Best productivity apps for 2021

We all have equal 24 hours each day, but without a good organization, we may not be able to achieve our full potential in the different tasks we have to perform in our day-to-day life. However, we can solve this issue by finding simple way to increase our productivity.

No matter if you are on android, iOS, ipad, or any other platform, here is a list of different apps in the market to help us solve this issue. Let us see which are the best ones among them.

Trello Review

If you want to plan your own tasks in advance, or are running a small team of freelancers, Trello could be a very good choice for your tasks. It has a good user-friendly interface which is easy to learn and use. Signing up is also pretty easy, you can sign up with just your email and start using it instantly.

The interface is designed in a card format, and you can separate the tasks in the form of cards. You can give your cards a label as well as a due date. A reminder is configurable, so you can remind yourself when it’ll matter the most to you. There is also free plan through which you can create up to 10 boards and unlimited cards. If you need more, or need advanced synchronisation across multiple accounts, then you can choose their business class plan or enterprise plan.

Todoist Review

Todoist is more suitable for individual usage and it’s interface is more similar to Gmail. You can add and schedule your tasks with just few steps. You can give priorities to your tasks and as well as create sub-tasks and sections.

You can also save your tasks as projects and share it with someone else. Progress in completion of tasks is saved, and you can review it in the form of charts. Todoist also allows integrating with many other popular apps such as Dropbox, Zapier and more. This helps in keeping all your activity and progress in a single platform for review.

Toggl Review

Toggl is another time tracking software used by more than 5 Million users. It is free to use for up to 5 users. The User-interface is very intuitive where you can plan your projects both in a calendar format as well as by creating boards. You can create tasks and checklists for your work. You can also change status based on the completion status of your work.

Through in-task comment feature you can also communicate with your team on your work progress. You can also use the drag and drop feature to move around the created boards. This app is best suitable for teams and helps you make a good plan.

Monday Review

Monday is an enterprise level productivity app that helps in collaboration, organizing and improve your work efficiency. According to their website they have more than 100,000 teams. Valuable brands like CocaCola, Adobe, Universal use this software to plan their work.

The interface accommodates many features keeping simplicity in mind. You can use all the features within a single dashboard. You can also integrate with many popular apps like linkedin, slack, github and more. You can also automate repetitive work and visualize the work progress in the form of charts.

The customer support is also pretty good and it is 24/7. You can use their free 14 day trial to check out the features. Review is another popular productivity app used by millions of users around the world. It is a simple to use app through which ypu can organize your tasks in the form of lists and reminders. You can also use this app in a calendar format to track your work progress. 

You can use this app across all type of devices such as mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet and watch. Tasks get automatically synced across all your devices.

How to Avoid the 3 Exercise Mistakes Beginners Make

Beginning an exercise routine is one of the smartest and most beneficial things you can do. You’ve only got one body and it has to last a lifetime.

There are lots of misconceptions about how to start. Expectations of how to progress are often out of alignment with reality. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. None of that helps. The hype coming from magazines, online articles, and even the buff guy in the gym locker room, can all mislead.

In this article, we are going to talk about 3 of the most common mistakes that people make. We want you to start off on the right foot and help you find your groove in the gym!

Too Much, Too Soon

It’s likely you will begin with an immense amount of enthusiasm and motivation. You’re ready to get your diet dialed in, throw some weight around and carve out the ideal physique. But this same passion can lead to burn-out before you even get started.

It’s important to realize that you’re making a significant change in your lifestyle. Not only will your body need time to adapt to these new demands, but so will your schedule and mental energy!

A gradual start will be more productive. Don’t completely disrupt your life from day one. Instead of demanding yourself to hit the gym 7 days a week and eat nothing but chicken and rice, start smaller.

Allow yourself a much-needed change period as you begin your fitness journey. Get into the habit of working out 2-3 times per week and being more conscientious of food choices. Get your feet wet first, instead of diving in headfirst. This will prevent you from a crash and burn a month or so later.

Have A Plan

When you join a gym, you can either go solo or use their staff to map out an exercise plan. Use the guided approach unless you have been around a bit and know what you need to do.

Knowing the various machines and exercise classes available gives you the chance to establish a routine that works for you. It also allows you to track your progress. Seeing how far you have come is incredibly motivating.

Giving In To Your Ego

Comparing ourselves to those around us is an unfortunate part of human nature. As you begin working out, it is easy to notice how much weight someone else is lifting, or how cool a particular exercise looks. Realize that every single person in the gym was in the exact same position you are right now at one stage.

Trying to manage too much weight or perform some crazy exercise before you are ready will leave you embarrassed or, even worse, injured.

Believe it or not, the vast majority of people in the gym are not judging you! Gyms need members. They are in the service industry, so should have a welcoming, respectful atmosphere. Most try to encourage and support people of all fitness levels.

Working out, much like any new challenge, has a necessary learning curve. Don’t let your ego put a damper on the enjoyment it can bring or the benefits that follow.

How to Not Overthink – This Challenge Will Improve Your Life

Does your mind ever stop? Do you think too much? Do you want to know how to not overthink? When this happens, we go over the same stuff over and over, and can lose perspective. Then it turns into worry and stress. That is not good!

Overthinking is a big part of the reason so many people get stressed. If you can’t stop your mind from going around and around, it limits your ability to control your life. It uses up a lot of energy and brain matter, so much so that it can crowd out other thoughts. You have no room left, no spare capacity for other thoughts, or more important things.

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The Theory Behind This Challenge

There are three challenges presented here to give your mind a break – and help you to not overthink. If you try them as suggested, your life will improve, and you will have more control over your life.

These challenges will train your mind to give you more control. They involve automating some of the daily decisions you have to make. This removes the inability to make decisions by overthinking it, or by paralysis from analysis.

There are so many tips and articles around on how you can create a better life, and every one of them hinges your total commitment. If you overthink it, you will fail. When you feel you have no capacity for new things, any resolution will fail.

To succeed in establishing new habits, or making changes in your life, you need the desire and discipline to follow through. Changes y will only happen if your will power is up to the task. Whatever strategy or technique you intend using is less important than this.

If you aren’t committed, then it won’t happen. There is no silver bullet.

Why do Most Resolutions Fail?

Most people fail with their resolutions. It might be a gym program, a better diet, reducing your alcohol intake, losing weight, having a better relationship, or being a better person. The list of things people look to change is long and varied, yet many people have been promising themselves the same things for decades without success.

So why can’t you achieve what you set out to? What gets in the way? I’ll give you three reasons:

  1. Lack of conviction – There’s no real urgency or imperative to make the changes. Your thinking goes something like this – “it’s a good idea, but I’m not convinced about it. Deep down I don’t think it’s that important. Yes, I could make some improvements, but really, it’s not that critical.”
  2. Going outside your comfort zone – When this happens you feel scared or unsure about it. You might be able to go there for a day or a week, but it’s a bit scary to make it permanent. There are risks to consider – it might mean a different take on life; you could lose friends or miss some of things you enjoy.
  3. Lack of self-belief – You don’t believe you can make the changes you are thinking about. You decide to give it a little push, but don’t have a lot of confidence in your ability to complete it. You don’t expect to succeed. It’s a relief when you give up and don’t have to try any more.  

If you want to get past these thoughts – or this way of thinking, you need to train your mind first. Take on a short-term task. You don’t need a deep-rooted conviction about this, and the risks associated with it are less, so it’s less scary. Success will boost your self-confidence and give you the belief that you can make the changes you want in your life. You will have trained your mind to be more amenable to change. You will be in more control.

My challenges demonstrate this. They give you a way to get you into the groove a bit tighter. They also give your mind some breathing space, and will reduce your overthinking.

The Challenges

The challenges I propose aim to give your mind a rest by automating some common decision points. They are an easy way to prove to yourself that you are in control of your life. Strangely this occurs when you take your foot off the throttle and put your mind on autopilot.

When you overthink things, you focus on and dissect the changes you are looking to make – and get in your own way. An example of this is giving up smoking. If you tell yourself that you are giving up, you continue to define yourself as a smoker. Your attempt to give up won’t work because of this mental disconnect. It is more effective to stop thinking about it and train your mind to accept it as a done deal – i.e. “I am not a smoker, I don’t smoke”. By not overthinking it, you achieve a new reality more quickly.

There are three challenge exercises. Each of these calls for an automatic response. They each give your mind a break, a bit of free time, so it can focus on other things. Try each one for a month (you can’t do all three at the same time), and see how your brain processing has altered. It will surprise you!

You’ll feel liberated and more in control of your mind. The secret to a more efficient brain is to give it less work. As an example of how full our brains can get, Einstein had a terrible memory. He couldn’t remember his phone number or street address – the filing cabinet of his mind was full of more important data. Stop overthinking, and give your brain a bit of spare capacity.

Automating a part of your life can be fun; it will open new doors and give you a whole new perspective on your life. It may feel risky, but you do have ultimate control.

Of course, taken to the extreme, this can be dangerous, which is why I recommend a one-month trial of each. The results will surprise you! At the end of the month you will most likely incorporate some of this approach into your daily life.

The first challenge is to say yes to everything. The second is to always select the 4th item from the top of a list from which you must make a selection (for instance, a restaurant menu). The third challenge is the opposite of the first – say no to everything.

You can do the first and the second at the same time, but it is better to do them one after the other. It is also important that you do the third challenge (saying no) last.

Challenge # 1 – Say Yes to Everything

Jim Carrey’s popular movie “Yes Man” follows on this concept. The plot involves a recently divorced man who has become withdrawn and negative. He builds a new and more positive life through a series of events where he says yes. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look.

Of course, if taken to the extreme, this can lead to bizarre and dangerous circumstances, but it’s worth a try for a month. Use some prudential judgement if needed.

By analysing situations less, you open yourself up to new experiences and people. This one-month challenge gives you a taste of what is possible when you let yourself go a little. It is liberating, and could become the start of a new life.

Being more adventurous not only opens your mind, it gives you more confidence and readiness to tackle the world. Your social circle will welcome the new, more approachable you.

Challenge # 2 – Choose 4th From The Top

My second challenge is to choose the 4th item from the top of any list where you have to make a selection. The classic for this is a restaurant menu. Rather than studying it, and worrying about how to make the right selection, choose the 4th item from the top. Your dinner companions will see you as decisive and informed.

I’ve been using this technique for over a decade and a half now, and on only one occasion did it fail me. This was in a French Restaurant in rural France. The menu was in French, a language I do not speak. My plate of offal, enjoyed by the locals, was no to my taste! But only one fail in 15 years is a pretty good statistic! One fail does not ruin the system.

You have to trust the restaurant – they are not going to put something on the menu that patrons are not going to enjoy.

The reason for selecting #4? Well, it won’t be the cheapest and it won’t be the most expensive. There will be no embarrassment by looking either cheap or a show –off. This is very useful for wine lists.

I have applied this to almost any list. If the selection doesn’t make sense you should look immediately above and below for other options. One of those selections will work just as well.

If you discover new tastes – congratulations, you have expanded your horizons, and that is not a bad thing.

Challenge # 3 – Say No to Everything

Most time management books or self-help guides will suggest that you learn how to say no. They mean this to be selective, but it’s easier said than done. Like most things in life, it takes practice.

This exercise gives you that practice. It trains your mind (and friends, associates and so on), to not expect you to do everything asked of you.

I propose that you train yourself by saying no to everything for one month. This could include party invitations, a dinner date, a movie, or assignment at work. If you need to come up with an explanation for this from time to time – make something up. But say no unless you have no choice (which can be the case at work).  Use your personal judgement, let common sense rule the day.

By the end of the month you will be surprised at how easy it is to say no. When you realise this, you will see how liberating this can be. This will give you more control over your life, and free up an enormous amount of time.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by agreeing to do too may things, or by agreeing to do things that we don’t enjoy or want to do. Learning to say no is a very powerful tool in your arsenal to control your life. In practical terms it is not easy, which is why this exercise is for a one-month trial only. Think of it as a Dry July type of challenge.

