Category : Motivation


Laziness Is Completely Misunderstood - Laziness Is How You Outperform

Laziness Paradox

Photo by Sherard Campbell on Unsplash

For a productivity guy, I’ve become a sloth bear.

The last few weeks have been weird. I don’t feel like working. I want to be lazy and goof off. (Don’t tell James Clear.) When I have lazy days I get mad at myself. Productivity guilt destroys my happiness. It’s easy to predict the end of my creative writing career after a day of laziness. Not all is as it seems.

Error: I thought laziness was a problem.

You work more than you think

The trouble with laziness is it’s based on time. I found myself the other day comparing my current workdays to the ones at my last 9–5 job. It looks like I’m working a lot less with no job.

I did a deep dive and realized I’d launched twice as many online courses, read three times as many books, networked with 10x more people, started a Substack newsletter, and written an entire book.

Laziness lies to us.

Time feels different. Time can speed up or slow down. Time is hard to track without a time tracker. Laziness led me to a new insight.

Laziness is an early warning system

I stumbled across an article about laziness. (It’s weird how we suddenly find the advice we need at the exact moment we need it.)

Rather than viewing these feelings as a reflection of something negative about your character, they should really be viewed as your body’s early warning system.

When you’re overworked, you’re less effective, focused, and productive.

Laziness isn’t telling me I’m not working hard enough. No. Laziness is a sign I’m about to burnout from being a self-help champion. Interesting. Since I quit my job I have become obsessed with work. If I’m honest with myself it’s because, secretly, I’m sh*t scared. My survival instincts have kicked in. They’re telling me if I don’t get my lazy ass into action then my business will be destroyed and I’ll be on the street.

This horrific thought isn’t an accident. In my first year of high school my family lost our home due to financial troubles. The memory has attached itself to my fear and led to the idea I’m lazy.

When you notice the truth behind your laziness, it’s possible to take the lesson and use it to your advantage.

Laziness leads to an explosion of creativity

We are working when we are not working. Read that again.

It’s taken me since college to learn that lesson. Work isn’t solely based on the productive tasks that are on a to-do list. No. Part of the work process occurs while you’re doing the dishes, having a shower, or tidying up the garden. When you do idle tasks it helps the dots in your brain connect. Your body stops to reflect and process all the inputs while your outputs are on hold.

One study found that our creative output increases by an average of 60% right after a walk. Stoicism preaches the idea we’re working when we’re not working, too. Ryan Holiday has famously cited ancient philosophers, writers and poets who swear by idle time and the power of walks.

The lazy tasks are the tasks you need to make sense of the world.

Relaxing is not a sign of laziness. It’s a source of energy

 — Adam Grant

How to beat burnout

I’ve learned my lack of laziness is the cause of my impending burnout. The sirens are flashing red. The productivity gods are not coming to save me. Tim Ferriss didn’t send me a love letter in the voice of a navy seal and tell me to get my lazy ass back to work.

So, I scoured the internet and found a bloody good solution. You can use it, too, if laziness is signaling an impending meltdown.

Plan lazy periods attend of time

The challenge with laziness is the productivity guilt. When you schedule laziness in advance you don’t feel guilty. The Reddit user I learned this trick from goes on to say, “Run your errands/do chores the day before your lazy day so you don’t subconsciously shame yourself for doing nothing. It’ll make it more mentally enjoyable.”

The crux of this laziness manifesto is this: Make a day of it. Enjoy laziness instead of being afraid of it.

A person who gets to be lazy on a regular basis does better work in the long run because their mind is able to be more creative and join the dots of ideas subconsciously. That’s how you use laziness to outperform.

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Four Surprising Things About Life That Get Me Through the Hard Days

Marriage to a dying person

Photo by Aqviews on Unsplash

The world can look like an amazon bushfire somedays.

When my mind is put through a blender I like to find stories. Human stories have the power to show you an alternative. They can get you out of a dark place if you let them.

Took me hours to find these four stories. They’ll knock you off your feet.

The extraordinary lengths we will go to find love

A young woman needs a transplant. Her sister has the same transplant and it goes horribly wrong.

Her partner tells her to have it. “It’s worth one year of good health.” One year becomes six years. Many beautiful experiences are shared. The news eventually turned bleak again. Her health challenges weren’t over. No, they were simply delayed with the transplant.

Brett, her partner, after getting the bad news, decided to marry her. He described his wife as strong for a small person. Strong people lose battles against their own bodies when terminal illnesses are involved. That’s what happened to his warrior, his queen, his everything.

