Everyone knows that failure is no fun and just plain doesn’t feel good.
But what most people don’t know about failure is that it is actually one of the best things for you, and not for the reasons you might think.
Failure isn’t meant to check your ego, keep you “in line” with following the status quo, or keep you tied down and prevent you from dreaming bigger.
Failure is meant to give you a jumping-off point, a next step up on the stairway to success.
Let me explain it another way: as the saying goes, “there are two types of people in this world…”
In this case, there are those who view failure as a negative and those who view failure as a positive.
If you’re like the vast majority of people you meet, you’ll say that failure is a bad thing.
And technically, you wouldn’t be wrong – failure IS bad.
So let me reword the statement about those two types of people: there are those who view failure as a negative reflection of themselves and who stop there, and there are those who view failure as a learning moment and a starting point for follow-up efforts.
Would you rather stop in your tracks and be average (or even unsuccessful) and a failure, or be in the ranks of successful people who failed but continued on, onward and upward?
Sure, while the actual failure itself might be bad (failing an exam, a failed startup costing you a lot of money, a failed relationship, etc), every single failure you encounter in life will give you an opportunity to refine your approach and improve upon the past.
And if that’s not awesome news, well, I don’t know what is!
Successful People View Failure With A Success Mindset
As I said before, if you view failure as the end of the road, then clearly whatever it is that you were attempting to do is going to end there and never have a real chance to become a success story.
But if you view failure as a learning opportunity, and you make a point to change your efforts even a little on your next attempt, your chances of success just increased dramatically – purely because you were willing to try again.
Think of it like this: if you’re trying to start a business and work for yourself, let’s say that you’re pre-destined to have 6 failed business ideas before you find the lucky 7th one that works. (Sure, that might be a generously low number of attempts, but let’s go with it.)
Once you’ve had your first failed business, you’ve only got 5 more to go before you see success. That makes you already about 17% of the way to success!
But here is what you really need to remember as you approach new things and risk failure:
In life, you’ll never truly know how many failures it will take to find success.
What differentiates successful people who failed from unsuccessful people who failed (and gave up) is their success mindset.
In a nutshell, a success mindset is simply a mentality that a person holds that convinces them that success IS in their future, after some predetermined number of preceding failures.
Simply put, these successful people believe that success is the only end-result outcome for themselves, and they need to just keep plodding on until they reach it.
Successful People Bolster Their Chances of Success With Success Quotes & Success Habits
You don’t have to look up statistics on failures vs. successes or find some cheesy success quotes like:
“Success is not the key to happiness…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” (Herman Cain).
Yes, it’s a good quote and if taken to heart it provides a solid mentality for finding happiness in life and dwelling on good instead of bad.
But maybe you’re not that kind of person. Maybe you need a little bit of a different sort of push.
Maybe you need to find your own set of success quotes — maybe you’ll build your own list of personal mottos, instead, that does the job of getting your fired up and hopping out of bed each morning, ready to give the day your all regardless of what happens by the end of it.
Maybe you’ll use those mottos to be able to get out of bed early every day, ready to absolutely crush it, no matter (or even in spite of) how the previous day ended!
It really doesn’t matter what your definition of “success quotes” is — you could simply wake up and on a daily basis repeat “hey, don’t suck at life today” as your main success quote. Hey, if that works for you, then go for it!
What matters is that you find some quote or quotes that make you feel energized, ambitious, and ready to keep plowing on ahead no matter what happens.
Find something that makes you determined to the point of stupidity to reach your success goals, no matter what life chooses to throw in your path.
With that first-thing-in-the-morning-straight-out-of-bed recitation of your success quote(s), you’ve officially started building your own set of success habits. Congratulations!
All you need to do now to fill in the rest of your success habits are give yourself 2-3 more actions that you repeat on a daily basis to help you maintain your focus and your success mindset. Make sure these habits are actual action, something you’ll definitely notice if you didn’t do (none of those silly little “touch the left side of the mirror and spin in a clockwise circle while combing your hair weirdo moves haha — those you can do without).
Remember: it takes 21 days to make a habit.
Build up those success habits, and make it a routine that you follow every day.
In just 3 weeks, you’ll be a success (hopefully)!
Successful People Who Failed…At First
So obviously it’s all great talk to go over how to maintain your success mindset with goals, quotes, etc. But what does it look like in a practical application, to have that success mindset be SO ingrained into becoming a part of you that you’ll keep trying and trying until you succeed, no matter how long it takes (or even if it never happens)?
Let’s take a look at a few successful people who failed hard, way more than once, but came out WAY on top!
1) Babe Ruth
You’ve gotta know this guy — home run record holder for 40 years, with 714 career home runs! That’s almost twice as long as his entire baseball career lasted! Talk about a success!
But what you probably didn’t know is that he also had over 1300 strikeouts…making him almost twice as much of a failure as he was a success, if you want to look at things from that angle.
Really, think about it: the guy was twice as likely to strike out than to knock it out of the park, by those numbers, and yet he’s considered an absolute LEGEND in the baseball world.
Just goes to show you how terrible your success rate can be, and yet the overall impression is that you’ll be looked up to for generations!
2) Bill Gates
Most people are vaguely aware of some fact about Bill Gates, stating that he was a college dropout.
They’re right…he’s a Harvard dropout. Not for nothing, but that probably makes him smarter than the average college student in the first place, to even be able to get into Harvard in the first place! (Joking…but for real!)
But did you know this fun fact: his first effort at starting a tech company had to do with counting traffic data? Dang, I’m in the wrong career, that sounds exciting (haha, nope)!
When that company was a total bust because the tech straight up didn’t even work, he and his business partner just brushed their shoulders off and moved on to the next big thing…yup, Microsoft. And the rest is history.
3) Charles Schultz
Alright, who DOESN’T love the Peanuts comic strips?! You’re a monster if you don’t! LOL.
They’ve been around for DECADES, even GENERATIONS, without interruption, so if that doesn’t count as a successful creation I’m not sure what does.
