Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection

Kim Collins

Have you ever had a problem keeping up the momentum of change in your life? Well, if you have, don’t worry. This is a weakness I have heard about a lot from others, and which I have found on more than just a few occasions with myself. It’s the troublesome habit of sliding back down the ladder of achievement. This usually happens a few weeks or months after you have started upon some kind of project or improvement in your life.

Why does it Happen?

The initial enjoyment, satisfaction, motivation and momentum disappears and you start to slowly slide back down. You begin to lose your momentum, then… whoosh! You are at the bottom. You are looking up at a huge mountain yet again and you simply don’t want to climb back up. It hurts real bad.

This is a natural reaction. After all, if you are climbing up a slope and you slide down to the bottom again then climbing back over the same ground yet again is less appealing. If you make it up to the same point and then slide down again, the idea of trying to ascend once more becomes almost positively disheartening.

A Solution

I realized, having seen this problem in myself so many times, I needed to engineer some habit in myself to get around it. I wanted a technique that would stop me slipping and if I did catch me again quickly. Most importantly, it needed to work consistently as well. So, I simply asked myself the question “ how can i easily and consistently keep up my improvement”… and then waited for the answer.

The answer came to me a few days later and I created the idea of 1% challenges in my life in order to stop myself sliding down that slope or catch me pretty quick when I do. This is like a safety rope for your ascent. In addition to this, it also acts as a powerful machete to cut through the jungle and clear your path to the top.

Using this philosophy, all you need to do is change your basic thought pattern from when you wake up in the morning to that of immediately deciding how you could improve your life by 1% today. Imagine it. When you ask this question your mind will start looking for solutions.

It so simple and effective because it is just one thing you have to remember and it encompasses everything. How do I do it and how do I remind myself?

So, firstly, you simply just need to ask yourself:

How could I improve my life or something around me by just 1% today?

Secondly, to make sure you don’t forget you can put these protocols in place or others of your choosing:

  • I have a sign on the door as I leave the house that says 1%
  • I also have a slip of paper in my wallet that says 1%
  • I make it the first question I ask myself in the morning.
  • I congratulate myself in the evening on the 1% difference I have made.

Where do you get the ideas from?

In my case, when I am looking for inspiration, I just start cycling through the ideas I have written about in this blog or I look at situations I am not happy with in myself and around me. For example: if you want to beat procrastinationlearn to live with fear or want to remind yourself how to think like an entrepreneur then just take a look here. These can be big “little differences”. Sometimes I just ask how could I make my next door neighbor smile or make a difference to a stranger?

How does this all work? Well it reminds you of what you are working on. So you quickly pick up if you are starting to slide and you look for a little way to stop it. It means you are looking out for little things and those little things add up.

The Japanese lead the world in manufacturing due to the philosophy of looking for small changes and continuous improvement.

It’s called Kaizen. You will benefit after you add this to your life and start to move up the slope of success consistently.

It works by making life interesting. It works by meaning you are always looking up and looking for opportunity. You are constantly on the look out for improvements or for change. It adds spice, it adds a positive outlook on life. You can’t go around looking for improvement and not be positive. Just take a minute to think how you life will be after you have improved by 1% a day for a year. Now look 5 years into the future and make a big smile.

Your Task

For the next 3 weeks try to improve something in your life everyday by just 1% and see how far you can go. It can be at work, for yourself, in your relationships, money, anything!! Make the change for the better today.

Every minute you spend in your life is either spent bringing you closer to your goals or moving you away from your goals

Bo Bennett

Wehn the hmuan mnid has a sratt pinot and an end pniot tehn it can cnneoct the dtos so to seapk. So waht ectxaly deos tihs hvae to do wtih slef inmnovpremt?

Wlel, it has qitue a lot to do wtih it atllucay. It shwos the pewor of the hmuan mnid and its aitliby to aihecve rsuetls whiitn the ccerrot fworramek.

This is a neat little trick that shows as long as the starting point and the end point are well defined, it doesn’t matter what goes in between, the desired outcome occurs. That is what we all want. So in terms of your life and goals, it simply means that as long as you correctly define the start point and end point of what you want, your mind will create the desired outcome.

The Start

After realizing this, it naturally makes sense for all of us to begin on the right letter. Here are 3 steps that will start you off on your goal easily and correctly.

