DADO: Achieve twice as much in half the time

The title is a little catchy, but entrepreneurial minded people, by diligently applying over time the skills that you’ll learn about below. will not only achieve twice as much but the limit to their growth in how much they’ll achieve will likely be far, far higher than they imagine. If there is a limit at all.

Why are we here? 

This material gives you, the reader, an introduction to a framework called DADO so you can apply it in your life and accelerate your growth, be that in career, business, personal life, health or others. At the end of the article, you’ll also get a chance to do a DADO self-assessment for free. In the assessment, you’ll see what strategies would best apply, where and how your choice of strategies affects your bottom line. 

What qualifies me to be here? 

Before we go into the meat of the article, here is a little about myself so we can set the context. Between 2012 and 2019, I worked as the lead programmer and CTO of an online start-up called Microleaves. In 2019, I exited and continued in a supporting role until about November 2019. At that point, we parted ways and when I left the company, they were well on their way to achieving $3.5 million in sales for 2019.

We started the company with almost zero capital and most of the work I did for Microleaves was, as you’ll see below, done by intuitively applying the skills you’ll learn about in this material.

Why is this important? 

In every personal or business venture, we are confronted with problems and situations we have to solve before we can get to the next level of achievement. If you’re spending half or more of your day foraging for food as our hunter-gatherer ancestors did, then you don’t have much left at the end of the day to improve your situation. 

Only with agriculture and domestication was man freed from the scarce nature of wild food. This allowed an explosion in technology and culture that happened mostly on its own. 

It is very similar to modern-day organizations and even for each person on their own. If you’re spending most of your time, energy and resources on your day-to-day activities, doing chores, solving problem after problem and putting out fires. Then you have nothing left in the tank at the end of the day to make room for the explosion of evolution in your organization or personal life. 

We have a common-sense feeling that by doing more, and more, and more we’ll eventually get to a point where we won’t have to. But we’re finite beings, with finite time and finite resources on a finite planet. That strategy is guaranteed to fail eventually.

Below you’ll see strategies and skills that every high powered CEO has mastered to the point of doing more than most of the people on earth. They have the same 24 hours each day as you and me. They just allocate it differently. 

DADO is an acronym for a very simple concept: Delete, Automate, Delegate, Optimize. And as you’ll come to know in a few moments, everybody does these steps whether or not they like them. 

  1. Delete

Delete is not the first member of the framework by mistake. Just like Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla says: “The best process is no process.”, the absolute best way to achieve more than you have in the past is to delete, erase, cut loose the actions that are slowing you down. 

For example, are you still practicing how to write your ABCs? I’d wager a sizable chunk of money that nobody reading this article will answer yes to that question. You’ve solved that problem and moved on. You’ve deleted it.

Or are you spending 4-5 hours a day hunting for animals for food? No, our ancestors solved this problem for us and now very few people hunt and mostly for sport.

A more present-day example would be if you’re spending a lot of time on the road to and from work. Many people spend over 3 hours a day commuting. Very many of those people have that time every day and do nothing with it. It’s dead time. 

Just imagine for a moment how your life would change if you had to take a two-hour drive to work every day and suddenly you’d move 10 minutes away on foot from work. 

How would your life change in three years if you spent that three hours a day every week improving it? How would your life change if you took just the money you used to spend on gasoline and spent it solely on improving your current situation? 

Just like it happened to our ancestors with the advent of agriculture and domestication. Deleting an enormous chunk of the time, energy or resources you spend on low leverage activities like daily chores will give you the freedom to achieve more. Usually with no more effort than before. 

  1. Automate

I can already hear people saying: “But you don’t get it, I can’t automate anything, it does not work for me, especially in my personal life”. If you find yourself amongst them, I just have to say this to you: Before the invention of personal alarm clocks, people still had to get up at certain hours. How do you imagine they did it?!…

In cities like London, there were special people called Knocker-uppers whose jobs were to wake people up. We’ve since automated that job first to clocks and now to our phones.

Here’s an example from my life: I used to spend too much time deciding what food to get. I sometimes spent over two hours a day just browsing food delivery apps, not being able to decide what to eat. 

I eventually went to a nutritionist. Together we made a meal plan and now most days I follow a meal plan and I eat healthier, less food and I spend less energy to do it. I’ve automated the discrete process of finding what to eat away by using my meal plan. What would your day look like if you automated some of the most boring repetitive activities?