Yup. He couldn’t get any comics to fly with his yearbook staff, got rejected from working at Disney, and “the little red-haired girl” that Charlie Brown pines for was inspired by the redhead that he proposed to but was rejected. Ouch.
4) Harland Sanders (aka “Colonel Sanders”)
This guy’s story is a whopper…no, not the burger.
Maybe you’ve never thought about his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken past letting yourself drown in its flavor.
As he became successful, he made it a point to practice his craft by committing to writing 1,000 words daily, or a total of 7,000 per week (short days were compensated for the following mornings). This is an excellent example of a success habit — an action you can take daily to push you farther along the road to the success goals you have for yourself!
6) Ludwig van Beethoven
Alright, let’s just get this one done and over with, short and sweet.
Beethoven, considered one of the bestmusical composers of all time, was COMPLETELY DEAF.
Remind me again why YOU can’t succeed at whatever you’re putting your mind to? I thought so…
7) Michael Jordan
I don’t care what team you root for. This guy may just be the best basketball player of all time.
First, I’m glad to hear my NBA dreams can still live on, with info like that.
Second, it just goes to show you that the opinions that others have of you or your current skill level are NOT a true representation of what you are actually capable of.
And if you don’t keep pushing for what you know you want, how will you ever know what you really ARE capable of?
8) Oprah Winfrey
YOU get success, and YOU get success, and YOUUUUUU get success!!!!!!
We all know who she is — one of those iconic people who can be referred to by only her first name and there is no question who someone is talking about.
(Side note: now THAT is success!)
Hers might be one of my favorite success stories.
We all know that she has built her huge fan base by how much compassion (and generosity) she has, with things like her “Oprah’s Favorite Things” show each holiday season…I remember the year that everyone in the audience got a new car from her!
Well, I think the world (and definitely her audience members over the years) have been much better off because of it, so thanks to whoever fired her — they freed her to reach even higher and become an even bigger success because of it!
9) Stephen King
His very first published book was called “Carrie.” And it was the 4th one that he’d written.
And yet now it’s one of the most popular thriller movies ever.
Even if you’ve never read his books, you still know his name.
Even if you’re feeling like you’ll never make it with what you aim to do in life, you will. Just keep writing your own life story until it has the ending you want it to have. That’s what all the good writers do, after all.
10) Stephen Spielberg
Star Wars fans, unite!
Seriously though, ask someone to name a movie director and chances are good his is the name they’ll think of first. I.e. the guy is a massive success.
There is really only one thing that all of us have in common in life: that there is never enough time.
Never enough to do as much as we’d like, see as much as we’d like, love as much as we’d like, and live as much as we’d like.
This is why it is so important to make time in your life so that you can get the most out of life possible.
The best way to do this is to take a hard look at how you currently spend some time, and either add or make sure you’re using some solid time management strategies in order to maximize the value of every minute of every day.
Importance of Time Management
I’ll say it again: there is never enough time. If you ever want to get anywhere in life, do anything big, or live the life you dream of, you need to make time your friend instead of letting it stay your natural enemy.
Using effective time management tools means that you’ll know exactly how to plan your day so that you can just wake up every morning ready and raring to go, totally on top of things, and knowing exactly what comes next. All you’ll need to do after that is simply get on with it!
The best and simplest way to answer the question “but why is time management important” is that you’ll see a resulting change that takes you from constantly asking do you have the time for something to just KNOWING when something will fit into your day or not.
Even better – because you’ll be keeping your time and productivity clicking along so smoothly, you’ll likely find yourself at the point of having EXTRA time, to spend however you want!
Imagine that besides being more productive in your life, you’ll even have “bonus time” to spend however you want – starting a side hustle, hanging out with friends and family more, or maybe just enjoying a little reunion with your couch more often!
Time Management Techniques
Now that you know why time management is important, it’s time that you make yourself a solid time management plan.
What that means, in a nutshell, is making sure that you are moving quickly from one task to the next, doing high priority and time-efficient tasks first, and always making sure that your time is clearly defined so that you’re never stuck wasting time trying to figure out what should come next.
Use the following time management strategies to get your time back, starting now!
1) Don’t be a perfectionist.
This is worth putting as the absolutely first item because SO many people fall victim to the time-suck that is perfectionism. I honestly think everyone does from time to time.
Sure, they say that there is a time and place for everything, and so perfectionism does have a place…somewhere…but chances are good that it’s a far-off place, and an infrequent timing, so you’ve got to learn to avoid it as much as possible.
It’s important to be able to complete a task up to just above the minimum acceptable standard so that you can get on with the next thing!
Being able to say “it’s good enough” and get on with it is a seriously valuable skill in life!
2) Multitasking is NOT a good option.
With the rare exception of something like doing dishes or cooking dinner while talking to your mom on the phone, multitasking is actually a productivity killer, contrary to popular belief.
So basically, every time you multitask and think you’re being productive, what’s actually happening is that your brain is purely switching between one task and the next, stopping the previous task until it comes back to it. Sure, it’s happening in split seconds, but overall you’re adding the switch time between tasks to the length of time it would have taken to complete each task in full, separately.
Add this up and consider the increased delay in switch times for more mentally demanding tasks, and you’ll see how you can possibly be stretching things out and losing minutes to hours per day, even with the seemingly simplest of tasks.
3) Batch your tasks when possible.
I’ll explain this one with a simple example.
If you’ve been doing great at washing laundry once a week, but now you’ve got 4 full laundry baskets that want putting away, you’ll get the task done MUCH faster if you put away all 4 loads at once, rather than doing 1 load, going to do something else, coming back to do another load, etc.
Essentially the same problem applies here as it does with multitasking – the time to switch between tasks is a wasted add-on, so you may as well stay in one “task category” until all the subtasks are exhausted, if possible.
Your laundry is put away faster if you focus on only that. Your house will be clean faster if you do all the cleaning tasks at once.