After a month of this, you’ll find it easier to say no selectively in the future. Take back control.

How To Not Overthink After The Challenge

Completing these three challenges will train your mind and give you more confidence in taking on new things. They will broaden your horizons and give you more control over your life.

After you have completed these challenges, you will have trained your mind to accept or deny requests, and you will have learnt how to trust others. The lessons from these three exercises are applicable in other ways as well. They provide an important lesson and training in learning how to not overthink.

3 Tips to Teach Your Child How to Read


Learning to read at a young age is important for the development of the child. It helps them develop a better understand of their surroundings, allows them to gather information from printed materials, and provides them with a wonderful source of entertainment when they read stories and rhymes. Children develop at different rates, and some children will develop reading skills quicker than other children; however, what’s important is that as the parent, you are keenly aware of your child’s maturity and reading level to provide them with appropriate books and activities to help them improve.

As parents, you are the most important teacher for your children. You will introduce your child to books and reading. Below we have some tips to help you teach your child to read.

Teach Your Child How to Read Tip #1

Teach your child alphabet letters and sounds at the same time. Studies have shown that children learn best when they are taught the letter names and letter sounds at the same time. In one study, 58 preschool children were randomly assigned to receive instructions in letter names and sounds, letter sound only, or numbers (control group). The results of this study are consistent with past research results in that it found children receiving letter name and sound instruction were most likely to learn the sounds of letters whose names included cues to their sounds. [1]

When teaching your child the letter sounds, have them slowly trace the letter, while saying the sound of the letter at the same time. For example, if you were teaching your child the letter “A”, you would say:

“The letter A makes the /A/ (ah) sound.”

Then have your child say the /A/ sound while tracing the letter with his or her index finger.

Teaching a Child How to Read Tip #2

When teaching your child to read, always emphasize with them that the proper reading order should be from left to right, and top to bottom. To adults, this may seem so basic that anyone should know it. However, our children are not born with the knowledge that printed text should be read from left to right and top to bottom, and this is why you’ll sometimes see children reading from right to left instead – because they were never explicitly taught to read from left to right. When teaching your child how to read, always emphasize this point with them.

Teach Your Child How to Read Tip #3

Teach final consonant blends first. Teaching words such “at” and “and” can lead your child directly to learning words that rhyme with these. For example, for “at”, you can have:


For “and”, you can have these rhyming words:

and so on…

You can start teaching blends once your child has learned the sounds of some consonants and short vowel sounds. You don’t need to wait until your child has mastered the sounds of all the letters before teaching blends.

Learning to read is a long process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Broken down into intuitive and logical steps, a child as young as two years old can learn to read, and older children can accomplish even more.

>> Click here to for a simple, step-by-step program that can help your child learn to read, and watch a video of a 2 year old child reading


1. J Exp Child Psychol. 2010 Apr;105(4):324-44. Epub 2010 Jan 25.
Learning letter names and sounds: effects of instruction, letter type, and phonological processing skill.
Piasta SB, Wagner RK.
Preschool Language and Literacy Lab, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

How to Recognise What Narcissistic Behavior Is

Narcissistic behaviors come from an excessively high self focus. Having high self-esteem is an essential element in living a successful and happy life, however there is a line that must not be crossed. Knowing what narcissistic behavior is will help you avoid stepping over it and going into the wrong side.

High self-esteem is a positive trait, one that exudes confidence and attracts people to you. But when you become obsessed with yourself, and begin putting your needs and interest above those of everybody else, you become a narcissist. Your behaviors focus on your needs with no regard for others. They have the opposite effect and can cause people seeing you in a negative light. You may get some short-term wins, but many people will be less supportive. This is contrary to the formula of a successful life.

There are many distinctions between high self-esteem and narcissism. While narcissists often (but not always) have a very high opinion of themselves, the link between this and narcissism is unfounded. It is not true that everyone with high self-esteem is a narcissist, or that being narcissistic comes only about having this trait.

Let’s look a little more closely at narcissism to see how it differs from healthy, high self-esteem so we can dispel any lingering myths.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

What is Narcissism?

First up, it is important to recognise that there is a difference between being narcissistic and having a narcissistic personality disorder. The latter is a mental health condition. In this article, we are referencing the general personality trait.

Narcissist behaviors result when you are excessively interested in, or admire yourself. This obsession may be your personality, physical appearance, or both. Some words used to describe narcissistic tendencies include self-obsession, conceit, and egotism. For most people with this attitude, their behavior reflects this. These include acting selfishly, having a lack of empathy towards others, being (or acting) entitled, and having a need for admiration from others.

To classify narcissism as a full personality disorder, the behaviors must be more extreme. In these instances, the behaviors interfere with the person’s ability to lead a healthy life and to have productive relationships with others.

Narcissism and Self-Esteem

A common misconception is that all narcissists have high self-esteem. Most times, the opposite is true. A lack of self-esteem can cause some to seek approval from others and become obsessed with themselves to make up for their lack of self-worth or confidence. Those with high self-esteem might not be narcissistic, because their high self worth is grounded in healthy, productive views of their abilities and value.

While people with high self-esteem often feel confident in their own abilities, narcissists take this a step further and feel superior to others for their talents. To feel superior, you are always comparing yourself to others. This can cause you to put down anyone who threatens your perceived status as being “the best” at something. Those with high self-esteem need not compare themselves, as they are confident in their own capabilities.

Being aware of who you are is one important part of maintaining this balance.

This distinction between self-esteem and narcissism is important. Most self-esteem stems from accomplishments we have achieved, skills we have mastered, and the values to which we adhere. The opposite is true of narcissism. It is based on fear. The fear of being seen as weak or of failing is a driving force. It creates an unhealthy focus on yourself and wanting others to see you as the best. Most narcissists are, at their core, insecure and feel inadequate, which is the opposite of having high self-esteem.

Those who are narcissists will often be envious or hostile toward rivals, while those with high self-esteem most often use compassion and cooperation with others. We can see them as two ends of a spectrum, ranging from dominance (narcissism) to equality (self-esteem).

Final Thoughts

Knowing what narcissistic behavior is allows you to see the difference between these two. This is key to understanding why having high self-esteem is essential and does not mean you will become a narcissist. Wanting to work on your self-esteem is a laudable goal. It should not be deterred by fears of becoming a conceitful monster.

By the way, remember that it’s never too late to take care of yourself, and then you can take care of others.

Surprising Facts About Stress You Need to Know

It’s Only Bad If It’s Bad

The most surprising fact about stress is that it isn’t bad per se. Stress is a normal, natural reaction. Small amounts of stress keep us focussed, alert and productive. It is part of our natural instincts that keep us going forward against adversity ! So a bit of stress in your life is essential while having no stress at all can be a bad thing for your goals. This article aims to help you to focus on keeping your stress levels to a healthy level.

The simple truth is that if we hadn’t developed certain instincts during our evolution, we wouldn’t be here today. Stress is no more than your body’s natural defense mechanism kicking in. It comes when you feel threatened – whether the danger is real or imagined. But it can be overwhelming and prevent us from acting rationally.

To show an example:

Think of the adrenalin rush you get when you realize you’ve slept through your alarm and are now rushing at warp speed to get dressed and catch the bus to work. This is an example of good stress!

But if you’re doing that every morning – then maybe there are other lifestyle issues at play. Or a need for a different alarm clock.

But if your stress levels stop you getting out of bed at all, or going to work – then that’s a different matter. When stress interferes with your daily routine, then it’s a problem ! And you must address it before it goes even further !

Your level of stress will range from having heightened senses to debilitating feelings of anxiety and depression.

Feeling butterflies in your stomach before an exam or a big game? That’s natural stress at work. It boosts the adrenal glands and gets you ready for action. Worried about a work deadline? Again, that’s a normal stress, keeping you focussed, and shutting out distractions.

Most adults experience physical or emotional symptoms of stress at times. As well as raising your alertness, other effects are less productive. These can include headaches, feeling tired, or changes in sleeping habits.

When we suffer these negative stresses it can feel like we have no control, that they can get away from us. If uncontrolled they can dominate your life and turn it upside down, and you don’t want that.

But the surprising fact is that we do have control over these stresses. There are things we can do to manage it. We may not be able to remove it, but we can control it, and prevent it from becoming debilitating.

As we have said, the surprising fact of stress is that it’s only bad if it’s bad. You can manage many stresses before they become destructive. To help you do this, it makes sense to know a little more about the different types of stresses that you may face.

Recognising Different Types of Stress

There are two different ways of classifying stress. The first looks at stress categories – the causes or nature of stress. The second looks at stress severity – the effects of stress and its severity.

Four Categories of Stress

Stress factors fall into four categories:

  1. Physical stress;
  2. Psychological stress;
  3. Psychosocial stress; and
  4. Psychospiritual stress.

Physical stress

Your body experiences physical stress. Overworking or injuring your body to the point it cannot cope causes physical stress. Other common causes include traumatic events, the effect of pollutants, dietary imbalances, or substance abuse.

Psychological stress

Psychological stress relates to emotional or cognitive stress. This includes feelings such as resentment, anger, worry, guilt, self-criticism, anxiety, and a sense of being out of control. It also includes perceptual stress coming from beliefs, attitudes, and the like.

Psycho-social stress

Psychosocial stress comes from relationships. It includes marriage or family problems, work issues, social networks, and financial problems.

Psycho-spiritual stress

Psycho-spiritual stress comes from a questioning of values, meaning or purpose. It is often manifested as a lack of life satisfaction or misalignment with core spiritual beliefs.

Three Levels of Stress Severity

Psychologists recognise 3 types of stress:

  1. Acute stress;
  2. Episodic acute stress; and
  3. Chronic stress.

Acute Stress

Acute stress is usually brief. It is the most common and frequent form of stress. It generally relates to negative thoughts. Examples include dwelling on a recent argument or concerns about an approaching deadline. Removing the cause leads to the stress receding as well.

Episodic Acute Stress

Episodic acute stress is the term used where there are frequent or recurrent stress triggers. This is more common amongst people whose lives are chaotic or crisis-ridden. They are always in a rush or feel pressured. They may take on too many responsibilities but are unable to organise conflicting demands.

Type “A” personalities are more prone to this type of stress. They have a strong competitive streak, with an aggressive nature. Often they have a deep-seated insecurity about performance, and a sense of urgency. These personality traits are more likely to experience episodic acute stress.

The personality type known as the “Worrier” is also more likely to experience episodic acute stress. They have a negative view of the world and tend to see disaster or catastrophe everywhere. They tend to be over aroused and tense, but are more anxious and depressed than angry and hostile.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is the most harmful. It can cause significant damage to both physical and mental health.

Chronic stress comes from prolonged negative physical and environmental factors. These include inter-generational unemployment, substance abuse, or a dysfunctional family or childhood. It can set in when a person feels that there is no escape over a prolonged period and gives up hope.

With chronic stress, behaviours and emotional reactions become ingrained. It is a grinding form of stress that wears people down. Chronic stress destroys lives, bodies, and minds. It can lead to a physical and mental breakdown, suicide, violence, heart attack or strokes.

An Approach to Stress Resolution

Another surprising fact about stress is that controlling it is much like any other behavioural change program. It is best achieved by a planned and deliberate approach.

Stress can come on gradually due to life changes, or due to a specific incident or experience. Either way, you shouldn’t let stress stop you from doing things that you used to enjoy.

Managing stress involves making thoughtful and considered, deliberate changes. The idea is that you build habits and attitudes through repetition. Resolving your stress begins with a plan, and the best place to start is to look back at your life before stress.

Investigate what causes your stress and where it comes from. Recognising the source is an essential first step.

Is your stress preventing you from doing things that you enjoyed in the past? It’s natural for stress or a stress disorder to make new things seem scary. But it can also have this effect on experiences that we enjoyed in the past. For example, a slow stress build-up may cause you to not want to spend time with old friends. Or a car accident may make you want to avoid driving or even riding in or being around cars.