  1. Delegate

You can be the most effective person on the planet, the most effective multitasker and able to handle anything anyone has to throw at you. You’d still be limited by a fixed resource that everyone has basically the same amount as you. Time. Even if you delete 90% of all the useless things you do now. Even if you Automate 90% of the simple repetitive tasks you do. You’ll still be confronted with a load of work and you’ll eventually get a full load. What then?

You’ll work more? You’ll work better / faster / smarter? What’s the limit on that? Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you’ll delegate away some of your responsibilities to other people. How polished are your delegation micro-skills? What does it actually mean to delegate something? How does responsibility come into question?

Working more and more and more will eventually lead to exhaustion and burnout, or worse. Working better, faster, smarter is all good, but it has its limits. There’s only so much you can sharpen a knife before you carve into its blade.

To really achieve more than double from the previous results with less than half the time, delegation needs to be treated as a skill or, better yet, as a collection of micro-skills.

Some micro-skills that underpin the meta-skill of delegation are:

  • Choosing the right goals. Yes, goal setting is a skill. Set a much too challenging goal and people will get demotivated. On the opposite side, set a goal too low and the responsible party will feel unchallenged and will slack off.
  • Progress tracking & follow up. Say you give someone an extensive project and only check in months later when the project is due with no middle milestones and the project is not really done. By then, it’s already too late to do anything.
  • Responsibility & Accountability. What happens if you delegate a responsibility to an employee and until tomorrow both of you forget about it? Nothing! That’s what happens. Clearly defining responsibilities is one of the most important micro-skills of delegation.
  • Deadlines. Good deadlines bring with them predictability, and whether you’ve delegated some work on a project for your biggest client or doing monthly check-ins, making sure they are done in time is probably what sets apart professionals from amateurs.
  • Circularity. Just as sports teams are better when all the players on the team collaborate and bring equal effort to achieve victory, so do work teams benefit by ensuring all team members contribute.
  1. Optimize

Say you’ve mastered all three of the first steps. You constantly Delete the dead weight that slows you down. You Automate everything that can be effectively automated. And you already effectively Delegate and you plow through most of the work needed for your organization.

You’ll still reach limits. This is where optimization comes into play. Improving the results of what you or your team are already doing is guaranteed to get you better results. Imagine you spend 6 hours once with your three-member team practicing how to pass information around. And that 6 hours shaves off 10 minutes every day of each member’s time. In 12 working days the time you allocated for the practice has already been paid off and from that moment on you are profiting for the investment you’ve made in optimizing your team’s results. In one working year, the investment of time you made into improving your work has seen a 20X return. How many investments do you know that can do that?

The story is absolutely the same for your own personal or professional results. Let’s say your morning routine takes 2 hours since you first open your eyes each morning and the moment you start your work. And you spend 20 hours deliberately improving that time until it takes only 1 hour to do the same routine just better. You now have 1 extra hour each morning. Compound that over 10 years of only working days and you get 2610 hours of extra time to do what you want with it. That’s a whopping 1 year and 4 months of extra 40-hour weeks of improvement you get from spending 10-20-30 hours once, >60 times return on your invested time.

This is the power of optimization. By applying DADO, you will learn to achieve twice as much in half the time.

Entrepreneurs Overcoming Procrastination

Introduction

Lots of people, especially when first starting out their business, are struggling. But there are many ways for entrepreneurs to overcome procrastination. 

Do you have times when you know exactly what you want to do, you want to do it and just don’t? Or do you sometimes struggle with knowing exactly what you need to do and then just distract yourself to get rid of that awkward feeling? Or do you sometimes know what you need to do but just don’t want to do it? Then just keep reading. This article’s for you. P.S. procrastination is also a habit, click here to learn about interrupting patterns and habits.

Five ways to overcome putting things o

  1. DADO: Delete, Automate, Delegate, Outsource
  2. What do you really, really want?
  3. Divide and Conquer
  4. Light a fire under your behind
  5. Get leverage on yourself

1. DADO: Delete, Automate, Delegate, Outsource

There are potentially an infinite amount of reasons one would procrastinate, and I will not waste my time and yours going into why someone might procrastinate. Instead, I’m going to get right into it and give you some of the best strategies that I’ve seen so far. One of the most potent strategies for overcoming procrastination I call DADO for short and it comes from Delete, Automate, Delegate, Outsource. They seem like four different strategies, but at the core, they are all part of the same strategy. The strategy is to take your problem and make it go away with as little effort from you as possible. 

