Category : LIfe


Your Life Is a Series of Games. Know When to Quit Each Game.

Tim Denning Writing

Photo by Louie Castro-Garcia on Unsplash

Look at each aspect of your life as a game. It changes how you view everything you do in life, according to Twitter personality Naval.

In my case, treating life like a game involves going back to being a teenage gamer and playing Warcraft at “Lan Parties.’

Naval loves to riff on life being a game. It certainly is when you view your life like this.

Birth game

This game is one you play in free mode. It’s decided for you. If you’re born, you’ve already won the game, although most people don’t see it that way.

School game

You go to school. You make friends. You get good grades to make your parents proud. You play the school game that was invented for factory workers who needed to memorize knowledge and didn’t have the power of the internet.

University game

Everyone is doing it. You’re told this game will lead to a high-paying job. For the most part, this is bullshit. Universities are businesses that need revenue. The game of needing to go to university is an elaborate marketing plan created by schools and corporations.

Needing to go to uni is an ad. You don’t believe all ads you see, do you?

The rules of the game are simple: get good grades and don’t cheat.

Then you meet a genius later in life who has a Ph.D. and a low-paying job and realize you can end up becoming way too smart, therefore getting trapped in the game. Think of it this way: are professors the most successful people in life? Nope. Yet they smashed the university game for six.

First job game

Now the real games begin. This is adulthood. You don’t have nine lives anymore, because each death in the game destroys your ego and has the potential to leave your mind a mess.

You dress up as a character for the game. You go to an interview and overstate your player attributes for the game in the hope you gain access to the game they’re offering with a logo as part of the avatar.

They’re impressed with your acting skills. You pass level one of the game. But the game has changed. You need to do a code test. Or if you’re in sales you need to come back and do a mock presentation to a fake customer. The hiring game has many rounds.

You’re competing against other players who want to enter the same game as you and reap the rewards (a salary with the promise of a bonus). You keep trying. You get rejected from the game. You get told you don’t have enough experience to play the game.

Your game playing experience shown on a resume is put to the test. Your experience is scrutinized heavily by well-dressed folks that could be your parents. They tell you you’re not good enough for the game or you’re not ready for the game. They don’t know they’re playing the same game half the time. The game is invisible to them.

Despite the challenges of the game you get the job. You crack another level in the game. You do a victory lap. You think you’ve won. Then you start playing the job game and realize it’s ten times harder.

But playing a game you’re not ready for forces you to 10X your skills. You become a competent player as a result.

Career game

Once you’re in the career game it’s like being in an open world. There are so many other job titles you can get. The leader titles have the highest reward. The quicker you cycle through the job titles the higher you can get in the career game.

The purpose of the career game is to make money. Money buys you a ticket to the other games. The career game is long. It’s a game that takes most of your game-playing time. It comes with many setbacks. Just when you think you’re winning the career game, a recession hits, you get a redundancy, and it’s game over. You feel like a beginner all over again.

Or you get too confident and think you’re playing on invincible mode. You walk over other people you call ‘dead bodies’ in order to take their place in the game and bag their rewards. After a while, the career game is rough. You want control of your career game. The game is controlled by your boss and the logo they serve.

Freedom game

The career game leads you to the idea of the freedom game. Freedom is sold as the expansion pack to your career game.

You can play as a single player. You can build your side hustle. There’s nobody in control but you. You look at people with laptops sitting on beaches and think that could be you. You give it a go. You realize it’s a lonely game with no other players. You realize if you’re lazy with this game, the game takes away all the trophies and you can’t survive and pay rent.

The second part of the freedom game is startups. This is where it’s your turn to make the game and set the rules. You recruit the other places who sit below you in the game. Bossing people around in the game and getting a much larger piece of the rewards is supposed to be straightforward.

It turns out it’s hard. Getting players to work together isn’t easy. So you quit the game and go back to career games, or you stay in the startup game too long and lose all your poker chips. Or you win the startup game and realize it wasn’t the game you thought it was.

Money game

The games you play earn you money. This money can then be deployed in yet another game. This is the game of investing.

This is where you attempt to make money while you sleep. If you understand what you’re doing and educate yourself about the game, you do well. If you don’t, well this game carries huge downsides.

The game has a hidden enemy: the tax of inflation which takes away your purchasing power to buy items in all the games you play in life.

Car game

To get to the career game you play the game of cars. You’ve got to own four rubber wheels with a piece of metal on top of it for a cabin. The wheels and metal are mostly the same. But the dude selling you the vehicle for the game makes you think the brand matters.

