60 Inconvenient Personal Development Truths

Self Development

I know you want to be the best you can be.  We all do.  But sometimes we look for success in the wrong places or we try to achieve it in the wrong ways.

Here are 60 inconvenient truths about personal development to help you stay on track.

  1. The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing.  Growing happens when what you know changes how you live.
  2. You can’t have good ideas unless you’re willing to generate a lot of bad ones.
  3. A good idea without action is nothing at all.
  4. It’s not so much about finding opportunities as it is about creating them.
  5. 10% of our lives is decided by uncontrollable circumstances.  90% is decided by how we react to those circumstances.
  6. What we don’t start today won’t be finished by tomorrow.
  7. If you’re waiting for the perfect conditions, ideas or plans to get started, you’ll never achieve anything.
  8. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.
  9. Change is often resisted when it is needed the most.
  10. Discipline is choosing what you want most over what you want right now.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  11. The harder you work, the luckier you will become.
  12. Kindness and hard work together will always carry you farther than intelligence.
  13. Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.
  14. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.
  15. Lots of successful people have failed as many times as they have succeeded.
  16. Nobody succeeds all by themselves.
  17. Right now, there’s a lot you don’t know.
  18. Having a plan, even a flawed one at first, is better than no plan at all.
  19. In the beginning, you need to say “yes” to a lot of things to discover and establish your goals.  Later on, you need to say “no” to a lot of things and concentrate on your goals.
  20. No matter how you make a living or who you think you work for, you only work for one person, yourself.  The big question is:  What are you selling, and to whom?
  21. We all have different strengths.  What worked for someone else might not work for you.
  22. To be great does not mean you have to dominate others.  It means you have to dominate your own potential.
  23. Being successful is a journey, not a destination.
  24. Results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.
  25. Being busy and being productive are two different things.
  26. Being happy and being successful are two different things.
  27. You don’t have to settle.  It’s simply a choice you make every day.
  28. Life is full of opportunities to feel exactly the way you want to feel.
  29. You have every right to be happy, but it’s up to YOU and only YOU to exercise that right.  Read The Happiness Project.
  30. You have the ability to clear negativity from your mind with a single thought.
  31. We are all multi-dimensional human beings with simultaneous dimensions of success and failure in our lives.
  32. Your success isn’t just about you.  It’s about how you positively impact the lives around you.
  33. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain, and most fools do.
  34. Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else – you are the one who gets burned.
  35. Life isn’t always logical.
  36. When you spend time worrying, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want.
  37. It’s usually only as good or bad as you think it is.
  38. There is a lesson in everything you do, and learning the lesson is how you move forward.
  39. No matter how smart you are, you will make mistakes.
  40. There’s no such thing as ‘risk free.’  Everything you do or don’t do has an inherent risk.
  41. Saying “no” to right people gives you the time and resources required to say “yes” to right opportunities.
  42. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  43. When you’re caught up in the moment and your emotions are soaring, you’re bound to make poor decisions.
  44. Simplicity is often a major factor of success.  But the process of simplifying things is rarely easy.
  45. Cutting your losses is often better than the alternative.
  46. It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo, but it’s worth it.
  47. You can raise the bar or you can wait for others to raise it.  Either way, it’s getting raised.
  48. Oftentimes, the only reason they want you to fit in is that once you do they can ignore you and go about their business.
  49. Confusion isn’t a bad thing.  It means you’re growing and thinking.
  50. When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
  51. When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
  52. Trying to be somebody you’re not is not sexy.  Be you.  That’s when you’re beautiful.
  53. Good looks attracts the eyes.  Personality attracts the heart.
  54. Sometimes you just have to do your own thing your own way, no matter what anyone else thinks or says about you.
  55. When you receive negative feedback, remember, it doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, it matters how many do.  Read The 4-Hour Workweek.
  56. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  57. Truly ‘rich’ people need ‘less’ to be happy.
  58. A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often and realize how fortunate you are right now.
  59. If you want love, give love.  If you want friends, be friendly.  If you want money, provide value.  It really is this simple.
  60. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.