It’s important to remind yourself that these were easy or enjoyable in the past. Seeing them from a different perspective now doesn’t change their nature. Even if it was a bad experience for you once in the past, as with the car accident, you should recognise that it was only one of many incidences. Recognise that other times it went well.

If stress is causing issues in your life you will need to make some changes to manage it. Any life changes need a personal commitment. We refer to these as stress resolutions. They spell out the corrective behaviour needed to maintain stress at acceptable levels.

Looking back over the last few years to see where things did and didn’t work out the way you wanted will clarify the changes you want or need to make.

You can make resolutions for almost anything, from weight loss, to learning, to better social interactions. A resolution becomes a commitment to change. And a written resolution is more powerful than a mental note. It acts as a reference point, a motivator and a guide.

The intent of a stress resolution is to help you reduce your stress levels. Make one when you feel that stress is damaging your life.

To make your stress resolutions, begin by planning. Take notes on what troubles you. Identify where your stress is coming from and how you can change this. Make a note of what you want to achieve.

When you focus on potential remedies, consider the impact and difficulty of each. Create resolutions, write them down, and determine the best ways to fulfill all your goals. Then set priorities.

Remember that if you try to do too many things at once you will almost certainly fail. Focus on one thing first. Set a routine and create a habit. Once you establish your routine and it becomes a habit, you can move onto your next item.

Make periodic assessments of your journey. Map your progress. It is inspiring and motivates you to keep going.

One of the surprising facts about stress that we have covered is that you can manage your stress. You will be surprised at how effective it is to set resolutions as a path to change.

That’s it for today. I hope this little article will help you overcome bad stress. Enjoy your journey to a less stressed life!

Related articles that you might want to read: Stress and Anxiety Symptoms to Watch Out For and The Causes of Panic Attack

Revealed – How to Know What a Balanced Life is

The following story reveals what a balanced life is. It is a simple story that shows what the key aspects of life, and how we can balance our lives by being aware of priorities and perspective.

We can all learn from this simple story.

Photo by willsantt from Pexels

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

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‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

There will always be time to clean the house, fix the disposal or deal with things from your job.

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Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

How to Take Care For Yourself – Make Your Needs First

If you are serious that you want to take care for yourself – you have to start by taking control of the things around you. No more worrying about the million distractions you get every day. If it seems that everyone and everything is after a piece of you – it’s time to put a stop to it. Take control. Make sure to take care for yourself first. If you don’t, you’ll get stressed about how to cope, and the stress will create problems for you both physically and mentally.

There’s no point in giving ‘till you break. You might think it’s required or expected of you. It might feel noble, or the right thing to do. But a positive life is about balance. And if you become unbalanced because you’re doing too much for others and not enough for yourself, well, that just doesn’t make sense, does it?

If you are sacrificing your time for work, missing out on your own interests for those friends, or your sleep because of others, then you aren’t taking care for yourself. Your well-being and happiness are at stake.

Where Do I Draw the Line?

Life is full of compromises, so what are the signs that I’m neglecting my own needs more than I should?

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Consider how you spend your days. Keeping a journal for a month or so can be enlightening. Note where your time goes, and what parts are things you want to do, and what are to keep others happy. Naturally enough, work takes up a big chunk of time – but does it override everything else? How much of your thinking time does it dominate? Can you get away from it or is it all-consuming?

How often do you instigate activities with friends? How often are you simply following their lead? And how do you feel about this? Note that following others can be OK – it all depends on whether you feel you have no control, or that everyone else’s needs are met before your own. If you have time for the things that interest you, then your life is probably in balance.

If on the other hand, you feel desperately in need of a break, if you feel fatigued, weakened or drained, chances are you haven’t been giving your own needs enough priority. In that case, it’s time you started to put yourself first occasionally.

How Do I Take Control and Care For Myself

The way you interact with others are life habits. They are learned, and can be unlearned.

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First up is the feeling of selfishness you might get when you put your needs first. That is often a feeling that you have, that others don’t share. It is selfish if your needs come first all the time, but not when you keep a balance.

If you don’t take care for yourself, you will be less able to help others. A strong, happy and well-adjusted person is more productive, and better company for friends and family than a stressed out, weak or debilitated shell of a person.

Be sure to give yourself some time for rest, reflection or hobbies. Be confident enough to give yourself a priority at times. Resist the urge to take on more than you can comfortably handle. Take a break from time to time to recharge. Get takeout instead of cooking, have a night in, go to bed early, read a book, go on a holiday – whatever you need.

Set some boundaries on what you will do and let your friends and work colleagues know what these are. They will respect you for them and respect the boundaries.

Your body is a terrific early warning device. Listen to it. If you feel lousy, then do something about it. Look for the source. If you feel stressed out, isolate the reason why and act on it. If you feel physically depleted, take a break, check your diet and consider exercise to build your body’s strength and resilience. If you feel emotionally exhausted, take some time for yourself to regroup and relax.

Your well-being is dependent on how you take care for yourself.

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Reduce the noise. Take time away from social media, the news cycle and work emails. Try binge streaming to replace all the other stimulants screaming for attention.

Stop putting everything first before your own needs. It’s not selfish to take some time for self-care. You’ll be a more relaxed, happier and more productive person. This new person will be more appreciated by your family, your friends, your boss and co-workers. Even those around you on your daily commute will feel a little better when all that tension you’ve been emanating disappears.

Taking care for yourself by not neglecting your own needs is a win win for everyone.

25 Powerful Ayn Rand Quotes That Will Make a Winner Out of You

We have selected 25 of the most powerful quotes from Ayn Rand as a guide to living a strong life. She was a hero to many baby boomers through the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. These quotes summarise the key aspects of her Objectivism philosophy.

The post-war economic growth and prosperity engendered a generation wanting a new societal structure. The rationalist ideas proposed by Rand echoed their hopes and aspirations. Her philosophy of self-determination was embraced widely as it tapped directly into American ideals of freedom, hard work and individualism. 

It resonated with the new social freedoms and mobility the boomers were hoping for. These amounted to a revolutionary tide which swept through America and other countries. The 25 Ayn Rand quotes below are a guide to living a life of self-determination.


Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s philosophy was spelt out in her two best-selling books, both considered modern day classics – The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The latter is considered her magnum opus. She described Atlas Shrugged’s theme as “the role of the mind in man’s existence—and, as a corollary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest.”

The philosophy of objectivism holds four key principles:

1. Objective reality – this holds that aside from our own perceptions, there is a true reality happening, whether anyone sees them or not. The only way we know we exist is in relation to that reality; our existence is defined by the capacity to observe reality.

2. Absolute reason – there’s no room for emotions or faith, only facts should guide people.

3. Individualism – the individual should be empowered above everything else. A man who can embrace the logic and reason of an objective reality is the most powerful figure. And if a man is able to do that, he should only ever act in his own self-interest.

4. Laissez-faire capitalism – where the economy is completely unregulated and separate from the government. This allows powerful Objectivists to do all they can in order to improve their own standing, while not violating the rights of other people.

You will get a feeling for her philosophy from these selected quotes. They remain very powerful motivators and moral guides. If you haven’t read her books, we recommend them. They are thought-provoking and belong in everyone’s library.

Quotes About Living Your Life from Ayn Rand.

We have grouped our selected quotes into three categories:

  • The power of the individual
  • The power of thought
  • How you interact with others

Quotes About The Power of the Individual

1. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

2. “Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.”

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3. “I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in between.”

4. “Freedom: To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing.”

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5. “The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”

6. “I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom.”

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7. “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” 

8. “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.” 

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 9. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” 

 10. “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.” 

11. “Do not let your fire go out. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, and have never been able to reach. The world you desired can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it is yours.” 

Quotes About the Power of Thought

12.  “I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.” 

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13. “Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose.”

14. “Worry is a waste of emotional reserve.” 

15. “To achieve, you need thought. You have to know what you are doing and that’s real power.” 

16. “If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.” 

17. “Every man is free to rise as far as he’s able or willing, but the degree to which he thinks determines the degree to which he’ll rise.” 

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 18. “Man survives by adjusting his background to himself.” 

19. “Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.” 

20. “Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants.” 

Quotes About Interacting With Others

21. “Everyone has the right to make his own decisions, but none has the right to force his decision on others.” 

22. “Any alleged right of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another isn’t and can’t be a right.”

 23. “The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap.” 

24. “A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

25. “An individualist is a man who says: I will not run anyone’s life – nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone – nor sacrifice anyone to myself.”

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We hope that these Ayn Rand quotes will inspire you to greater things. They ask a lot of the individual, but with a strong moral compass and self belief, they will help to keep you on track. They remind us of what is important in life, and how you should act if you are to be a winner.

How to be More Productive in Life

Imagine what rewards can come your way if knew how to be more productive in your life. It takes a bit of discipline, but everyone can do it. When you are more productive, you do more. It’s like having a second pair of hands. It’s pretty straightforward maths – you do more, you get more back.

The big secret is to be focussed, be very clear about where you’re going and what’s most important for you. Following on from this, you need a process to clear the clutter, so you can tackle those big, important bits that will get you to where you want to be.

Productivity is the amount of something produced from a given number of inputs. Higher productivity means more production. Time is the limiting factor here.

It means that your own productivity is the amount of stuff you get done in a day. To get more done, you need to be more productive. And isn’t that exactly what your boss wants? Isn’t it what you want, to be successful?

If you don’t want to read the whole article – here’s the gist of it. To improve your productivity you have to be more focussed. Once you decide what’s most important, make sure you have enough time dedicated to those tasks. Don’t get swamped by the small stuff. It’s really that simple.

If the secret to being more productive in your life is to be more focussed on what’s most important, you need to know what that is.

It’s always good to start at the finish. What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to end up? What are the activities or things that will move you closer to this?

It all starts with your to-do list. Let me guess – it’s big, right? And you know you can’t do everything on it. I’ve got about 3 months’ worth of activity on mine, it’s a weakness that I can think up more cool stuff to do than I have time for. But I treat this like a reminder. I know most of it will be there for a while and will be pushed onto the backburner. Sometimes priorities change, and what was just a good idea becomes more useful.

The trick to being more productive is to do more of the important bits and less of the others. Let them ride.

It’s easy to tackle the urgent, more insistent things first. Usually, these are not too hard to deal with, so by doing them first, you’ll have more time. We try to get them out of the way to reduce the noise, thinking this will help our focus. But then what happens? More small stuff turns up. It too demands attention. Somehow we get stuck on the treadmill and never quite get to the bigger, more important things. This short story is a beauty for understanding life balance. I thoroughly recommend. you read it.

When this happens, it feels like you’ve lost control. You’re spiralling down in a vortex to nothing. You can feel like you don’t have a chance to make progress towards your goals. This is dispiriting, but you can beat it!

In this article, I’m going to give you a few tips about how to be more focussed, which will lift your productivity.

Being busy is not the same as being productive

Being busy and on the go all the time does not mean you will achieve your goals. You are only productive when you are achieving your goals. Just because you are in constant motion doesn’t mean you are progressing towards your goals. Constant movement is not productive.

How many times do you get to the end of the day and feel like you have achieved nothing? It doesn’t feel great, does it?

To state the bleeding obvious, improved productivity comes from better time management.

My wife talks about the time she spends on Facebook as “going down the rabbit hole”. It’s too easy to spend a working day like this. Remember that there are only 24 hours in a day. Try to avoid the rabbit holes.

You also only have so many days alive in which to achieve the things you want. Time is not a limitless resource. Use it well – or lose it.

Being more productive is about how you use that time. And there are only two ways you can get more done. Only two ways you can be more productive.

The first (which I do not recommend) is to use more of your 24 hours working. Lots of people try this – less sleep, less social time, few or no hobbies, and little time for relaxation. Of course, it depends on how ambitious you are. For superstardom, these are the prerequisites. But it doesn’t have to be for everyone. Life balance is important.

The second is to work smarter – get more done in the time you do have. That’s what we want to talk about today.

