Has this ever happened to you?
1. You watch a motivational YouTube video or movie
2. Decide that you are tired of being lazy, broke, and overweight.
3. You commit to making a change.
4. Try to change everything at once.
5. On Monday, you wake up at 5 a.m., go to the gym, meditate, throw out all of your junk food, and trash your porn collection.
6. You do it again on Tuesday.
7. Wednesday rolls around, you sleep in, skip the gym, eat at McDonald’s and realize that you aren’t Tony Robbins or Tim Ferriss and that a life of success and abundance just isn’t for you…
I know that it’s happened to me… Hundreds of times.
The reason is simple.
When we decide we want to make a change, we just want to do it all at once.
Change everything now and become the best possible version of ourselves in the shortest number of steps.
Unfortunately, things don’t work like that…
Change happens in small, bite sized steps, over a long period of time.
But luckily, there are two simple steps that you can implement into your life right now in order to become happier, more motivated, and more successful.
Sound like something you might be interested in?
Then read on my friend, read on.
How the Words You Use Shape Your Experiences
“Language shapes our behavior and each word we use is imbued with multitudes of personal meaning. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words—or even the right words spoken in the wrong way—can lead to a country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition.” ~Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain
Most people go through their lives completely unaware of how their daily language affects their mental and emotional hard wiring.
They fail to realize that the words they use have the power to shape their mood, emotional states, and even their identities.
In my own life, I realized (very recently) that the language I was using on a daily basis was having a massively detrimental effect on my life and success.
My whole life, I have been taught to be humble. I was taught that self-deprecation was a likable trait.
Don’t get me wrong, they are both wonderful traits to have, but like anything else, there is a delicate balance to these types of things.
I didn’t find that balance.
I became self-deprecating to a fault.
I got to the point where no matter how well I did something, how much I accomplished – I would always downplay all of my accomplishments to people.
People would try to compliment me, and I would instantly shoot it down and explain why I actually didn’t do it well enough.
Basically, I didn’t know how to take a compliment.
With time, the barrage of self-deprecating language that I sent to my subconscious started to affect how I showed up in the world.
I never felt good enough… No matter how much I accomplished, my “humble” habit of downplaying my own accomplishments made me feel inadequate in everything I did.
I started to wonder why I felt like I was never doing well enough.
Imagine how stupid I felt when I realized it was my own fault.
No matter how much I was crushing it in the real world, I was using simple language every day that would bring myself down. Without even realizing it, I was telling myself that I wasn’t good enough.
When you use words to describe your mood, your actions, or anything else, you are actually convincing yourself that that’s how you feel.
Let’s go to some more common examples.
When you say that you’re “pissed off” about a situation, you’re saying to yourself, “Hey, you’re pissed off about this situation. Act accordingly.”
When you tell people about how boring the class you’re taking is, you’re attributing even more boring-ness to the class.
Think of it this way. (For this idea’s sake) Everything that happens to us in life – all the external events that happen to us: they’re neutral.
They aren’t good, they aren’t bad.
It’s the way we choose to interpret these events that affect how we feel.
If we don’t actively think about how we are interpreting the events, we allow our feelings to go on autopilot and decide how we react without any of our say so.
“The problem is that most often we do not choose our words consciously to describe our emotions. Any emotions we experience that are distressing, we have habitual words that we unconsciously attach to them, and the challenge of course is the words we attach to our experience become our experience. Words have a biochemical effect on the body. The minute you use a word like “devastated” you’re going to produce a very different biochemical effect than if you say, “I’m a bit disappointed.” ~Tony Robbins
Just what we need, right? Yet another situation that is out of our control.
Sometimes we even want to justify our feelings to people, so we overreact about how something is affecting us, so other people are like, “Oh, yeah, it’s definitely worth you being pissed off about this situation.”
It can be a really vicious cycle. Some people even enjoy using harsher language to describe how they feel without even knowing it.
