Time Well Spent

Time is the most valuable resource we have. Once you spend it, you cannot go back and get a refund. There aren’t any second opportunities, sales, or exchanges either. Unlike money, time is non-renewable. You cannot earn more time. Time is precious. Time needs to be treated appropriately as to what it actually is – the most valuable resource we have.

If you were to see a 10 dollar bill blowing in the wind, you would probably go to great lengths to chase that ten dollars, no matter the inconvenience or effort required. You see that ten dollars as valuable.

Do you treat ten minutes, or even an hour with the same sense of value? Do you chase those minutes or hours with excellence and vigour, just as you would the ten dollars? In a world filled with distraction and procrastination, my answer is no, you probably don’t.

I have heard it said that getting rid of distractions will automatically catapult you into the top 5%. That means, if you spend your time well, you will be incredibly successful. If you don’t, you can count on living an average life.

I witness far too many people wasting their time. Be the person who values time – who is extremely careful as to how they spend it. Like purchasing an expensive item at the store, before you put down 5 hours of your life, be sure it’s a purchase you want to make. The more time required, the more expensive the purchase.

If you were to walk into a car dealership and they were offering Ferrari’s and bus passes for the same amount of money, we would all purchase the Ferrari. We would choose the more valuable item to get the most for our money. The same can be said for your time…

STUDENTS AND THOSE IN THE WORK FORCE…YOU ARE MAKING EXPENSIVE PURCHASES WITH YOUR TIME EVERYDAY! INSTEAD OF PURCHASING A DOLLAR STORE ITEM WITH THOSE 6 -10 HOURS; STUDY, WORK HARD, AND CHALLENGE YOURSELF, SO THAT YOU ARE USING THOSE  HOURS TO PURCHASE A FERRARI INSTEAD OF A BUS PASS.

Here is the plan to be above-average, and chase excellence with your time…

Track Your Time

Find a piece of paper and record very specifically, what you did yesterday and the day before. For example, yesterday, I woke up at 7, then spent 10 minutes getting my coffee ready, and writing in my “confidence journal” (Read: Mental Fitness Plan). My time entry would look like this:

7:00 – Woke up

7:05 – Coffee

7:10 – Confidence Journal

Track your entire day. This will take some time, but the time spent will be worth the purchase!

Be sure the two days you are reflecting upon reflect your typical day. If the past two days are unique and not a true reflection, reflect upon days that are your norm. You want this activity to be as accurate as possible.

When finished, search for sections of your day that are “wasted” or not used efficiently. Most will find their phone use to be the main culprit of wasted time. Research shows that on average, people are on their phones for 2 hours, and 25 minutes per day; or 145 minutes. If you do the math, in a year, the average person will be on their phone for 52, 925 minutes, or 882 hours, or the equivalent of 36.75 days! The average person will spend MORE THAN A MONTH on their phones in a year!

If you want to push the math even further…in the course of 60 years, an average person will have spent 2, 205 days on their phone – or just over six years of their life.

A Quick Change For Excellence

For the purpose of this article, I am using phone statistics to reveal how distraction is the behaviour of the average. But your “time-vice” could be television watching, shopping, gambling, socializing, etc. Whatever your “time-vice” may be, you can also use the following “quick change” to your advantage. A “time-vice” is an activity that you spend an unhealthy amount of time on.

So, the average person is on their phone for 145 minutes a day. What if you used your phone for 60 minutes a day? (I still think 60 minutes is excessive – 30 minutes would be optimal – but for the sake of making a change manageable, 60 minutes will be the number.) Instead of 882 hours spent on your phone during the course of a year like the average user, you will spend 365 hours on your phone. This is a difference of 517 hours; or 21.5 days! In the course of 60 years, you will have saved 1,290 days, or 3.5 years in direct comparison to the average person!

Think about it…by simply reducing your phone time, you will save 21.5 days every year of your life. It’s like finding that ten dollar bill in the wind…no wait…it’s like finding thousands of dollars blowing in the wind!! If you spend your “found time” learning, growing, reading, training, and working on your passions and goals, you will go from average, to an influencer, and a top person in your field. 

