Everyone has their own hacks and ways to help the to focus and concentrate. One of my favorites is to listen to ambient music. But, over the years, I've found there are certain types that really work for me and have found a number of great long (1 hour+) compilations on Youtube that I can throw on and just let go as I work. Most of them involve movie scores or soundtracks. You'll probably be surprised at what works best for me, but it works and that is all that matters. Here are my Top 5 Youtube compilations for concentrating while I work.
1.) My Go to Favorite: Harry Potter Ambient
2.) My Second Favorite: Fantastic Beasts Ambient, Raining in New York
3.) My More "Upbeat, Yet Serious) Favorite: Bat Cave Ambience, Dark Knight Trilogy
This one doesn't allow it to be embedded in other websites, so here is the link. It's a killer compilation.
4.) My Fun Favorite: Both Sherlock Holmes Soundtracks
5.) My Favorite for Deeper Concentration: Interstellar Main Theme Extended
This won't be a long post. In fact, it is more like a gut check - one that we all need from time to time.
Are you being truthful to yourself? Are you?
Before you answer, stop and really think on this. Are you living the way you want and know you should be? Are you living by the principles you believe in? Are you compromising them in any way? Or more importantly, are you settling in any area of your life where you know you should not be?
Most people are living a lie in some area of their lives. It may be in a relationship, their work, or internally within themselves. Most of the time, they are complacent and settling in an area they know they should not be. They know what they should be doing or the choices that need to be made, but they avoid them and keep the lie going because it's easier to do that than face the truth and potential consequences - even when they know by doing so, they will be better off in the end.
Don't be one of these people. Face your lie(s) and breakthrough. Act. Do what you know you need to do and push forward.
Free yourself by telling yourself the truth and living in it.
Structure. Equals. Freedom.
What? How does that make any sense?
When most people hear, "Structure equals freedom," it confuses them as the word structure conjures up thoughts of limitations or making people follow certain terms or rules, etc. But that is not the structure I am talking about. I am talking about the structure you implement into your life that allows you to regain control and freedom on your terms.
Most people don't take the time to plan and decide what they will or won't do on a weekly basis and thus are at the mercy of everyone's needs and whims. From work to family and other actors, our time is constantly getting taken away from us by outside influences. Do you ever feel like there is not enough time in the day to do all the things you know you need to do? You're not alone. And this happens because we haven't implemented the structure in our lives to take back control.
It starts with taking your time back. You can do this by setting parameters for those around you for your time and availability. The easiest way to accomplish this is to set specific times when you are available and when you aren't. For example, my teams have specific days and times that I am available for their needs and they can schedule a time with me during those blocks to work through them. I also block times in my calendar for Ironman training every day as well as family time and fun/personal time, etc.. These times are non-negotiable and if someone tries to book time during one of these blocks, it gets denied and then can go grab time in one of the open slots.
In the end, this simple tactic allows me to dictate what times I am available for others and the focus for those times, instead of them just taking any opening in my time they wish. In doing this, I have trained others when I am available and am able to focus much better and be more productive with them during those times. By implementing this simple structure, I have given myself more freedom in my life to be able to do everything I want/need to do and meet all of my obligations in my businesses.
How about you, what areas can you implement structure in your life to give yourself more freedom?
Life is so precious. We forget that. While, for those of us that have accepted Christ as our savior, we are just passing through on our way to our eternity with our maker, this life still is a wonderful, incredible gift that we have been given. And it goes by very fast. A blink of an eye and someone is there, then gone.
Mark Eaton was a guest on Misfit. I did an interview with him about a year ago, but the audio came out bad and I was never able to release it. I had reached out about scheduling another interview, but Mark and I had not been able to pin down a time. If you don't know Mark, he was a top former Pro-Basketball player with the Utah Jazz - a future Hall of Famer, who had retired and had taken the lessons learned on the court and applied them to business. He was a top rated speaker and consultant who was really becoming big in the space. He died just over a week ago from a bike crash. He lived in Park City Utah and had gone out for a nice summer ride for some exercise. Somehow, he ended up crashing his bike and was found by a car driving by. He was rushed to the hospital but didn't make it.
As a competitive Ironman triathlete, I spend a lot of time on the bike and know how just one wrong move or someone not paying attention while driving can cause severe injury or death. Just like that, Mark was gone and he had a lot more to share and give to the world.
