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I Know What You Are Scared Of

Failure is an over-rated reason why people don’t want to try new things.

No one is really scared of failure.

What people really are scared of is what other people will think of them when they fail.

Till the time this fear of other people’s opinions lives in you, you will –

  • Not be able to do things that feel authentic and right to your nature.
  • Not be able to start a business based around your passion.
  • Not be able to speak confidently in public.
  • Not be able to quit a job you hate even though you may know deep down that you don’t need it.
  • Not be able to dress the way you want to dress.
  • Not be able to express the real you.

And the list can go on.

There is no way out of this fear but to simply go through the discomfort that it initially brings.

But once you do something you were not doing because you were scared what other people might think or say, you get off the mark.

That builds confidence for something more bold.

And then the cycle goes on.

In fact when I wrote this post, there was that little voice inside me reminding me of what other people will think or say.

But I’m still publishing it and you’re still reading it.

No one is completely devoid of this fear.

It’s just that some people practice ignoring other people’s opinions so much that that voice starts to lose its power.

So make sure you do something to shut that voice as often as you can.

The more you do it, the closer you will start to come to your authentic self.

The more authentic you become, the more fun your daily activities will become, which in turn will make you happier.

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A Great Life Lesson We Can Learn From Oprah Winfrey

One of the recent quotes that I read and really liked was by the popular television personality Oprah Winfrey, which went something like this:

Don’t waste your time in the race looking back to see what the other guy is doing. It’s not about the other guy. It’s about what can you do. You just need to run that race as hard as you can. You need to give it everything you’ve got, all the time, for yourself.

It’s a reminder that we only to need to focus on ourselves.

A lot of times, we start to put unnecessary pressure on ourselves because we compare our own lives with someone else’s.

It’s not wise to do that because:

  • The other person has been brought up in different circumstances
  • Has a different nature
  • Has different strengths and weaknesses
  • Has different desires

Everything about the other person is different than you.

Then why should you compare?

Remembering that we are in our own race is a very comforting thought.

It takes away the negative pressure that we may feel sometimes.

Do you know why race horses wear blinders at the side of their eyes?

It’s because they have peripheral vision and can run off the course unless their vision is focused.

We all need to be exactly like those horses with blinders.

Only focused on our own course.

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Why You Should Give Up Reading or Watching News

You should stop watching or reading news because n.e.w.s stands for – Negative Echoes of Worldwide S**t.

When was the last time you read or heard news with headlines like below:

  • School students help blind man cross a road and everyone around appreciated and was happy.
  • A Hindu and Muslim family sat together to have a meal and had a great time.
  • The flight scheduled to land in Delhi did end up landing in Delhi.

Chances are that you haven’t or even if you have, it’s rarely the case.

The problem is that such news does not provide an escape to miserable people.

In fact when miserable people see other people suffering, they feel consoled.

People who produce news recognise this fact and exploit it to the max.

That’s why they scavenge around for all the miserable things happening in the world, find the most miserable amongst all the miserable things and then print it as news.

Such news is capable of providing a great escape.

It’s basically just like any other entertainment.

Have you ever asked yourself – How much of the news you read actually impacts your own personal life?

You’ll find that almost none of it does.

But at this point you can raise a fair point – What about the news that is really important and that does affect my life?

The answer to that is that you don’t need to read or watch news to come to know about it.

Take the recent demonetisation issue as an example.

You really think you wouldn’t have come to know about it if you did not read or watch news?

Your friends would talk about it.

You would see it on Facebook.

You would overhear it somewhere.

You would definitely come to know about it.

The only way you could not have come to know about it would have been if you were living in a far-away cave in the Himalayas.

Actually, even then you would come to know about it because let’s say, to get food or other necessities, you would be required to travel occasionally to some shop. There, the shopkeeper would refuse to take your old notes.

Basically, if the news is REALLY important, you WILL come to know about it.

This is the only news you should really be bothered about.

And the best part about such news is that it comes to you, you don’t have to go to it.

Not reading or watching news is the best way to filter out all the garbage that goes around as news and restrict yourself only to the essential pieces of information that do have an impact on your life.

When you do that, you save energy.

Energy that was going for waste.

And this energy and time can be dedicated to learning new languages, learning an art, starting a business, getting a better job, spending more time with family, improving your relationships, etc.