Rather than sadness, Brett became overwhelmed by the beauty in the fact he even got to have her in his life at all. If he had to do it all over again, he still would have married a woman who had a guaranteed date with death. The only thing Brett would trade for this experience with his now-deceased wife is more years with her.

The courage to marry a dying person is incredible. Real love even transcends death. Chase that person to the ends of the earth.

A company built in the back of an Uber after a terrible firing

A man named Brian lost his job in March 2020. For the next eighteen months he applied for more than one-thousand jobs and got rejected. This is well beyond the point most of us will give up.

Recruiters and hiring managers told him he’s not smart enough, despite his five degrees. They told him he couldn’t run a business, despite him running businesses for Berkshire Hathaway(Warren Buffet’s firm). They said his ego was too big and he wasn’t worldly enough, despite three combat tours in the army over twenty-five years.

He had enough of the corporate rejection. Instead, he decided to build a law firm. That’s not the cool part.

At the same time he drove a car for multiple rideshare companies like Uber. Not to solely earn money. No. He did it so he could hand out business cards to potential future customers. Driving for Uber became his marketing plan. That’s not all. He also stocked shelves at a local store to pay his bills. In his spare time he does legal document reviews to earn extra money.

Entrepreneurship is seen as sexy. I don’t think so.

People like Brian who work three jobs and endure thousands of job rejections are the real ones to look up to. This is resilience. This is more than hustle. This is the human spirit showing enormous courage. Grit and determination pay off if you have a heart of gold like Brian.

Parents who become lifeless over a chemical still get love

At 19 Dakota attended a music festival. On the way home he saw a woman walking. He recognized her. She had a lost look in her eyes. She gazed up at the night sky looking for answers.

At 4-feet away Dakota had a waterfall of words on the edge of his tongue. So much he needed to say, wanted to say.

His friends kept walking. Dakota stood there staring at her like a creep. The woman was high on drugs. You could say she was alive, but the truth is she was lifeless. Her actions resembled that of a zombie on its way to the apocalypse.

With people everywhere, Dakota decided not to stop and engage the foreign life form. That is the biggest regret of his life.

The zombie is his mother. Two weeks after the encounter she died of an overdose after battling a crack addiction for years, which cost her $100K, her home, and her family. The experience robbed his father of his soul.

The only regret Dakota has is he didn’t tell his mother that he loved her before she died of an overdose. Maybe love would have healed her addiction. Even if it didn’t, maybe love could have brought him peace with this difficult situation.

It blows my mind that after a parent causes a son so much pain through drugs, that a son can still forgive them later in life. The parent-child bond is incredible. It’s something scientists will never fully be able to explain.

Beauty depends on who tells the story

Crash! Another vehicle collides with her while cycling.

This isn’t the first time. The accident messes up her face and teeth. Four years later a jaw bone graft is needed. A few years after that her body rejects the dental implants.

Another trip to hospital. Surgery happens. She wakes up and finds out there isn’t enough jawbone for her new dental implants. No biggie, right?

Well, one of her front teeth went missing after the surgery. Even with a shower and a fresh face of makeup, she looked like she just got out of a bar fight with a biker in a leather jacket. For five hours after seeing her new face, she cried like a newborn baby with sobs in between deep breathes.

As an executive coach and public speaker, she thought she needed a pretty face to do her job. Eventually it hit her. You have to embrace who you are and own it. So she did. She made fun of the fact her front tooth was gone. She couldn’t control her circumstances but she could control her reaction.

It’s heartwarming to know that we tell our story. If you lost your front tooth then make it into a story. Clients and colleagues will love the story more than they will care about a change in appearance.

Beauty is found in your soul, not in a jawbone or dental implant.


There’s no need to keep yourself down.

If a man can marry a terminally ill woman. If a person can work three jobs and endure thousands of rejections and still build a law firm. If a kid can forgive a mother who destroyed his childhood and stole his dad’s soul. If a woman can go through multiple bike accidents and show up to work with no front tooth and pretend nothing happened.

My question is this: what can you achieve on your hard days? If these four stories from everyday people are anything to go by, a helluva lot.

Don’t give up.

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A Bad Day Isn’t Wasted (Yet). Here’s How to Save It.

Tim Denning Bad Day

Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

A day can easily turn into a train wreck.

Bad days get a terrible wrap. They’re often thought of as not worth resuscitating. We let our bad days die and then hope tomorrow is a good day.

