11 reasons Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss will change your life

 

Front and back cover of Tools of Titans

 

How many times have you read that this or that “book” will change your life?

You think…mmm…maybe it will change my life for the better..

Could it do that for me?

You get a buzz of excitement thinking about THE “book” that will help you become, calmer, fitter or wealthier.

So with a buzz of excitement you buy the book!

You make a cup of coffee and get stuck in!

You steam through it, just waiting for that spark of inspiration that secret trick that will change everything.

You like it, but you wonder what all the fuss was about.

Was it the wrong time to read it?

Oh well you think , at least I learned something, at least I gave it a try.

But…

Don’t be disheartened as Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss is a game changer.

You will absolutely love this book.

Read on to find out why I believe this book has all the tools you will need to kick start your life and take you to the next level.

Tools of Titans the MMA of self improvement books

If you’re like me you want to learn from the very best, to be the best.

However, think how long this would take…days, weeks, years.

If your serious it will take years, and if you’re like me then it will never end.

But that’s part of the fun… well sometimes. Realising this can be off putting, and can stop us trying.

Could this book change your life?

Yes, I believe it is one of the most helpful and practical books ever written. It will help you improve all aspects of your life. It has great advice for men and women, young and old. It will help you in health, business and spiritual areas of your life.

Luckily for you Tim Ferris has put together a great resource in Tools of Titans. Tim readily admits he is no expert, he’s being modest. He describes himself as the experimenter who stands on the shoulders of giants.

The book was inspired by the Tim Ferriss podcast guests. Tim tells us how making the book helped him realise and appreciate the value from all the podcast guests and the wisdom that he absorbed. He hopes it will help you now. Remember this is a guide, a helpful resource, with great advice, but the advice should lead to action.

The book has been written in a way that you can just go to the sections you like, like a buffet.

The sections that will be most helpful to you.

One of the great things about the book and the Tim Ferriss podcast is the value you get from the unexpected. People you may think you won’t get value from will surprise you. You will be inspired by the unexpected.

Who is Tim Ferris?

Tim Ferriss is a prolific writer, podcaster and investor. He has had five books on the New York Times Best List.  He is the host and brains behind the Tim Ferriss show, a podcast with 300 million downloads, and the number one business podcast on Itunes.

For me he is someone who introduces new personalities that I didn’t know before, that add value and make you think outside the box.

He deconstructs world class performers from many varied areas, such as – Neil Gaiman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, LeBron James, Ray Dalio, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Edward Norton, Tony Robbins, Maria Sharapova, Jamie Foxx, Maria Popova, Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, Amanda Palmer, Malcolm Gladwell, Vince Vaughn, Rick Rubin, Reid Hoffman, Jon Favreau, Whitney Cummings, Mike Shinoda and many, many more. He is also an investor and got in early on companies such as StumbleUpon, Posterous, Evernote, and DailyBurn. He also speaks 5 languages.

Tim Is highly successful but not without flaws, and readily admits this.

This contrast makes Tim an interesting person and is part of the reason I’m reviewing his book Tools of Titans.

The book is not all about making money. If you’re looking for a great practical and helpful resource to improve your life, this book is the one.

Tools of Titans is split into helpful sections 

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

What more do you want?

The sections include valuable advice from the world’s top performers in various areas. For example advice on mediation, supplements, diet, exercise, how to focus  how to sleep better, even cancer prevention.

Read on for my 11 reasons why this book will change your life.

Tim starts Tools of Titans with 2 principles – Success is achievable and everyone has flaws 

1. Success is achievable –

Why?

Because it’s been done before.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

For example Beats by Doctor Dre come to mind after watching The Defiant Ones on Netflix.

I mean making money from headphones, who would have thought, they’ve been around for years….

2. The people who we view as heroes are just people with flaws like everyone else.

As I write this Tiger Woods springs to mind as he’s just won the US Open. One of the greatest comebacks in sport. 

These 2 points sum up Tim Ferris for me.

I believe the value to be found in this book is too good to miss.

 

Some of my other favourite sections of the book

3. Mental health

One thing I like about Tim Ferris is that he doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff. He has been very honest with issues around mental health and I’m grateful for that.

In Tools of Titans he tells us about his encounter with the brother of a fan who had killed himself, and how this prompted him to write about Tim’s own mental health issues. Some of Tim’s friends had committed suicide and Tim had also be close to killing himself as well. Now that may be a shock as Tim Ferriss is viewed as a highly successful entrepreneur.

