guatemalan University. This was the first University in all of the Americas to accept this modern currency.

Despite this bold move, many other American Universities are halting the process of the new system, rather than embracing the future. American Universities protest and try to prevent happenings, rather than create and innovate.

The legendary Thiel Fellowship is a scholarship that offers a student an $100,000 grant to quit college and pursue a creative passion project. The goal of this foundation is to create innovative entrepreneurial thinkers who can lead the future to new ideas.

In 2014, the Thiel Fellowship was awarded to Vitalik Buterin, a collaborator in the blockchain platform called Ethereum.

  • A New Era of Online Security

In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the first cryptocurrency to the world. It is called the bitcoin.

To totally understand how bitcoin is changing the world, we must understand cryptocosm, which is where all personal data is taken from the main hub and put in the hands of individuals instead.

There are two key aspects to every users account:

-Public: the public aspect makes it so when you send a message it is encrypted publicly. However it can only be deciphered with a private key. So, the message remains private.

-Private: when a response is encrypted, the private key is used which leaves a digital signature that proves identity without having to provide any personal information.

These unique private signatures are necessary to bitcoin and its blockchain technology. Every ten minutes or so, a block of technology is created, which logs all the bitcoin information of activity. This contains both the signature with a timestamp.

The timestamp is produced through a process called mining, where a new block is created after an algorithmic problem has been solved. New bitcoins are generated as compensation for this whole process.

Timestamps cannot be forged. It is unhackable because there are many computers and networks involved so it must be verified throughout each.

A blockchain is a set of blocks connected in a chronological chain that contains transaction data and a timestamp. They are resilient against the modification of data. These are public. Each blockchain is unique and unhackable because of its unique footprint and can be traced back to its origins.

  • Employing Blockchain Technology

The Thiel’s Fellowship winner, Vitalik Buterin launched Ethereum in 2015. Ethereum is a blockchain app to handle and verify smart contracts.

Smart contracts work by the parties of the contract sending in their assets with the help of the blockchain. If both parties agree, then the transaction is complete. If not, the assets are refunded.

Enthereum may be bitcoin’s biggest competitor. However, other platforms such as Blockstack are rising, as well. Blockstack is a network for blockchain apps that is user friendly for browsing and developing.

Blockchain is giving security and power back to the individuals and going against Google.

  • Hardware Comeback

Moore’s Law, a law in computer science, states that the cost-effectiveness of circuits doubles every two years. And, Bell’s Law states that every ten years a brand new computer architecture comes out because of a drop in the cost of processing power. So, when will the next shift in technology be?

The rebirth of hardware manufacturing may be on the rise in the Silicon Valley. According to scientist, Bill Dally, parallel processing systems may be crucial to the future. A parallel processing system is one that has multiple functions running at the same time.

However, Google hasn’t totally caught up with this. They are focused on cheaper ways to power their centralized hub.

Companies that are not using centralized hubs that take up a lot of power, are able to perform usually expensive services for much cheaper. Plus, because of blockchain technology information is safe and secure!

  • Is Bitcoin Flawed?

Nakamoto proposed the idea of bitcoin becoming the new gold standard to the world. A currency that was stable, reliable, and unchanging.

With bitcoin, Nakamoto produced a mining algorithm. This algorithm makes it more difficult to solve the problem needed to create blocks and their bitcoins.

This process was intended to create a supply of bitcoin currency that was stable and predictable in order to reach that “gold standard” goal.

Economics blogger, Mike Kendall, however, debates that the bitcoin can never become the gold standard because it is already being used for exchange. Its supply is fixed and the only way it could react to market changes is if the value of it fluctuates dramatically, which has already happened. So, how could bitcoin really be stable like the gold standard?

“Even though bitcoin may not, after all, represent the potential for a new gold standard, its underlying technology will unbundle the roles of money. This can finally clarify and enable the necessary distinction between the medium of exchange and the measuring stick. Disaggregated will be all the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft conglomerates)—the clouds of concentrated computing and commerce.”- George Gilder

Bitcoin has changed the world, but it’s flawed. We must rely on other cryptocurrency companies to pave the way out of the centralized hub of Google.

Main Take-Away

Google is the ruler of the world and has created a system that focuses on a central hub on information rather than individual security. Blockchain technology has created a new path to personal security, challenging Google’s old-school system.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

The Culture Code By Daniel Coyle

Key Insights

It’s no secret that great teamwork can lead a group to victory!

And, likewise, a bad group dynamic can kill a team and squander all its hope for success.

But, what exactly makes a team work well together?

In, “The Culture Code” Daniel Coyle shares his insights on working together, sharing a common goal, and safety and security in a team environment.

“The goal needs to be to get the team right, get them moving in the right direction, and get them to see where they are making mistakes and where they are succeeding.”- Daniel Coyle

Coyle helps YOU to lead your team to victory and helps you to understand the dynamic you must have with your group in order to achieve your common goal.

Key Points

  • Group Culture

Group culture is the relationship dynamic of working with a group of people, whether it be family, friends, or co-workers, in the pursuit of a common goal.

Naturally, some groups have wonderful group culture and work well together, while others don’t. This is usually the result of people in the group worrying about themselves individually rather than spending time worrying about the team as a whole. This takes the attention off of the common goal, which leads to failure.

  • You Must Feel Safe

For group culture to be successful, it must feel safe for all individuals involved. Safety is important because it feels familiar, which makes it easier to open up and connect.

We are the best teammates we can be when we are given external cues to prompt good behavior. For example, having a leader that showers you with compliments and encouragement will help you to feel safe, invite you to take risks, and ultimately let you perform to the best of your ability.

Belonging cues are cues that help people to feel safe in their group. It helps them to feel like they belong.

“Belonging cues are behaviors that create a safe connection in groups. They include, among others, proximity, eye contact, energy, mimicry, turn-taking, attention, body language, vocal pitch, consistency of emphasis, and whether everyone talks to everyone else in the group.”- Daniel Coyle

  • You Aren’t Perfect

Creating a safe work environment is not always a piece of cake. There is some work that goes along with it.

The most important thing is to let people know that you are listening to them and care about what they have to say. Physical cues that inform people you are listening include tilting your head, raising your eyebrows, and not blinking often. You can choose to say “uh-huh”, “yes”, or any other small utterance that will help them to know you understand what they’re saying.

Another important tip to ensure a safe environment is to let people know that you are not perfect. People don’t want to feel that they are working with someone robotic without weakness. It’s nice to feel a human connection with your team and it definitely helps everyone to work effectively toward their common goal.

  • Be Vulnerable

As we said, you want your team to know that you are human just like them. So, showing your weaknesses and being vulnerable is key.

Being vulnerable builds trust. It’s true in relationships, as well as teams and families.

“Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust—it precedes it. Leaping into the unknown, when done alongside others, causes the solid ground of trust to materialize beneath our feet.”-Daniel Coyle

When people admit that they have certain weaknesses, oftentimes the group will jump in to help patch up those holes with their strengths. This cooperation drives teams to success.

Vulnerability also drives people to help one another. Nobody likes to see another person at their weakest, so instinct will motivate team members to help the weaker links and work together.

Being straight-forward and upfront with team members also shows a great level of vulnerability. Speaking respectively yet freely helps to create a trust dynamic that is invincible.

  • Communicate

It’s important to let your team know that you expect them to cooperate and work together seamlessly. And, the only way to do that is by telling it to them straightforwardly.

When you communicate that you need your team’s help, it will allow them to express their weaknesses. This creates a group culture of everyone for the team so that no individual feels as if they’re walking alone.

A leader must be the first to express their vulnerabilities to the team. This will not make them look weak, in fact, it will create that safe space we’ve been talking about.

“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.”- Daniel Coyle

Making mistakes is only human!

  • Sense of Purpose

For a team to really succeed, everyone on the team must be working toward the same common goal.

The common goal is what shapes the identity of the group and gives them purpose. Without it, a team cannot function cooperatively.

The common goal drives a team’s behavior and allows them to work efficiently.