In return, you get into debt to play the game. It sounds like a weekly payment of only $49. Later, you do the math of the game and realize that’s only the beginning. Exiting the car game is where things get expensive. It costs you points in the game that you could use to gain a higher score in another aspect of the overall game.

Finding love game

The rules of the biggest game of all — life — imply you need a partner to hold hands with in the game. You take out the slot machine full of notifications in your pocket. You install a new game called Tinder.

The game shows you faces with text below it. You mostly swipe life or right on the faces and ignore the text. The game is you swipe, they swipe back, and you chat. It’s not easy. Getting a reply to a message is hard. Other game players in the game are also bombarding the same players with messages. Some are even stupid enough to send a photo of their private parts.

The next level of the love game is the date. You dress up, make your avatar look pretty, and find a location to play the game with a series of challenges.

Challenge 1: Find a car park not too far away.
Challenge 2: Look attractive.
Challenge 3: Show up on time.
Challenge 4: Be interesting, funny, cute, etc.
Challenge 5: Ask about them.
Challenge 6: Don’t talk about an ex and die.
Challenge 7: Get a second date (the next level).

The game is fun. You find another player. You can’t work out if you’re supposed to be with this player for the rest of your life in the game. Nobody tells you. You have to find out for yourself. Or else, face separation, divorce or a breakup and start all over again like a newb.

The fame game

You spend time on social media. You wonder whether attention might make you feel better. You start trying to be famous. You create a podcast. You post daily on Instagram. You get likes in the game. You get attention. Your posts go viral. Then the game takes a wrong term. The game doesn’t pay you.

The game gives you attention and then the algorithms eventually take it away from you so they can spread the attention amongst more players and make everybody think they can win this fame game. The point of the game starts to make no sense.

House game

You’re together with another player. Congrats! How cute.

This is the game where you buy a house. The problem is the house takes most of what you’ve earned so far in the game. You need to get into debt because all the other players who came before you have bid up the house prices. It’s a little annoying.

You find a house. It’s not what you really want but it’s what you can afford. The home improvement game is always an option, but the thought of it drains your life bar in the house game. Debt makes all the other games so much more real. The stakes in this game are much higher.

Kids game

This game is serious. This is where you hand over the keys to your game to a screaming toddler who doesn’t want you to sleep.

They have a cute avatar, but they require a lot of work. This is a game that has no rules. The only rule is don’t let the kid die. Protect the kid with everything you’ve got. Love the kid. Make the kid happy.

When you exit your final game, make sure the kid takes over what was leftover from your game. Hope the kid is a better player in the game than you were. Make your game dependant on their game until you can’t anymore.

Retirement game

A pre-cursor to the final end of the game.

A place where you escape to the beach, finish the career game, enjoy the rewards you racked up in the money game, and where you prepare for the end of the overall game and to leave something behind.

Except as soon as you start the retirement game, you realize you like the game of work. You don’t want to sit in a caravan and drink soda pop. You want to work because work gives the game meaning. Work is where you secretly serve the players of all the other games.

The end game

Nobody tells you when all the games end. The end of all the games can come at any time. The point of all the games is to enjoy playing them while you can.

You’ve got to play some games. You’re on this planet. You’re alive. You may as well play something, says Naval.

Some Games Are Optional

You can just say no to games, because you can’t play all the games. Otherwise, you’ll have no time to play any of them well enough.

Society makes you think the fame game, or the car game, or the owning a home game are ones you have to opt in to. The truth is, you don’t. You pick the game you play, so choose wisely.

Set the Definition of the Game Early On

If you don’t know why you’re playing a particular game, you’ll lose the game. Every game has a point.

The question of ‘why’ makes the game have a purpose.

With a definition, you give the game boundaries. You work out an exit plan in case you need to escape the game or quit gaming for a while.

All These Games Have Downsides

There’s no perfect game, although the birth game and the opportunity at humanity comes pretty close.

Games require skills, other players, resources, time, and sometimes, money. Know the downsides of the game so you don’t fool yourself.

You may be able to fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but the easiest person to fool is yourself.

As long as you continue to fool yourself, about where you are or what you are (or are not) doing, the more you will struggle to gain your balance — Kathryn Lang

Don’t Compare Your Level in the Game to Somebody Else’s

This is the trap with games: thinking about what level someone else is at.

Who cares what level another player has reached. If they’re at a very high level in the career game, then maybe their love game is at a zero.

When I see someone at a high level in one game of life, I think to myself “what other games that they play have had to suffer?”

Realize When You’ve Won the Game

Most games don’t have an ending. You can keep playing them. You can keep climbing through the levels and have more levels to follow.