You’d never mow the front lawn, stop and pull weeds in a flowerbed, wash windows, and then mow the back yard, right? Then don’t do the same sort of thing with the other tasks in your life either.
4) Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
It’s a fact of life that some things are just more important than others. The tasks you need to complete in a day are not an exception to this rule.
If you’ve got your list totally comprehensive, you’ve got them batched, and you’re totally ready to get one task after another “good enough” and them move on, then you’re off to a good start as far as time management strategies go.
Now it’s time to take it to the next level, by making sure you’re doing the most important tasks first. You don’t live in a bubble, and there’s always the chance that something will come up during a day that will throw you off your groove and your plan.
By prioritizing your tasks, you’ll never find yourself “caught with your pants down” when it’s time to deliver on a task but it was at the wrong point on your list (and you didn’t get to it yet).
Follow a few simple rules that suit your needs, like putting work tasks as a priority over your personal tasks, putting tomorrow’s due dates as a priority over the next day’s due dates, etc.
5) Make it a habit to keep your to-do list up to date.
Want to hear something kind of funny? An informal survey found that 50% of people like to write their to-do lists to include tasks they’ve already completed, so they can have something to immediately cross off so they feel more productive.
I mean, I get it. That quick-hit boost in your look of results is definitely a valid option to get yourself feeling more motivated and less like you’re slowing spinning your wheels.
But that also means you’re wasting time writing down stuff that’s done and over with. Let’s be honest here: who cares?
If you’re going to stick to a prioritization plan as part of your time management strategies, you’re probably going to write a numbered list from 1 to whatever number, right?
Why start the list at number 3? Number 7? Why not start the list at number 1?
You want to be writing your to-do list the night before.
You’re at the end of one day, knowing exactly which high-priority items didn’t get addressed (and should become number 1, 2, 3, etc. for the next day automatically). You’ll have a fresh look at things since it’s no longer an “oh no I’m getting a late start on my day feeling” but instead a plan for what you’re going to do hours from now — you’ve got the luxury of time on your side at that moment of the day.
As you complete tasks, you obviously want to be crossing them off so you can keep track of where you are. But if you’re having a massively productive day, you should also consider giving yourself a “fresh” list once or twice a day, because why not?
Why tell yourself you only need to do, say, items #7-10 on your list to finish the day, and oh goodie, it’s only 11am? Why not challenge yourself to turn #7 into number 1, and aim to accomplish an extra 6 things before the day is done?
Making Time Management Strategies Work For You
In general, following the strategies that we talked about above WILL help you get a better handle on your time and help you suddenly find so much more time in your day to move on to bigger and better things.
That said, the exact way these methods will fit together for you isn’t necessarily the same as it will be for me or anyone else. You might have a job where perfectionism absolutely matters (like if you’re building a suspension bridge)! If you have to get it perfect no matter how long that takes, then your best bet is simply to try to improve your work speed instead of decreasing your pass/fail threshold.
The most important part of using time management strategies is to make sure that they do not ADD stress to your life, or else they kind of defeat their purpose!
Try implementing just one of these strategies at a time so you can see steady, incremental progress. Use those small wins to keep you moving in the right direction!
There are few things in this world that can derail your ambition faster than the thought of “this is a mess.” Whether it’s your home, your job, or anything, you need to get organized now in order to be mentally ready to tackle it.
I haven’t always been the most organized person. But once I made it into adulthood, graduated college, and now have started my own business, let’s just say that learning how to get my life organized has made all the difference in both how much I get done and in how I feel each day.
But trying to stay organized when you’re tired, burned out, or just having a lazy day is easier said than done. That’s why I want to give you some easy, quick-hit tips to show you how to get your life in order and get you moving on to bigger and better things!
1) Keeping Your Space Clean At Home
Home is where the heart is, right? Which is why it’s also the first and most important place that you should concern yourself with when you’re trying to go from not organized to in control.
Here are some really simple ideas to get your home more organized, quickly.
I’m all for having enough of something, but sometimes there’s a fine line between “enough” and “too much.”
Stop stockpiling quite so much in terms of grocery store items. You may as well just put $50 on a shelf and not touch it for 6 months, but that money can definitely be put to better use today. Sure, grabbing extra when something is on super sale is a great choice, but make sure it’s a REALLY good deal before you buy more than you need.
Condense Your Organization System
I’ve seen people that try to have separate bins or “drop zones” for bills, general mail, receipts, magazines, and all manner of loose papers, books, etc.
Instead of trying to keep this complex system going, just have one main drop zone for ALL incoming paper, maybe a separate one for any library books (since those don’t need to get lost!). At most, you might have one spot for personal papers and one for work, to make sure things don’t get mixed up.
Tackle this “bulk bin” on a once- or twice-weekly basis. Shred the junk, pay bills, and file away important papers/records. Toss the rest.
It does you no good to touch everything multiple times over multiple days.
You’re just “pushing papers” and wasting time!
Practice A Daily Pickup Routine
Sure, I just told you to only touch your papers bin(s) once or twice a week. But that doesn’t mean you’re being lazy and neglectful.
Every night before bed, pick up those random items that seem to like to migrate around your place. Hang up jackets, put dirty or simply discarded clothing into a hamper, put any loose papers into those drop bins, make sure all the dishes are either drying in a dishrack or in a running dishwasher, etc.
You’ll wake up in the morning to a place that’s much tidier, and draws your attention far less than if you were constantly noticing what was out of place.
Have A Place For Everything
You probably already put 2 and 2 together with the tips listed above, but it’s worth calling this out by itself.
You HAVE to make sure that everything in your home has a home of its own. You can’t store the vacuum in the hallway, the big salad bowl on the counter, jackets on the back of a chair, and library books in a stack on your kitchen counter.
Get storage cabinets and bins if you have to (hop on Pinterest for some solid inspiration there!), use labels if you’re really desperate to remember where things live, and get your stuff in order.
When you get this organizing done, if you still have things that you just cannot find a place for, it’s time to take a real hard look at them and decide if they’re worth keeping. If they are, you’ll probably need to rehome something else that’s less important to make room for this one.