Good leaders will encourage their team to make group decisions relating to their sense purpose. A good leader will not impose his or her idea on their teams, but rather help them to cooperatively come to decisions together. This inspires creative problem-solving.

  • Repetition

Sense of purpose is not established by just saying it once amongst your team. It is something that must be drilled into the team’s mind over and over again.

By repeating the team’s goal over and over again, it will allow the message to stick and it will further motivate the team to conquer their goals.

Don’t be afraid of using a cheesy catchphrase! If it helps make the message stick, then it’s doing its job and there is no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed.

The Main Take-Away

A good group dynamic that welcomes vulnerability within a safe environment leads teams to success. Without a functioning cooperative team, groups will focus on themselves individually and result in failing to achieve the common goal.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Key Insights

Do you know when to trust your intuition? Do you know the best way to utilize those snap judgments to your benefit?

In Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, you will learn more about how your instincts are being backed up by further analysis of a situation, as well as how important your intuition really is.

Being able to make a decision using your gut feeling can be both a good thing and a bad thing, and it is important to know when it’s good and when it’s bad.

What Blink can show you

Often times, your intuition is a better source of judgment than even a more thorough analysis.

On the one hand, it is important to understand how intuition is able to look past information that is not relevant to the situation. On the other hand, you will also get a look at the drawbacks to this, as internal prejudices and perceptions can have a negative impact on the way you judge something.

With the help of Blink, you will understand how decision making can be impacted by knowing when to follow your intuition and when you need to further analyze a situation.

This is about finding a way to think about a situation without actually thinking about it. While we may think we are making a decision in the blink of an eye, these choices are not as easy as they seem. Beyond all of this, Blink is also a look at how great decision makers are able to slice through excess details and make a choice in an instant with the help of their fine-tuned intuition.

Key Points

  • It’s important to trust your intuition, as those judgments can be superior to your conscious choices

In order to make any decision, our brain typically relies on two different strategies.

The first strategy that our brain uses is recording and processing information, looking at the pros and cons of a situation, and reaching a conclusion that seems rational. However, the problem with this particular strategy is that it can be very slow and not ideal in certain situations where you need to make a snap decision.

The second strategy our brain uses is intuition, meaning we listen to our gut based on a snap judgment. Rather than utilizing complex thought processes, your unconscious mind is doing more of the work to make a decision.

Most people prefer to use their conscious decisions over snap judgments, as it can be an uneasy feeling to decide something without looking at all of the details. However, it seems that many times those unconscious decisions are more accurate than the ones that are made using a lot of rationalizing.

In many situations, there are regularities and patterns that stand out to our unconscious mind that allow us to make those snap judgments.

  • Our unconscious mind can make a decision about irrelevant and relevant information in mere moments

Being thorough can be seen as a good thing when making a decision. However, it does not always make sense to scrutinize every single detail, as it can be more effective to look at certain facts over others.

Typically there are a lot of irrelevant details that can actually hide the more important ones. When making a decision, it is typically our unconscious mind that is able to sort out the irrelevant from the important by looking at the perceptions needed to make a judgment.

The reason most people can make snap judgments that are accurate is the fact that our unconscious mind is able to process all of the details the brain takes in, sifting through the irrelevant.

  • People tend to make more snap judgments than they may realize and then find a way to rationalize it after the fact

Everyday, people are making snap judgments. No matter what the situation is, decisions can be made using the unconscious mind. It is all about using one’s gut instincts.

However, for the most part, people prefer to have facts in front of them before they make a decision, rather than just listening to their gut. It is because of this need for facts and figures that most people look for a way to rationalize their judgments after they make them.

In many cases, our intuition might lead us in one direction, while our rational thoughts and facts lead us in another. And even when we make a quick decision using our intuition, we typically find ourselves needing to rationalize it.

  • Unconscious associations have a major influence on the decisions we make

Our unconscious mind can have a major influence on the way we act. This means that our behavior is also influenced by our subconscious.

In many cases, this means associating specific characteristics with things like success or failure. For example, we might see someone and believe that they are competent based on the way they look, and yet they may not actually be good at their job or whatever it is that we think they are good at doing.

These snap judgments are made based on preconceived notions of things, such as what success might look like.

  • Stress can lead us to make the wrong decision

As previously mentioned, we typically make snap decisions based on the things we see. Just from looking at a person’s face, we can often tell what they are thinking or how they are feeling.

However, there are certain people who may not recognize non-verbal signs of how a person is feeling. People with autism are said to be blind to signals that are non-verbal. Being unable to read a person’s face means that they must rely on specific information that is expressed to them.

But did you know that someone experiencing stress and extreme pressure can find themselves in a situation where they are rendered “autistic” in terms of being unable to recognize non-verbal signals?

When we are stressed, we tend to ignore things like facial expressions and other signals that are considered indirect. Rather than focusing on the signals, we develop a form of tunnel vision and find ourselves focusing on the immediate stressors or what we believe to be the most important bits of information.

In order to avoid losing focus, we need to slow down and reduce stress. The more stress we are under, the more we become blind to the signs around us. And as those pressures increase and stress rises, people can become unpredictable as logic goes out the window.

  • Market research is not always an indication of how consumers will behave

The job of a market researcher is to determine what consumers want and what will work within the market. However, in many cases researchers are unable to accurately predict the behavior of consumers.

Unrealistic conditions can play a major factor in making the wrong call as a market researcher. For people making these decisions, it is also important to note that consumers are known to react negatively to new products that are seen as innovative.

We need to get used to things before we can express our appreciation for them. The more we get used to something new, the more likely we are to like this new thing.

  • Experiencing new things can help eliminate our prejudices

Even in modern times, prejudice is a thing that exists.

According to experts, the things we observe in our everyday life can teach our unconscious prejudices. And it is also important to note that our prejudices can have an impact on our behavior.

However, there are ways to push past these prejudices. In an effort to eliminate this negativity, it is important to get out and experience new things and meet new people.

Our attitude will shift thanks to these new experiences and the chance to engage with people from different walks of life.

  • To prevent bad snap judgments, you must ignore the information that is irrelevant

It is clear that everything from stereotypes and prejudices can influence the decisions that we make. However, there are ways to avoid this, as long as you are willing to shield yourself from misinformation.

In order to avoid prejudices and stereotypes, we need to ignore information that is not relevant to the decision actually being made.

Summary

Our unconscious mind is able to make a snap judgment in mere moments. And typically those judgments are actually better than a well-thought out analysis of a situation.

However, our judgment can be impacted by our internal prejudices, which is why it is important to experience new things and meet new people.

If you are a business person looking to determine how a product will do on the market, it is important to make sure you are using realistic conditions to make a decision. And remember that new and innovative things can take a while before they are appreciated by consumers.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

When By Daniel Pink

Key Insights

Time surrounds us.

We are constantly meeting deadlines, having to be different places on time, and racing against the clock.

Time is everything.

In Daniel Pink’s, “When,” he explains why this pattern of relying on time is a very strong emotional pattern in human behavior.

You’ll learn to understand how important it is to have perfect timing when it comes to doing certain actions. Even, if it’s as simple as sending an email or making a call.

Key Points

  • The Emotional Pattern

Our day-to-day life has an emotional pattern. We all do certain rituals such as have our coffee in the morning, brush our hair before we go out, and wash the sheets every Friday.

An observance-based study by Cornell University looked at Twitter to note people’s moods throughout the day. The results were that early morning people felt positive, in the afternoon moods would drop, and then they would return to positive in the evening.

According to the study, this mood rollercoaster happens to most everyone, everywhere. It doesn’t depend on location, race, or culture.

These sections of the day have been labeled the morning peak, the afternoon trough, and the evening rebound.

This pattern has a direct correlation with the work that we do throughout the day. Our positive attitudes bring positive results. So, work done in the morning is best.

  • Chronotype

It’s true there is a daily pattern of emotions. But, not everyone’s pattern is the same. It’s important to understand your own individual chronotype. This will allow you to reach your fullest potential.