It means more time spent focussing on the big, important things. Don’t let the small stuff consume you. You are better than that and deserve more.

Managing this is not that difficult. But it does take discipline. And focus.

The Three Secrets to Success

Secret #1 – Progressing towards something

First up, you need to have clear goals of what you want to achieve. If you don’t know what the big, important things are, you can’t focus on achieving them.

Two of my favourite quotes are:

“if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”; and

Alice in Wonderland

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else” .

Yogi Berra

To make sure you don’t waste this precious resource, focus on what is important to your life. Being more productive means being more focussed. Stay focussed on where you want to get to.

Yes, to be successful you will have to work hard. But do it on the things that will get you where you want to be.

Secret #2 – Thinking your way through

Tackling big goals requires a series of smaller steps. To climb to the top of Everest, you need to make sure you have the skills, fitness, and financial capacity. Then you have to get to Base Camp before you start your climb.

Think through the big goals and break them into smaller, achievable pieces. Keep track of your progress so you know you’re getting there. Nothing succeeds like success, and achieving the smaller bits keeps you motivated.

Working hard without direction or focus can be a waste of valuable time and energy. Always consider your “why” before you schedule your time.

Consider how you currently spend your time and how you can be more efficient. Keep a journal for a week and record how you spend your time. In particular note how much time you spend on non-productive activity. Note how much to your longer-term goals.

This is a useful activity once or twice a year. Every time I do this, I am surprised at how much I have slipped into non-productive activity. It is a useful exercise to refocus yourself.

Then take a hard look at your to-do list and trim out the crap. Delegate or reassign where possible. Eliminate fringe tasks. Ask yourself “what will happen if this doesn’t get done.” If the answer isn’t much, then let it go.

Focus on the important, life-building activities. This is how to be more productive in life.

Secret #3 –Achieving a productive life balance

Rate each item on your to-do list for urgency and impact (or importance). Knowing that you’re not likely to do everything on your list, be selective about which items you will do. Urgent items need attention, but don’t let them consume all your time. Schedule enough time to make progress on the important things. Achieving impact will move you towards your goals much faster.

I find that spending the first hour or so of my day on the urgent, but easy to do things helps. There is a sense of achievement that gives me a more positive frame of mind for the day.

It reduces the size of my list and stops smaller items from becoming problematic later. There is less noise and worry of things pulling at my mind. By removing the noise and worry about these items, I am more focussed.

I find that by doing this I can concentrate my mind and energy on the bigger, more important tasks. This in turn makes me more productive.

The big secret to a successful and productive life is balance. OK, it sounds simple, but it is harder to manage than you think. Being aware of what is important and what is not is the starting point. Staying true to these priorities takes constant management.

Balance means nurturing every aspect of who you are, and of your life. There will be times when you need to dedicate yourself to one task. Make sure that this is a temporary need. Don’t let it dominate your life. Give it a time frame. When this time is over, regain balance by nurturing the other aspects of your life.

So if you want to be more productive in your life, remember that balance is the key. Remember that success is multi-faceted, and you need to give all aspects a chance to flourish.

Stress and Anxiety Symptoms to Watch Out For

Stress and anxiety is something we all deal with daily. There are many symptoms of stress and anxiety to watch out for. They are not all bad. Think of these symptoms as early warning signs. If you are aware of them, you are better able to manage their causes. This will stop your stress levels from becoming debilitating.

Stress is a natural reaction in our bodies. It derives from the fight or flight reaction hard-wired into us as an essential part of our evolution.

There are many different levels of stress, some quite natural daily signs which tell us to be alert. If we ignore them, they may continue to escalate. And that is when problems arise.

Excessive stress causes all manner of health problems, and can even be a killer.

Keeping an eye on your stress levels is common sense, but unfortunately, common sense does not always prevail.

We have listed the most common symptoms of stress and anxiety. Take a few moments to reflect on whether you are experiencing any of these, and how severe the symptoms are. How long have you been aware of them?

If any of these are elevated or have been with you over a long period, it is time to think about doing something about it. Tackle the underlying cause it spirals out of control.

The solutions for this are many and varied and beyond the scope of this article. Our purpose here is to have you look at your stress and anxiety symptoms to see if they need addressing.

Common Stress and Anxiety Symptoms

Unexplained Aches And Pain About The Body

A little pain here and there is normal and is nothing to get worried about unless it occurs too often. The trend is a key indicator. Is it new or recurrent over a long period? Does it fluctuate with stressful situations?

Muscular pains usually occur around the back, neck, or shoulder areas. These might result from poor posture, especially when doing computer-based work. Other causes include poor sleep patterns. Medication to treat the pain many only yield temporary relief, and should not be a long term solution.

Frequent Colds And Infections

High stress levels have a negative effect on your immunity.

As your body perceives stress, your adrenal glands make and release the hormone cortisol into your bloodstream. Often called the “stress hormone,” cortisol causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s your natural “flight or fight” response that has kept humans alive for thousands of years.

With elevated stress levels cortisol production increases. This in turn suppresses your immune system, making your body more open to infection. This can be especially troublesome during flu season. One precaution you can take is to increase your intake of anti-oxidant foods such as berries, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

Poor Sleep Patterns

When overstressed your sleep patterns are amongst the first early warning signs. Insomnia and difficulty sleeping are common indicators. Cortisol recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels. This is another aspect of the fight or flight reaction.

Having a decent dose of ‘get up and go’ attitude is useful in the mornings, but not at night when you should be unwinding. Any stimulants such as coffee will exacerbate this, so you should be careful about these later at night.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is another sign of stress and anxiety to watch for. This adds strain on your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke.

It can also be a cause of heart and kidney disease and some forms of dementia.

Loss Of Sex Drive

Stress will reduce your levels of testosterone. This in turn impacts your sex drive, in both men and women. Remember how much more sex you had the last time you went on holiday? Cortisol and testosterone have are inversely correlated. As your cortisol levels go up, your testosterone (and sex drive) go down.

Frequent Outbursts Or Mood Swings

When you are highly stressed, there is a higher chance are that you will lash out at anyone who irritates you. If you find yourself subject to this type of outburst, or subject to wild mood swings, this indicates that something is out of balance.

This is not normal behavior, especially if you are generally level headed. It is another symptom of stress and anxiety. It may be best to reduce your work load and spend more time with family and loved ones to give you a chance to relax.

Depression Or Feelings Of Inadequacy

It can be difficult to maintain positive self-esteem when you have high levels of stress. Stress will affect your emotional well-being and can decimate relationships with loved ones or colleagues. You are likely to be irritable, pick fights, or feel pressure to perform.

If you are feeling inadequate and begin questioning yourself, you may want to consider your stress levels. One of the most telling symptoms of stress and anxiety is reduced self-worth. This can lead to depression, anxiety, or feelings of disappointment.


If you experience one or more of these symptoms of stress and anxiety, the first thing to do is to reflect on your life. Take a step back and consider the frequency and severity of these symptoms.

With what frequency are they recurring? Can you make an association with your workload or any personal issues you may be facing?

Perhaps it is time to make some changes in your life. Reduce the burden you carry. Maybe a short break will defuse it. You might only need a short vacation, weekend getaway, or a simple trek in the great outdoors. Or you might need a larger change.

Only you will be able to determine which solution will work best. The important thing is to keep a check on these symptoms of stress and anxiety. Remain vigilant and be conscious of the impact they are and can have, on your life.

Let us know what stress is doing to you, and how you are handling it. It’s a common problem, and the more we discuss it, the better able we are to deal with it.

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have. I read all comments and answer all questions.

Kate Young – Well-Being Writer for

How to Create Your Own Life by Being Aware of Who You Are

“The unexamined life is not worth living”


We all want to be better. You want to create your own life. But we all have a different form of better. The life you want to live is different from the life that others want to live. Personal growth means different things to each of us. The common element of personal growth is that you must work on yourself.

The choices you make throughout your lifetime will determine the type of life you lead.  Your choices are reflective of the person you are, and who you will become.  It is possible to direct those choices to create a better life. Incredible rewards come to those who make the right choices and work on making changes.

To change as a person, you need to identify what changes you want.  Before you can aim at the finish, you need to know your starting point.  Your journey begins with self-examination.

It continues by accessing the personal power that exists within us all. This power gives you the discipline to enforce the changes you need to make to create your life the way you want it. This will define your relationships, sense of fulfillment, and general happiness.

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

Carl Jung

Related Posts:

Personal Awareness

The first step in your journey of personal growth is personal awareness. The more you know about yourself the better. Unfortunately, we don’t always look at ourselves in depth. We have a tendency to overlook our deficiencies. An honest appraisal provides the groundwork of change.

This stimulates ideas about what changes you see as part of your personal growth. What to build on and what to overcome.

A good place to start is with the things that you are good at. The things that make you shine as a person. List down the things you like about yourself. Include your best skills or talents.  Think also about your passions.

Then write down your weaknesses and the strengths you have as a person.

This gives a good picture of the person you are. To create your own life you need to know who you are now.

Thinking About the Life You Want

A good place to start thinking about the sorts of changes you want to make is to consider the regrets you have. Study them to see if you could have prevented them or acted in a different way. If there were other options you did not take, why did you act the way you did? Was it part of your inner programming? Is this changeable?

The next step is the see yourself as others do. How do other people describe you? Is that consistent with the way you see yourself? Is it consistent with the life you want?

Guiding Thoughts

Our perceptions and thoughts guide our actions. We all have insecurities and fears of differing levels. Being aware of them leads us to better choices. Think about your insecurities.

There are things in life that we have power over, and things that we do not. Think about the things you can and can’t control. Excessive worry over the things we cannot control is not productive. It wastes a lot of energy. Focus on the things you have control over.

Your values and motivations guide your reactions to events. Once again, an awareness of these gives you a better ability to create your own life, the way you want it. When thinking about this, dwell on the things that bring you joy, and the things that make you sad.

Your dreams and your goals in life point the way to the life you want. Think about what it is that stopping you from achieving these.

Self Esteem

If you don’t think you are good enough, chances are that you won’t be. You have to overcome this. Achievement comes in small steps. You are always good enough to make the next step. Positive self esteem is essential to personal growth.

You must care for yourself, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Think about how well you do this, and how you can be better at it.

Envy of others is common. But it implies a low sense of self worth. It is one thing to hold up another person as a role model to emulate. It is another thing to be jealous or feel that you are not as good.

Think about the things that frighten you. What do you get anxious about? What do you get frustrated by? Are there clues in this about the changes you would like to make to create a better life.


You don’t live in a vacuum. The people in your life are critical to your quality of life. People with strong personal relationships live longer, happier lives.

Consider the strengths of your relationships. Who are the supportive, positive people in your life? And how do they make your life better? Consider also the negative influences in your life. Is there anything you can do about these people?

List the Changes You Want

Now that you have conducted a thorough inventory of your life, make a list of the changes you would like to make.

To stop this being overwhelming, make a list of the barriers you are likely to face in making these changes. Try to set some priorities. Remember that life is a journey. You need to have a destination in mind, but it is the journey itself that is most important.

Create small steps that are achievable, and build on these. To get from 1 to 100, the first step is to get to 2. Then you aim at 3 or 5.

As you go through these steps, celebrate your success along the way. This will reinforce your motivation for change. Following these suggestions will help you to create your own life. They will help you live life on your own terms. Live the life you want.

Who is the best to make me write a book?


When I was thinking about writing a book I knew I would need help. When considering a large task such as this, I wondered who could show me how to write a book. Some basic research showed that quite a few guides and templates are available – but they all sounded a bit dry. Either they left me feeling confused or filled me with dread about how daunting this can be. But I’m pretty sure I’ve found who would be the best to help me.

I figured if I could get some help to get me started that would provide some impetus. I also knew I would also need some support to keep going if I was ever going to finish.

It turns out that thinking about writing a book is quite common. There are lots of reasons why you might want to write a book. But most people don’t get there.

