Study: ‘Device Mesh’ Among 2016’s Strategic Tech Trends

Businesses face growing smart-machine-driven landscape, Gartner says

Thank you!  Dinah Wisenberg Brin  1/19/2016

A growing “device mesh”—the web of wearable and mobile devices and Internet of Things sensors that people use to find information or communicate online—leads Gartner Inc.’s list of strategic technology trends for 2016.

The device mesh and other trends “herald an algorithmic- and smart-machine-driven world in which people and machines must define harmonious relationships, according to Gartner.” Gartner predicts that these strategic technology trends—ones likely to affect an organization’s long-term plans and activities, to disrupt business or IT end users, to require a major investment, or to pose a risk for those companies that are hesitant to adopt new technologies—will shape digital business opportunities through 2020.

A Mesh of Devices

“In the post-mobile world, the focus shifts to the mobile user who is surrounded by a mesh of devices extending well beyond traditional mobile devices,” David Cearley, vice president and a Gartner Fellow, stated in a news release. The device mesh is an expanding set of endpoints—mobile, wearable, consumer, home electronics, automotive and environmental devices, including sensors in the Internet of Things—that people and businesses will use to reach applications and information or interact with others.

Devices, while increasingly connected to back-end systems through various networks, have often worked in isolation from one another, the firm states. But with the growing device mesh, Gartner expects the expansion of “connection models” and the emergence of greater cooperative interaction between devices, “merging the physical and virtual worlds,” Cearley said.

By 2018, the firm projects, 6 billion “connected things” will need support, and more than 3 million workers around the world will be supervised by a “robo-boss.” As SHRM Online reported last year, HR will need to make sure humans aren’t left out of the equation when robots begin to do most of the work.

Also by 2018, Gartner forecasts, 2 million employees will be required to wear fitness and health tracking devices as a condition of employment. Emergency first responders will probably make up the largest group required to monitor their health with wearables—for their own safety—according to Gartner, which predicted that professional athletes, airline pilots, political leaders, and industrial and remote field workers also will have to wear health monitors.

Such requirements, however, might run afoul of privacy and labor laws.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission “is going to be really anxious about anyone who’s going to require that an employee enter a wellness program,” including requiring employees to wear a fitness tracker or provide DNA, said Kate Bischoff, SHRM-SCP, a Minneapolis-based management-side employment attorney with Zelle LLP. Wellness programs must be voluntary, she said.

The Internet of Things, meanwhile, is “coming to an employer near you,” Bischoff said. Not only will the Internet of Things allow employees to use devices like smartwatches to turn on computers or space heaters at work, it will allow employers to know where employees are, who is talking to whom and how space is being used. “All of those things are coming to the workplace, and they’re going to have a big impact on productivity and they’re going to be able to tell bosses” who’s doing a better job, she said.

According to the results of Sierra-Cedar’s 2015-2016 HR Systems Survey, 10 percent of organizations are using wearable technology today, with another 8 percent evaluating wearables for business use. “When organizations use wearable workplace technology, 55 percent of our respondents are using it to track productivity, 45 percent are concerned about workforce safety, and 36 percent are implementing workforce technology for audit purposes,” the firm said.

Sierra-Cedar says it saw a 30 percent increase in the percentage of organizations using wearable technologies as part of their HR strategy this year.

Other device meshes include:

  • Ambient user experience. Emerging technologies will flow “across a shifting set of devices and interaction channels, blending physical, virtual and electronic environment as the user moves from one place to another,” Gartner states.
  • 3-D printing materials. Innovations will drive demand in 3-D printed electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials, which will expand to aerospace, medical, energy and other sectors, Gartner noted.
  • Information of everything. Data will be transmitted beyond text, audio and video information to include, for example, sensory data, Gartner notes.
  • Advanced machine learning. Systems will “learn to perceive the world on their own,” Gartner stated, performing tasks and analysis functions that are unrealistic for humans to perform given the “explosion of data sources and complexity of information.” For example, machines will write 20 percent of business content by 2018.
  • Autonomous agents and things. “Over the next five years, we will evolve to a post-app world, with intelligent agents [like Siri and Google Now] delivering dynamic and contextual actions and interfaces,” Cearley said. “IT leaders should explore how they can use autonomous things and agents to augment human activity and free people for work that only people can do.”

Dinah Wisenberg Brin is a freelance writer and journalist in Philadelphia. She previously worked as a staff reporter for the Associated Press and Dow Jones Newswire

What is transformational agility?

via What is transformational agility


Marketers are adding to or overhauling their technology stacks, media and channels have proliferated and people and processes have had to adapt.

This is the root of the need for digital transformation.

But is the talk of agile change just lip service? What is it? And what are its benefits?

Off the back of roundtable discussions at our Digital Cream events, we write up trends reports detailing current obsessions within a particular discipline.

Last week we published People and Process: Agile working, collaborative tools, social enterprise and cloud-based marketing tech, in association with censhare.

A big title for a burgeoning issue in digital.

Phil Arnold, censhare UK MD, sums up the mood of the discussions around this nebulous topic:

Some [companies] are more advanced than others, having broken from functional silos to implement an integrated marketing approach and using processes and tools to improve their collaboration, agility and transparency.

However many are still frustrated by a lack of digital ‘buy-in’ from senior management or a fear factor engendered by lack of skills or education.

In short, the balance of people, process, tech and culture is a difficult one to strike.

Here is some of what delegates had to say.

How are businesses defining agile?

A move to social business

Social business is the engagement of the customer in product development and the company as a whole. This helps to drive change and customer satisfaction.

Agile with a capital A (not waterfall)

Agile in the project management sense differs from waterfall’s very linear approach to the stages of software development (conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment).

Agile sees incremental development stages with testing and market response occurring throughout the process.


Using new communications technologies

Increasing the use of social and digital technology to support the flow of information in and out of the business and also around the business.

This could be using Slack to enable collaboration between teams, or Facebook Messenger to serve customers.


More bottom-up approaches to the business

More input from staff who work closer to the customer via rapid, concise weekly meetings. As opposed to the HIPPO effect (highest paid person’s opinion).

Working with greater efficiency

Working quicker and in a more efficient manner. This isn’t magic, but has to be engendered by empowering staff and changing processes and personnel.

What are the benefits of transformational agility?

Competitive advantage

To be at the forefront in order to stand out from the competition. This differentiation is often more than simply customer-facing factors.

Companies often seek to recruit the most talented staff, by promoting progressive values and investment in digital.

Rationalising of costs

Digital transformation as a way to save money and to cut down on wastage. For example, moving a publication online.

Making products hit the market sooner

Measuring in weeks and not months.


Business understanding

Teams which were once siloed are increasingly working together.

Weekly catch-ups bring staff together and give people a more comprehensive/top-level understanding of what the business is up to.


Marketing and PR teams have the freedom to be more responsive and spontaneous.

This is ideal for jumping on trends and industry news.

Entrepreneurial behaviour

Teams have a clearer idea of who is responsible for what.

Developers have increased scope, which allows BAU to be more impactful on customer experience and product development.


Education = satisfaction

Education about new channels and other areas of the business leads to higher job satisfaction.

Newly gained skills improve efficiencies within the business but also expand individual job roles. Staff want progression.

More satisfied customers

With more channels open, and more time dedicated to hearing from customers, companies are delivering more.