2) Keeping Your Space Clean At Work
The methods for how to stay organized at work is going to look a LOT like your home organization effort, just on a much smaller scale — you’re likely limited to a one-room space at most regardless of whether you work in a corner office, a cubicle, or out of your own home.
Keep Your Papers Well-Sorted
The office supply stores have been selling those paper sorters with multiple slots for longer than you and I have been alive, and with good reason — they work.
For work, as opposed to home, however, you’ll want to modify your organization. Instead of simply having a stack you only sort 1-2 times per week, you’ll want to organize by priority. You might be wise to have a 6-bin/slot system, assuming you work a 5-day week. Assign one slot to one day of the week, and the top or front-most slot is your highest priority stuff, that MUST be addressed before anything else in that bin.
Manage Your Time
Every employer wants the most productive and efficient employees possible, but there’s a good reason for this to be one of your priorities too.
The more work you get done, in the same or less time, the more ammo you have to bolster a request for a raise. (Boom. That’s a win!)
If you know how to be more organized at work AND you work one of those jobs where you don’t have set hours but can stop whenever your work is done, then the more efficient and fast you work, the sooner you go home.
And if you’ve got things on the schedule to manage outside of work, you’ll be really glad you kept better track of things so you don’t have any events or obligations slipping through the cracks.
Do A Daily Sweep
No, not with a broom (unless you work in a woodshop, maybe?).
Before you leave work for the day, make sure that you’re putting things back where they belong, making sure that priorities for the next day are set and visible, and that you know you’ve got everything you need to crush your workday tomorrow.
If you need a report that someone else isn’t done with yet, for example, put a post-it note in an obvious spot and label it with the report name. Ask the person to put it right on top of that post-it when they finish. Then you’ll know exactly where it is. If you work in a more non-paper setting, make a reminder list or stick post-its on the desk of what you’re missing, and you’ll know exactly what to check on first thing tomorrow.
3) Keeping Your Space Clean In Your Car
Why are cars the easiest thing to make a disaster of? Maybe it’s because of how little time most people spend in there each day — it’s simply an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario.
This is the most straight-forward thing you’ll ever clean though. Ready?
Get a plastic cereal bin to use as a “car garbage.” Line it with a plastic bag and thank me later.
Keep a jar of cleaning wipes in your car. End the work week on a good note by giving the dash, wheel, and radio controls a quick wipe-down when you get home from work on a Friday night. You’ll start on Monday feeling like you drove a new car to work, and that’s worth a LOT of subtle ambition.
Make sure to add it to your monthly checklist of cleaning tasks to give your car at least a quick vacuuming and clean out the junk (like empty water bottles and smelly gym clothes that fell out of your bag).
4) Organizing Your Daily Tasks
The easiest way to stay organized is to make sure that you make organizing and decluttering a daily thing.
Doing a nightly sweep at the office to prep for the next day, and doing a nightly quick pick-up before bed is an AWESOME (and low-effort) way to keep yourself on track and on top of things. Not to mention that the longer things pile up, the longer it takes to get through them later.
Now, I can’t tell you exactly how to organize your day, but there are some main elements that everyone needs to stay happy, organized, and moving forward on their vision.
Have a solid morning routine that includes some “me time” to decompress and find your inner peace before tackling the day.
Schedule both work and personal time in time blocks, and try to keep them roughly consistent from day to day so that your body falls into a routine and knows what to expect. Routine and habits make for far more overall productivity because you can almost do things without thinking.
Make sure your day has a decompress time block somewhere (more on this later). You need time to get your head out of “on” mode and let it just come down to an idle. Just as a car can be burned out if you constantly run it at high speeds, your mind needs a chance to just roll along once in a while, too.
Have a solid night routine that helps you feel peace before bed so that you can fall asleep faster and sleep better. Include a step that gets your head wrapped around what you’re going to accomplish tomorrow so your “sleeping” brain can have the whole night to make a plan for that to come true.
5) Remove Things That Are Not Valuable Or Steal Your Joy
Yup. I’m about to go all Marie Kondo on you to an extent.
Sure, she might be a fad. Sure, she makes women go on insane garbage-bag-filling raids. Sure, there have been some AWESOME memes and parodies made about it.
But the woman has a point.
Why do you keep something that you can’t use, that is worthless, and that you haven’t touched in a decade?
I’m all for keeping a few toys from childhood until you have your own kids to pass them on to. But if you’ve got an extra pair of shoes in your closet that has holes in the bottom and so you never wear them, why not just get rid of them?
Here’s the little underlying secret bonus of getting rid of these sorts of things: the less stuff you have, the less you have to clean (or clean around), the faster you can clean, the more time you free up to spend how you want.
6) Schedule A Daily Decluttering Break
Yes, this is a distinct and different thing than your daily task organization time.
In this time block, you’re going to stop and declutter your MIND more than anything, by meditating, saying positive things aloud, etc. The goal here is to specifically declutter out the negative things in your mind because they’re just taking up valuable space that could be used for positive thoughts instead.
Try immediately following this with your Marie Kondo efforts, because you’ll be in the most upbeat state of mind and better positioned to take an objective look at your stuff and decide what stays and what goes.
This IS going to be one of the best times to do your daily task organization because your mind is clear of doubts and negative thoughts, feeling its most ambitious, and feeling that the world of possibilities is wide open to you.
If that’s not enough to convince you that meditation is time well-spent, then consider this:
Now it’s time for you to put all of this together to make a routine that YOU can follow, reliably and successfully, to start to see your life take a turn for the better — to start to see your dreams come to life. Follow these next steps in order.
Write down everything you need to do in a week or a month.
You can get as detailed as you want, but I wouldn’t go much more in-depth than writing “clean the bathroom” and “vacuum the house” when it comes to cleaning tasks, and “work” for a simple X-hour-long block of work time.