Structure is important

The biggest challenge is that it can be overwhelming. Such a big job, it is overwhelming. Even starting is an achievement. I admit to having had a couple of false starts. But then, finishing is even harder than starting, and only a few make it the finish line.

The first thing for me was to find someone who could give me a sense of structure. Having some tips on how to manage my information was a great help to get me started.

I know that I need the motivation to keep going during the slow times (and on those down days with no energy). Having some support along the way is invaluable.

I found that Brian Tracy ticks all these boxes. He has numerous guides and supporting materials, including some FREE stuff. This material helps show how to write a book.

These will help get you started and keep you on track.

Why would you want to write a book?

We all have a story in us – something we want to say. And we know there are people who we want to hear our story. Motivations range from personal to financial, for career or business advancement. Some have a particular message they want to spread or want to provide a guiding path to others.

You might want to become a famous novelist and collect royalty payments a la JK Rowling.

Or you might be an expert in your field and want to share this knowledge with others. There are many e-books self-published for this very purpose. Your motivation might be to position yourself as a person of influence, a leader in your field. In this instance the pay-off comes from better contacts and connections, and an enhanced bargaining position. All of these will enhance your career prospects.

Others write for their friends and family. Many an autobiography is written for children and grandchildren. The intent is to provide a deeper insight into the lives of their mother, father, or grandparent. A lot of personal history is not revealed in family conversations over the years. As an example, when I read my mother’s journal when she and my father emigrated to Australia in the early 1950’s it was illuminating. It showed me a side of her I had never known before.

For some it’s a journey of self-discovery.

Around 8 out of every 10 people in America have considered writing a book at some stage of their lives. You are not alone in this ambition. The reality is that a much smaller number attempt the task, and an even smaller number finish.

To improve your chances of success, it’s important that someone shows you how to write a book.

Of those that do finish – there are now many paths to publication. This will in part be dependant on the book’s purpose. Self-publishing for a small audience may be adequate. Or the production of an e-Book to be distributed digitally for publicity and promotional purposes may meet your needs.

Do you intend the finished product to sell on Amazon Kindle? Or do you aim to join the elite of authors and win an established publisher over?

Why don’t more people write books then?

Well, it’s many might think about it. But it’s a big job. Too big for most, and not a task to tackle lightly. Being intimidated by the complexity scares many people off. This is the main barrier that stops them from even starting.

Many will put down a few ideas. This might even include a snappy title. That in itself is not enough. Without structure and discipline, the job gets away from them. Writing a book is not something that happens on a whim. It takes dedication and perseverance. Your first book may take a year or more to finish. And a project of that length needs a plan.

It might be that the idea for the book isn’t clear enough. You will get lost if you don’t have clarity on your message, on what it is that you want to say. Consequently, when that happens – bang, it’s shutdown time. You will get dispirited and lose motivation if you lose momentum. This can happen if you get lose sight of what it is you are trying to accomplish. When the motivation dries up, so does the work.

So how do I get started?

For someone to show me how to write a book, they’ll have to cover all of that stuff. For a start, it makes sense to take a bit of prep time. Take time to plan it out. Putting together a game plan on how to manage a project like this is important.

The starting point is your “why”. Here are a few questions to help you clarify that.

  • What is your key message?
  • What is it you want to say?
  • Who do you expect to read it?
  • And why will they want to read it?

The answers to these questions will help give you clarity on what you are aiming to achieve. These also act as reminders you can come back to during your writing time. They can help keep you on track and motivated.

Once you have your central message, you should then list out the key points. Each of those key points is likely to have 3 to 5 sub-points for clarification. List these as well.

Voila! You now have a book outline. This is your start. Each of the above points becomes a chapter heading.

Think up a couple of sexy-sounding titles. You’ll come back to these several times over, others will come to mind and you’ll re-evaluate them. Your title is a critical part of enticing readers to read.

Moreover, it gives your project substance. It makes the whole thing a bit more real. Something to get your juices flowing. Helps you see the finished product.

Things to do along the way

Next is to get at it. Just write – don’t worry about perfection – get the ideas down

Start writing and then keep writing. If you prefer you can dictate, using the key and sub points you have listed. Whichever suits your style.

Getting the words down is the first part. Tidying them up comes later.

All the while, stay focussed on your goal. Using reinforcements and affirmations is a big help.

The most important thing is to just keep at it.


Doing it solo is tough. But you don’t have to go alone – help is there when you need it. The more encouragement you can get from family and friends the better. Every bit helps. Having a structured approach removes much of the stress.

I have no hesitation in recommending Brian Tracy to provide you with guidance through this project. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, he’s a world leader in the field of motivation and self-development.

He is the top-selling author of over 50 books, translated into dozens of languages. Brian has also written and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs. These include the worldwide, best-selling Psychology of Achievement. As a keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year.

Brian has produced many guides and supporting materials that will help to get you started and keep you on track. I recommend you start with his FREE “20 Step Quick Start Guide”, and the FREE “Take the Quiz – Should You Write a Book?”

There is also a FREE Training webinar, you can access here.

Look at these materials first. Or you can get his “How to Write a Book” for the cost of a week or so’s coffee.

Once committed, I suggest his larger program – “Writing and Publishing Starter Kit”. This is the ultimate book to show me how to write a book. It’s very comprehensive and will guide you all the way through. In it, you will find everything you need to know to write and publish a book, based on your experience, knowledge, and expertise.

Fantastic Business Opportunities During Recession Will Make You Rich


Any recession brings with it heartache and misery, we’ve been through it many times before. But for those with foresight, strong management discipline, and dare I say, “balls”, there are always business opportunities during a recession that can provide decades of wealth to follow.

The smart prosper and get rich in times of recession. The money may not turn up for a few years, but it is an incredible opportunity to build the foundations of future wealth.

OK, so this seems to be going in the face of all the doom and gloom that is common, but isn’t that just the point?  If you do the same thing as everyone else, you’ll get the same results as everyone else.

“Fortunes are lost in the boom and made in the bust” JP Morgan

If you want to break above the pack – you need to be brave, adventurous, opportunistic, and disciplined. Keep the long term in sight and don’t be blind-sided by short-term problems – even if they do appear to be very deep and likely to be prolonged.

Here are some guiding thoughts to keep you focussed and positive.

The Fan is Now Covered in the Proverbial

Well, as of early March it’s officially here – pandemic and pandemonium! It is inevitable that the world will now experience a recession – possibly a really bad one.

The only question now is how deep and how long?

Naturally, you’re concerned about staying at home for extended periods of self-isolation with the associated social impacts. That’s taking up most of the press and social media space these days.

But what about my business you ask? Can I survive? How will we cope? Will we get to the bridge to the other side? Or even if we make it to the bridge, will be able to cross?

The reality is that not everyone will. Large numbers of businesses will go bust and never reappear. Whole industries will be devastated. These are irrefutable facts.

But if you have a strong business, and are prepared, this is an incredible opportunity. If you keep the long game in sight, there are fantastic opportunities that will make you rich. This can provide the foundation for decades of future wealth.

Fundamental Recessionary Truths

Firstly, we need to get your eyes out of your ar**, and out of the sand and get focussed on the opportunity.

Let’s look first at what we know from previous downturns and recessions. Yes, we’ve been there before, so looking backward helps to give us some much-needed perspective.

The weakest businesses will inevitably go broke, and business failures will then move up the chain to the stronger.

But why do they go broke?

The first impact of recessionary times is that spending dries up. When the media is full of bad news, it is natural for people to panic and start developing a siege mentality. Note the hoarding of essential supplies like toilet paper and canned food.

Cash is guarded and simply doesn’t move through the economy anymore.

It’s normal in recessionary times for unemployment and insolvency to increase faster than the drop in demand!

Cash flow is the number one cause of business failures. It begins to look very different as payments are delayed and collections slow. Cash flow cycles can double, and firms with weaker margins struggle to maintain their finances and eventually go broke.

For every firm that goes under, its customer base is forced to find a new supplier. So the survivors get more business!

But this is not an evenly spread reallocation! Some do not have the strength to seize the opportunity.

At the deepest part of the recession, you find many firms that are treading water, they are like rabbits in the spotlight – they give up and just wait for the inevitable, or limp through to the other end.

If 20% of the weakest competitors have gone broke, the remaining 80% that are left now have more work than they had at the start in the good times before the recession, and are ready to benefit from the recovery.

The panic subsides; the talking heads wake up and the now record profits being earned by the survivors begin the start of the next boom.

Industry Lessons From the Past

Whether caused by an epidemic, pandemic, or financial crisis, only one recession in modern recorded history has lasted long. The Great Depression lasted several years, but almost every other recession in the developed world was over within 6-9 months.

The global effort being thrown at COVID-19 is phenomenal – from trillions of funding support for business, employees, infrastructure and the like. As well as the concerted effort of the world’s pharmaceutical companies to find a vaccine and improved testing regimes.

When we come out, it is likely to be with a bang, but also most likely in a two-speed economy, as we recover from the psychological shock of the pandemic.

Wealth Building Secrets

There are four ways in which stronger companies in each industry can gain during a recession:

  1. Increased market share gained by picking up sales from weaker competitors that no longer exist;
  2. Increased margins as with fewer competitors, customers, and clients have fewer options.  This is even more valuable than increased sales;
  3. Ability to recruit the best personnel – top quality staff that had been working for weaker competitors. This is an opportunity to build knowledge and skill base at a rapid rate; and
  4. Acquisition of weaker competitors at bargain prices – giving a jump-start on customers, capacity, supply lines, and market reach.

Cash is King

Cash is important for two reasons. To protect your business, and to be in the best position to take advantage of the business opportunities that present themselves during a recession.

Manage your cash. Make sure you owe little or no bank debt and that you treat cash as more precious than your competitors. Wherever possible, reduce or eliminate your debt.

Replace fixed costs with variable costs to give better pricing and margin flexibility.

Reign in your Accounts Receivable – don’t be slack in collecting debts. Remember credit is a privilege, not a right. It might be too late in the cycle by now, but try to maintain a war chest – have funds available to take advantage of opportunities as they arise – liquidation auctions for equipment as an example.

This will immediately elevate you up the chain of strength in your industry and put your competitors at more risk.

As you experience an increase in demand following competitor failures, it will mean increased spending on raw materials, funding accounts receivables, and the like. Get good at forecasting or the expansion might overwhelm you.

Expand your borrowing capacity with a line of credit. Generally, you want to reduce your gearing (debt to equity), but having access to cash gives you the ability to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. And they will!

Decisive Action Steps

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There are several business opportunities for growth during a recession. We have touched on some of them. Here is a list of specific actions you can take to become a stronger player in your industry.

Build on Your Advantages

Continually develop and maintain your competitive advantage. Understand why customers select you and reinforce these strengths, highlight them against weaker competitors. During a recession, people revert back to basics. If you have the best solution for their problem, need or want, then they should increase their visitation to you at the expense of others.

Target Weaker Competitors

Watch to see which competitors are struggling and actively target their customers. Help to drive them out, so you can take over their customers, or make an offer to acquire the business at a bargain-basement price.

Actively seek to greedily take advantage of your competitors in a downturn in your sector.

Get the Best People

As your weaker competitors struggle, start poaching their best people with promises of better job security (and/or conditions).

Also, improve your benefits and pay structure to keep your current employees happy even when other companies aren’t doing as well

Acquire Suitable Competitors

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Look for opportunities to buy out your weaker competitors once you identify any prospects worth buying, rather than simply leaving them to close down and stop competing.

This will give you a larger customer base, increased economies in purchasing, advertising and marketing, administration and overhead, production capacity, and so on.

The Return on Investment from such acquisitions can be terrific, especially at a time of such low interest rates. This is one of the best strategies for business growth opportunities during a recession.

Increase Margins

Lastly, use the reduced competition that comes with a recession to increase your margins so that your business becomes increasingly stronger as the recession continues.

If you have successfully built and defended your competitive advantage, use it to increase margins: only this will ensure you’re the strongest player in your industry. 

