Knowledge For Men

Seth Swirsky is a best selling author, clinical psychotherapist, artists, songwriter, and creative. He is most well known for his book “21 Ways to a Happier Depression: A Creative Guide to Getting Unstuck from Anxiety, Setbacks, and Stress

Favorite Success Quote

“Every morning when I wake up, I ask myself, What is Salvador Dali going to do today?” ~Salvador Dali

“Life is in the striving, not the arriving”

Key Points

1. Be Open to Who You May Be and Regrow Your Balls 

Men in the 21st century are suffering from an identity crisis.

Not because we don’t know who we are or who we want to be, but because society and PC culture have told us that who we are is wrong.

It’s wrong for men to be men.

It’s wrong for you to have your own pursuits and passions.

It’s wrong for you to do anything other than work your fingers to the bone in pursuit of arbitrary goals that aren’t really aligned with who you are.

And let me tell you…

It’s bullshit.

You are allowed to be who you are, you are allowed to be happy, and you are allowed to do whatever you damn well please.

Many of you reading this are avid video game enthusiasts who have given up your hobby, not because it interferes with your life, but because society has told you that it makes you weak.

Many of you reading this love art and music but have relegated these pastimes to the realm of “Someday” simply because society has told you that you should focus on your work.

Many of you reading this want nothing more than to pack a backpack and go out into the great outdoors, yet society has told you to be more reasonable and do the safe thing.

But guess what?

Society is broken and it’s time for you to reclaim your masculinity, regrow your balls, and do the things that you want to do.

Life is short and precious, so stop wasting it trying to live up to societal standards that don’t serve you and your mission.

If you want something, go get it. If you want to do something, do it.

Be who you are and enjoy your life… It’s the only one you’ve got.

2. Women Want to Be Heard 

Society has tried to make us believe that women want a 6′ 2″ man with a chiseled jaw, big arms, a deep voice, and a bank account containing countless zeroes.

And once again, society is wrong.

Of course, women want an attractive, athletic, hard working man. But what they want even more is a man who makes them feel heard.

A man who doesn’t pretend to listen to them but who actually shuts the hell up and just listens!

Women don’t want a man who pretends to listen, who shuts his brain off and zones out, they want a man who truly hears them, who understands what they are saying and who genuinely cares.

Take a common example.

Your spouse or significant other comes home to a house sink full of dirty dishes and a house that looks like something out of Hoarders.

You’ve had a long day at work and, much to their chagrin, you are sitting on the couch relaxing.

Your wife starts to angrily complain about how you never clean the house or help out with the household chores.

In this moment, you have three options. You can ignore them, you can get defensive, or you can listen… Really listen.

If you choose to listen you will realize something.

Your wife, most likely, isn’t upset about the dirty house or the nasty dishes, they are upset because they don’t feel like their time and energy is being valued.

So instead of getting defensive, take a step back and listen.

Acknowledge what your wife is trying to tell you and respond accordingly.

“I hear you babe, and if I understand what you are saying, you are upset because you never feel like you have time to relax and unwind. I’m busy with work too and I understand… So why don’t we just hire a house cleaner to take care of things so that we don’t have to worry about it anymore? Would that make things easier for you?”

Do you notice how this response acknowledges your wife’s feelings and makes her feel like she has really been heard?

When you learn to apply this skill of really listening in your romantic relationships, you will find that the majority of your problems and disagreements disappear.

3. Optimize Your Environment to Optimize Your Life 

If you want to optimize your life, reduce stress and anxiety, and truly operate at peak levels of performance, then you must optimize your environment.

Plenty of “gurus” and entrepreneurs will claim that you should ignore your environment and simply hustle your way to your goals, but the truth of the matter is that your environment is stronger than your willpower.

If you are trying to quit smoking and your work at a tobacco shop, you might be able to kick the addiction… But you will be much more likely to end the habit once and for all if you are in an environment that makes it difficult for you to have that cigarette.

Similarly, if you are a ball of stress and anxiety, coming home to a messy home with violent movies playing on the television and loud noise from the neighbors keeping you up at night, your stress and anxiety will multiply.

However, if you can optimize your environment by eliminating clutter, creating a space that elicits feelings of calm and serenity, you will find that your stress and anxiety will become manageable.

Do not underestimate the power of your environment.

If you have been struggling to get motivated, beat an addiction, move on from a divorce, or any plethora of other struggles, the key might lie in changing your environment.

