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How You Train Your Brain to Get What You Really Want

By Author Benjamin P. Hardy

In April of 2015, I got serious about my goal to become a professional writer. I had written an e-book, Slipstream Time Hacking, and was anxious to know how to traditionally publish it. At that time, I had just barely put up my own website and had a subscriber base of zero.

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

One particular conversation sticks out.

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

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

Never Ask Advice From…

In his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy says, “Never ask advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.”

Who you follow determines where you get in life. If your leader isn’t moving forward, you’re not moving forward, because your results are a reflection of your leader’s results.

As I pondered Hardy’s words, I realized I was asking the wrong types of people for advice. I needed to turn to people who had actually walked where I wanted to walk. Anyone can provide a nebulous theory. We spend our entire public education learning theory from people who have rarely “walked the walk.” As George Bernard Shaw said in Maxims for Revolutionists, “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” Similarly, there is an endless supply of content being published every day by people who rarely practice the virtues they preach.

Contrary to theory, which cannot get you very far, in the end, people who have actually “been there” provide practical steps on what you need to do (e.g., here are the five things you should focus on and forget everything else).

Why You Need to Know What You Want

“This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.” — Ryan Holiday

Most kids go to college without a clue why they are there. They are floating along waiting to be told what to do next. They haven’t seen or thought enough to know what their ideal life would look like. So how could they possibly know how to distinguish good advice from bad?

Conversely, people who know what they want in life see the world differently. All people selectively attend to things that interest or excite them. For example, when you buy a new car, you start to notice the same car everywhere. How does this happen? You didn’t seem to notice that everyone drove Malibus before.

Our brains are constantly filtering an unfathomable amount of sensory inputs: sounds, smells, visuals, and more. Most of this information goes consciously unrecognized. Our focused attention is on what we care about. Thus, some people only notice the bad while others see the good in everything. Some notice people wearing band shirts, while others notice anything fitness related.

So, when you decide what you want, it’s like buying a new car. You start seeing it everywhere — especially your newsfeeds!

What are you seeing everywhere? This is perhaps the clearest reflection of your conscious identity.

The Magical Things That Happen When You Begin Paying Attention

“How can you achieve your 10-year plan in the next six months?” — Peter Thiel

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

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

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” — Anonymous

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

In May of 2015, I came across an online course about guest blogging. It must have popped in my newsfeeds because of my previous searching. I paid the $197, went through the course, and within two weeks was getting articles featured on multiple self-help blogs.

Around this same time, I listened to a podcast on which Tim Ferriss said, “One blog post can change the entire trajectory of your career.” Such was the case for him. An article he wrote generated wild traffic, which spilled over into book sales for his at-the-time recent book, The 4-Hour Workweek. This wave of traffic led to the book’s success, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When your mind takes hold of an idea, you do everything in your power to manifest it. The idea, “One blog post can change your career,” was always in the back of my mind. Subconsciously, it forced itself into my conscious reality. Around this time, I wrote an article that literally did change my career. To quote William James, the father of American psychology, “What is impressed in the subconscious is expressed.”

Thus, two months after being told it would take three to five years to gather a substantial following, I was there. Personally, I don’t fully credit myself for this fact. In an age of skepticism and doubt, a child-like faith can take you a long way. Before each article, I wrote (and continue to write), I pray that the work I produce will be beyond my own capability; and I visualize my work reaching the people who need it.

To quote Napoleon Hill, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Just because other people have limiting beliefs does not mean you need to. Again, the advice you take and the people you emulate matters. You are being influenced, especially subconsciously, by the influences you take to heart. There are people out there operating at brilliantly high levels. If you’re serious about getting results, find those people and begin thinking like them. You’ll be stunned how fast your life can change.

Literally, you can create something that changes the entire trajectory of your career. Take Zdravko Cvijetic–he recently wrote an article that took him from 900 to 103,000 email subscribers in less than one month.

How many people would have told him that was impossible?

Absurd.

Your mindset and desires determine how big you’re willing to play. To quote Peter Diamandis, founder of XPRIZE and author of Abundance and Bold, “The challenge is that the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea. And crazy ideas are very risky to attempt.”

Conclusion

When you know what you want, you notice opportunities most people aren’t aware of. You also have the rare courage to seize those opportunities without procrastination. What you focus on expands.