I murdered entire days too. I let frustration win. Then I came across a bizarre technique. It’s definitely not a popular idea, but helps to cure a bad day.

The Day from Hell

I was about to start a new job … and move house, and move in with my partner, and start a new business.

All of the events occurred in a single day and nothing went right. My grandma raised me to be a good little politically correct boy and to refrain from using swear words. On this day from hell, I tell ya, I invented new swear words from all the outrageous anger.

The walls got scratched by removalists. The train behind my new apartment ended up being louder than a truck going 100 mph and suddenly having to stop by slamming on the breaks with a trailer full of moo-cows in the back. The door of the closet didn’t close with clothes inside, and nothing could be done to fix it as the space simply wasn’t wide enough. Then my fiancé’s two roommates both decided to depart on the same day and leave her with all the bills and cleaning up to do. The landlord decided to be an ass too.

By 5 pm I was smoked. The day was nuked.

The productivity guilt began to set in. I’d achieved nothing for the whole day. I learned a new technique a few days before to handle bad days. It was time to road test it.

Think About a Bad Day like This from Now On

When you have a bad day, remember there are four quarters.

First quarter: Morning

This is when you have the most energy after a good night’s sleep. Many bad days start here. When your morning goes off track, it can set up the rest of your day for disaster. The key isn’t to be defeated in the morning. If the morning sucks then you’ve still got three quarters to play.

Second quarter: Midday

The morning ends at 12 pm. If things go wrong then you can start a new day at this point. 12 pm is a good time to win back your day because it’s when you eat lunch. Lunchtime is a good place to reflect on what has happened so far to look for the upside.

Third Quarter: Afternoon

From 3 pm until 6 pm you’ve still got a lot of time to win back the day. The afternoon is often where I experience a second burst of energy that comes from nowhere (the technical term is second wind).

Fourth Quarter: Evening

After 6 pm is the final chance to save a bad day. It’s where you can use the time after dinner to do the work you weren’t able to complete in the other quarters. Many people report working better at night. The urgency of bedtime is a great motivator to rescue a bad day and turn it around.

Even if you fail in the fourth quarter of the day, there’s always tomorrow. That’s how you quietly beat a bad day no matter what.

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

The Mantra to Keep Your Day Moving Forward

Here it is:

If you mess up one quarter of the day, then do better in the next quarter.

By breaking my day into quarters, I was able to fix the day from hell in the fourth quarter. The apartment got sorted. Housemates did the right thing in the end. The business didn’t die a horrible death upon creation.

A day can be saved when you feel there’s still more game time to start again.

A basketball game isn’t over after one quarter. Why should your day be like that? Thinking of your day as four quarters gives you more chances to try again. When you try again the solutions eventually present themselves.

Time alive is precious. Don’t let bad days consistently ruin what could otherwise be your most productive hours alive doing work you enjoy. A day can easily go off track. But a turnaround can occur too. Go easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can. We all have bad days. It’s what you do in the remaining quarters that counts.

Break your day into four quarters to avoid writing off entire days.

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‘Do What You Love’ Is Stupid Advice for Most People

What you do for work.

Photo by Diego Rosa on Unsplash

Even cavemen probably said ‘do what you love’ once upon a time.

It’s an idea that has existed for a long time. Parents tell their younglings after high school “do what you love little Freddy. You’re going to change the world when you do, darling” (ohhh cute!).

I subscribed to this advice too. I tweeted “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Then this tweet below slapped me in this face.

Popular sentiment: “Choose what you love for work, and do it forever.” Wrong.

Choose what you’re *good at* and is marketable in society, and do it for as long as you need before retiring to do what you *LOVE* 

Steve Adcock

Steveo is onto something. How many people really start out working for money and land in the rainbow fantasy land of “I’m doing what I love” on day one? A few perhaps. But not many.

According to research, 70% of people don’t love what they do. No surprise we’re surrounded by angry Karens who take their frustrations out on life by not replying to emails or playing the silence game.

The idea of ‘do what you love’ is the problem.

Why most of us can’t start with ‘do what you love’

In an ideal world we’d all start doing work we love right after our formal education is complete and we’re done making schools and universities a fortune for overpriced lessons you can find in the library. Yet we don’t. The answer is simple.

We’re still figuring stuff out.

Finding what you love doing isn’t like going to the supermarket and selecting what type of sourdough bread you’d love to eat. The journey takes time. Often, it takes years of doing the same tasks to figure out if the work you’re doing is good.