Customers are in turn more satisfied, more engaged and more likely to provide repeat business.

Digital Innovation: Where Marketing Meets Math | Klick Health

The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier — Mar 16, 2016 — #213 – Paul Sonnier – Story of Digital Health

There’s now a 23andMe for your pooch. A startup named Embark (nice!) will test the DNA in your dog’s drool and provide you with its ancestry and disease risk plus information on whether it is likely to pass disease-associated mutations to a pup. Moreover, since dogs and humans suffer from many of the same kinds of conditions, the company plans to use them as models for studying some human diseases. There is precedent for this, as dogs have been used in a number of diabetes and anemia studies and are the preferred model for hemophilia research.

In the United States the fight over NIH funding has put the Senate’s proposed Digital Health medical innovation bills in jeopardy. Republicans blocked a Democratic effort—dubbed “The National Biomedical Research Act”—to get a Senate committee to approve $5B/year in medical research funding. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tried to push for a vote on the legislation, which would guarantee annual funding for three of the White House’s digital health-heavy research programs: the cancer “moonshot” initiative, the Precision Medicine Initiative, and the BRAIN Initiative.

And a revision of the Medical Electronic Data Technology Enhancement for Consumers’ Health (MEDTECH Act) could clarify the FDA’s power to regulate medical software that’s “reasonably likely to have serious adverse health consequences”. In the eyes of the FDA, the Act would allow it to regulate digital health software like Clinical Decision Support (CDS) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) whenever it is intended to interpret or analyze. The CDS Coalition‘s Bradley Merrill Thompson points out that the current regulatory ambiguity is inhibiting innovation in digital health. While the FDA currently has the authority to regulate health information technology as a medical device, most EHRs, CDS tools, and digital health applications are considered low risk and don’t require premarket approval (PMA).

An interesting new patent application could see the Apple Watch calling 911 when it detects a heart attack. And even the CDC is looking into wearable tech and environmental sensors for first responders The government agency wants to use these to protect firefighters and paramedics responding to 911 calls, according to a representative of the Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technology at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health within CDC. Australian firefighters already use a pill-based biomonitoring system from Equivital. The CDC is meeting with focus groups and hopes the eventual solutions will involve working with builders and developers to incorporate more environmental sensors into buildings.

Check out Dr. Sean Mullen’s survey for users of digital health apps mHABITS Survey. The survey is for clinicians and patients and takes about 25 minutes to complete. Sean is with the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Validic’s “Advancing Drug Development with Digital Health: 4 Key Ways to Integrate Patient-Generated Data into Trials” (Webcast) – 8am PST/11am EST, March 16th
Talkspace’s “The Future of Therapy: Talkspace Conference 2016” (New York, NY, USA) – April 5th
Complete listing of global events is here 

Note: In addition to providing consulting services and my keynote speaking, I’m currently seeking a direct role as a business development executive or other public-facing leadership position that will leverage my unique knowledge, global reach, and influence in digital health. Additionally, I provide entity and event promotions. Contact me for more information

3-D Printing Maps to Help the Blind
Meditation Has Become A Billion-Dollar Business
Pigeons wearing tiny backpacks tweet about air pollution
Virtual home app to help people with dementia

In pursuit of empathetic machines
Toshiba’s robot is designed to be more human-like
How Twitter is attempting to shape the Democratic primary – Company censored a hashtag
Gannett Plans First Regularly Scheduled News Show in Virtual Reality
SXSW’s online harassment summit was a peaceful look at an ugly problem
Hey Siri, Can I Rely on You in a Crisis? Not Always, a Study Finds

This headband designed to improve sleep did wonderful and terrifying things to my dreams
Immy grabs patent on how to do AR/VR glasses in a natural way
‘Artificial pancreas’ is one of new tech devices aimed at diabetes
Scientists made cutting edge ‘smart skin’ with Post-its, foil and tape
Fossil’s newest fitness band goes for fashion, hits the US this summer
Snapchat is secretly hiring experts in wearable tech hardware
Swatch Group Plays It Cautious On Smartwatch Technology
It might be illegal for companies to use wearables to monitor staff
CDC is looking into Wearable Tech, environmental sensors for first responders
Jaguar’s wearable key wants to go surfing

Genetic Testing Needs To Get Better, And The FDA Wants To Help
Doggie DNA startup to learn about human diseases from dog drool

Planned Parenthood Redesigns What It’s Like to Visit Its Clinics
Privacy Policies of Android Diabetes Apps and Sharing of Health Information
Sick of waiting? The doctor will Skype you now as ‘digital health revolution’ sees patients choose internet over GPs
Beating ‘heart-on-a-chip’ developed to replace human organs & animal testing (VIDEO)
3D Printed Orthoprints: Sticking it to the Orthodontics Industry with a Smile

New digital health accelerator to open in the Boston

Palo Alto Health Sciences raises $1.9M for FDA-cleared sensor, tablet-based system for panic disorder

Collaborative Overload

cross-functional, silos are breaking down, connectivity is increasing, and teamwork is seen as a key to organizational success. According to data we have collected over the past two decades, the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more.

Certainly, we find much to applaud in these developments. However, when consumption of a valuable resource spikes that dramatically, it should also give us pause. Consider a typical week in your own organization. How much time do people spend in meetings, on the phone, and responding to e-mails? At many companies the proportion hovers around 80%, leaving employees little time for all the critical work they must complete on their own. Performance suffers as they are buried under an avalanche of requests for input or advice, access to resources, or attendance at a meeting. They take assignments home, and soon, according to a large body of evidence on stress, burnout and turnover become real risks.

What’s more, research we’ve done across more than 300 organizations shows that the distribution of collaborative work is often extremely lopsided. In most cases, 20% to 35% of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees. As people become known for being both capable and willing to help, they are drawn into projects and roles of growing importance. Their giving mindset and desire to help others quickly enhances their performance and reputation. As a recent study led by Ning Li, of the University of Iowa, shows, a single “extra miler”—an employee who frequently contributes beyond the scope of his or her role—can drive team performance more than all the other members combined.

But this “escalating citizenship,” as the University of Oklahoma professor Mark Bolino calls it, only further fuels the demands placed on top collaborators. We find that what starts as a virtuous cycle soon turns vicious. Soon helpful employees become institutional bottlenecks: Work doesn’t progress until they’ve weighed in. Worse, they are so overtaxed that they’re no longer personally effective. And more often than not, the volume and diversity of work they do to benefit others goes unnoticed, because the requests are coming from other units, varied offices, or even multiple companies. In fact, when we use network analysis to identify the strongest collaborators in organizations, leaders are typically surprised by at least half the names on their lists. In our quest to reap the rewards of collaboration, we have inadvertently created open markets for it without recognizing the costs. What can leaders do to manage these demands more effectively?

Precious Personal Resources

First, it’s important to distinguish among the three types of “collaborative resources” that individual employees invest in others to create value: informational, social, and personal. Informational resources are knowledge and skills—expertise that can be recorded and passed on. Social resources involve one’s awareness, access, and position in a network, which can be used to help colleagues better collaborate with one another. Personal resources include one’s own time and energy.

These three resource types are not equally efficient. Informational and social resources can be shared—often in a single exchange—without depleting the collaborator’s supply. That is, when I offer you knowledge or network awareness, I also retain it for my own use. But an individual employee’s time and energy are finite, so each request to participate in or approve decisions for a project leaves less available for that person’s own work.