And remember, the extra mile is the stretch of road that’s never crowded.  As long as you follow your heart and never stop learning, you’ll turn not older, but newer every day.

Photo by: Moiht

6 Steps to True Happiness

6 Steps to Happiness

This guest post was written by Chris Gaddis.

I want to thank Marc and Angel for allowing me to be a guest on their blog.  Marc was nice enough to appear on a radio show I host in New York (download my radio interview with Marc here).  He knew I was starting my own blog at chrisjgaddis.com and he was more than generous in allowing me this opportunity.

As I was thinking about this opportunity and what to write I thought back to the whole reason that I am now doing what I am doing for a living.  I will spare you the long story and just give you the key info that you will hopefully find useful.

The secret to happiness is not in doing what one likes,
but in liking what one does.
– James M. Barrie

A Tragedy

My wife and I graduated from Keuka College, a beautiful college on Keuka Lake in New York.  Graduation weekend is always held on Memorial Day, so my family and my wife’s family decided to rent a house on the lake for the weekend.  Ever since then, we’ve made it an annual family tradition.  Every Memorial Day weekend we rent a house on the lake together as a family.

In 2009 during our annual stay at the lake, through a long series of events that I feel were truly meant to be, our dog Athena ended up getting hit by a car and died.  Looking back it seems as if my whole life’s purpose flashed before my eyes in this one solitary moment.  The events and occurrences of my life up to that point seemed to fit together like an unsolved jigsaw puzzle – everything fit, but the message of the puzzle was still unclear.  But in that moment of tragedy, the different pieces came together in a more enlightening way than they ever had before.

Needless to say it was a pretty sudden and unexpected death that affected my wife and me greatly.  I could not shake the feeling it was somehow meant to be and immediately tried to decipher why that was.  What I learned, summed up in one sentence is, “Life is too short not to follow your heart.”

A New Beginning

And this is what my blog is all about.  I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my wife and kids.  I wanted to work for myself and stop making other people rich from my efforts.  I came up with a plan to do this and I have now implemented it.

This is not an easy thing to do.  Athena died almost two years ago.  This plan was supposed to be implemented within one year and I am just beginning to make significant progress now.  I feel a bit guilty I did not get it done sooner.  Unfortunately, life is like that.  We all have the best intentions, but ultimately life gets the best of us and we find ourselves 15 years later asking, “How did this happen?  Where did the time go?”

In the end, happiness is different for everyone.  It could mean any number of things.  I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice we can make.  Whether it is being happy with our self, our spouse, our job or something else.  To find true happiness you have to follow your heart and intuition.  You have to be who you are and follow a lifestyle and career that fulfills you; no matter what that entails or what people say about it.  And it is never too late to do so.

After Athena’s death, and in my search to help it all make sense, I put together a personal action plan that followed six simple steps.  It helped me take a snapshot of my life and analyze where I am now and where I want to go.  So I want to leave you with this 6 step process to getting what you want out of life.

  1. Create a mission statement. – Mine was simply “To translate what gives me joy, fulfillment and makes me genuinely happy into a career that will allow me to work for myself and spend more time with my family.”  This meant starting my own business as a coach to help individuals and small business owners get what they want out of their life and business.  Formulating this sentence allows us to create a short mission statement that summarizes exactly what we want from life, which will help to keep it in the forefront of our minds when we’re making important decisions.
  2. Make a list of your primary priorities. – This list will make your decisions easier as you will know what’s most important to you.  Anytime there is a conflict consult this list and make the decision based on your priorities.  Here is an example of my list: Family, Church, Health, Work / Money, Service to Others, Hobbies.
  3. Take an inventory. – List every single major entity in your life – the people, organizations, career, hobbies, and anything else you spend time on in your life.  Write a short summary of each.  Explain what each one means to you, what you get from it, and if you are neglecting other areas of your life because of it.
  4. Make decisions. – Take this list and make a decision on every aspect of your life.  Decide whether time you spend on certain activities could be spent helping you achieve goals in other areas of your life.  Decide if you will continue some activities, change others, or start a new one.  Time is the most precious commodity we have; do not waste it.
  5. Develop a plan.Develop a game plan of what has to take place to reach your dreams and make things happen.  Setup measurable goals for your life.  Break it all down into time frames of a week, a month, a year and then longer – 5, 10, 20, 30 years out.  These will constantly change and evolve so check them and update them frequently.
  6. Schedule it, tell everyone and take action. – The most important step.  By scheduling your goals and your action items it allows you to set definite deadlines.  That gives you a better chance of sticking to it.  If you tell everyone what you are doing you are now creating ownership of your goals.  And of course nothing can stand in your way as long as you’re taking decisive action.  If you find yourself making excuses, stop!