  • Pressure – tell people who you know will pressure you that you have set the goal and they will come back to haunt you if you should fall behind. That’s pressure. You can even give someone some cash that they will return to you after you have achieved the goal or some steps. I give my spouse my monthly allowance for myself. If I don’t get up in the morning and do some exercise before work then I don’t get my money for the day – yep, that’s REAL motivation.
  • Motivation – use the idea of anticipation and goals to give yourself even more motivation. Bring the goal close in your mind and put the obstacles in the distance. Take this energy and anticipation into the goal and it will give you all the drive you need.
  • Knowledge – take a look at someone who already has what you want before you start and learn as much as possible from them. Of course the chances are it won’t go smoothly, but preparation ensures a better journey.

The Finish

Next, you also want to make sure you are going to finish on the right letter as well. Here are 3 steps to ensure that you have a clearly defined goal and finishing point.

  • Define the goal – make it specific, visualize it, feel it and write down exactly what you are aiming for. Use specific numbers and phrases in this part.
  • Give it a date – would that school report ever have got done without a deadline? I doubt it… so you need to give yourself a target date AND tell someone it so they kick your ass if you haven’t achieved it by then.
  • Know why you want it – you need to create a why, which will inspire you to hit this goal. Why are you going to hit something if you don’t know the point in doing it?

That’s the basics of making sure you can achieve goals. Having done this the power of your mind will ensure that you connect the dots and succeed in what you set out to do. Your achievement just depends purely on the process.

Your Task

Take a goal and follow the 3 steps to create the perfect start and the 3 steps to create the end point and just let your mind connect the dots. BANG!!

If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Self confidence can be one of the hardest things to find, so you can easily imagine how excited I was when I found a great way to easily give it a huge kick up the butt in as little as 3 ½ minutes of your time. Even better, it can be used in a variety of situations or places and can give you a timely boost exactly when you need it.

After you start to use this simple system, you will find the effects quite addictive as you become more and more confident in a variety of situations. You will go from strength to strength.

The Inspiration

The idea originally came about having read the 30 second elevator pitch on DLM. Suddenly I started thinking of the situations that this could be applied in and I uncovered a subtle and natural power within in it. I discovered that “if you make the speech answer a quality that you want to see in yourself, then you will in fact be able to create that quality”.

I am a teacher, so I to decided to try and craft a pitch to convince someone what a great teacher I was. It wasn’t that great the first time around, but within a few minutes it was 10x better and I had in fact convinced myself what a great teacher I was. I went to work and naturally had a mind-blowing day.

When you are making this short pitch to yourself the first thing to focus on is using action words to create movement and power (create, build, explode, slash, unleash, revolutionize, uncover, spread etc.).

The second thing is to consider the power of words and positive presuppositions in order to get the most out of your 30 seconds.

Using these 2 key factors, these are the 5 basic steps you need to take.

The System

  1. Make a 30 second speech in your head imagining you are convincing someone about whatever quality you want to have (30 seconds)
  2. Review what you said and think of the things you want to add but missed (1 minute)
  3. Make the speech again, this time out loud and including the new ideas (30 seconds)
  4. Pause and think how to add some more bang using power words and words of action (1 minute)
  5. Make the speech a last time out loud using the additional power (30 seconds)

That’s in. It’s what I did and in 3 and a half minutes I had given myself a huge and natural confidence boost that I could go back to time and time again. After this I felt like I was buzzing. I was truly pumped up about how great I was, I had discovered the self belief within myself about being a teacher.

Having done this I started to think of all the situations it could be used in and that is when I discovered how much power it truly had. Just consider these situations where this technique could easily be used:

 

  • Why should you be the girl to go and chat to that hot guy?
  • Why you should be given this job?
  • Why you are such a great blogger?
  • Why you are going to be the one out of many to actually carry out this exercise program?

Just imagine you have 30 seconds to convince someone of your ability in these situations and soon your mind will start creating the answers. You can use this simple method for any situation you want.

  • Take the result you want to achieve.
  • Create the situation where you have to convince someone of why you have this talent or your ability to achieve the result.
  • Go through the 5 steps above to hone it and then you will have this speech ready at your disposal to convince yourself.

Basically it acts like an extended and more powerful affirmation. Give it a go and be ready to be surprised by the changes you will go through.

Your Task

Spend 3 and half minutes to create a self-pitch on your biggest area of desire and enjoy your new self belief

The old, worn out list is one of the biggest deals on the internet at the moment. They are everywhere, and now I have made the list of lists! This is the one stop shop to get the best lists on the net at the moment.

We all love a great list, they are effective, quick to read and they are something that you can easily act on. They can allow you to climb mountains. Here are 77 of the greatest lists (in my opinion) of all time that absolutely need to be on your “to do list” to check out. They will help give you ideas to energize your life.