Up to a third of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees.

Unfortunately, personal resources are often the default demand when people want to collaborate. Instead of asking for specific informational or social resources—or better yet, searching in existing repositories such as reports or knowledge libraries—people ask for hands-on assistance they may not even need. An exchange that might have taken five minutes or less turns into a 30-minute calendar invite that strains personal resources on both sides of the request.

Consider a case study from a blue-chip professional services firm. When we helped the organization map the demands facing a group of its key employees, we found that the top collaborator—let’s call him Vernell—had 95 connections based on incoming requests. But only 18% of the requesters said they needed more personal access to him to achieve their business goals; the rest were content with the informational and social resources he was providing. The second most connected person was Sharon, with 89 people in her network, but her situation was markedly different, and more dangerous, because 40% of them wanted more time with her—a significantly greater draw on her personal resources.

We find that as the percentage of requesters seeking more access moves beyond about 25, it hinders the performance of both the individual and the group and becomes a strong predictor of voluntary turnover. As well-regarded collaborators are overloaded with demands, they may find that no good deed goes unpunished.

The exhibit “In Demand, Yet Disengaged,” reflecting data on business unit line leaders across a sample of 20 organizations, illustrates the problem. People at the top center and right of the chart—that is, those seen as the best sources of information and in highest demand as collaborators in their companies—have the lowest engagement and career satisfaction scores, as represented by the size of their bubbles. Our research shows that this ultimately results in their either leaving their organizations (taking valuable knowledge and network resources with them) or staying and spreading their growing apathy to their colleagues.


Leaders can solve this problem in two ways: by streamlining and redistributing responsibilities for collaboration and by rewarding effective contributions.

Redistributing the Work

Any effort to increase your organization’s collaborative efficiency should start with an understanding of the existing supply and demand. Employee surveys, electronic communications tracking, and internal systems such as 360-degree feedback and CRM programs can provide valuable data on the volume, type, origin, and destination of requests, as can more in-depth network analyses and tools. For example, monitors calendars and provides daily and weekly reports to both individual employees and managers about time spent in meetings versus on solo work. The idea is to identify the people most at risk for collaborative overload. Once that’s been done, you can focus on three levers:

Encourage behavioral change.

Show the most active and overburdened helpers how to filter and prioritize requests; give them permission to say no (or to allocate only half the time requested); and encourage them to make an introduction to someone else when the request doesn’t draw on their own unique contributions. The latest version of the team-collaboration software Basecamp now offers a notification “snooze button” that encourages employees to set stronger boundaries around their incoming information flow. It’s also worth suggesting that when they do invest personal resources, it be in value-added activities that they find energizing rather than exhausting. In studying employees at one Fortune 500 technology company, we found that although 60% wanted to spend less time responding to ad hoc collaboration requests, 40% wanted to spend more time training, coaching, and mentoring. After their contributions were shifted to those activities, employees were less prone to stress and disengagement.

To stem the tide of incoming requests, help seekers, too, must change their behavior. Resetting norms regarding when and how to initiate e-mail requests or meeting invitations can free up a great deal of wasted time. As a step in this direction, managers at Dropbox eliminated all recurring meetings for a two-week period. That forced employees to reassess the necessity of those gatherings and, after the hiatus, helped them become more vigilant about their calendars and making sure each meeting had an owner and an agenda. Rebecca Hinds and Bob Sutton, of Stanford, found that although the company tripled the number of employees at its headquarters over the next two years, its meetings were shorter and more productive.

In addition, requests for time-sapping reviews and approvals can be reduced in many risk-averse cultures by encouraging people to take courageous action on decisions they should be making themselves, rather than constantly checking with leaders or stakeholders.

Leverage technology and physical space to make informational and social resources more accessible and transparent.

Relevant technical tools include Slack and’s Chatter, with their open discussion threads on various work topics; and Syndio and VoloMetrix (recently acquired by Microsoft), which help individuals assess networks and make informed decisions about collaborative activities. Also rethink desk or office placement. A study led by the Boston University assistant professor Stine Grodal documented the detrimental effects of team meetings and e-mails on the development and maintenance of productive helping relationships. When possible, managers should colocate highly interdependent employees to facilitate brief and impromptu face-to-face collaborations, resulting in a more efficient exchange of resources.

Consider structural changes.

Can you shift decision rights to more-appropriate people in the network? It may seem obvious that support staff or lower-level managers should be authorized to approve small capital expenditures, travel, and some HR activities, but in many organizations they aren’t. Also consider whether you can create a buffer against demands for collaboration. Many hospitals now assign each unit or floor a nurse preceptor, who has no patient care responsibilities and is therefore available to respond to requests as they emerge. The result, according to research that one of us (Adam Grant) conducted with David Hofmann and Zhike Lei, is fewer bottlenecks and quicker connections between nurses and the right experts. Other types of organizations might also benefit from designating “utility players”—which could lessen demand for the busiest employees—and possibly rotating the role among team members while freeing up personal resources by reducing people’s workloads.

Rewarding Effective Collaboration

We typically see an overlap of only about 50% between the top collaborative contributors in an organization and those employees deemed to be the top performers. As we’ve explained, many helpers underperform because they’re overwhelmed; that’s why managers should aim to redistribute work. But we also find that roughly 20% of organizational “stars” don’t help; they hit their numbers (and earn kudos for it) but don’t amplify the success of their colleagues. In these cases, as the former Goldman Sachs and GE chief learning officer Steve Kerr once wrote, leaders are hoping for A (collaboration) while rewarding B (individual achievement). They must instead learn how to spot and reward people who do both.

Why Women Bear More of the Burden

The lion’s share of collaborative work tends to fall on women. They’re stereotyped as communal and caring, so they’re expected to help others with heavy workloads, provide mentoring and training to more-junior colleagues, recruit new hires, and attend optional meetings. As a result, the evidence shows, women experience greater emotional exhaustion than men.

One important solution to this problem is to encourage women to invest different types of resources in collaboration. In a 2013 Huffington Post poll of Americans, men and women estimated how often they contribute to others in a variety of ways. Men were 36% more likely to share knowledge and expertise—an informational resource. Meanwhile, women were 66% more likely to assist others in need—an action that typically costs more time and energy. By making contributions that rely less on personal resources, women can protect themselves against collaboration overload.

Managers must also ensure that men and women get equal credit for collaboration. In an experiment led by the NYU psychologist Madeline Heilman, a man who stayed late to help colleagues earned 14% higher ratings than a woman who did the same. When neither helped, the woman was rated 12% lower than the man. By improving systems for measuring, recognizing, and rewarding collaborative contributions, leaders can shift the focus away from the gender of the employee and toward the value added.

Consider professional basketball, hockey, and soccer teams. They don’t just measure goals; they also track assists. Organizations should do the same, using tools such as network analysis, peer recognition programs, and value-added performance metrics. We helped one life sciences company use these tools to assess its workforce during a multibillion-dollar acquisition. Because the deal involved consolidating facilities around the world and relocating many employees, management was worried about losing talent. A well-known consultancy had recommended retention bonuses for leaders. But this approach failed to consider those very influential employees deep in the acquired company who had broad impact but no formal authority. Network analytics allowed the company to pinpoint those people and distribute bonuses more fairly.