Challenge

Write down, very specifically, how you spend your normal day. Do this by tracking your last two days. Find your “time-vice”. Once you find your time-vice, the true work begins. ACTION! Many people know they should change, but very few put in the work to do so.

For the next week, cut your “time-vice” in half. Use the extra time productively, like reading, working out, mediating, and writing. Watch your productivity grow! You will see amazing results quickly!

Get Better!!

_______________________________________________________________________________

Mental Fitness Plan

Mental fitness is an incredibly important factor for living a full and productive life. If you are not mentally fit, you will not have the inner strength to battle stress, depression, sadness, and anger. Just like how a physically fit person has a strong immune system that is able to stave off infection and disease, a mentally fit person is able overcome problems, issues, stress, and tension.

Many people practice a physical fitness plan. Weight training, running, stretching, eating well, avoiding recreational drugs, and getting a good night’s sleep are all important factors when considering a plan to create and maintain a healthy physical body.

But what about mental fitness? Do you have a plan? You should…

Components Of A Mental Fitness Plan

Treat the mental fitness plan as you would your workout routine or meal plan- with absolute precision. When you go to the gym or prepare a meal, you know the EXACT process ahead of time – what exercises will be completed, with how many sets, and how many reps too! When you prepare a meal, you not only know the ingredients, but you know how much to add, when to add it, and how long to cook the recipe for.

Treat EVERYDAY like a workout day for your mind and mental health. The more you train, the more fit you will become.

1. Inspirational Videos/Books/Quotes – 10 Minutes/Day

Surround yourself with inspiration.

Mentally fit people spend time every day energizing their mind. Energy comes from inspiration. My favourite YouTube channel is Goalcast. I watch Goalcast videos at least 5 times a week to re-energize and prime my mind. When I watch inspirational videos, I can’t help but feel better. Of course there are many other inspirational channels out there, but I do encourage you to check out Goalcast.

If you spend time on Instagram, search for motivational pages and people to follow. Sometimes all you need is a quick pick-me-up, and an inspiring quote can do just that.

Inspiration is contagious. When you start reading, watching, and surrounding yourself with inspiration, you will never know how you lived without it.

2. Daily Affirmations – “I am Statements” – 3/Day

Who do you want to be? Strong? Popular? Brave? Wealthy? Happy?

Mentally fit people fearlessly state every day who they are, even if in reality, they aren’t that person YET. In fact, the key to an awesome ” I am statement” is to proclaim things that aren’t “real” yet.

For example, if you are battling depression, your I am statement could be: ” I am confident, content, joyful, and happy at school, work, and in all of my relationships. I am a conqueror. I am gifted.”

Although the depressed person probably doesn’t see those attributes in them, it is necessary to proclaim them as if they already were. When you proudly proclaim who you are, you are training your mind subconsciously to achieve your vision.

Every day I proclaim that I am impactful with my words, actions, and conversations. I also proclaim that I am awake, energetic, and healthy.

Place your I am statements in high-traffic areas where you can see them and be reminded often – like your mirror, phone, bedroom, office, desk, and all over your house. When you speak them, speak them with BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE.

3. Practice Gratitude – 3/Day

Mentally fit people are thankful for who they are and what they have. They don’t preoccupy their thoughts and minds wishing for what they want and focusing on what they don’t have. Mentally fit people don’t compare themselves with others either. When you negatively compare yourself with another person, you aren’t thankful…you’re resentful.

If you haven’t read my post on the importance of gratitude, I strongly suggest you do so.

Quickly stated here, I challenge you to speak (preferably upon waking) at least three things that you are thankful for every day. It is key to realize that you NEED TO BE THANKFUL FOR THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE. For example, this morning, I wrote that I am thankful for my Keurig, my dogs, and that the Milwaukee Brewers forced a game 7 in the NLCS.

Gratitude doesn’t need to be winning the lottery or a job promotion. Mentally fit people are thankful for the little things.