Diversify your Customer Base

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Market downturns are a good time to expand your market spread. Increase your market share and broaden your focus to include existing and new customers that will be strong during a recession.

Be strategic and make the short-term investments required to attract them, which may include volume or length of contract-based discounts or specific promotions. Get creative.  

Maintain a Winning Psychology

Be brave. Develop a positive, winning attitude rather than being caught up in the doom and gloom that pervades society and business circles in these times.

Be opportunistic and keep an eye open for possibilities. Look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime chance – the business opportunities during a recession can be leveraged to build long term wealth creation. Wealth that will last for decades.

Reposted with permission from – original article by David Shelton

How to Deal With Life Problems

They say the makings of a great movie will make you laugh, cry and feel in love all at once. Psychologists call that blended emotional events. It occurs when you feel a plethora of emotions within a short amount of time.

While those emotions make for a cinematic masterpiece, dealing with fleeting emotions on a regular basis can be overwhelming. Especially when you don’t have positive ways to manage them. Learning how to deal with life problems is not that hard though.

Many individuals who face drug and alcohol addiction blame their state on not being able to cope with their problems. Instead of releasing their frustrations in positive ways, they felt engaging in those activities would help solve their issues. Unfortunately, millions of individuals lose their lives due to these unwise coping strategies.

Other negative coping strategies aren’t as evasive. Some may include passive-aggressiveness, laziness or avoidance. Individuals who don’t know how to express themselves may find it difficult making lasting relationships with others. This makes for a lonely existence that could result in anxiety and depression.

Repressing your emotions, whether good or bad, comes with inner challenges. Often times, this can impact your daily routine. Instead of allowing your emotions to overwhelm you it’s wise to develop positive coping strategies that’ll help you endure. This will help you avoid potentially dangerous activities that could put you or others in danger.

If you find yourself dealing with problems and you need constructive ways to manage them, consider these five tips that’ll help you effectively deal with your biggest challenges.

1. Talk to a Trusted Friend

Sometimes, the best therapy is releasing your emotions through communication. A good friend, with your best interests at heart, can be the rock you need during harsh times. Confide in someone you trust to alleviate stress and receive suggestions. Sometimes, others have experienced the same trials and can offer reliable information that can help you.

2. Get a Hobby

There’s nothing more satisfying than creating something new in the face of challenges. If you’re experiencing problems, it’s wise to spend your time doing something productive. This gives you a sense of purpose without dwelling on your issues. Such hobbies include art, sports or cooking. Sometimes the act of engaging in an activity is therapy in itself.

3. Seek Professional Help

Sometimes certain problems are so overwhelming, they need the guidance of a trained professional. Never be afraid to seek help for your toughest challenges. A trained counselor or therapist will never judge or reveal what you share with them. They’ll be able to offer constructive advice that you can implement into your daily life.

4. Meditate

Although it may seem counterproductive to do nothing in the face of distress, often times this gives you the clarity you need. Meditation encourages you to allow thoughts and emotions to come without judgment.

This gives you a clear mindset to effectively deal with challenges. After your mind is clear, you’re able to take control of your problem and develop a positive solution. Some also find journaling after meditation to be a great way to develop positive coping strategies and solutions.

5. Exercise

Engaging in regular exercise is scientifically proven to release problem solving endorphins. You’re releasing energy that would ordinarily be used worrying and converting it into something productive.

If you’re dealing with minor to major issues, consider increasing your exercise routine to provide your mind with some much-needed clarity.

We’ll all face mild to severe problems at one point or another. Instead of turning to destructive coping strategies, it’s wise to engage in something positive. This will help you effectively deal with your problems in a constructive manner.

20 Tips on What is the Key to a Successful Business?

In this post we provide an insight into what the key to a successful business is. We cover a number of tips for achieving success in business.

It doesn’t matter whether you own a business, want to own a business, or play an important managerial role, there are certain traits and habits that you can adopt that will determine whether or not you can be successful in the long term.

The tips I am giving here are more about state of mind and attitude than business financials. It would be easy to include the importance of cash flow, managing stock levels, constraining costs and return on assets etc. but this is not the purpose of this post.

The tips have been grouped are grouped into 4 categories – which we think are the most important personal considerations:

  1. Expectations;
  2. Customers & competition;
  3. Activity Focus;
  4. Getting the Most From Your People

1.      Expectations

This section is about how you expect to achieve success. One of the keys to a successful business is the fact of perseverance and the ability to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

#1 – Create Opportunities—Don’t Wait for Them

Many people who have not achieved success in business are under the impression that opportunities arrive passively. All they have to do is wait for one to show up on the front door; and then grab it. But, in fact, successful business owners and managers know that opportunities are usually created, not stumbled over. So make an effort to create opportunities in your daily work.

Keep your radar tuned to possibilities. If you’re not looking out, you might miss out.

#2 – Don’t Hang Your Hat on Delusional Visions of Overnight Success

While it can be comforting to dream big about your future, having delusions about your success is purely detrimental. It will cause you to set unreasonable goals and attempt to live up to unrealistic expectations.

One of my favorite stories is that of Picasso when he was asked for an autograph. His reply went something along the lines of – “Yes, butt that will be $50,000.” The autograph hunter was astonished – “But it will only take 5 seconds”, to which Picasso replied – “No, it took over 50 years.”

The Beatles “overnight” success came after several years playing 3 sets a day, 7 days a week at a club in Hamburg. Success takes time, be patient.

#3 – Be Persistent

In business, as in many other fields, one of the main keys to success is persistence.

Persistence will determine whether you push ahead or give up altogether. And persistence will determine whether you eventually break through as a leader in your field; or whether you allow everyone else to walk over you to get to the top.

2.      Customers & Competition

#4 – Create a Product that People Actually Want to Buy

One thing you don’t hear often from successful people is how they swindled a bunch of people into buying a low-quality product for a high-price. To the contrary, they will usually regale you with stories of how they beat competitors by offering a lower price or a better product.

Providing your customers with the best value is one of the most effective business strategies you can adopt. It works brilliantly when times are tough – as you’ll outlast your lower value competitors.

#5 – Differentiate Yourself from Competitors

Whether you are competing for a promotion at work or competing with another business, differentiating yourself from your competitors is usually a good idea. Now, if you’re friends with the competition, then this is a more delicate task.

However, your goal should always be to spell out to either your boss or your customers (whichever case is the relevant one) that you have certain qualities that are desirable. This will often be sufficient, even without saying anything additional about other businesses or your co-workers.

#6 – Keep Your Customers’ Best Interests at Mind

Following the general theme of the previous tips, keeping your customers’ best interests in mind is vital. It will not only keep you focused on creating products that they’ll appreciate and use, but it will also keep you satisfied with your job.

#7 – Find Out Which Forms of Advertising Generate Revenue—And Which Do Not

In business, marketing can do a lot to transform your business. It can expand the audience for your product, persuade the existing audience, or it can provide no benefits at all while incurring massive costs.

One of the fathers of modern marketing – David Ogilvie, once said “We know that half of our advertising doesn’t work – we just don’t know which half.”

Those who are successful in business pay attention to their advertising, so they can determine which forms are beneficial and which forms should be discontinued. A more effective campaign is better than a larger one.

3.      Activity Focus

#8 – Stop Doing Things that Don’t Work

From time to time, you will determine that things don’t work—or at least they don’t work as well as they should. When this happens, you can take one of two paths. The first path ignores the problem and hopes that things get better. And the second puts an end to it by modifying your approach or discontinuing to do the thing that isn’t working. If you want to be successful, you will learn to have the courage to do the latter.

#9 – Take Action Immediately

Thoughts and actions are two very different things. And this is something the successful know very well. They know that coming up with a good idea is completely useless if you cannot implement it—or cannot give it to someone who can. So get in the habit of not only thinking of new things, but of taking action swiftly.

#10 – Create Networks with Other Business Owners

Another important part of success in business is networking with other managers and business owners. Find out how they run their businesses; and see whether you can learn from them or work with them in some complementary fashion.

It’s lonely at the top, and having other heads to consult with outside your own business is invaluable. As well as networking with other business owners, the establishment of Advisory Boards is becoming more popular.

#11 – Always Improve Your Business Processes

Along with being a continuous learner, you should try to be a continuous improver, too. Wherever your business is lacking, make it better. And wherever you see room for improvement, make an improvement.

No matter how efficient you think your business is managed, there are almost always opportunities for improvement. It’s just a matter of finding these opportunities and exploiting them to streamline how your business functions.

In business, efficiency is prized. It’s not enough to simply do something well, you must also do it well and fast. Successful people do this; and you should, too.

#12 – Keep Things Simple

Simplicity is often underrated. In fact, many business owners are prone to believing that if something is simple, then it cannot be true. After all, the world is a complex place, so it cannot be the case that a solution to a problem in business can be simple.

In fact, many of the more successful innovations in business are simple. So, think twice before you taking things up a notch in terms of complexity. Instead, think about using solutions that are simple, elegant, communicable, and likely to work.

4.        Getting the Most From Your People

#13 – Take Control of Your Role in the Business

When it comes to business, staying in control means a lot. It means that you not only prevent other businesses from dictating an agenda for you, but it also means that you firmly seize control of your own density. If you want to be successful, then you must be willing to take control.

#14 – Delegate Tasks to Others

If you ever want to match the success of some of your heroes, you will need to learn how to delegate tasks to others. Often, the most important trait that makes people successful is that they are willing and able to break down and a large task; and efficiently and intelligently allocate its pieces to employees.

#15 – Do Not Ask too Much of Your Employees

You might be tempted to squeeze every last cent out of your employees, but instead consider what the successful often do: they try to keep costs low, but at the same time, when they need talent, they pay for it. Keep this in mind when hiring and when giving raises.

#16 – Do Not Compete with Your Staff; Help Them and Learn How They Can Help You

Being successful means being secure. And being secure means that you don’t feel the need to compete with your co-workers, but instead focus on competing with other businesses.

Seek to inspire confidence in those around you. Rather than tearing down your fellow co-workers, make every attempt possible to build them up. Having a confident staff around you will multiply the returns you reap from your own efforts.

#17 – Facilitate Discussion

Another important trait of business leaders who are successful is their ability to facilitate discussion. Not only do they have good ideas themselves, but also they find ways to tease good ideas out of otherwise quiet co-workers.

Thick skin is a valuable asset in business. It means not only having the ability to listen to and assimilate praise, but also to brush off direct insults and valuable, but critical comments. If you want to be successful in business, you must have thick skin and you must always ask for comments—be they good or bad.

#18 – Avoid Getting Irrationally Defensive

Becoming defensive is a natural response to getting cornered. Instead of opening up to criticism and assimilating suggestions, we start shooting down any comment directed at us, be it useful or not. If you want to be successful in business, you must learn to resist the urge to become defensive.

#19 – Do Not Allow Your Personal Life to Interfere with Your Business Life

No matter what is going in on your personal life, remember to keep work at work and home life at home. Don’t allow a stressful situation with a friend or a relative spill over into your work and prevent you from being effective.

#20 – Do Not Make Questionable Decisions that Will Prevent You From Sleeping at Night

In business, opportunities abound to make questionable decisions from which you can profit. This might involve lying about your product or tricking your co – workers. In general, successful people know not to go this route, but instead to focus on making money legitimately and in a way that doesn’t harm or trick others.

These 20 Tips on What is the Key to a Successful Business are really not much more than short notes to get you thinking along the right lines. Any one of these tips can be expanded. into whole topics. We recommend continual learning and reading to build your skills and competencies. Remember, this is not a short sprint – you are in business for the long haul. You are building your future.

Brian Tracy’s Business Package – How You Can Start, Build, Manage or Turnaround Any Business.

How to Find Joy in Hard Times

There’s no question that we are living through some of the hardest of times. Is it possible to find joy in hard times? Yes it is, and we will.

As sure as the sun rises and sets each day, you will have periods in your life when things are just not going your way. In reality, life is basically a constant fluctuation of emotional highs and lows.