Efficient sharing of informational, social, and personal resources should also be a prerequisite for positive reviews, promotions, and pay raises. At one investment bank, employees’ annual performance reviews include feedback from a diverse group of colleagues, and only those people who are rated as strong collaborators (that is, able to cross-sell and provide unique customer value to transactions) are considered for the best promotions, bonuses, and retention plans. Corning, the glass and ceramics manufacturer, uses similar metrics to decide which of its scientists and engineers will be named fellows—a high honor that guarantees a job and a lab for life. One criterion is to be the first author on a patent that generates at least $100 million in revenue. But another is whether the candidate has worked as a supporting author on colleagues’ patents. Corning grants status and power to those who strike a healthy balance between individual accomplishment and collaborative contribution. (Disclosure: Adam Grant has done consulting work for Corning.)

Collaboration is indeed the answer to many of today’s most pressing business challenges. But more isn’t always better. Leaders must learn to recognize, promote, and efficiently distribute the right kinds of collaborative work, or their teams and top talent will bear the costs of too much demand for too little supply. In fact, we believe that the time may have come for organizations to hire chief collaboration officers. By creating a senior executive position dedicated to collaboration, leaders can send a clear signal about the importance of managing teamwork thoughtfully and provide the resources necessary to do it effectively. That might reduce the odds that the whole becomes far less than the sum of its parts.

A version of this article appeared in the January–February 2016 issue (pp.74–79) of Harvard Business Review.


Protected: Are You Adaptive or Maladaptive?

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Adobe Digital Index’s Q3 Digital Advertising

35 Things You Should Know Before Becoming “Successful” — Life Learning — Medium

2015-12-13_23-57-57 (Thank you Benjamin!)

35 Things You Should Know Before Becoming “Successful”

  1. It’s Never As Good As You Think It Will Be

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has studied the relationship between money and happiness for over two decades.

“We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them,” Gilovich further states.

Actually, savoring the anticipation or idea of a desired outcome is generally more satisfying than the outcome itself. Once we get what we want — whether that’s wealth, health, or excellent relationships — we adapt and the excitement fades. Often, the experiences we’re seeking end up being underwhelming and even disappointing.

I love watching this phenomena in our foster kids. They feel like they need a certain toy or the universe will explode. Their whole world revolves around getting this one thing. Yet, once we buy the toy for them, it’s not long before the joy fades and they want something else.

Until you appreciate what you currently have, more won’t make your life better.

2. It’s Never As Bad As You Think It Will Be

Just as we deceive ourselves into believing something will make us happier than it will, we also deceive ourselves into believing something will be harder than it will.

The longer you procrastinate or avoid doing something, the more painful (in your head) it becomes. However, once you take action, the discomfort is far less severe than you imagined. Even to extremely difficult things, humans adapt.

I recently sat on a plane with a lady who has 17 kids. Yes, you read that correctly. After having eight of her own, her and her husband felt inspired to foster four siblings whom they later adopted. A few years later, they took on another five foster siblings whom they also adopted.

Of course, the initial shock to the system impacted her entire family. But they’re handling it. And believe it or not, you could handle it too… if you had to.

The problem with dread and fear is that it holds people back from taking on big challenges. What you will find — no matter how big or small the challenge — is that you will adapt to it.

When you consciously adapt to enormous stress, you evolve.

3. There Is No Way To Happiness

There is no way to happiness — happiness is the way.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Most people believe they must:

· First have something (e.g., money, time, or love)

· Before they can do what they want to do (e.g., travel the world, write a book, start a business, or have a romantic relationship)

· Which will ultimately allow them to be something (e.g., happy, peaceful, content, motivated, or in love).

Paradoxically, this have — do — be paradigm must actually be reversed to experience happiness, success, or anything else you desire.

· First you be whatever it is you want to be (e.g., happy, compassionate, peaceful, wise, or loving)

· Then you start doing things from this space of being.

· Almost immediately, what you are doing will bring about the things you want to have.

We attract into our lives what we are.

For example, Scott Adams, the creator of the famous comic series Dilbert, attributes his success to the use of positive affirmations. 15 times each day, he wrote the sentence on a piece of paper, “I Scott Adams, will become a syndicated cartoonist.”

The process of writing this 15 times a day buried this idea deep into his subconscious — putting Adams’ conscious mind on a treasure hunt for what he sought. The more he wrote, the more he could see opportunities before invisible to him. And shortly thereafter, he was a highly famous syndicated cartoonist. It couldn’t not happen.

I personally apply a similar principle but write my goal in present tense. For example, rather than saying, “I will become a syndicated cartoonist,” I write, “I am a syndicated cartoonist.” Writing it in the present tense highlights the fact that you are being who you want to be, which will then inform what you do and ultimately who you become.

4. You Have Enough Already

In an interview at the annual Genius Network Event in 2013, Tim Ferriss was asked, “With all of your various roles, do you ever get stressed out? Do you ever feel like you’ve taken on too much?”

Ferriss responded, “Of course I get stressed out. If anyone says they don’t get stressed out they’re lying. But one thing that mitigates that is taking time each morning to declare and focus on the fact that ‘I have enough.’ I have enough. I don’t need to worry about responding to every email each day. If they get mad that’s their problem.”

Ferriss was later asked during the same interview, “After having read The 4-Hour Workweek, I got the impression that Tim Ferriss doesn’t care about money. You talked about how you travel the world without spending any money. Talk about the balance and ability to let go of caring about making money.”

Ferriss responded, “It’s totally okay to have lots of nice things. If it is addiction to wealth, like in Fight Club, “The things you own end up owning you,” and it becomes a surrogate for things like long-term health and happiness — connection — then it becomes a disease state. But if you can have nice things, and not fear having them taken away, then it’s a good thing. Because money is a really valuable tool.”

If you appreciate what you already have, than more will be a good thing in your life. If you feel the need to have more to compensate for something missing in your life, you’ll always be left wanting — no matter how much you acquire or achieve.

5. You Have Every Advantage To Succeed

It’s easy to talk about how hard our lives are. It’s easy to talk about how unfair life is. And that we got the short-end of the stick.

But does this kind of talking really help anyone?

When we judge our situation as worse than someone else’s, we are ignorantly and incorrectly saying, “You’ve got it easy. You’re not like me. Success should come easy to you because you haven’t had to deal with what I’ve gone through.”

This paradigm has formally become known as the victim mentality, and it generally leads to feelings of entitlement.

The world owes you nothing. Life isn’t meant to be fair. However, the world has also given you everything you need. The truth is, you have every advantage in the world to succeed. And by believing this in your bones, you’ll feel an enormous weight of responsibility to yourself and the world.

You’ve been put in a perfect position to succeed. Everything in the universe has brought you to this point so you can now shine and change the world. The world is your oyster. Your natural state is to thrive. All you have to do is show up.

6. Every Aspect Of Your Life Affects Every Aspect Of Your Life

Human beings are holistic — when you change a part of any system you simultaneously change the whole. You can’t change a part without fundamentally changing everything.

Every pebble of thought — no matter how inconsequential — creates endless ripples of consequence. This idea, coined the butterfly effect by Edward Lorenz came from the metaphorical example of a hurricane being influenced by minor signals — such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly — several weeks earlier. Little things become big things.

When one area of your life is out of alignment, every area of your life suffers. You can’t compartmentalize a working system. Although it’s easy to push certain areas — like your health and relationships — to the side, you unwittingly infect your whole life. Eventually and always, the essentials you procrastinate or avoid will catch up to your detriment.

