Why You Need To Start Thinking More About Yourself Than You Do About Others.

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A recent comment from a student of mine pointed out that an exercise I have students perform in my Ultimate Goal Planning Course helped him to realise that he was spending far too much time thinking about what other people wanted and not enough time about what he wanted.

I must confess that the exercise was not necessarily designed to elicit this response, but I realised he was right. We do spend far too much time thinking about what other people want.

Where did this come from?

Where this comes from I can only guess. It probably comes from when we are growing up and we are told that to think about ourselves too much is wrong and that we should always put the comforts and convenience of others first. And on the whole, when talking about good manners this is good advice. But for discovering what we want and what we want to achieve in life this advice is wrong. It is wrong to study medicine because your parents want you to. It is wrong to go to law school because your teachers told you that would be a good profession for you. These are wrong choices if none of those professions is what you want to do. These are right choices if these are the professions you want to go in to.

If you are going to build a life for yourself and create a life you will love, flourish and grow in, then you need to put yourself first. It does not matter what your parents, grandparents or friends want you to do. That’s what they want you to do. It is their desire. It is not necessarily your desire. If you do follow the path your parents want you to follow, sure you will make them happy, but you will not make you happy, and your happiness must always come first.

The only way to a life of joy and happiness is to build your own path.

The truth is if you want to lead of life of true happiness, joy and passion you must create your own path. You must decide for yourself what you want to achieve and you must decide for yourself what you want to do. Taking advice from parents, friends, teachers and professors is fine — I would say advisable — but in the end, the choice must be yours and yours alone.

I was very lucky growing up. My parents’ attitude was they would provide me with the education I needed and support me in higher education if I wanted support, but after that what I did was my choice. They never pushed their opinions on me and whenever I talked to them about what I wanted to do, they listened, asked questions, but never offered any opinions about what I should do, unless I asked for it. I had the freedom to make my own choices, but with that freedom came responsibility for my own life. Which on its own was a great life lesson. My life, my responsibility.

Your life. Your responsibility.

And that is the way it should be. Your life. Your responsibility. Just one look at the business pioneers in the last twenty years and the two top people; Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both given the freedom to make their own decisions about their future. Of course, they made a few mistakes, took a few risks (dropping out of university might be considered a big risk) but they had the freedom to make their own choices and make their own mistakes and learn from those in a way that meant they had to accept full responsibility for those mistakes. There was no else to blame.

Until you are prepared to accept full responsibility for your own life, you are always going to be following in the footsteps of others. The problem here is what others want you to do might not be in your own best interests. I’ve seen so many people take positions in their companies that were not positions they really wanted to do but were told by their superiors that this position would suit them. Their superior’s motives were usually because that position needed filling and they were the only person available to take the position. Not only is this bad for your future career, it is also allowing others to dictate the direction your life goes in.

Saying “no” is hard but…

I know it is hard to say “no” to other people, but saying no is often in your own best interests. I know, you are risking disappointing other people, but when it comes to the direction your life goes in, that is far more important than you disappointing a few people. Their disappointment may last a couple of days, your “yes”, on the other hand, could cause a lifetime of disappointment and misery for you. When put that way, the decision you have to make is easy.

What are your fifty things?

To help you decide what is important to you, take some time to write out the fifty things you want to do in the next ten years. Make sure they are the things you want to do, and not things other people want you to do. This list is all about you and nobody else. Think about the places you want to visit, the work you want to do, the cars you want to buy and places you want to live. Everything you want to buy, want to visit or want to experience. Get them written down and start making them happen for you. You will find the first fifteen to twenty things are easy to write. After that things become more difficult because you have to go really deep inside yourself to really know what you want. This exercise will be the start of you building the life you want to live.

Your life, your responsibility

If you want to build a life for yourself, a life you can be proud of, a life of achievement and success on your own terms, then you are going to have to take responsibility for your life. Once you make the decision to break free from the voices of the people around you and start making choices about your future for yourself, you lose the opportunity to blame others when things go wrong, but you gain the freedom to build a life worth living on your terms.

