As promised, I’ve taken a look at every question you guys sent me in response to my last post, and I’ve answered every single one of them!
I had a lot of fun doing thing and I hope it’s rewarding for you all. I loved a lot of the questions and I’m planning on doing this again sometime in the relatively near future, so you readers who missed out on submitting a question will be able to ask me some questions of your own. And, of course, if you asked a question this time, you’ll be able to again!
Let’s cut to the quick and get down to business – this post is gigantic (over 5000 words):
[Note: I edited some of the questions for grammar and clarity while preserving their meaning.]
Question:How do you reach people youâ€™ve been reading for over a several years when you want to hear their ideas on some new stuff you are doing?
My answer:: Send them an email and try to make it seem non-spammy. Make sure the email is short, concise, and readable, so they can read and reply with the least effort possible. Make it easy for them to understand where you’re coming from.
Sometimes, they just won’t reply. It happens. I haven’t gotten replies from dozen of emails I’ve sent out regarding my personal projects, but I haven’t really let that stop me.
Remember: your opinion about your own work matters the most, not the people you look up to’s opinion. Take heart and do what you want, no matter what they think.
Question:What are the 3 most influential books you have read that have changed your life?
My Answer: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand was the book that got me interested in the philosophy of living (also known as self-development). It changed so much for me. After that, I’d have to say Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations have profoundly impacted me and my way of thinking.
Question:What are the top 3 things you have done in your life that have pushed you to become the person you are today? Do you think those 3 things will play an important role in shaping who you will become in the future)?
My Answer: First thing that happened was a giant breakup with a girlfriend (yeah, I know it’s high school drama, but it did profoundly change me) that destroyed my reputation and my self-esteem. That taught me to be very careful about who I let in my life and to never compromise my values and principles for anything.
The second thing that profoundly changed me has been my reading habits. I read a lot – probably too much for my own good. I highly recommend it as a habit that is truly indispensable – it makes you smarter, more articulate, more interesting, and much more of a ‘balanced’ person. Read some books, then read some more is my best advice.
The third thing that has changed me has been my willingness to do what I’m scared of. Often, the most important things are the things that make us scared. Do them over and over again, and, believe me, you will see improvement.
Question: But the real issue I have is feeling comfortable contributing to conversation in a constructive manner. I know that practice is key, but that is incredibly vague and semantically weak. What sort of concrete advice can you give me? Iâ€™ve been keeping up with @mnmlgeekâ€™s tweets about tracking stuff like this, so do you have any advice about how I can track progress on constructive comments?
My Answer: Don’t even attempt to track your constructive comments and whatnot. Don’t worry about tracking “progress” – once you start making progress, it’ll be self-evident.
If you want to get better at contributing in conversation, just talk a lot more to everyone. Say hi to everyone – your friends, strangers, your teachers… Basically everyone you come into contact with. Try striking up more conversations and just talk with people, man. Get social, and you’ll end up finding your rhythm. It’ll feel really awkward for you at first, but you’ll find yourself hitting your stride soon enough.
Talking slower, smiling while talking (not talking about a giant grin, just a slight smile works for me), and talking louder all makes people want to listen to you more. Those are the best speaking tips I can give.
Question:I have really good ideas, Iâ€™m very intelligent, am quite good looking. but I keep having the feeling something is stopping me and Iâ€™m not really doing anything, out of.. fear maybe? How can I win over myself?
My Answer: I’d love to talk more about this, Jasper, but I don’t know what you’re referring to when you say you’re not ‘doing anything’, man. Once you reply with your situation I’ll edit this and give you better advice.
However, I’ll take a stab at it. Even though you’re smart and good-looking and everything else people think is great, you don’t feel like you’re great. You just feel normal, like the you you’ve always been. Just average.
The cool thing is that, no matter how “enlightened” you get, no matter how many things you accomplish, you’re always going to be you. You’re always going to feel normal. I’m going to write up a post on this later, but that’s the craziest thing about self-development. No matter how confident you get, you’re always going to feel like yourself. With this in mind, you can stop waiting for the time to come when you’re some “super-you” and start taking action, now, when you’re feeling normal. Because you’re always going to feel like that.