Conversely, when you improve one area of your life, all other areas are positively influenced. As James Allen wrote in As a Man Thinketh, “When a man makes his thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food.”

We are holistic systems.

Humanity as a whole is the same way. Everything you do effects the whole world, for better or worse. So I invite you to ask:

“Am I part of the cure? Or am I part of the disease?” — Coldplay

7. Competition Is The Enemy

“All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.” — Peter Thiel

Competition is extremely costly to maximum product reach and wealth creation. It becomes a battle of who can slightly out-do the other for cheaper and cheaper. It’s a race to the bottom for all parties involved.

Instead of trying to compete with other people or businesses, it’s better to do something completely novel or to focus on a tightly defined niche. Once you’ve established yourself as an authority over something, you can set your own terms — rather than reactively responding to the competition. Thus, you want to monopolize the space in which you create value.

Competing with others leads people to spend every day of their lives pursuing goals that aren’t really their own — but what society has deemed important. You could spend your whole life trying to keep up, but will probably have a shallow life. Or, you can define success for yourself based on your own values and detach yourself from the noise.

8. You Can’t Have It All

Every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. When someone says you can have it all, they are lying. They are almost certainly not practicing what they preach and are trying to sell you on something.

The truth is, you don’t want it all. And even if you did, reality simply doesn’t work that way. For example, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I want my family to be the center of my life. Spending time with my wife and three foster kids is my top priority. As a result, I can’t spend 12 or 15 hours a day working like some people. And that’s okay. I’ve made my choice.

And that’s the point. We all need to choose what matters most to us, and own that. If we attempt to be everything, we’ll end up being nothing. Internal conflict is hell.

Although the traditional view of creativity is that it is unstructured and doesn’t follow rules, creativity usually occurs by thinking inside the proverbial box, not outside of it. People flex their creative muscles when they constrain their options rather than broaden them. Hence, the more clearly defined and constraining your life’s objectives the better, because it allows you to sever everything outside those objectives.

9. Never Forget Where You Came From

It’s easy when you achieve any level of success to believe you are solely responsible for that success. It’s easy to forget where you came from.

It’s easy to forget all the sacrifices other people have made to get you where you are.

It’s easy to see yourself as superior to other people.

Burn all your bridges and you’ll have no human connection left. In that internal cave of isolation, you’ll lose your mind and identity, becoming a person you never intended to be.

Humility, gratitude, and recognition of your blessings keeps your success in proper perspective. You couldn’t do what you’ve without the help of countless other people. You are extremely lucky to be able to contribute in the way you have.

10. If You Need Permission To Do Something, You Probably Shouldn’t Do It

My father-in-law is a highly successful real-estate investor. Throughout his career, he’s had hundreds of people ask him if they should “go into real-estate.” He tells every one of them the same thing: that they shouldn’t do it. In fact, he actually tries talking most of them out of it. And in most cases he succeeds.

Why would he do that?

“Those who are going to succeed will do so regardless of what I say,” my father-in-law told me.

I know so many people who chase whatever worked for other people. They never truly decide what they want to do, and end up jumping from one thing to the next — trying to strike quick gold. And repetitively, they stop digging just a few feet from the gold after resigning the spot is barren.

No one will ever give you permission to live your dreams. As Ryan Holiday has said in The Obstacle is the Way, “Stop looking for angels, and start looking for angles.” Rather than hoping for something external to change your circumstances, mentally reframe yourself and your circumstances.

“When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” — Wayne Dyer

You are enough.

You can do whatever you decide to do.

Make the decision and forget what everyone else says or thinks about it.

11. You Earn As Much Money As You Want To

Most people “say” they want to be successful. But if they really wanted to, they’d be successful.

I used to tell people, “I wish I played the piano.” Then someone said, “No you don’t. If you did, you’d make the time to practice.” I’ve since stopped saying that, because he was right.

Life is a matter of priority and decision. And when it comes to money — in a free-market economy — you can make as much money as you choose. The question is, how much money do you really want to make?

Instead of vegging on social media day-after-day, year-after-year, you could spend an hour or two each day building something of value — like yourself.

In the book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill invites readers to write down on a piece of paper the amount of money they want to make, and to put a time-line on it. This single act will challenge you to think and act in new ways to create the future of your wanting.

For example, despite growing up so poor that for a time his family lived in their Volkswagen van on a relative’s lawn, Jim Carrey believed in his future. Every night in the late 1980’s, Carrey would drive atop a large hill that looked down over Los Angeles and visualize directors valuing his work. At the time, he was a broke and struggling young comic.

One night in 1990, while looking down on Los Angeles and dreaming of his future, Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million and put in the notation line “for acting services rendered.” He dated the check for Thanksgiving 1995 and stuck it in his wallet. He gave himself five years. And just before Thanksgiving of 1995, he got paid $10 million for Dumb and Dumber.

12. Your Vision Of Who You Want To Be Is Your Greatest Asset

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” — Oprah Winfrey

No matter where you are right now, you can have any future you want. But one thing is for certain, what you plant you must harvest. So, please plant with intention. Mental creation always precedes physical creation. The blueprint you design in your head becomes the life you build.

Don’t let society tell you how your house should look. You are an artist and a creator. Your life can be exactly how you want it, whether or not it’s considered a “mansion” by others. Home is where your heart is.

13. Who You Are Determines What You Can Have

There’s a parable of a wealthy parent who hesitated giving their unwise child an inheritance, knowing it would undoubtedly be squandered. The parent said to the child:

“All that I have I desire to give you — not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men. That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself. You will qualify for your inheritance by learning what I have learned and by living as I have lived. I will give you the laws and principles by which I have acquired my wisdom and stature. Follow my example, mastering as I have mastered, and you will become as I am, and all that I have will be yours.”

Going through the motions is not enough. There isn’t a check-list of things you must do to be successful. You have to fundamentally change who you are to live at a higher level. You must go from doing to being — so that what you do is a reflection of who you are, and who you’re becoming. Once you’ve experienced this change, success will be natural.

“After you become a millionaire, you can give all of your money away because what’s important is not the million dollars; what’s important is the person you have become in the process of becoming a millionaire.” — Jim Rohn

14. Earning Money Is Moral

“For better or worse, humans are holistic. Even the human body does best when its spiritual and physical sides are synchronized… People’s bodies perform best when their brains are on board with the program… Helping your mind to believe what you do is good, noble, and worthwhile in itself helps to fuel your energies and propel your efforts.” — Rabbi Daniel Lapin

I know so many people who genuinely believe making money is immoral, and that people with money are evil. They believe those who seek profits force those weaker than them to buy their products.

Money is not evil, but neutral. It is a symbol of perceived value.

If I’m selling a pair of shoes for $20 and someone decides to buy them, they perceive the shoes to be worth more than the $20, or they wouldn’t buy them. I’m not forcing them to buy my shoes. It’s their choice. Thus, value exchange is win-win and based purely on perception. Value is subjective! If you offered that same person $20 for the shoes they just bought, they probably wouldn’t sell them. They see them as worth more than $20. But what if you offered $30? They still might not sell them.

There is no “correct” price for goods and services. The correct price is the perceived worth from the customer. If the price is too high, the customer won’t exchange their money for it.

We are extremely lucky to live in a society with a system of money. It allows us to borrow, lend, and leverage. Our ability to scale our work would be enormously limited in a bartering and trading system.