I share Mark's story because it is a great reminder of how precious things are. It is sad to see someone's life end before we think it should (although we must trust in God's plans) and it should spur us to think deeper about how much we need to cherish our lives and those around us. And it should bring us closer in our relationship to our maker and learn how to use the talents given to us to be what we were born to be to the world. We must not go through life without giving our best to the world to make it a better, more meaningful place. I know Mark's impact will live on and you can learn more about his teachings at https://www.7ft4.com/
Cherish it. Cherish it all, because we never know when our time in this short life is up as we pass through.
When is the last time you sat back and contemplated this wonderful world and life in which we live?
When was the last time you listed all the things you were grateful for? Or the blessings you have and/or been given?
As I watched the sun come up over Mauna Kea as I stood inline to start my Ironman race on the Big Island of Hawaii this last weekend, I could not help but think of the beauty all around me and in our lives.
Here are 10 beautiful things about life...
It's time to become Un-Common. Most people live their lives in a comfort zone and don't ever realize their potential. This is common and they are common, but this is a call for all reading to throw off the status quo and become the Un-Common among the common. It is a call for you to stand out and to be better. It is a call for you to push yourself and answer those questions deep down that have been nagging at you about who you are and who you should be.
The Un-Common person is someone who creates high standards and lives into them. They are someone who is never finished and never "makes it." No matter what level of success they reach in every area of their life, they know there is another level possible and it is this possibility that drives them, energizes them, and gives them un-relenting, un-matched passion for life. But, they are also confidently humble. They know they are Un-Common, but they also know that to be Un-Common is something that everyone else is capable of being in their own way and are excited to help others tap into this potential.
To be Un-Common is to go above and beyond and stretch your limits. It is not only striving and becoming the best, but also redefining what it means to be "the best." It is an ethos, a mentality, and a lifestyle. And it is asking the questions, "What am I willing to do? What limit can I breakthrough next? Are there really any limits?"
Lastly, and most importantly, the Un-Common know that the biggest battle they will fight are the limits in their own mind. And they go to war every day to defeat the enemy of self-doubt, complacency, and self-imposed limitation. They are committed for life, hungry, and never give in.
So, how about it? Are you ready to become Un-Common? The Un-Common don't start out being the best, they work their way there over time. Pick one thing today that will break you out of comfort or push you beyond you limits. Do it. And then once you've done it and proved to yourself it is possible, start asking what is possible? Are there really any limits? Then go.
It's time to become Un-Common.
Academic qualifications are important and so is financial education. They're both in important and schools are forgetting one of them. - Robert Kiyosaki
We do not teach financial education in traditional schooling, other than maybe an elective class that is very basic. I believe this is one of the worst injustices of our school system. Personal and business finance are critical to succeeding the real world and we hardly talk about it. Part of me wonders if it is done on purpose, because it is so glaringly obvious that it is needed and yet, it is give little attention. Or maybe, it is because our school model is made to churn out employees who live off a W2 and those in power don't think they need to know finance.
Setting aside the cynicism, regardless of school, you should make it a priority to self-educate on personal and business finance. To help you get started, here are 3 money habits you should adopt starting today.
Understand Your Cash Flow
"Cash flow" is just a term to define where you money goes. First, you start with how much you make. If you are an employee, you cannot just take your salary. You have to look at your "take home pay" after taxes are taken out. Once you know that number, that is the amount you have to spend on supporting your life and needs/wants. From there, take inventory of your expenses and list them out. If they are less than your "take home," congrats you have a surplus. If your expenses are more than your take home, then you have a deficit. Obviously you want a surplus and it seems like common sense, but most people rarely if ever go through a basic cashflow and budgeting exercise, even as simple as this. As a habit, you should review your cash flow monthly and have a written budget of your take home income and expenses and watch it over time to make sure you keep a surplus. And you should do everything you can to increase your take home and lower expenses where it makes sense. Once you have a surplus going, that brings us to the second habit you put into practice.
Six (6) Months Expenses Saved
The second habit I personally do and advocate is the save 6 months expenses and keep it in an interest bearing account that at least keeps up with inflation. Why 6 months? It's pretty simple. If something bad happens, you will have enough to carry you through for a good while and not have to stress. Most advocate 3 months, but in really bad times, it can take longer to get back on your feet if you lose a job or like many during Covid, their business. A 6-month cushion would get most through the rough times. The hard part is finding an interest bearing account that can either keep up with or beat inflation. Right now, it is almost impossible to find an account or even a CD that pays enough to beat inflation. But, if you don't have 6 months saved, focus on that and then once you are there, you can search things TIPS, 1 Year CD rates, High Interest Checking, or even look at things GetLinus which pays 4% or more.
