Stressed Out? Try Hitting the Road

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When I was growing up in an turbulent household I often found myself caught in the middle of arguments between my parents. More often or not I was the recipient of their frustrations. We lived in a small house at the time which didn’t allow me to get away from the turmoil. To lower my stress levels I hopped into my car to take a drive along the countryside. For a moment, it allowed me to get lost in the beauty of nature as the smell of the fresh air flowed through my window.

Scenic driving routes can be a great way to lower stress. Engaging in this activity can help your mind appreciate the little things in life forcing one to focus on the present instead of the past. Sometimes a little deviation from your regular route home can do wonders in taking things off your mind. The sights and sounds of nature can calm anger, melt away tension, and decreasing the chances of road rage less likely.

photo credit: faungg’s photos Getting into the Shadow via photopin (license)

How to Tame Your Stressful Thoughts

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According to studies, stress can have a detrimental long term effect on your memory and brain. The years of constant stress causes the body to flood itself with the stress hormone cortisol. This causes part of the brain responsible for memory to deteriorate. To deal with stress, it is important to practice mindfulness in order to recognize when it is occurs and the appropriate action to take. Remember, you can always control your thoughts but not always the events around you.

Re-framing you thoughts is highly beneficial when it comes to dealing with stressful situations.  Stop for a moment, acknowledge the stressful event, than ask yourself what is the best way to respond to the stressful event. When people fail to practice mindfulness they fill their mind with constant worry, replaying the event in their minds over and over again. This leads to more stress and anxiety. By practicing the art of re-framing you will find yourself becoming calmer and reduce your stress.

How do you deal with stress? Feel free to share in the comment section below, some interesting ways you deal with this problem. I would love to hear from you!

photo credit: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop BLI Corner: Mindfulness, productivity & a better working life via photopin (license)

The Ninja Tip for Self-Discipline

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The art of self-discipline is to be in charge of your emotions. The best martial arts fighters learned to master this principle early in their training. In the highest, most intense moments of their competitive career they accept full responsibility for their actions. After a loss, it’s easy for some to blame the referees, coaches, and other outside factors for their results.

However, the champions never make excuses, complain or criticize others for what could have been. They accept total responsibility, doing everything they can to resolve situation, and attain lifelong excellence.

Apply this martial arts champion mindset to your daily life, soon you will start enjoying the fruits of your labor.

How I Found Success After Eliminating TV

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The average North American spends nearly 6 hours a day watching television. If we multiply this amount by 7 days it would mean we spend more time watching TV than people working a 40 hour work week.  I cut down the amount of time I spent watching TV a number of years ago to a few hours a week. I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a difference it has made in my daily, monthly, and yearly productivity.

Try eliminating one  hour of TV per day, and use that extra hour to do something productive such as exercise, learning a new skill, spending more quality time with family,  read books on success, listen to self-help audios, or make more sales calls. Do this for an entire year, I guarantee you’ll surely reap the rewards of your efforts.

How to Improve Your Focus On Tasks – What Every Person Should Know

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In 1941, a management consultant named Joseph M. Juran coined the concept Pareto Principle named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, who published a paper in 1896 to show that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by only 20% of the people.

Joseph Juran took this concept referred to as the 80-20 rule, which states that 80% of your success from 20% of the activities you work on. In other words, if we take this concept, applied to your daily life, out of all the tasks you do 20% will provide you with 80% of your results.

This means you need to zero in on which tasks gives you the greatest return, stop wasting time on activities that will not move you forward. This makes sense since many of us spend time watching TV, engaging in gossip, surfing the internet, or reading negative news. Instead, focus on high value, high impact tasks, ones that will benefit your life forever such as exercise, learning a new skill, spending time with family, eating healthier or starting a new business.

In martial arts and the world of competitive athletics, how you spend your time during practice will largely determine your results. There are some athletes who show up to practice, putting in less than 100%, working on things that will not make them highly successful. The great champions always show up to practice giving it their best, instead of working on the next shiny object they continue to focus on the key fundamentals and success habits that got them to where they are. Champions are focused, goal driven, and disciplined, never getting distracted by things that don’t serve their purpose in life.