While most of our time is spent in the fairly even, mundane state of emotional normalcy, this is broken up by the peaks of the best of times and unfortunately, the valleys when nothing is going right.

While hardly anyone ever seeks information on how to deal with the best moments of their lives, handling the lows can be a difficult task. Today we live in very troubled times, a pandemic has taken over most of the world, and people are being affected in many profound and very real ways.

Everything that surrounds getting through this pandemic is based in suffering and pain, its just the nature of the beast. Death, isolation, fear, facing the unknown and grief and loss can strip of us our joy and may lead to depression.

While you cannot control what happens outside your door, you CAN control yourself. There are things you can do to maintain a positive and even joyful mindset.

In this discussion, we are going to talk about three tips for doing just that.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

It is often said that we are the sum total of the five people we surround ourselves with most often. If that is the case, making sure you get the right people around you, especially when going through a difficult period, is critical to hold on to your joy. Often times when life is really beating us up, we retreat into the solitude of our home, wanting to throw the covers of our heads and be left alone with our thoughts.

Make no mistake; sometimes periods of solitude are healthy and necessary. Right now, isolation is the norm as we fight a health crisis. However, when you find yourself in a really low spot, robbed of your joy, connecting with those who make you happy is mandatory.

Although it may seem obvious in concept, avoiding people who have the opposite effect can sometimes be the real battle. Negative individuals are especially important to keep out of your life when you are already struggling to find joy in your current situation.

You can stay connected during Shelter In Place orders, when you are isolating at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Technology has seen to that.

  • Face Time on iPhones and Video calls on Android
  • Skype
  • A simple phone call
  • Email
  • Text
  • Zoom and other video conferencing software can bring together friends and family while staying safe and following health official’s orders.
  • Good old-fashioned letter writing

Remember That Nothing Is Permanent


Nothing in life is permanent. Fortunately, nothing in life is permanent! Let’s state that again, this will pass.

During periods of extreme happiness and joy, thinking about the temporary nature of each season in life is not something we like to dwell on.

On the contrary, keeping this truth in mind during the low times can be very beneficial. Whatever you are going through, no matter how bad it may be, it WILL pass.

In fact, most of the difficult times you experience in life will end without any extra effort on your part. It is so easy to get into the mentality that we have to put forth an immense amount of effort to make something bad go away.

Even though this is sometimes the case, most of the time, TIME is the only remedy for tough situations. If you want to maximize your joy during difficult times, remember that your situation is not the way things are, only the way they are RIGHT NOW.

Base Your Happiness On Yourself

Since we have discussed how life is divided into highs and lows and the fact that nothing will lasts forever, this leads to another thing to keep in mind during the best AND the worst periods.

If you want to have joy on a consistent basis, your joy absolutely cannot be dictated by your circumstances.

If you let every good thing that happens to you leave you soaring on cloud nine and every negative situation send you crashing to earth, you will go through life in a state of emotional exhaustion! Stable, consistent, sustainable joy can only be created and found within yourself.

Life is far less about what happens to you than it is how you react to it. You are in charge of how you feel. Don’t fall into the routine of letting happiness get to your head and failure to your heart.

5 Good Habits For Health That You Need Right Now

If you’re going to be (and stay) healthy, you need to develop some good habits. And when it comes to your health, it’s best not to put it off till tomorrow. These are habits that you need right now.

Lifestyle issues are often the cause of many chronic diseases. We all know about the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Yet we tend to not exercise as much as we should. Too frequently we let convenience get in our way, becoming overweight and eating unhealthy foods that lead to things like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes.

The problem with lifestyle issues is that they are difficult to turn around. You need to develop new habits, and this is better done slowly, one step at a time. If you try changing your lifestyle all at once, you’re going to find it very tough. When people try to do this – even with the very best of intentions – they find so hard that the result is frequently a return to their old ways.

If you set the bar too high, or the task you have set yourself can’t be managed, it’s more than likely that after a few weeks, or months, you become overwhelmed. You stop exercising and go back to eating processed foods and junk foods. Failures like this make it even harder next time you want to try to rid yourself of those negative health habits that have been dogging you for years.

This is why it is better to change your health habits one habit at a time so that you don’t become overwhelmed and stop trying to be healthy altogether. 

Most weight loss programs work if they are done carefully and don’t deprive the individual too much. The same is true of exercise programs. If you choose an exercise that you really enjoy or increase your physical activity more gradually, you can usually stick to the program so that you don’t become discouraged and quit exercising altogether.

The trick to health living is to begin gradually. Don’t try any trendy diet or fitness fad. If you try these things with gusto, you are likely to become overwhelmed and respond negatively. When that happens you’ll start finding excuses to not stick with the programs. 

5 Good Habits for Health

There are a few simple things you can do to live a happier and healthier life. Think of these as tweaks to your current routine – rather than all-of-life changes. It will be easy to turn these little adjustments into lifetime habits for good health.

See how easy it is to start with just these 5 changes.

1. Eat at least one healthy meal a day

Even if you do eat processed foods most of the time, making a change to include just one healthy meal each day will pay big dividends. You body will flourish from the good nutrition and healthy proteins you are giving it.

So what do we mean by healthy meals? They should consist of mainly fruits and vegetables, supplemented with whole grain products, and lean meats.

It doesn’t matter how much you eat because, when the food is healthy for you, it won’t usually contain a lot of calories. This in turn means that it won’t cause weight gain – as happens with junk foods or highly processed foods. Even so, you should still try to watch your portion sizes.

2. Drink a glass of water before each meal

Water is perhaps the best liquid you can drink, and many recommend drinking up to 8 glasses a day. This not only helps your cells to regenerate, it also helps to stop you getting hungry.

This is like a little trick to play on your stomach. When you drink a glass of water before meals, (an 8-ounce glass is enough), you will feel fuller before eating. Your stomach feels full, so send out signals that says you don’t need to eat much more. The result? You won’t eat as much at the meal that follows a drink of water.

3. Be active during your lunch break

There are many reasons to use your lunch break positively. Even if you are only given a half-hour to eat, it usually doesn’t take that long to eat your meals. Try eating your meals and then take some time to exercise.

You don’t have to work out excessively but you should be able to take a brisk walk. Not only will this energize you but also it will help burn off the calories you just ate and will aid in the digestive process.

It really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do as long as you choose something reasonable that will help you feel better after eating your lunch. Exercising during lunch also helps decrease the stress of your job and will make the rest of your day go easier.

4. Try a meal replacement bar

Many of us are in the habit of snacking through the day. It might be to keep your energy up and help you stay focussed on your job, or it might be for some other reason. If this is you, try this out. Keep some healthy protein bars handy, and use them to snack on instead of junk foods.

Most meal replacement bars contain a lot of good nutrition and fiber. They are also not as calorie-rich as you would think. They help stave off hunger pangs that are so typical of the midafternoon time.

Keep a stash of these protein bars in your desk at work or in your purse or brief case so you can grab one whenever you feel hungry. It will keep you from going to the vending machines and eating poor food choices. Try eating a meal replacement bar that is high in fiber and that has at least 10 to 15 grams of protein per bar.

5. Exercise regularly

All exercise is good for you. The trick is to turn it into a regular habit. Whatever you do – walking, running, swimming, work-out at the gym – make it a regular activity. This means scheduling. Buddying up with a partner is a great trick. It stops you putting it off of two or more of you are there.

If you have a gym membership, try going there at least 3-4 times per week. Choose an activity you enjoy and make the most of it for at least a half hour per session. This will help energize you, may build muscle mass, and will help you lose weight by burning off excess calories.

20 Tips on How to Be Financially Independent

Financial independence gives you the key to a fuller and more satisfying life. It can have different meanings at different stages of life. For instance, as a young person leaving home, it is about having sufficient income to support yourself away from the protective cocoon your parents had provided. Later on, it might mean the ability to take out a mortgage and buy a house. In later years it is about having sufficient income to live on after you have stopped working.

At any age, we think of it as having sufficient income to cover your living expenses without worry. Being financial independent implies income, but it really means building an asset base from which to derive your income, and not be dependant on your job.

There are 5 steps to financial independence:

  1. Goal setting and planning – knowing where you want to get to;
  2. Budgeting and daily spending discipline – spending less than you earn and having investment funds available;
  3. Knowledge and understanding of risk – considering different forms of investments and their associated risks;
  4. Tax Strategies; and
  5. Investment Portfolio.

1.   Goal Setting and Planning

#1 – Think Long Term, Set Longer Term Financial Goals

Don’t just dream about your finances getting better. Set longer term financial goals and commit yourself to accomplishing them. Financial goals won’t be realised in the short term – they take persistence and time.

An example of a suitable longer-term financial goal is how much passive income you need to cover your living costs at retirement. Passive income is income derived from investments, not from your job. When you stop working – be it at age 70 or age 40, this is what you will live off. Exclude pensions and government support – the objective is to be financially independent, so you can live the life you want to lead.

#2 – Translate Longer Term Financial Goals into Specific Objectives

A more detailed example might be a desired income of $50,000 per annum, enough to cover a comfortable lifestyle. This is the basis of a simple equation – divide the income wanted by the percentage return expected from your investment assets.

If we assume a low risk return on assets of 4%, this means you need to accumulate $1.25m of income producing assets (i.e. $50,000/0.04).

If we assume a higher income goal of $200,000 and a higher level of return of 6% (higher risk), the asset goal becomes $3.33m.

Your goal should include desired income, target assets and return and of course a time span – 5, 20 or 50 years.

The retirement income formula is quite straightforward and has 4 components:

  • Your desired income – e.g. $50,000 a year, $200,000 a year etc. The amount will depend on your lifestyle and your regular spending commitments such as mortgage, car repayments etc.
  • Income producing Investment assets – non-income producing assets such as artwork, bullion, classic cars end the like don’t count, as you would have to sell them to generate any income (although they can provide a type of insurance buffer).
  • The return you earn on your income producing assets – e.g. many treasury bonds today is in negative territory – i.e. they earn -1%. Term Deposits may return 2 or 3%, equities may be in the range of 3-5%, commercial property 6% and so on.
  • Your tax liabilities – unfortunately income has a habit of being taxed, so you need to be thinking about your after-tax return. This is where it can get much more complicated, but we’ll leave that complexity for now.

The simple equation to remember is that – the lower your desired income, the fewer assets you need to cover it, and the lower return (lower risk) needed from them.

The more you can pay off things like your housing mortgage, cars, household equipment and the like, the easier the task becomes.

#3 – Accumulate Income Producing Assets

The goal of financial independence is having sufficient income to live the life you wish to live. Longer term this will mean passive income. To generate passive income, you need to have income-producing assets. Your plan should be about how to acquire these. The first rule is to reduce your spending to below your income, so you have some left over to begin accumulating income producing assets.

#4 – Keep Track of Your Progress in a Spreadsheet

Instead of hoping that your finances will work themselves out, stay on top of your financial future by keeping track of everything in a spreadsheet. This is often the difference between success and failure in personal finance.

Your goals will alter over time – as you become more successful, your lifestyle is likely to change (and become more expensive). It is useful to keep track of these changes and continually update.

There are a number of useful metrics we recommend:

  • Current passive income level
  • How many years can you live on that without reducing capital?
  • How many years left at current income before you reach your goal?
  • What if analysis – e.g.:
    • How many years if current income (or available income) increased by 10%, 20%?
    • How many years if desired income reduced by 10%, 20%?
    • And so on.

These, and similar metrics have the advantage of getting you focussed on your goals and your future, together with your current investment strategy.

#5 – Keep the Big Picture in Mind, But Stay Focused on the Short-Term Process

The big picture is important. It tells you where you are and where you’re going. However, in some situations, it can distract you from the task at hand. If you want to attain true success, then you have to know how to stay focused and effective on short-term problems, while also working within the greater framework of the big picture.

Short term issues you want to stay focussed on is how to increase your available income, reinvestment of current passive income, how to what returns you are getting from your assets and the like.