Blogging

Finance

To make You Laugh – these are hilarious :D

Family

Self-help

Health

Writing & Copywriting

Websites & Internet Marketing

Organization (Getting Things Done)

Relationships

Computers: Tips & Tricks

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air”

John Quincy Adams

This is the partner post to the idea of thinking like an entrepreneur. If you play rugby, there’s a phrase they use called “making the hard yards”. This is making progress through a pile of defenders who are trying to stop you, its far from easy, but will result in setting up a successful platform from which you can attack and make bigger progress.

This philosophy applies in business and blogging as well. In fact any task you take on. If you want to make the hard yards, the most important thing when you hit the resistance is to keep your feet moving, never stop them, just small steps, keep driving forward. If you ever stop pumping your feet then the defense is going to get on top and start pushing you back. Once you are going backwards then you are always going to be on the back foot and struggling to make progress.

How does this apply in Business though?

Any time you hit resistance in a project it’s necessary to remember this philosophy. Let’s take the example of blogging. So many bloggers know the feeling of suddenly hitting the wall. It’s why so many blogs die and fizzle away. You can’t think of what to write or how to boost visitor numbers or another problem. You stop. Once you stop you find it’s difficult or in fact “impossible” to pick it up again.

The solution here is to realize you have hit some resistance and then make an action plan on how to progress. The action plan needs to involve lots of little steps you can take forward. You want to keep moving.

So let’s take our blogger. They hit a wall. They can’t think of any solutions. Here is my 6 step solution to making the hard yards.

  1. Identify the problem: write down what it is – you can’t solve anything you aren’t clear on
  2. Write down 3 little things you can do right now: to keep the momentum and continue making progress, no matter how small. And do them
  3. Write down what’s on the other side of the obstacle: You need to know what you are aiming for
  4. Brainstorm ideas: ask “what if I____” or “how could I____?” questions. i.e. what if I wrote 100 comments every day on other blogs for a month?… how could I develop an easy method to write new material AND make it fun? Create possible solutions
  5. Seek Advice: look for answers from people who have been in similar situations. I always check the copyblogger or problogger websites when I am looking for that nugget of inspiration on blogging or ask for help on websites or in forums… you never know who will be willing to give some great adviceAGAIN.. create possible solutions
  6. ACT: Keep experimenting and keep moving forward. You will succeed

The key:

Keep testing, keep experimenting and remember that baby steps add up.

“An entrepreneur assumes the risk and is dedicated and committed to the success of whatever he or she undertakes”

Victor Kiam

Does an entrepreneur think differently from your average Mr. Smith on the street? You bet he does. When it comes to the point where things start to get difficult that is where the entrepreneur stands up and makes it count.

What is the difference? Basically it’s how they view a challenge or a problem.

Let’s say for example you start up your own project or a business. You get a lot of information and start off all gung-ho. You’ve sorted out all your marketing, all your costs, you have your product ready etc.

Everything starts off great but then suddenly you hit a wall. Things start to get difficult and it’s not so fun anymore. You decide to fold your cards before you get in too deep and keep any cash you have left. You go back to your safe and tested way of life as before.

What stopped you? Well simply you decided there was no way you could deal with all the problems. You saw the giant obstacles ahead of you and it didn’t look like fun. You didn’t have the time or desire to get over the bump. You asked yourself “why can’t I do this?” or “why don’t I want to do this?

The entrepreneur continues though. He sees the obstacles as just a challenge and it’s going to be fun finding a way around them or over them. It’s a different perspective and a far more powerful one. Learn to use this perceptive of challenges being fun.

It comes around simply because he asks the question “how can I do this”. He looks for solutions despite the troubles. He looks to succeed. He knows how good success and overcoming challenges feels.

This basically comes down to the idea of comfort. Most people like being in their comfort zone, however, an entrepreneur likes feeling uncomfortable. He knows that is when things happen. That’s when lives change and money is made. He knows that there is always a way and he is willing to take risks and experiment until he finds the way.

Welcome to the mind of an entrepreneur. The moral of the story is to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. Its the sign you are learning something and expanding. Look to experiment, take risks and challenge yourself and your thinking.

If you want to know more about asking questions that will give you positive solutions then read this post. It will open your eyes to a more positive way of looking at problems.

Just remember, discomfort is the sign of learning and growth. Think like an Entrepreneur.

“Never talk defeat. Use words like hope, belief, faith, victory”

Norman Vincent Peale

power words - add real strength to your mindWe’ve talked together before about the words you use in your mind. This is because the words you use in your daily life have a direct relation on what you achieve. This is all about using “power words”. Simplychange your words and you can change your life.