So why would he have these issues?

Without going into details (it’s worth the read) it’s linked to failure and blowing things out of proportion. In my experience it is easy to see problems as massive when you’re in the middle of it. But, how often have we looked back and thought, wow, that doesn’t seem so bad now.

This can be linked to his second principle in the book – everyone has flaws.

This part of the book could really positively affect your life.

It’s written from the heart and not only that, it gives practical advice if you’re in a dark place.

This is what I love about this book. A subject like suicide is tackled in a practical way , with even a joke or two thrown in (chatting up Naval’s girlfriend and a porn embarrassment!).

4. Productivity

This is one of Tim’s strong points, he does deliver the goods. He points out that he’s no superhero. Just someone who has had to work out the best way, to get the best out of himself.

Productivity does not come naturally for Tim and I’d say most of us. Again all people have flaws. Productive people have the ability to work around these flaws and still get the job done.

Tim gives sound practical advice here and what’s great is it’s simple advice.

It is a skill we all can learn.

One of the simple ideas is just getting your priorities right.

Regarding focus – a big one for me, actually trying a tip now for writing – using 1 song on a loop to focus and write – Despacito , Luis Fonsi if you must know, very helpful so far!

5. 1000 True fans

This isn’t Tim’s essay it’s Kevin Kelley’s . The idea is to focus on 1000 true fans and by doing so you can earn a living. The idea is simple and a short read so I won’t try to summarise here. If you haven’t read it check it out on Kevin Kelley’s site, or google 1000 true fans.

6. A reminder to be lazy

One of the points made by Tim Kreider is that people state that they are busy as a badge of honour, something to be proud of. 

But is this a way of masking emptiness?

This definitely made me think as nobody seems to have any time these days.

I love the attitude that Tim Kreider has in that he wants to get the work done in 4-5 hours then enjoy himself for the rest of the day. He admittedly feels guilty if he doesn’t get the writing done. Which ironically shows he’s a grafter. 

On a deeper level Tim Kreider chooses time over money, as you can’t get time back. Another theme from the book.

Wise words and a counter balance to the attitude that says if you’re not busy you’re not doing it right. This provides counter balance to the productivity tips given in the book. 

7. Tools for sleep

Tim gives some great advice on getting a good night’s sleep. Which can  involve hanging upside down like a bat! Now I do do this with gravity boots but not before bed. Something I will have to try tonight. I’d never noticed this on first reading, which proves the point about hidden gems and reading the book in a way that suits you.

Or another tip is playing tetris before bed, again something well worth trying to clear the mind before bed.

Another one is a white noise machine or ChiliPad  to lower the temperature of your bed while you sleep. 

At this moment in time I’ve been listening to rain videos on Youtube, Tim Ferris inspired!

8 .Morning rituals 

Again these are simple ideas that will help you put you on a path to having a good day. Tim states that setting the bar low is key to having a good day. This is correct, as trying to have the perfect morning or perfect anything never ends well.

Ideas such as meditation, morning journaling and some sort of reps (not a full workout) just enough to get your mood elevated and kick start the day.  

It may appear simple but routine is the key. I’ve even noticed a better day by doing 5 minutes of meditation each morning before work.

9. My favourite people

Some outstanding people in the book are – Naval Ravikant, Adam Robinson, Josh Waitkin ( I was inspired to meet Adam and Josh in London because of Tim Ferris), Derek Sivers, Rhonda Patrick, Seth Godin, Ryan Holiday, Arnold Schwarzenegger, BJ Miller, Edward Norton, Kevin Kelly, Tara Brach, Jamie Foxx, and Jocko Willink.

Now out of that list I only knew of Edward Norton , Jamie Foxx and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The beauty of the book is the discovery of new people and ideas.

My favourite is Naval as he wise and intelligent, yet doesn’t speak like he thinks he’s better than you. In a similar way to Tim Ferriss he’s not someone who makes out that they are perfect. Another favourite is Adam Robinson who drops wisdom in a measured and subtle way.

10. My favourite quotes

The book is stacked full of quotes here’s a couple of my favourites –

“Good” by Jocko Willink.

This means when something goes wrong try and find the good in it.

Funnily enough I read this and a few days later I was in a car crash. Lucky to be alive I told my other half about the quote and she said where can we find the good in this?

I could see the point as we were injured, in shock and had a wrote off car.

I thought for a minute and said –

“Where alive!”