If you take your dog on a 2-hour hike every Saturday, write that down. If you’re starting a side hustle and want to put 10 hours per week into it, write that down too.
You’ll use all of these tasks in the next step to fill up your calendar.
Fill in a calendar for a practical look.
Take a blank calendar (you can find free planner pages with a simple google search) and use it to get a feel for how to balance out those tasks. Including times will be a big help in making sure your list is balanced and practical, so consider using a weekly view that includes hours of the day on it.
Block out your day for sleep and work hours first, since those are non-negotiable.
Next, add your regular obligations, like that weekend hike with your dog and your side-hustle time.
Around that, schedule the rest. If you do a daily gym session, put it where you want it to happen. Add an hour or two per day for house cleaning if needed, put 30 minutes once or twice a week to sort those drop bins. Add 15-30 minutes morning and night for your organization and “mental decluttering” sessions. Schedule a weekly car clean-out so that you don’t forget it.
The point with this step is to make sure that you’re balancing your week. If you try to fit everything into 3 days around your work schedule, for example, you’ll never practically get it all done and you’ll end each week feeling defeated.
Let’s face it: you didn’t need to do the steps of writing everything down and filling out a calendar. You already knew what you needed to do, when it needed doing, and how your days needed to look to make it happen.
The REAL fix for getting decluttered and getting on to living your life better is to stop being lazy.
It’s easier to just put a box of junk in the basement to deal with later than it is to load it up and drive it to the local thrift store donation center.
It’s easier to throw yourself on the couch to watch TV than to do a quick pick-up around the house and do a task-planning session for the next day.
It’s easier to sleep in than it is to get up early and Make. Things. Happen.
Get Organized Now
Outside of working each day, I challenge you to this: spend one hour every day fighting against the lazy instinct and taking action on something.
Sort an old box of junk for one hour.
Organize a long-neglected filing cabinet (or worse, a box of unsorted papers).
Whatever you do, find something that will help you get the junk and sludge of life out of your way so that NOTHING is blocking you on your way to better days and seeing your visions become your real life.
Sometimes we all need some words of encouragement, some words to live by.
Maybe you’re having a rough day, or maybe you just feel like you’ve been in a funk for a while but can’t explain why.
There’s something to be said for not only being able to recognize those moments but also for being able to quickly get yourself out of them. But how can you do that?
With personal mottos, that’s how.
Life hasn’t always been good to me. I mean, I didn’t grow up starving in a third world country with no running water kind of rough, but let’s just say that I know many more people who had a better start in life than I do people who had it worse.
One of the ways that I’ve managed to turn that around and make it a solid, unshakeable habit to keep focusing on the positive is by having a list of personal mottos to read over whenever I feel myself starting to get down, or start to wonder if I’m worth the good that has come my way.
And since these life mottos have been such a God-send for me, keeping me more upbeat, more often…well, I want the same for you.
What Is A Personal Motto?
According to vocabulary.com, “a motto is a slogan or favorite saying, like ‘when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.’”
But I have my own, slightly different motto definition: a motto is a powerful phrase that lifts you up and reminds you to stay positive.
Because that’s exactly what all good mottos should do, right? I mean, my girl loves the show Game of Thrones where the one family has the motto “winter is coming.” It’s totally their favorite saying, if you’ve seen the show, and it’s definitely short enough to be catchy. But not so great for moral, am I right?
You want to be fairly picky about what you decide makes your shortlist of “best mottos.” You want these short, one-liners to be SO good that reading just one of them could get you out of your funk in a second.
Why Do I Need A Personal Motto?
Sometimes it’s all too easy to forget what is best in life.
Sometimes we start to focus on what sucks and we forget to keep working towards our goals. Not necessarily your “routine” goals, like working out, or reading 2 books per month.
I’m talking about your big goals, like making sure to challenge yourself with something regularly, working towards becoming the man you wish you could be, and using your motivation to encourage others to reach for their goals.
If you can’t contribute to bettering the world around you, then what’s the point of life?
But I’m getting off-topic here.
The real reason why you need a personal motto, what we’ll call your life motto, at the very top of your list, is because this ONE phrase is the ONLY phrase you need to either turn your life around or re-motivate you to define yourself, set (and help you reach) goals, decide on what’s next in your life, etc.
Mottos help you do 3 important things:
1) Keep you focused on who you want to be — a “north star.”
It’s all too easy to forget why we get up every morning and get on with the grind that is work and life. I know I’m not the only one who has come home from a day at work and asked myself “what am I even doing with my life?”
But having some of these mottos on hand can quickly remind me.
I actually knew that my day job (ok, day jobs) were 100% against what I wanted my life to look like. I used my mottos to remind me that life is what you make of it and that I was on the wrong track to make my life into what I had hoped — no, dreamed — it would be.
You can do the same.
If you want to be the highest paid lawyer in New York City, then, by all means, go for it. Find a motto that’s going to get you fired up, encourage you to be the best of the best, and constantly remind you that YOU can have ANYTHING you can dream up.
2) Serve as quiet reminders to stick to your guns and “go for the gold.”
Knowing exactly who or what you want to be in life doesn’t do anyone much good unless they actually go for it.
Really. Think about it — who cares if you dream of owning your own business and working from home (like I did) if I just kept saying it but never did it?
I knew I needed a change, but for a while, I’ll admit I was a bit scared to make it. What if it didn’t work out? What if I had to go back to my old job, tail between my legs, and admit failure?
But what if I make it happen — what if I succeeded?
If there is one tiny little motto that I think ALL of us should live by, it’s this: no regrets.
Don’t let life pass you by, waiting for things to happen.
Remind yourself constantly that YOU HAVE DREAMS, and you are GOING to see to it that they happen.
3) Act as both an inspiration and a calming force.
Sometimes the world feels like it may as well be entirely on fire, for how upside-down things can get. Just like a hug can help calm a panic attack, or a movie can make you want to change your life, so, too, can a great life motto.
I’ll give you a couple of examples:
Inspiration: “One person can make a difference.” (i.e. get your butt out there and start making change happen. Only one person needs to care for something to matter.)