The right use of this energy will make YOU the source of your own entertainment instead of relying on external sources.

Most people rather read or watch news (or television in general) because the entertainment is easier to get.

It requires no effort.

You just have to read or watch. You are not actively involved.

Our energy can either move up or down.

Moving down is easy because it requires no effort.

Entertainment from news is passive and hence does not require creative effort on the part of the reader.

To make your energy move up is tougher.

Because it has to be an active effort.

You have to be involved in it.

You have to take your life to a new level for that to happen.

That’s why most people prefer the passive approach.

Don’t be that person.

Because you’ll only love your life when you start doing things that entertain yourself. That’s the best kind of entertainment.

Once you do that, you’ll never go back to the passive way.

Do leave your comments below on this subject.

How to be Happy in 2017 by Following Five Practical Steps

I usually don’t like writing mushy articles like these because I really believe that personal happiness is such a complex phenomenon that it’s best to rely on your personal judgement than listening to other people.

But as with anything, a bit of guidance can do no harm.

The five steps I’ll be mentioning have helped me so I thought I would share them with you.

While writing these steps, I’ve taken care of two important things.

Firstly, I’ve tried to avoid any steps that are too impractical to follow. For instance, a lot of people talk about the power of positive thinking. I just don’t think it’s very practical to always think positively. A few weeks back, I accidently spilled a HUGE mug of coffee on my laptop and had to hold it upside down just to drain the coffee out of the keyboard. I then said a little prayer, opened notepad and hesitantly pressed one of the keys to see if it was working. It did not. I pressed a couple of keys more and they did not work either. Then I tried the usual Ctrl + Alt + Delete approach because that always works. It didn’t. I then smashed the damn keyboard so hard it would have put Conor Mcgregors’ left jab to shame. It still didn’t work. Good luck being a positive thinker there.

Secondly, I’ve made sure the steps I mention only need yourself to execute. They are not dependent on other people. Because things like, spending time with your friends and family is all well and good, but you still have to depend on other people for those. I feel the first priority in being happy should be to start being happy using methods that are fully under your control.

So here we go:

  1. Start the process of following your passion

This undoubtedly has to be most important step in my opinion, but I’m not asking you to quit your job.

That can be stressful.

I’m asking you to start doing things on the side and then take it from there.

I see people who are doing what they like to do and they have a different aura about them.

They radiate a kind of glow and focus that others don’t.

It’s never been easier to start something that you have always dreamt of doing.

The Internet has made a lot of things easier and accessible to almost everyone.

That’s the reason I wrote the free guide Learn How to Start an Online Business in 5 days, where I show you examples from my own business and how I do things.

But you don’t have to start a business.

You can do what you like by finding the right job too.

The key is to really start taking small steps. Don’t wait.

Sometimes, the hardest part of my Monday mornings is getting through mundane tasks like shaving and showering. It’s because I’m so excited and raring to start my work for the day.

Don’t deny yourself that feeling.

Yes, it takes courage to start something new and it all may not work but I can guarantee that you’ll be happier and more at peace because you know you gave it a shot.

  1. Practice Gratitude

This may sound like one of those mushy steps, but it isn’t.

We’re all bound to face negative situations in our lives.

But taking some time out and reminding us of the good things we already have like good health and positive relationships puts things in perspective.

So next time you are worrying about something, just take a deep breath and quickly remind yourself of all that is good in your life, even if you feel it’s very less at the moment.

It won’t make your worries go away but it has the capacity to spark that little light of contentment in you.

In fact, science backs it.

Read this research study by Harvard on effects of gratitude on well-being.

 

  1. Exercise regularly but not necessarily with the six-pack obsession

I see people who regularly workout or play a sport.

And there’s no doubt they look much happier and fresher generally.

It’s nothing but science again.

Working out releases your brain’s natural feel-good chemicals called endorphins.

They give you a natural high.

They are the reason you feel so amazing after you’ve worked out and had a shower.

You don’t have to be obsessed with exercise.

Unless you are an athlete, there’s no reason to punish yourself to the extreme.

Find something you like to do. These days gyms have all sorts of options like Zumba, dancing, Yoga, etc.

Don’t want to join a gym? No problem. Play a sport, hike, ride a bike, go jogging or simply walk.

The important thing is to move your body and make it a regular part of your routine.

