Your total diet

We tend to think of our diet in the context of the food we consume. But our overall health is affected by what we “ingest” with all our senses.

Consider your diet in terms of not just what you eat and drink, but how and what news you consume, whom you spend time with, what you choose to read, and everything else that you consume via any of your senses.

The first step to being healthier is to eliminate “junk.”

What is this for?

People often spend hours nitpicking slide designs, the exact wording, and the perfect animated transition for a PowerPoint presentation. It’s rare to find someone in creation mode asking whether the presentation itself should instead be a memo or email.

Frequently reevaluating exactly what you’re trying to accomplish can save hours of wasted effort. It’s not enough to work hard. It matters what you’re hard at work on.

You should definitely labor over the exact specs of a screen door. But if you’re fitting it for a submarine you might want to start asking better questions. 

A healthy way to obsess

The RAS is the tiny portion of your brain that notices yellow cars the moment you consider buying one.

One way to use modern technology to activate the RAS and force multiple “exposures” is to save a relevant image to the lock screen on your smartphone, which research shows the average person sees 110 times per day (perhaps the subject of a separate discussion).

If your focus is on money, save an image of a pile of cash as your default lock-screen photo.  You’ll see it multiple times per day, which may unconsciously open your mind to opportunities you may not have seen otherwise.

The plight of perfection

Seeing ourselves as perfectionists can lead to a failure to take action out of fear that something won’t turn out ideal.  Aiming for perfection and being attentive to detail is admirable.  But do-ers do. Perfectionists can hold themselves back in a state of non-action and analysis.

There is no perfect time to start a business, lose weight, or commit to learning a new skill. Most often, fortune favors those who boldly take action rather than waiting for the certainty of perfection.

High quality questions to help you get unstuck

  • What would be ideal? (I find this to be MUCH more informative than “what do you want?” or “what would make you happy?”)
  • What one thing can I let go of such that my level of stress will be significantly reduced? 
  • Can I convert this thought or belief from shame/fear to hope/compassion? 

Dependability

Dependability is a high-ranking “soft skill” that employers, colleagues and customers desire.

When it comes to your career, there are many worthwhile investments you can make to sharpen the saw of your particular expertise. On top of this, try to cultivate a reputation for being dependable. People want to know that they can count on you, and that your word is reliable.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that so-called soft skills are not trainable. All of them are. For this particular skill, all you have to do is make sure you always do what you say.

Desires

It’s healthy to have desires, goals, and hopes for better versions of the future.  But so often we fall victim to as-soon-as syndrome, making our desires much like contracts we make with ourselves to be unhappy until we get what we want.

Defining and striving for things in line with our desires is essential.  Just be sure you’re not trading a possible future for an unmistakable now.

Negativity bias

My music has received over 50 million streams and downloads, hundreds 5-star ratings, and the kindest reviews and compliments. Yet I can recite verbatim the ruthless critique of my voice from an anonymous user 10 years ago. A decade-old review from one person.

This is negativity bias in action. We’re all susceptible to it. We too quickly forget the praise we receive and tend to highlight the cynical people and opinions.

I keep an email folder called “inspiration” where I file the kind words I’ve received from people who clearly value what I do. It helps to keep a reminder that most of the time you’re doing a stellar job.

This too shall pass

Life has ups and downs. Where you are right now, and how you feel about it, is much like a balance sheet. It’s just a snapshot of your emotional assets and liabilities for a moment in time.

The most important thing to remember is that where you are right now (physically, financially, emotionally) does not reflect what you are.

Motion and action

People confuse being busy with getting things done.  And then we confuse getting the right things done – the things that matter.  As my dad would say: “don’t confuse motion with action.”

Working long hours doing unimportant things efficiently accomplishes nothing but burning resources that could be used on important things.

Before getting busy painting rooms, make sure you’re in the right house.  Working hard on the wrong things is demotivating and takes you further from your goal.