I mean let’s face it – when we’re trying to tell a good story, it sounds a lot more interesting if I “got really pissed off and lost my sh*t” in a situation than if I “got mildly annoyed and handled it like a gentleman.”
I’m a bit ashamed to say that I’ve always been that person. I’ve been a natural story-teller all my life, which can roughly be translated to “I’ve been a natural over-exaggerator my whole life”.
As a self-proclaimed over-exaggerator, trust me when I say that the words you choose to use seriously affect your mood and your interpretation of the world around you.
You and your brain are strong enough to convince yourself of anything.
The good news is that you are way more in control than you think.
You don’t always get to choose what happens to you. In fact, you almost never get to choose what happens to you.
You can do everything in your power to keep your car in mint condition – drive carefully, wash it every day, do regular maintenance on it – all to have some asshole crash into you because they weren’t paying attention.
Realize that life happens.
You won’t be able to avoid seemingly painful situations.
But you are in complete control of your reaction.
Try it next time something goes wrong. Realize that the words we use to describe our experience become our experience.
The next time you are in a trying situation, think about the words and vocabulary that automatically pop up in your head.
How nasty is it? Are you over-exaggerating? And even if the situation is “worth” your reaction, do you absolutely “need” to react that way.
And it should go without saying, but be nice to yourself. Don’t put yourself down and shoot yourself in the foot before you even get out of the gate. If you keep thinking to yourself that you’re a piece of shit, guess what. You’re fully going to take on the identity of “a piece of shit.”
It’s almost like learning to take the high road against your own emotions. Weird.
But it works.
If Tony Robbins says it works, it works…
Try it next time you find yourself losing yourself to your emotions. Take control of how you feel. Choose your reaction and see where it takes you.
“If you want to change your life, if you want to shape your decisions and your actions, shifting your emotional patterns are the key. One fundamental tool that can change it faster than anything else is consciously selecting the words you’re going to use to describe how you feel. This is how you create a level of choice instead of a habitual reaction.“~Tony Robbins
How Your Environment Impacts Your Happiness, Success, and Well-Being
There’s an old saying that says your environment is stronger than your willpower – and it’s true.
Most people underestimate the impact that their environment has on their productivity, happiness, and success.
The thing is, we all get so used to our environments, that we get placed into a “comfort zone” mentality – we either just keep playing along without giving our routines and environments a second thought, or we’re scared of what it might be like to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone into a mysterious gray area.
You can have all the good intentions in the world, but if the environment you surround yourself with is filled with negativity and obstacles that hold you back, they will hinder your growth before you even get out the gate.
The good news (again) is that all of these things are completely in your control to change.
And again, we’re not talking about huge drastic steps that will flip your life over in a day – everything happens with small steps that eventually add to a bigger goal that will positively change your productivity, happiness, and success.
Here are three “environments” that you can start making positive changes to right now.
1. Your Physical Environment
The first and most obvious environment – our physical environment.
Have you ever tried to work when your office or room was an absolute disaster? How’d that go for you?
What about eating healthier when your pantry is filled with sugar laden garbage?
Unless you live in a prison cell in Guantanamo Bay, I’m going to assume that you are in control of your personal home environment.
Which means that today you have the power to declutter and clean up your mind by decluttering and cleaning up your environment.
Keep your area clean and organized.
Keep a detailed calendar.
Use one of a million apps that are there to organize your life.
But most importantly, make it a habit.
And to the people who think that being organized is somehow a genetic trait that some people just “have,” it’s not. It might be easier for some people than others, but like many other positive traits, it is something that is practiced until you get better.
People who don’t originally have an ounce of organization in their blood (like me) have to train themselves to become organized; but like any other skill, it becomes a trait that becomes ingrained into you that you eventually won’t even have to think about anymore.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much clearer your mind works when your physical environment isn’t a mess.
And to be honest, if you wanted to be a well-rounded man – this shouldn’t really be an option. Make the conscious decision to become organized, take the steps necessary to do it, and I promise you won’t regret it.