Exercising is probably the best natural stress buster out there. Use it.

 

  1. Cut out negative people from your life

This one is tough.

But it’s necessary.

Anyone who doesn’t make you feel good or positive (on an average basis) and adds stress in your life on a continual basis should be shown the door.

With some people, you can do this immediately and with others, you’ll have to do it gradually.

But it’s something you should do.

Who those people are is not for me to say.

You are mature enough to take the call. The key is to think on an average basis, so you’ll know the right people don’t get affected.

The first time you do this, it may feel uncomfortable and you may even feel guilty.

Ride that wave of discomfort and I promise you, you’ll be better off and more stress-free in the long run.

  1. Meditate and find a hobby you love to do.

Just like most people, I really struggle with this too.

And I normally leave things I struggle with.

But not this one.

Because I really believe meditation works.

I got a glimpse of it 5 years back when I was suffering from mild Jaundice.

That time I had practiced meditation seriously and gradually seen positive effects.

It was like I stopped bothering about problems and that they had just disappeared into thin air.

I think that’s the power of meditation.

It can solve problems not only by providing solutions, but my making them irrelevant in the first place.

I also believe mediation just doesn’t have to be done the usual way of sitting silently.

Finding a hobby you really like can be a sort of meditation too.

Some of the activities where I go into a meditative state include:

  • While doing wildlife/landscape photography.
  • Playing a game of soccer
  • Sometimes during a teaching/training session that I’m conducting
  • Many times when I’m working (that’s why it’s important to do what you love)

Basically, wherever I like what I’m doing so much that I forget about everything.

Try finding activities like that.

They relax you and make you more conscious and aware about who you are, which can have further positive effects like increased creativity and better self-awareness, which in turn are bound to make you take actions that are more in tune with you are.

That’s it. I hope you liked the steps above. I would love it if you could leave a comment below in case this article helped you.

I wish you a happy and amazing 2017.

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The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When You Start an Online Business

Usually when you read such articles, you read about various mistakes related to marketing principles or some technicalities related to operations of business.

I’m going to tell you something different.

The mistake I’m talking about comes way before any of the mistakes that are usually talked about.

The mistake I’m going to talk about is the root of all the mistakes that appear later on on the surface.

And that mistake is not asking yourself one very important question, which is:

CAN I DO THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE?

This is not just applicable to a business. It’s applicable to any kind of project, be it a job or any other kind of work.

If the answer to this question is Yes, then you know you’ve won half the battle because your project/business/idea is coming straight from the heart.

You’ll know you are in the game for the long run.

I see a lot of people, especially in the online marketing world, try their hands at all kinds of short-cuts.

Unsurprisingly, they don’t last long.

In fact I was one of them.

Let me give you a few examples of my own mistakes when I started out.

Here are three of the many online projects I tried:

  • Love Master India – A website where I was to be a dating guru and give advice to men on dating, grooming, romance, relationships, etc. My earning model was relying on the hope that the people who will come to my website would sign up for a dating website that I was affiliated with, thereby earning income as commission from that website. This website made me Rs.Zero with a capital Z.

 

  • Soccer Quick – A website where I wrote tutorials on how to play soccer and earned income by referring a video tutorial product that was I was affiliated with. I ended up selling this website for $1000 on Flippa.com.

 

  • Bowflex Blaze Review – A one –page website where I wrote about a home gym called Bowflex Blaze and then placed an affiliate link to buy it from Amazon. For a long time, this website was ranking on top of Google because of the SEO tricks I used and was making me pocket money every month. In June, 2016 my hosting provider emailed me saying that Bowflex wanted me to take the website down on the grounds of copyright violation. It’s funny because I was actually selling their product. Maybe they were scared that I would keep outranking them on Google and that it would hurt their brand.

Now why did none of these work?

Because they were all half-hearted short-cut projects.

Was I really passionate about dating? No.

Was I really passionate about soccer? Yes, but only while playing or watching it, not starting a business around it. In fact, during my MBA days, I even did a marketing internship with a Soccer club, where I lasted exactly one day.

Was I really passionate about selling home-gyms? Hell no.

Then why did I start all these projects and many others that I have not even mentioned?

Because of only one thing – to somehow make money quickly without doing much work so I can quickly retire and live the rest of my life sipping on martinis on a beach in Thailand.

The plan didn’t work out quite well.