Calming Force: “Tomorrow is another day.” (In other words, take a deep breath and give yourself a break, because failure and disappointments happen, and that’s totally ok.)
How To Use Personal Mottos
This one is easy. So easy you’re going to wonder why you ever questioned how.
Write down phrases that strike a chord with you (trust me, you’ll know it when you read it). Make the list as long as you want, but somewhere around 20 is probably a good starting point.
Refine your list so that you only leave behind those mottos that truly align with your need for them. Do you need reminders that life isn’t as bad as it seems (i.e. mood boosters), or are you more in need of “go get ‘em” style words? Choose those phrases that match your “theme” for your list.
Write them, type them, record a voice memo of you saying them. Do whatever works best for you so they can easily be put front and center in a moment, every day.
Read (or listen to) them every day. You could wait to refer to them only when you feel like you need them, but they’re a lot less powerful that way. Make a daily habit to familiarize yourself with your entire mottos list; every morning before you start the day is ideal.
Work hard to memorize the list, in full. Why? Because if they’re just plain burned into your brain, you’re far less likely to ever fall into a state of mind where you need them — they have literally become one with who you are.
Mottos To Live By
You’ve probably heard at least a few of these before, but I want to lay out my favorite list of mottos (some of them famous mottos) here for you, to help you get some inspiration in picking your life’s mottos.
From The Rock stepping in to get you pumped up, to Gandhi reminding you to be the good in the world, there is definitely an inspirational quote motto on this list that will become your life’s motto, and always be there to remind you to be the good version of yourself, instead of the down-in-the-dumps version.
1) Family first. – Unknown
If you don’t put your loved ones before everything else in your life, then you’ll live a life unfulfilled no matter what you do.
2) When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you. – Walter Payton
Lots of people can brag. But it takes someone truly great to just quietly do what they do, and let others sing their praise instead of doing it themselves.
3) Blood, sweat, and respect. First two you give, last one you Earn. – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
If you put in the effort, you get the recognition. You can’t just demand respect if you haven’t earned it.
4) You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. – Dr. Seuss
You have no excuses as to why you aren’t going where you want to go in life. What’s stopping you? (hint: only YOU can truly stop yourself from moving forward)
5) Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. – Judy Garland
Stop comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone better, richer, smarter, whatever than you, so make damn sure that you’re the best of yourself and you’ll be in the position to be one of those “someone betters.”
6) We must become the change we wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi
If you don’t like it, change it. Nothing changes by just wishing it to happen, it happens by action.
7) Vision without action is a daydream. – Japanese Proverb
You can envision your dream job, dream partner, dream house, dream everything until you’re in the grave. And that’s all it will ever be if you don’t DO something about it.
8) If you’re going through hell, keep going. – Winston Churchill
Don’t give up. Even when you think you’ve reached your worst remember this: when you’re at your lowest, the only way to go is up. So get up.
9) He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. – Friedrick Nietzsche
As long as you know what you’re going for (your why), you can handle anything that comes your way. It doesn’t matter how you got where you are (i.e. your better life), so much as it matters why you kept fighting for it.
10) You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. – Unknown
Don’t dwell on the past. Process what has come before, and use it to craft what is yet to come into the best it can be.
11) Go to bed with dreams, wake up with a purpose. – Unknown
Have a dream. Make a plan. Get up and make it happen.
12) We are what we repeatedly do. – Aristotle
Don’t keep dwelling on what you’ve done wrong — dwell on what you’re going to do to become who you want to be.
13) Have courage and be kind. – Kyle Boureston
You’ll need all the courage you have to get out of your comfort zone and achieve your dreams. But no one likes a jerk. Be kind to those around you, and you’ll find that life gets a whole lot nicer.
14) Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. – Helen Keller
If you’re just going to keep spinning your wheels through life and complaining about how things are boring, too routine, or just have no spark to them, it’s time to get off your butt and make life exciting.
15) When somebody tells you nothing is impossible, ask him to dribble a football. – Unknown
Sure, we’ve all seen those “nothing is impossible” inspirational mottos posters. But let’s face it, sometimes we can waste a LOT of time trying to do something that really doesn’t have much of a point. Pick your battles wisely.
16) Keep swinging. – Hank Aaron
No matter what’s happening — a bad day, bad luck after bad luck thrown at you — just keep giving live your best and eventually you’ll hit a homerun.
17) While I breathe, I hope. – South Carolina State Motto
So long as you are alive, you have the hope of a better day. No matter what happens, it can ALWAYS get better.
18) All that I am, I am because of my mind. – Paavo Nurmi
For better or worse, your mind controls you 100%. If you think of yourself as a failure, your mind will make it so. If you think of yourself as a success, well, it’s gonna happen.
19) It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment. – Naomi Williams
Make it a habit to have a gratitude session, daily. When you start to focus on what you’re thankful for — what is good in your life — it’s pretty hard to feel bummed about not having more, being better, etc. So long as you are better than you once were, you have something to be happy about.
20) It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela
We’ve all had those moments where we look back and think “wow.” Make it a point to strive for the impossible, and turn it into one of those “wow, look how far I’ve come” moments.
Final Thoughts On Personal Mottos
Hopefully, this list got you started with being motivated, thinking about starting to DO something about it and how you’re going to get there, and working on your own mottos list. Sometimes motivational quotes are all it takes to get you up and running and raring to go.
But what I really want you to take away from this article is this: always remember, mind over matter. These mottos are simply the tool to help you focus on your mind, over the matters that are eating at you.
You CAN be a success, a go-getter, a rule-breaker, a winner.
You know you need to save your money, wake up early, workout more…
You KNOW exactly what you need to do, but you DON’T do it.
Because you have not accomplished “self-mastery”.
You’re probably thinking, What does that even mean?
Well, in the simplest terms, it means you lack discipline.
There are two types of people on Earth.
Those that let circumstances determine their effort and results, making sure they never reach full potential.