“Each of us has a “chronotype”—a personal pattern of circadian rhythms that influences our physiology and psychology.”- Daniel Pink

Your chronotype is basically your internal clock. There are night owls and morning birds. Both have different internal clocks or chronotypes. So, they are more positive and productive according to their own hours.

Many studies have taken place on creatives who are night owls. And, the pattern is that most night owls are the creative types. They also showed more signs of being neurotic and depressed.

Morning birds, on the other hand, are usually more stable and positive. They also tend to be introverted.

In order to schedule yourself properly, define your type and schedule your tasks accordingly. For example, if you need to write a paper and you’re a night owl, do it at your peak, which may be around 9 PM, rather than 7 AM.

Most people who need to work logically and methodically agree that morning work is best, while the creative work is best saved for the afternoon and later.

No matter what chronotype you are, try to schedule your mindless tasks during the afternoon when most people feel the 2 PM slump.

“Afternoons are the Bermuda Triangles of our days. Across many domains, the trough represents a danger zone for productivity, ethics, and health.”- Daniel Pink

Also, always book a morning appointment if you want the odds to go in your favor. For example, a job interview!

  • Take Breaks

Your chronotype does not stay the same your whole life. Teenagers tend to be night owls, while older people tend to be morning birds.

Teenagers have a hard time thinking analytically early in the morning, which is terrible if they have math or literature at 8 AM. This is why it’s important for students to take breaks between classes so that they are able to focus and think clearly.

“If you’re an educator, know that all times are not created equal”- Daniel Pink

In Denmark, schools experimented by having their students take a 30-minute break before a standardized test. The result was an improvement in test scores.

This “breaking” trend is also important in the workplace. Hospitals noted that most mistakes are made between the hours of 3 PM and 4 PM. Taking scheduled breaks at the University of Michigan Medical Center helped to decrease these mistakes.

  • Naps

There have been many schools over the years that have taken recess away from their students. But, these daily refreshers are important to help improve student learning.

Desktime, a company that creates desktop software to improve productivity, observed that to make the absolute most of your time, you should take 17 minutes of a break off of a 52-minute work-sprint.

But, even if someone takes 5 minutes off of an hour, their motivation and mood improve. These breaks are a good time to breathe and close your eyes or socialize via text, email, or in-person to refresh. Even just a quick walk around the office or outside helps!

Another popular way to take a breather is to take a nap. Anything over 20 minutes could result in you feeling groggy. But, a 20-minute nap to help you feel refocused when you return to work is invaluable.

Try drinking a cup of coffee before you close your eyes for 10-20 minutes. The results will have you feeling vitalized. This is called a napuccino.

  • Anticipate Problems

When you’re doing a project it’s important to note that it probably won’t be effortless. You are bound to encounter bumps along the way.

A trick to help this is to anticipate problems that might occur. List all the things that could possibly go wrong.

Another important segment of the project is the midpoint. This is the point where your team gets a surge of energy, most likely because they need to finish the project faster. Knowing this can help you to urge your team forward with encouraging motivation, which will amp up their productivity.

  • Reassert Project Goals

There is so much good that can come out of the midpoint because of the race to reach the finish line. But, this can also backfire and turn the project into a disorganized mess steps away from the end-goal.

Here are some tips to ensure that this doesn’t happen:

  • Make sure you are all on the same page and there is a shared vision.
  • Do not incorporate new roles and ideas close to the end of the project.
  • Be aware that people might get excited and act rashly near the end of a project.

There is a crazy happening in the world where people who age ends with the number 9, tend to do big things. For example, a lot of 29-year-olds run marathons.

  • Good Ways To Create Happy Endings

As humans, we rely on endings to things. Books, movies, songs, etc. And, we always want a happy ending.

But, we also want poignant and bittersweet, which is a quality that stirs up emotion and relates to the human condition.

By knowing this, we can make our endings happier and more satisfying. For example, if you are leaving a job, write a letter to yourself saying why you are leaving and where you hope to be in 5 years. Then 5 years later, open it up for a sentimental gift from your former self.

It’s not all about living in the moment. A lot of happiness comes from feeling connected to your former and future self.

“The best endings don’t leave us happy. Instead, they produce something richer—a rush of unexpected insight, a fleeting moment of transcendence, the possibility that by discarding what we wanted we’ve gotten what we need.”- Daniel Pink

Our experiences in life become better once we start to understand the concept of time and take control of it in our daily lives.

The Main Take-Away

Learning to use time to your advantage will help you to live a happier and more satisfying life. There are proper times to do certain tasks and by incorporating that into your agenda based on your chronotype, you will be much more productive.

Tools of Titans

Tools of Titans By. Tim Ferriss

Key Insights

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could talk one-on-one to the world’s most influential people in order to discover their keys to success?

On Tim Ferriss’s podcast, “The Tim Ferriss Show,” he did just that! He had a range of successful people on his show and asked them the questions he wanted answered to gain insight on their journeys.

“Investing in yourself is the most important investment you’ll ever make in your life. . . . There’s no financial investment that’ll ever match it because if you develop more skill, more ability, more insight, more capacity, that’s what’s going to really provide economic freedom. . . . It’s those skill sets that really make that happen.- Timothy Ferriss

In, “Tool of Titans,” Ferriss shares the tidbits of knowledge he received from his podcast show from famous athletes, wealthy billionaires, and successful entrepreneurs.

Key Points

  • Health Tips From Extreme Athletes

Obstacle course racing is a huge trend at the moment. It includes climbing walls, swimming through different bodies of water, jumping through hoops, and running on different terrains.

Though this sport is new, there are some notable people taking the lead in this extreme activity. One of these people is Amelia Boone.

Boone has placed first in 30 obstacle courses. And, she competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder competition, which is an intense 24-hour long race with absolutely no breaks!

Because of this crazy sport, Boone has the insight to share on how to recover from intense physical activity.

Before every race and training session, Boone ingests beetroot powder with hydrolyzed gelatin. This two-ingredient mixture works as a protein drink that actually regenerates her connective tissues.

Another simple task she performs is the rolling of her foot over a golfball at different times of the day. This action stimulates different parts of her foot and leg and increases her strength and posture.

Staying on the subject of extreme sports athletes, Wim Hof, or “Ice Man,” has broken over 20 world records in icy snowy and downright cold climates.

To train, Hof sits in a chilly ice bath. Though this sounds terribly unpleasant, ice baths have been used for health reasons since ancient times. It increases immune function, helps to fight depression, and it also helps you to lose weight!

Hof is an extremist even in his training. Once he swam through a frozen lake and had his retinas literally freeze! Luckily, there wasn’t any permanent damage.

Of course, unless you’re a pro, you shouldn’t swim across an ice lake or throw yourself into an ice bath once a week. Start with 30-60 seconds of cold water during your shower.

  • No Right Formula For Health

Health is not a black and white science. Even the top athletes and fitness instructors work to fight against this one-street way of thinking.

Kelly Starrett, the founder of the Crossfit Center in San Francisco, CA, has found that, contrary to popular belief, high-cholesterol can actually be a good thing. He found that it can help people build lean body mass and gain muscle in short periods of time.

So, with health, what’s good for one person, may not be good for another. You should find out what makes you feel good from experimentation, not by following strict diet and exercise rules.

James Fadiman, Ferriss’s friend, experiments with psychedelics. His experiments with drugs led him to the conclusion that they heighten his empathy and expand his consciousness.

Fadiman now takes weekly doses of ibogaine hydrochloride, which is found in flowering plants, as well as takes a two-day retreat twice a year to use ayahuasca.

  • Perspective and Drive

A lot of people believe in the value of hard work. But, it’s not the hard job that will bring you success, it is the motivation you get from that hard job that will push you to be successful in your future endeavors.

An investor in San Francisco named Chris Sacca got his start when he was very young. His summer was always split into two halves. The first was interning in Washington DC, sitting in on meetings, bill hearings, etc. Sacca learned a lot about convincing Congress.

The second half of the summer was spent working at a terrible laborious job. For example, one year Sacca spent his summer servicing septic tanks.

The take-away of this Sacca family experiment was to guide Chris and his siblings in the right direction. By trying out two different sides of the spectrum, he could start making the steps in the right direction of his future.