 

Challenge

Physically fit people train their bodies with intense workouts and strict nutrition plans. Mentally fit people train their minds with a daily dose of inspiration, I am statements, and gratitude.

I challenge you to live the Mental Fitness Plan this week. You probably spend at least 30 minutes of your day getting ready in the morning, working on your “outer self.” Why not spend 15 minutes working on your “inner self”?

Get Better!

 

______________________________________________________

 

The Power of Confidence

Confidence is necessary to reach your full potential and to realize your dreams. Without confidence, negativity will act like a weight, and drag you down, never allowing you to climb higher.

I have never met a happy and successful person who struggled with a lack of confidence. However, I have met many people who are sad and living in regret who have very low opinions of themselves. Confidence and success are unquestionably linked powerfully together.

How To Gain Confidence

Confidence comes from positivity, preparation, and what you spend the majority of your time thinking about. Let’s examine each one…

Positivity

I have never met a confident person who is negative. Confidence and negativity are oxymoronic.  You simply cannot have both. The good news, is that you can become positive anytime you want to.

As I wrote last week, one of the best ways to become positive is to practice daily gratitude. Become a thankful person. Be aware of the blessings you have, regardless of how small or common they may be. When you are thankful, dopamine is released in your brain, causing you to feel better. When you feel better, you become naturally more positive.

Preparation

When you are prepared, you become more confident. As an example, I assigned my Leadership class to report on an influential historical leader. They researched, then presented their information to the class all in the same week. My students didn’t realize it at the time, but they were purposefully being placed in an uncomfortable environment. When you are uncomfortable, your confidence disappears. Because of a lack of preparation, I expected the presentations to go rather poorly. I was correct.

My students were expected to present for five minutes without looking at their notes. Because of their lack of preparation, they simply couldn’t. Students stumbled on their words, looked at their notes, and looked flustered at the front of the class, trying desperately to meet the five minute requirement. Most failed. A week is simply not enough time to prepare and gain the confidence needed to succeed.

As a follow-up assignment, I gave my students the opportunity to recover and experience success – they were to teach the class about something they could do well.

The first student, who struggled mightily presenting about Abraham Lincoln, taught the class how to make a paper throwing star. The presentation was excellent. The student made eye contact with the audience, spoke with enthusiasm and excitement, assisted others, and energized the room. The difference? PREPARATION. The student had known how to make a throwing star for years. In essence, they had prepared for years for this presentation, they just didn’t know it at the time.

The lesson is, the more you prepare yourself, the more confident you become. Spend time reading, learning, and developing your intelligence and knowledge every day.

Your Thoughts

Many people focus on what they “need” to fix about themselves. They may not like their hair, weight, height, intelligence, or skill set, and will replay those negative thoughts all day. The key is to delete the negative recording, and REPLACE it with a positive recording.

Negativity will fill all voids in your life. That is why you cannot simply delete the negative recording. When you delete the negative, a void appears – your brain needs to focus and think about SOMETHING. If you don’t fill the void with something else, negativity will once again rear its ugly face. YOU MUST FILL THE VOID WITH POSITIVE THOUGHTS. 

Ask people close to you and those whom you trust what your most admirable qualities are. When you discover the great things others see in you, play those recordings. Have them on repeat, and never press pause. Place positive words and affirmations in places where you can see them often – like your phone, your mirror, and bedroom. The more you are reminded of who you REALLY ARE, the more confident you will become. Confident people believe they are awesome and capable! They may have negative thoughts from time to time, but those thoughts are quickly deleted and replaced with positive affirmations about whom they really are.

Confidence Versus Arrogance

I have heard many people say they feel “bad” about repeatedly telling themselves about how awesome and capable they are, because self-confident affirmations make them feel arrogant. If this is you, delete this thought process from your mind IMMEDIATELY!

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of arrogance is, “an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner.” Arrogance is manifested OUTWARDLY IN AN OVERBEARING MANNER. Confidence is a strong self-belief. Arrogance is telling everyone ELSE how awesome you are.