Then there are those who master the art of discipline and begin to create the results they want by dedicating more effort, hard work, and concentration to the areas they want to succeed in.
Don’t worry though, you CAN become the second type with practice and effort.
I used to let my circumstances define everything I did. I didn’t think I could ever work from home because I grew up in a poor household where my father had to work long hours. I didn’t think I would ever have a stable future or good financial health because my parents spent a vast majority of their money on alcohol and things that DID NOT matter.
I had no idea of the RIGHT way to do things in life, or how to master yourself and get the results you want because I never had a role model to teach me. I had no idea what was required to accomplish this. But against the odds, I have learned, and I refuse to let you feel the same way.
Mastery of self requires you to go beyond what most people are willing to do. I had to work more than kids I knew, I didn’t party or drink or waste my money. I was disciplined in my direction and journey.
Most people will NEVER become person number two. It’s a sad but unfortunate truth.
Luckily for you, today’s article is going to cover EXACTLY how to master your own body and mind and cover exactly how to increase will power.
What Is Self-Mastery?
Self-mastery is the process of continuously working on yourself until you are able to develop and evolve into the person you want to become.
It may also mean mastering your own thoughts, not allowing thoughts of fear, depression, or anxiety overcome you or control you.
To realize your potential you must not only practice self-mastery in your actions throughout the day but also in your own mind. The health of your own thoughts and emotions will determine most, if not all, of the results you are getting in your life.
Self-mastery requires continuous acts of discipline that will eventually develop into habits and become part of your personality as a whole. Becoming disciplined will allow you to master your own thoughts and feelings, enabling you to be more successful in what you aim to achieve.
Discipline is not something you are born with or something that is gifted to you. It can only be strengthened by continuous practice.
Ways To Become More Disciplined
Discipline is all about staying true to yourself on the things you said you would do. Accomplishing what YOU said you would accomplish.
If you say you’re going to start waking up early every morning but end up not doing so, you’re allowing yourself to disregard your own word. You are breaking a promise to YOURSELF.
Repeatedly doing this can halt your results, and even cause you to go into depression or lose confidence.
You NEED wins to feel motivated to keep pursuing things. You need to learn how to have self-control.
What does self-control mean? It means that you are able (and willing) to have personal accountability to keep yourself in check. You don’t act on impulse, you act after careful thought.
As humans, affirmation is important to most of us. We want to feel like the effort we put in is justified and will bring results.
The problem with someone who lacks discipline is they will put in the effort for maybe two days and then quit. Then feel like they aren’t capable, when in reality that is very untrue!
You are capable, you just have to train your mind to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Which leads me to my first tip for developing self-mastery.
1) Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
It actually surprises me quite a bit how quickly people will quit on something AS SOON as it gets tough.
If you want to become successful in new areas of your life, you have to learn to embrace the fact that you will learn new things, things out of your comfort zone!
THIS IS GOOD.
I love the timeless saying by Thomas Jefferson:
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”
You HAVE to get comfortable with learning new things, and trying different methods, or else, you will continue to get the same results again and again.
Some ways that I have practiced doing this in my life is by,
Waking up before 6:00 a.m.
Taking cold showers
Using checklists and to do lists
There are hundreds of ways you can step out of your comfort zone every single day, but these are just some of my personal favorites that have made a huge impact on my life.
2) Form new habits and DON’T quit on them.
This means trying new things that make you uncomfortable, or just might be difficult for you. And NOT quitting on them.
That, my friend, is the definition of self-discipline, and it is absolutely one of the things you can develop if you put your mind do it.
Gah… If I had a dollar for every person that told me they were going to start working on their own business, just to be back working for someone else three weeks later. I’d probably have over $100.
This is the type of behavior that allows you to create the mentality that failure based on lack of effort is okay.
Failure is okay, but failing because you didn’t try is NEVER okay. And you’d be surprised to find out that MOST people fail because they never try as hard as they should or could, not because they just “can’t” do it.
3) Stay accountable and measure results.
You should be trying new things, sticking with them, and being dedicated to new habits and new methods.
But, it’s important to remember, not EVERY new thing you try will be in your best interest.
You may start waking up early every day for two weeks just to find that you’re more tired during the day and aren’t accomplishing near as much. In this case, maybe you should try staying up late to get more work done. Being an early bird isn’t for everyone, after all.
Success in life is never going to be a one size fits all. Stay accountable for your actions by doing them enough to get a good idea of what the results are, then decide what is worth it and what isn’t.
How to Master Yourself Completely
In order to master yourself completely, you must also become more self-aware. This means recognizing your own thoughts and behaviors that are holding you back from your full potential.
For some people, this may be easier than others. But you can start by paying attention to your thoughts and feelings and trying to rewire them in a way that is more healthy, mentally.
For example, if you begin working on your own business and you procrastinate by always telling yourself “why does it matter anyway? I’m not making that much money, maybe this is a waste of my time.”
Then you need to take a moment and reflect on these thoughts and emotions the next time you feel them. Begin rewiring these thoughts by first recognizing where they come from, what they are, and then shutting them the hell up!
Sounds aggressive I know, but the truth is, THESE are the voices and thoughts that are holding us back. They keep you from greatness!!
So in order to fix them, you must first recognize them, then fight them with positive and encouraging thoughts.
Instead of thinking about whether you’re wasting your time working on something, think about what working on this now could do for your future!
One of the most amazing things about self-mastery is that it allows you to replace negative inhibitors and thoughts with positive and encouraging feelings and emotions which will not only change your entire mentality but improve your results drastically.
The art of personal mastery is a journey that is different for everyone. It is accomplished by people every day in different ways and through different actions.
Regardless, we can all gain traction on the road of self-mastery by continuously practicing discipline in our own lives, striving to accomplish things that take us out of our comfort zone, and challenging our own negative thoughts and feelings.
I urge all of you to try some of these things and see exactly how they can drastically change the results you see in your life. I promise you will be surprised by how well it can turn out for you!