A successful publisher, Seth Godin, argues that keeping track of every positive thing that happens is vital to your success. That’s because people spend way too much time thinking about the negatives when they should be focusing on the positives.

Being positive will encourage you to keep moving forward, rather than wallowing in your mistakes and stalling your progression.

  • Working With Long-Term Systems

Success is not about reaching certain goals. Rather, it’s about forming long-term systems. Things that just ‘work’!

So, what does creating a long-term system mean?

One example of this is focusing on a particular project that doesn’t have a popularity following, however, you see the bigger picture in it. Let’s say you started an art project that incorporated chewed gum wads, some people might not like the idea, but maybe you see something genius in it. And though, your idea may be unpopular, you are still working toward learning a new skill while experimenting with art.

“WHEN 99% OF PEOPLE DOUBT YOU, YOU’RE EITHER GRAVELY WRONG OR ABOUT TO MAKE HISTORY.”- Timothy Ferriss

A lot of people tend to focus on the short-term goal, not the long-term. But, this is problematic because people put too much emphasis on whether something succeeded or failed. If their goal does not get hit within a certain time-frame, they are apt to give up and move on.

The creator of the comic “Dilbert”, decided to blog when he had downtime. And though, it was a lot of extra work with no income, he was investing in himself and learning a new skill. He worked at his writing and made his presence online known, and many years later became a published author.

  • Ignore Peer Pressure

One of the greatest things entrepreneurs need to learn is to say ‘no’ to peer pressure. Following the crowd, will not make you stand out.

When Shaun White was 15, his parents paid for his travel to Japan to compete in an international snowboarding competition. A lot of the other competitors were older than him and had sponsors backing them. The night before, they all went out to party and club. But, Shaun stayed in. On the day of the competition, the other competitors could not take it seriously because they were so sick suffering from whiskey hangovers.

Shaun White went on to win the prize is now one of the most marketable athletes today!

Saying ‘no’ to peer pressure also ties into risk-taking, or going against the crowd.

  • Creativity

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are two great examples of creative geniuses. And, they are also extremely wise and gain their wisdom through humor and comedy.

“Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you spend, the more you have.”- Timothy Ferriss

Rogen and Goldberg create films that talk about sexuality in a funny way. Two films to note are “Superbad” and “Sausage Party.”

Based on these two film experiences Rogen and Goldberg developed three golden rules for life and creating:

 

  •  Work with what you know. For them, as young artists, of course, this was sexual desire.
  • Work against male-stereotype. This means, don’t make the man “manly” just because he is a man. Allow him to have emotions. In life, using your emotions allows for better communication between people. It also makes for some great film!
  • Smoke weed. Both Rogen and Goldberg believe that the herbal drug helps to get their creative juices bubbling. And, they even have different strains for different forms of creativity!

 

  • Embrace Fear

It’s important to take time to rest in order to be refreshed and reinspired by the world around you.

Basically, in order to get the magic on the page, or film, or any art form, you need to allow yourself to have a life too. You can’t work all the time.

Whitney Cummings, the creator of “2 Broke Girls,” was always a workaholic. She would get down and depressed and that led to procrastination getting in the way of her success.

When she realized she was actually overworking herself, she began giving herself time and her life became enriched with new comedic material to put into her scripts. She needed to experience in order to create.

“Productivity is for robots. What humans are going to be really good at is asking questions, being creative, and experiences.” - Timothy Ferriss

It’s important that people embrace fear and things that maybe feel uncomfortable for them. Engaging with people of different background, exploring new cities, trying new things, are all ways to expand your mindset.

The Main Take-Away

Everyone has a different journey to success. However, you can still take advice from people who have “made it” in the world. By learning other people’s stories, you will gain more perspective and be inspired to progress in your own life.

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day

Key Takeaways

Wouldn’t it be great if you had some extra time every day? You could spend an extra hour doing something productive, sleeping, or just relaxing. Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to give you that extra hour (we would if we could!). However, creating extra time in your schedule is possible, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Let's face it: if the solution to better time management was as simple as more discipline and fewer distractions, we would all be able to do it. Luckily, with John Knapp’s Make Time, you can learn how to master your schedule and be more productive. Read on to learn his most useful tips: including how to work with your brains hardwiring to increase energy, tips for preventing caffeine slumps, and how to resist the lure of time-wasting applications like Facebook, Twitter, and more.

Ever noticed that it seems like in some applications, you can scroll infinitely and there will always be more content to distract you? These applications can take up huge amounts of time. The author calls these sorts of distractions Infinity Pools because they deliver seemingly infinite content - and consequently can waste infinite amounts of time. Research shows people will often spend 4 hours or more per day on distractions like phone applications. That’s a lot of time! Infinity Pools often combine with another problem for those wanting to make the most of their time: The Busy Bandwagon. The Busy Bandwagon is the tendency of most modern folks to keep attempting to complete tasks that are seemingly never completed. Having a to-do list is an example of this phenomenon. You’ll be chipping away at your list of tasks, and once you finally accomplish all of the ones on your list, you get another task. It's a never-ending cycle. The most aggravating part? Usually, these items aren’t anything you’d chose to do, they’re tasks you must accomplish for other people. And as you’re doing these things for others, you abandon the projects and ideas that actually mean something to you. The exhaustion and stress of the Busy Bandwagon lead you back to Infinity Pools for some relief and distraction. You might think a little self-discipline should be enough to help you get over distractions that cause you to fall into infinity pools. However...

Applications that suck you in and distract you are expertly designed to be that way. They play into how our brains have always been hardwired: what was useful to us in prehistoric times is being manipulated by these applications. Innate tendencies like our reactivity to a sudden noise, the draw of an unpredictable reward, or our desire to feel connection can be manipulated to make you obsessed with an application or game. This is why self-discipline can be so hard to muster in situations where you are faced with your favorite time-waster: your biology is being played upon. Ok, this all sounds like a total nightmare, right? If it's so deeply hardwired, how can we stop? Well, there is an answer: becoming conscious.

Think about when you get an alert on your phone. Do you check it instantly? If so, that’s perfectly normal. Biologically, it is innate to automatically respond to our environment. However, if you are immediately and unconsciously responding to every notification, you’re not making a conscious choice to engage anymore. Just like with infinity pools and the busy bandwagon, you’re not making a choice, you’re being sucked in unwillingly. You can escape these distractions by becoming conscious. This consciousness is not just about how often you’re on your phone, or whether or not you’re working on your to-do list, but it's about being more intentional about the way you live your life. There are four steps to help gain a higher consciousness (and stop wasting time!): highlight, focus, energize, and reflect.

Let's start with highlighting. Most of us have been asked at the end of a long day what the highlight or best part was. This is similar, but instead of thinking retroactively about your day, determine at the beginning of the day what you want your highlight to be. The highlight can be a daily goal that feeds into a larger, long term goal or any number of things, it is up to you. Before you engage in your activities of the day, think about what you want your highlight to be. Choosing a highlight seems simple, but can be a bit complex in practice. So, how do you choose a highlight? There are three types: important, meaningful, and joyful. For the first approach, ask: “What do I absolutely need to get done today?”. For the second approach, ask, “What will make me feel most satisfied today?”, and for the third, ask, “What will bring me the most joy today?”. Oh, and try to choose something that takes 60-90 minutes. If you’re still stuck on a highlight, making a list of tasks you need to accomplish can help. Rank them by importance and choose the most important one. You can also repeat yesterday’s highlight, combine a bunch of tasks into one highlight, or string a large project into a multi-day highlight. It is up to you!

One key aspect of accomplishing your highlight is to make sure you have time to do it. This means being intentional about your schedule. If you’d like to make time for yourself at the end of the day, you’ll have to resist sleeping in late or scrolling through Facebook late into the night. To make more time in the morning, go to bed earlier by darkening your environment before bed and putting all of your devices on night mode. To become a more productive night owl, set aside time to work, and make sure to log off those social media sites!