Earning money is a completely moral pursuit when it is done with honesty and integrity. In fact, if you don’t feel moral about the work you’re doing, you should probably change your job.

When you believe in the value you provide so much that you are doing people a disservice by not offering them your services, you’re on track to creating colossal value. Our work should be a reflection of us. It’s always their choice whether they perceive the value in what we’re offering or not.

15. Almost Everything In Life Is A Distraction

“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — Greg McKeown

Almost everything is a distraction from what really matters. You really can’t put a price-tag on certain things. They are beyond a particular value to you. You’d give up everything, even your life, for those things.

Your relationships and personal values don’t have a price-tag. And you should never exchange something priceless for a price.

Keeping things in proper perspective allows you to remove everything non-essential from your life. It allows you to live simply and laser focused, and to avoid dead-end roads leading nowhere.

16. Focus Is Today’s I.Q.

We live in the most distracted era of human history. The internet is a double-edged sword. Like money, the internet is neutral — and it can be used for good or bad based on who uses it.

Sadly, most of us are simply not responsible enough for the internet. We waste hours every day staring idly at a screen. Millennials are particularly prone to distractions on the internet, but nowadays, everyone is susceptible.

Our attention spans have shrunk to almost nothing. Our willpower has atrophied. We’ve developed some really bad habits that often require extreme interventions to reverse.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting the internet — with its constant distractions and interruptions — is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers. One of the biggest challenges to constant distraction is that it leads to “shallow” rather than “deep” thinking, and shallow thinking leads to shallow living. The Roman philosopher Seneca may have put it best 2,000 years ago: “To be everywhere is to be nowhere.”

In his book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport differentiates “deep work,” from “shallow work.” Deep work is using your skills to create something of value. It takes thought, energy, time and concentration. Shallow work is all the little administrative and logistical stuff: email, meetings, calls, expense reports, etc. Most people aren’t moving toward their goals because they prioritize shallow work.

“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.” — Cal Newport

17. If Your Goals Are Logical, Don’t Expect Luck (or the like)

“You need to aim beyond what you are capable of. You need to develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. If you think you’re unable to work for the best company in its sphere, make that your aim. If you think you’re unable to be on the cover of Time magazine, make it your business to be there. Make your vision of where you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible.” — Paul Arden

Most people’s goals are completely logical. They don’t require much imagination. They certainly don’t require faith, luck, magic, or miracles.

Personally, I believe it’s sad how skeptical and secular many people are becoming. I find great pleasure in having faith in the spiritual. It provides context for life and meaning for personal growth. Having faith allows me to pursue that which others would call absurd, like walking on water and transcending death. Truly, with God all things are possible. There is absolutely nothing to fear.

18. Don’t Seek Praise. Seek Criticism.

As a culture, we’ve become so fragile that we must combine honest feedback with 20 compliments. And when we get feedback, we do our best to disprove it. Psychologists call this confirmation bias  — the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information that confirms our own beliefs, while giving excessively less consideration to alternative possibilities.

It’s easy to get praise when you ask family and friends who will tell you exactly what you want to hear. Instead of seeking praise, your work will improve if you seek criticism.

How could this be better?

You will know your work has merit when someone cares enough to give unsolicited critique. If something is noteworthy, there will be haters. As Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, has said, “haters confirm greatness.” When you really start showing up, the haters will be intimidated by you. Rather than being a reflection of what they could do, you become a reflection of what they are not doing.

19. The World Gives To The Givers And Takes From The Takers

From a scarcity perspective, helping other people hurts you because you no longer have the advantage. This perspective sees the world as a giant pie. Every piece of the pie you have is pie I don’t have. So in order for you to win, I must lose.

From an abundance perspective, there is not only one pie, but an infinite number of pies. If you want more, you make more. Thus, helping others actually helps you because it makes the system as a whole better. It also builds relationships and trust and confidence.

I have a friend, Nate, who is doing some really innovative stuff at the real estate investing company he works for. He’s using strategies that no one else is using. And he’s killing it. He told me he considered keeping his strategies a secret. Because if other people knew about them, they’d use them and that’d mean less leads for him.

But then he did the opposite. He told everyone in his company about what he was doing. He has even been giving tons of his leads away! This has never been seen before in his company.

But Nate knows that once this strategy no longer works, he can come up with another one. And that’s what leadership and innovation is all about. And people have come to trust him. Actually, they’ve come to rely on him for developing the best strategies.

Nate makes pies — for himself and several other people. And yes, he is also the top-selling and highest-earning in his company. It’s because he gives the most and doesn’t horde his ideas, resources, or information.

20. Create Something You Wish Already Existed

Many entrepreneurs design products to “scratch their own itch.” Actually, that’s how loads of problems are solved. You experience a difficulty and create a solution.

Musicians and artists approach their work the same way. They create music they’d want to listen to, draw painting they’d want to see, and write books they wish were written. That’s how I personally approach my work. I write articles I myself would want to read.

Your work should first and foremost resonate with yourself. If you don’t enjoy the product of your work, how can you expect other people to?

21. Don’t Look For The Next Opportunity

The perfect client, perfect opportunity, and perfect circumstances will almost never happen. Instead of wishing things were different, why not cultivate what’s right in front of you?

Rather than waiting for the next opportunity, the one in your hands is the opportunity. Said another way, the grass is greener where you water it.

I see so many people leave marriages because they believe better relationships are “out” there. In most cases, these people start new relationships and end them the same way the previous relationship ended. The problem isn’t your circumstances. The problem is you. You don’t find your soul-mate, you create your soul-mate through hard work.

As Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge wish for more wisdom”

22. Don’t Wait To Start

If you don’t purposefully carve time out every day to progress and improve — without question, your time will get lost in the vacuum of our increasingly crowded lives. Before you know it, you’ll be old and withered — wondering where all that time went.

As Harold Hill has said — “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

I waited a few years too long to actively start writing. I was waiting for the right moment when I’d have enough time, money, and whatever else I thought I needed. I was waiting until I was somehow qualified or had permission to do what I wanted to do.

But you are never pre-qualified. There is no degree for “Live your dreams.” You qualify yourself by showing up and working. You get permission by deciding.

Life is short.

Don’t wait for tomorrow for something you could do today. Your future self will either thank you or shamefully defend you.

23. Don’t Publish Too Early

At age 22, Tony Hsieh (now CEO of, graduated from Harvard. When Tony was 23 years old, six months after starting Linkexchange, he was offered one million dollars for the company. This was amazing to Tony because less than a year before, he was stoked to get a job at Oracle making 40K per year.

After much thought and discussion with his partner, he rejected the offer believing he could continue to build Linkexchange into something bigger. His true love is in building and creating. A true pro gets paid, but doesn’t work for money. A true pro works for love.

Five months later, Hsieh was offered 20 million dollars from Jerry Yang, cofounder of Yahoo!. This blew Tony away. His first thought was, “I’m glad I didn’t sell five months ago!” However, he held his cool and asked for a few days to consider the proposal. He would make this decisions on his terms.

He thought about all the things he would do if he had all that money, knowing he would never have to work another day in his life. After reflecting, he could only devise a small list of things he wanted:

· A condo

· A TV and built-in home theatre

· The ability to go on weekend mini-vacations whenever he wanted

· A new computer

· To start another company because he loves the idea of building and growing something.

That was it.