The biggest problem with all these projects was that the answer to the aforementioned question was a resounding No.

I was NOT willing to do them for the rest of my life.

I see the same mistakes being made by a lot of other people. For instance, when I conduct any sort of digital marketing workshops, a lot of people come to me after the workshop and ask me questions like – How can I use Facebook ads to promote CPA offers or some other type of others? My friend does that and makes a crazy amount of money every day. Please tell me how to do it.

I usually don’t give an answer because of two reasons:

  • I don’t know how to do it myself
  • I know that such ideas are destined to fail

Why?

Because of simple supply and demand equation.

If a business model is as easy as jumping on to Facebook and running ads to make money, you can rest assured that a lot of people will figure it out and jump on the bandwagon.

And when they do, lot of things will go wrong, including:

  • Facebook ad costs will go up.
  • CPA offers will have higher barriers to entry (application process will become strict).
  • Affiliate commission from these offers will be reduced.

Basically, you’ll make some quick money and then everything will go south.

The trouble is that you can apply all the great marketing tactics in the world and they all still won’t be able to beat the biggest and the most proven marketing tactic – CONSISTENCY.

Consistent effort is what makes a business successful.

And to be able to be consistent, you need to do something that you like to do.

For example when I think of my photography business, I get the feeling that it’s something I can do for the rest of my life.

Whether it works or not is not the question here.

The only question is whether I get the feeling of me being able to stick with it.

At this point, a common question is – how can I determine if I like something?

Here’s the answer I like to give:

  • Find an area of interest that you like. It can be some hobby you like or some topic you like reading or enquiring about. In my case, I chose photography because it’s a hobby I absolutely love. And my second business (this one), I plan to make it revolve around blogging/Online business topics/self-improvement/psychology because I love reading and listening about these things.

 

  • After finding your area of interest, what is equally important is that you align it with your natural strengths. For example, though I love doing photography, I really don’t enjoy doing professional or commercial shoots that much. I enjoy teaching, so my business revolves around teaching photography. In the same way, I rather research about and teach online marketing principles than starting a digital marketing agency. Teaching comes naturally to me and is something I love to do. You make me stand in front of 1000 people and I will thank you for that, not get scared or intimidated. It excites me. I talk about this aspect of finding your natural strength in the article – Why Follow Your Passion is an Incomplete Advice.

 

The basic point is that you should try to visualise all the daily activities you will be required to perform in order to grow your business or perform in your job. And you should love or at the very least not hate them. At least not the majority of them.

Sometimes we are all required to do things we don’t enjoy but those activities should be rare.

The majority of activities should be enjoyable to you.

Even if things don’t work out for me in the entrepreneurial world, I know that I will be doing something related to teaching or training because it’s one of those fields that I can picture myself doing for the rest of my life.

This puts me at great ease because it makes detached from entrepreneurship.

Tomorrow everything can go wrong and I won’t be too disappointed since I know I can always get a teaching job and I’ll still be happy. And once I’m settled again, I can give entrepreneurship another shot.

Ideas that have an aura of eternity relax you.

So I suggest you play the longer game and start asking yourself the question that we talked about.

Whether or not your business/job will work because of it is for no one to say. But one thing that will happen for sure is that you’ll feel at much more ease overall.

More importantly, you’ll know that you are being authentic.

And that authenticity is bound to, at one point or another, shine in the form of excellence.

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Why Self-Discipline is Over-rated and What to do About it

A lot of people beat themselves up over not being able to lead a disciplined life. Every time they start a “ritual”, the pride and satisfaction that come along with it is quickly gone when they are not able to keep up.

In fact many people don’t even start because they know they will not be able to keep up, so they go on living an unhappy and unproductive life.

I think one of the main reasons behind this flawed way of attaining a disciplined life is that it is based on the expectations of others. It is not your discipline. It is a discipline defined by other people.

For instance, if you genuinely dislike waking up at 5 A.M in the morning, then why should you? Shouldn’t the effort that you put into altering your lifestyle be rewarded and not result in further unhappiness?

The way to go about this should be find out what is YOUR discipline. What is about your life that you genuinely want to change? Though you can receive general guidance from others, only you can answer that question for yourself.

What is someone else’s discipline might not be yours.  Going further with the aforementioned example, if you don’t like waking up early, then don’t. But that also does not mean that you have to keep waking up at a later time where you don’t feel great either.