To accomplish your highlight, you’ll need to get to the second item: focus. In order to do this, there are many ways you can eliminate distractions. For instance, logging out of your social media accounts can be a good first move: it prevents mindless scrolling. You can also delete distracting applications off of your phone: Facebook, Twitter, and even your email application can be eliminated to increase focus. You can also write down questions for google on a piece of paper instead of immediately googling, preventing you from googling, then getting distracted multiple times a day. Also: there’s no need to keep up with the news on an hourly basis. Check-in once a week and save yourself some time.

Now, as far as energizing goes, taking care of your body is essential. Our system of barely sleeping, sitting around, eating processed food, and staring at screens isn’t much like the environment we evolved from, or one that makes us most happy and productive. There is a significant connection between your mind and your body: utilize this knowledge to give yourself more energy. To fully take care of ourselves, we need exercise, connection, a healthy diet, and sleep. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated: sometimes a 7-minute burst of pushups can be sufficient. If you’ve got a bit more time, 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day has been shown to increase intellect, health, and happiness. As far as diet, focus on eating good food in moderation. Eat plants, meats, nuts, and fish. Oh, and avoid pesky caffeine crashes by re-caffeinating 30 minutes before you crash, usually after lunch. As tempting as it may be, don’t catch up on sleep: stick to a sleep schedule. Finally, for social connection, spend time with people who lift your spirits, and do things like exercise or eat healthy if you want to knock some things off of your to-do list!

Now, take time to reflect. Take a few of your newly available moments at the end of each day to think about your highlight, what tactics you used to make it happen, what worked, and what didn’t. You can also keep score of your focus and energy levels by rating them on a scale of 1-10. This can help you better understand what methods work for you, and which don’t. Following the steps outlined here can lead to great things. One person followed these steps, and realized that his job at Google just wasn’t cutting itt: and he pursued a meaningful career writing. Another guy went from working at YouTube to spending most of his time sailing. Where could your adventures take you? Now you’ll finally have the time to find out!

Summary

Wouldn’t it be great if you had some extra time every day? With John Knapp’s Make Time, you can learn how to master your schedule and be more productive with the time you DO have. Read on to learn his most useful tips, including how to work with your brains hardwiring to increase energy, tips for preventing caffeine slumps, and how to resist the lure of time-wasting applications like Facebook, Twitter, and more.

The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

About the Author

Shawn Achor, born March 9, 1978, is an American author and speaker widely known for his positive psychology advocacy. He spent twelve years at Harvard University where he graduated magna cum laude and earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. Achor has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. He authored The Happiness Advantage (2010), Before Happiness (2013), and founded GoodThink, Inc. His research on mindset made the cover of Harvard Business Review. His TED talk is one of the most popular with over 13 million views. His Happiness Advantage training is one of the largest and most successful positive psychology corporate training programs in the world. In 2014, he did a two-hour interview with Oprah at her house to discuss the science of happiness. Achor has also worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, and with places like the NFL, the Pentagon, and the U.S. Treasury.

Synopsis

You shouldn’t expect to become happier after you gain success. Become happier first in order to gain more success. If you’re sitting around complacent and not working to achieve your goals, do not be surprised if you don’t have the best mood. The Happiness Advantage is about approaching the world with optimism versus being consumed by ideas that situations will not work out in our favor. In the words of Achor, changing our language of “failure” to “growth potential moments” can impact our lives for the better.

PART ONE – POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY AT WORK

-The Happiness Advantage encourages readers to focus on small goals to control the amount of time and effort required to create positive change.

-Happiness comes before success—one should not wait to become successful in order to become happier.

-The happier and more positive a person is, the more motivated and efficient he or she can become.

PART TWO

Principle #1: The Happiness Advantage

-Achor believes happiness is achieved when we strive after our goals, which makes happiness more than a mood but also a work ethic.

-Positive emotions give us more options to handle difficult situations instead of simply fighting through the challenges or leaving.

-Happiness offers a competitive advantage and can be achieved through meditation and exercise as well as encouragement from employers, colleagues, friends, and family members.

Principle #2: The Fulcrum and the Lever

-The fulcrum and the lever is a seesaw metaphor. The lever is the bar that can be pulled up or down depending on the weight stacked on top of it. The fulcrum is below the lever and helps to stabilize or balance a seesaw.

-Achor writes that our ability to make the most of our potential depends on the length of our lever (how much power we believe we have when faced with troubling circumstances) and the position of the fulcrum (our mindset to make positive changes to help balance out our efforts to face challenges).

-Our brains often act on what we predict will happen next, which is called ‘Expectancy Theory.’ However, we must not expect the worst. Happiness requires that we reprogram our thinking from negativity to positivity.

 Principle #3: The Tetris Effect

- Expecting negative outcomes can result in higher stress levels and lowers the motivation to achieve goals.

- If you expect positive outcomes, you can appreciate the work it will take to achieve those outcomes.

-Creating a list of three good things that happened to you within a day can allow you to see more potentially positive situations.

Principle #4: Falling Up

-Achor explains the idea of “falling up” so that failure can be seen as moments to spark progress.

- “Falling up” can lead to adversarial growth which occurs when difficult situations are interpreted in a more positive light.

-Overlearning occurs when the lesson learned from one situation is applied to all situations because a person has not developed more tools to handle challenges. Happiness can result in more creative solutions to handle difficult situations.

Principle #5: The Zorro Circle

- Achieving smaller goals can allow us to work our way up to achieving bigger goals—Achors calls this “drawing circles in the sand.”

-People who believe that their actions impact their outcomes are more successful.

- Those who can articulate their feelings in words are often able to recover from negative emotions more quickly.

Principle #6 The 20-Second Rule

-The 20-second rule is about replacing bad habits with good habits.

-In physics, it takes about 20 seconds to activate energy after experiencing a period of inactivity. That same energy to move from no movement to movement is needed for people to take on positive habits.

-Reducing the amount of effort used to perform activities unrelated to your main goals and increasing the hours spent completing tasks related to those goals can foster the positive change needed to achieve success.

Principle #7 Social Investment

-Happiness depends on having positive social interactions.

-Thousands of professional men and women were interviewed and the majority claimed that their work friendships helped them achieve success.

-Brief positive conversations among coworkers can decrease stress, enhance motivation, and improve employee performance.

PART THREE– THE RIPPLE EFFECT

-Actions have been scientifically proven to be contagious being that our actions, attitudes, and moods impact those around us.

-Buffering your brain from negativity keeps you in a space to be more positively influential.

-Making one positive behavioral change can influence others to believe that change is possible and that happiness is a choice.

Girl, Stop Apologizing

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Stop Apologizing is about recognizing social normalities against women and overcoming them to achieve goals and happiness.

Society expects women to be caregivers, wives, and mothers. Pursuing careers and goals outside of this creates negative feedback, fear, and male intimidation.

Women must rise above this to live the life that they want.

Key Takeaways

That's Not What Other Women Do

-Society has expectations of what a woman should do: cook, clean and raise kids. Women are thought down upon when they deviate from this "norm.”

-Women care about what others think of them. When going against the "norm," they need to ignore what other people say.

I'm Not a Goal-Oriented Person

-It is foolish to wait around hoping that their dream life will appear. Women need to work on goals to make their dream life a reality.

-Women have the potential for an extraordinary life and they should not settle for less.

I Don't Have Time

-Since time is so limited, it is crucial to prioritize tasks so the important ones get done first.

-Planning, organizing, and scheduling are important to manage time effectively and get all the important things done.

I'm not Enough to Succeed

-Women need to chase their dreams and have full faith that they can achieve them.

-Fear and negativity from others can hold women back, but they should feel confident in themselves and their abilities.

I Can't Pursue My Dream and Still Be a Good Mom/Daughter/Employee

-Women need to set new social standards. They have been confined by gender roles for centuries and have not had the opportunity to dream big and achieve bigger.

-Being a good wife and mother doesn't stop women from also pursuing happiness.

I'm Terrified of Failure

-Failure is a building block to success and women shouldn't fear it. Everyone has faced failure at some point. Women should use setbacks to learn and improve themselves.