I know it may seem crazy that some dog changed my life, but it was the lessons I learned from Athena’s accident that changed my life.  We all learn differently.  And despite my loss, I’m grateful for the lessons and the opportunities that have risen from it.  If you’re looking for further guidance on creating happiness in your life I recommend the short but powerful book The Four Agreements.

If you liked what you read here please feel free to visit Chris Gaddis’ website at chrisjgaddis.com and subscribe to his blog.  If some of you need assistance in creating your own Personal Action Plan he would be happy to e-mail you a copy of his.  Just email him at gaddis.chris@gmail.com.

Photo by: Luca Nicalli

365 Simple Pleasures to Brighten a Year

Simple Pleasures

Life is filled with simple pleasures – the little satisfying effects you never really anticipate, but always take great pleasure in.  They are life’s unexpected gifts that we all subconsciously celebrate in our own unique way.

Every day on our sister site, What Money Cannot Buy, people share their favorite simple pleasures and vote on the simple pleasures that other users have submitted.  Over the past year the site has amassed an immense database of truly priceless moments.

As stated on the What Money Cannot Buy About page, if the economic downturn has clouded your mind with worry then you’re in the right place.  Our users submit dozens of simple pleasures and priceless moments every week that make them happy and don’t cost a dime.

They say the best things in life are free.  And I think the list below perfectly proves that point.  Of the thousands of simple pleasures that have been submitted to What Money Cannot Buy over the past year, these are 365 of our personal favorites.