Let me know if this works for you!
Question:Please give some tips for breaking addiction to Internet, especially significant time wasters like Facebook and emails. I find myself distracted and unable to complete tasks in a timely manner. Any search on web invariably leads me astray.
1) When you start checking time wasters like Facebook, Twitter, and your email incessantly, just take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and go back to whatever you’re supposed to be doing.
2) Batch your Internet inbox (like Facebook, Twitter, email) time. Allow yourself to check it at a certain time every day for a half hour – nothing more. By batching it until the end of the day, you’ll be able to check it, but you won’t be distracting yourself from productive work.
1) How do you get out of a motivation slump?
2) How do you stay disciplined and focused when you have a bad day?
3) How do you create new habits without forgetting about them 5-6 days after starting them?
4) And one last question: Your top 10 books. Fiction and Non-Fiction
1) I usually take a day off to clear my head if I’m not doing well. I also reevaluate my priorities – whether the work that I’m attempting actually matters or not. There’s nothing more damaging to my motivation than doing things that have no purpose or meaning to them.
2) I ask myself, “Does what I have planned REALLY need to get done today? If the answer is yes, then I meditate for a bit, and prepare myself to push through my work. I turn my mind into overdrive – Super Getting Things Done mode, as I like to call it. Once everything’s done, I relax and meditate some more.
If the answer is no, then I take the day off to rest and straighten out my head. There’s no need to force the work – I don’t want my bad day rubbing off on my work if it really doesn’t need to get done.
3) Schedule them on your to-do list every day for a minimum of two weeks. That way, you won’t forget to implement the habit, and after the two weeks (or more) is over, you’ll have the habit ingrained, so you won’t need to write it down anymore.
4) Top 10 Fiction (in no particular order): The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas, The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky, LÃ©s Miserables – Victor Hugo, David Copperfield – Charles Dickens, The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand, The Magus – John Fowles, 1984 – George Orwell, Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut, and Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon.
Top 10 Non-Fiction (in no particular order): Linchpin – Seth Godin, The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle, Meditations – Marcus Aurelius, Alexander Hamilton – Ron Chernow (awesome, awesome biography), Psycho-Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz, On Liberty – John Stuart Mill, The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins, The Bhagavad Gita, The Power of Myth – Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, Drive, Daniel Pink.
Question:Were/are you worried that someone would ask you something you wouldnâ€™t want to answer?
My Answer: Surprisingly, not at all. I trust my readers.
Question:I think I suffer from SAD (social anxiety disorder), I am terrified at the thought of speaking or performing in public, and lately I even find it difficult to drink in front of other people, my hand starts to shake. What do you advise me to do?
My Answer: Definitely seek professional help, man. Get a therapist and talk about your anxieties. They’re paid to help you and are professionals in the field. I’m not.
1) Do you ever feel that people will think you are young and naive to be as optimistic as you are because of your age?
2) Iâ€™ve been following this blog since Glen was writing, then he passed the torch, and then that person passed the torch â€“ I think you may be the fourth person deep. anyway, do you guys get any compensation for writing these posts? Why did the first 3 guys pass the buck?
3) What’s your take on having a successful job, great education, loving family, good friends, but still single because you havent met the right person â€“ all while majority of your friends are married with kids. Do you think being in a relationship would help define / complete a person? Or is it a void that needs to be filled.
4) How would you go about coaching someone to discover new hobbies â€“ I feel like I’m the star of Groundhog Day.
5) If you realized that when hanging with majority of you friends it always revolved around drinking â€“ would you steer clear of them? What the heck else is there to do with friends other than eat and/or drink?
6) I dont think you’ve told us much about you â€“ how old are you? Where do you live? Girlfriend? Where do you go to school? What is your major? What do you do on the weekdays/ends for fun? Are you an entrepreneur? What businesses have you started â€“ were they successful/failures?