It's Been Done before

-Women should avoid comparing themselves to their competition. They should focus on themselves and their goals only.

What Will They Think?

-Caring about negative criticism slows women down. It is best to ignore it and not worry about what people think.

Good Girls Don't Hustle

-Women need to hustle if they want to achieve their goals. They must be strong, be motivated to make their life better and ignore the status quo.

Stop Asking Permission

-Grown adults do not need permission from anyone to make decisions for themselves. Women do not need to seek permission from men or society.

Choose One Dream and Go All In

-Focus on one goal at a time and do the goals in order of priority.

-Organize goals with the 10, 10, 1 formula. This formula is to help a person envision what they want their life to look like in 10 years. Decide what 10 dreams will take you to that vision. Then from that list, choose 1 goal at a time to focus on.

Embrace Your Ambition

-There are stereotypes about women. Women should not fear or be intimidated by men when they go against stereotypes.

Ask for Help!

-Delegation is important. Successful people delegate tasks so they can focus on their strengths.

-Some women have a hard time asking for help. But as they become more successful and get more responsibilities, women should be open to delegating and getting help.

Build Foundations for Success

-Women tend to care more about others then they do themselves. They can help others more if they focus on their success first to give it a solid foundation.

Stop Allowing Them to Talk You Out of It

-Women need to stand their ground and refuse to be influenced to go against their goals and beliefs.

Learn to Say No

-The best word to keep handy is the word "no." Use this word on tasks that go against the goal and be firm when saying it.

-Having priorities makes it easier to turn down requests.

Planning

-Having clear plans is like a roadmap. To set a clear plan, a person needs to take a look at where they are, where they want to go and determine the route to get there.

Confidence

-A lack of confidence can hinder women when they reach obstacles on their path. They must have complete confidence that they can overcome difficulties and achieve the goal.

Persistence

-Goals shouldn't have strict deadlines since obstacles are not always seen. People tend to give up on goals when they are not able to achieve them within a period.

-Achieving goals is a life-long objective. People should continue to pursue goals even after personal deadlines have passed.

Effectiveness

-People need to stop engaging in time-wasting activities. These activities are taking away time to focus on the goals.

Positivity

-Women will face challenges every day, but they can be overcome with a positive mindset. A positive attitude mixed with gratitude can help people overcome stress.

Lead-Her-Ship

-Leadership skills tend to be suppressed in women. Women should practice being a leader by seeking leadership roles. Then they can inspire other women to achieve their goals.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism By. Greg McKeown

Key Insights

Don’t you wish you could eliminate all the tasks, obligations, and duties in your life that aren’t moving you forward?

By reading “Essentialism” by. Greg McKeown, you will learn to do just that.

McKeown gives readers a “how-to” about focusing on the right goals and what’s truly valuable to your life while eliminating meaningless tasks.

You will learn how to ignore the meaningless, and refocus your life to make it successful, satisfying, and fulfilling.

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”- Greg McKeown

Leaders in business will also benefit from this method that will help to create a clear focus, communicate efficiently, and delegate tasks to their employees that best meet their strengths.

Key Points

  • True Priorities Aren’t Getting the Attention They Need

Nonessentialists go through 4 steps:

 

  1. They succeed in their goals.
  2. They gain a good reputation which results in more opportunities.
  3. Then they less energy to devote to each new opportunity that they say ‘yes’ to.
  4. As a result, they stray from their original goal and end up working on meaningless side projects.

 

These 4 steps can be summed up into one sentence: Nonessentialist people and organizations give energy in too many directions, leading to very little progress.

An essentialistic person or organization put all their energy in one direction to reap the most benefits.

Many businesses believe in the power of multitasking to get things done. However, this often results in emails and calls being dropped because the person was not fully focused. Humans are truly only capable of performing one task at a time.

The only way multitasking can work with a human is if one of the tasks is automatic, such as breathing.

It is important for companies to eliminate tasks on their to-do lists to focus their attention. But, this can be hard to do in big companies that have to focus on many different avenues such as revenues, shareholders, customers, operations, etc.

  • What Is Essentialism?

Essentialism is the method of limiting your goals, putting unnecessary tasks aside, and learning how to say ‘no’ to tasks that will not help you to move forward.

Essentialists have very small lists of tasks to do. That is because they know what tasks truly matter. They turn down tasks that do not propel them toward their goals.

Essentialists do not rush or neglect their prioritized tasks. It is not a race toward the finish line, rather a strategized and focused plan.

The focus of essentialists helps to increase their productivity. It is not the number of tasks they are accomplishing, but rather the quality of the ones that they are accomplishing.

An essentialist targets their focus on one task at a time, rather than spreading themselves thin. This ensures that the effort they are putting into something is quality.

  • Make Decisions About What To Take On For Yourself

If people wait too long to make a decision about what to prioritize, other people will end up making the decision for them.

When you are passive about your goals and the priorities leading up to them, you give up the responsibility of decision-making. And, therefore, others will make decisions for you.

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.”― Greg Mckeown

Advertisements are a great example of these external stimuli that influence people. Restaurants often use chalkboards with specials to influence people on what to eat. Though this is an innocent example, people should be aware that these external stimuli are everywhere.

Another example of this is family pressuring you to study something at university even if you have no interest in it because it is a “smart” career choice. If a person decides to study this specific topic they have no interest in, they are dropping their priorities to fulfill another’s.

  • Understand That Less Can Be Better

In order to label what is an important priority, you must eliminate priorities. And, you must understand that the idea of “less” is actually better because it is focused.

“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”― Greg McKeown

To go about this easily, a person should simply look at their list of priorities and cut out what isn’t directly propelling them toward their goals. If something is between essential and nonessential toward their goal, they should cut that too. Their to-do list should be made as concise as possible.

People may have a hard time with this if they are used to saying ‘yes’ to all side-projects. But, by saying ‘yes’ to small projects, your time is compromised. You have to use the energy that was saved for higher-level projects and distribute them equally to all of your tasks.

By eliminating the small tasks, or delegating them to others, you will have more time for the projects that matter. And, as a result, be more efficient.

  • Don’t Be Afraid To Abandon Other Goals

Having too many goals can oftentimes be a bad thing. That’s because you are stretching yourself too thin and aren’t able to give total focus to any one thing.

To be successful, you must abandon side-goals to increase efficiency and target your focus. This is called making a trade-off. You are choosing one priority over another.

“Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”― Greg McKeown

An example of a trade-off when it comes to personal and professional life is choosing to go to your son’s school play rather than attend a business dinner. Making a choice about your priority is essential.

  • Get Rid Of Distractions

It’s hard to cut yourself off from new obligations and duties. Especially in a world where we are constantly being asked to do things via phone, email, and text.

In another one of McKeown’s books entitled, “Monk Mode,” he describes the importance of isolation for creativity and stress relief. When you remove yourself from distractions such as media and phone, you will aid your productivity.

“Sleep will enhance your ability to explore, make connections, and do less but better throughout your waking hours.”― Greg McKeown

For example, a writer may use a writing retreat in order to finish a novel.

  • Learn to Say ‘No’

Learning to say ‘no’ to opportunities can be a hard thing to learn. Especially in a society that has told us to take new opportunities that the universe presents us.

Factors such as pressure from co-workers, family, or ourselves can easily pressure us into saying ‘yes’ to things that will not help us in the long-run.

If a person cannot say ‘no’ straightforwardly, they can either take a priority off their to-do list. Or, they can ask that the task be given to them in the future.

By not saying ‘no’, you are not hurting anyone. Especially, when you offer suggestions on how to get the task done without hurting your current priority list.

  • Define the Main Goal Clearly

The main goal should be defined clearly by a person or an organization so that when it is complete, you will know.

A lot of time organizations have a mission statement or a goal that is not well-defined, so deciding when it is done can be tricky.

Say one of your main goals is family. That is something that can not be easily defined as being accomplished when complete. But, if you decide how much of your time should be spent with family every day or every week, it is easier to define if you are meeting your goal.

  • Make the Essential Priorities Clear

If you get rid of everything that is nonessential to your life, then you will have an easier time seeing the essential parts.