Have you ever sat down at your computer or went to work and tried to get something finished, and either thought “I have no motivation” or found that by the end of the day you hardly came close to getting it all done?
It happens to the best of us I promise. We all want to be more productive and get more things done.
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t wish there were more hours in the day. Whether to be spent with your family and loved ones, doing a hobby you love or building a side business.
You can actually train yourself to be more productive and can reach a level of efficiency beyond what you’re used to! So let’s jump right in and find out exactly HOW to be productive in everything you do.
The first thing you need to do when you’re on the path to becoming more efficient and accomplishing more every day is to accept that some days WON’T be perfect and you will get distracted and not get much done.
Don’t worry. This actually happens to a lot of people! A number of things can stop you from being productive.
Some of them are out of our control, and no matter how much you would like to break free of days like this, I can assure you, they will still come.
This is normal and something you just have to come to terms with.
But, the truth of the matter is, if you practice enough, you should be able to be more productive and accomplish quite a lot at least 80% of the time.
So, what does being productive look like to you?
Being productive probably means being able to accomplish more than you are used to, getting the things done that never seem to fit into your day.
It also probably means being able to efficiently use your time in a way that allows you to enjoy life, avoid becoming a workaholic, and establishing and maintaining healthy relationships and friendships.
So how do you achieve this vision of productivity you know you need in your life?
Being More Productive
You have probably heard the saying “practice makes perfect” or “practice makes progress.”
These still ring true in the case of productivity as well.
When you start trying to become more productive and learning how to stay productive, there are many things you can do to get and keep yourself on the right track.
1) Write down your daily tasks the night before.
One of the best practices I use to keep myself in check and to ensure I am going to have a productive day is to make a list every day of the major tasks that need to be done the next day.
Typically, I use the method of picking 3 personal tasks and 3 business related tasks to try and attack for the day.
This means that every night before bed when I am finished with my work I write down the tasks I hope to complete the next day.
2) Time your tasks.
I recommend only choosing the few most important tasks possible so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. Then take these tasks, and right next to them write how long it should take you to get them done. Keep in mind that you don’t want to push yourself too much during this process. We want to be able to do our work at a solid pace and have the best quality output. Learning how to be more efficient doesn’t happen overnight, after all.
Then using a timer, an hourly tracker like Toggl, or a stopwatch, or anything of the sort that allows you to track the time. I want you to keep track of how long it took you to finish your work from start to finish.
This by itself will not only help you to practice being more efficient but will also keep you focused because you’re “racing against the clock” in a sense. You will be more mindful of the time you are using and you will make sure it is put to best use.
This can also be a game changer because as you time tasks, you will realize that some tasks really aren’t the most productive things you can do with your time. This can help you to make sure you are not wasting time on tasks that require a lot of time but provide little results.
3) Keep a daily calendar.
Another way you can see some drastic changes in productivity is by keeping a daily calendar. You can buy a productivity planner, or simply create an excel spreadsheet that allows you to fill in time slots with things you hope to get done for the day.
Depending on your own personal preferences, you can make this as specific or as vague as you would like.
For example, my excel spreadsheet actually accounts for every hour from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. I have each block for every hour filled with a task that I need or hope to get done. I try my best to keep my life going by schedule as it allows me the most freedom and peace of mind.
In these blocks, I write down when I will eat, when I will work out, work on my business, do work for clients, etc.
You obviously don’t have to be this detailed as it can be stressful for some, but I recommend trying to be as organized as possible with the tasks you need to get done and being aware of when they need to be finished, how long it will take you to finish them, and why you are doing them at all.
4) Know what matters and what doesn’t.
Another reason I see a lot of people struggling with being productive is that they fail to realize what matters in their life and what produces results.
A great example of this is at one point I was very adamant about exercising 2-3 times per day. I would go out of my way and put other things off to add another exercise into my day.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with this if exercising is a passion of yours or is a way for you to let off steam or something of that nature. (Although, I do recommend you give yourself time to relax and recover.)
But, for me, there was a problem. You see, when I went on vacation around a year ago to the beach I only exercised once, first thing in the morning. When I came back from the beach I realized that I had lost more weight by eating better and exercising once a day then I did eating sort of badly and exercising three times a day.
This helped me to come to terms with the fact that the extra 2-3 hours a day I was working out was not one of my more productive things to do, and that time could be better utilized doing something else. (Hence this neat little blog you’re reading.)
I recommend frequently looking at your life, and trying to pick out what things give you the most results and what is simply just a waste of time.
This will increase your productivity alone by allowing you to focus on what drives you and gives the most results in life for you.
5) Establish your day and what routine works best for you.
The truth is, a lot of the productivity you have throughout the day depends on HOW you STARTED the day, i.e. the productive things to do at home before you even truly start your workday.
If you wake up at a decent time, get out of bed motivated, and begin immediately getting things done, you will more than likely accomplish more than people who don’t.
Some tips for having a good routine are:
Don’t use your phone as soon as you get up. Not only can this serve as a huge waste of time, but it can also affect your day negatively if you receive a text message or social media notification that bothers you.
Write your biggest goals on a sheet of paper and hang it up near the bed or write them on your mirror so that every day you are faced with what you hope to achieve.
Take time to relax and meditate or just breathe. If you wake up and get to work IMMEDIATELY your brain will be slow and groggy, and you will probably be grumpy. I like to get out of bed and sit quietly on the floor while imagining my dream life and focusing on what I want to accomplish in the future.
Avoid things that stress you out or can consume you. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often we do this. I’m sure there have been days you wake up and start your day with watching television and get consumed by Netflix, only to fast forward 3 hours later and realized you have gotten nothing done. Avoid things that drag you down like this at all costs.
Being more productive and efficient throughout the day most often has nothing to do with what you are doing, but actually HOW you are doing them.
You must master the art of execution and make sure that you are doing the right things in the right way. Or else your results will show for it.
What are some ways you struggle with being productive or not getting the results you want? How do you plan on fixing them?