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The Best Ancient Quotes To Help You Lead A Successful Life

History is a great teacher. Whatever challenge you are facing today, you can be sure that someone else has faced it before. Thousands of years ago, people's lives were a lot more challenging than the lives of people today. Warfare, lack of food, diseases were a constant threat. Yet people were still able to overcome these challenges, survive and even lead happy lives.

From these ages, comes timeless wisdom that is as inspiring and pertinent today, as it was thousands of years ago. This ancient wisdom has served as a guide for people throughout the ages, and it can inspire you as well. Use it to get a sense of direction and tackle the challenges that life throws at you.

"A man's character is his fate." Heraclitus

Your outlook on life will determine how you will fare in life. Yes, the world can be a mean place sometimes, but there is no use in complaining about it.

You need to take matters into your own hands and face all the things life throws at you head on. A person who has a strong will and self-discipline will conquer, while the weak person who only complains and does nothing to improve themselves will continue on living a measly existence.

"The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances." Aristotle

You always have to count on something happening in life that will derail your plans. Don't sulk in despair. Use it in order to drive you to achieve even more.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Confucius

There will always be obstacles on the way. You will fail more times than you will succeed. However the only thing you can do is to get up again, brush yourself off and continue on your journey. That's where your greatest triumphs will come from. A successful person is also usually a person who has failed thousands of times over.

"You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity." Epicurus

You rarely become great just by circumstances and without challenges. In fact, it is the difficult times and the way you handle them that make you great. The next time when you face a challenge, don't back down, instead overcome it and learn from the experience.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

Your life is what you make of it. If you think everyone is against and you are helpless to overcome all this negativity, then you will continue on living a miserable life. However if you realize that your life is in your hands and instead decide to face your worst fears and start on a journey of self-improvement, then your life will only get better.

You need to visualize success and work for it. Only with hard work will you be able to achieve your goals.

In the ancient times, people from all over Ancient Greece and beyond used to go the Oracle of Delphi to ask for guidance. High on the temple walls were carved out a series of simple maxims, words of wisdom, which are as true and applicable today, as they were thousands of years ago:

"Know thyself." Delphic maxim

"Know your opportunity." Delphic maxim

"Cling to discipline." Delphic maxim

"Test the character." Delphic maxim

"Work for what you can own." Delphic maxim

"Live without sorrow." Delphic maxim

"Do not tire of learning." Delphic maxim

Take these to heart and return to them whenever you feel you are losing direction or need a kick in the ass.


Peter is a world traveler interested in fitness, history, learning languages, as well as many other things. He shares his thoughts on fitness, history, and self-improvement on his blog: Gain Weight Journal.

The post The Best Ancient Quotes To Help You Lead A Successful Life appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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7 Things Ellen DeGeneres Can Teach You About Being Yourself

"Find out who you are and be that person. That's what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come." - Ellen DeGeneres

Whether you hate her, love her, gossip about her, or admire her. It doesn't matter. Ellen DeGeneres is the real deal.

She keeps it real, she isn't afraid to be herself, express her views or stand up for what she believes in. And I admire that about her!

I love and am inspired by people like that.

Here's what Ellen DeGeneres can teach you about being yourself.

1. It makes you a happier person.

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama

And one of those actions is being your true self and doing what's true to you.

I can guarantee you that if you do something out of character to achieve something, you won't be happy afterwards.

If you go against your morals, beliefs, values, or act like something you're not, you'll be unhappy.

Ellen clearly demonstrates this with her personality, who she is, and what she stands for. And her positive attitude shows that.

If you want to be happy, start with being yourself if you're not doing so already.

2. You'll be more of an inspiration to others.

Self confidence is a worldwide problem that many of us struggle with.

It doesn't matter what race you are, your background, culture, etc. We've all dealt with confidence issues at some point. Some more than others.

So having the courage and the confidence to be yourself is an inspiration in its self.

It puts you in a position to inspire others to do the same. Even If it's not intentional! Ellen is clearly one of those people, and you can learn a thing or two from her.

3. Life is a lot more fun.

"When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things." - Joe Namath

Ellen DeGeneres is a fun person to watch and listen to. After all, she's not just an entertainer, she's a comedian.

But that's not the point. The more confident you are, the more fun you're bound to have. And that only happens when you start to be yourself without fear of being judged.

Life's no fun at all when you're pretending to be something you're not and feeling like a fraud.

You may say "easier said than done", but that would be an excuse. Excuses, fun, and being yourself don't mix!

Excuses, fun, and being yourself mix about as well as curry and milk in a bowl of cereal!

4. You'll attract a lot of criticism (which is a good thing).

"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." - Elbert Hubbard

Some days ago, a pastor accused Ellen of celebrating lesbianism (is that even a word?) and marriage to attract young girls.

I won't go into all the details but the point is this. When you be yourself, expect a lot of criticism. But don't let the fact that you'll be criticized stop you from being true to yourself.

Doing something, saying something, and being something is better than the opposite.

Being yourself and being criticized for it just means you're doing the right thing. So don't let it stop you.

5. It shows you believe in yourself.

"You have to believe in yourself before anybody else believes in you." - Ray LaMontagne

Self belief is a powerful thing. And it all starts with you.

Show me a person (like Ellen DeGeneres) who isn't afraid to express themselves, and you'll notice others are more likely to believe in what they say.

You know why? Because they believe in themselves, first and foremost. They're not afraid to keep it real, and they could care less about criticism.

It all starts with you and it always will.

6. It makes you more confident.

"With confidence, you have won before you have started." - Marcus Garvey

The more you get used to opening up and being honest, the confident you'll become. And If you do it enough you won't even have to think about it.

And when you don't have to think or worry about it, you'll be doing it on purpose. That's the point you want to reach. That's the magic of being yourself.

7. People will admire you.

"A leader is admired, a boss is feared." Vicente del Bosque

And Ironically, Ellen shares a leadership quality that people admire. And that is honesty.

Honesty is admired by most, because it's so easy to lie, deceive, pretend, be fake, and mislead people.

But honesty is a quality trait we all admire. And honesty is a major part of being who you're meant to be. You want admiration? Start with honesty.

"I have a great career, and I have wonderful fans who really are supportive and loyal - because I'm not hiding anything from them." - Ellen DeGeneres

8. It puts you in a position of power and respect.

"Personality has power to uplift, power to depress, power to curse, and power to bless." - Paul Harris

The type of power I'm talking about is the power to uplift, influence, inspire and motivate others. The power to change others lives for the better.

And those types of qualities are respected. It's easy to see Ellen uses her power to do exactly that. To influence, inspire, and uplift people rather than destroy people.

Being yourself, having the confidence to be yourself, and being honest can put you in that position. And that's not bad at all because you'll be able to contribute on a wider scale. :)

Leave your comments below, and please share this post. Lets get the word out!


Theo Ellis is a blogger, author, and entrepreneur who’s committed to giving straightforward advice to help others grow. Specializing in topics such as – self confidence, self improvement, happiness, discipline and time management. You can find out more about Theo at his website –

The post 7 Things Ellen DeGeneres Can Teach You About Being Yourself appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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3 Ways To Know if You Are Truly Connecting with Someone

Along my path and travels, I've found much inspiration and perspective through the people I've met along the way. These are people who challenge my limitations, invite new perspectives and ideas and simply make me see things differently. I've come to realize that who we choose to allow into our lives is one of the top influences to the quality of life we experience. We become the people we surround ourselves with- it's so true. When I travel, I often find myself meeting people that I may not approach or stumble upon in my own city. Travelers are often explorers seeking expansive experience and opening their minds and hearts to what he world has to offer. I've found myself gravitating to people who think this way in my own city as well, although its sometimes a challenge when we are comfortable and not forced to approach people spontaneously. But I make it a priority because people who uplift, inspire, support, encourage and challenge are the people we deserve in our lives.  Most importantly, I enjoy spending my time with people who I truly connect with. In focusing on building those relationships with the people who I feel I resonate with, I've come to see 3 qualities that are often present when I'm truly connecting with someone. When we ask ourselves these questions, the answers become clear.