Remember: once we find work we love, we’re supposed to do it for the rest of our lives. So we don’t just randomly pick any form of work and hope for the best. The same way you don’t get married to someone for the rest of your life and hope they’ll be okay to sleep next to.

Love takes time.

This is Steve Adcock’s formula for doing work you love that I’ve edited for simplicity.

Work a terrible job first

Jobs teach you what you hate.

They expose you to lots of new experiences. You can follow random people around to see what work they do. At a job you build a network of people around you. Once you find work you love this network acts as foundational support you can lean on when things go haywire — and they will.

Without any money coming in, you simply drown and can’t move forward until food and shelter are sorted. A job helps you start to earn money while the do-what-you-love jigsaw is assembled in your mind.

Use and abuse a job to flex your money-making muscle.

What you’re good at may not be what you love

If you’re good at one type of work but don’t love it, doesn’t mean you should simply discard it.

I’m good at sales jobs but I don’t love working in sales. I used sales jobs as a way to earn a living while I figured out my life. Through the process my boss challenged me to write on LinkedIn. That idea sparked a new path in life. I did it every day for several years. That’s how I found my love for writing.

Sales paid the bills when writing couldn’t. Even though I don’t work in sales anymore, I use the persuasion skills in my writing.

A skill that’s not your one true love isn’t a waste.

Take your 9-5 skills and do this

A job gives you money to stay afloat while you figure out what work you love. You can take those same skills from your 9-5 job and sell them twice.


Use social media to market those skills. Become a gun for hire.

I could sell my sales skills through consulting, contracting, or freelancing if I wanted to. Every business needs to sell. But not every business wants full-time employees. Where do you find new customers for your 9-5 skills? Easy. The customers of your employer, or by going on LinkedIn and searching for companies in your industry.

Don’t pitch potential customers an ad for your services. Nope. Flip it around. Turn your pitch into a question. It sounds like this:

“Hey Miss Customer, we’ve been working together for a while now. I’m looking to use my skills and industry experience to help other businesses after hours. Would you happen to know anybody from another business who might be looking for that?”

You could then be cheeky and say “you’re not looking to hire someone just like me, are you?”

9-5 skills you develop can be sold more than once. Buy back your time by creating multiple income streams. With more time you can focus on finding what you love.

Build up your cash

You’ve got a job. You’ve sold your skills beyond one employer. Now it’s time to build up your cash.

Cash buys you time to experiment with different love-inducing projects. We rarely fall in love with a field of work on the first date. We need to sleep with work we think we love to see how we feel. We need to have lots of idea orgasms to figure out if they’re the one.

Take mini-retirements to test the depth of your *LOVE*

What I did is take mini-retirements. Writing looked my one true love. She was sexy as hell. She took my breath away twice a week. In between various jobs, I spent entire weeks and months just writing.

Time doing the one thing I love allowed me to test my relationship with writing. We had fights. We had days where the idea machine was empty. We endured jealous critics who told us our love for each other wasn’t real.

And… we survived each mini-retirement. Eventually I had enough experience with writing to know she was the love of my life and we should get married and have idea babies.

Test work you love with a mini-retirement. Take annual leave to experiment with the work you think might be the one. Take longer gaps between changing jobs to gain more insights. Use money you’ve saved up to buy unpaid time off from your 9-5 job.

Work you fall in love with rarely happens after a one-night stand. Give love for one type of work a chance to grow on you.

Tell your boss adiós amigo

This is the final part where Steve Adcock recommends going all-in. One of two scenarios can occur at this point:

  1. You have enough money to do what you love, even if it doesn’t make you a dollar.
  2. Or through after hours experiments and mini-retirements, you have a way to make money from solely doing work you love.

Now is the time to quit the work you don’t love, for the work you do love. It’s time to say adiós amigo to your boss.

I’ve done this. I don’t recommend being an ass about it. Be nice. Respect what they’ve done for you. Remember that without them you wouldn’t have had the time to experiment and find work you love. They probably helped you reach this point. If anything you should be grateful for their existence in your life. (Plus being nice creates hidden opportunities later on.)

Bottom Line

There’s nothing wrong with doing work you hate until you find work you love. Conventional advice suggests work you love will happen in a heartbeat. Reality shows us it takes years, sometimes a lifetime, to find work we love doing. That’s perfectly normal.

Retirement isn’t where you’re financially free or sit on the beach in your swimmers for the rest of your life snapping Instagram selfies.

Retirement can happen much earlier in life. You can start by doing work you hate. You can experiment your way to find work you love. Then you can retire at 30-something from boring work and go all-in on work that inspires you.