“I mean we went through it, we’re in shock, injured but it makes you feel the appreciation for life.”

“That’s the good.”

I was actually proud of myself as this was only an hour after the crash. I even feel saying it that day and seeing the good in a bad situation proved to me that, there’s truth in the quote.

Maybe not every time, but in most situations we can find the good in the bad.

Just trying to find the good, is a good habit to develop.

What’s the alternative?

Seeing the bad and focusing on the negative. I know what is more healthy.

Thanks Jocko.

 

Naval's acceptance quote picture of page in tools of Titans

A great one from Naval Ravikant –

It’s about accepting what life throws at you.

Not a new theory but explained in a very simple way.

Oh and the five chimps theory.

11. My favourite recommended books from Tools of Titans

Sapiens by Yuval Harari is an unbelievable book. It tells us about myths and human beliefs, such as the belief in companies and money. The way we trust and agree what the value of money is. Even though a note has no really value, it’s value is that we all agree it has value.

It made me question my beliefs about world history . This was very powerful as history is told by the winners and will also be told from the perspective of the part of the world that you are from and the stories we are told.

Although a highly successful book it has had academic criticism For me the  reason the book is great is that it makes you view the world in a new way. Not many books can do this and for this reason it should be rightly praised. This book will make you stop and think many times during reading.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a book that will help you accept life as it is. The book will help you realise the shortness of life, and to make the most of life. We also have free will and power, over how we view life.

This is very similar to mindfulness and how we can learn to control our actions, rather than being caught up in emotion either good or bad.

Another powerful point in Meditations is accepting that we will meet negative and foolish people almost everyday. This is not to be viewed as waiting for bad things to happen but accepting that life is unfair. If we can take things in our stride, and not be thrown off balance when problems arise, we will be all the better for it.

A great book choice.

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen is another old book that stands the test of time. This book is a reminder that the thoughts we hold with have the desired affect either good or bad. If we can develop the habit of positive thought, similar to Jocko’s “Good” quote then we are at least on the right track.

It is very short and I highly recommend it.

Tools of Titans will improve your life

As you can tell I love this book, it’s full of great advice that can easily be put into practice within 10 minutes of reading. The book is one that never ends, as you can delve deeper into each subject through listening to the podcast and researching the stars of the book.

The ideas and people in this book will help you improve yourself without a doubt. You will find hidden gems that can help you mentally, physically and spiritually.

The book is well balanced and may not be what you expect if you’ve read any not so complimentary views on Tim Ferris. There’s a few, but I disagree, this is not a get rich quick book about how to crush your rivals and leave them in the dirt.

I highly recommend this book and hope that you find value in it.

The guests on the Tim Ferriss podcast which helped form this book are the real stars. The power is in the people as they give valuable advice from a variety of disciplines. That is why there’s not really a single type of person that would get value from this book, it will benefit many different personalities.

People are not defined by one thing.

We’re not just someone who works out, someone who meditates, someone who eats healthily, someone who writes, someone who loves their children.

We are made up of different characteristics, with various wants and desires, flaws and skills.

This book has something for everyone.

It is the most helpful and practical book I have ever read.

It will improve your life.

 

* This article contains Amazon affiliate links

15 Surprising hidden benefits of audiobooks

As a book lover since learning to read I was reluctant to start with audiobooks and was surprised at the many hidden benefits of audiobooks. That’s how it worked for me and hopefully this list of positive benefits of audiobooks will inspire you to give them a try and you’ll see the benefits. To do this you can get a free book with Audible with a 30 day trial

Is it cheating?

Not a chance, you still need concentration, commitment and willingness to focus and learn.

This post will cover road rage, running, language learning, and much more…

Do you struggle to find the time to read your favourite books?

Are you too tired to read after the gym or a hard day at work?

Read on for some valuable tips to optimise your time while enjoying your favourite past time.

 

1. They eliminate ROAD RAGE!

This was a welcome and hidden benefit of audiobooks.

Now, I don’t want you to think I’m a mad man at the wheel because I’m not.

Audiobooks are a game changer on the commute to work.

If you’re like me getting up and out to work is not your favourite thing. Knowing I’ve got a great audiobook on the go helps make a boring journey into a pleasurable experience.

I’ve wished my commute was longer many of times. As strange as that may seem. The time on the way to work is a great time to catch up on a good book, sometimes it’s the only time you have in a the day to really enjoy your audiobook.