One important note is that if you have high interest debt like credit cards, etc., focus on paying that off first and then save for your 6 months. The only debt you should have is things like mortgage and car loans at the lowest possible rates you can get.
Start Your Financial Self-Education NOW
While you are doing the above to get yourself on solid ground, start your third habit, educating yourself in finance. As you learn and grow and get more of a surplus, you can then invest it and begin to really see the benefits. For example, the day I wrote this, I sold an Iron Condor trade on the Nasdaq 100 index which made me $500. I entered the trade around 11am and exited around 3pm. Not bad for a few hours while I was doing other work.
If that sounds like Greek to you, I understand. When I first started out, I had no idea what any of this stuff was, how it worked, or how to do it. But, years later after continuous financial self-education I do and use it to my advantage. I have learned to create income in the stock market, real estate, through private placements and small business funding, and of course by building and growing my businesses. In fact, the tax laws are written to benefit business owners and investors, not a W2 employee. They are written this way because those areas are where jobs are created and a W2 is the highest form of income the government can get.
Back to my cynicism - maybe that is the reason we don't teach financial education in government run schools, because those that get educated, pay a lot less in taxes and are don't become W2 employees. But, that is not you - at least I certainly hope not, and after reading this, I hope you are inspired to self-educate and learn the amazing benefits that await you from financial education. Get started NOW!
Les Brown is one of my favorite speakers. He delivery of great wisdom is un-matched. I urge you to listen to this message from Les on success and why you've "gotta be hungry" in your life and how you can truly level up. Enjoy!
Success takes a lot of things. Hard and smart work. Dedication. Discipline. Consistency. Persistence. Endurance. The ability to seize opportunity when it presents itself. I could keep going and make a list for pages all the things that go into creating success, and at some point, it takes a little bit of luck too.
But there is one thing that underpins it all. This one thing is what determines your success and it is a skill that you develop and get better and better at.
The skill? Making Decisions.
Everything is a choice, it is a decision. It is a choice to work hard and smart, dedicate yourself, stay disciplined, seize opportunity, etc. In many ways, our lives are the sum of the decisions, the choices, we make.
Every day we have to make a multitude of decisions and those decisions impact all areas of our lives and success.
Knowing this, do you think it would be important to get better at making decisions. Of course it would. But know this, it is a lifelong work. Getting better in this area of our lives never ends, so it is a lifelong commitment.
Where do you begin? Well, the first step I have already given you. It is awareness. Awareness to the fact that you can become better at decision making. And awareness is the catalyst to change.
Now that you are aware, here are 3 strategies you can take to start making better decisions in your life.
Separate Emotion from Logic
One of the first steps you must learn to do is separate emotion from logic. Most people make decisions purely on emotion and feeling. Well, I have news for you, feelings are not facts or truth. They are, however, very powerful drivers of our actions and impulses. You must learn to recognize emotions and stop in the moment to analyze the truth and fact of a situation as best as you can. Use logic to think through the decision and possible outcomes and be prepared to work through which outcome presents itself.
Decide and Then Correct if Needed
It's important to separate emotion and logic and think through decisions, but don't let that process paralyze you. In the end, you need to make the decision based on the best information and strategic thinking that you can - but you must make the decision. And remember, not deciding is a decision unto itself. No matter what decision you make, there will be outcomes and you will potentially need to make course corrections. Be prepared for this and don't shy away from it. Make the correction and move forward.
Don't Dwell on Things
Once you have made a decision, there will be outcomes. Many times, they will not be what you expected and even negative. Don't dwell on these outcomes or let them have a prolonged effect on you. You should take time to deal with them, but your must move forward. Harma Hartouni, a Misfit guest, who runs a massive, billion dollar real estate empire gave some great wisdom in this area. He says to "Have a 5 Minute Funeral." Take 5 mins or maybe a little longer to go through your emotional reaction to a decision, deal with it, and then put it behind you. That doesn't mean that you don't have empathy or understanding for the ramifications of the decision - especially with others involved. You must. But you almost move on from it and move forward.
Understanding how important decisions are to your life and success is the start. If you can put the 3 strategies above into practice, it will help you work on this skill and get better at it in your life and help you tremendously.