What if real retirement is simply doing work you love?

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Productivity Guilt Can Sabotage Your Biggest Goal in Life

Life lessons from Tim

Photo by naraa.in.ub on Unsplash

Productivity guilt is a silent battle fought behind closed doors.

You hear people brag about how productive they are, and how they’re better than you at ticking goals off and winning Olympic gold medals while you’re stuck in your apartment on the couch being lazy. I’m slightly obsessed with productivity. Things got crazy in 2015 when I had a near-miss with cancer.

Suddenly I faced the grim reality of, “What if this is it?”

From that day on I didn’t want to waste time anymore. No time for messing around. No time for jerks. No time for hate. No time to be stuck working a job that ripped out my soul and replaced it with a deathly ghost.

Since quitting my job, I’ve faced multiple days in a row of productivity guilt. Only after chatting to two friends in Europe recently did I understand what was happening.

A big goal has huge downsides

Most humans are overly optimistic — we enter the day with an expectation and plan of getting all sorts of things done. — Heidi Grant, Harvard Business Review

Many of us have a big goal in life. Mine is writing.

I love writing. It sets my mind free and makes me think I can achieve the impossible. Writing helps me structure my thoughts and distill all the lessons I find in books, podcasts, and documentaries.

Without letting my head inflate to the size of a hot air balloon, I’ve had a small amount of success at writing over almost eight years. You’d think I’d be on top of the world and high-fiving productivity guru James Clear. Nope.

My big goal to inspire millions of people with writing has a huge downside: it’s never enough.

You won’t hear that often. You’ll get told it is enough and that most people with big goals are kneeling on their buckwheat yoga pillow, and doing a daily gratitude practice while having late-night phone calls with the Dalai Lama.

Not true.

Goals can make you forget about gratitude. You can keep wanting more. When you start wanting more, productivity guilt enters the scene and messes with your life.

What Productivity Guilt feels like

Productivity guilt feels like having the Joker from Batman poke needles in your eyes randomly throughout the day.

As soon as you’re not “feeling it,” the Joker enters your head and tells you to get back to work. Taking a walk with your significant other is enough to trigger the problem. You keep thinking about all that work back at your home office that needs to be done. I often find myself looking at my phone and thinking, “Oh crap, a customer email. I can’t keep them waiting.”

The worst days for me are low productivity days. Those days when I try everything and still only manage to complete one small task, like sending a 400-word email to my readers. When I face consecutive days like this, the Joker enters my head and quietly says “things are going downhill.”

If I let the feeling persist for long enough, I start to complete multiple back-to-back days of low productivity that cause enormous productivity guilt.

The biggest fear: low productivity becomes a habit

Self-improvement books teach us the power of habits. What they don’t explain is they can work in reverse. If you let productivity guilt become a habit, it can start to really screw with your life. I’ve come close a few times.

Productivity guilt weighs heavily on your brain. It starts to deplete your energy, and make the path ahead foggy.

Success increases productivity guilt

The more I succeed in the field of writing, the higher the productivity guilt is. The lie we believe at the start is when we perform well we’ll give ourselves a break. The opposite is true. High performance is addictive. High performance pushes us to reach even higher.

The Powerful Antidote to Productivity Guilt

You can defeat productivity guilt by stopping the ascent of progress. Pre-plan phases of your growth where results stay the same, or god forbid, go backwards. Going backwards allows you to move forward.

Solution: enable productivity plateaus.

I’m experimenting with a plateau right now. I want my business to calm down and not grow stupidly high every month. The time I save on having to keep ascending higher allows me to rest and enjoy the journey. I want more walks, more random conversations with people from the past, a lot more books, and a helluva lot less drama.

Never-ending growth feels like the answer. But if all you do is grow, you will reach a point where your work ethic takes over your life. Where you feel like you’ve always gotta be grinding it out to survive.

The best example of productivity guilt is billionaires. They have so much money, yet their productivity guilt tells them they need to progress even more, according to research. They’ll never admit it to you, of course. Spend time with a billionaire, though, and you’ll see they’re afraid of productivity guilt. A day of zero progress can force them into a rage. Rage turns to ego. Ego causes them to do dumb stuff. Now you know why billionaires do a lot of dumb stuff.

Plateaus allow progress to become healthy again.

Question: What if plateaus were more powerful than the never-ending ascent?

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These Are the Exact Phases You Go Through When You Attempt to Change Your Life

The cycle of change

Photo by Gian Cescon on Unsplash

TikTok isn’t my idea of fun.