1 Does it feel natural?

I've found the best relationships to spark and grow in freedom and without much thought. They're totally natural. We don't over think, adjust or limit our authentic expression with each other. We feel free to be ourselves, to express different emotions and simply give ourselves the permission to be who we are. This kind of dynamic creates the space to truly connect. I've found that some of the most inspiring and authentic connections happened spontaneously, without expectation and in freedom.

2 Do we share similar passions and values?

We know someone is on our level when we can hold a conversation with them that captures our interest and keeps us engaged. For example, when I meet someone who is into travel, personal growth, writing and creativity or health and wellness, I get excited and feel more connected to them. I can relate. I am genuinely interested in getting to know the other and we are able to find common ground. We can talk for hours...seriously! I've found that in living my own passion and vision, the people I've met along the way who share similar passions support my passion- we feed each others' passion. It's amazing. It may be that we are interested in the same activities, however what I've found to be even more important is shared values.  For example, If I meet someone who also values growth and challenge, the way they go about living that value may be different from me, but we are still standing on the same ground and are able to relate to each other. They may have a YouTube channel, while I use my blog; we both value creativity and self expression. There are so many right ways to live the same value.

3 How Do I Feel in My Body?

This is perhaps the most important thing to pay attention to when we want to grow with and truly feel connected to the people around us. Danielle LaPorte, a woman who inspires me every day, has written "The Desire Map", a book that describes how we go about setting goals by first identifying the way we want to feel. By knowing our "Core Desired Feelings" we are able to align our actions and choices, including who we spend our time with, to feel the way we desire. We want to feel good with the people around us, we want to feel energized, inspired, supported, fulfilled and connected. When we pay attention to how we feel and trust our instinct, the answers become clear. A great way to get clear is to do a 10 second gut check and ask ourselves the question, "Do I feel good, energized, at ease and connected with this person?"  Our instinct doesn't life. Sometimes it's about being really honest with ourselves and having the courage to trust the quiet voice within. From there, we will know who is meant to be in our lives.

Julie is passionate about everything personal growth and wellness, living the Wholehearted  journey and sharing it on her blog,

The post 3 Ways To Know if You Are Truly Connecting with Someone appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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6 Reasons A Lack Of Productivity Can Lead To Bad Habits


We first make our habits, and then our habits make us. - John Dryden

Are you as productive as you'd like to be?

Do you feel like you could do a whole lot more with your time?

And how often are you getting distracted within any given day? Too much?

Are you finding it hard to break the habit? Do you wish it were easier?

I'm going to show you why a lack of productivity can lead to bad habits. And what you need to start doing!

1. You become easily distracted.

By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. - Christopher Columbus

Have you ever noticed when you're not productive you're easily distracted? This is what I'm talking about.

And If you're not careful you'll become more and more distracted, until it becomes a bad habit.

And once you're stuck in the habit of being distracted (like most), it'll be a bad habit.

A bad habit that'll destroy your ability to focus. And make it harder to stay focused for longer periods of time.

Spend more of your time being productive, so it's impossible to spend the majority of your time being distracted.

2. You become a spectator.

Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life. - Jackie Robinson

Who would you rather be? The one who's perfecting their craft and being productive, or the one who's watching over 7 hours of TV per day?

The difference between the two is - one of them is taking action, and the other is watching it.

And when you become a spectator of life, you start to become more critical of others.

Go onto YouTube, find a Justin Bieber or a Miley Cyrus video for example.

I can bet you'll find 1000's of spectators on there. And guess what they're doing? Being critical of Justin Bieber & Miley Cyrus in the comments.

Here's another example. You have the footballers on the field playing the game, and the spectators in the crowd watching the game.

And which one of them becomes critical when one team loses or takes a bad shot? The spectators!

The same principle applies to your life.

When you stop being productive, you'll eventually start spectating and paying attention to things you weren't aware of before!

3. You start to lose focus.

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus. - Alexander Graham Bell

When you're not doing something meaningful you start to lose focus. Try this as an experiment If you like.

Example - you could be on a train reading a book on your kindle, but the moment you put it down your focus will switch to the people on the train gossiping.

And If you were to do that enough, eventually you'll stop reading your kindle on the train all together.

The same principle applies to anything else you need to focus on. Stay focused more often than you get distracted.

4. You'll waste time on things that don't matter.

Have you ever seen teenagers, students, or young adults hanging around on street corners before? Doing nothing in particular?

This is the perfect example of the point I'm getting across.

When you're not productive you waste time on things that don't even matter. Most of the time.

Like hanging around on street corners, walking up and down town doing nothing important.

Watching the new world news, reading celebrity gossip magazines, scrolling through people's Facebook pictures and status updates, etc.

That's a dangerous habit to get into. Respect your time and use it wisely.

5. You become lazy.

 Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. - Jules Renard

Lazy people for the most part are far from productive people.

And the type of lazy I'm talking about is the person who refuses to do anything. Or makes excuses as to why they shouldn't or don't need to do it.

When you're not being productive there's a chance you'll become lazy. And once the lazy habit hits you, you'll find yourself making excuses.

And once you're stuck in the habit of making excuses, you'll get NOTHING done. And If you get nothing done, you'll be more unproductive than you will be productive.

The goal is to not just stay active, but to be productive. Exercise is a good way to get rid of laziness and the feeling of laziness.

If you're energy is always up, you'll be more likely to be focused and productive more often.

6. You'll have nothing to do.

This ties in with number 4. When you have nothing to do with yourself, you have no sense of direction.

By having nothing important left to do, you'll do anything. And anything usually means distractions, which leads to bad habits.

But the truth is you always have something productive to do.

If your task is to make 100 sales call a day, and you pass that target, does that mean you're done? Of course not.

There's always something productive you could be doing. No matter how much you get done within 24 hours.

So don't slack, don't make excuses, don't justify, and most importantly, stay focused more often than not. So it's impossible to upset the balance!

Got something to say? Leave a comment and i'll respond!


Theo Ellis is a blogger, author, and entrepreneur who’s committed to giving straightforward advice to help others grow. Specializing in topics such as – self confidence, self improvement, happiness, discipline and time management. You can find out more about Theo at his website -

The post 6 Reasons A Lack Of Productivity Can Lead To Bad Habits appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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Survival Basics: Be Prepared For Pet Emergencies

When it comes to our four legged friends, being prepared goes beyond having the proper pet supplies in our bug-out bags and in-home emergency kits.  There is also the component of pet healthcare and the need to recognize and then act quickly and decisively during a pet emergency.

In my opinion, this is a topic that is not addressed often enough in the preparedness community.  The truth is that while it is easy to use a proactive approach with our own healthcare, most of us are at a bit of a loss when it comes to our pets.

. . . Read More

Survival Basics: Be Prepared For Pet Emergencies by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

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The 10 Best Cities to Live Rich on a Dime (So You Can Bring Your Dreams to Life)

Admit it. You’ve wondered more than once…

Is there a better life out there?

You work your butt off every day, but just paying for the essentials becomes more difficult with every passing month.

And what about your dreams?

Will you be able to start your own business, send your children to college, or live the life you always wanted?

And you can’t help thinking …

Is there a smarter way of doing things?

A way to achieve a lower cost of living – and a higher quality of life?