As martial arts legend Bruce Lee stated, “It’s not the daily increase, but daily decrease. Hack away the unessential.”

The Two Most Important Pillars You Need Before Embarking On A Goal

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A master of the martial arts is known for their resilience, discipline and focus. From the day they first step into the dojo their goal is to achieve the rank of black belt. However, before a white belt begins the long road to black belt they must first prepare themselves mentally for the challenge ahead.

To accomplish any goal in life you need to implement two black belt greatness principles:

First, you must believe yourself when everyone else does not. Ignore the naysayers who laugh at your ideas, call you crazy, or tell you you’ll never make it. You are taking this big step to do what others are not willing to do. That is to put in the necessary work to succeed. They don’t have the guts or the courage to step out of their comfort zone like you do.

You are harvesting your unlimited potential, doing whatever it takes to reach the level we call greatness. When your friends are out partying away, you are at your office thinking of ways to become your personal best.

The second black belt greatness principle, is to accept responsibility for your life. Understand that everything that happens in your life is your responsibility. Stop blaming others for your failures, be true to yourself, and evaluate yourself honestly. Take ownership of it and ride it to the top. The journey is well worth the cost of admission!

Develop Your Success Ritual Today

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Learning how to break away from doing something you have done for a long time takes self-awareness. Breaking the cycle of bad habits requires taking two steps. First take a blank piece of paper out and draw a line down the center of the page:

1. In the first column, write out all the habits that prevent you from being your most productive self and impact your future negatively. Ask others to help you identify what your bad habits are and look for patterns in your behavior. For example:

• Are you constantly late for work or appointments?
• Do you find yourself blaming others for your failures or misery?
• Do you wait till the last minute to get things done?

2. In the second column, write down the new positive habit that will replace the bad habit. Put in support structure that will help you maintain that good habit. For example, if you are always late for work: set your alarm clock, lay out the clothes and the shoes you will wear for the next day, have your pre-made meal ready to grab out of the fridge, and head to bed an hour earlier.

Give it a go for the next 90 days. Establish a new habit and enjoy all the positive things that will come from it!

Celebrate Your Daily Successes

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Having confidence is the key to leading a successful life. To often when faced with a challenging task, most people wither or buckle under the pressure.  They focus on all the times they didn’t succeed instead of focusing on the times they experienced success. It is this very reason why I believe everyone should create a daily success log.

You can use a spiral bound note book or a journal. I prefer to write instead of using a computer. Studies show people who write things down tend to recall and remember more. Writing your daily successes down before you go to bed will build you self-confidence. We tend to only celebrate successes that are big while neglecting the small ones. It is important to include all successes no matter how big or small.

This process will help you appreciate what you have accomplished. When you are feeling down you can pick up your journal to review your past successes. It will make you feel great and ready to tackle the challenge in front of you. Believe and you will succeed!

How to Change Bad Habits for Good Ones

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Mastering a technique in martial arts takes continuous practice every day for many years. The same can be said about sports, business, the arts, and your personal life. Humans are creatures of habit. We like to go through life doing the same things every day. It is what we as human beings have grown accustomed too. Veering off this daily routine makes many uncomfortable. Change is not something readily accepted by the majority of us.

People who excel at the highest level such as CEO’s, world class athletes, or multi-millionaires have trained themselves to fine tune their self-awareness. They understand the importance of eliminating poor habits and replacing them with positive habits. Doing so would elevate their life to another level and bring them closer to want they want in life.

Nevertheless, you too can make a positive change in your life. All it takes is the commitment to start, continue to build momentum, and remain focused.

Pick one positive habit you would like to develop. Spend the next 90 days working to make this new habit a part of your regular routine. It can be exercise, meditate, getting up earlier, meeting someone interesting every day, making a cold call to drum up new business, or keeping your work station organized.

When you have established this new habit you will feel confident, happy, and productive. This new found confidence will provide you with the foundation needed to achieve any new goal you set out to conquer in the future. It will shift your mindset to believing that anything is possible if you commit to a series of little steps each day towards your dreams.

Remember, all black belt masters began their journey as beginner white belts.