I like things that I can just plug n’ play. Here are 12 things to plug into your mind and play with!

    1. MOST IMPORTANT: When you speak to yourself get excited, speak with high energy and then double that energy and passion NOW!
    2. If you hear any negative voices like your Mum saying “you are so bad with money”, turn the negative voice into daffy duck or something and you will just laugh every time you hear it
    3. Make time to compliment yourself for anything and everything: “nice work cooking dinner today”, “I was awesome at that meeting”
    4. Instead of saying good>> use great, awesome, amazing, unbelievable, fantastic: “I look amazing”, “I feel unbelievable”
    5. Get your imagination involved>> use imagine, grasp, consider, realize and be aware: “imagine having so much money you never have to work again”, “Now, grasp how much talent you have”
    6. Use words of power>> say build, discover, explode, create, accomplish: “I build success after success”, “I can accomplish more and more everyday”
    7. Use linguistic binds>> the more you X, the more you Y: “the more I focus on success, the more I achieve”, “as I seek more opportunities, more naturally come to me”
    8. Use time words>> before, while, in addition, after, along with: “in addition to having great confidence, I am modest”, “while I’m having fun cleaning the house today I will sing!”
    9. Put everything in the present>> NOW! “I can do this work now”, “Now you understand how to motivate yourself”
    10. Use cause and effect>> X causes Y: “waking up causes me to make lots of money today”, “just thinking causes me to be creative”
    11. Make things easy for yourself>> say already, simply, easily, naturally: “I simply power through challenges”, “I naturally get more confident every day”
    12. Play with the pictures in your head>> go beyond, expand, uncover, make them bigger, make them brighter: “imagine success then go beyond that and make the new image bigger, then venture beyond even that and just experience what you feel”

The Task:

Spend 5 minutes every day in the morning using as many of these ideas and words as possible in your head. Soon they will become ingrained and your mind unstoppable.

“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill”

Christopher Parker

There’s no shame in it. We all get stuck procrastinating sometimes. Here are 7 hacks you can use to help you blast the procrastination to oblivion. Imagine being an unstoppable avalanche of action. Now you can do it.

Procrastination can be removed with a few simple strategies, you just need to know what they are and then have the faith to implement them. All you have to do is implement just one of these easy strategies and it will work magic.

  1. Put the toughest thing first – put something you don’t want to do at the head of the line and then you simply must to get through it before you can get to something you want to do or would mind doing. You will find yourself naturally driven by the desire to get onto a job you want to do and end up doing it quickly to get it out of the way and onto more enjoyable things
  2. Chunk down and Increase your Expectation of success – the chances of you doing something are directly related to the expectation of achieving it and the reward from its success. Simply split the job into doable tasks (maybe of 15 or 30 minutes for example) and then you will easily boost your chances of it getting done as it seems so simple. In the process you’ll naturally remove the 1st obstacle to procrastination.
  3. Increase your Reward for doing it – the 2nd part of the equation of getting something done is the reward. Tell yourself “after I ______ I really deserve _____” and give yourself a real nice reward worthy going that extra mile for. Then look at the idea of anticipation to bring that reward much closer
  4. Say “I’m not going to____ I’ll just ____” – and easily trick the mind into starting. Take the task you don’t want to do and tell your mind that you aren’t going to do it… then follow with an element of the actual task. i.e. I’m not going to vacuum the house, I’ll just get the vacuum out and plug it in. Bingo… off ya go
  5. Split up the task and do 1 little thing – Just do one thing or one part of the task for 10 minutes… now you’re up and moving along it feels so good you don’t want to stop do you
  6. Recognize the tell tale signals of procrastination – learn to recognize when you are about to delay or procrastinate and tell yourself firmly “Stop”. Walk around for 30 seconds and take a deep breath. Re-focus on the next little element that needs to be done. Pat yourself on the back
  7. Choose the smallest possible element and do it – start with something so small its laughable and just do it… take the next and do it… again, now ya movin’

I just love having these to fall back on – they have simply and dramatically changed my productivity and approach to doing things and beating that devil called procrastination.

Please tell me your story and any additional hacks you have for when you don’t want to do something.

“To continue learning is to embrace the process of trial and error at higher and higher levels”

Michael Gelb & Tony Buzan

It’s a fact. Over our lives we come across a huge amount of information and it’s impossible to take it all in. In the age of the internet its even more difficult. However, when it comes to learning it can literally pay to be able to recall it when we need it.

So why don’t we try to remember more? Basically, because we believe we can’t. First of all we can ~~(but thats another topic). Secondly we just need to know how to aid our mind.