Delete

Say you want to buy a new apartment and at the same time want to start a new business. You don’t have money to do both and you procrastinate on both. Because in essence, you don’t want to choose between them. You could apply the Delete part of the strategy and completely give up one of them. If you’re not sure which one to give up, just pick one, go ahead with it and you’ll know almost immediately if you’ve made the right choice.

Automate

You just launched your new Software as a Service company and it takes you a while to set up your clients manually and it’s boring you out of your mind so you’ve started to procrastinate on doing it. This is a perfect opportunity to apply the Automate part of the strategy and spend some time automating as much of the process as possible. One bonus is that usually, the more boring the process is, the easier it is to automate.

Delegate

Your new business is now doing pretty good and clients are using your services, but you’ve started to answer way too many support calls and the questions are unique enough so they can’t be automated. This is the best opportunity to Delegate your problem to someone in your team who’ll specialize in customer service.

Outsource

You’ve been using a WordPress website you made yourself for your business and it worked great but your client’s needs have evolved and your old site is no longer effectively meeting those needs. You don’t have the resources to Delegate this. This is the perfect opportunity to Outsource the creation of your new website.

The same principles can be easily applied to almost all personal issues as well.

2. What do you really, really want?

The easiest way to overcome procrastination is sometimes the simplest as well. Sometimes just by switching the question from “Why am I procrastinating” ot “What do I really want here?” can make all the difference in the world.

This is because sometimes when you procrastinate you actually want something different than the thing you’re procrastinating. The most basic examples are in your personal life. There are very few people who like the gym for the sake of the gym. Most people want the results of going to the gym, the amazing physique, the health benefits, general fitness. If they could have the results without the work, most people would prefer the end results.

If you can’t DADO, it sometimes pays to examine your motivations more deeply. What do you really want?

Example: Your business has been doing great, you embark on a complete overhaul of your services. You spend time, money, personnel in the overhaul and your business stagnates for a long time and the overhaul seems to never be ready. What do you really want? Do you want the new overhauled service? Or do you want your business to develop? Or maybe something else completely.

This very simple tool can get you out of literal and figurative dead ends.

3. Divide and Conquer

“The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step” — Chinese Proverb

What this tool and the proverb illustrate is that even the most difficult and the longest journeys in your professional or personal life begin with small steps.

Say you’ve been wanting to start a brand new business and the journey to the operating business seems so great that it’s almost impossible to even imagine yourself there.

What are big chunks that need to happen before you get there?

What about smaller chunks that need to happen for each of the big chunks that need to happen?

Can you split them to the smallest chunks that you need to get done for the first big chunk to be done completely?

Really STOP for a moment. Think about a current project where you think the end result is too far away. Now ask yourself the questions above going from the one-line idea into as many tasks as possible.

You’ve got them, now go execute!

4. Light a fire under your behind

Sometimes you feel you don’t have the energy or the motivation to do the things you want most. What usually gets you all fired up? Is it a tight deadline? Is it the prospect of losing something?

One way to light a fire under your behind is to put money on the line. This is one of the best ways for entrepreneurs to overcome procrastination. 

A favorite tool of Tim Ferris is the site https://stickk.com/ where you can add your goal and put some money on the line, the money you’ll lose in case you don’t stick to your goal.

Research has shown that people are much more likely to react when there’s a danger of losing something they already possess instead of the possibility of gaining something new.

One other way of lighting a fire is to set for yourself a deadline that would be difficult but not impossible to meet. Combine this with the possibility to lose something important and you’ll have a raging fire and lots of energy.

Bonus: What always gets people going like nothing else is when they feel indignation. If you link what you want to do with the feeling of indignation, you’re much more likely to act towards your goals and not stop until you achieve them.

Lighting fires under yourself to get things done also works as a positive feedback loop with self-discipline.

5. Get leverage on yourself

Tony Robbins talks a lot about leverage when talking about influencing yourself and others. This is the most potent tool in this arsenal, but it can also be the most difficult to wield.

What this means is to find out what makes you tick and use that to set yourself up for winning.

For example, like the tool above with using indignation. Let’s say you hate it so much when people say No!” to you that you get tremendous energy to prove them wrong.

You could find yourself some people that are very negative in their words to you and call upon their negativity to strategically frustrate you when you need an extra oomph to do something that you were putting off for a while.

Conclusion

Procrastination is something that is much too complex to solve with only a single tool. Like the old American saying goes, “If you only have a hammer, then everything starts looking like a nail”.

The best way for entrepreneurs to overcome procrastination is to have a whole toolbox of strategies and to be much better equipped to handle any situation that seems too challenging.

Are interruptions good or bad?