With the money game, as an example, even if you become the richest person on earth, your victory in the game will be short-lived. There always another player ready to come and take the number one position from you.

When you’ve met the definition you’ve set for the game, you’ve won.

How Do You Get out of the Game so You’re Not Just Trapped Playing That Game Forever?

The reason to win the game is so that you can be free of it — Naval

The games in your life never end.

Infinity playing any game means you never get to win.

‘The win’ is where you decide you’ve had enough of a game or you’ve met your objective of that game. Not ever completing a game is a trap. Completing games is a superpower.

Find a game. Set the objective. Play it. Then exit the game knowing you’ve achieved enough.

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Life Lessons from a 50-Something Quirky Genius Living an Odd Life

Tim Denning Life Lessons

Photo by Christian Buehner on Unsplash

Life lessons can be really boring to read.

If joining the circus, becoming a musician, and starting a website that sells for millions of dollars — while giving most of the money away — isn’t an interesting life, I don’t know what it is.

Derek Sivers is a 50-something quirky genius who featured on one of the most popular podcasts of all time and wowed everybody. I read through the podcast comments and it appears that people loved how candid Derek can be, and how he is able to take complex ideas and make them simple.

Derek wrote another book recently called “Your Music And People.”

You’d think it was a book about being a musician. As usual, it’s not. His book, dedicated to musicians, is actually disguised as a book of life lessons. Here they are for you to choose from and level-up your life.

Reply to every email. It’s the greatest habit.

This life lesson doesn’t come from Derek’s book. It comes from my experience of emailing Derek for the last few years.

Derek proudly responds to every email.

He loves productivity and self improvement, yet throws all the advice out the window and responds to every email.

When he’s on podcasts that attract millions of monthly downloads, he hands out his email address. On one podcast episode the interviewer says “Are you sure you want to do that?” when Derek blindly promotes his email address and mentions how easy he is to contact.

Derek has no issues. He likes email. You can take the opposite advice to most people and do what you wish.

Every bad habit can be someone else’s good habit.

Rub your work of art in the dirt.

Derek wanted to help his friend Captain T get his music played on radio stations. He decided to deploy the power of weird.

We took each letter out to the backyard and rubbed it in dirt, then crumpled it up. Then we put the crumpled letter and CD into each black envelope, sealed it with an alien head sticker, and finally covered it with the huge label that said “Confidential! Do not open for any reason.” And that’s what we mailed to each radio station.

When the radio station employee opened the package, the letter would start with “You don’t know me, but I live in the bushes behind your station.” Derek says 375 out of the 500 radio stations played the CD on air and those who received the package still recall it today.

Make your work a little rough. Make the way you influence people even rougher. Embrace your weird.

Thinking of everything from the other person’s point of view is one of the best things you can do in life.

I emailed Derek and told him this was my favorite line from his book. He replied back and said “it’s really the key point of the whole book.”

You can be the biggest problem in your life. You will act very differently when you spend your day teleporting yourself into the imaginary shoes of others.

It’s actually impossible to fail if your only mission was to see what happens!

Failure is a mindset.

When your life is set up like a series of experiments, the meaning of what you do changes. You’re less worried about the outcome, and more focused on what could happen if you gave it a shot.

You can never predict the wild things that can happen in your life. So embrace mini-experiments and see if you can discover something special in your life.

Be generous. You’re going to see the same faces for years to come.

Grudges and revenge are deadly for a happy life.

The faces you encounter are going to keep showing up in different areas of your life. Those same faces are going to be having conversations about you when you’re not there. It’s a smart idea to be generous. People remember generosity. It leaves a lasting positive impression.

Revenge and hate do the opposite — they destroy who you could be in people’s minds who have the power to help you, or subtly change your life.

Saying you need a certain tool is just another excuse to avoid the real work.

“If only I had…” is an excuse.

Popular music group, Daft Punk, made awesome music with very little use of computers, in the early days. Everybody else was obsessed with computer software. They bucked the trend and mastered a few synthesizers and one drum machine. Simplicity made them one of the most popular electronic groups of all time.

The only tool you need is your creativity.

Get specific if you want to take action.

Derek has a friend who is a life coach. His friend said most of his job is spent helping people get specific, not giving them answers to life’s problems.

Being specific is the key to getting results.

You can’t take action on a vague goal. You CAN take action on a specific goal that is focused and has a written plan that is incredibly descriptive and goes into a lot of detail.

The tiny details make your goals a reality.

Being able to fend for yourself is real security.

Derek’s career choice of music was one many people didn’t understand. They told him a 9–5 job was more secure.