Try waking up at other times and see where you genuinely feel satisfied with everything. You also don’t have to wake up every day at the same time. If you feel mixing it up is the right way for you, then do that.

Find about everything related to sleeping and waking up, its effects on your health, and acknowledge any changes and compromises you feel you must make. The key should be you feeling one with the discipline you choose.

There will be a lot of trial and error involved when you follow your own discipline but it’s better than following something that you don’t believe in.

When you follow your own discipline, you’ll find you’re at peace with yourself because it is something that you can do forever. The ability to continue something is one of the most important aspects of it being successful.

That is exactly why most New Year resolutions go out of the window in a few weeks’ time. The eagerness to start something does not ensure its sustainability. Whether you are enjoying the activity itself does.

So if you find yourself having to drag your body to the gym, there’s something flawed in your approach. Maybe you’re trying to discipline yourself way too much and are approaching fitness in a way that is not natural to you.

Instead of following a workout routine that feels tough for you, find something that you genuinely like to do even if it’s easy. Look for something about a workout regime that makes you look forward to hitting the gym.

For me personally, I mix up my workouts because the most important thing to me is the euphoric feeling I get after a workout and shower. Few things in life make me feel that good.

So that forms my main motivation. I’m not too focused on carving my body in a particular way or getting an eight pack. That happens too of course as you get fitter, but it’s just a bonus.

Try to go deeper into your motivation about anything that you do. If you’re finding that something is really a struggle, chances are that you don’t want it badly enough.

Try to do things that you are naturally motivated to do, in a way that you are naturally inclined to do.

Your overall productivity will also increase. Moreover, this will give you the confidence to further improve yourself as you know you have already have a solid base that is based upon your individuality.

Your discipline has to reflect who you really are and the kind of life you really want to lead.

Remember, contrary to the light in which discipline is usually viewed, its ultimate aim should be to relax you, not make you feel afraid of it.

Following a discipline that comes from within you will require effort, but that effort will come naturally to you.

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Why Are You Doing Your Day Job?

If there was a way to measure the dissatisfaction that people experience as a result of their day jobs, I think it would show an increase as time has passed by. For example, dissatisfaction in the 60s and 70s would be lesser than what it is now.

One of the main reasons behind this is that, courtesy technology, the rate at which information is available to an individual has gradually increased.

Tools like social media channels and smartphones have dramatically added to the information exposure that one faces in everyday life.

While many consider this a bane, I feel it’s actually a great thing. It has enabled people to get exposed to the experiences of other people, and learn from it. Of course, the majority of the information out there is not needed, but if you’re good at separating the wheat from the chaff, then it can be immensely helpful.

And I feel this availability of information is making people realize that their potential and possibility to live a fulfilling life is much more than they had imagined it to be. When they see someone else living the kind of life they always wanted, it creates a discontent within them. And I feel this sparks their desire to start a journey towards leading a life that they value.

In the earlier times, it wasn’t easy for people to get their hands on a vast amount of information, so they never even questioned the status quo.

In fact, this is the reason I never agreed with minimalists who suggest that social platforms like Facebook are a complete waste of time. I feel it can be a great tool to learn from other’s lives. The only thing to remember is to not get obsessed with it.

So let’s get back to the original question – Why are you doing your day job?

As explained earlier, you are more likely to ask yourself this question now and in the future, than ever before.

The first perception you must have formed when you read the question was that this post would be about quitting your day job. It’s not.

By posing the question above, I’m only asking you to think of the reasons you do your day job for. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a job, as long as there is some purpose behind it. A lot of people are not satisfied with their jobs because they do it for the sake of doing it.

I think only two things can keep someone happy at a job – First is if they are really passionate about what they do, and second, if they have a pressing need to do the job, like paying the bills.

The ones who aren’t happy are most likely the ones that view doing a job as a mental security or succumb to the pressure of the society. Since there is no practical reason involved, they always feel, at a subconscious level that their efforts and suffering have no purpose and this creates a subtle disconnect.

This is why I feel you would do yourself a great favor by thinking deeply about the aforementioned question. If you genuinely like what you are doing, then well and good. But what if you are doing it because you need to do it and are dissatisfied?