Don’t’ worry about losing concentration on the road as I always naturally focus on the road and not the book when I need to.

It’s actually good to have a short burst of a book , say 25 minutes and go to work then look forward to another 25 minutes on the way home.

On the drive to work I’ve felt inspired by a great audiobook and starts the day off in a positive way. It certainly beats the news.

2. Can help with injuries

This may seem a strange one but bare with me.

Yes, audiobooks are great with injuries. Having suffered with a neck injury, reading a physical book was painful. Especially after a day at work on a computer. Reading can sometimes hurt your neck when in bed or sitting down. Audiobooks don’t put any strain on your neck or back at all (obviously).

You listen in a way that suits you.

This is a really great benefit for someone who loves reading.

Most book lovers don’t want to not read and can make neck injuries worse by reading when in pain.

Also the weight of books can be a really pain if you carrying an injury, or even without an injury.

Audiobooks are as light as the phone in your pocket.

Audiobooks are vitally important for people with eye injuries or blindness. This goes without saying but it is vital for people who can’t read a book in the normal way. The variety of books available as audiobooks is great and means we can all enjoy and learn from the great selection.

Audiobooks help us in ways that are not so obvious, and once you start to see and hear the benefits you’ll wonder why you never started earlier.

3. Learning a language is a 1000 x better with an audiobook

You may think this is an exaggeration but the beauty of the audiobook is really apparent when learning a language. If you’ve ever tried to learn a language from a “normal” book you’ll understand.

What’s missing from a normal book?

The sound!

How can you learn a language when you can’t pronounce the words?

Books like * Paul Noble’s Learn Spanish with Paul Noble Complete Course  solve this problem by having you speak the language as you get through the book. He has both a Spanish native and a South American Spanish speaker to help you on the journey to learn Spanish.

This is great for getting the true pronunciation and gives you real confidence for when you actually try the language for real. Or for watching Narcos on Netflix!

Again this is a real benefit of audiobooks that can help improve you language learning.

4. Audiobooks are great for people with dyslexia

Audiobooks are great for people with dyslexia. They can help people by reading with their ears, and reading books that are a level above what they would normally read. Audiobooks can build vocabulary by becoming accustomed to new words which gives confidence to people with dyslexia.

It takes away the need to decode the page and can give the reader the chance to focus on the great stories in audiobooks.

Audiobooks are a great leveller and I think this is a really important hidden benefit to audiobooks.

5. Never be bored again

With audiobooks being on your phone is perfect for those unexpected times when we have spare time on our hands. Waiting for an appointment is no problem when you got the book downloaded on your phone.

Just don’t forget the headphones.

6. Audiobooks are relaxing and help you sleep

I admit that this benefit is not exclusive to audiobooks.

However and great audiobook with a great narrator really sets you up for a great night’s sleep.

Just set your timer so you don’t miss too much when you nod off!

In my experience you will find that depending on how tired you are , you will have to rewind the book the next day. But the beauty of audiobooks is that you can easily find you place and continue with the book.

7. A good audiobook can be like a play

The first audiobook I likened to a play was Zorba the Greek, one of my favourite books , and that’s coming from a person who doesn’t really like fiction. The book was narrated by George Guidall and adds so much to the book , giving you a really feel for the characters in a way that you just don’t get with a normal book. Check out * Zorba the Greek on Amazon.

Give it a try , a truly inspirational book, that if I’m honest I wish I come across earlier. A great suggestion from another favourite of mine Tim Ferriss.

8. We get a real sense of meaning from the authors point of view

This point is linked to number 7 as a great narrator can really put onto another level.

Examples include George Guidall for Zorba the Greek, * Derek Perkins for Sapiens, Stephen Fry for Mythos and Dylan Baker for Steve Jobs.

There’s many more but I believe you’ll be impressed with these examples.

A great narrator can take your audiobook to another level.

9. Paper books get wet in the bath!

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Another great hidden benefit of audiobooks is we can enjoy them in places we wouldn’t normally read a book.

Modern life can be ,rush , rush, rush, with little time to enjoy a good book. This is when audiobooks come into their own.

Your 30 – 40 minute bath can now be the ideal time to catch up on a great book.

You can just set it up on your phone and relax.

Or if you love a long shower you can set pair your phone to a bluetooth speaker and listen while you shower. The speaker I use is amazing check it out here the * Anker Soundcore 2

10. Read on the run

Another great way to make the most of your time out on a run either on the road or in the gym is listening to an audiobook. Again time is precious and being able to take in a good book while your getting the miles in can be really useful.