1) Absolutely. Age bias is everywhere!
2) Glen wanted to cut down on the number of projects he had and PluginID consumed too much of his time, so he let Bud become the next writer. Bud then started to write and then began to burn out – he told me his heart really wasn’t in it, so he wanted me to take over. So I’m the third writer… And I don’t plan on passing the buck any time soon.
And, yes, we do get paid for the posts we write here.
3) It’s fine to do all of those and still be single. Seriously. Don’t worry about what your friends are doing – don’t feel pressured to go get hitched just because that’s what your friends are.
As far as a relationship defining or completing a person? If it does, it’s bad news. You should feel whole on your own, and then get into a relationship with someone who feels just as whole and alive on their own. That way, the relationship is awesome. I don’t think there is a void that has to be filled. Great question though!
4) For starters, take up a martial art (even if you have to teach yourself!), and read one book a week, no excuses. Also check out yoga at the beginning. Once you’ve done that, try playing a new sport. After that, start creating things in your spare time – whatever your heart desires.
After enough experimentation, you’ll find something you like. Just try a lot of new things and you’ll get there.
5) It depends how much your friends drink and what you guys do together. If they just drink to get drunk every night, and you don’t like it, say something about it and make some suggestions for other things to do. If you go to bars and clubs and don’t like doing that, for example, suggest other places to go out.
If you’re a light/non-drinker and your friends aren’t cool with that, you’re going to need to find new friends. Luckily, with the new hobbies you’re going to be picking up, you should find friends that you can do those things with, instead of just drinking and eating.
6) I told quite a bit about myself on the about page. Oh, and I’m single. I started a non-profit group with a few friends over the summer, and plan on building businesses as soon as I ship out to college.
1) Do you think Life and this Earthly Reality, ie: our humanâ€™s purpose and life, mostly only revolve around money?
or is there actually a higher purpose than it?
2) Do you think Life is really, truly *worth* living, even if amidst all the pains and sufferings and problems?
3. What do you think is truly our (each of us) purpose for LIVING, only to die and become non-existent eventually?
1) Our purpose shouldn’t revolve around money. Money is only a means to an end. As far as a higher purpose… see my answer to #3
2) Absolutely. It’s totally worth it. Without the suffering, it wouldn’t be as good. However, we’re very, very lucky – for millions of people around the world, life simply isn’t worth living, and I find that incredibly sad.
3) Our purpose – is to have as much fun and enjoyment of life as possible. It sounds simplistic, but that’s what I truly believe. Doing whatever truly makes you happy, without hurting others, is our purpose.
Of course, helping others reach their purpose – through helping them enjoy life in whatever way we can – is a huge focus as well.
However, I don’t think that there is such thing as a “universal purpose” for life. It only has the meaning that we give to it.
1) The first one, and the one Iâ€™m most desperately seeking an answer for, is about breaking free of oneâ€™s comfort zone. Iâ€™m in my mid 20â€²s, and until the past year or so, I was quite content with the lifestyle I was living. Thatâ€™s no longer the case, however, and Iâ€™m failing miserably at making any sort of progress toward changing that. In order to move forward, I need to find a way to clear my mind of years of conditioning about how things â€œshould be doneâ€ and break out of my comfort zone. The fear of stepping outside those boundaries is so strong that every time I even think about trying something new, fear takes over and feels almost like itâ€™s physically holding me back. How should I go about pushing that aside and allowing myself to experience new things?
2) My second question is about meeting people who are driven to succeed. Almost all of my friends are in the same situation with their lives as I am, and being around so many people who just â€œgo with the flowâ€ of things isnâ€™t helping me build my ideal lifestyle any faster. Whatâ€™s the best way to meet more people who truly know what they want in life and are giving it their all to get there? Should I feel bad about trying to find and develop relationships with these types of people in hopes that some of their passion might rub off on me?
1) Start meditating daily. Sit down, and don’t think for 20 minutes. Observe your thoughts; do not judge them. That will help you unravel a lot of your conditioning.