I think the answer to this would be to develop a measurable target to get yourself out of the situation that is forcing you to do the job. You can develop a goal based time frame that will eventually get you t the stage where you no longer need the job. It can be anything like saving a certain amount of money, reaching a certain position within the organization, etc.

What this does is that it gives you a reason and a quantifiable target to work towards. You’ll know that your effort is rewarded and you’re moving towards freedom as days go by. This would keep you at peace with yourself.

And if you feel you’ve got a situation that has no end to it and which requires you to do the job indefinitely, then you’ve got your priorities wrong. You will have re-evaluate your life and find a way to eradicate whatever it is that is hindering you. It cannot be something that you value deep down and genuinely, because if it was, you would not have felt dissatisfied by having to work for it.

This is where minimalism comes into play. Minimalism is all about finding yourself, and having the courage to pursue only those things that really matter to you. And more often than not, these things are not things at all. You’ll find that it really does not take much to keep you happy. This unshackles you and gives you the confidence to pursue work that matters to you. And you’ll stand a better chance of earning more too when you do something you like.

This was the thought that helped me quit my last job and go into the world of freelancing and blogging. Now I know if I ever do a job that I don’t really love, it’ll be because of a specific reason, and when that reason is fulfilled, I’ll be back to doing work I love. This way of thinking really liberates me, and can work for you too.

To sum up, it can be said that it’s all about motivation. And motivation can only come if you are focused. Don’t get yourself into doing work you don’t like and the purpose of which is not clear. Have the courage to get out of such situations because there is nothing practical that is holding you back.

Moreover, work on knowing your true values, so that whenever you are stuck in a valid situation, you’ll be able to get out of it in a quick and efficient manner, and move towards the kind of work you long for.

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Don’t be Addicted to Struggling and Adversity

Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer” – Niccolò Machiavelli

As we grow older, there is a part of our ego that almost starts to become masochistic in nature. We are not satisfied with anything that is readily available to us.

We start respecting only that which comes to us after some kind of struggle or the course of which involves us overcoming a lot of adversities.

While having the courage to overcome obstacles in life is definitely a virtue worth having, it is quite capable of becoming an obstacle itself when it forms a habit.

The reason why this happens is because this is how we are brought up. We’re made to believe that almost anything worth achieving, like good grades and a great job, require a vast amount of effort and struggle.

And when we do achieve these things, the glory that comes along with it conditions us into thinking that things which don’t involve struggle aren’t really worth having. It is assumed that since these were easy, they won’t help us to “survive” in this world.

What has made us believe that this perpetual NEED to find something difficult to achieve is a pre-requisite for survival?

In fact, a better question would be – Why are we so desperate to blindly dedicate all our life to such a vague notion that surviving is in the first place? If we’re always surviving, then when are we going to live?

Addiction to struggling not only robs us of the simple joys of life and relaxation of the present moment, it takes us away from who we really are.

When we force ourselves to always go for something that is not within our reach, we move away from our true nature because an objective that really comes from within will not cause a division between its pursual and accomplishment. It will be whole.

This is the chief reason behind the life crisis people suffer at different stages of their lives. They feel all that they achieved wasn’t worth the sacrifices they ended up making.

This is not to say that one should become lazy. In fact it’s completely the opposite. Following your true nature and the life that you genuinely value will require you to work very hard and have massive courage too.

But it will be work that you will love doing. There will be no division. The journey towards accomplishment will be as sweet as the destination.

In fact there will be no destination at all, just a way of living.

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Stop Being a Perfectionist

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  – Vivian Greene

Right from childhood, we’re always taught to be a perfectionist. Getting good grades and maintaining it throughout school is not just expected, but demanded. This soon turns into the demand for getting a perfect job, a perfect partner and a perfect plan towards a perfect retirement.

Sounds good? Nope. It sounds boring. It’s boring because a life dedicated to perfection in the future misses out the on the most important aspect of life – and that is making this very present moment perfect. Being perfect in the NOW. And such is the paradox of being perfect in the present moment that it can be only achieved by being imperfect. In fact, not just being imperfect, but absolutely falling in love with imperfection. Minimalizing perfection maximizes the action mentality.

Effort towards perfection is the leading cause for procrastination. You don’t always have to wait for the perfect moment to start or get things done. A lot of people always postpone actions that they know can improve their lives. They wait for everything to be right. If that’s the case, then you better be waiting in a comfortable chair because it’s not going to happen. As soon as you feel the time is just about to be right, something else will crop up and the whole cycle of delaying the all important action will start yet again.