I have found that it can make you run that extra mile while listening to an exciting book as you want to get to the juicy part.

The same applies to weight training in the gym.

Admittedly it all depends on your mood as I’m happy to train with listening to music or a book. It’s something you can experiment with and is another great hidden benefit of audiobooks.

11. You can press rewind on an audiobook

One of the things you notice when you get into audiobooks is the tech is your friend.

You can forward and rewind. This is ideal if you lose track of the book , you can skip back 10 seconds or 20 , or whatever you want to set it to.

If your like me you’ll use this a lot!

You can also make notes if that’s your thing , great for languages and educational type books.

I find it good for learning meditation and entrepreneur  audiobooks.

12. They’re great for people who don’t listen to the radio

Some people just don’t like to listen to the radio and audiobooks are a great alternative.

So next time you’re in the kitchen instead of listening to the radio you can be inspired by a great audiobook. There’s a lot of negativity in the news these days and audiobooks can give you creativity, inspiration and knowledge. You can control what you hear and influences you in a positive way. This is another chance to catch up on reading when there’s little time.

13. Some people don’t like reading in the traditional way

Another great hidden benefit of audiobooks is the simple fact that some people just don’t like reading. That’s reading in the traditional way.

For some people reading has got a negative connotations and reminds them of school days and the strict lessons involving reading.  

Even years at university can put people off reading, especially law!

Although university opens your mind to learning, the idea of heavy reading can be off putting and audiobooks really help in this regard.

Not only that but sometimes we can have tired eyes, but still want to take in a great book.

14. Audiobooks can help manage tinnitus

For some audiobooks can be a great help to try and manage tinnitus. They can be used as a form of therapy which is helpful and can distract on different levels. –

  1. The simple fact that audio is being played.
  2. The engagement in the story can act as a distraction, rather than just a simple noise distraction.
  3. The relaxation benefits of audiobooks helps lower stress which can help to manage tinnitus.

This is not medical advice but something that may help tinnitus. Please speak to your doctor and see if it may help you. Also bluetooth speakers may be better than headphones in regard to tinnitus.

For more information –

http://www.ata.org/sites/default/files/glossary.pdf

15. Audiobooks help you get through more books

This is true for me and I’m sure that it will be true for many others. Some of the above points do have a similar theme and it’s the convenience of audiobooks that really give great value.

These days we can be rushed and hardly find the time to do something selfish, something that makes us feel better after a hard days work. Audiobooks help here because they are so practical and can fit around our busy lives.

Because of this practicality you can get through books at a quicker rate without feeling like you’re not taking it in.

You can say to yourself, I’ve got 30 minutes travel there and back going to work , so that’s 5 hours reading in the car. Some people would struggle to get through 5 hours of reading a traditional book, Obviously some people can read much more depending on circumstances.

In summary

Audiobooks have many hidden great benefits. Hopefully you will soon discover these great benefits.

This is not to criticise paper books. I have a great love of them, but at this time I’m really enjoying listening to audiobooks. There is a cross over in benefit with paper books and audio but there is unique benefits to audio versions.

Do you agree?

Have I missed any benefits out?

Please feel free to tell me your favourite benefits of audiobooks.

Thank you.

 

* This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

How to benefit from stress and anxiety

The benefit of stress

This seems counter-intuitive at first. The trick is to change the way we view stress and tension. Let’s face it, no matter how good our lives become there will always be stress. It will happen to the best of us. So we can’t avoid it so we may as well learn to live with it.

Change our attitude to stress

If we can view the troubles of life as learning opportunities then we’re half way there.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying if something drastic happens like a death of a loved one we just say, “Great what can I learn from this?” Although further in time we will learn from the really painful things in life but that will happen organically.

If we look at areas that may cause us stress and anxiety such as careers, health and relationships. In my life I’ve let things get on top of me which leads to anxiety and worry. It still does. But I am getting better at trying to see what I can do about it.

Be honest with yourself. You can have a job you hate, hate the relationship you are in and hate your body and fitness levels. This leads to stress, anxiety and depression.

What next?

Well we can use the emotions to make a change. If we can use the situation to make changes in our lives we can then view stress as a good thing. We can then hopefully view stress as our friend. Stress a friend! – Can’t believe I just wrote that! So be comfortable with it and realise that the emotion is telling you something. So if you don’t like your body go to the gym, run or whatever appeals to you. Read up on nutrition start to eat clean. Do it step by step. In a bad relationship talk about it, and decide what you want. In a career you don’t like then look for another job, go to college or university if you have to.