I hate to tell you this, but the only way to beat the fear is to to just do it. Whenever you feel that fear paralyzing you, act. Brute force and practice will make you better at breaking through your comfort zone.
2) The best way to meet people? Ask yourself, “Where would ambitious, driven people go to meet up?” and try and meet them. Also, talking to people at places like coffeeshops and bookstores is a great way to meet people.
And, no, it’s actually great that you want to meet new people who are more in line with your values. Don’t feel bad about it at all!
Question: Which is more important: talent or a good personality?
My Answer: Both. Well, really, a good personality is more important. “Talent” can be acquired by plenty of hard work, but people usually don’t change their personalities much.
1) What is the best goal one can have for life? (I think riches or fame are no worthy goals as they do not give you lasting happiness. What is your opinion on the same?)
2) What is your opinion about self-love? How important is it in life? In terms of attracting love and happiness?
1) Total inner peace and being an embodiment of good, rational values. If you follow your values and have peace in every step of your life… I think I’d go as far as to call it “enlightenment”.
2) It’s necessary, but be careful that self-love doesn’t become narcissistic. Instead, treat it like self-acceptance. Know that you’ll always love you wherever you go, and you’re fine. A person with self-love often attracts what they are – other people with self-love. Being satisfied with yourself also leads to internal happiness, yes.
When someone has helped you financially and then, to your surprise, you later find out they expect to run your life, what do you do?
Tell them to stop and stop giving them the power to run your life. Take it back for yourself, and cut them out in the best way possible if you have to. If they persist, definitely cut any and all contact with them.
If you were an artist and you wanted to sell your work online and blog about it but also not come across as just wanting to sell your stuff. How would you go about it?
Talk about the creative process that goes into your works – how do you approach each piece? How do you view art as an expression of your personality? What do you try and communicate when you sit down and decide to create art? What inspires you? Answer those in blog posts.
I am 17 and a student, I was just wondering if you could give me some inspiration to study, because all I seem to do is spend all night on Facebook, and when I gave up Facebook I spent the whole evening watching the television (which I rarely do, because I am on Facebook all day). The thing is I know I’m bright and that I could do amazing in my exams this Summer if I only studied, but I just can’t do it! It’s so frustrating.
Often, the hardest part of doing something you don’t want to do (like studying!) is just starting. Try to start studying as a nice first step towards creating the habit.
Give yourself lots of breaks – in fact, this will help you in studying, since your brain remembers the beginnings and ends of presentations/readings/etc. much better than the middle. Try studying for 20 minutes, give yourself a 5 minute break, then study for 20 more minutes, and so on. Letting yourself do whatever you want in those breaks also makes those 20 minute study sessions more productive.
If you don’t have to study for an extremely long period of time (as in, you don’t have to study for 3+ hours at a time), try and make the sessions as short as possible. Three cycles of the 20/10 interval I gave you should suffice on a normal study day.
Give this a try! This is what I do when I study – and, like you, I’ve always hated it.
How do you get around being lazy and sleeping too much?
Have a life that makes you excited to jump out of bed in the morning, do exciting things, and, please, exercise!
What would you recommend to a 40 year old embittered female with chronic health problems?
Seek professional help… Medically and possibly psychologically. Without more specifics, I don’t know how I can answer this much better.
Why keep doing good and get stabbed from those who I assist and also from those whom I love?
Because you have a good heart and can take the punishment.
Honestly, though, if you aren’t getting what you want out of a relationship – any relationship – bring up your needs with the parties in question. Let them know how the way they’re treating you is effecting you and try to work out some kind of deal with them. If they can’t meet your needs, you might need to let go of the relationship(s) in question.
…Does this sometimes chaotic style really matter or am I being pedantic [with reference to internet language]?
As a strict adherent to the use of proper grammar and spelling, I’m not a fan of the people who “shortcut” their speech and don’t use proper English on their blogs… I even write like this on Facebook!