The Basic Problem

Over time I have taken in so much about self improvement and business (as I’m sure you have), however, a vast majority eludes me now. It may have been irrelevent at the time but I feel some of it may be useful to me now. I just wish I could remember it… you know the feeling.

So, I have tested a new system for myself which ensures that you learn and understand better. It ensures you use it as wel. Finally it also means you have it available in the future to call upon. This basically sits well in my philosophy of finding stuff that it is simple AND works.

An Elegant Solution

The idea is basically to make a summary of anything you learn or read. You can decide how far to take it. Self-help books, fiction books, news stories, jokes. This will challenge your understanding and have the benefit of making sure it is in a language you can operate on and use.

The stage I’m at right now I just use it for stuff related to my immediate dreams. Its what I want to focus on, but I want to take it much further soon. I hope you can too, just imagine what you could achieve having everything you ever heard or read at your finger tips.

I put this summary on some flashcards. Just a few key points. Anything I perceive as having value or a possible value in the future. Thus I can build up a handy reference which is easily memorable. Of course you can do this on the computer, but I’m still very much a pen and paper man.

For example I have a card like this:

-REALIZE -
(front of card) ... then (on the back) ...

* realize the power of this word
* use it as much as possible in your mind and speech
* say it with stress and power
* use it to create energy

Now, I have a stack of flashcards which I can easily review and it brings the whole subject back. Its a constant reminder and refresher course.

Every day the power of this resource grows and becomes more valuable. The more you use it the more powerful it becomes. Can you imagine the value of the information you would build up in a year, or how about in 5? Its huge… and you can do it AND remember it.

If you wonder if this is really worthwhile, just ask yourself if you truly think there is 1 magic key to everything. If your answer is “no”, then you need something like this as you build up new habits and the knowledge to be your destiny.

If you answered “yes” then just write that one thing down and live it. If you feel like adding more at a later stage then its ok. I hope I will give you a few things, so make sure to check back in at this website ;)

The Task:

Get a pack of flashcards – use them to remember anything you learn that you value or could find a way to value in the future. You must write down 1 thing a day for a month and at the end of the month review them all. Then decide if its for you.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do”

Eleanor Roosevelt

This is part 3 of a 3 part series about creating the mindset for achievement (please also check out “The Power of Questions” and “Why You Should be Your Best Friend”). These ideas are at the foundation of really achieving goals and improving your life.

This is something of a personal issue for me as I used to be completely under the spell of fear. I was stuck at home unable to leave the house and scared to go to work. That was 5 years ago and I have learned a lot about the power of fear and how to live with it since then.

We all know about fear and how it can make us feel, how it can sometimes paralyze us. If you get deep into NLP there is some stuff that claims to remove fear, but I haven’t found anything that works yet for me, so I’m not going to write about it.

Instead I want to chat with you about something that can work for everyone. This is about learning to feel the fear and just doing it anyway. When you first learn to use this powerful idea you will quickly find yourself able to use it in more and situations for great results. Just imagine feeling scared yet having the personal power to march right through it. It feels great doesn’t it.

Anyway, so let’s get moving, here are the basic steps to this:

  1. You have to disassociate yourself from the fear. So often we say “I’m scared” … “I’m paralyzed with fear”. However, understand that YOU are not the fear. Whenever you feel scared, just change that thought to “I have a thought that -I am scared-”. This automatically removes you from the fear and can allow you to react more rationally. This is a great sentence structure to use, simply saying “I have a thought that ______”, can help you rapidly dissolve any gut feeling.
  2. I just take a deep breath and before its over, walk in and do it anyway. The key idea here is that ts important not to let the fear escalate, so don’t think about it, just do it.Thats the simple way, the fastest way, I read about that one and it works … sometimes … but not all the time.
  3. So I added one more step for myself. This is the idea of testing all your natural reactions. Sometimes for example you might think “that guy will never talk to me”. Thats basically your thought, so you tell yourself “I recognize my thought that I’m scared, but I’m going to see if its true or not just for fun”. Finished. Simply, tell yourself to test to see if your fear or reaction was correct. 99% of the time it is incorrect. So just turn fear into a little game.

The thing about fear is that you feel it when you go into the unknown. It means you are learning and discovering and pushing your boundaries. When you feel fear you should love yourself and smile because it means you are making progress. You are developing and moving towards your goals.

Doesn’t fear just make you smile. Feel fear and LOVE it.

The Task:

When you feel the fear. Straightaway turn it into “I have a thought that _____”. Next test if that thought is true or not. Make this a habit and you will soon love when you feel fear because it means you are learning something new.