The difference between a confident person and an arrogant person is attitude. Confident people know who they are and don’t need to tell others about it. Arrogant people need to feel validated by telling others about how great they are. By definition, constant positive self-talk is confidence, not arrogance.

Challenge

As you have learned, a confident person is positive, prepared, and strong in their thinking. Spend this week increasing your confidence by practicing daily gratitude (3 items of thankfulness is a good start), preparing yourself by studying, reading, and learning at least 20 minutes a night, and speaking three positive words about yourself to replace the negative recording.

Your confident, future-self will thank you for the hustle you show today!

Get better!

________________________________________________________________

Attitude of Gratitude

It is important to be thankful and have a spirit of gratitude more than once a year. This Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to program your mind to ALWAYS have an “Attitude of Gratitude”.

The Power of Gratitude

I heard a statistic that America has only 8% of the worlds’ population, but is the leader by a large margin in the use of tranquilizers.

Tranquilizers are prescribed to people to reduce tension and anxiety. Instead of tranquilizers however, what if people simply developed a heart of gratitude? What impact would gratitude have on depression, tension, and anxiety?

It is a proven scientific fact that it is impossible to feel gratitude AND anxiety, sadness, tension, and depression at the same time. Our brains cannot process both emotions simultaneously.

When we express gratitude, a chemical called dopamine is released in our brains. Dopamine is a “feel good ” chemical that is related to pleasure. The more dopamine that is released, the more pleasure we feel. Therefore, the more gratitude we express, the happier we become.

Dopamine is extremely addictive. Expressing gratitude is a healthy way of releasing dopamine. However, our society has been using extremely negative practices to release dopamine in our brains; stimulants such as nicotine, cocaine, and methamphetamine also promote increased levels of dopamine. Dopamine is the main factor as to why those drugs are extremely addictive – people desperately want to feel pleasure, even if it requires destroying the body.

The good news is, just like how nicotine or cocaine releases dopamine, so does gratitude! The more gratitude you practice, the more “addicted” you will become. The more addicted you become, the happier you will be!

Make Gratitude A Daily Habit

In my Instagram account, I have expressed the importance of “paying yourself first”. Paying yourself first is a financial term that is used to express the importance of paying yourself the first 10% of your pay cheque into a savings account.

I have developed the notion of paying yourself first into different practice as well…that is, when you wake up, instead of showering and running off to work or school, pay yourself first by waking up early to do something that will energize and strengthen you for the day.

One of the best methods of paying yourself first is TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE. My favourite author, Jon Gordon recommends taking a “gratitude walk” every morning. Whatever you decide to do, I strongly encourage you to begin your day by simply speaking things you are grateful for.

Most people are thankful for the big things – job promotions, their new car, winning a prize, etc. But very few take the time to express gratitude for the small things as well. Be thankful you woke up alive and healthy! Be thankful you have a warm bed to sleep in. Be thankful you have a water heater so that you can have a warm shower!

So many times we focus on the negative and don’t realize just how fortunate we really are. When we begin to practice gratitude and focus on the positive, heavy amounts of dopamine will be released in our brains. We will feel happier and become healthier.

Gratitude In Action

I have witnessed, first hand, the power of expressing simple, daily gratitude.

Gratitude has been a major factor in changing the culture of many negative classrooms that I have encountered in my career. I have witnessed countless depressed, anxious, sad, and worried students change their entire mindset with the simple practice of speaking daily gratitude.

I have seen depression and sadness melt away. I have seen gratitude and joy take root and grow in the most harsh environments.

I challenge you to practice gratitude this week. Say THREE things every morning that you are thankful for. Remember, being thankful doesn’t mean winning the lottery or getting 100% on a test. Being thankful is being alive, enjoying the sunshine, and having a strong body and a sound mind.

Focus on the positive. Be thankful. It is not necessary to destroy your brains and body with  drugs when you can activate dopamine in a healthy way! Be thankful! Practice gratitude!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Get better!

_______________________________________________________