Real security is having a mindset that can get you out of anything.

As a musician Derek learned to embrace new scenarios, learn new things, live without a safety net, experiment with asking for different rates of pay, and work for many different companies (and have lots of customers instead of one that pays his salary),

A perceived lack of security helped Derek build the skills to ensure he was always secure in his own abilities, which could help him earn a decent living no matter what.

A safety net is overrated — it leads to a lack of freedom. It’s like living your life with cushions strapped to your body to protect you from the bumps and bruises — that will teach you everything you need to know about life.

Out of touch, out of mind.

The people you meet have the potential to give you opportunities you may not find on your own. Keeping in touch with people is an art worth practicing.

Call the destination and ask for directions.

Figuring out the next step to your goal can be challenging. Especially if you’ve hit a brick wall, or are ready to give up.

Derek says “Just contact someone who’s there, and ask how to get there.”

When I started out as a writer, I contacted Benjamin Hardy and asked him for directions to my writing goal. Surprisingly, with zero credibility or results, he showed me. His directions cut years off my destination. All it takes is the courage to ask someone — who has done what you want to do — for directions.

People actually love helping people.

It’s worth trying to get somebody else’s map that leads to your goal.

Powerful career lessons from a 50-something quirky genius:

  1. Talk about anything else (other than business) and just click as friends. People send business to people they like.
  2. In business it’s the opposite… if you don’t keep trying, you’re a loser!
  3. Real business is done in the follow-up, not the conference itself.
  4. Find creative ways to be considerate. That’s the best marketing.
  5. You can do things any way you want. There’s no need to adhere to norms. Norms are for businesses without personality.

Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.

This is how you make decisions 10X faster in your life.

Does it excite you or drain you? Say no to what drains you. If you have to do it, outsource what drains you.

Doing all the unrelated tasks associated with your life goals sucks away your precious energy that is finite. You can love making music and have somebody else sell the concert tickets. You can love recording your music and have somebody else handle the copyright law. All the parts of your life goals that drain you can force you to give up the whole game plan.

You retain your enthusiasm for life by deciding what drains you and staying the heck away from it at all costs.

Choose what excites you to have high levels of energy that translate to a passion for life. Passion can take you far in life.

That’s what a 50-something quirky genius named Derek Sivers can teach you about life. Pick and choose from his life lessons, and experiment with them in your own life. 

Anything is possible when you take the experiences of others and implement them like they’re already your own.

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The Most Life-Changing Advice I’ve Been Given – Think of Everything from the Other Person’s Point of View writing

Photo by Fares Hamouche on Unsplash

The advice that makes a real difference in your life often comes by surprise, and feels completely random.

This happened to me 48 hours ago. A writer, Derek Sivers, wrote in his latest book, “Thinking of everything from the other person’s point of view is one of the best things you can do in life.”

This is the sort of advice I’ve never dissected. It’s good advice, but I asked myself the question “do I do it?” The answer is yes. In fact, I believe, it’s a superpower that is responsible for a lot of my results in life.

Thinking of everything from another person’s point of view doesn’t make you a Mother-Teresa-like kindness hero. No, it’s simply the human way.

Start by seeing every situation from another person’s point of view. Here are the benefits.

You Will See Problems Nobody Else Sees

I find most problems — through this new lens — are caused by me. When you start with the other person, you take the main problem (you) out of the equation.

Why are you the problem? Because how you see the world gets in the way of how you treat people. And how you treat people creates or subtracts a lot of the problems in your life.

Blowing up at people wastes your finite energy. It’s exhausting to think everybody is so stupid and you’re so smart. This is our default human behavior. The lie: “I’m right.” You’re probably not. Your ego just lies to you and says you are.

I have found looking at the other person’s point of view helps me see problems a lot of other people around me can’t see. Why? They’re too busy thinking about themselves. These thoughts are occupying their mind:

  • “How can I benefit?”
  • “What about me?”
  • “Why is X person so much better than me?”
  • “I wish I had…”
  • “It’s so unfair that…”

These phrases tornado around my head and block my mind from seeing any of the real problems. Replace those thoughts with these:

  • “How does the other person feel?”
  • “What is going on in their head?”
  • “How could I help them in this situation?”
  • “How am I complicit in the problem?”

These questions have been life-changing for me. Try them out yourself.

You Will Act Radically Different

Since moving to an “others point of view” mindset, everything has changed.

I don’t act the same way anymore. I’m not focused on trying to impress people. I’m not using fake confidence to attract people into my life. I’m not buying luxury items to demonstrate status. What’s changed?