#6 – Understand the Miracle of Compound Interest

Start saving early. Investing $10,000 at age 30 will yield you much more in retirement than $10,000 invested at age 50. This is because you earn interest on both the capital amount AND on the interest you have previouslyy earned.

$10,000 at an annual interest of 5% reinvested, becomes $15, 513 in ten years (an increase in value of 55%). But in twenty years it becomes $25,270 (an increase of 153%). In forty years it becomes $67,048 (an increase of 570%).

At an annual interest rate of 6% – that $10,000 becomes worth $97,035 in forty years time!

2.   Budgeting and Daily Spending Discipline

#7 – Spend Less Than You Earn

Continually revise your cost of living and make efforts to cut your expenses. For instance that daily cup of coffee on the way to work – might give you $15 a week to invest (assuming 5 x $3 – I know this varies from place to place). That’s $780 a year! Doesn’t sound like much – but these little things all add up.

If your expenses are too high, then cut them. Move into a cheaper apartment. Buy bargains at the grocery store. Use coupons. Cut back on entertainment expenses.

When you’re poor, thriftiness is a virtue. If you’ve fallen on hard times, you would be wise to be thrifty, rather than delusional about the state of your finances.

If you’re currently over-budget, consider cutting your expenses by 10%. Even if it seems hard to do initially, figure it out and do it.

#8– Get in the Practice of Creating and Following Budgets

Budgets can play an important role in stabilizing financial outcomes. If you currently have no budget, you should start making one on a weekly basis. Try to keep your expenses and income flows under control, so you don’t get behind on payments.

Don’t waste money on expensive toys. Keep frivolous expenditure to a set proportion.

But don’t forget to live your life. One early boss of mine put aside a 10% fun factor into every project quote we did. This is a useful dictum for everyday budgeting as well.

As a general rule, we think that aiming for a regular investment fund equal to 10% of your net income is an appropriate level for longer term asset accumulation, and should be manageable for most people.

Obviously, the more the better. It also depends on your stage of life and the assets you have previously accumulated.

#9 – Pay Down Debts

Your first priority should be to pay down debt. It cannot be emphasized enough: unless you are young and are planning to get a number of very large raises in your lifetime (or are temporarily ill), then you shouldn’t be accumulating debt. You should be paying it down and saving for retirement. Successful people know and practice this.

#10 – Pay Your Bills on Time

When you miss a bill, you get charged fees. So, instead of paying your bills on the last day, pay them first. If you have money left over, then use it for other purposes, but don’t do so until you have paid the bills.

#11– Manage Your Credit Cards

Try to keep your credit card balances under 30% of the total allowable limit. If there is some emergency, you will have a backup reserve of credit that you can use to get through it.

If you can, pay your credit card balances in full each time. This will prevent you from ever paying interest on the debt you are servicing. Try moving from a credit card to a debit card – it’s a much better piece of plastic to be using, and will stop you from accumulting expensive credit card debt.

#12 – Shop Around for Major Cost Items Like Mortgages, Insurance

When it comes to car insurance, there’s a good chance that you might not be using the best place. Instead of being complacent and sticking with your current plan, consider shopping around to find a better one.

Another thing that people who are successful in personal finance generally do is shop around for a mortgage. Instead of simply taking the first that they are offered at the first bank they go to, they test the waters with a number of different companies to try to get a lower interest rate.

Visit a mortgage broker. Even if you ultimately do not use one of the companies she suggests, you can get a feel for what is out there in terms of payment sizes, interest rates, and other important features.

In addition to shopping around with different banks, you will also want to shop around for different mortgage product types. For instance, if the size of the mortgage payment will be high relative to your monthly income, then you may want to consider looking for a fixed rate.

3.   Understanding Risk

#13 – Avoid Putting Yourself in a Precarious Financial Situation

The successful know that some risk is unavoidable, but where it is avoidable, it should be deal with intelligently. If you are constantly putting yourself in precarious financial situations, it may be time to rethink your finances and your approach to money.

How long it takes to recover lost, money – i.e. – lose 10% of $10,000 = $1,000 loss. Capital base is reduced to $9,000. To return to $10,000 you need to make a return of 11.1%.

If the loss was 20%, you need to make a return of 25% to recover. Always look to protect your capital.

#14 – Avoid Unnecessarily Risky Investments

Instead of picking stocks, put your money into a mix of high-yield and low-yield bonds. Or into a fund that is well diversified and offers a reasonable, but low-risk return.

Instead of putting money into individual stocks, put your money into index funds. Successful investors know that, over time, you cannot consistently beat the market without taking on a significant amount of risk in the process.

#15 – Seek the Help of a Financial Advisor

When you first start to invest, seek out the help of a financial advisor. The successful know that it is not possible to know everything; and that getting the advice of a professional is always a good place to start.

4.   Tax Strategies

#16 – Seek Professional Financial Advice

Dependant on your level of income and investments, it is likely that at some stage alternative investment structures will give you better tax treatment. Tax is like any other expense, where it can be reduced (legally) you should do so. This can become very complex and will vary country by country, state by state and even by county or town.

5.   Investment Portfolio

#17 – Don’t Buy a Big House if You Cannot Afford It

Locking yourself into a big mortgage payment is a very bad idea—especially if you have a shaky income. Instead of risking the possibility that might not be able to make the payments, settle for a smaller house or an apartment until you have financial capacity to make the payments on time.

#18 – Buy Quality Assets That Have Longevity and Look to Accumulate Rather Than Trade

Property transaction costs are usually quite high (as much as 10%), and they can have a deleterious impact on the accumulation of wealth. Adopt a long-term investment horizon. Don’t waste money on transaction costs which will delete your capital base.

#19 – Negotiate Selling Prices on Large Purchases

One stark distinction between the successful and the unsuccessful is that the successful are always willing to bargain. Even if it means that they’ll have a much less pleasant buying experience, they’ll spend hours haggling if it means they can cut hundreds or thousands off of the price tag.

#20 – Build a Diversified Portfolio of Assets

A diversified portfolio spreads overall risk, and leaves you less exposed. As a general rule, stocks and equities should be traded for capital gain, properties held for longer-term income (commercial is better for this that residential, but again a mix is recommended), bonds used to provide lower returns but with capital security, but many now have a negative return.

To Sum Up

If you wish to be financially independent, it will take some work. It’s a long game, not a short sprint. in any long game, discipline is a skill (habit) that pays off bigtime. We recommend Brian Tracy’s course if you need some help here.

The Miracle of Self-Discipline - 8 CD Set Plus CD workbook - Brian Tracy (Compact Disc)

Are You A Team Leader? – Do You See Their Potential?

How Do You See Your Team’s Potential?

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This is a guest post from Tom Lawrence at who publishes interesting and useful material on influence, leadership and personal growth.

If you treat a person as if they were already what they strive to, or potentially they could be, then they will become that person. If you treat a person the same as everyone else, then they will not become that person.

In most of the organisations, and the ones I’ve worked with, it was very rare to see the managing director visiting the teams. Or, walking around the different departments, and talking to the staff. The same goes with the other directors, or the heads of departments. I find it strange because people are people.

There should be no barriers because of your position or title. Whenever I led a team, most of them didn’t know what the managing director looked like. Some of them didn’t know his/her name.

I would have preferred for those barriers to be broken down. I think it would have been appreciated to see the directors visiting our offices, or the other departments of the organisation more regularly. By having these barriers or walls, people get very comfortable with just being with their peers and teammates.

It is good to network with other members of the organisation, and build relationships so that you can increase your influence with them. When insecure leaders interact with different leaders or teams, they feel inferior. They see themselves as the boss, so they are supposed to be in charge all the time.

When they interact with other leaders, they start to feel even more insecure.

Highly effective leaders are the opposite. They love to meet new people outside of their team, or department. They love to build relationships, be humble, and connect with people. A highly effective leader would see this as time well spent, interacting with other leaders. They would value those sharing ideas and advice.

They see networking as a massive learning opportunity. They know that whoever they connect with, they will be learning and growing together. When networking, highly effective leaders ask lots of questions, as they love to do.

They also encourage their team members to do the same. They show them how valuable networking is, and how they can learn and grow with more people.

Insecure leaders will not encourage their team to do any networking, or seek out learning opportunities. The reason for that is they are not focussed on them or their potential, so they will not develop their team.

I have discussed book studies in earlier articles, and an insecure leader would never take their team through a book study. If they did, it would be developing their team and unleashing their potential. That is a huge no-no for an insecure leader as it goes against everything the insecure leader believes in.

Highly effective leaders see their team as equals. They are equal to themselves, to the directors of the organisation and the heads of department. So, they are looking for ways to unleash their team’s potential, and opportunities to network with other highly effective leaders.

Insecure leaders focus on themselves and do not develop their team. They are very narrow minded, and when things go well they will credit themselves, when things go badly they will blame their team. Highly effective leaders focus on the team, and want to develop their team.

They are open minded, and when things go well they will credit their team. When things go badly they will accept full responsibility for it. More importantly they are demonstrating to their team that they care about them, and want the best for them.

How do you demonstrate to your team that you care about them and that you want the best for them? What message do you send to them on a daily basis? Do you boost morale or do you decrease it? Do you increase your influence or do you decrease it?

Do you encourage them to work better together as a team? Do you inspire them to become more, do more, and want more?

When you start to apply the principles I am sharing in my articles throughout this site, your behaviours towards your team will change and improve. You will start to show them that you do care for them, and want the best for them. You will do this through how you act, and not what you say.

When you do this, the team will feel a lot more engaged, and encouraged to do and be more. They will feel empowered by you. You as the leader will be a lot more secure and open minded, so any barriers will be broken down.

Trust between you and the team will increase, and they will want to start helping you too. Your influence with them will increase, and they will follow you because they want to, not because they have to.

If you had the choice tomorrow to choose between two different bosses to work with, which one would you choose? Would you choose the boss who didn’t show you that he/she cared for you, didn’t encourage you, and didn’t develop you or empower you?

Or, would you choose the boss who showed you every day that he/she cared for you, wants the best for you, encouraged you to be more, encouraged you to do more, and developed you and empowered you? The choice is obvious.

How does your boss deliberately develop you? Do you feel cared for by your boss and that he/she wants the best for you? How do you feel when you are around and talking to your boss? How are you going to start deliberately developing your team?

How are you going to demonstrate that you care for them, and want the best for them? How do your team feel right now? How are you going to make them feel better?

I talk a lot about growing and developing your team, and by doing that you are showing them that you care and want the best for them. However, there are more ways you can demonstrate to your team that you care. Here are some ways that I have shown the teams I have led that I cared for them, and want the best for them:

  • I asked their opinion on non-work related things.
  • I always tried to find ways to leverage them and be noticed by leaders.
  • I asked each member of the team what their ambitions, goals and dreams were.
  • I gave them work that they could make a success of, that would be noticed by the other leaders.
  • I gave them networking opportunities by introducing them to the leaders of the organisation.
  • I talked to them every day, even if it had nothing to do with the job.
  • I always thanked the team every day for their contributions.

To make your team feel like you care for them is not difficult at all. You just have to want to do it, and not see it as a chore, or that thing that you have to do each day. If you feel like that then you will not sustain it. You really do have to truly care for your team.

The more you do it, the easier it will become, and your relationships will build and build every day. This is another part of your journey of personal growth, and working on yourself EVERY DAY.

If you look at the list above of how I made my team feel cared for, is your boss doing the same, or similar things with you? If they are not, but they started to do those things, how would your relationship feel different? What would change? Would you feel cared for? Would you feel better or worse?

If I asked your team if you did the things on the list above, how would they react? Would they agree that you do all or some of those things? Would they feel cared for if I asked them?

If one of your team members felt that you didn’t care for them, or that they mattered to you, the simple truth is that you don’t care for them, and they don’t matter to you. If that is the case, how are you going to change? Do you even want to change?

If you start to forget about certain team members and focus on the few, then you have forgotten your purpose as a leader.