Maybe it’s finally time to accept the fact…

Your city is way too expensive.

So why not do what so many others have done before you and move to a place that is more affordable and offers a better quality of life?

Perhaps somewhere with less crime and pollution – and more time to enjoy life.

Let’s see if such a place truly exists.

10) Alicante, Spain - the best of everything Spain has to offer.

OK, an explanation is needed. Yes, Alicante is not a place where you can literally live on a dime.
But compared to any North American city, and many in the UK, the cost of living in Alicante is so low and the quality of living is so high that this fabulous city deserves mention here.

Alicante lives its life in Barcelona’s shadows, which is not a bad thing.

This beautiful and safe beach city on Spain’s Costa Blanca is one of my favorite cities to live.

Alicante is famous for its traditional architecture, climate, food, entertainment, relaxed lifestyle, and lack of mass tourism. If you want to live a modern Spanish dream, Alicante won’t disappoint you.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $550/month.
Public Transportation: $37/month.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $37.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $5.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $1.00
And if your kids insist on eating at McDonalds, you can get a beer there too.

9) Mendoza, Argentina - where Argentina is still affordable

Mendoza is the heart of beautiful Argentinean wine country. It offers everything you would expect from a major metropolitan city — gourmet dining, exciting nightlife, and an energetic atmosphere, plus endless leisure activities.

The local economy offers ample opportunities for entrepreneurial spirit, and if your dream about starting your own business in Argentina, this could be your place.

The low cost of living in this urban metropolis makes it easy to pursue your dreams.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $380/month.
Buy: One-bedroom apartment, brand new, city center for $62,500.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $38.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $4
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.40

8) Bali, Indonesia - considered paradise by many

If you dream about low-cost living in a beautiful Asian city (perhaps writing your first novel), and you wish to participate in its exotic culture but also are willing to accept things you can’t change, Bali is your paradise.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $300/month.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $22.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $12
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.60

7) Chiang Mai, Thailand - possibly the best climate in Thailand

Exotic Thai culture, amazing food, milder mountain weather and friendly people — this is the city where you can live your dreams without running out of money fast. An active expats community will make integration easy for you and allow you to follow your passion; be on vacation for the rest of your life, start an online business, or work part-time as a tour guide.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $250/month.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $15.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $13
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.30

6) Corozal, Belize - if your dream is to simply “kick back”

Tropical paradise Corozal is all about the slow pace of life — yoga and meditation on the beach, a stroll through beach waters, a cocktail enjoying the sunset, or uninterrupted quiet time to concentrate on your business. Whatever your dreams are, here you can afford them.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $190/month.
Buy: Two-bedroom apartment, brand new, city center for $115,000.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $19.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $12
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.50

5) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - cozy and romantic despite all the tourism

Vallarta is extremely versatile and has lots to offer those who can look past the cities heavy tourism.

The city offers incredible natural beauty, a small-town atmosphere, and a romantic side that many don’t expect, just outside of town.

If you can’t afford to live your dream in the US, take the short flight to Vallarta where you can.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $450/month.
Buy: Traditional town house, city center for $55,000.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $15.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $7.50
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.25

4) Ojen, Spain – affordable living only minutes from luxurious Marbella

If you ever dreamed about living in southern Spain, Ojen could be your place. A stone throw away from busy Marbella and its multi-million-dollar villas, beautiful and romantic Ojen offers a much more quaint life without being boring.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $330/month.
Buy: Traditional town house, city center for $100,000.
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $28.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $4.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, domestic $1.25

3) Prague, Czech Republic – a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site

Have you ever dreamt about living in a gorgeous historic European city, sending your kids to excellent international schools, and running your own online business? But Europe is too expensive … so you thought?

Modern Prague is a beautiful and vibrant city with energetic people, yet it's preserved much of its artsy charm and narrow cobblestone streets.

Prague has it all — beauty, entertainment, culture, thriving nightlife with amazing pubs, restaurants, cafes, and a prestigious university. The best of all … it is inexpensive.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $590/month.
Public Transportation: $25/month or $240/year city-wide
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $27.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $5.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $0.75

2) Bucharest, Romania – the Paris of Eastern Europe
The 6th largest European city is bright, energetic, beautiful, and in the middle of an economic and cultural boom, yet it's surprisingly affordable.

If you dream of living a rich Bohemian lifestyle in Europe, this is your city.

To top it all off, it’s only 90 minutes’ drive from the beautiful Black Sea.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $450/month.
Public Transportation: $15/month city-wide
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $22.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $7.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $0.80

1) Chisinau, Moldova - Europe’s most affordable city
Today’s Chisinau is emerging from its East Block heritage with a world-class National Opera House and Ballet, three national museums, 33 universities, large shopping malls, and an active nightlife.

Like most European cities, the streets are filled with friendly, well-dressed people and luxury cars. Wi-Fi is everywhere, and it’s free; you can run your online business easily from any of the beautiful city parks while enjoying the scenery.

Rent: One-bedroom apartment, city center $270/month.
Public Transportation: $6/month city-wide
Dinner: Three courses for two, mid-range restaurant, $22.
Wine: Supermarket, good quality $5.00
Beer: ½ liter bottle, excellent, domestic $0.80

So what do you think?

Having seen these alternatives, does your city still seem like a smart place to live?

Thought not.

So isn’t it time to move somewhere you can finally make your dreams a reality?

A place where you have enough money left at the end of the month to invest in your future – and your passions.

Because the perfect place for you is just waiting to be discovered.

Don’t procrastinate any longer. Pick a city from the list and start making your plans. It's much easier than you think to live a life you love.

So – where will you start living your dreams?


Wilfried Lehmkuhler is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams; create financial Freedom and a Life they love by applying proven success strategies. Wilfried is a blogger, speaker, consultant and accomplished author who has worked with professional athletes and businesses in Europe and North America. You can find him at or @WLehmkuhler


The post The 10 Best Cities to Live Rich on a Dime (So You Can Bring Your Dreams to Life) appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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5 Reasons Why We Procrastinate

Procrastination is one of the things we all have in common.

It lies deep within us. And comes whenever we’re about to start working on something important, something big, that may make us a little more successful, a bit more experienced, but that also takes a certain amount of time and energy.

And that scares us.

And, again, we find ourselves putting off a task and switching to easier, simpler and quicker things to do that won’t make us that anxious or stressed.

But the more we put things off, the worse it gets. We become stressed and overburdened with thoughts about the task. And even though we’re doing something more enjoyable now, our mind is still focused on it.

Solving that problem starts by understanding what causes it.

And fear is mostly what lies behind us not doing the task right away.

Here is what scares us the most when it comes down to being productive and working on important stuff:

We’re not familiar with the task.

That makes us feel insecure, we don’t know what to do and where to start.

It causes discomfort.

It feels so much easier to open the browser and read some articles, check notifications or go to the other room and start doing something else now, rather than facing the task.

It’s easier to put it off and do something that you actually enjoy and won’t bring you so much stress or make you upset.

But as it turns out, that’s not an easier solution. Because anxiety increases and you don’t stop thinking about what needs to be done. You do that much more, actually - you fear the task, try hard to think of a way to finish it quickly. You can’t relax, not to mention to enjoy any other activity.

You worry about not finishing it in time.

Ironically, you don’t even start any time soon. You just waste time on imagining the result and play the worst turnout of events.

But you can never know how that will end until you actually work on it and complete it. So without giving it a try, there’s no need for worries. It may be easier and quicker than you expected.

You may fail.

Of course. That’s true for everything in life. But does it mean we should just stay at home and not try anything?

No. It means that we try. And if we fail, we just think of another way that may work better.

It will take a lot of time.