Whether you need to move apartments, cities, or even countries, when you can change and optimize your environment to be more conducive to your goals, you will find that your life and success starts to accelerate at an unprecedented pace.

4. Take a Break 

Seriously…

As men it’s easy to get trapped in hustle mode, working ourselves to death in order to achieve goals that aren’t truly aligned with our purpose.

And when your nose is constantly to the grindstone, it can be difficult to examine your life, solve problems, and enjoy the precious moments each day.

So take a break.

Step back from the laptop and just relax.

Give yourself permission to enjoy your life.

If you want to sit in front of the TV, watch a few hours of football and crash out with a beer in your hand… Do it.

If you want to play Call of Duty after a long day of work, then load up your darn Xbox, join a match, and go kill some virtual baddies.

If you want to sit in your room with a nice glass of wine and an empty canvas, then do it! Create your own masterpiece and enjoy your damn life.

Stop working so hard and start enjoying your life more.

The funny thing is, that when you start to take more breaks when you give yourself permission to relax, your brain will unwind and be better equipped to handle the adversity and challenge of your work life.

It might seem counterintuitive, but I promise, it works.

5. Know When You are Mismatched

How many times have you heard the saying “Marriage is hard work”?

A lot, right?

Have you ever taken a step back and considered that this statement might be a steaming load of crap?

What if relationships weren’t meant to be hard? What if you weren’t supposed to have an endless stream of fights and frustrations?

What if your relationships, especially your marriage… Is supposed to be easy?

Well, I am here to tell you that it is.

Yes, you will have fights in any relationship. Yes, you will have disagreements. Yes, you will have times where things are hard.

But the sum total of your interactions with your spouse or significant other should feel easy. It should flow naturally.

If you find that your relationship is requiring too much work and effort, chances are good that you are not in the right relationship.

Marriage was never meant to be this phenomenal challenge… It’s meant to be a fun relationship between two people whose goals, futures, and dreams are genuinely aligned.

If you find that your current relationship doesn’t match up to this, then you might need to take a step back and reexamine things.

Are you truly meant for each other? Are you truly matched with your current partner?

If not, it’s time to cut your losses and move on.

Life is simply too short to waste it in relationships that aren’t meant to be.

Direct download: Seth_Swirsky.mp3
Category:Success and Life Advice -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Adam Braun is an American entrepreneur, best-selling author, and philanthropist. He is the Founder of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that builds schools and increases access to education for children in the developing world.

He has recently founded a company called MissionU which is an alternative to higher education that is set to disrupt the industry and change the way that we view higher learning.

Favorite Success Quote

“Live not in dreams but in contemplation of a reality that is perhaps the future.” ~Rainer Rilke

Key Points

1. Say “No” More

One of the most powerful words in the English language is the word “No”.

If you learn to use this word effectively, you can add dozens of hours of productive time to your weeks, reduce your mental and emotional stressors, and eliminate the vast majority of the tasks that aren’t truly serving you.

But there’s a catch…

In order to become a master of the word “No” you must first learn to prioritize your own time, success, and happiness above anyone else’s.

It might sound selfish or egotistic, but the simple fact of the matter is that you should come first.

If you aren’t taking care of yourself by saying “no” to the things that aren’t serving you, then you are withholding your potential and your power from the world.

Think about it…

If you say “Yes” to working on a project for 3 clients even though that project will not pay you what you are worth and isn’t in alignment with your goals and values, then what’s going to happen when you are swamped with work but have a new client reach out to you with a position that would change your life?

Or imagine that you have said “Yes” to several meetings that you didn’t want to attend and that didn’t serve you in any way… You are now forced to say “No” when an opportunity presents itself that is in true alignment with your vision.

And all of these seemingly little and innocuous compromises will eventually accumulate until you are off track, off purpose, and up to your neck in things that aren’t part of your ultimate mission on this planet.

2.Learn to Delegate

Richard Branson, the (in)famous entrepreneur, author, playboy, and philanthropist was once asked to share the secret behind his numerous billion-dollar companies.

His answer was surprising…

He didn’t say anything about needing a good idea, or working hard, or having lots of capital.

No, he said that his secret was to find people who were better than he was, hire those people, and provide them with everything they needed to take his companies into the stratosphere.

If you truly want to excel at business, then you must learn to delegate.