Introduction

Whether we like them or not interruptions are part of all our lives. Sometimes we feel frustrated and irritated because of them. For example if you’re trying to work on an important project at work and you are constantly interrupted by requests. And sometimes we are very grateful for them. For example if you’re angry at the person who cut you off in traffic and a good friend cracks a joke and breaks your anger. Interruptions also have a third, less known role, a strategic one. What are the differences between the different types of interruptions? I’ll attempt to answer this question below.

Talking Points

  1. What are interruptions?
  2. Interruptions vs Gaining Momentum
  3. Destructive Interruptions
  4. Constructive Interruptions
  5. Strategic Interruptions in Coaching

1. What are interruptions?

It’s useful to think about any endeavour whether that be a sports game, a work session, a date, a work day as a plane taking off from one place, flying and then landing somewhere else. If the plane has to constantly stop every 10 minutes and start over again, it will never get very far. Just think about the full 12 seconds the first airplane flight lasted and the 120 feet it traveled.

Interruptions are as in computer programming, a complete stop from the current flow usually followed by a change in context. This stop and change in context usually stops all momentum in the old flow and “the plane” has to start again from zero speed.

2. Interruptions vs Gaining Momentum

The true effect of interruptions is almost always to stop the gaining of momentum in anything that you were doing at the moment of the interruption. Even if you are able to continue “working” on the previous task, you are much more likely to lose speed.

On the opposite side of constant interruptions is momentum. Tony Robbins talks a lot about using momentum in your advantage. But like interruptions there are multiple types of momentum and not all of them are constructive. One only needs to read the Ford Edsel story in John Brooks’s book Business Adventures(Regarded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet as the best business book ever written). For example when you’re hurling down the side of a hill and heading towards a cliff edge momentum is actually your enemy.

Momentum happens naturally when a person, team or organisation aims at a common outcome and pursuits that outcome without many interruptions.


In essence: Interruptions stop you, momentum speeds you up.

source: Flickr

People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Tony Robbins

3. Destructive Interruptions

What are  interruptions? What makes them destructive? These are some of the first questions that come to mind when someone learns about constructive vs destructive interruptions.

Destructive interruptions happen when you are working effectively and are also aimed at the desired outcome and something or someone brings everything to a halt.

Destructive interruptions have an almost gut feeling reaction, most people feeling when they’ve been interrupted from a good flow even though not always consciously aware of it.

But what makes these kinds of interruptions destructive?

Let’s switch gears for a moment and think about a car. Let’s say you’re driving a car and it takes a while to accelerate it. And you need to cover the distance between your home and workplace. How do you think you’ll cover the ground faster? By stopping and starting the car every 10-20 minutes or by going to the top allowed speed and staying at that speed for as long as possible? It’s the exact same story in every aspect of work we humans perform. We have an intrinsic top speed and acceleration in the “distance we cover” at work ( it happens in our personal lives too but it’s not usually as visible ).

In essence interruptions slow down work. The more interruptions the worse it is.

4. Constructive Interruptions

I think everyone has seen at least one movie where the main character does something stupid or something very emotional happens to them like a family member getting injured. And then they are told by their boss to take the day off. That’s a constructive interruption, it’s actually usually a strategic one but more on that in the next section.

Just think about someone who wants to lose weight. We are usually stuck in our food habits and any change happens inside our own comfort zones. By doing an aggressive diet you are actually interrupting your old patterns and introducing a new one, at least for a while. At the end of the diet, if you adopt at least part of the new diet into your permanent lifestyle, the interruption has worked in changing your life.

These are constructive interruptions. Interruptions that stop you from going in a direction that you don’t want to go.

5. Strategic Interruptions in Coaching

George(not a real name) comes to you, the manager, at work to complain about not being able to continue work on an important project because he is waiting for someone else. You stop him mid sentence and:

George: “I can’t continue working on the P&L. Because I have to wait on all the info first and blah, blah, blah”

You, interrupting: “George, I hear you, so what are you going to do about it?”

George: “There’s nothing I can do, I have to wait because blah, blah, blah…”

You, interrupting again: “Yes, George, I can see that, so what are YOU going to do about it?

As illustrated above and below, in coaching and managing people, interruptions can also be used strategically to allow people the space to change directions.

Say for example you want to fix your teeth and are stuck in a loop where you are too afraid to do it. When you challenge this issue in the presence of a coach and start going into the feeling of fear. The coach will interrupt your dialogue to give you space and allow you the choice of going another direction.