The choices are endless. This is not rocket science. But for so many people it is easier to moan than take action. I’ve been there, but I’ve also took action to change my life and situation.

The other option…

Don’t ignore anxiety

Bad day at work in a job you hate, well it’s obvious go and get drunk, that will solve it. For a few hours! Feeling fat and unhealthy? May as well get a pizza and chips then as what’s the point, “I’m fat anyway!” In a bad relationship? Well everyone is the same so may as well do nothing about it.

These are good tactics to avoid stress momentarily. But this leads to a cycle of more and more stress. In fact I’ll bet that some people who do the second option and avoid the stress signals don’t even know they are doing it.

The point is don’t ignore stress, use it to make changes

It doesn’t always have to be so dramatic and issue. You could be having problems in work and you need more training. But you need to take action and ask for it. You might be overweight but need some help getting started so join a running club. You might have relationship problems but just need to communicate better.

How to use tension and anxiety?

Next time you feel tension or stress say, “What can I do about this?” There will normally be something you can do. Even if it means being patient and planning how you will improve the situation. Start with the small things. Look at it like a challenge.

This means you are talking responsibility for your life. Which is a good thing as problems normally start from ourselves anyway, not every time. But the way we react is a choice we make.

So for the next week keep a track of all the stress we complain about and ask the question – “what can I do about this? “.

Meditation is selfish

Meditation has been criticised for being a solitary selfish discipline

I agree it is selfish.

Sometimes being selfish is a good thing. Think about it. Who else keeps you fit? Helps you eat the right food? Helps you make decisions (good or bad)?

Only one person – you.

The choices we make shape our lives and our future. We need to remind ourselves that we have the power to change for good or bad. We often beat ourselves up for the bad choices we make in regarding our career, relationships and health. We need to focus more on the positive choices we make, and learn from mistakes without dwelling on the past.

Back to meditation

By meditating we learn to calm the mind and not react. This is one skill I’ve yet to master! However the learning process is part of the challenge, the fun and the reward. This work is selfish yet good for you and others. Why? Well they don’t tell you to look after yourself first when taking off on a plane for nothing. You’d be useless to your family and friends if you couldn’t breathe on a plane in an emergency. By looking after ourselves first we can then pass on the goodness to others. Remember Jocko’s quote calm is contagious in Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.

Do you ever want to help someone when you’re stressed, angry or worried? Not normally, and I’m guilty of snarling at times – sorry.

So don’t feel guilty about being selfish.

Take the time to meditate and chill for the greater good.

Beat anxiety like a boxer

 

black and white picture of boxer winning anxiety fight

Never let a bad experience go to waste!

Use it don’t lose it. There are far too many “bad” past experiences that can help us when times get tough. This is not some self-help bullshit but “facts” as Rafa once said, but we won’t go into that right now!

Well I can safely guarantee that we all have past life experiences that we can recall and put to use when we need them.

If you haven’t had any negatives in your life, I don’t believe you! I was going to say you’d be a lucky person to have had a life with no downside. Tough times help you grow as a person, tough times help your character.

They even give you a funny story to tell, well sometimes it’s funny.

Don’t change the memory, change how you see it

We’ve all been there – being broke, a break up, fired from a job or not getting the job you set your heart on. It doesn’t even have to be emotional it can be physical too. The ankle injury you had when the doctor said you’ll have to give up running. Or the neck injury you had and were told you definitely couldn’t practice ju-jitsu.

I’m still running, the lesson is don’t always trust doctors!

Think about your own bad times. The times you can recall without much emotional reaction. This is not meant to belittle anything that is raw and you are going through now. You have to work that out in your own time and way. The majority of people will have a list of things that happened in their past that that do not harm us now.

Think about this for a moment…

At the time we thought it would last forever. I thought this is it. This is how it’s going to be. The anxiety builds and builds. The mind plays tricks on us and looks at the worst case scenario. It’s what we are programmed to do. A survival instinct. Left unchecked negative habits can form and we don’t even see the patterns. The questions arise – why me, is it a jinx when will my luck change?

We got through it though, we healed and we came back.

See the bigger picture and learn from it

It’s not you, you’re not that important scheme of things. It’s just life throwing body and head shots at you. If a boxer gets in the ring for the first time and takes a few hits that’s understandable. That’s normal. What’s not normal or plain stupid is not learning form the experience.