Find people who are better than you are at a given position and give them the reigns.

Because you can’t do it alone.

And you would be a fool to try.

3. Be an Entrepreneurial Missionary, not a Mercenary 

There are two types of entrepreneurs.

Missionaries and mercenaries.

The entrepreneurial mercenary has one focus… Money.

And while money is not necessarily a bad thing (as we will discuss momentarily) you need to realize that anyone who is solely focused on wealth will likely lose motivation, tire out, and quit.

Instead, you should strive to be an entrepreneurial missionary, or, in other words, an entrepreneur whose end goal encompasses more than just a few added zeroes in your bank account.

You need to have a mission for your business, you must genuinely want to serve the world and make an impact, and believe that you are the person to do it.

Otherwise, you will spend years of your life tirelessly chasing money and success without ever making a real dent in the universe, without ever making a difference.

And the irony of all of this?

Entrepreneurs who focus on adding value and serving their world first tend to be the entrepreneurs who make the greatest profits in the long run.

So regardless of whether you own your own company or are working for someone else, do your best to ensure that every step you make and every goal you set is for a purpose and a mission greater than yourself.

The results will astonish you…

4. Money is an Avenue to Freedom

Money is a complicated beast.

It can bring about so much joy, happiness, and fulfillment, but it can also be at the heart of so much pain, agony, and suffering.

Because of the dichotomous and confusing nature of money (and the fact that few of us receive a relevant financial education), it can be easy to fall into the trap of viewing money as either “Evil” or the “End all be all” of life.

I am here to tell you… It’s neither.

Money is simply an avenue to freedom, it’s a tool, an instrument to be wielded by those who possess it.

With money, you can do some incredible things.

You can transform lives, build a lasting legacy, and create a real impact on the universe.

Without it, your options are severely limited, and your freedom is hindered.

The sooner you realize that money is a tool and that in and of itself, has no moral standing, the sooner you will be able to create real wealth for yourself that you can use to bring about a significant amount of good in the universe.

5. Set a Vision, Stick to It, and Stay Accountable 

If you want to achieve your goals and live a life of success and fulfillment, then you must set a vision, stick to it, and get massively accountable.

You see, most of you reading this right now have at least one of these three steps in order.

Maybe you have a vision, but you are constantly changing it and find yourself unable to follow through.

Maybe you have been working tirelessly towards a goal or a dream but you know in your heart that it isn’t truly congruent with your values and deepest desires.

Maybe you have surrounded yourself with people who lift you to a higher level and want you to excel… But you have no vision for which they can hold you accountable.

Whatever the case may be, if you want to excel in all areas of life and truly live a level 10/10 life, then you must set a crystal clear vision for what you want, stick to that vision, and get massive accountability from people you respect and admire.

If any one of these ingredients is missing, the whole ship will sink and your dreams will never come to fruition.

Set a vision.

Stick to your vision.

And get accountable.

Now…

Direct download: Adam_Braun_Replay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EST

After successfully launching his career at Booz-Allen & Hamilton strategy consulting firm, Krister’s father tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to move back to St. Louis to apply his knowledge and experiences to help the family business.  Ungerboeck Software had just celebrated its 12th anniversary and needed some fresh ideas and new leadership techniques.

Within 3 years, Krister had helped turn around the 14 person business and grow revenue 250%.  Over the course of the next 20 years, Krister and the capable team at Ungerboeck Software grew the company over 3,000%. The team added customers in over 50 countries served out of offices in St Louis, UK, Germany, France, Australia, Hong Kong and China.

During his time as CEO, the company won 5 consecutive Top Workplace awards and had employee turnover 50% lower than the industry average.

From 2001 – 2007, Krister moved to France and Germany to drive growth in Europe and the Middle East (EMEA).  During that period, EMEA accounted for nearly 75% of the company’s revenue growth.

In 2016, Krister executed a unique exit strategy that involved retaining 100% family ownership, while passing the torch to an exceptional non-family team that he personally recruited in 2014 and 2015.   As part of the leadership transition, he formed a Board of Directors and recruited external Directors, a new CEO and VP Finance to guide the company going forward.

Ungerboeck Software continues on to great success under non-family leadership as one of a handful of large, 100% family-owned software companies in the US.