What’s the importance of a mastermind in your opinion? I read a lot about it and in fact between a mentor, a coach and a mastermind group – I really do not know with what to begin and choose for the start. I am ready to pay for it – though it will take some time until I can afford a mentor or a coach – so what to choose from the start to help me keeping on track
and conceive and follow a really solid business plan so that I do not waste resources.
I can’t comment on the effects of a mastermind group, having never been in one myself. However, I can say that I know tons of people who are in them and they say they benefit them immensely.
I think if you want to conceive a good business plan, shell out the cash to hire a coach or someone who’s a professional in that field. Again, take my advice with a grain of salt, because I have never done such a thing.
Now, reading your post the first 2-3 lines were covering some of the most important ones … for example the “inspiration for the low (bad) days”. I know that you should “raise” yourself and think big things about you to get out of it but … really this is it ? Is seams a little bit “plastic-y” (artificial and forced). Now, what’s your take on that?
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – so let’s say … by just applying the old “what doesn’t kill you” saying will suffice? Can I get another angle on this?
Personally I need that somebody will “watch” me all the times and give me the push to do things. Otherwise I can “trick” myself and get away with it. How can I get more self-conscious and end the things that I started ?
I REALLY have a tendency of NOT finishing what I started. In this AREA I NEED help. I need to push myself to get to the end of things.
Being superficial… it really kills me.
How can I get the power to go all the way to the bottom of ‘it’ – whatever I’m trying to do, accomplish?
And finally – live happier – this is a big thing for anybody – what I realized is if you focus on the good parts you might be able to manage it, but as a whole is pretty impossible.
On bad days: on my bad days, I actually tend to ask myself what’s making me feel/act poorly and I try to resolve the internal problem through releasing the emotions and meditating, as well as reminding myself of some ‘fundamental truths’ that I consider essential to personal development (like the idea that I’m enough as I am to feel happy at all times).
On pushing your comfort zone: Yup, the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is pretty close to the ideal for pushing your comfort zone. However, I like to say, “Do whatever scares you,” because that encourages you to confront your fear, rather than doing stupid things that may harm you greatly but not kill you.
On finishing what you started: Make it a part of your identity that you finish what you start. That is, start believing that you are the type of guy who finishes what they start, by telling yourself that from now on, you’ll finish what you start. It’s pretty simple.
You clearly don’t trust yourself a whole lot, which is going to cause you problems. You don’t need anyone to watch over you. You just need to deliver on your promises. From now on, try delivering on 80% of the promises you make to yourself – that’s 4 for every 5. If you can stick to that path, you’ll be well on your way.
See, you’re looking for me to kind of “watch” you, in a way, by giving you advice on how to do it. Unfortunately, the only way for you to get things done and finish what you start is to generate that will from within, rather than relying on an outside force to coerce you to do it.
Perhaps you don’t finish what you start because what you’re doing isn’t necessary or important or anything that you truly want to do. Maybe reevaluating your wants and desires is key – start doing things you want to do, and finishing what you start will become much easier.
On being superficial: A little bit of superficiality is okay, but try to appreciate people’s personalities as well. They’re totally dynamic, man – by that I mean that they could have thousands of cool things about them that they’re waiting to share with you, but you’re not getting them because of your superficiality. Let them surprise you with their depth, and respond in kind.
Living happier: Being able to be grateful for what you have, feeling peaceful because you’re living by your principles, living the life that you want, and being willing to roll with the punches all makes happiness a lot easier to attain that most people think.
The first step is acknowledging that you don’t have to do or become anything to be happy. You can be happy right now. It’s a choice.
Moving forward-wise, I’ve always been interested in computers and computer programming, and I’ve even taken a couple of classes towards that end. I’m one exam away from being A+ certified (think PC technician), and am super-excited about this new opportunity for me and my family. The money will be decent, and the hours should be manageable, but it still feels like I haven’t completely let go of the former career path I was on for so long. I’m really trying to break free from retail, but the whole paradigm shift of my attitude is the hardest part. Any advice on changing the inside while working on the outside?
Get in touch with your values, and try to live by them every day. That’s the first piece of advice anyone should hear when they’re trying to make a change.