Let’s say you then start to worry about not having the time to do it. The coach will interrupt you again and you will get the chance of yet again taking another direction.

The coach will gently, calmly, and with patience will keep doing this until you choose your own path towards a solution.

This is a strategic interruption.

source: LinkedIn

“If we don’t first interrupt our routines, innovation is impossible”

Alain Cardon

Conclusion

Both interruptions and momentum have constructive and destructive faces. It is up to us to interrupt the destructive interrupting and make room and use constructive interrupting. We can also recognize if there is momentum in the desired direction and strategically choose whether or not to interrupt.

It would b

Do you need more strategic interruptions. and less destructive interruptions in your life?

It would be an honor for me be your coach through the process!

Coronavirus the Greatest Opportunity

Step 1. Define the problem

At the beginning of 2020 COVID-19 came out of nowhere like a hurricane and took almost everyone by surprise. Most countries entered into lockdowns and most people stayed stuck in their homes.

Tourism ground to a halt, restaurants closed, people felt frightened by the uncertainty of the future. International trade nosedived as countries quickly started to close their borders. And world economies plummeted.

Circumstances forced almost all brick and mortar establishments to have people work from home or to suspend activity or even worse to close their doors permanently. It seemed that nobody was safe from the deadly plague that was the coronavirus.

Step 2. Get clear on the specifics

How has the coronavirus affected you personally? Have you immediately managed to pull in the reins of chaos, doubt, and uncertainty and easily and naturally come up with an action plan to navigate the turbulent waters to come? Or did you scramble for the hills and waited for the plague invasion to subside or at the very least for the waters to clear?

How has the coronavirus impacted your family? Did they calmly stay safe and sound in their homes, eating, sleeping, spending time together, and patiently waiting for the government to come and save them? Or did everyone got rattled by the tsunami of daily doom and gloom found on every outlet of information there was?

How has the pandemic changed your work? Was everything business as usual and every person in every team of every department working full steam ahead, feeling motivated and inspired and productive? Or were people less productive, less reliable, scared and grasping for some peace and fresh air from anywhere they could get them?

Step 3. Find the limits of your box

If we were living thousands of years ago we would be thinking that we angered the gods and they are punishing us and there’s nothing we can do about it but pray. We were alone in the face of the divine and powerless to change our fates.

If we were living in a totalitarian regime like North Corea we would be thinking that we angered our enemies and they are out to get us and there’s nothing we can do but hunker down and hold fast. Together we will endure anything and everything our enemies can throw at us. And nothing can change our fates.

If we were living in a modern scientific world based on logic and reason we would be thinking that our global living conditions were eventually going to cause this to happen as it has a myriad of times in the past and there’s nothing we can do about it if we don’t change our ways of organizing our societies and the way we produce our food.

But instead, we live in a world where the most precious asset we have is the knowledge in our brains and a world where most people constantly feed that brain a steady diet of junk food. Junk food in the form of unregulated non-fact-checked social media. Junk food in the form of scare-mongering from the mainstream media. Junk food in the form of paranoia, mistrust, and fear. Passing it around in the guise of helping others. And the only thing that can change our fate is to say no, I’ve got enough of this bullshit. I’m checking out.

Step 4. Breakthrough

The title of this article is aptly named “Why Coronavirus is your Greatest Opportunity in a lifetime”. If you’re looking for the answer to that question in this article I’m afraid you’re out of luck. However, I firmly believe and I dare you to prove otherwise to me, that the answer to that question for each and every one of us lies dormant inside of us until we decide. Until we really decide that our world is not something we have been given by the gods of antiquity and are powerless to change. Until you decide for yourself that it’s up to you to change the world and make it into as close to your paradise on earth as possible. Until you decide that no god, enemy, virus, problem, or disaster makes you powerless. Until you have decided that you already know deep, deep down Why Coronavirus is your greatest opportunity in a lifetime!

Step 5. Implement

For those of you who said yes above. I thank you and leave you with a quote by Steve Jobs

Image of Steve Jobs

“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do.”

— Steve Jobs

Want to turn the coronavirus outbreak into your greatest opportunity in a lifetime?

It would be an honor for me be your coach through the process!

Self-Discipline and Self-Control

From the very beginning of history all the way to today, highly successful people have had an implicit and sometimes explicit understanding that the way to achieve success in any endeavor in this life is to be disciplined in your actions. But what is discipline and why would it offer an advantage over other life choices? Let’s find out together.