As we go through life and business, we will have relationships with a lot of people. Some will be lasting, some will be short lived. You will find that your inner circle - those you interact with consistently is fairly small, but incredible important to your life.
You have probably heard that "You are the sum of the 5 people you hang out with most." While I think there is validity to this point, I also think that you have a choice as well. You don't have to do or live the life of those around you. You can choose what makes sense for you to utilize from those close to you and what not to. But, there is no doubt those closest to you influence you.
Over the years, I have found that you really need 5 types of people in your life to help you be your best. Here they are.
The companion is the one you spend the most time with. The person that is always there for you and you for them. For most, this would be their significant other. If you don't have a significant other, it is the person you count on most and that most counts on you. For me, it is my wife, Jenn. She is the most amazing, caring, and brave individual I know. The fact that she married me is a testament to this. I am as flawed as anyone, but my flaws are not easy to live with. I am always going, non-stop, sometimes going to excess in areas of my life. I am persistent and driven to a point where it can really wear on people. I am a little bit of a control freak in certain areas of life. I am not afraid to speak my mind even if it makes people uncomfortable. This is just to name a few. It takes a strong, but different type of person to balance that out and help me to get perspective in certain areas. Jenn does that and more. I would not have made the strides I've had in my life without her help, understanding, love, and tough love.
The friend is someone besides your companion that you can let your guard down with. Someone you can can count on and even embarrass yourself in front of and still know they will be there for you. They are someone who is not afraid to have tough conversations or call you out, but also back you up and help you. You can count on them and know that through it all, they know who you are and you know who they are. It's rare to have a lot of these people in your life. It is usually just a handful over the years. Someone that I put into this category is my next door neighbor, Eugene. He is a wonderful person and good friend. He is one of the few people that I will actually let my guard down with and be more open about things personally. Our conversations, especially over a bottle of wine, can go in all directions and cover many topics. We certainly don't agree on everything and sometimes get a little heated, but no matter what, at the end of an evening, we part ways as friends and respect each other. Everyone should have a friend like Eugene.
The listener is someone who can be a friend or even a companion - but let's face it, if your companion is a significant other, they have to listen. The listener is the person you know you can go to when you just need someone to hear you out. You know they will not pass judgement on you and will not try to convince you one or another, they will just listen, and then help talk things out if you want to do so. These people are critical in life, not just as a sounding board, but for your sanity. My business partner of almost 20 years, Erik, is the listener in my life. And in some ways, I am his. He is also a great friend. Erik has a way about him that helps put you at ease and helps you in times of need. He listens, is thoughtful, asks the right questions, and doesn't push unless I need him to. He seems to have a good sense for when it makes sense to do so. A listener must be someone who truly, genuinely cares and is rare to find.
The wise is someone who is experienced in life, has gained tremendous wisdom, and is willing to offer that wisdom to you when you need it. They are a guide for you to come back to as you go through life and help you when you stray off your path or feel lost. They also help you find and confirm the right ways to go. They are a mentor. My parents have certainly been wise ones in my life and are always willing to give of themselves for their children, grandchildren, and friends. Another wise person I have been fortunate to know is John. John is the former CEO of a Fortune 500 and very successful person in all areas of his life. He has tremendous wisdom and I can always count on him for help if I need it. The wise are few and far between and not easy to find. And this makes sense because it takes time and experience to acquire wisdom. As a side note, the Bible, especially Proverbs is great place to get wisdom on your own.
The challenger is someone who does just that. Challenges you. They push you. They challenge your boundaries. The help you think bigger. They take you out of your comfort zone. They ultimately elevate you. I have been fortunate to be the challenger for some and help them in their lives. It is a very important duty. I have had a number of challengers in my life from great coaches, business mentors, and teachers. Right now, one of my challengers is my daughter, Hannah. She challenges me in all the ways an 8 year old challenges a parent. But more importantly, she challenges me in becoming a better father and man in my life. As I said above, I have many flaws, and am far from perfect and it seems children are some of the best challengers to expose those things and make you confront them. And based on the current status, I still have a lot of work to do. But, I know each day I can get better and must strive to. Oh, I will falter, no doubt, but I am up for the challenge and love that it is coming from the incredible daughter that I love so much.
Everyone would be lucky to have all 5 of these types of people in their lives, and if you look around, you probably do. The next step is to engage them and maximize the impact they can have in your life.
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