Many times that’s why we don’t start in the first place.

And yes. Things take time. Especially the things we need to do in order to improve ourselves and our lifestyle.

But they don’t need to be dreadful. And you can always break them into smaller, manageable tasks. You can even make them so tiny that each part of the big project will be ridiculously simple and quick to do.

There are many other fears we come up with when we face our to-do list.

And all of them are the excuses our mind makes when it wants to escape from obligation and turn to something easier.
But the easier stuff causes you worries in the future. So you never actually escape.

We fear the task because we might fail, then we’ll feel bad about ourselves, others will see that, we may fail at other things too because of it, will get to nowhere, etc.

But if you think about it, all these are illusions. You can never know what will happen. And the only way to understand is to give it a try and just start working on the most important thing for the day.

Choose just one.

Start now.

Start small.

Let everything else behind for now and focus on the task. It’s the only thing that’s essential now. And nothing else matter but starting.

The post 5 Reasons Why We Procrastinate appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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7 Important Lessons Learned Last Year, And How They Can Help You Too

Last year wasn't so great at times.

But what I learned made it worth it.

I learned a few lessons, good and not so good. I thought I would share them with you so you can take my experiences and make your year ahead a great one.

1. Don’t Write Goals

Write big ones. Write them and put them where you can see them. Change them review them but more importantly follow them through. If you can’t see your goals you won’t be inspired, you will only have a vague idea of what you want. Make them colorful, worthy and exactly what you want to happen going forward, this will motivate you to take action and getting results.


 2. Procrastination works

It helps you to fail badly, feel awfully guilty about yourself and doesn't help much with reaching your goals and dreams. For the most part of the year you could say I procrastinated badly, this didn't work out. Instead I've learned it’s all about discipline – give yourself a command and follow it through. No matter what!


 3. On Launching Ideas

It’s great if you have ideas and you want to follow them through, but there is a process. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before you even start launching an idea especially if you are trying to make a living doing so.

Have you researched the market? Do they want what you have to offer? How do you know? Has anyone else done this? Are there books on the subject? (Hint: it’s a good idea if there are)


4. Disappoint people who count on you.

Do you have readers, customers, friends, family that rely on you? You are here for them, they need you. For my readers, I feel like you barely heard from me and while I have a lot to give it doesn't matter I didn't give 100%. You needed to hear from me, but didn't as much as you could have. In essence I let you down.

I've learned the idea is to give 100%. You too.


5. Don’t be optimistic

Be realistic. Who are you? Where are you? What is your life like right now? What needs to change immediately? Where do you want to go? What does the light look like at the end of the tunnel?

I kept my optimism levels high – but wasn't realistic, don’t get me wrong it is good to be optimistic but you also have to be realistic. There is a difference.


6. Experiences matter

Life is all about experiences. It means to create the experiences you want to have, then savor them by being present and in the moment. When you look back later on in life you will always remember your experiences over the latest gadget or fashion accessory.

Create the experiences you want. Make your experiences count.


7. There is still time

Every day is a new opportunity to improve and change things if you don’t like the way they are. Don’t look back at yesterday, last week or last year and say you failed because while you are here and reading this right now, means there is hope and an opportunity right now to create the life you want, change the things you don’t like and become a better person.


I made some bad choices, terrible mistakes  - I didn't have the right foundation but will I quit? No. Instead, I will use what I learned to make better choices.

I also did amazing things and changed peoples lives. I am grateful for those moments too.

What lessons have you learned from last year that will allow you to make this year a great one? Do you have a game plan?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


I’m Diana Reid, a Beach lover, Philosopher & Entrepreneur.  I am all about helping you find purpose, authenticity & happiness, sanity which is why I created The Personal Freedom Project. Subscribe to my Happy Triggers Guide, designed to help you find purpose, create a plan and manifest your desires, even if you don’t know where to start!

The post 7 Important Lessons Learned Last Year, And How They Can Help You Too appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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Community Survival: Bringing Friends and Family Into the Fold

The challenges of living a self-sufficient, prepper lifestyle can be overwhelming when attempting to do it all yourself.  If you are lucky, you have a spouse or partner on board to share both the work and the joys of self-reliance.  On the other hand, I know from the many comments and emails that I receive that a good percentage of you are on your own.

Some carry the torch alone due to circumstance but others soldier along without assistance because family and friends scoff and consider them loony tunes. 

. . . Read More

Community Survival: Bringing Friends and Family Into the Fold by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

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7 Things to Remember When You’re Trying to Lose Weight

Getting healthier and learning to love your body can be hard, especially when it’s been a constant battle (sometimes for years). But, it doesn’t have to be.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when you’re on your weight loss journey.

Your thoughts matter more than you think 

If you’re constantly thinking about how gross you are, how much you hate your body, and how you’ll never actually be able to lose weight, well, guess what? It’s going to be pretty hard to make healthy changes that last.

Take a step back and choose to see yourself through a lens of love. Would you ever speak to your friend like you speak to yourself? I think not.

So – what would you say to your friend, feeling the exact same way about her body? Really think about it. And once you’re clear on how much kinder you’d be to your friend, tune-in, and start talking to yourself like you would a loved one because (to put it simply) you just can’t make positive changes when you’re constantly beating yourself up. 

Before anything, you’ve got to appreciate your body exactly as it is

Transitioning from a place of hate to a place of love towards your body is transformative. When you can appreciate all your body allows you to do, you start to respect your body in a way that allows you to make healthier choices.

You can want your body to change to become healthier. But the difference from before is that once in this place of gratitude, your intentions for your body are ones out of love, respect, and care –not hate, disgust, and disrespect. And that change is monumental in all of your daily choices. 

Your weight won’t make you happy

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve met thousands of unhappy thin people. Your weight doesn’t determine your happiness. Happiness is an inside job. It’s about self-love and acceptance. And it stems from choosing love and faith over fear, moving your body out of love, setting healthy boundaries, asking for what you need, cultivating supportive relationships, and choosing to honor your hunger and fullness.

As you go throughout your journey, remember the inner stuff is just as important as the outer stuff – it’s where lasting change occurs.

Small steps forward are success

In a world of huge dramatic weight losses, your choice of a salad for lunch instead of a burger may seem insignificant to you. But, it’s not. It makes you feel better, more vibrant, and alive. That’s the stuff that matters. And remember, this is real life – not the movies or television. So on a daily basis, remind yourself that all steps, even small steps, are important steps. They key is to just keep taking steps.

You’re going to have hard times and that’s okay

Just like any other journey, you’re going to have bad times. Times that have you feeling like you’re ready to throw in the towel, that you just can’t do this, and that none of your hard work matters. Just knowing that you (and everyone else) will have hard times is comforting. You are not alone.

The important thing is to use the lessons that you learn from these times as growth opportunities. We have pain and struggles so we can grow. Without pain, we’d stay where we are, which (if you ask me) isn’t really the point. Walk away knowing that no goal is win/lose, all goals are win/learn and grow with grace. 

Deprivation does no one any good

Diets don’t work. That’s why there’s a new one every other week. Ditch the diets (and deprivation) and start focusing on how certain foods make you feel. You’ll notice that real whole fresh foods make you feel happy, vibrant, and healthy.

And start tuning-in to your hunger. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re full stop. When you begin to listen to your body and choose healthy foods, you’re body will naturally stop you when you’re done. You’ve just got to tune-in. 

Connect with your body doing something you love

Whether it’s through yoga, nature hikes, or group exercise classes, find an activity you enjoy that involves moving your body. Through movement we get out of our heads and connect with our physical being in a whole new empowering way. The super important part is that you’re moving your body doing something you love.