I’m focused on solving problems. Not my problems, but the problem of others. I solve those problems by spending a lot more of my time imagining myself in the shoes of others.

I spend time in the shoes of a bad boss. I spend time in the shoes of a social media influencer. I spend time in the shoes of a writer who wants to write their dreams into reality. I spend time in the shoes of a business owner. I spend time in the shoes of a politician dealing with a global health crisis. Each pair of shoes makes me think different about what actions to take.

The same can happen to you. You will act very different when you spend your day teleporting yourself into the imaginary shoes of others.

You Will Drop the Sob Story

Like a lot of people, I’ve had my fair share of injustices. I spent years blaming the education system, family, the economy and politicians for any hardships I endured. I was even angry at myself for not seeing the now obvious signs of former mental illness.

There’s not much room for your sob story, though, when you think of everything from another person’s point of view. You speed straight past your sob story and into the middle of someone else’s story. It’s a really powerful feeling. You feel like you can hear people differently. You spend a lot of time picking up the subtle signs they’re telling you through their words, gestures, and actions.

I wish I knew the positive effects of spending more time in someone else’s story other than my own… all those years ago, when the world looked dark.

You Will Be More Generous

When I spend time in other people’s shoes I feel more generous. I think about what they might be enduring and then the thought of “how could I be helpful” enters my mind. The natural reaction is to be a little generous.

You don’t want to give away all of your life savings or anything. But you do feel like you want to give away the ideas, thoughts, and resources that have helped you a little over the years.

Your Work Life Looks Different

A typical 9-5 job is focused on revenue, KPIs, and random business forecast generators. My work life has changed entirely.

I go to work thinking about the customers I work with and what they must be feeling. Are they overworked? Are they getting too many emails? What’s helpful to them as opposed to good for my back pocket? What can I give them that they wouldn’t expect in a million years? What else can I give them for free and not charge them for? (Strangely the more free stuff you give a customer the more they’re dying to spend money with your business.)

I talk to people I work with and it’s a different story. They’re focused on their next promotion or their annual bonus. I don’t find myself thinking about that anymore. I believe if I spend enough time in the customer’s shoes then their success will do the talking for me and attract new career opportunities.

For a former wannabe Wolf of Wall Street, this new thinking surprises me. I used to be so addicted to success and trying to look good that I didn’t care about any customer — only their wallet. If you genuinely think about other people, you’ll solve more business problems.

Customers are just normal people who are quietly hoping you see the world the way they do.

Your World Looks Upside Down

I don’t know who I am anymore. Spending time looking at the world from different angles that aren’t my own has changed me. I realized I’m wrong about most things.

What is right, is only right, from a certain view of the world. You can be right or wrong depending on whose shoes you’re wearing in that moment.

Try on different people’s shoes. Get in their head. Escape your own world. Get lost in their world.

You become bored with your life when all you do is focus on how the world looks from your point of view, and then unconsciously try and defend that worldview.

Turn your world upside down by spending 50% or more of your time in other people’s shoes. Life will become exciting again in a different way.

The Downside

Not everything is perfect with this life-hack. You can become so extreme with looking at the world from the view of others that you don’t think about yourself enough. 

This can lead you to neglect yourself. You may accidentally try and adopt everybody else’s worldview instead of forming you’re own.

Balance is the key. Be good to others, and yourself.

Derek Sivers reminded me that at any moment a tiny concept you might already be practicing can feel life-changing.

It pays to spend your time looking at the world from other people’s standpoint, so you can discover and solve problems you didn’t think you could before. In the process, your life will have even greater meaning. Humans are a connected species.

Reconnect through changing worldviews regularly to experience a miracle in life: radical compassion for your fellow human.

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8 Habits of Quiet Winners

Tim Denning Habits

Photo by Kevin Turcios on Unsplash

The world doesn’t need more loud success gods.

I’ve spent a lot of my life hanging around people who have achieved a lot, but look below average if you walked past them in the street. These people fascinate the heck out of me. They do incredible things for society and go about it quietly.

One of my favorite people who fits this description is homeless. Early in his career he built his net-worth to more than $100M in real estate. Then he lost everything because of a freak accident, and never gained it back again.

Last year he became homeless again for the second time.

People treat him like dirt and absolutely no one knows his secrets. His understanding of business is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. He can take you through the last fifty years of economic activity and draw seemingly hard to see conclusions from random events. He can take complex math problems and do them in his head.

I see him as a winner, even though society sees him as a failure. He can win again for sure. It’s his mindset that stops him. It’s quiet winners that blow my mind. (You’ve gotta love an underdog too.)