Favorite Success Quote

“What got you here won’t get you there.”~Marshall Goldsmith

Key Points

1. What Gets You Here Won’t Get You There 

One of the most common (yet foolish) assumptions in leadership and management is that “What got me here will get me there”.

Or, in other words, what it took to get your company to $1,000,000 is the same thing that it will take to get your company to $10,000,000 or $20,000,000 or more.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

In order to growth hack, or rapidly accelerate the success of your business, you must be willing to take new approaches, create new positions, hire new managers, and even reduce your personal paycheck for a short amount of time.

Growing a company takes sacrifice.

You will have to delegate tasks you would rather do yourself, hire employees who you might believe unnecessary, and methodically remove yourself from the minutia that once demanded so much of your time.

So be prepared.

Rapid growth is achievable and it is a helluva ride.

But it is also one of the hardest things you will ever do.

2. Understand the Importance of Positive Feedback 

Many of the leaders that I know come from homes where positive reinforcements were either absent or unnecessary.

They were either the student with overbearing parents who burdened them with unachievable expectations, or they were the star football player, straight-A student, and Student Body President who knew they were killing it and didn’t need any reminders.

And when you are raised in either of these environments, you find that positive reinforcement and signs of approval and satisfaction are rare.

And since positivity was a rare commodity during childhood, these individuals tend to carry this trend with them into the board room.

This is when things start to get messy.

If you are trying to build a company, you must realize that a company is made up of individuals, many of whom will be like you. However, the vast majority of the people that you hire will come from wildly different backgrounds than your own, with wildly different needs and expectations.

And this is great! You want to be surrounded by a diverse group of minds and ideas who can attack challenges and obstacles from angles that you didn’t even know existed.

However, when you are unable to tailor your leadership style, particularly your ability to give positive reinforcement to employees, is when you will start to fail as a CEO or president.

You might not need positive affirmation, but your employees do. You might thrive on criticism and challenge, but many of your employees don’t. And you need to be aware of this.

Learning to positively reinforce underperforming employees is possibly one of the most difficult but rewarding skills that you can master.

And the sooner you can do it, the sooner you will elicit massive growth.

From your employees, your company, and best of all, yourself.

3. You’re Not That Smart

I hate to burst your bubble, but you are not that smart.

I don’t care who you are, what degree you have, or how many accolades current adorn your home dresser.

You are not that smart… Period.

I don’t mean that you have a low IQ or that you aren’t incredibly well versed in your craft, I simply mean that you are not smart enough to handle the vast demands required to grow a company to the 7, 8, or 9 figure range by yourself.

You need people in your corner who are smarter and better than you at what they do.

Sure, you might be an amazing product engineer, marketer, or leader, but can you set up all of the necessary servers in your IT department? Can you run the HR department by yourself? Can you specifically target your Facebook advertising to maximize your ROI while drastically cutting your budget?

If you can, then I want to take my hat off and applaud you… Because you are some sort of superhuman.

But if you are like the rest of us, then you will quickly realize that you cannot create massive growth by yourself.

You need people who are smarter than you, better than you, and hungrier than you who can meld into your brand and mission and help you accomplish your goals in record time.

Direct download: Krister_Ungerboeck.mp3
Category:Success and Life Advice -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Dan Clark began his career as an athlete, playing football for the Los Angeles Rams and in Europe. He later starred as Nitro on the extraordinarily popular reality television show American Gladiators. Clark then turned to acting and screenwriting. He wrote, directed, and starred in the independent film Looking for Bruce.

He recently hosted ESPN Classic’s American Gladiators marathon, and he continues to consult on the revamped American Gladiators franchise. He is the author of the memoir “Gladiator: A True Story of ‘Roids, Rage, and Redemption” and is currently authoring his next book. “Fuck Dying: How Cheating Death Kicked My Ass into Loving, Learning, and Living my Best Life”.

Direct download: Dan_Clark_Rerun.mp3
Category:Success and Life Advice -- posted at: 3:00am EST

If you hate yourself and hate your life...it doesn't have to stay this way. 

In today's podcast, I'm going to walk you through the exact steps you must take to rebuild yourself from the ground up and create a life you LOVE 

Direct download: I_hate_my_life_podcast.mp3
Category:Success and Life Advice -- posted at: 6:36pm EST

Mo Gawdat is the Chief Business Officer for Google [X], a serial entrepreneur and author of “Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy

Mo has an impressive combined career of 27 years, starting at IBM Egypt as a Systems Engineer before moving to a sales role in the government sector. Venturing into the UAE, Mo joined NCR Abu Dhabi to cover the non-finance sector. He then became acquainted with the consumer goods industry as Regional Manager of BAT. At Microsoft, he assumed various roles over a span of seven and a half years, in his last role at Microsoft he headed the Communications Sector across Emerging Markets worldwide.