One of my clients once brilliantly told me, “If I had to tell my former self something, I’d ask her what she liked to do as a child. What activity brought her joy? Once I had the answer I’d go do (way) more of that. Movement is therapy for the soul, that is, if you like what you’re doing.”


Corinne Dobbas, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and Wellness Coach with a Masters in Nutrition. Specializing in coaching, weight loss, and behavior change, Corinne has helped hundreds of women develop a healthy positive relationship with food, their body, and themselves. She helps women do this by showing them how to create a healthy lifestyle (they love) using a holistic approach. She believes lasting change starts from the inside out. Visit her at and see how to work with her here.

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3 Magic Words to Overcome Overwhelm

Do you ever know what you need to do but have trouble getting started? There’s a good chance that there’s at least one thing that you habitually put off doing. For many, it’s exercising, cleaning, or starting their next big project. For myself, even though I love writing, I still find myself feeling wanting to procrastinate writing my next article, book, or social media post.

By looking at my own experience as well as those I’ve coached, I’ve found one common underlying feeling that sabotages people from moving forward – overwhelm.

Imagine having an entire house to clean. The thought of not even knowing where to begin can make it easy to just sit back and say "Screw it, I'll deal with this later." Even with small projects like writing an article, I’ll find myself overwhelmed, not so much by the amount of work, but with the worry of “What if it’s not good enough?”

There’s one thing I’ve found that can instantly take away the feeling of overwhelm and get me to take action right away. When done properly, it’s virtually impossible to procrastinate.

This trick I've found is to ask the question, "Can I just...?" and then insert an action so easy that I'm guaranteed to be able to do it even if I have barely any willpower at all.

Let’s say I don’t feel like doing an hour-long workout. I can ask, “Can I just do the warmup?” If even that’s too overwhelming, I’ll ask, “Can I just do the first 30 seconds?” After that I’d ask, "Can I just do a little more? One more rep? One more exercise?" I can always stop once I’ve reached a point where I’ve felt like I’ve done all I can and still feel a sense of accomplishment.

On the surface, this may not sound like it would accomplish much. After all, what would thirty seconds of exercise matter for getting in shape? The key thing to understand is that we’re not after the tangible benefits of exercise; at least not at first. We’re after the intangible benefit of momentum.

Have you ever noticed how it’s usually only after you get started with something, that then the motivation to do it goes up? I may not feel like writing, exercising, or getting to work when I’m doing something else. Once I start doing any of those things though, my desire to keep going skyrockets.

Instead of trying to get motivation, try to get momentum. The motivation will naturally follow.

It’s also important to remember that overwhelm comes from seeing all the steps in the process all at once. If I’m thinking about the 37 things I have to do to complete my next book, I’m naturally going to put it off. If I only ask, “Can I just do the next thing on my list?” such as naming the next chapter, it suddenly becomes far easier for to get going and then to want to keep on going.

Remember, you can always do more than you set out to do originally. It's better to start small, hit your target goals every day, and occasionally go past them, so that you're always succeeding rather, than to have lofty targets that you only hit on occasion - if at all.

This method cannot fail so long as you break it down into something so easy it requires virtually no effort and time. Even if it takes months to build momentum, using these three magic words, “Can I just,” to find the smallest step you’re willing to take, is guaranteed to take you farther than doing nothing at all.


Derek Doepker shows people how to create better habits in 5 minutes a day in his book The Healthy Habit Revolution. He is also the author of the #1 best-selling personal development book Why You’re Stuck and founder of the blog Excuse Proof Fitness. You can connect with him at

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Best of Backdoor Survival 2014

It has become blogging tradition to post an end of the year roundup of the best articles from the previous year. The problem, of course, is what constitutes the best? Is it the most viewed or the most shared? Or, perhaps, is it my own hand-picked favorites?

My choice this year is to highlight the ten most viewed articles since, after all, they are the post popular. Although some of these were written prior to 2014, they do represent those articles that new readers tend to visit and that long-term readers go back to over and over again.

. . . Read More

Best of Backdoor Survival 2014 by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

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Three Uses Of NLP in Everyday Life

1  Red alert!

The NLP concept of ‘state’ is one I find useful in many situations.  By ‘state’ we mean the emotional, intellectual imaginative and physical condition we are in at any given time.  NLP teaches us both that states can be changed, and how to change them, this giving us power areas of life that traditional ‘common sense’ says we have little power over.

For example, for many people, ‘getting angry’ is just something that happens to them.  Some annoying stimulus occurs, the ‘angry’ button is pushed and, like Pavlov’s dog, off they go.  NLP taught me to monitor my internal states, to stand back and notice them.  If I feel anger rising, I can choose if I want to use it or not. Usually the best answer is to back off.  States can be ‘broken’ by choosing to act or think in a new way (a simple physical action will often do the trick), after which a new, calmer state can be got to and whatever has caused the anger can be sorted.

You can create a culture around you that uses this: I expect people to be able to manage their own states; if they have their own ‘red alert’ moment, it is OK for them to tell me, then disappear till they have calmed down.

2  As others see us

The above process is essentially about objectivity: being able to stand outside our emotions and old patterns of reaction.  NLP also taught me how to stand outside situations and see others’ point of view – something we are often told we ‘should’ do but rarely told how to do.

NLP uses simple physical space to achieve this.  When considering a situation in which you are involved, you make a physical map of the matter, with different people taking up different spaces in the room where you are situated.  You then simply move to the space that you have allocated to each participant, tell yourself that you are that person and let your subconscious tell you how that person is experiencing matters.  You can have a dialogue with other people (or at least your mental model of them) in other spaces.

Keep some space free to be a ‘fly on the wall’, a total outsider who is watching the interaction. How do things look from this place?

This may all sound spooky, but it often reveals remarkable insights.  It is based on the work of therapist Fritz Perls, who used it to bring about startling changes in people’s lives.

3  A seasonal one: how to avoid a cold! 

Sometimes when I wake up feeling a bit shivery but have a busy day ahead, I use a simplified version of an NLP process called ‘six step reframing’ to keep the cold at bay.  The underlying insight is that when you start feeling ‘coldy’, this is because there is a part of you eager to rest, and which will ensure you get a cold if you don’t do as it wants (as that will finally make you slow down).  This part can be very insistent – but you can negotiate with it.  Try making your right hand the part and your left the rest of you, then set up a dialogue between these two.  Agree things like an early night or a few days’ healthy eating and drinking until you sense the rest-seeking part is satisfied.  Then go to work, do what you have to do, then fulfill your side of the bargain.

Again, this may sound strange, but I have used this many times and it nearly always works.

NLP has acquired a mixed reputation; it can be seen as the tool of dodgy salespeople or of stage hypnotists.  I am very concerned to right this balance, to show that it is actually a set of simple techniques that everyone can use to make their lives better, often in quite ordinary ways.


Robbie Steinhouse is Director and Master Trainer at NLP School in London, and in the past has taught people with every job title imaginable. All have a common goal of using NLP to enhance their work life, professional and personal relationships.

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Survival Basics: Buckets, Lids and Gamma Seals

Buckets are a fact of life when it comes to food storage. They are strong, light and moisture free, and, when sealed, will keep most, if not all pests at bay.  They are also readily available and the cost is nominal, if not free.

In keeping with the them of survival and food storage basics, in this article I share the ins and outs of food grade buckets, lids and gamma seals to safely store you bulk food items for the long term.

. . . Read More

Survival Basics: Buckets, Lids and Gamma Seals by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

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The Contentment Habit

By Leo Babauta I’ll admit I do it as much as anyone else: see the cool things that others are doing and wish I were doing something cool like that too. You see great travel photos on Instagram and other social media — people living amazing lives, creating cool things, going on adventures. And instantly, […]
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20 Groovy Life Lessons I’ve learned Before 30

So I'm going to turn 30 this year. Yep. The big Three 'O'. And this is a post compiling what I've learnt and how they can inspire you.