Also, if you don’t already, I highly recommend adopting a meditation practice. Just sit still and don’t think for 20 minutes per day, every day, and see what changes it brings into your life. It definitely changed mine for the better.
Explore the idea of risk and start doing new things – picking up new hobbies, meeting new people, and going different places. In short, retain the parts of yourself that you liked before the change, and change the rest to something you feel more congruent with. Really become the person you want to be, man.
I want to ask you why I have such a severe motivation problem? I can’t seems to motivate myself to do something that I know will benefit me. Like for example, I hate driving, but I have to, nobody will take me around, but doing so doesn’t make me feel good, the more I force myself to do that thing the more I hate that thing. Please help me to understand what’s wrong with me.
By resisting the idea of driving – telling yourself that you hate it – you end up resenting it more and not wanting to do it.
Since you’re obligated to drive, I’d say one way to cure yourself of that motivation problem is by actually telling yourself that you don’t have to drive, but you do it because you want to. It’s counterintuitive, but it works.
You want to drive because it will bring you wherever you have to go. Since you want to go there, and you must drive to get there, then you must want to drive by extension, since it’ll get you to where you have to go (sorry for the run-on sentence).
When you tell yourself that you want to do something, aren’t you motivated to do it? Yup. Problem solved – with a simple logical leap. By telling yourself you have to do it, you’re making yourself into your own slave… Which is no good.
Thanks for taking the time to connect with your readers like this. I would like to ask for advice on my self confidence. I have trouble making friends and interacting with people in general. It feels much easier to do so on the internet than in real life. There have been various situations where I see an opportunity to go and talk to people and get to meet/know them but I always let those windows of opportunity pass. When I am with some people that I am acquainted with, I find it hard to find things to say or donâ€™t say things when something that I can talk about does pop up in the conversation. So what are some basic steps to being more sociable and open?
Also, I am currently in university although I donâ€™t know what I want to do. I just completed my first year there by doing a bunch of random courses. I picked maths as my major but I really donâ€™t want to pursue that pathway. I had intended to just improve my grades and get into dentistry but I realised that that is not something Iâ€™d like to do. What should I do?
On being sociable: realize that, no matter what people think of you, you’re going to be okay. Also, realize that there will be some people that you really ‘click’ with and have great times with, and there will be some people who really dislike you.
They key to being sociable is the willingness to connect with people to test if they’re people you click with. Quiet down your internal dialogue and say whatever’s on your mind. Seriously. Anything. Let go of the need to have super serious conversation, open your mind, and have fun with whoever you’re talking to. Just have fun, and realize there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ response in a conversation. Let the words flow out of your mouth.
Again: just have fun and be willing to connect. Just be yourself, and talk about whatever you genuinely want to talk about.
On university: try out a lot of different things and see what you like. If you’re sure you don’t want to do maths, get out of it and try something else. You don’t want to regret not trying later in life.
What makes a company world class?
Great, reliable service, useful product, and ethical business practices. Well-defined brand helps a lot as well.
If you had the chance to live forever, would you take it?
Honestly, I don’t know. On one hand, living forever would be really awful for my relationships, but on the other hand, infinite life is very, very attractive…
Why should people listen to you if you havenâ€™t achieved any real significant success?
“Real significant success” is in the eye of the beholder, to be perfectly frank. Who are we to determine what “success” is and isn’t? All I know is that I’ve succeeded with the opportunities I’ve been given so far in life.
As far as why people should listen to me – I know what the process is like. I know how a lot of people think, and I know how their beliefs may be holding them back from living a better life. I know what it’s like to suffer because of damaging thought patterns, and I know how to turn things around – information about that I’ve gained over the past 3 years is invaluable. The bottom line is, I have a lot of ideas that have worked for me and could improve people’s lives tremendously – and I’m sharing them freely here. If what I say strikes a chord with people and they want to listen to me – that’s great. If they don’t, that’s okay.
I’d like to thank everybody who participated in this post and sent me questions. I think this will become a great tradition here at PluginID!