Favorite Success Quote

“The gravity of the battle means nothing to those at peace”

Key Points

1. The Equation for Happiness is Simple 

Happiness is not complicated.

While you might not come to this conclusion by scrolling through your social media feed, watching the latest advertisements, or even reading some of the more popular personal growth and self-help books, when you truly sit down and think objectively, you will realize that happiness is simple.

Despite marketer’s best attempts to prove otherwise, happiness isn’t contingent upon some wild, complex, equation.

In fact, the equation for happiness is almost too simple.

Happiness is equal to or greater than the events of your life minus the expectations you have for those events.

That’s it.

The equation isn’t “Happiness = Fancy Clothes + A 6-Figure Salary + An Italian Sports Car and a French Bikini Model”

It’s simply events – expectations. 

But what does this really mean?

At the most basic level, it means that your happiness in any given situation, and thus your happiness in life, is entirely dependent on the difference between what you expect from a situation and how that situation actually turns out.

So, for example, let’s say that the event in question is coming home to your wife after a long day of work.

Let’s look at how your expectations of the event will determine your happiness.

On one hand, your expectation might be that when you come home after a long day of work, your wife should be preparing dinner, opening you a cold beer, and wearing a sexy outfit that tells you she’s “in the mood”.

On the other, your expectation might simply be that your wife should be relaxing and unwinding after her long day of work and that the two of you should prepare dinner and unwind together.

While neither of these expectations are right or wrong, they can have a tremendous effect on your happiness and well being.

If you come home with the first set of expectations and your wife has already prepared dinner but left it in the oven and is now relaxing on the couch… You are going to be unhappy and angry because your expectations were not met.

However, if you come home to the exact same situation with the second set of expectations, you will not only be happy, but you will feel an abundance of love for your wife because she went above and beyond and exceeded your expectations.

So now, you might be wondering, “If the secret to happiness is to have lower expectations, shouldn’t I just stop expecting anything so that I will never be disappointed?”

Well, yes and no.

While eliminating your expectations would certainly make you happier in the short run, it proves detrimental to your well being and success in the long term.

If you have no expectations of yourself or others, then you will mistreat yourself and allow other people to walk all over you.

Therefore, the key to happiness is to first become conscious of your expectations and then consciously and intentionally craft a new set of expectations that serve you and your purpose in life.

2. We Are All Born Happy 

An often forgotten truth of life is that we were all born happy.

All of us.

We are born carefree and loving, without any hate, anger, or animosity in our hearts.

It is our society that teaches us to be unhappy, to compare ourselves to others, to hate our fellow man, and to be unfulfilled.

And once you become aware of this reality, it is your job to undo the programming that society has instilled into your brain.

Luckily, the process for “deprogramming” all of the crap in your brain is simple, however, this doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The best way to start is to pick up some sort of daily mindfulness practice whether it’s meditation, prayer, long walks in nature, or even just some sort of conscious movements like yoga or Tai Chi.

These practices allow you to detach yourself from the human experience and the brain’s programming and become more aware of how you or your “superconscious” are meant to function.

Let’s use the analogy of a new computer so that you can understand what I mean.

Whenever you get a new computer, everything runs smoothly. It functions exactly as it was designed, quickly opening applications, seamlessly running commands, and doing its job without a problem.

But over time, things start to slow down and problems start to arise.

You begin downloading new programs and applications, visiting questionable websites, and demanding more of your computer than the software and hardware were designed to handle.

And as you execute increasingly demanding operations, your computer starts to slow and malfunction and what once took 2 seconds now takes 2 minutes.

When this happens (and it almost always happen) the only way to restore its original performance is to return it to default settings and execute a complete factory reset.

In much the same way as a computer’s default setting is speed and efficiency, our brain’s default setting is happiness and contentment. But when we start installing (willingly or unwillingly) societal, religious, and familial expectations into our “operating system”, we start to get bogged down, and experience unhappiness.

And when this happens, the only way to return to our original state is a “Factory reset” which typically takes the form of meditation, affirmations, journaling, and other consciousness practices.