Courage doesn’t just involve saying “Yes” — it also involves saying “No.” But how could you possibly say “No” to certain opportunities if you don’t know what you want? You can’t. Like most people, you’ll be seduced by the best thing that comes around.

But if you know what you want, you’ll be willing to pass up even brilliant opportunities because, ultimately, they are distractions from your vision. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”

“Once-in-a-lifetime” opportunities (i.e., distractions) pop up everyday. But the right opportunities will only start popping up when you decide what you want and thus start selectively attending to them. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by a network you love and by mentors showing you the fastest path.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

This quote is completely true. Once you know what you want, you can stop taking advice from just anyone. You can filter out the endless noise and hone in on your truth.

Eventually, you can train your conscious mind to only focus on what you really want in life. Everything else gets outsourced and forgotten by your subconscious.

Decide what you want, or someone else will.

You are the designer of your destiny. What will it be?

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Story Source benjaminhardy.com written by Benjamin Hardy, who was the #1 Writer on Medium.com in 2016 and contributor to Inc.com. His website is benjaminhardy.com. Image Credit Forbes. 

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How to Know If You or Someone You Know Is a Narcissist

According to a Clinical Psychologist, if you think you’re more important than everyone else or lack empathy, you may be showing signs of narcissism.

  • Narcissists share certain key behaviors.
  • One of the most common traits associated with narcissists is a lack of empathy, as well as an inability to relate to the emotions of others.
  • While narcissists may appear to have an inflated sense of self-importance, this often stems from low self-esteem and insecurity.

Sometimes it seems like we live in a world plagued by people with an inflated sense of self-importance — like that one Facebook friend who brags about every minute of her life, or the coworker who drones on and on about how wonderful he is.

But it can be hard to decipher whether these people simply lack self-awareness or if they suffer from a deeper problem, like narcissism.

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Dr. Ramani Durvasula

Dr. Ramani Durvasula, a professor of psychology at California State University, Los Angeles and a licensed clinical psychologist, shares some of the qualities that might make you, or someone you know, a narcissist.

You blame others for your problems

Durvasula says one common quality of narcissists is never taking ownership when they make mistakes. They will blame anyone they can instead of admitting their wrongdoing.

You’ve been told you lack empathy

This is often recognized as the hallmark quality of narcissists. People with narcissistic personality disorder are often incapable of relating to the feelings of others.

If you do something kind for someone, you expect endless thanks

When narcissists buy someone a gift, they expect an inappropriate amount of gratitude. This quality applies in the workplace, too. “Let’s say they help you, mentor you or advance you,” Durvasula says. “They will expect you to thank them and be grateful for that for the rest of your life.”

You’ve been told you’re charming or charismatic

Narcissists tend to have highly superficial personality traits, Durvasula says, including charm and charisma. “But what you’ll often see is that charm and charisma end up being used as a rationale,” she says. Even if a narcissist treats someone badly, the person will often rationalize the narcissist’s behavior and think they couldn’t possibly have done something so bad because they’re so charming.

You’ve been told by former significant others that you came on really strong at first

Durvasula says one sign you might be dating a narcissist is if everything seems too incredible at first. You might feel like you’re part of a sweep-you-off-your-feet, cinematic romance. “I always tell people: Pay attention when there’s too much on the front end,” says Durvasula, who wrote, “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist.” “I know it seems fun and romantic, but it’s probably a train wreck waiting to happen.”

You’ve cheated on your significant other in the past

Durvasula says narcissists often lack boundaries, which leads them to engage in inappropriate workplace affairs or cheat on their significant other.

You lack self-confidence

At their core, narcissists lack self-esteem and have a pathological need to be admired. “They’re very ambitious and competitive, and a lot of people make the mistake of thinking they’re confident,” Durvasula says. “They’re actually not confident.”

You think you’re more important than everyone else

Grandiosity is a hallmark feature of narcissism, as it allows many narcissists to hide their lack of confidence. “In our culture, we associate grandiosity with confidence,” Durvasula says. “If you walk around saying you’re great, people will actually think you’re great.”

You think the world doesn’t see how truly amazing you are

Not all narcissists are grandiose. In fact, Durvasula says some are vulnerable and are driven by shame and others’ perception of them. They might even come across as depressed. “They often think that the world passed them by, or that they’ve been forgotten or something like that,” Durvasula says.