Being a perfectionist sucks the energy out of you. Sure you may occasionally get the perfect result if you always follow a detailed and well worked plan. But at what cost? Every time that happens, you’re conditioning your mind in a way that the moment you think of taking some action that can make you happy, you’ll also feel the fear of it never happening because you’ll be scared of the effort that you would demand from yourself to make it happen in the first place.

This fear soon forms the voice in your head that tells you that you don’t deserve to be happy. That you haven’t done anything to “deserve” happiness. The only way to shut this voice once and for all is to fall into the habit of taking action. You want to travel the world? Do it. You want to get out of that miserable relationship? Do it. You want to quit your job and start a business? Do it. You have to build that “do it” muscle whatever may be the circumstance because the time will never be just right. This is what gives you self confidence.

By being imperfect, I’m not in any way implying that you have to take totally imprudent actions (though that’s still better than no action). It just means that once you have envisioned a decent plan (not a perfect plan), you dive into the thing. It’s called the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach. Once you fire, you’ll be more motivated and happy in correcting whatever little things that need to be taken care of, because you’ll be satisfied that you took the action.

When you develop the habit of taking action irrespective of the circumstance, you’ll feel great because this habit is sustainable. No matter what the situation, you’ll be at peace with yourself as you’re not waiting for anything to pass. And when it does pass, it’s just a bonus that adds to your happiness. But you’re not desperately waiting for it to get over in frustration. You know that you would anyway live your life the way you want to, no matter what else is happening around you. Deep down you would know that the things you long for that make your life exciting are in your hands. This gives you great freedom and results in a mind that is relaxed.

They say whenever doubt, do the courageous thing. And being one with imperfection will require courage. But the journey will be worth it.

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The Biggest Marketing Lesson I learned and How it Can be Applied to Life

Hi! Welcome to episode number seven. In this episode I will be talking about one of the biggest lessons that I have learnt in marketing while I was selling my products and services. That lesson has got something to do with the term called ‘decision stress’ and how this particular term can also be applied to our life to make it better so that we can live a much more efficient and fulfilling life.

First, I am going to talk about how the term relates to marketing and selling. What does decision stress mean? When I say decision stress, I am talking solely about the customer. You should keep in mind that when you are trying to market or sell a product or service, you stand a much higher chance of converting i.e. selling your product or service when you decrease the decision stress on your customer. This is what I have seen in my experience. So then what does the term decision stress actually mean?

You must have noticed that whenever you buy something and you are just about to pay for that product or service, you experience some level of stress. This of course depends on the price of the product or service. The higher the amount of money involved the more stress you face. But it’s true even for smaller decision. Sometimes even when you recharge your phone you face some stress. Since money is going out of your account, you are bound to face some stress. This is the type of stress we are talking about.

I learnt three things about reducing decision stress. The most important step is that you should clearly be able to communicate to your customer how your product or service is going to improve their life. This should be the main criteria of your sales pitch. A lot of people talk about features of their product or services, which are not very important to the customer. What you really have to communicate is the benefit of the product or service as well as how it will improve and change their life for the better. How can you solve the pain that they are facing and whatever issue they may be facing? Moreover, how can your product or service get rid of their problem?

Take for example that you wish to sell a camera. It would be desirable if you show two images from different cameras. One image should be from the first camera which is the superior camera that you are trying to sell and the other image should be from a normal camera that people generally tend to use. You should place both the images from the two different cameras side by side. This will give people the opportunity to realize how a particular image will improve the moment they buy this camera.

The blunder that most marketers make is they would talk only about the features. For instance they would talk about ‘This camera comes with 25 megapixels. This is the sensor size. The body has these functions’ etc. All such explanations are fine since you do have to talk about the features. However, not every customer might be familiar with such terminology which usually consists of technical terms as well.  Instead, it’s better if you clearly let them know how the product is going to affect their day to day life.

The second point is you should be crystal clear while you tell them how they will receive this product or service once they make the payment. There should be no doubt regarding this. You should never let such a situation occur where your customers have made the payment and after that you are giving them instructions. The customers should know beforehand since that is what they want. They are paying for the product or service and they want something in return. Hence, you should completely spell out how they will receive the product and how this whole transaction will take place. There should be no doubt in the consumer’s mind. When there is no doubt, the decision stress will decrease.