These practices are kind of like our brain’s “CTRL + ALT + DELETE” function and the more you can integrate them into your daily life, the smoother and faster you you will operate.

3. Your Emotional State is Determined by Your Thoughts, Not Events

One of the simplest, but most impactful, formulas that you can understand to achieve a happy life is this:

E + R = O

Or

Event + Response = Outcome

In other words, your emotional outcome (happy, sad, angry, loving) is not determined by the events in your life, but rather by your response to the events in your life.

For example, let’s say that you are going out to meet up with a friend.

You agreed to meet at the local coffee shop around 8 a.m., but when you show up he is nowhere to be found.

You order your drink, a few minutes go by, and your friend is still absent.

At this point, you can respond in one of two ways.

First, you can assume that your friend does not respect you, get angry, and allow his tardiness to dampen your mood.

Or, you can simply assume that your friend had some sort of extenuating circumstance that stopped him from showing up on time and reframe his lateness by saying, “Great! This gives me a few minutes to read that new book I bought“, resulting in a happier and more fulfilling morning.

In these two examples, the event was exactly the same, but by changing the response to the event, you achieved two wildly different outcomes.

When you understand the far reaching applications of this formula, your life will begin to change in ways that you could never expect.

Mastering your emotional response to any circumstance gives you power over the events in your life instead of allowing those events to have power over you.

And when your internal world remains unaffected by the chaos of the outside world, you will have true power in your life, business, and relationships.

4. Learn to Differentiate Between Incessant and Effective Thoughts

As it pertains to our happiness, there are only two kinds of thoughts.

Effective thoughts and incessant thoughts.

Effective thoughts are the thoughts that move the needle forward in your life, thoughts that solve problems, achieve goals, and give you a deeper understanding of your place in the cosmos.

Incessant thoughts are the negative thoughts that do nothing to improve the quality of your life or happiness even when they are true.

In the interview, Mo shared a powerful example detailing the difference between these two thoughts during a tragic situation.

At the age of 21 years old, Mo’s son Ali died on the operating table during a routine surgery that should have been quick and simple.

Shocked and in pain, Mo was overwhelmed with a wave of thoughts and feelings that can only be comprehended by people who have experienced a similar tragedy in his life.

Over the coming weeks and months, Mo was faced with a single, pervasive and incessant thought, “I will never get to hug my son Ali again.”

However, as he continued grieving for his son, he realized something. This thought would not bring Ali back, it would not change reality, and it would not benefit humanity.

So he made a very conscious decision to change his thinking.

Instead of thinking “I will never hug my son again”, he reframed the tragedy and said, “My son is dead, now it is my duty to remember his legacy by living my life as he would have wanted and impacting the world in honor of his memory.”

And while this new thought didn’t take away the pain of losing his child, it allowed him to cope with the loss and make sense of the heart break.

Each of us is faced with the same thoughts day in and day out.

Even if we haven’t lost a loved one, we are all faced with our own “Incessant thought demons” that seek to cripple us and hold us back from living a happy life.

Whether we are constantly thinking about a mistake that we regret, a relationship that we ruined, or an opportunity that we lost, we all have incessant loops of unhelpful thoughts playing in the back of our mind.

And the biggest problem with these thoughts is that 99% of the time… They are true!

But just because something is true, does not mean that it is advantageous.

For example, if you lost the woman of your dreams because you were too focused on your work and not focused on the relationship, you might be faced with the incessant thought “I will never have her in my life again”.

Chances are, this thought is true.

But does it serve you in any way!? No!

Instead, you can choose to reframe this thought by saying “I will never have this woman in my life again, so now it is my duty to learn from my mistakes and move forward so that I can find love once more… Only this time, I will make it work.”

The moment that you can learn to eradicate incessant thoughts and replace them with intentional and effective thoughts is the moment that your life will be irrevocably changed for the better.

5. Money Doesn’t Make You Happier… Unless

Countless studies have been conducted on the correlation between money and happiness, and what they found was rather interesting.

Money only affects your happiness up to a certain point.

If you are living below the poverty line, increasing your income to a stable and livable level will drastically improve your happiness. However, going from $100,000 a year to $100,000 a month will only have a marginal impact on your happiness and mental well being.

However, once you have passed roughly $7,000 a month, increasing your income will only result in a nominal increase in your happiness.