  1. The marshmallow experiment about delayed gratification
  2. Necessity vs Identity and the placement of inner power
  3. Pushing and Pressure vs Being Pulled and Inspiration
  4. Habits of Mental Discipline
  5. Going the Extra Mile or How to be a Champion
  6. Knowing your limitations or How to be Humble
  7. Giving and Taking or How to Live a Balanced Life

1. The Marshmallow Experiment about delayed gratification

In the famous Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, scientists tested children’s ability to delay their own gratification by giving them the option to get one marshmallow immediately or two if they waited 15 minutes. In later follow up studies researchers surprisingly found a correlation between the initial capability to delay gratification and competence. Children who waited longest in the initial experiment were described as much more competent by their peers and parents.

The mechanism found by the scientists is at play in many areas of our life, think about how easy it is to sit in front of the TV with a beer and some junk food vs doing a workout at the gym or outside. The TV gives immediate gratification and the workout give a very delayed gratification but in the long run how are you better off?

2. Necessity vs Identity and the placement of inner power

Being forced by circumstances into a sort of discipline is not an actual discipline. Just go back and think back in your first years of school. Early in the morning when waking up to go to work, did you wake up by yourself or did one of your parents wake you? If you woke by yourself, did you do it because that’s how you do things or because you had to?

By using external circumstances to corner us into the necessity of acting in a certain disciplined way is only a fake discipline. Only when you choose to adopt discipline as part of your identity does discipline start to work its effects on your mind and your body.

Think about going to the gym for a moment, you could go every week, 2-3 days a week, for one to two hours for a full 3 three years or you could take anabolic steroids and do it in three months. Why don’t you and most people for that matter take the easiest route to the body you desire? Because most of the benefit of going to the gym is not in having the envy of others when they look on your Instagram pics. Most of the long term benefit to your life comes from the discipline you build by doing the work every week, for years. Your enviable body is only your, visible to everyone, scorecard. That’s why a vast majority of those taking anabolic steroids hide this fact. Because every fiber of their body knows they are taking the easy and less respectful way, deep down they lose respect for themselves. This is not about champions at the top of their game where they’ve pushed their body to the physical limits and need an extra edge. More about this later.

Discipline and power come from the inside, when we shift this power outside we become disempowered. If I have to wake up in the morning because I have to go to work or I’ll lose my job then I’m already shifting the power outside and I’m disempowered. If I wake up in the morning because that’s the kind of person I want to be then I’m empowering myself.

3. Pushing and Pressure vs Being Pulled and Inspiration

  • Why do some(maybe most) kids hate going to sleep and waking up early?
  • Why do people push back when we try to change them for the better?
  • Why do you feel bad about not going to the gym or running every week or for not eating the right way?

… … …

Well? Were you expecting an answer here?

… … …

Stop right now! If you didn’t already, really answer those questions above before continuing reading.

I’m really curious about your answers so if you’ve read so far please take a moment and write them down below. Thank you.

Coming back. The real honest answer is two-fold. One component is pressure and the other value. If we’re pressured into doing things we tend to fight back with the same amount of pressure. To illustrate what I mean, just think about two scenarios. In the first scenario, a very good friend asks you if you can give him a very small amount of cash. In the second scenario, you are walking with a huge sum of money in a bag and someone pulls a gun on you, put’s it on your head, and asks if you give him your money or your life.

You’ll likely do what is asked from you from both scenarios but you’ll have no urge to fight back your friend. But in the second scenario, you’ll most likely do everything in your power to not only get your money back but also punish the other guy. What these two examples illustrate is two extremes of a dimension of pressure. We always react to pressure by pushing back with force. We also do that if we’re the ones putting pressure on ourselves. It’s extremely hard to go from zero workouts a month to 3 every week. Instead of putting pressure to be perfect, inspire yourself and others to be better. It’s too easy to go from zero workouts a month to 1 but the effort may be just right if you do it 2 or three times a month. Next month you can improve again. And again… Without pressure, by being pulled by the desire to improve. It’s the exact same story with discipline if you put pressure on yourself to have perfect discipline… You’ll fight back. Aim at improving your discipline. More on value another time.

4. Habits of Mental Discipline

We talked a bit about why to do it and how to start being more disciplined. Now let’s get into the what. In every culture around the world, every religion, every spiritual practice you’ll find references to the fact that how your mind works is what determines your future. This is how it works with discipline. If your mind is undisciplined then even if you appear disciplined in your actions, you’re only acting so because of external pressures. The moment that pressure is lifted your discipline will evaporate. The way to get your mind disciplined is to first listen to it. You can think of disciplining your mind as doing it to a dog. If you don’t know what the dog is doing how can you ever expect to teach it discipline?