If you want to know more about my Ultimate Guide To Goal Planning, you can get more information from the information page here.


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Your Office Worker Mindset Is Destroying Your Chances Of A Successful Life.

For many years now, we have been conditioned to believe we need to get a good education, go to university and get a job with a big global company. We are told time and time again this is the formula for a successful life. Yet, if this was true more people than the estimated 0.08% of the world’s population would earn above $100,000 per year. That means 99.02% earn less, most a lot less than this.

The truth is, if you are relying on just one income, your salary, you are not going to have any kind of financial success unless you are extremely lucky or you are wise enough to know the importance of investing when you begin earning your first salary cheque. Which, let’s be honest, very few twenty-somethings understand or even want to do.

I know success should not be measured in terms of money, but even if we measure success in terms of spending time doing pleasant things with our families and friends when we want to, most people spend more time at their place of work than they do with their family and friends. In Korea, where I now live, most office workers are working on average 10 hours a day, they then have dinner with their colleagues before heading home around 8 or 9pm. Not much time to spend with family and friends here.

The truth is if you think working for a company, earning a regular salary is going to give you the life and lifestyle you have always dreamed of, you are going to be very very disappointed. It will not. If you truly want to have the freedom to spend time with the people you care about, doing the things you love doing, you are going to have to dramatically change your thinking and start to understand that you need to be more opened minded about how and where you earn a living.

The success of books like the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris and the growth in entrepreneurship is indicative of the changing attitudes to work. In the past working for a company for a regular salary offered us security. These days that is less true. Automation and AI could take away your job tomorrow. In the past when industries declined, it took many years to happen and gave employees opportunities to retrain and move to other jobs or companies. Today that time no longer exists. The speed of change in technology today is having a very disruptive effect on job security.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Indeed, all these changes have given us so many more opportunities to create a life for ourselves. The internet has given everyone the chance to spread their ideas, showcase their talents and interests. It is a fantastic time to be alive. We no longer need to rely on one salary. The opportunities to increase our income streams are endless. You could create a YouTube channel that can earn you a few extra dollars a month, it is very easy to buy and sell on the stock market, you can create online courses, develop a website to sell your expertise to other individuals who want to learn new skills through Skype or FaceTime. There are so many opportunities to earn additional income. But if you have the office worker mindset, you are not going to be able to take advantage of all these opportunities because you still think in terms of “9 till 5”.

It is time to take a look around us and see the amazing opportunities we all have to create the lifestyle we have always dreamed of. There are of course some basics, things like hard work, a little imagination and the ability to have a vision of what our perfect life would look like. But once you have the basics, the next step is to start trying new things. Start writing a blog, create that YouTube channel you have always wanted to start, begin writing the book you promised you would write one day. Just start now.

The way to create the life you have always dreamed of is to break away from the office worker mindset. You life is worth so much more than a commute to a 9 till 5 office or factory job Monday to Friday followed by a weekend spent feeling tired and worn out stressing about the week to come. You could spend a few hours each week creating content for your blog or YouTube channel. You could learn how to make cushions, smart phone cases or hen coups. Anything that could help you increase you income streams.

And that is what it is all about. Increasing your income streams. using your talents, your experience and your know-how to help other people find the things they are looking for. None of this will happen if you have the office worker mindset though. With that mindset you will spend the best years of your life giving your valuable time to a company that will take everything it can from you, while paying you the least amount it can get away with, before leaving you on the scrap heap of former employees. You deserve better than that and the great thing about life today is you have the power and opportunities to break away from all that.

So open your mind, start thinking about you being your greatest asset and make that asset work for you in as many ways as you can. And always remember, you only have this one life, this one life to make an impact on the world and the people around you. Don’t give up the best part of you to a 9 till 5 job. You, your friends and family deserve so much better.

In the spirit of not having an office worker’s mindset, check out my latest online course on email management. If you hate email and find it a burden, then this course is just for you. With this link there is a 50% discount as well.