So, for example, if you go from $100,000 a year to $250,000 a year, your happiness will not increase by any appreciable amount.

If this is true, then why is it that so many rich people seem to live better and happier lives?

Because they give so much of their money away!

Studies have found that one of the only ways money can make you happier after you have passed the $70,000/year threshold is if you are giving more of your money to charitable causes, family, friends, and organizations that you support.

For example, if you earn an extra $20,000 bonus this year and then use it to put a down payment on a new sports car, your happiness will only increase marginally and temporarily.

However, if you took that same $20,000 and paid for a vacation with some of your closest friends, your happiness would increase dramatically and the effects would last much longer.

So yes, money is important for your happiness.

If you cannot afford to put food on the table, increasing your income is one of the quickest ways to increase your happiness.

But after your basic living expenses are covered, giving your wealth away and spending it on the people you care about is the only way to leverage your money to increase your happiness.

6. Life is a Video Game and Challenges Make the Game Fun 

Life is not fair, it is not perfect, and it is not easy.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret… That’s what makes life fun!

I want you to imagine that the new Call of Duty just came out, and after months of anxiously anticipating the game’s release, you take it home and start playing.

You go through the tutorial, launch the first level, and then get ready to kill some virtual bad guys.

But there’s a problem…

There are no bad guys to kill and no challenges to overcome.

Every level is simply a linear progression where you run from the beginning to the end as quickly as you can, avoiding all signs of danger or adversity.

Does that sound like a fun game? Probably not.

And guess what? Life is nothing more than a very intense and large scale video game.

So why in the world would you want it to be easy? Why would you want a challenge and problem free life?

Just think about it for a moment.

Imagine that I came to your house tomorrow and gave you an Olympic Gold Medal.

How would you feel?

If you are anything like me, you would probably think that the medal was pretty cool, but after a few minutes of looking at it, you would quickly feel disenchanted and bored because you did nothing to earn the medal.

You’d probably sell it or leave it in your sock drawer because it has no significance in your life.

But imagine that you have been training for the Olympics since you were 12 years old.

You worked every single day for the past ten years of your life, and when you finally had the opportunity, you competed and won.

How would that medal make you feel?

I would chance a guess that the medal would have more meaning and significance to you than darn near anything else that you owned.

Why?

Because you worked for it, you suffered for it, and you endured more pain than most people are willing to endure in order to call that medal your own.

In much the same way, we gain meaning in our lives by overcoming challenges, by enduring pain, and by beating adversity.

Life isn’t meant to be easy.

It’s meant to be a challenge.

A challenge that you enjoy and have fun with, yes. But a challenge nonetheless.

7. You Don’t Find Your Purpose… It Finds You

So many people in the modern world are concerned with finding their purpose.

But they fail to realize that you don’t find your purpose, your purpose finds you.

People don’t just wake up one day and say “Hmm, I know exactly what I am meant to do and how I am going to do it”.

Instead, they find the intersection of their passions and talents and they work for years honing their skills, setting and conquering goals, and becoming better and better.

Then, when they have mastered their craft, an opportunity presents itself, often in the most unlikely manner, and all of the hard work they put in begins to make sense.

If you want to live a life of purpose, then you must first start by building your skills and growing yourself until you are ready to handle your purpose.

Typically, this means working on rather mundane skills and projects so that you can grow your capacity as a human being.

Think about the classic Karate kid movie where Mr. Miyagi had his student wax the car and paint the fence.

These tasks seemed dull, monotonous, and frustrating.

But, when the time came, and the first punch was thrown, these dull tasks that the Karate Kid had practiced suddenly made sense and he realized that he had been practicing for the purpose of learning a new skill.

Steve Jobs summarized this truth when he said

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.

Direct download: Mo_Gawdat.mp3
Category:Success and Life Advice -- posted at: 3:00am EST

Mark Divine served 9 years on active duty and 11 years on reserve as a US Navy SEAL before retiring as a commander in 2011. After his decorated career in the special forces, Mark went on the found Navyseals.com, launch US Tactical, and develop a revolutionary workout program known as SEAL Fit. He has also written multiple New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon best-selling books.

Favorite Success Quote

Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” ~Patanjali

Key Points

1. Focus On People’s Character Not their Acumen 

If you ever have the opportunity to sit down with any older businessmen or entrepreneurs and ask them the question “What was your biggest mistake”, nine times out of ten they will tell you that their biggest regret in business was trusting someone who they shouldn’t have trusted.