My "credentials"?

My dad died of ALS when I was only 20, exactly two months before I enrolled into college. Despite graduating, I don't work a conventional job. I'm doing my own thing now by being a writer and have finally hit success after a few years. I've been in a long distance relationship for over two years now. To throw in to the mix, I've had my heartbroken many times before.

Basically, I've had my fair share of ups and downs. I'm very grateful for the life I have, but from time to time, I do wonder why I'm dealt such a lousy hand.

Nonetheless, I still and always will fight hard for what I want.

1) Life is a mystery and that is a fact

Frankly, I don't even know why my dad died. He got ALS one day and we knew there was no cure. That was it. After two years, he went away peacefully.

Seeing someone you grew up with go like that is extremely surreal and painful at the same time. It's weird even. And sometimes, it's no use fighting it.

You just try to make do with what you have.

2) Love your parents for they're growing old while you're growing up

And yup. Cherish your loved ones, especially your parents. While you're growing up and learning about life your own way today, they're only growing older.

3) Love is just a crazy energy that comes and goes as it pleases

You know, because sometimes you unexpectedly meet somebody and have perfect chemistry, while other times you're seemingly forced into a breakup for reasons you cannot comprehend.

Love is indeed a crazy energy. So don't be too shocked or sad when it comes and goes. Be grateful for the experience.

4) Don't judge people because people are never what they seem

In other words, don't perceive somebody according to their various labels.

My first girlfriend was a girl I met in church. She wanted the best for me through her religion and I thought that meant she couldn't be that bad.

She cheated on me in the end and I had to find that out from her best friend.

So never judge somebody and base them on your own beliefs and ideas. People are not what they seem for everybody has their secrets.

5) Yet, learn how to judge people the right way

Although judging people is considered wrong by most, I personally think we can't help it, so we might as well do it the right way.

For example, if you meet somebody for the first time and they're extremely rude to the waiter, dump them. You don't need such disrespectful people in your life.

6) Quit your job to do what you love only when it makes sense

I quit my job and jumped into starting my blog without knowing a damn thing. My savings depleted extremely fast and I felt miserable for a long time.

Don't quit your job just because most successful people did it. Do it only when it makes sense. You do need the stability to fund and give you the drive to do what you love. Otherwise, you may end up making desperate decisions just to make money.

7) Money is important, but the bottom line is whether you want to chase it

To say money is important is naive and even arrogant.

Yet, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, if you do work specifically only to make money, you most likely won't make much. It's only when you come across as authentic and provide major value would you be able to make something people are willing to buy.

8) Be very wary of people who use flowery language 

"You're lucky now cause I'm on my break" and "I don't normally do this for others, but for you I will" are a couple of classics I came across many times.

It's extremely easy to use mere words to come across as nice. Be wary of such people. They will be back for favors for sure.

9) People change, get over it

I've fallen out with over a handful of friends because I realized they are pretty toxic. And it was sad because they didn't use to be like that.

But well, people change. It can't be helped. It's best to just move on.

10) Passion is not a golden ticket that solves all your problems

I've heard many people preaching, "Do what you love, and the rest will take care of itself."

I think that's bullshit. Passion or following your heart doesn't solve problems.

Hard work and consistent effort do. That being said, passion doesn't make you feel on top of the world all the time.

11) The world is not a secret place the media makes it out to be

I've been to the rural parts of Thailand myself and also interviewed a fellow location-independent blogger who's been to more places.

Indeed, the world isn't that scary. If you're sensible and make smart choices, you're safe. So don't be scared. Travel!

12) Embrace your introvert side

Feel out of place at a party? Constantly disagreeing with the conversation your friends have? Don't like to go out on weekends?

That's okay. That's great even. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you and you're certainly not weird.

Don't ever let anyone sway you. Embrace your introvert side and keep growing the way you like it, alone.

13) Feel uncomfortable and do it anyway

That's how you get out of your comfort zone. That's how you stop procrastinating.

The main point is, you're not supposed to feel super awesome about it. In fact, you may not even know what results you will get.

But at least, there are results. So just do it anyway. No excuses.

14) You're not your job

You, [Insert your name] is not based on how high your income is, what you do at work, how much time you spend in the office and certainly not what your crappy boss says about you.

You're many more things, like passion, love, ideas, worldviews or the difference you made in someone else's life.

So don't bring your job home. Clock out and that is that.

15) Don't be too quick to criticize or punish somebody

You're not perfect either. You make mistakes too and there's a chance you will make the same mistake as others.

16) You don't have to be first place in your passion

Passion isn't about competition all the time. It's good to push yourself and be motivated by prizes, but remember that passion is about expressing your art, craft and imbuing yourself in it whole.

Remember to have fun too.

17) Success is individual

Thus, stop comparing with others. It doesn't matter if you're not making millions or have adoring fans like a celebrity.

You have your own unique challenges and hence your own unique form of success. Embrace that and your true path will be revealed.

18) Enjoy school while you can

Because when you're out there in the world, it's back to square one. It is only when school is over you'll start to wonder if this (likely your job) is all you're going to do for the rest of your life.

19) Breakups hurt, but you'll be fine

It hurts like mad. You may get depressed even.

But relax. You'll be fine. Everybody goes through heartbreak. If they can get by, so can you.

20) If you don't want to feel like an old fart, then start hanging out with people who don't

Honestly, I always dreaded the big Three-'O'. I thought I would feel old, sluggish and be forced into social norms.

But age is truly what you make it up to be. You can do anything you want. And if you want to feel like you belong, just hang out with others of the same age or older who still do what they love.

Age is just a number, but life can't be made with numbers. You make it with real experience.

So make it awesome, memorable and incredible.

Something awesome for Pick The Brain Readers!

I hope you enjoyed the article! Want more ways to be happy?

Then you’re going to want my book. It’s free! Here it is:

12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**K About!

Time to shed the crap in life and start being happy! This free book is only available through this link to Alden Tan.

Alden Tan keeps it real at his blog and writes about motivation in unconventional ways. His two main passions are Bboying and writing. Check out his free report, 12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**k About!

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Should We Forgive Bill Cosby?

It’s a question that comes up when celebrities get themselves into trouble. Which happens often enough.

To start with, let me make it clear that I’m not talking about the legal side of the issue. At least twenty-three women have spoken out about varying degrees of molestation at the beloved comedian’s hands. Bill Cosby has (it seems) done things that make him liable to criminal and civil penalties. The law should take its course. You don’t get off because you’re a celebrity.

Instead I’m talking about the court of public opinion. As one CNN news story put it, “Cosby, 77, has never faced a judge or jury, let alone been convicted, over the allegations. But it’s clear many people have already tried him in their minds.”

To begin with, although current society is fascinated by celebrities, the role they actually play in our culture isn’t well understood.

We live in a society of strangers. We are no longer tribespeople or villagers whose acquaintance totals a few dozen people. Every day we see and deal with many individuals we will never see again. This is especially true in big cities and suburbs.

Even people we see every day are more or less strangers to us. How much do you know about the people you work with? Do you and they have any common acquaintances outside the workplace? What about your neighbors? I’ve lived for six years in the same middle-class suburb on the edge of the Chicago metropolis. I know some of my neighbors, but most of those who live around me are people I probably wouldn’t even recognize in most settings.

At the same time, we find ourselves interacting with these strangers in various ways, and we have to talk to them about something. One thing we all share is a familiarity with famous people—politicians, movie stars, singers, sports heroes, and so on. These celebrities provide a kind of common acquaintance that we can talk about with people with whom we otherwise have little to share.