Einstein said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result

 So you’ve took a few hits what next?

You decide to not step back in the ring. This is not acceptable. I’ll leave that with you.

You’re brave so you step up again and the same thing happens. Whack, whack, whack! Hate to say it but tactically you’re a dope, whether in life or in a boxing ring. I’ve been guilty of this too.

Remember absorb adapt learn

Take what you have experienced and learn from it. Think win or learn. Develop habits that will serve you through life. You’ll never eliminate all anxiety but you can defend against it, avoid the worst of it by seeing it coming, counter and attack it when the time is right.

A boxer who is never tested will never improve

Take the lessons from life and use them to you advantage. If you find the pressure building in work and it leads to an anxiety attack, use this information for your future benefit. Ask yourself how can you defend against this? Did you eat well at the time? Were you sleeping well? Did you neglect the gym that week? Drink too much alcohol?

Next time you could remove yourself from the situation for a brief period of time to calm yourself. Or endeavour to train harder, eat healthy and drink less beer!

If you didn’t get the job you wanted, analyse the reasons to see how you can perform better next time. It could be a small thing like starting your preparation a week earlier.

Or a big change like going to college or university to become more qualified. This is hard but it can be done as I did it.

Take ownership of you present and future

We can’t control fate but we can control our response to adversity. This is not about dwelling on the past but using it to our advantage. It can take a while to change our way of thinking, but I can genuinely say it has helped me when things go wrong in life. I’m far from perfect but seeing the bigger picture is a habit worth cultivating. It even helps take the bitterness and anger away which only drains me anyway.

I would like to add that certain things in life will knock us for six and this tactic may not help for everything. However even extreme circumstances can bring the best out of people. Check out Victor Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning.

Start with the small things

If you struggle with this concept start small. The person you dislike in work, just say hello, ask them if they want a drink. It does work. Then build up to bigger more serious issues. In the end you start to think everything happens for a reason.

All the s**ts from your past are just people not s**ts. They taught you to bob, weave, defend and attack! Haha.

That feels much better.

 

 

 

We can change at any moment take action to defeat anxiety!

every moment is inspiration

Patience and confidence

When anxiety gets a grip of us it seems like it’s never ending. When bad days occur we feel like this is the way it’s always going to be.

What do we need in these times?

Patience and confidence.

The patience to to understand that things in life won’t last forever. And the confidence to believe that good things can be around the corner. This links to my last post about Conor McGregor and how easy it is to think positive in the good times. This is where we show are character and experience. Let’s face it all good intentions go out the window when we feel anxious and worried.

Like Mike Tyson said,  “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face!”

Our minds often veer to the negative side, to make things worse before you know the outcome.

The Stoic Seneca wrote, “Many are harmed by fear itself, and many have come to their fate while dreading fate.”

How true this is. We build up stories of how things are going to work out, as if we are fortune tellers. We picture negative scenarios more than positive ones. Before a job interview we think, what if I don’t have a good answer? Why not think – this interview is going to go as well as possible, I’ll give it my all. Can you see the difference? The first one is out of our control ie we may not have a good answer. But the second positive thought is well within our control. We need to focus on what we can control and influence and learn to avoid thoughts that we have no say in.

I agree it’s easier said than done.

So start small, start with a traffic light, don’t get frustrated over the colour of a light! Don’t get wound up when waiting for a coffee. Start from the easiest point and work up. It does work but takes practice.

Three options

Naval Ravikant said, “In any situation in life you have three options…You can change it, or you can leave it,.What is not a good option is to sit around wishing you would change it but not changing it, wishing you would leave it but not leaving it, and not accepting it. It’s that struggle, that aversion. that is responsible for most of our misery. The phrase that I probably use the most to myself in my head is just one word: accept.” *

A great quote from one of my favourite podcasts from the Tim Ferriss show.

To focus on what we can influence is a skill I need to learn.

 

* Taken from Tim Ferriss – Tools of Titans book, page 548. This book is great, very useful in all areas of life.

 

 

Positive from a negative use anxiety to win or learn!

Never lose hope be positive

Stress tests my positive mental attitude!

The last few weeks have tested my positivity and made me question myself. I can see by looking back on the early posts that I wrote them in a positive frame of mind and being honest it’s far easier than right now.

Nothing too bad has happened but my anxiety has risen greatly over the last week.