People must also set boundaries around their clear priorities. For example, turning off your work phone when you are with your family.

People often get stuck in tasks that are not driving them forward if they have already invested money into it. But, it’s important to let things go that are not serving you and move on.

For example, if a business owner spent a lot of money on a marketing campaign that isn’t putting out the desired results, it’s best to let it go and move onto another solution for profits.

  • Create Buffers For Time and Resources

Your priorities should have clear task to-do lists that are concise and focused.

Each priority should have small steps that lead up to reaching the end-goal.

Buffers within each goal are important as there are things you cannot account for that may take more time than expected. By creating these buffers, you give yourself more freedom and can reach your goal with less stress.

An example of creating a buffer: Let’s say you are a sandwich maker and you usually make 100 sandwiches at lunchtime. If you make sure you have the resources for double the amount of sandwiches, you won’t suffer and lose business if you get an unexpected rush.

Preparing for the unexpected is important to a successful business. And, it reduces stress.

In order to make a process more focused and productive, it’s important to eliminate any steps that may hinder it or slow down the process. Just like unnecessary priorities, unnecessary steps should be thrown away!

  • Essentialism Should Be the Key to Every Decision

You cannot choose when you want to be essentialistic and when you don’t. You must make it the focus of every decision in your life. This will help to establish a routine.

It is also important to be present. That way, you can decide what tasks and priorities are valuable and which are not.

Consistency is also key. When you create a routine based on essentialism, you must adhere to it.

Breaking your routine because of a distraction is not essentialistic.

  • Leaders Must Choose the Best Members for Their Teams

When you are leading a team as an essentialist, you must pick the best members for your team. Unnecessary team members will not help you move toward your goal.

For example, if you have a friend who is toxic in your personal life, get rid of them. They are not serving you.

To choose the best team members, your goal must be defined clearly. Only then will you understand the people you absolutely need on your team.

Leaders should pick members who are essentially and not hire two people that are alike in their skills. Redundancy is not necessary.

Essentialistic leaders will not communicate with their team unless it’s absolutely necessary. Unnecessary talk is a time-waster and not essential to the end-goal.

These leaders will be mostly hands-off and trust that their team members know what they are doing.

Employees on essentialistic teams often manage themselves and only check-in with their supervisors when they need more resources or when the project is complete.

The Main Take-Away

By adapting the essentialism method of eliminating unnecessary tasks and priorities, you will be able to focus your time and resources on the things that matter the most to you and reach your goals in a much more efficient fashion.

Ego Is the Enemy

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Everyone is motivated by something. If you are driven to achieve things because you want attention and praise, it's likely you’re being driven by your ego. While there is nothing wrong with being motivated by egocentric goals (goals that primarily benefit you or make you look good to others), it's easy for your ego to get out of hand. When someone’s ego is the correct size, they have enough confidence to take risks, and they can handle failure without losing their cool. But, once someone's ego gets out of proportion, they can end up reaping painful consequences in the long run. Problems with ego management can lead to the inability to achieve meaningful success because of damaged relationships with colleagues, shortsightedness, missed opportunities, and many other problems. Here’s how to shift away from the pitfalls of egoist living, and move into a more success oriented perspective.

Exercise ambition, instead of ego

In opposition to those who are primarily motivated by their ego, there are those motivated by ambition. They desire to be the best in their field, whether other people notice it or not. A historical example of this principle is William Tecumseh Sherman, a general in the military during the Civil War. He cared more about being the best at his role than he cared for prestige and recognition. His leadership abilities were so exceptional, he was asked to run for president. After talking with Lincoln, he realized he wanted to stay in the field of military leadership. He passed up the recognition he could receive as president to continue excelling in what he loved. By comparison, ego driven Ulysses S. Grant ran for president even though he lacked any experience in a similar role. His ego drove him to believe he could successfully tackle an endeavor when he had no experience. This is not to say that those who are ambitious shouldn’t take risks: but rather focus your risk taking in an area that you feel passionate about, not just an area where you think you can get praise and attention.

Recognize there’s always more to learn

Humility is the antidote to egoism. How do you maintain humility? Recognize that there is always more to learn. No matter what field you are in, there is always someone more skilled you can learn from. Retaining this humility will allow you to continue to develop your skill set. Develop the perspective of a student and remain willing to be taught, and keep the awareness that no matter how much you excel at what you do, there will always be someone who’s better.

This attitude has been helpful to guitarist Kirk Hammett, who was offered the position of guitarist in Metallica in the 1980s. He refused, because he knew that once he started playing in a band, he would miss out on the opportunity to grow his skills. He instead became a student of world-renowned guitar legend Joe Satriani. Similarly, Frank Shamrock, a martial arts expert, believes that those who have reached advanced levels in martial arts should retain humility: one way they do this is by training the beginners. Recognizing there is more to learn and developing humility prevents one’s ego from becoming overbearing.

Avoid the pitfalls of ego’s side effect: pride

When Apple’s iPhone was monumentally successful, Steve Jobs didn’t pat himself on the back for a successful achievement and give up. Instead, he continued to produce successful products. Imagine if someone who hadn’t experienced the success Steve Job’s did have an excess of pride, and you’ll start to understand why it can have such a pernicious effect. Pride can cause people to become complacent. In conjunction with causing complacency, it can increase laziness and it can also make people defensive in reaction to criticism or helpful advice. Pride can fuel the ego: creating a toxic blend of ego justification and blindness to the possibility of other successes. Imagine if you were too busy patting yourself on the back to realize that you had more opportunities!

Avoiding pride is difficult, especially when someone has experienced a fair amount of success. One solution is to think of how someone more humble would approach the situation you’re in. Shifting out of pride and ego is a matter of changing your perception. Shift into the mindset of someone who has more humility, and see how your perspective and actions change too.

You don't have to do it all on your own

One big pitfall of egoism is the idea that you (and only you) can do things correctly. Tired of bearing the great burden of responsibility? Here’s a dose of humility: that’s not the case! Learning how to delegate tasks effectively has many benefits. Your team will feel respected and valued because you’ll be trusting them with responsibility. You are giving them the opportunity to grow and develop a skill set. Finally, without so much work to do, you’ll be able to develop new skills yourself.

Still want to run the show? So did John Delorean. He left General Motors to start his own company because he was convinced he would be more successful than they were. He micromanaged every person and every process in his car company, and it was a massive failure. He ended up declaring bankruptcy. Doing it all on your own can have dismal results.

Recognize the people who help you achieve

Teamwork is an important aspect of success: and when ego gets in the way of teamwork, there can be dire consequences. When Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Briant played together, they worked exceptionally well. They won three championships with the Lakers: 2000, 2001, and 2002. Their bout of success was cut short when both of them developed enormous egos, and O’Neal started saying nasty things about Bryant to reporters. In response, Bryant refused to sign with the Lakers until they traded O’Neal for another team. Had they stayed humble, they would have worked together.

Prevent ego from corroding your ability to work with a team by noticing and giving credit to your teammates, whenever you experience success. Not only does this help you keep your ego in check, it also builds a sense of comradery, could attract new coworkers and makes other people feel good.

Recognize that outcomes are out of your control

So you put in your best effort and your idea got rejected, or you applied and interviewed for your dream job… and you didn't get it. How do you cope with the loss? Ego says take it personally, or blame others. There is another way. With humility, you can learn to accept that sometimes, even after engaging our best efforts, we fail. It sucks, but it's also out of our control. Bad results can also show us where we need to put in more work and improve our performance. It's important to remember that while bad outcomes are often out of our control, so are good ones. Good luck should be taken the same way: as a lucky gift, rather than something we earned. When the patriots selected Tom Brady as their quarterback, they had no idea he would be one of the greatest quarterbacks in all of NFL history. Instead of taking credit for finding him, they worked to improve their scouting program, so they could find more players like him in the future.

Good luck or bad luck, learn to keep your ego out of it and instead, see everything that happens as an opportunity for growth.