The third point that you should keep in mind is that you should put something out there which lets the customers connect with you. They should feel that they have you at their fingertips when they need you. Just putting something simple like ‘Call me on my cell number in case you are facing any issues’ increased my conversions. Why? Because it generates trust and it decreases the stress for the consumer.  They will know that they have someone to talk to immediately if anything goes wrong in this whole process of buying this product. I am a solopreneur so I give my own number. You can have a dedicated team for this as well.

The three things mentioned really have to be present in your sales pitch. Be absolutely clear in everything you do. Whether it is your landing page, your flyer or any kind of a promotional material that you have, you should be really clear. Take mobile apps as an example. Some apps do much better than others. That is because the entire flow is so convenient for the consumer. The customers know that if they press these buttons, the job will be easily done. Always make sure that you make everything clear and communicate clearly to your customer. There should never be a doubt when they are reading about your product or when you are selling your product or service to your customer. That would definitely decrease their decision stress. The more you decrease the decision stress, the better it will be for you.

How can this aspect of decision stress be applied to life?

Before I answer this, I want to tell you about a very interesting research study that I was reading about. The study was done as follows. They divided a group of people into two groups. Let’s call them Group A and Group B. For a few days they made these two groups stay under two different conditioned environments. They presented Group A with a lot of decisions to make. They would give these people choice after choice. Let’s say they presented them with a doughnut and a pastry. Then they would ask them which one do you want to have? Similarly, they would give them the choice between two t-shirts. They would get to pick. They kept presenting them with choices and the group members had to pick one choice after going through the different options.

Group B did not get any choices. They were just given the t-shirt, food item etc. without being asked to choose from a range of choices. On the one hand Group A got to make a choice about everything and on the other hand Group B did not have any choice.

After the study got over, they put both the groups together and told them to put their hands inside a box of cold water. The temperature of the water was very cold since the water was really chilled. Then they made the observations as follows. People from Group A could not put their hand in for too long whereas people from Group B could keep their hand in the cold water for much longer.

The conclusion was that because Group A was required to make a lot of decisions their energy was going down because of these choices. Their decision stress was actually directly impacting their energy levels and their willpower levels too. Group B did not expend their energy in any decision and so they had conserved all this energy without wasting any of it. Thus, Group B had more will power because now they could put all their energy in putting their hand in the cold water.

What does this mean for us? This means that we can use the aspect of decision stress to improve our life. Try to live your life in such a way that you are taking minimal decisions. Make sure you know exactly what you have to do especially when it comes to ordinary things where making a decision is just not worth it.

For example, when it comes to deciding what you want to wear you can reduce the decision stress just by having a very limited variety of clothes in your wardrobe. I am not saying that you should dress simply. What I am saying is that you can limit your wardrobe to only those kinds of clothes which you like wearing. This spares you from having too many options to pick from. In my case, I like wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans or shorts most of the time.

Try to find those ordinary tasks where you can reduce taking decisions. From the time you wake up till the time you sleep, try not to make any decisions as much as you can especially when ordinary tasks are concerned. I am talking about tasks where the decision stress is not worth it. Remember that these types of tasks depend on you as an individual and so you will have to find out for yourself. The example I gave is just from my own life is because I don’t value clothes that much. I am happy wearing something very simple. There might be some other aspect in your life where you can use this aspect of decision stress to reduce unnecessary burden on yourself.

You should reduce the number of decisions you take regarding things that are not contributing to your life. You can reduce the decision stress by simply eliminating choices. My advice would be for you to watch a video titled ‘Paradox of Choice’ on YouTube. This is a Ted Talk by an elderly gentleman and it talks about exactly what we are talking about here except it goes deeper. The best thing is that you can apply this to a lot of things; your food, your clothes and even the kind of people you hang out with.

Try to reduce stress from every aspect of your life so that you can be sure of what your day looks like. I am not asking you to become completely mechanical but figure out those things where decision stress is not worth it.

The moment you do that you will start to save and conserve energy which is just going for waste. Then you can put that energy into much productive tasks which are of value; tasks where decision stress is worth it.

These are the more important tasks in your life, the kind of tasks that actually matter.

And when your attention and energy goes to them, your life naturally improves.