You think you’re above it all

A common feature of narcissists is the mindset that they’re so important, they shouldn’t have to deal with certain everyday things like waiting in line at the grocery store.

You like to give advice, even when it’s unsolicited

According to Durvasula, narcissists tend to deliver advice even when it’s unwanted. “They’ll often deliver it in a way that feels criticizing, demeaning and invalidating,” she says.

You have a perfectly curated appearance

“[Narcissists] often look great, they’re in the best suits, the best outfits — they’re beautifully put together,” Durvasula says. This perfect appearance plays to their inherent need for validation. And we buy into it. “Our assumption is that somebody who looks that good’s got to be doing something right.”

When you accomplish something, you crave validation from others — especially on social media

Narcissists love to tell the world how amazing their life is. Durvasula says this applies to social media, too. They’ll post about their amazing trip to Hawaii, their big house, or their expensive car. “They like anything that makes them look good,” she says.

You often have fits of anger

Durvasula says narcissists have a tendency to explode into rage, especially when they don’t get their way. They’re typically very angry, deeply sensitive people and this anger often emerge when they don’t receive the special treatment they think they deserve. “They can be very caustic and really angry, and it always seems to be bubbling under the surface,” she says.

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The above article is based on materials published on thriveglobal.com and publicly available at the time it appears in this blog. Images and video credits are specified whenever known and possible, the source of them is the web.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Why Forgiveness Is Great for Your Health

How learning to let go of resentment can reduce your risk.

It appears that there are more benefits to “letting it go” than you might realize.

All of us get hurt from time to time–but when we forgive, we often feel better about ourselves. As it turns out, recent scientific research indicates forgiveness improves our physical health as well.

In a new study in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers analyzed the mental and physical health of 148 young adults. As one might expect, a correlation was found between high-stress levels and more health problems. But the study also indicated that in cases where people showed forgiveness–of both themselves and others–the connection between stress and mental illness practically disappeared.

Loren Toussaint, an associate professor of psychology at Luther College in Iowa, authored the study. Speaking about that connection of stress to mental illness, he had this to say about the research in a recent interview with TIME magazine:

“It’s almost entirely erased–it’s statistically zero. If you don’t have forgiving tendencies, you feel the raw effects of stress in an unmitigated way. You don’t have a buffer against that stress.
…Forgiveness takes that bad connection between stress and mental illness and makes it zero. I think most people want to feel good and it offers you the opportunity to do that.”

So why does the act of forgiveness have such a great impact? Scientists aren’t exactly sure, but it could have to do with the following:

“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. It is believed that chronic anger puts an individual into a mode of “fight-or-flight”, resulting in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and the immune system.

Those changes, in turn, increase the risk for conditions like depression, heart disease, and diabetes. But it seems forgiveness can help to mitigate those stress levels.

What Forgiveness Is–and Isn’t

Forgiveness is more than lip service. “It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not,” says Swartz.

“The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life,” according to the Mayo Clinic. But “forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act.”

When it comes to forgiving yourself, it’s important to remember that you mustn’t completely forget a mistake you’ve made, or refuse to learn from it. But you shouldn’t constantly relive that mistake, or insist on incessantly punishing yourself.

(It’s all about increasing your emotional intelligence, the subject of my upcoming book. If you’re interested in reading it, follow the launch by subscribing to my free monthly newsletter.)

How to Forgive

Of course, it can be hard to forgive–especially if we feel that another person has truly harmed us, maybe even intentionally.

The Mayo Clinic offers the following suggestions:

  • Consider the situation from the other person’s point of view.
  • Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
  • Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
  • Be aware that forgiveness is a process and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.

Putting It into Practice

Hanging on to resentment could be likened to leaving a knife in a wound–in doing so, we refuse to give ourselves the chance to heal. We end up hurting ourselves the most, while the offending party moves on with his or her life.

In contrast, exercising forgiveness gives us the chance to move on, too.

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Story Source: The above story is based on materials originally published on inc.com. The original article was written by Justin Bariso. Images credit Getty Images.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

9 Signs You’re In A Relationship With A Con-Artist

I resolve to publish this short list as I found it on powerofpositivity.com because in my life experience I faced this situation. And I can say that the sooner you recognize that you are staying with a con artist the easier will be to come out. Consequences are often incredibly heavy. This happened to me since I had a trusted con-artist partner for a very long time. Thank heaven, this is gone now. Be careful and look at signals.