Listen to your mind

The first habit of mental discipline is to listen to your mind also known as meditation.

The easiest way to achieve that is to take a few minutes every day to: Close your eyes, and keep your attention on your breath. When you notice your attention moved away, gently bring it back to your breath. [Repeat]

This exercise will in time train you to always listen to your mind, not just when meditating.

Provide your mind with direction

The second habit of mental discipline is to provide the mind with direction. Going back to the dog analogy. If you let your dog loose it’ll just wander off and explore and mess around. But when you give it purpose, for example when you throw a ball and ask it to bring it back, the dog will stop at nothing to do what you asked of it. The mind works in a very similar fashion. If you don’t give it purpose, it’ll just wonder about and ruminate. You also teach your mind to have direction when meditating by focusing on your breath.

Relax your mind

The third and most important habit of mental discipline is to relax your mind. We learn from our environment much faster than we do on purpose. This is why most polyglots (people who speak many languages fluently) recommend immersing yourself in your target language when trying to learn it. The truth of the matter is that our minds are like sponges and knowledge is like water. If the sponge is relaxed and expanded it will easily absorb and retain any water around it. But if the sponge is strangled tightly in your hand, all the water leaves it and new water can’t easily get it. If we are relaxed and our environment’s “water” flows through our sponge then we easily get in sync with our environment. One example of what you can achieve with a relaxed mind is detailed in my article about turning frustration into powerful life lessons.

source: Flickr

“Learn to convert the discomfort of discipline into the satisfaction of personal growth”

Tony Robbins

5. The Discipline of Going the Extra Mile or How to be a Champion

After starting to direct your mind as you would your trusty dog, you’ll want to train it. What better way to train it than with the habits and tricks of champions. I consistently went to the gym for a couple of years to do CrossFit and my trainer Silviu Tanase would always badger me and the other people in the group to always push a bit at the end. Whenever I would do pull-ups for example, in the end, the very last one that I could do, he would tell me to hold it, and as slow as possible come down. This would put 10-20 times more pressure on the muscle than a normal pull-up would do and I hated them.

After I stopped going to CrossFit because of a medical problem, while learning to coach people, my teacher Alain Cardon demonstrated a pattern where if clients had left some time at the end of their sessions we could ask the client “If you’ve left yourself this time to do something extremely important, what is time for?” Though I didn’t know it at the time, this was the exact pattern and habit that Silviu was trying to instill into us. This is the habit of Going the Extra Mile. Or as I call it: the habit of champions.

6. The Discipline of Knowing your limitations or How to be Humble

We need people and people need us. The matter of fact is 99.9% of humans could not survive for long if stranded alone on an island. Yet our ever “connected” world is pushing us to move more and more of our life online where everything is curated and a strong emphasis is given to content that is viral and implicitly prideful and creating envy. It takes some discipline in our world to be humble while everything around us is pushing us to extract only our very, very best moments and push them online. But why would you want to be humble in a world that does not seem to value it? On the face of it, this question seems more a philosophical one but in truth, it is not.

Even though on the surface our world seems to favor and reward pride and envy. In our most impactful, intimate, and personal moments we humans still value humility and if you are looking for long term success either in your personal life or professional life you’ll not be able to attain or hold it without a healthy dose of humility. A simple discipline to cultivate humility is to remind yourself of your own limitations and learn to work around those that you can’t outgrow. This will do much more for your future success than any other specific habit.

7. The Discipline of Giving and Taking or How to live a Balanced Life

If you always take and take and take, you’ll build a reputation for it, and sooner or later it will come back to bite you in the behind. If you see people as nothing more than tools that can take you where you want to go then people will feel it and you’ll repel the most competent of people away. And everything you’ll try to do will be plagued by a never-ending cycle of start, fail, stop. Think about con-men, bank robbers. It’s a well-known fact about con-men that they can never stop. Interestingly enough the name comes from confidence man so humility does play a role here as well but the point I’m currently making is that con-men and bank robbers can never stop because their whole mentality is based on always taking. They can never keep what they take.

On the other hand, if you only give and give and give and give. You’ll sooner or later end up exhausted, depleted, unhappy, and broke. To illustrate what I mean think about monks and nuns, people who have a reputation for always giving of themselves. Even monks and nuns have charity boxes because in giving so much of themselves if they wouldn’t take a small bit for themselves then they would not last for long. Especially not for the thousands of years they have so far.