2. Your Mental Environment
Listen, I get it.
Life is full of a million responsibilities and problems and surprises that tire the crap out of us.
When we finally get home from a long week of work and school and relationship issues and whatever else – sometimes the only thing we want to do is plop down on the couch, turn our brains off, and not think about anything.
When we do this over and over again, we start to build comfort zone routines that we do without even thinking about it.
We Netflix that same show we’ve seen all the way through 6 times already just for background noise.
We listen to the same music we’ve been listening to since the 8th grade because we know the lyrics.
We read entertaining little books and puff news pieces that don’t challenge or stimulate us.
Here’s the thing. Choosing to mentally stimulate yourself with new things really isn’t that much harder to do than what you’re already doing.
But getting yourself out of your comfort zone mentality is.
But in the same way that training yourself to become organized gets easier over time, so does challenging yourself mentally by tip-toeing out of your comfort zone with little things.
I’m telling you that trying new things It is almost never as bad or scary as you thought it would be.
Instead of your same old Netflix show, watch a stimulating documentary. For me, I push myself to watch travel, food, and business-related shows instead of mindless comedies.
Read books and blogs that will help your growth by introducing new topics. Listen to podcasts that engage you and make you question new things.
If you haven’t already, start with the podcasts on this site. We interview amazing people that will challenge and interest you.
Trust me when I say that taking these small steps outside of your comfort zone to challenge your mental environment gets easier and easier every time you do it, and the benefits are monumental.
In the beginning, you’ll be very aware that you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, but soon enough, I promise you’ll find yourself learning and growing in everyday situations without even trying – and you’ll find that your old, comfort zone activities will bore the shit out of you.
This is going to sound corny as hell, but push yourself little by little until learning and progressing is what becomes the fun thing that you’ll want to do with your downtime. It’s fully possible.
3. Your Social Environment
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.” -Jim Rohn
Outside of your physical and mental environment, your social environment is a whole other beast. For many, it can be the hardest to deal with.
When it comes to your physical and mental environments, we’re basically talking about personal decisions that affect only you.
When it comes to your social environment though, sometimes you have to make tough decisions that affect people that you may have called your “friend” for years.
Like I said earlier, we can personally make decisions in our head that we want to change our mindsets for the better and have all the good intentions in the world while we’re in a vacuum – but the second you step out into the real world and the pressure of other people and their opinions comes into play, it’s a lot easier to get swayed off your path.
If you’re hanging out with people with no ambition, every-day partiers, and other toxic personalities that you know don’t help you progress as a person, you’re not going to get anywhere.
As much as you try to convince yourself that you can “still do it anyway,” or even that you might be able to change the people around you along with yourself, you are setting yourself up to fail.
It’s a tough decision, because in a way, sometimes you have to be selfish when you make this decision. Maybe you feel like you’re being disloyal or a bad friend. But trust me when I say you don’t owe it to people to please them if they are holding you back from your goals.
Surround yourself with people that make you think. People who challenge you. People who take you to new places. People who see things in fresh perspectives. People who care about your passions and goals. People who inspire you. People who work their asses off for their own goals. People who push you out of your comfort zone.
Seek out mentors and innovators that you aspire to be like. There’s a ton of reasons why every successful man needs to seek out mentors to teach them what it takes to be the best.
Trust me, you’re not going to become the best version of yourself by simply reading these articles on the internet, keeping it to yourself, and then going back and hanging out with the same people who bring you down.
What’d I tell you?
Not as hard as you first imagined, right?
With only two simple changes, you can radically transform your life in a matter of moments.
When you change the way that you speak to yourself and the language that you use to describe difficult situations, your mindset and actions change.
When you optimize your environment and surround yourself physically, mentally, and socially with inspiring, uplifting, and positive things, ideas, and people, your entire life will begin to shift in a more positive direction.
And the best part?
You can make these changes now!
So what are you waiting for?
Go get it!
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