His passion and motivation wasn’t in having stuff. He concluded that he could already afford a TV, a new computer, and could already go on weekend mini-vacations whenever he wanted. He was only 23 years old, so he determined a condo could wait. Why would he sell Linkexchange just to build and grow another company?

A year after Tony rejected the 20 million dollar offer, Linkexchange exploded. There were over 100 employees. Business was booming. Yet, Hsieh no longer enjoyed being there. The culture and politics had subtly changed in the process of rapid growth. Linkexchange was no longer Hsieh and a group of close friends building something they loved. They had hired a bunch of people in a hurry who didn’t have the same vision and motivations they had. Many of the new employees didn’t care about Linkexchange, or about building something they loved. Rather, they just wanted to get rich quick — purely self-interested.

So he decided to sell the company on his terms. Microsoft purchased Linkexchange in 1998 for 265 million dollars when Hsieh was 25 years old.

A similar concept emerged in a conversation I recently had with Jeff Goins, best-selling author of The Art of Work. I asked his advice about publishing a book I want to write and he said, “Wait. Don’t jump the gun on this. I made that mistake myself. If you wait a year or two, you’ll get a 10x bigger advance, which will change the trajectory of your whole career.”

Here’s how it works. With 20K email subscribers, a writer can get around a $20–40K book advance. But with 100–200K email subscribers, a writer can get around a $150–500K book advance. Wait a year or two and change the trajectory of your career (and life).

This isn’t about procrastination. It’s about strategy. Timing — even a few seconds — could change your whole life.

24. If You Can’t Solve A Problem, It’s Because You’re Playing By The Rules

“There is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different.” — Albert Einstein

Convention is where we’re at. Breaking convention is how we’ll evolve, which requires a gargantuan quantity of failure.

If you don’t have the grit to fail 10,000 times, you’ll never invent your lightbulb. As Seth Godin has said, “If I fail more than you do, I win.”

Failure is something to be prized and praised. Failure is feedback. Failure is moving forward. It’s conscious and exerted effort toward something you’ve never done before. It’s incredible.

“The person who doesn’t make mistakes is unlikely to make anything.” Paul Arden

25. How You Set Up The Game Is More Important Than The Game Itself

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” — Thomas Merton

Too many people are playing the wrong game — a losing game from the onset — and it hurts like hell. It’s how you ruin your life without even knowing it.

More important than playing “the game” is how the game is set up. How you set up the game determines how you play. And it’s better to win first, then play.

How does this work?

Start from the end and work backwards. Rather than thinking about what’s plausible, or what’s expected, or what makes sense — start with what you want. Or as Covey put it in 7 Habits, “Begin with the end clearly in mind.” Once that’s nailed down, then dictate the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly behaviors that will facilitate that.

Jim Carrey wrote himself a $10 million check. Then he set out to earn it. He won the game first, then played. So can you.

26. Leverage Your Position

No matter how small your wins along the way are, leverage your position!

You have a high school diploma? Leverage your position!

You know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy? Leverage your position!

You get an article featured on some unknown blog? Leverage your position!

You have $100? Leverage your position!

Sadly, most people can’t stop looking at the other side of the fence. They fail to realize the brilliant possibilities currently available to them. This is bad stewardship.

There are people you already know who have information you need.

There are people you already know who have capital you can use.

There are people you already know who can connect you with people you should know.

Instead of wanting more, how about you utilize what you already have? Until you do, more won’t help you. Actually, it will only continue hurting you until you learn to earn something for yourself. It’s easy to want other people to do it for you. But real success comes when you take ownership of your life. No one else cares more about your success than you do.

Your current position is ripe with abundant opportunity. Leverage it. Once you gain another inch of position, leverage it for all it’s worth. Don’t wish for more. Wish you were better. And soon enough, you’ll find yourself in incredible positions and collaborating with your heroes.

Success is based on choice.

Success is based on having and maintaining a motivation worth fighting for. It’s based on believing what others might call a fantasy. It’s based on leveraging your position and maintaining the momentum of every step you take.

27. Your Work Should Be A Performance

The cool part about poetry is that to most poets, how their poems are performedis just as important — if not more important — than what is actually said.

In a similar way, when you go to an event or to hear a speech, you’re usually going to see the speaker, not hear what they have to say. You already know what they have to say.

No matter what type of work you are in, it will be better received if you see it as an art-form. You are performing for an audience. They want you just as much as they want your work — often more.

28. You Get To Decide How It Works

Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way, explains what he calls “the moment,” which every skilled creative has experienced. “The moment,” is when your eyes are opened to the mechanics and behind-the-scenes of your craft.

Until you have this moment, it all seems like magic to you. You have no idea how people create what they create. After you have this moment, you realize that everything is done by a person intentionally creating a particular experience.

I was recently watching Lord of the Rings and it dawned on me that those movies would be completely different if they weren’t directed by Peter Jackson. Completely different!

Every shot, every set, the lighting, the costumes, how the characters and landscapes look, and how the whole film feels and is portrayed. It all would have looked and felt completely different based on the experience a different director was trying to create.

Thus, there is no right or wrong way. Rather, it’s about doing things your way. Until you experience this “moment,” you’ll continue attempting the correct or best way to do things. You’ll continue copying other people’s work.

But if you persist, you’ll become disillusioned to those who were once your idols. They are people just like you and me. They’ve just made a decision to create in their own way.

The idea of imitation will become abhorrent, freeing you to create as you see fit. You’ll emerge with your own voice and original work. You’ll be less troubled about how your work is received and more focused on creating something you believe in.

29. Five Minutes Is A Lot Of Time

When you have five minutes of down-time, how do you spend that time? Most people use it as an excuse to rest or laze.

By lazing for 5 five minute breaks each day, we waste 25 minutes daily. That’s 9,125 minutes per year (25 X 365). Sadly, my guess is we’re wasting far more time than that.

I was once told by my 9th grade English teacher that if I read every time I had a break — even if the break was just for a minute or two — that I’d get a lot more reading done than expected. She was right. Every time I finished my work early, or had a spare moment, I’d pick up a book and read.

How we spend our periodic five minute breaks is a determining factor to what we achieve in our lives. Every little bit adds up.

Why can we justify wasting so much time?

30. One Dollar Is A Lot Of Money

I was recently in Wal-Mart with my mother-in-law buying a few groceries. While we were in the check-out line, I pointed an item out to her I thought was interesting (honestly can’t remember what it is anymore).

What stuck out to me is that she said, “One dollar. That’s a lot of money!”

Why this surprised me is that my in-laws are not short of money. Actually, this happened while we were on a family trip (30+ people) at Disney World — the whole thing being paid for by them.

Understanding the value of one dollar is the same as coming to appreciate the value of time. To thoughtlessly spend one dollar may not seem like a big deal, but it actually is. That frivolous spending compounded over a long enough time could be millions.

And the truth is, most millionaires are “self-made”, 80 percent being first-generation rich, and 75 percent being self-employed. Not getting paid hourly challenges you to take more responsibility for every minute and every dollar. Consequently, a great majority of millionaires are extremely frugal — or at least highly mindful — with their money.

31. Retirement Should Never Be The Goal

“To retire is to die.” — Pablo Casals

The most powerful way to punch someone in the face is to aim a foot behind their face. That way, you have full momentum and power when you make contact. If you aim only for the face itself, by the time you reach it you’ll have already begun slowing down. Thus, your punch will not be as powerful as you intended it to be.