You see, even outside of the realm of business, it’s easy to overlook people’s character flaws because of their other resources.

I see many men fall into this trap in business, dating, and friendship.

It’s easy to ignore the obvious red flags with your new employee because they are a monster salesman and you know that they will make you a lot of money (until they end up stealing it back).

It’s easy to ignore a woman’s blatant character flaws because she’s wildly attractive and great in bed.

It’s easy to ignore your friend’s unscrupulous behavior because he’s funny, rich, and always makes sure you have a good time.

But if you want to mitigate risk and succeed at life, you must adopt a more cautious approach.

Learn to focus on people’s character and their virtues, not just their raw talent.

Because at the end of the day, it’s easier to train a virtuous man to become a good salesperson than it is to train a great salesperson to become a virtuous man.

2. Win the Morning Win the Day 

Mark attributes much of his success to the powerful morning rituals that he follows in order to get himself grounded and ready for the day.

Something that surprised me is that Mark’s routine doesn’t take several hours, one hour, or even 30-minutes. He told me that he can complete his routine in 15-minutes on average and 5 if he’s really pressed for time.

Each morning he spends a few minutes in silent meditation, then he will focus his intentions on his life vision and the daily tasks he needs to achieve to move closer to that vision, and finally, he will review the elements of his “ethos” or the guiding principles upon which he operates his life.

And that’s it.

Whatever your goals in life, you need to start your day in a powerful state to set yourself up to win the day and achieve your dreams.

Personally, I try and start most mornings by watching something inspirational, reading a few pages of a classic book, journaling, focusing on gratitude, and incorporating some sort of physical exercise.

How you develop your own morning routine will be unique to your dreams and vision, but what is important is that you have a morning routine and that it helps you get grounded and ready to go out and achieve your dreams.

3. Turn Failure Into Your Greatest Asset 

Many people believe that failure is a problem, that it’s a liability. But it’s not.

Failure is actually one of your greatest assets and closest friends… When you use it properly and learn from it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that failure is fun or that you should try and fail. Failure sucks, there’s nothing fun about it, and nobody wants to see their dreams and ambitions fail.

But when you fail and trust me, you will fail, you have one of two options.

You can whine and bitch and complain.

Or you can dust yourself off, look at your failure objectively, and ask yourself “Ok, how can I do better next time?”

Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it, if you don’t grow from it, and if you don’t reframe it so that you see each failure as a valuable teacher, educating you about how to achieve your dreams.

4. Realize that Your Growth is Limited by Your Shadow 

There is an old saying that “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. And in the realm of personal growth, you are only as strong as your darkest parts.

I see so many men today who walk through their lives trying to elicit personal growth by constantly pushing forward, suppressing the pain of the past, and ignoring the emotional trauma that has held them back.

But the harsh reality of life is that you can only grow to the extent that you are willing to address your darkness or your shadow self.

We all have a dark side, we’ve all been hurt, we all have deep wounds and pain whether we want to address them or not.

And most men choose to ignore this dark side.

They try and move on with their lives and pretend that everything is ok when, subconsciously, the pain and hurt of the past is holding them back from living the lives of their dreams.

If you want to move forward in your life, if you want to truly succeed, if you want to open up to true intimacy and love and connection, then you must face your shadow.

You must address the pain, you must conquer your darkness and learn to use it for good.

Because if you don’t, you will constantly be haunted (consciously or subconsciously) by the parts of you that you dare not bring into the light.

5. Detach from the Details of the Outcome & Focus on the Vision 

One of the biggest mistakes that many men make is that they are more concerned with the details of the outcome than the outcome itself.

For example, in the interview, Mark discussed his goal of impacting 100,000,000 lives. He told me that, while he is rigid in his vision, he has learned to be flexible in the details of achieving this outcome.

For Mark, it doesn’t matter whether he impacts 10 people who go and change a million lives or whether he impacts a million people who go on to change 10 lives. He is adamant in his vision, but he is flexible in the approach.

In your life and with your goals, you must adopt the same mentality.

Yes, you should have a strong, crystal clear vision and end game, but you must be flexible about how you achieve that vision.

Direct download: Mark_Divine.mp3
Category:Success and Life Advice -- posted at: 3:00am EST

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