Another very good example is a householder and his garden and animals. If he only takes and takes he’ll deplete the soils and kill off all the animals and then he’ll starve. If he only gives and gives, well even if he takes just enough to not die from hunger in a few days, eventually his flock of animals will get so big that he won’t be able to control it and he’ll still fail.

A simple habit to create the discipline of Giving and Taking is to always ask yourself: How much am I taking and how much am I giving?

If you want to change the world, start with yourself

Mahatma Gandhi

Want to work on your own discipline? I would love to coach you through the process.

Frustration is my sensei

We all have experienced frustration in our lives. Maybe in the form of repetitive thoughts, we can’t control. Maybe in the form of anger towards ourselves for “not knowing better”. Maybe in the form of a disappointment for failing “yet again”. In this article, I’m going to attempt to convince you that no matter what form of frustration one has experienced one is always better off treating it as a very expensive and sought after teacher than any form of oppressive force.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation

Victor Frankl — Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning

Anyone who has meditated for longer than 30 seconds knows a simple basic truth. The mind wanders and it’s almost impossible to stop it from doing that but just by the simple fact of noticing that wandering and not judging it one can easily bring their focus back to their breath, mantra, sensations, etc…

It’s the same with all feelings we feel throughout our lives especially true for negative feelings like frustration. We feel them, sometimes they help us, sometimes they impair us but one thing is obvious if you try for a while: No one can stop themselves from feeling.

One less obvious thing is the constant feedback mechanism that functions between our emotions and our thoughts. Once we get into a certain mood, our thoughts shift to sustain and deepen that mood, and that deeper, stronger mood or state then triggers even more thoughts in a loop.

Most of the time we “consume” that emotional energy and we move on with our lives none the wiser. But every once in a while we get stuck, sometimes for minutes, sometimes for hours, days or if you’re like me maybe even months. We hold the emotion in our bodies for as long as we can, putting more and more pressure on our systems until we eventually give up and then wait for the next time we get stuck.

A few months ago, after a failed negotiation with a former business partner, all of the stored negative feelings that were between us bubbled up to the surface, and all of a sudden I found myself wanting to make him suffer, to get retribution. I felt morally right and convinced myself that he deserved whatever was coming from me and started to act out my revenge plan. After a couple of days, with the feeling of frustration still dominating my awareness I realized that the feeling should have gone away by then.

After doing some inner probing to see what I was missing from the story I then realized that my frustration was with myself. What he was doing to me now he did to almost all his former business associates before me. So “how could I have been so stupid” and think that he wouldn’t use the same tactics with me. And this thought kept coming up again, and again, and again, and again. I felt powerless to do anything to stop my thoughts and my thoughts were pushing me to take revenge on him.

The only way to effectively use your emotions is to understand that they all serve you. You must learn from your emotions and use them to create the results you want for a greater quality of life. The emotions you once thought of as negative are merely a call to action. In fact, instead of calling them negative emotions, from now on in this chapter, let’s call them Action Signals. Once you’re familiar with each signal and its message, your emotions become not your enemy but your ally. They become your friend, your mentor, your coach; they guide you through life’s most soaring highs and its most demoralizing lows.

Tony Robbins — Awaken The Giant Within

I stopped myself and still filled with anger, resentment and frustration I asked myself the now almost magical question for me: “If my former business partner is a teacher that I’ve sought, searched and paid for with a huge material and emotional cost then what are the lessons and skills that he is teaching me?”.

I’m not going to do a laundry list here of all the things I’ve learned about my self and became better at because of this man but I will say this: The learnings have been more than worth the cost. And now I had a new tool, each time I felt a feeling I did not want I could always ask myself the magic question again.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from the event detailed above is that I can turn repetitive disruptive or destructive thinking patterns into ones that are creative and constructive.

The purpose of the question is not so much the answers you get from it. The purpose of the question is to shift perspectives from one of a victim to one of solution-seeking.

Task-relevant information could facilitate implicit down-regulation of negative emotions following failure

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4483520/

Oscar Wilde once said, “We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell”. I firmly believe that by treating our repetitive thinking patterns as opportunities to exercise our brains, our wills, and eventually our deepest desires we not only break the pattern of being our own devil but we will also make this world our heaven.

In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice

Victor Frankl

If find yourself wanting to work on your own patterns of powerlessness, disruption, and destruction, easily turning them into creative and constructive powerful patterns. You might find that coaching will make this process simply and amazingly pleasant. Should you ever find yourself in that situation, don’t hesitate to contact me!