But we have a very curious attitude toward these celebrities. We like to build them up and then tear them down again. Often they let themselves in for it by doing stupid, bizarre, or criminal things, but the vehemence we show (while enormous atrocities elsewhere in the world are going practically unnoticed) suggests that something else is going on.

When you think about it, even the celebrity you most abhor is in all likelihood someone who has never harmed you personally, if only because he has never met you. You may even realize that, from a purely personal point of view, you have had nothing but pleasure from his performances. But because he has been caught in a disgraceful act, you get satisfaction from despising him. You may even start to feel sincerely angry with him.

Some of this anger is due to envy. We live in a democratic, egalitarian society, where nobody is any better than anybody else (or so we tell ourselves). At the same time we want to have heroes to admire and look up to. These impulses are somewhat contradictory, and so it’s no surprise that they produce contradictory results—elevating the star, then tearing her down.

This process is also a way of cementing common values. To attack a celebrity who commits rape is, or seems to be, a way of condemning rape as a whole. Fair enough—but I really wonder if this kind of condemnation is really going to help prevent crimes like this in the future.

For some people, hostility toward public figures is also a way of displacing their anger onto some remote object. But there is something suspicious about this process. What are you really angry about? It would make more sense to look at this question in the context of your own life and take steps to remedy it—or accept the situation if there’s nothing else you can do.

Granted, there are a lot of people who looked up to Bill Cosby. They feel genuinely hurt that his behavior has been at such variance with his benign fatherly image. It’s always a danger you face with heroes—especially living ones. They often turn out to be different what you thought they would be—and more often than not, they’re worse. I suppose the lesson here is to be careful about whom you look up to—especially if they’re still alive and the book isn’t closed on their personal stories.

In one sense, then, this rush to revile Bill Cosby is understandable. He was held up as a hero and a role model, and he let a lot of people down. It would be hard if not impossible to excuse him of many of the things he’s done (assuming he really did them).

In the end, though, I don’t feel I can answer the question that I started with. Should we forgive Bill Cosby? Should we condemn him? Who is this “we” that we’re talking  about—public opinion, society at large? Most of the time when people talk this way, they are inserting themselves into a (largely imagined) category of moral arbiters—whether or not they have any business to be there.

So, then, let me change the question: can I forgive Bill Cosby? I can and I will try to—because it’s in my own best interest to do so. It’s in my own best interest to stop upsetting myself and getting angry over things that are, in the end, none of my business. Whatever the truth of these charges, I personally wish Bill Cosby well—just as I wish his victims well. It’s for the sake of my own peace of mind.

Richard Smoley’s latest book, The Deal: A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness, will be published in January 2015. His other works include The Dice Game of Shiva: How Consciousness Creates the Universe; Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition; and Conscious Love: Insights from Mystical Christianity. Richard is also editor of Quest magazine and Quest Books, both published by the Theosophical Society in America.

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How To Create Good Habits (for Free!)

A powerful free video series

I’m too excited about this not to share it with you…

Today, my friend and habits expert Barrie Davenport launched a free 3-part video training called “Unleashing Your Best Self.”

You can get the first video instantly by clicking here and signing up.

In these videos, Barrie shares something that's spot on with my personal values …

Creating indestructible habits.

I know, I know…

Maybe you cringed a little when you read that. That’s okay. There are SO many people who are cynical about sticking to their habits. You’ve tried it in the past. You start with good intentions, but after a few weeks (or even days!), you give up.

The good news? We don’t fail to follow through because of some character flaw. We fail because the process is flawed.

How about a fresh perspective on forming great habits? One that will help you move on from past failure. One that will help you look ahead with clarity and confidence.

Well, then, good news — you will get a TON of value from this series.

In fact, in Video #1, Barrie shares the four common myths about creating habits and why it’s so difficult for almost all of us to commit to our resolutions and follow through on those new behaviors we want in our lives — whether it’s exercise, eating healthier, learning a new skill, or even improving a relationship.

Without busting these myths, you’ll find it virtually impossible to stick to your habits and reach your goals.

If you’ve ever felt like there was something standing between you and becoming the person you want to be, don’t miss this series.

You can finally get clear on how creating rock solid habits can truly transform your life — even if you’ve tried in the past and failed.

It’s free, but it will only be available for a limited time. Sign up here, and she’ll send you the first video right away.


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6 Ways to Combat the Failure to Launch in Your Life

Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you anything was possible? The sky was the limit, they said, and you believed them. Being cut from the soccer team, setting fire to your chemistry set, getting turned down by your kindergarten crush — no setback was damning enough to shake your confidence or destroy your faith in the future.

But a funny thing happens as you get older. When faced with a big challenge, you can become paralyzed by self-doubt because you’re afraid of failing. And when you do try and things don’t work out, bouncing back from failure is harder than it used to be.

Asking out the cute girl (or guy) at the coffee shop feels more daunting after a few heartbreaks, and going after a big promotion seems like an embarrassment waiting to happen after being passed over once.

Our setbacks make us fearful. Some people plow through those fears, driving through doubt like a runaway train. Others become prisoners of their own anxieties and stop living their lives because of it.

This failure-to-launch cycle comes in varying degrees. Some have a hard time getting through simple tasks like calling someone on the phone; others are fully functioning in society, just not at the level they want to be.

If you’re caught in the failure-to-launch loop of self-doubt, fear, and low self-esteem, there’s a way out. You’ll have to put in some emotional work and be willing to step outside your comfort zone, but you can do it if you’re willing to try.

Prepare for Takeoff

Here are the steps for overcoming the failure to launch once and for all:

1. Create accountability. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friend, your mentor, or a romantic partner — choose someone who will push you to follow through on your goals and call you out when you don’t.

2. Exercise. A healthy, active body is directly linked to a healthy, happy mind. Start by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or biking to work. When you’re active, you’ll feel sexier, more alive, and more willing to challenge yourself.

3. Be honest. Own your strengths and your weaknesses, and don’t be afraid to set personal boundaries. The more straightforward you are with yourself, the more likely you are to cultivate honest, healthy relationships that enhance your life.

4. Socialize. We’re social creatures, and being around other people makes us feel needed, appreciated, and loved. If you decide to sit at home and watch TV on a Friday night, you know how that’s going to end: with you crying over “Downton Abbey” all by yourself. If your roommates or friends invite you to a party this weekend, go! If you prefer a less intense get-together, book clubs or lunch with a friend are also great, low-key ways to connect with people.

5. Practice mindfulness. Don’t let regrets about the past or worries about the future cast a shadow on the here and now. Being present helps you get more out of life and feel more positive in general.

6. Educate yourself. Developing a skill boosts your confidence and makes you happier in the long run. Take advantage of online resources to study an interest you’ve been toying with. You’ll boost your self-esteem and gain respect from others.

Everyone has their hang-ups. Take my friend, Vinny, for instance. He was a 22-year-old guy from a good family, but he struggled with depression, anxiety, and a lack of motivation. When I met him, he wasn’t even comfortable talking on the phone and would only communicate through email or text. Vinny was a talented guitar player, but no one knew how much he had to offer because he was too intimidated to perform.

Unwilling to spend the rest of his life on the sidelines, Vinny started putting in work to develop his confidence. A guy who was once too shy to pull out his guitar for a small audience now plays open-mic nights and has performed in front of hundreds of people.

There are a lot of Vinnys in the world — people who are holding themselves back because they’re scared but who actually have unlimited value to offer. If you’re one of them, listen up: Nothing will change until not achieving becomes more uncomfortable than putting yourself back in the game.