Everyone is motivated by something. If the primary motivating factor behind everything you do is your ego - you’re in trouble! There are many ways to avoid the common pitfalls associated with ego overdrive: exercising ambition instead of ego, recognizing there’s always more to learn, avoiding pride, remembering you don’t always have to go it alone, and many others!

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Key Insights

Elizabeth Gilbert may be best known for her book, “Eat, Pray, Love,” but that timeless memoir of personal discovery is not the only story Gilbert has to share with her audience.

In “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear,” Gilbert uses anecdotal stories to share the words of wisdom she has learned throughout her passion for writing.

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

Gilbert gives insight to her readers about the damaging effects fear can have on your ability to live a creative life.

She goes on to discuss persistence, the idea of Big Magic, being brave, and being open to inspiration from the world around us.

Key Points

  • Face Your Fears

In order to live a creative life, you must uncover the hidden treasures within yourself and let them lead the way.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

You must be driven by curiosity and must always ask questions rather than living in fear of failure.

Living with curiosity will make you happier, diversify your perspective on the world, and give you a much more interesting story to tell.

You must never think you are too young or too old to follow your dream. Everyone has their own timeline. Everyone is capable of living a creative life and pursuing the things they are passionate about.

Fear kills creativity. It doesn’t just hinder the process, it can sometimes stop it before it even starts.

Oftentimes a person can overcome their fear to do something creative such as write a novel, but once that is done fear may stop them from letting others read it.

Leave motivational post-its and images for yourself in your creative workspace. This is a helpful way to prevent fear creeping in and taking over your creative process.

  • The Paradoxes of Creativity

Although fear can hurt the creative process, it is also necessary for the creative process. This is one of the paradoxes of the creative world.

Creators must embrace their fears, rather than ignore them when it comes to their works. That’s because this can help secure their motivation for the piece. Without the fear, the piece isn’t what it originally was. To keep the organic idea intact, you must embrace the fear that comes along with it.

Another paradox of creativity are that it is work and a privilege. It may seem like a lot of time to spend on a passion, but that passion is a privilege to have.

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

Also, creativity is both playful and serious at the same time. You are seriously striving toward some masterpiece, yet it can be fun and entertaining while doing so.

Creativity should be extremely meaningful while also being meaningless at the same time. This is because the process and the end product should be meaningful to the creator, but no pressure should be added to the creator about how meaningful it will be to their audience. The creator should accept that their piece may be meaningless to the outside world.

These creative paradoxes make the process of creating difficult to understand. It requires creators to use all aspects of themselves in order to get the job done.

For example, if a painter cannot be playful and have fun while painting on a canvas, their end result may be contrived.

  • Creativity is Magical

Creativity is magical in all senses of the word. It is supernatural, mystical, and divine. It is an otherworldly experience for many creators.

For example, a specific idea for a novel can jump from one author’s head to another when the first author loses intimacy with the idea. This loss sends the idea to another author’s brain so they can get writing.

This example is something that happened to Gilbert herself. And since then she has believed that ideas are alive and their own individual beings who then cling to creators.

A huge part of the reason why creativity is magical is that no one quite understands it, not even the scientists of the world.

The term ‘divine inspiration’ is often referenced with the idea that creativity is magic. Divine inspiration describes the inexplicable event of how ideas come to be and how they are expressed by their creators.

Magic, of course, is what we label things that we cannot explain. And one of those things is creativity because it births so many genius ideas.

Oftentimes creators, themselves, cannot explain how they stumbled upon their best ideas. But that is what keeps creativity so magical.

  • All About Ideas

Ideas are their own beings. They are not attached to humans. But, a creator, through their own consciousness can manifest themselves in creative works. This creative piece could be anything from a business idea to a painting.

Ideas approach humans and the human has the right to either accept or reject that specific idea.

If a person rejects the idea, the idea moves onto someone new.

If a person accepts the idea, they must nurture it and see it through to the end, or they may end up losing it to another creator.

It’s important that a person not sit and wait patiently for inspiration to strike. They should simply be open to new ideas and those ideas will come to them.

People are constantly being thrown ideas on a daily basis. But it may be hard to conjure them up once you are sitting and ready to work.

In order to combat this, you must take note of ideas when they come to you. You must be aware of their presence. That is why it is always a good idea to have a pad of paper handy. That way, you can jot down any ideas that introduce themselves to you.

Ideas often come to a person when their mind is relaxed. That’s probably why most people get great ideas in the shower or in the middle of the night, half-asleep.

  • You Don’t Need Permission

Creativity is a part of human nature and has been forever. All people are born creative.

However, we don’t all feel we are creative because oftentimes fear blocks our creative processes.

People need to personally allow themselves to be creative by owning their duty and right to creatively express their ideas.

As a creator, you don’t need to ask for permission. Though many people sometimes do. They often look to their family, friends, and coworkers for approval. This is because a lot of people were brought up to think that the creative arts were just a time-waster and a hobby.

But, by combating that old-school idea and living a creative life, you will gain happiness, satisfaction, and reach your hidden dreams.

To live a creative life, you must define yourself in those terms. For example, if you are a songwriter, you must call yourself a songwriter. The same goes for any other creative craft. This will help you to feel proud and overcome your fear of failure in your field. It will also help you to get your work done!

  • Be Positive About Creativity

When we think of artists, a lot of times we think of the struggling, depressed, genius artists of the past such as Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath.

“Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

But, there are ways to be an artist and also live a happy and fulfilling life. When a person accepts their creativity, rather than struggles with it, the results are oftentimes more magical. Not to mention, it’s a much more positive way to live.

People thrive in the creative world when they are able to maintain their mental health and relationships while still dedicating time to their passion.

If you live as a tortured dark artist, you will inevitably neglect the people around you by spending all your time miserably trying to create.

Tortured artists struggle with mental health which then goes on to affect their physical health.

  • Always Be Persistent

It’s important to examine your psychological patterns to see what is stifling your creativity in order to fix the problem and push through the creative process.

Rejection and self-doubt go hand-in-hand and oftentimes people quit their creative process when these issues arise.

However, people need to learn to overcome and persist through doubt, failed attempts, and other psychological blockages.

Life often gets in the way of the creative process. Many creators work long days and are too tired to work on their passion projects once they get home.

Similarly, family obligations, household chores, and distractions such as social media and TV get in the way of the creative process.

As a creator, your duty is to make time for your creative process no matter what. Treat it as a priority, even if it means waking up a few minutes earlier every day.

In regards to criticism and the outside perspective, as an artist, you must persist no matter what the consensus about your work is.

As long as you like your piece and you get joy from creating, that is all that matters.

  • Do Not Strive For Perfection

The idea of perfect is a mental trap. Striving for perfection can oftentimes stop people from actually finishing their work.

If an artist believes they are not good enough, they will lose motivation to keep going. And this can happen during any part of the creative process.

It doesn’t matter if the outside world loves your work or hates it. And furthermore, whether they understand it or not.

Perfectionism is a manifestation of fear. And because of that creators can have a hard time completing a piece. They fear that it is not good enough.

“Done is better than good.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

Persistency must see beyond perfectionism. Sometimes it’s not about getting it perfect, but about getting it good enough to move onto the next creative endeavor.

  • You Don’t Have To Make It A Career

Having a creative career is not always stable and reliable.

Even for artists who are making a living doing what they love, there are downsides such as dealing with agents and publishers, unfavorable tour schedules, and self-marketing.

A creative career also tends to spark self-doubt. A creator often wonders if they are good enough and compares themselves to other people in the market.

“But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”- Elizabeth Gilbert

Oftentimes when someone takes their passion and makes a career out of it, the fun is lost for them. It becomes stressful, just like any other job.

Making creativity a job and a responsibility can put a lot of pressure on a creator to do good work in order to provide for their family, put food on the table, pay the bills, etc.

However, some people thrive in creative careers. Everyone has a different creative journey.

The Main Take-Away

In the field of creativity you must always persist, never ask for permission, and forget about perfectionism, which is fear manifesting itself. Fear has a tendency to suffocate creativity. By overcoming fears, you will be able to open up to the magical ideas that are waiting to be captured by a creator like you!