TikTok feels like cheap entertainment. You typically get less than 60 seconds of “content” and then get left feeling groped and empty. So you keep watching more. After two hours, you don’t know where the night went.

A friend sent a video to me by TikToker Jason Capital. The video is about how we go through change. He argues change makes us feel inadequate. Feeling weird is uncomfortable, so we go back to wanting to be comfortable. That’s where our phone plays a role.

Notice when you look at your notifications. It’s right after trying to do a hard task. Notifications are an escape to comfort.

TikTok equals comfort too. It’s better than facing reality and changing. Once you understand the cycles of change, it’s easier to see where you’re getting stuck so you can push through. Otherwise you bounce from task to task and never make the progress that gives you meaning and fulfillment.

Here’s what change looked like for me when I started writing online.

Phase 1 — Uninformed Optimism

“So you’re saying you can write online and inspire people? And that can lead to a business, public speaking, or even an amazing 9–5 job? Let’s do it.”

You think it’s going to be easy-peasy. Then you start writing. The first few weeks are cruisy. Your mind is silent. There’s no audience yet. There are no critics. You’ve got a mile-long list of ideas to play with.

Life is amazing. You buy a gelato.

Phase 2 — Informed Pessimism

“F*ck. This is hard. Writing takes a lot of time. Is it there/their/they’re? Where are my high school grammar books.”

What looks easy is actually hard. There are new skills to learn like sourcing images, editing, social media, marketing, and formatting. You’ve got to spend money to get better, which is hard if you are earning peanuts like I was.

Then you start trying to meet others who have the same goal. Because you’ve got zero traction, they avoid you like you’re infected with a deadly virus. You go to a networking group for bloggers. You try and enter a conversation. It’s as though you farted silently and people gravitate away from you.

Then committing time to the change hits you like a brick in the face.

You realize writing online is a daily habit. You realize you’re going to have to do this for at least twelve months and probably get zero traction. Then the boulder rolls over the top of your fragile body and reminds you “this will probably take five years.”

Nobody wants to wait five years. We want what we want now.

Phase 3 — Valley of Despair

All the negativity builds up in your mind. It’s overwhelming. You find yourself throwing tantrums at random readers and writers for no reason.

“My time costs money, you know,” you say quietly to yourself.

Now comes the “I’m-gonna-quit moment.” You stop believing you can do it. The evidence so far shows you probably suck. So you quit.

Phase 4 — Informed Optimism

If you make it past the valley of despair then things look up. You accept the difficulty of the change you seek and say “I can do it.” Once you accept it, the difficult things get easier.

You keep pushing through. You get plenty of sleep. You mute rude people. You ignore critics. You drink plenty of water. You do a little exercise. You may even dare to practice being aware of the present moment aka … meditation.

The progress feels good, although it’s painfully slow.

Phase 5 — Change Occurs

If you keep progressing for enough years, you get the change you seek.

The results start to show themselves. Friends see what you’ve achieved. Family members are proud. You become an accidental expert and may even decide to teach what you’ve learned to reinforce all the lessons discovered along the way.

What Stops Us Progressing Through the 5 Phases?

Getting to phase five with any goal is hard. Not many survivors can endure. It’s not because they’re dumb or lazy or need more self-help. Nope.

We get stuck between phase one and phase three. When phase three hits you and the pessimism of the pursuit is realized, the easy answer is to quit. But we don’t just quit. No. We keep changing the goal we go after. We keep looking for the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow that is an optical illusion. It sounds like this for writers.

“Writing on WordPress sucks. I’m going to LinkedIn. LinkedIn sucks too. Maybe Twitter. Nope, Twitter is too old and I’m too late. Okay, I’ll quit writing and take photos for Instagram. Crap this is hard too.”

The steps to have a goal turn into insanity looks like this:

Too hard. Give up. New idea. Repeat.

Switching ideas removes painful thoughts — we’re pain-avoiders by nature. If you don’t notice what is happening, it becomes a death loop in your mind. The Darth Vader enemy to defeat is the valley of despair. If you can beat the terrible days, you can win.

Once you know the phases we go through to transform, you have the self-awareness to get the change you so desperately seek.


Now you know how change happens and what it feels like. When you get stuck in phase three, the valley of despair, remember the following:

  1. You can do this.
  2. It’s hard. That means the result is worth it.
  3. Everybody else who tried to do this experienced similar feelings.

Stay focused on the change you want to destroy the barriers.

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