By the way, a con artist is a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true to get benefits and personal advantages.

Manipulation is the name of the game when you’re in a relationship with a con-artist. A con-artist is what we now call someone who used to be called a confidence artist. Let’s look at 9 telling signs that you’re in a relationship with a con-artist.

1. YOU HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM

A con artist often looks for an easy target. Someone who already has low self-esteem is an easy mark for them. They will use your low self-esteem to their advantage by telling you that they would love you more if ___. Do yourself a favor and leave this person immediately. True love is not conditional.

2. YOUR ROMANCE SWEPT YOU OFF YOUR FEET AT FIRST

Because they needed your undying devotion to them in order to rip you off, your con artist was a great romancer at the beginning of your relationship. However, things have changed now and there has been very little romantic action lately.

3. YOUR GUT INSTINCT IS TRYING TO SEND YOU A SIGNAL

That ‘Hmm, that was weird’ gut feeling happens more often to you in your relationship with a con artist than it ever did otherwise. Pay attention to that feeling because it’s sending you a signal that something’s wrong.

4. THE CON-ARTIST KEEPS YOU FROM SEEING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Someone rational who is removed form the relationship has the power to open your eyes to what is really happening with the con-artist’s behavior. As a result, the con-artist in your life will try to keep you from seeing these people who are a threat to their game. Do not let someone tell you who you can and cannot spend time with.

5. YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS ONE-SIDED

You are probably giving more to your partner than you are receiving. This can be in the form of love, emotional support, gifts, money, or time. If your partner does not reciprocate as often as you’d like them to, it could be a sign that you’re in a relationship with a con-artist.

6. YOU LACK CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE

If your con-artist has done a good job, they will take power away from you. You do not control the money, vehicles or power in the relationship. If you have to ask permission to go anywhere or buy anything, it is a warning sign that you’re in a relationship with a con artist.

7. YOU ARE A GIVER BY NATURE

The types of victims that con-artists look for are those in healing, nurturing, and socially responsible people. You want to help your fellow man and your con-artist is going to claim to need your help. They have targeted you based on your generous personality.

8. CONFLICTING STORIES DON’T ADD UP

Catching a con-artist in a lie means that they have to create another lie to cover their tracks. A con-artist is basically a narcissist and a sociopath; they only care about themselves and they do not feel sorry for their actions that hurt someone else.
In fact, a good con-artist is so good at avoiding feelings of guilt that they will often blame the victim for making them act this way. Author Tamar Frankel who wrote The Ponzi Scheme Puzzle: A History and Analysis of Con Artists and Victims says of con-artists: ‘They have an ego that can’t afford to be repentant, so they blame others. They blame the government, they blame the law, and they blame the victims. They also justify what they do as a protective measure’if they don’t cheat others, others will cheat them first.’

9. YOU HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING THE LAST TIME YOU FELT AT PEACE

All of the drama created by living with a con artist can wreck havoc on your emotional state. You likely have been feeling feel fear, anger and sadness more often than you feel moments of joy. Your con artist likes keeping you in an unhappy emotional state because you can be more easily manipulated that way.
According to fraudaid.com, only about 7% of scam victims report the crime. If you believe that your con-artist has stolen from you, do not be afraid to contact police to report the crime. A police trail may be one of the only ways to prevent other people from falling victim to this person’s games.

“Love brings self-confidence”: 7 quotes from His Holiness the Dalai Lama at TED2015

TED Blog

Dalai Lama in conversation with Chris Anderson. Dalai Lama in conversation with Chris Anderson.

On the final day of TED2015, Curator Chris Anderson reveals an exclusive video conversation between him and his Holiness the Dalai Lama, filmed in Vancouver in October 2014. In their talk, the Dalai Lama speaks about two kinds of happiness, how all humans can coexist, and the cooperation between science and Buddhism. And most important, that he is extremely hopeful about peace in the next century. Here are seven quotes we loved from him:

1. “Our very existence is very much based on hope.”

2. “Love brings self-confidence. Anger brings fear.”

3. “Real gun control must take place here [in the heart].”

4. “We are social animals. My future depends on [others]. Their suffering is ultimately your suffering.”

5. “In all major world religious traditions, their real message is same: the message of love.”

6. “The scientific way is the best way.”

7. “We…

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