Here’s what quiet winners who are geniuses in one area of their life do differently:

1. They can happily be a loser in one area of their life.

They see mastering all areas of their life as a Cinderella Fantasy. They expect certain areas of their life to suck. They know that if their business is booming then their love life might suck.

They see winning as a trade-off between different areas of their life.

2. They don’t care about looking like a winner.

Looking like a winner is exhausting. How many thank you speeches and podcast interviews can you do before you become overwhelmed by your own success? You can flaunt your results or get on with creating results.

Quiet winners are quiet about their success. They have better things to do than be on back-to-back podcasts and build a ridiculous personal brand.

3. They ask more questions than they give answers to.

Giving answers is boring to them. They prefer to ask questions and see where the conversation takes them. They see questions as a gateway to more ideas. And ideas have the potential to bring them closer to the next quiet win.

Nobody has all the answers. You don’t learn by giving answers. Quiet winners succeed by asking more questions than everybody else.

4. They give the credit to other people.

Looking good is a disease caused by an inflated ego.

Quiet winners want to remain in hiding so they pin all the wins on other people, to stay out of the spotlight. As a result, they attract a lot of good folk into their life because they build up so many random people’s lives.

5. They can make fun of themselves.

Quiet winners make fun of themselves because they understand life is an experiment. They’re not right. They’re just right occasionally when they win.

A joke about themselves helps break the tension in a room full of loud people. Breaking the tension is a superpower. After tension comes productive actions.

6. They don’t flaunt success metrics.

Valuations, dollars raised, number of followers, money in the bank, number of employees, years in business, education and letters after their name — none of this is fun to flaunt for a quiet winner. They don’t understand the fascination.

All they know is they practice doing their work and occasionally something good happens. Then they get right back to the thing that makes this magical, rare occurrence happen.

7. They dress normal.

Good luck trying to spot them in the street as they walk around living their life. They dress so normal they blend in. Because that’s how they want it to be.

Jeans, t-shirts, K-Mart Jumpers, old shoes with scuff marks, subtle black scarves in the winter, plain black shoes, colors so quiet you could think you were in Winter during a snow storm when it’s the middle of Spring — everything they choose to wear gives you zero hints to their previous wins.

They don’t need a watch to show off their wins. They just look at their phone to see what time it is.

8. They don’t do media.

Because fame is a nightmare. They don’t want their face to be regularly seen because then they can’t do the Sunday supermarket shopping without a selfie pole being slammed in their face and accidentally jammed up their left nostril.

They like peace and quiet. They like their wins to do the talking rather than media personalities who are hoping to earn a buck of their success story. They really hate PR companies too. They think inauthentic stories sold to media outlets are the devil’s work.

The subtle differentiator: Why they do it.

Why they win is the difference. Their reason for winning is totally upside down. The wins are just small dots on a huge canvas.

Doing their work is what they like doing, not being noticed for doing their work. The meaning from their work cuts so deep that if a loud human being understood it they would give up their life and start again.

The challenge is they are so quiet it’s near impossible to get close enough to them to understand what drives them. The few times I have, my whole perspective on life changed.

You can be quiet and achieve awesome things. You can have weeks at a time when you speak to nobody. Or you can sign out of social media for the next year and never post a thing.

Winning isn’t about shouting from the rooftops so you can bottle some attention. Winning is about getting lost in the work you do, quietly.

Quiet winners change the world in tiny ways you may never have seen before.

Look beyond the deafening noise for the people in the corner reading a book and not saying a word. They might surprise you.

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I Blocked a Fellow Writer for the First Time Ever Today

Tim Denning from Medium

Photo by Vinicius Löw on Unsplash

I don’t believe in the block button. There are better ways to deal with people you disagree with.

But I broke that rule today. For the first time ever, I blocked another writer.

They continually spread fear. They say that America is on fire. They write sensationalist headlines that your curious brain can’t avoid clicking. They bash everybody in politics.

Worst of all, they offer zero solutions.

They can describe chaos and the end of the world in perfect detail. The problem is they’re willing to do nothing about it other than play the immature game of spot the problem. There are problems everywhere; they’re easy to spot. But this question drives it all?

What the heck are you going to do about it?

This quote summarizes the solution perfectly:

“The human society is the extension of the individual. Therefore, if we really want a radical change, if we want a better world, we need to change individually.”

— Samael Aun Weor

If all you do is spread chaos, then, I’m afraid, you are the problem. You need to fix yourself before you can ever hope to contribute anything meaningful, or dare I say it, “helpful” to the conversation. Enough is enough. A toddler screaming from the crib with a devil face is too much to bear.

