10 Good Ideas You Should Memorize

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted, but this one absolutely wrote itself. These are 10 ideas that have served me well, and it just occurred to me that they need to be shared. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. When tempted, think “I’m not saying ‘no’, I’m just saying later”.
“Never” is a hard argument to sell. “In a few minutes” is much easier. If I’m considering a dessert I know I should skip, I try telling myself “not right now”. And mean it. If I still want it in 30 minutes, I dig in.

When you’re working on a tough project and want to take a break, you can always hang in there for another 20 minutes.

A similar collary to this run is the “just a little more” idea. When you’re running and you’re getting tired, it’s easy to convince yourself to go another 50 yards, but another 3 miles will result in taking a break.

2. Remember that “this will pass.”
When I’m having a tough time, or even when I’m seriously unhappy or frustrated, I try to remind myself that whatever’s going on will pass. As long as the issue is an emotion, it ALWAYS does. Just knowing that something will end eventually, regardless of what you do, can be an inspiring or comforting thought.

3. “_____ would love to trade places with me”. (fill in the blank with whoever you please)
When I’m thinking my life/job/relationship/debt/whatever sucks, it always help to get things in proper perspective, which I do by remembering that someone out there would love to trade places with me. This is not intended to persuade myself that bad is really good, it’s simply a rational and productive way to practice appreciation. Just lost your job? Try to get sympathy from a family in Haiti. Going through a painful divorce? Consider the prospects of a single senior citizen with no children living in a nursing home.
It’s all about perspective.

4. To prevail, think bigger.
Most of us tend to follow the path of least resistance. If you’re truly unhappy with your station in life and want to change it, think big. Not making enough money? Get a law degree. Start a part-time business doing something you love. Not saving as much money as you’d like? Start an online business that can make you $5k/month in a year or two. If the problem is getting a nail into a board and your hammer isn’t working, get a sledge hammer. It’ll work.

5. Remember that failing is simply part of the process. Everyone has failed.
Ever read about the string of failures Abraham Lincoln suffered (click here)?
Fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no original ideas” – Walt Disney
He was turned down by Toyota Motor Corporation for a job after interviewing for a job as an engineer, leaving him jobless for quite some time. He started making scooters of his own at home, and spurred on by his neighbors, finally started his own business. – Soichiro Honda
Learning the right attitude about failure greatly increases your chances of success

6. Winners are very good at handling, and managing, frustration and disappointment.
If you think you’re the only one who gets frustrated, think again. Successful people just don’t stop. Either they know how they will prevail, or they know that quitting won’t help, or they believe in the tortoise and the hare analogy. Whatever it is, they manage their frustration and keep going.

7. Optimists see failure as due to things that they can change.
If you see a failure as due to something you can change, you ahve a reason to try again. If you tell your self, ‘Oh well, nothing I can do’, it’s game over.

8. Identify the problem, then actively work on solving it. There is always an answer, but first you have to recognize something as a problem.
Relationship not going well? Figure out why.
Boss is a jackass. What do you need to learn to be able to handle him.
Plagued by low self-esteem. Search until you find out what confident people know that you don’t.
Career stalled? Figure out what you need to do to get it going.
Life is, among other things, a series of problems, things that aren’t going the way you want them to go. Unless you’re happy with everything in your life (more power to you), then you’ve got some problem to solve. Unfortunately, a lot of people just wait for things to change (passive), instead of conceiving some idea to try to solve their problem (active). And the first solution doesn’t work, come up with another one and try again. Rinse, lather, repeat.

9. We do better when someone’s watching.
It’s a simple fact. If we’re being observed, if our results are being recorded (even by ourselves), if we have to report our results to someone, we perform better. Just like gravity. If you want to improve your performance, get as many people watching as possible.

10. Think long term.
Most dumb decisions are short term ones. Drugs are a great short term solution. The long term potential of a life of gambling is not good – just ask Charles Barkley. Long term thinking improves short term decision making. Got that one from Brian Tracy, and it’s true.

Bonus: You don’t have to solve every problem. Hire an expert.
We don’t have to figure everything out ourselves. If you can find someone who’s successful (and I mean VERY successful), hire them to tell you how to solve your problem. Or find someone who’s studied that field for 20 years – they’ve probably got some good suggestions they could share. Why do we think we have to do it ourselves?

Apply these 10 ideas as needed during your day and I guarantee improvement in your life.

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