Why?

The usual things that crop up in life and in work.

It brings to mind a quote I heard from Conor McGregor about the law of attraction and how you need to act like you have good things already. I get this. But staying up beat when things are not going well is tough. We must try to believe that brighter days are around the corner. He said having self belief that everything will be alright is easy when things are going well. We can all imagine great possibilities on a sunny day having a beer in a beer garden in July. The hard part he said was doing that when things have gone to shit!

That’s the real test.

Can you do it then?

More to the point can I see the good in the low points?

Preparing yourself is half the battle

Tim Ferriss cites Marcus Aurelius’ quote that he prepared himself by expecting to meet “bad” people everyday. Maybe it comes back to lowering expectations about people and situations. That way there’s no surprises. to be fair I do that more than I used to. It can still affect you when you feel that life is unfair. Dealing with people who treat people like numbers not humans is hard. I don’t think expecting everything to be a bed of roses is negative, I see it as a positive. I will try to be ready for whatever comes my way.

The truth is we can’t change other people

So what can we do?

We can change our reactions. We can change the situation we find ourselves in. If we can’t make a change now, work towards a change. Never complain and do nothing. Fuck that for an attitude. Even taking yourself out of the situation gives you some power, some control. Sometimes we might need to retreat. There’s an old saying from the street, “Run away to fight another day”. Or as an old trainer said to me sometimes you just walk away and that’s it. Don’t worry about pride, do what’s right for you.

So what next?

Where’s the positive in a negative?

  • Firstly I can see what’s going on. I’m not lost in stress and anxiety.
  • Yes anxiety is in my body and mind but I understand what’s happening.
  • I have stepped out of the situation to assess options.
  • I’m reminded that it’s easy being positive when your positive.
  • Try it when you’re under pressure, that’s a real skill.
  • It has given me a chance to practice what I preach.
  • I’ve trained harder than normal and appreciate my body and how it makes you feel better after a work out.
  • I need to make more effort to change my situation, as only I can do that.
  • I feel better after writing this and need to write more.

Sometimes you need a rant.

But this is life and it’s tough sometime.

Win or learn.

For a happy life choose habits not resolutions

I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions.

If it’s something you couldn’t change in August or October what makes you think you can do it in January?

On reflection I do think January is a good time to start adding or subtracting good and bad habits for life and not only this coming year.

Some of the habits I want to stop are –

Complaining

Most of the complaints we make don’t help us in any way. I’m not talking about a bad service in a restaurant, it’s when we complain about traffic lights or complain about your job when only you can change the situation (basically complaining about yourself).  If we can change the situation for example we’re unfit or overweight complaining doesn’t help. Just take action. If we can’t change the situation like bad weather all the complaining in the world won’t change it.

All in all complaining is a habit I need to get rid of and I think the benefits will be great for my anxiety as it will leave space for a positive outlook to form based on dealing with issues rather than always looking to the negative. I’m getting there slowly but surely.

 

Don’t try to be perfect

This is not practical and slows progress. No decision is worse than a bad decision! You may not be the best runner, footballer, writer or chef in the world but waiting for the perfect circumstances won’t help you get there. Trying will, taking action will. Making mistakes leads to progress, making mistakes leads to feedback.

The question to ask is did you try your best in the circumstances.

I’ll leave it as the above three for now I’m not perfect.

 

 

 

First steps

Blogging about anxiety

As I begin this journey I am pondering these quotes –

“A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step”

and the title of this blog –

“We win or learn”.

Win or learn

The first quote speaks for its self.

The need to appreciate that knowledge and guidance will come to me as and when I need it. This can’t be rushed – rushing leads to frustration and ultimately slows you down. Whereas patience helps you get where you want to go without the added stress, pressure and anxiety we put on ourselves.

The second quote relates to changing your mindset to a constructive positive one. Too often in life we see things as win or lose. The job we didn’t get, the exam mark we didn’t like, the relationship that “failed”.

And on and on…

After events of “failure”, we very often view them in a different light. The job we didn’t get was one we didn’t want anyway. The exam mark didn’t taught us to work harder or smarter and the relationship ending was the best thing that happened.

So how does this relate to anxiety?

 

The first part is simple – rushing around leads to anxiety as we don’t live in the moment. Having patience is vital.

The second part relates to developing a mindset that sees the bright side, to find the positive in challenges of life.

It is hard to do, but possible with practice.

Taking action is the only way.[/read]