The block button is a short-term solution. The reasons why are important to understand and will help you deal with this strange time in history that we are all trying to survive collectively.

People Are Already on the Edge

This is the biggest challenge. People are taking their lives because of the madness. If a person is on the edge, and then you spread chaos and meaningless drivel that doesn’t help them, you run the risk of tipping them over the edge.

Spreading rage can cost lives.

That’s not an outcome any writer should want. That’s why writers have a responsibility to readers and must avoid spreading pointless rage.

We lost a fellow writer, Kirsty Bonner, last week.

She was the voice of inspiration for many job seekers. She left behind a legacy. Even with the positivity she tried to spread, darkness took her life. A writer can stoke an already burning fire inside a person who is struggling to survive.

No writer should want blood on their hands. That’s the risk you take when all you do is spread chaos to already tired minds looking for ways to cope.

Spreading Chaos in Unacceptable

If your sole purpose is to spread fear and chaos then I’m voting with the block button going forward. Why?

We’re burned out.

I lost a family friend to the global health crisis. I now have several work colleagues who have been infected. One colleague came within an inch of his life and going on a ventilator. This situation is serious.

I am still in Melbourne stuck in lockdown with a military enforced curfew. Businesses are shut. I’ve forgotten what my family looks like because I can’t see them. My Nana is about to turn 100 years’ old and I won’t be there to celebrate. I may never see her again if the current situation persists.

So, my brain is tired. It wants to live again. The last thing I need right now is another doomsdayer telling me the world is coming to an end and smiling at all the chaos. I need writers to make me believe in hope again, or at least remind me of it.

Turn chaos and fear into a solution, or please shut up.

Mental Illness Is Three Times Higher

My friend works in a mental health call center here in Australia. He said they are receiving record numbers of calls from people who feel defeated by the current world events.

Approximately a quarter of Americans are experiencing symptoms of depression — a three times increase on last year.

How does an article predicting the end of America help us? It doesn’t. It only depletes our precious energy reserves.

As a former mental health sufferer, I want to stand up and say think about the effects your words have on those who are vulnerable to the demons of their mind. Kindness is what our minds need right now.

What Can You Do Instead of Spreading Chaos?

The World Economic Forum has a few solutions to this problem, instead of writing chaos and fear and devastation into reality.

– If you find yourself overwhelmed by news, limit yourself to a single, trusted news digest.

– Schedule “worry time”, creating a sense of control and limiting impact on activities important for mental health, including sleep, meaningful discussion and exercise.

– Make a conscious effort to seek out good news. After reading grim statistics, take a moment to recall a positive memory.

– Focus on normal routines to create stability.

– Take periods of rest for brain plasticity to catch up.

– Be mindful that with the rapid changes we are experiencing, our brains are going through accelerated learning. Our brains get tired just as our bodies would if we ran a marathon without training.

That’s what solutions look like Mr Chaos. Enough is enough of stating empty problems without a view on how we can solve them.

The World Needs Hope

I hope to unblock this writer. But right now I can’t. My brain needs a break from their headlines showing up all over our space on the internet to learn, grow, and help one another.

A chaotic headline on a bad day can destroy your plans. You can quickly find yourself saying “What’s the point?”

I know blocking is bad, but I’ve been left with no choice.

I hope this writer will stop being immature and spreading more chaos for their ego’s benefit. The word doesn’t need more commentators right now. The world needs doers willing to lead with hope, not chaos.

Chaos is an easy way out of this situation. But easy isn’t going to solve a complex problem that has changed life as we know it.

I’m no Nelson Mandela. I will still do my best to find a way out of this situation; to spread hope; to show the opportunity. I want to be responsible for saving lives, not taking them by spreading chaos.

Focusing solely on the end of America, or the world, seems too dark. If we all start to believe that reality then it could come true. Well, not on my watch.

Vote with the block button if you must.

You too can be the light. You can definitely be better than chaos and rage.

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It’s the People *Not* like Us That Make Us Grow

Tim Denning questions the world.

Photo by Elle Cartier on Unsplash

The dishes fell to floor when I heard this quote.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said “It’s the people not like us that make us grow.” This is an uncomfortable thought. We spend our entire lives looking for people just like us so we can feel like we belong.

If you’re religious then hanging around an atheist seems “dangerous.” If you worship entrepreneurship then hanging around a lifelong 9–5 worker who is happy may seem stupid. The thing is you don’t need more people telling you what you want to hear to keep your ego satisfied. You need to disrupt your thinking entirely to grow.