Taking risks is scary. But isn’t spending your life feeling trapped and unfulfilled even scarier? Channel your negative or anxious energy into exercising, learning a new skill, or just hanging out with a friend. Small steps make a huge difference in your self-perception, and that’s the key to reaching your greatest potential.

Matthew Arrington is the executive director and co-founder of Forte Strong, the world’s first failure-to-launch program for men who struggle to leave their parents’ home or find it difficult to become independent. Forte Strong uses a proprietary coaching model to help students find purpose and direction, guide parents and families in empowering their sons, and ultimately create a healthier family dynamic. Matthew currently resides in sunny St. George, Utah.



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Propane for Preppers – Part Five

This is the fifth and final installment in the series Propane for Preppers.  During the course of these five articles, you have learned the technical aspects of propane as well as how to store and use propane safely.  Of great interest to many of you has been the detailed primer on how to refill small portable cylinders from larger tanks.

Throughout the series, the emphasis has been on common sense, practicality, and above all else, safety.

In this final article, we are going to recap and expand upon the issue of carbon monoxide plus discuss propane fires and the double standard that seemingly appears to exist in the universe of propane safety.

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Propane for Preppers – Part Five by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

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The Art of Being My Dad

By Leo Babauta My dad was born into poverty in the tiny seaside village of Agat, Guam, in 1952. His mom died when he was a child, and he never knew his dad. He was raised by his uncle’s family in another small village, Piti, after being separated from his brothers and sisters. So he […]
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How to Run Meetings that Get Results: Lessons from the Pentagon

Don’t you love meetings?

Especially the ones that go on forever and result in nothing productive?

Unfortunately, this sad state of affairs is all too prevalent in organizations. During my 24-year Air Force career, I attended literally thousands of meetings. Looking back, it’s astonishing how much time I spent in meetings and how little was accomplished.

I encountered my first example of a well-run meeting when I was a young lieutenant in Germany. Every morning, all the key personnel of the unit were required to attend a highly structured, stand-and-deliver meeting with a very crusty—and very smart—commander. I learned quickly to have my stuff together or else things didn’t go very well for me. There was no idle chitchat; everyone was engaged. When the meeting ended, we walked out with a clear idea of the day’s objectives with a minimum investment of time.

Later in my career, I remembered those meetings and vowed never to waste my folks’ time with unnecessary meetings—and when I did have them, to make them count. I found this mind-set to be particularly successful when I worked in the Pentagon, which houses a formidable bureaucracy.

The process I used at the Pentagon tapped into a need for military and civilian “action officers” to actually take some action and do their jobs. These professionals always knew they would be doing something substantial when they participated in my meetings. So people appreciated that I respected their time. The impact that my approach had on my ability to get things done was amazing.

Here’s what I did:

Before the Meeting

Determine the specific outcome or set of outcomes you want to achieve. This is especially critical to ensure the purpose of the meeting is clear. Lack of a clear outcome is a primary cause of poor meetings. Make a list of the required and optional participants that you need to achieve your desired outcome. Invite the decision-makers. If they can’t make it, put the word out that whoever attends in their place speaks for them. In this way you prevent people from blocking progress because they aren’t authorized to make a decision. If you need subject matter experts to provide additional support for the meeting, have them to attend as well. Construct and distribute a logical, time-driven schedule of events so everyone knows how to prepare and what’s expected of them. If possible, get the schedule out at least a week ahead of time. It’s important that you keep a record of when and to whom you sent the meeting notice. You’ll be surprised how many people will claim they never got it. Make a list of deliverables and products required before the meeting, and set a deadline and format for their delivery. Gathering and preparing meeting materials like slide decks and reports takes time. Don’t leave this to the last minute. Reserve a room that is conducive to what you intend to accomplish. Makes sure the room is the right size, it has enough chairs, and it has the equipment you need. Assess whether the location is advantageous to you, neutral to your cause, or puts you at a disadvantage. For instance, if you anticipate that the meeting will be contentious, perhaps you’ll want to find a neutral location. If time allows, send out multiple announcements to the participants, and secure their RSVPs. Follow up with phone calls if necessary. Increase the probability of having a good meeting by getting the right people there. Identify your note taker. A competent note taker is crucial. The note taker creates the record of what was said, agreed to, and disagreed to. If it will help your cause, provide basic refreshments and snacks. Then plan time to prepare or purchase them. At least an hour before the meeting starts, get the room set up. Bring up the computer and projects; check microphones if you’re using them. Pull up your charts and other electronic material. Put out nameplates. Set up your refreshments.

During the Meeting

Introduce the meeting’s host (if other than you) at the start of the meeting and welcome the participants. Right up front state the purpose and desired outcome(s) at the beginning of the meeting. If applicable, go over action items from previous meetings. If progress hasn’t been made, take some time to drill down and find out why. Then, gain agreement on what the responsible party will do to accomplish the task and set a revised deadline. Keep the meeting flowing and on schedule. If a discussion can’t be concluded, table it for a future meeting or an off-line discussion. Keep a tight rein on irrelevant topics and rabbit holes. Otherwise, you risk derailing your meeting. Before concluding the meeting, sum up the tasks, agreements, outcomes, deliverables, responsible parties, and due dates. This is extremely critical so that everyone is clear as to what transpired and who will do certain tasks. If needed, agree on a time, date, and location for the next meeting. Ensure you sustain momentum. It’s much more difficult to pull together a follow-on meeting once everyone has returned to their normal day-to-day routine.

After the Meeting

No later than twenty-four hours after the meeting, send out meeting notes to all participants. Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. It’s the way you document progress and help hold people accountable in between meetings. Communicate with those responsible for actions to assess status, head-off problems, and provide motivation. Wash, rinse, and repeat the entire process for your next meeting.

All this planning, preparation, orchestration, and follow-up may seem like a lot to go through, and it is when you first begin to use this process. However, the template is effective for both formal and informal meetings at any level of your organization. Although you may not need to use all these steps, you can use them as a template to help you tailor the process for what you need.

As a side benefit, people will appreciate you for your outcome-oriented focus and your respect for their time.

And trust me, if it worked in the Pentagon, it can work for you.

Joe is the author of The Leadership Forge: 50 Fire-Tested Insights to Solve Your Toughest Problems, Care for Your People, and Get Great Results. He is the President of The Leadership Crucible, an executive coaching and leadership development firm. Joe is a decorated Air Force veteran who deployed in support of seven overseas operations. His twenty-four year career included command of five units including the Air Force's only combat-coded communications wing.

The post How to Run Meetings that Get Results: Lessons from the Pentagon appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.

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The Survival Buzz #150

Welcome to the first Survival Buzz of 2015.  This week I tried to keep things brief since I am up to my neck in alligators with all of the projects that are a work in process.  Alas, that did not happen.

To be honest, I feel bad teasing you with a mention of the projects without closure in terms of how-to articles.  I apologize but these things do take time. That being said, this weeks preps are more of the same.

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The Survival Buzz #150 by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

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5 Ideas to Create an Amazing 2015

By Leo Babauta With every new year, comes renewed optimism. And while I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions that you’re just going to toss aside when things get busy, I am a fan of creating new habits. This year, I’m offering to help you create 12 new habits for 2015. They’re some of […]
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BDS Book Festival 7: The Avalon Series + Giveaway

I am jumping the gun a day early again this week with the next author interview and giveaway in the Backdoor Survival Book Festival 7.

L. Michael Ruskin, the author of Avalon: The Retreat and Avalon: Beyond the Retreat is a here to answer the initial round of Book Festival questions and to award one lucky reader with a copy of his two books.

Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.

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BDS Book Festival 7: The Avalon Series + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

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