  1. Songs that bring you back to great moments in your life.
  2. Sleeping right next to someone you truly love.
  3. Accidentally overhearing someone say nice things about you.
  4. Laughing so hard you don’t even make any noise.
  5. That instant when the thing you didn’t understand suddenly makes complete sense.
  6. Those random good-hair days when you just feel beautiful or handsome.
  7. Kissing someone and smiling at the same time.
  8. When you drop something and then swiftly grab it in mid-air before it hits the ground.
  9. When questions on an exam give away the answers to other questions on the same exam.
  10. The feeling you get when a group of friends all laugh really hard at one of your random jokes.
  11. Making a completely random guess and getting it right.
  12. Waking up, realizing it’s the weekend, and curling up for another thirty minutes of sleep.
  13. The bittersweet feeling of finishing a really good book.
  14. Finally getting to sleep in your own bed after being away for a few weeks.
  15. Correctly guessing an old password on a website you haven’t visited in awhile.
  16. Waking up all by yourself a minute or two before your alarm goes off and feeling well rested.
  17. Seeing a best friend you haven’t seen in awhile and picking up right where you left off.
  18. When someone tells you “yes” when you expected them to say “no.”
  19. Sitting outside during a thunderstorm. The sound of the thunder, the flash of lightning and the smell of rain to remind you of the beauty of nature.
  20. When you’re hot under your bed covers and you stick one leg out from under the covers to cool off.
  21. The sudden silence when you pass under a bridge on the highway when it’s pouring rain outside.
  22. Realizing you were smiling the entire time you were talking to someone, right after you hang up the phone.
  23. Laughing hysterically with your friends, then pausing momentarily, looking at each other, and then laughing hysterically again.
  24. When your significant other kisses you when they think you are asleep.
  25. Taking the perfect picture.
  26. An unexpected compliment from an unlikely someone.
  27. When someone around you randomly starts laughing and even though you don’t know why they’re laughing it makes you laugh too.
  28. Popping bubble wrap.
  29. Listening to someone else’s heartbeat.
  30. The feeling you get when you’re just waking up when you’ve gotten enough sleep.
  31. The kind of friend you can say “I love you” to without implying anything but a deep platonic friendship.
  32. Seeing two elderly folks who are madly in love. It’s a sight of love that has surpassed the tests of time.
  33. Finding something you made when you were a kid.
  34. Hanging out with your closest friends and just being able to feel comfortable in your own skin around them.
  35. Being next in line.
  36. When you succeed in doing something someone said you were incapable of doing.
  37. Wind blowing through your hair.
  38. The feeling of ‘clicking’ with someone else’s personality instantly, and being able to talk about anything even if you’ve only known each other for a few hours.
  39. When the song on the radio ends right as you pull into the driveway.
  40. The humble feeling of accomplishment you get after you fix something that was broken.
  41. When you wake up before your alarm and you have enough time to go back to sleep for awhile.
  42. Pulling into your neighborhood after a long road trip.
  43. Randomly catching a glimpse of your reflection in a window or mirror and liking what you see.
  44. Seeing the person who makes your heart race, even if it’s just for a few seconds in the hallway.
  45. Hearing a new song you really like and then downloading it and listening to it over and over and over.
  46. A certain smell that instantly takes you back to another place or time in your life.
  47. Crossing things off your to-do list.
  48. Seeing somebody use and enjoy a gift you gave them.
  49. When the beer or soda foam goes up out of the glass, but doesn’t spill over.
  50. Being able to tell someone some genuine good news.
  51. The good pain of stretching your legs after sitting down for a long time. [Read more…]

30 Ways to Make Today a Good Day

Make Today a Good Day

One today is worth two tomorrows.
-Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday is history and tomorrow is merely a figment of your imagination.  So if you think about it, today is the only day you’re truly alive.  Here’s how to make it a good one:

  1. Get started a few minutes early.
  2. Work on something that’s meaningful to you.
  3. Complete an important piece of unfinished business.
  4. Spend time with positive, friendly people.
  5. Do something nice for someone else.
  6. Be present. Focus on where you are, what you’re doing and who you’re with right now.
  7. Do one thing at a time.  (Read Getting Things Done.)
  8. Listen to your self-talk.  When you hear negative thoughts, think about the positive side of things.
  9. Smile, even when there’s no pressing reason to do so.
  10. Unplug.  Entertain yourself with real-world experiences.
  11. Go somewhere new.  See something new.  Meet someone new.
  12. Do something that makes you laugh.
  13. Challenge your mind.  Learn a new skill.
  14. Challenge your body.  Exercise for 30 minutes.  (Read The 4-Hour Body.)
  15. Let someone help you.
  16. Clear a little clutter by getting rid of something you don’t need.
  17. Be honest with yourself and those around you.
  18. Don’t compare yourself to others.  Instead, let them inspire you.
  19. Spend a few minutes alone in silence, just thinking.
  20. Focus on solutions.
  21. Keep an open mind to new ideas and information.
  22. Handle important two-minute tasks immediately.
  23. Stay out of other people’s drama.  And don’t needlessly create your own.
  24. Say, “Please,” “Thank you,” “I’m sorry” and “I love you,” when you should.
  25. Don’t try to please everyone.  Just do what you know is right.
  26. Eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  27. Savor the natural joy of simple pleasures.
  28. Notice what’s right with the world.
  29. Focus on all the things you already have, think about them and appreciate them.
  30. Get to sleep a little earlier tonight so you’re well rested tomorrow.

And remember, a smile is the most beautiful curve on the human body.  So go now and strut your stuff.  😉

Photo by: Joisey Showaa