Reconfirming your beliefs is an indulgence

Hanging around people just like you is similar to being addicted to a junk food diet. You indulge on their sugar-filled opinions because they make you feel comfortable. It takes guts to challenge your beliefs. It takes confidence to admit in public that what you believed a year ago is wrong.

I used to jam self-help 4 AM wakeup calls down people’s throats. Now I do that a lot less. My belief that everybody should wake up at 4 AM was wrong. I only realized this delusion after taking a break from self improvement books and reading about normal people who are conscious of what their habits are.

Social media is full of people who want to back up their own beliefs. Hearing their beliefs shouted back at them in the form of picture quotes makes them feel like they’re living their best life.

I don’t believe in hearing my own beliefs retold to me. I want to hear radical opinions — because I know that most of us, including me, are full of shit. We lie to ourselves every day and call it “other people’s problems.”

Society won’t prosper unless we dare to challenge our beliefs.

Add people to your life who are opposites

My girlfriend is the opposite of me. She is highly analytical and enjoys knowing every single detail. I hate getting too far into the detail and debating over whether the computer screen is 27-inch or technically 27.1-inch. I’m happy with any inch of screen because many people who live in poverty don’t know what it’s like to even have a screen to call their own.

My former boss who became one of my best friends is the complete opposite of me. He was born into Indian culture and lived on a plantation. He believes in the simple stuff.

He shares simple Buddhist philosophies, and thinks running through forests is the greatest sport in history (he calls these runs “forest showers). I learned through him that money is ridiculous in the scheme of things. Life will flash before your eyes and money won’t slow time down. Being present is a huge deal — and he worships being present.

As you add people to your life who think completely the opposite thoughts to you, you start to see that actually we’re all much more similar than we think we are. This insight shows you that even the person you deem to be the worst person in the world — like someone facing the death penalty for murder — is only about 2%-3% different from you. They have maybe one or two neurological wires plugged into the wrong sockets compared to you.

Any one of us can go from normal to psycho with just the flip of a switch and 2–3 tragedies all occurring in a short space of time.

It’s for this reason why I have spent time with homeless people, interviewed heroin addicts, spoken to writers with less than 10 followers, and met people from extremely different cultures to mine — Iran, Afghanistan, Indonesia, etc.

You probably don’t need more people in your life exactly like you, who reinforce your perfect vision for how life should be exactly the way you see it.

Your vision has blind spots.

People just like you will hide you from your biases

Imagine if I just hung around people like me. I’d be surrounded by dudes who type on laptops, make money from the internet, didn’t go to a prestigious university, are obsessed with social media, and go to Tony Robbins events.

Can you see how that would be dangerous? We all have biases and we’re often not aware of them. The only way to see your biases is to have people who are not your friends show them to you and question your view of the world.

Interest groups can be dangerous.

They become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If everybody in a writing group, for example, believes that blogging is dead, then when you hear that idea enough times you start to believe it. But blogging isn’t dead. Blogging is only dead to people who hang around writers who feel dead because they focus on views, ‘likes’ and how much money they have earned.

See your biases, and you’ll see a growth opportunity that can change your life.

Your thoughts of what is possible become bigger

There is always a way to think bigger. The challenge is you need people not like you to show you.

When I think about my life, I believe I think big. But compared to people who are building rocket ships that will take us to Mars one day my thinking is tiny. I imagine making Earth a better place. There are people amongst us who are constructing homes to be placed on other planets. There are people who are trying to save Earth from climate change and then there are people who think we will eventually need to change planets.

Your thinking might be big in your eyes, but your thinking can always be even bigger. Finding people who have bigger ideas than your own will make you grow. Starting a business can look ridiculously small in the face of contemplating a galaxy where Earth is full of 1% of the species that have ever roamed the universe.

Bigger ideas than your own are powerful.

Escape your bubble world

It’s time to escape the bubble you’ve been living in. All of us live in a bubble of some form. And that bubble holds us back from discovering new possibilities in our life that help us grow.

If you find yourself screaming at your computer screen and saying “that’s not fair” or “these people should be…” then you could be stuck in a bubble. The world doesn’t mimic your image of it.

You have to get out there and meet people who spit in the face of your beliefs and are happy to make you angry.

Bubbles eventually pop. And when your bubble pops it won’t be pretty, but it will make you question everything. Questioning everything is how you level-up and go beyond blaming and complaining.

Blaming and complaining won’t change the world. Getting out of your bubble and being around radically different people will.

Seek out people who utterly hate your view of the world.

Give permission for your world view to change, even if you don’t like it, or it feels uncomfortable. That’s when you grow and make the most of the time you have left to do something meaningful.

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