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Carl Pullein is a personal productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more productive and creative.

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Creating A Morning Routine For You

There is a myth that says your morning routine should not involve checking email or social media, but rather be something healthy like exercise, meditation or reading a book. I’ve always had a problem with this, if I were to meditate first thing in the morning I would very quickly fall back to sleep and I have never enjoyed morning exercise, and therefore never ever felt the desire to get up, put on my running gear and head out for a swift 5k. 

Instead, I have always enjoyed sitting down with my phone and a good cup of coffee for twenty minutes to check my social media feeds and any email that came in overnight. It sets me up for an energetic day and I also feel I am on top of everything as anything urgent that came in overnight I am now aware of and I can be coming up with solutions while I am in the shower or boiling my breakfast egg.  

Some people are just not morning people. I am not. I prefer a quiet evening working away. I often find myself on a Friday or Saturday night sitting down at my desk and writing chapters for my next book or designing a slide deck for a future workshop. I enjoy exercising in the afternoons or early evenings and I am lucky that I have time every day to exercise in the early afternoon. 

You need to find a routine for the morning that suits you, the goal is to set yourself up for a fantastic day, everyday. If you wake up and force yourself to do something you hate doing, you are not going to feel a great deal of enthusiasm to jump out of bed. If, on the other hand, you create a morning routine you enjoy doing, something you look forward to every day, you are going to be getting out of bed with far more enthusiasm and this will always lead to a much more positive day. 

In recent weeks I have been asking my students and friends on social media what routines they have, if any, in the morning and I have discovered a lot of different things. Firstly, a lot of the most disciplined and organised people do have a fixed routine they follow. They wake up an hour or two earlier than they need to in order to carry out a routine of exercise, meditation or family time. A lot of the less disciplined people I know, do not. They sleep until the very last minute and then rush to get out of the house and in to work. The people who wake up a little earlier, so they are not rushing around, are much less stressed and a lot more positive about the day ahead. Those who do not have any routine appear a lot more stressed and more negative, and despite having a little more sleep than the ones who wake up earlier, appear to be much more tired throughout the day. 

Every day my goal is to be happy and positive and to move myself a little closer to my lifetime goals. Waking up thirty minutes earlier than I need to is a very big part of achieving that. That thirty minutes means I am not rushing around panicking about being late. It means I have time to see if any potential day destroyers came in overnight and allows me to be updated on what my friends and family over in Europe have been up to while I was asleep. I have no intention of changing that routine because it works for me and it means I start the day with the right frame of mind for the overall goal I want to achieve.

It is important you develop a routine that works for you. A routine that puts you in the right frame of mind for the day and one that means when you leave your home for work you have a spring in your step and you know nothing will stop you from moving that little bit closer towards achieving your goals. Whether that means you go out for a 10k run and do 20 minutes meditation, or whether it means you take twenty to thirty minutes checking and replying to email. It really doesn't matter what you do, as long as it works for you. 

I know it might sound cool to have a morning routine like Tim Ferris or Tony Robbins, and their routines are amazingly cool. But I know their routines would not work for me at all. In all likelihood I would feel a lot worse if I followed their examples. For me a more leisurely start to the day works and I have no intention of changing it in the near future. 

You should do the same. You should find a morning routine that allows you to wake up around thirty to sixty minutes earlier than you need to do, so you can focus on doing something for yourself. You could call it your “alone time”, or even your selfish time. Mornings are great because they are quiet, the crises of the day have not happened yet and you can have a few minutes with your own thoughts and plan your day and set yourself up for a fantastically productive day. It really doesn’t matter what you do in that extra time, all that matters is you enjoy it and you look forward to doing it every morning. After all, if you enjoy your morning routine and the way it makes you feel, you are much more likely to jump out of bed in a positive frame of mind than if you hated doing it and you were only doing it because someone else is trying to convince you their routine is the perfect routine. It might be perfect for them, but it is not necessarily perfect for you. 

Carl Pullein is a personal productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity.  Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more productive and creative. 

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