Retirement is the same way.

Most people planning for retirement begin slowing down in their 40’s and 50’s. The sad part is, as momentum-based beings, when you begin to slow down, you start a hard-to-reverse decaying process.

Research has found that retirement often:

· Increases the difficulty of mobility and daily activities

· Increases the likelihood of becoming ill

· And decreases mental health

But retirement is a 20th century phenomena. And actually, the foundations undergirding this outdated notion make little sense in modern and future society.

For instance, due to advances in health care, 65 is not considered old age anymore. When the Social Security system was designed, the planners chose age 65 because the average lifespan was age 63 at the time. Thus, the system was designed only for those who were really in need, not to create a culture of people being supported by others’ labor.

Furthermore, the perception that people over 65 can’t provide meaningful work no longer makes sense either. Retirement became a thing when most work was manual labor — but today’s work is more knowledge-based. And if there’s anything lacking in today’s society, its wisdom, which people in their later years have spent a lifetime refining.

Retirement should never be the goal.

We are fully capable to work — in some capacity — until our final breath.

My 92 year old grandfather, Rex, was a fighter pilot in WWII. In the past five years he’s written three books. He goes to bed every night at 8 P.M. and wakes up every morning at 4:30 A.M. He spends the first 2.5 hours of his day watching inspirational and instructional content on television. He then eats breakfast at 7 A.M. and spends his day reading, writing, connecting and serving people, and even doing physical labor around his son’s (my dad’s) house. He even walks around his neighborhood proselyting his faith and asking random strangers how he can help them.

I have no intention of stopping or slowing down. Contrary to popular belief, humans are like wine and get better with age.

32. Yesterday Is More Important Than Today

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb

Our present circumstances are a reflection of our past decisions. Although we have enormous power to change the trajectory of our lives here and now, we are where we are because of our past. While it’s popular to say the past doesn’t matter, that simply is not true.

Today is tomorrow’s yesterday. What we do today will either enhance or diminish our future-present moments. But most people put things off until tomorrow. We thoughtlessly go into debt, forego exercise and education, and justify negative relationships. But at some point it all catches up. Like an airplane off-course, the longer we wait to correct the longer and harder it is to get back on-course.

Time is absolutely marvelous. We get to anticipate the experiences we want to have — which is often more enjoyable than the experiences themselves. We get to have the experiences we long for. And then we get to remember and carry those experiences with us forever. The past, present, and future are uniquely important and enjoyable.

33. Things Don’t Have To Take As Long As Other People Say They Do

Approximately six months ago, I got serious about my goal to become a professional writer. I had written an eBook and was anxious to know how to traditionally publish it.

I decided literary agents would be my best source of advice. After all, they know the publishing industry back-and-forth — or so I thought. After talking to 5–10 different agents about their coaching programs, it became apparent my questions would need to be answered elsewhere.

One particular conversation sticks out.

In order to even be considered by agents and publishers, writers need to already have a substantial readership (i.e., a platform). I told one of the agents my goal was to have 5,000 blog subscribers by the end of 2015. She responded, “That would not be possible from where you currently are. These things take time. You will not be able to get a publisher for 3–5 years. That’s just the reality.”

“Reality to who?” I thought as I hung up the phone.

Wherever it is you want to go, there is a long and conventional path; and there are shorter, less conventional approaches. The conventional path is the outcome of not paying attention. It’s what happens when you let other people dictate your direction and speed in life.

However, once you know what you want — and it intensely arouses your attention — you will notice simpler and easier solutions to your questions. What might have taken 10 years in a traditional manner takes only a few months with the right information and relationship.

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” — Mabel Collins

When I decided I was serious about becoming a writer, the advice from the literary agents couldn’t work for me. I was ready for the wisdom of people who were where I wanted to be. My vision was bigger than the advice I was getting.

Around this same time and out of nowhere, I came across an online course about guest blogging. It must have popped in my newsfeeds because of my previous searching. I paid the $197, went through the course, and within two weeks was getting articles featured on multiple self-help blogs.

Within two months of taking the course, I wrote a blog post that blew up. Tim Ferriss has said, “One blog post can change your entire life.” This principle holds true of anything you do. One performance, one audition, one interview, one music video, one conversation… Thus, the focus should be on quality rather than quantity.

Two months after being told it would take 3–5 years to have a substantial following, I was there. When you know what you want, you notice opportunities most people aren’t aware of. You also have the rare courage to seize those opportunities without procrastination.

34. The Music You Listen To Determines Your Success In Life

“Without music, life would be a mistake” — Friedrich Nietzsche

One study found that the type of music you listen to affects how you perceive neutral faces. If you listen to sad music, you’re more likely to interpret people being sad. By listening to positive music, you’re more likely to see happy faces which will influence how you interact with people.

Listening to moderate noise level makes our mental processing slightly more difficult, which leads us to utilize more creative methods of problem solving. When that music is ambient, we can delve deeper into the wellsprings of neural creativity.

Other research found that your music preference reflects your personality type. For example, they found that classical music fans tend to have high self-esteem, are creative, introvert and at ease; and that chart pop fans tend to have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing and gentle, but are not creative and not at ease.

Science highlights the fact that in some cases, silence is not golden. For instance, listening to classical music enhanced the visual attention of stroke patients while listening to nothing at all worsened attention. Other research found that cyclists who listened to music required seven percent less oxygen than those listening to nothing. Indeed, music can literally change our entire energy, emotion, and motivation in an instant. It’s a powerful and beautiful tool.

You can also use music as a trigger for optimal performance. For example, Michael Phelps had a routine he did religiously before each swimming event involving music. He’s not alone. Many athletes use music before events to trigger relaxation from the pressure and even to psych themselves up.

When asked by Time Magazine about his use of music prior to races, Phelps said it kept him focused and helped him “tune everything out, and take one step at a time.” When asked about the kind of music he listens to, he answered, “I listen to hip hop and rap.” Interestingly, research has found that high tempo music like hip hop can create strong arousal and performance readiness. Other evidence finds the intensity of the emotional response can linger long after the music has stopped. So, while Phelps is in the water swimming, he’s still hyped from his hip hop.

Lastly, research has found that the types of music we listen to impact our level of spirituality. This last point is particularly important to me. Spirituality heavily influences everything I do, from how I interact with my family, to what and how I write, to how I develop and pursue my goals. In order to being spiritually aware, I’ve stopped listening to music with negative tones and lyrics. I usually listen to classical, new wave stuff like Enya, and ambient/electrical stuff like Ryan Farish. I also have some electro/dub step stuff that gets my creativity flowing. The following songs are ones I’ve listened to on repeat while writing.

· Club Soda by Ghostland Observatory

· Echoes by Digitalism

· Da hype by Junior Jack

· This cover of Ellie Goulding is also highly repeatable

· Fragile by Daft Punk

· Rain by Blackmill

· The Morning Room by Helios

· Dive by Tycho (whole album) — more on the ambient/electro side (anything Tycho is good)

· Lick It by Kaskade & Skrillex (ICE Mix) — ambient/electro

· Discipleship by Teen Daze (most of Teen Daze is good) — Also really love Morning House

· Modern Driveway by Luke Abbott

· Zoinks by Session Victim

Hopefully something in there is enjoyable and just distracting enough to blow up your creativity bubbles.

35. Connect Deeper

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