The Success Book Club

These books create success. Read them.

1. 12 RULES FOR LIFE BY JORDAN PETERSON

2. THE DICHOTOMY OF LEADERSHIP BY JOCKO WILLINK

3. CAN’T HURT ME BY DAVID GOGGINS

4. SOVEREIGNTY: THE BATTLE FOR THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF MEN BY RYAN MICHLER

5. OWN THE DAY, OWN YOUR LIFE BY AUBREY MARCUS

Defining Happiness.

It would be easy to say that happiness is simply the absence of suffering, but I don’t believe that fully encompasses what happiness truly is.
It is possible for one to suffer and be happy.  Some of the happiest people on the planet live in places where suffering is common and occurs everyday.  In fact, suffering can often lead to the most elated moments of happiness.
I also don’t believe that happiness is simply getting what you want.  There are plenty of examples of people who have everything they want and they are miserable.  We have all seen this.
So, what is happiness?  I believe there are three major parts:
  1. The ability to observe emotions; not be controlled by them.
  2. The ability to accept things as they are.
  3. Helping others; getting outside ourselves.

Emotions push people around and carry them in a state of constant flux.  One cannot be at peace when constantly being pushed this way and that by every emotion that pops up.  Learning, not so much to control but to be aware of your emotions, is a skill that will produce a huge amount of peace and well-being.  Emotions are have the most control when we are not paying attention to them.  Meditation is a great tool to get outside the “mindless” travel from one emotion to the next.

Happiness is also affected when we cannot accept things for what they are and are constantly trying to change circumstance, people and the world to match our thought process.  This does not mean that we cannot have desires and things to strive for, but we have to be able to accept where we are in this moment if we want peace and true happiness.  Always looking for the next best thing will ensure that you never find it.

Happiness also comes from helping.  Help others, stop thinking about yourself and you will find yourself happy more often than not.  Do something nice for another person when you are feeling sad, angry or negative, and see how quickly it turns your day around.

An immense amount of unhappiness stems from people looking for happiness too hard.

Happiness is a celebration of the journey of life; both the good and bad, the known and unknown.

Perspective.

I recently noticed a pattern in my life.  I would wake up feeling great, complete my morning routine and then head out into the day ready to face whatever challenges awaited.  Usually within an hour or two, that optimism would be crushed and replaced with anger, jealousy, envy or a host of other negative emotions.  So, I began to ask myself why?  Why was I so quick to lose the optimism that I had at the start of each day?

I found an answer that has changed my life and allowed me to live my days more happily, stress-free and confidently.

The answer is perspective!

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, “What else could this mean?”

– Shannon L. Alder.

Shifting my perspective changed everything.  Allow me to explain.  

I have simplified the possible ways to live each day into two different perspectives.  The first is a shortsighted perspective and the second is the long term perspective.

I like to think of the shortsighted perspective as the “hour-to-hour” perspective.  In this perspective, everything is supposed to be great right now in the current moment.  With this perspective, every little thing becomes infinitely important because it is either making or breaking that hour you are in.  Something that should not be a big deal becomes a big deal when seen through a shortsighted perspective.

As an example, imagine yourself standing on a street in a big city.  Now see a giant skyscraper in front of you.  The building is huge.  It takes up a large part of your vision as it shoots up into the sky directly in front of you.  Now imagine that you can fly straight up into the sky.  As you fly, you look down at the building and realize how small it is in comparison to the city as a whole.  If you were to keep going up, you would see how small the city was compared to the country it was in, then how small the country is compared to the entire world and finally how small the world is compared to the universe as a whole.  Floating above the world, you can’t even see the building that was so big before.

This is the power of perspective.  The building did not change size; your perspective simply changed.  Your problems may not be as big as you originally thought they were; it may simply be that you are not looking at them through the right perspective.

So, how can we switch to looking at life through a long term perspective?  

Here are a few tips:

  1. Keep the Destination in Mind

Always remind yourself about where you are trying to go.  It could be that you are working on creating a happy relationship, trying to get a promotion, starting your own business or whatever else it is you want to accomplish.  Keep that destination in your mind and do not ever let it go.  You are focused on creating something great in your life and the things that happen to you cannot break that focus.  With the destination in mind, you will be able to see things more clearly for what they really are and will not be as easily pushed around with each little blow that may come your way.  You know what you are fighting for and all of the day’s little problems are silly in comparison to the greatness you are becoming.

I advise you to say your dream is possible and then overcome all inconveniences, ignore all the hassles and take a running leap through the hoop, even if it is in flames.

– Les Brown

  1. Affirmations.

Pick some positive affirmations to say to yourself at least once a day.  I like to repeat mine both morning and night, but if you only have time for one then I would suggest that you do it in the morning as you are getting ready for the day.  Get in front of a mirror, look yourself directly in the eyes, smile and say out-loud to yourself how great you are.  It would feel uncomfortable at first, but overtime your brain will program itself to believe what you are saying.  Mine are as simple as this, “I, Chris Hardman, am happy and confident.”  Your brain will begin to look at life through a different perspective.  Little things don’t ruin the day of somebody that is happy and confident.

“Success, meaningful success, begins when we take ownership and actively take responsibility for our part in the shortcomings of our life.”

– Eric Thomas

 

  1. Be kind.  Be grateful.  Smile.

Be grateful for what you have and how far you have come.  You are amazing.  Be grateful for all that the future holds for you.  Be kind to those around you.  It is easier to keep a long term perspective when you allow yourself to help others and see the world through their eyes.  Smile every chance you get.  Smiling sends a message to the brain to stay happy.  Smiling might be hard in times of stress, anger and doubt, but smile anyways because you’re worth it.

 

By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you’ve achieved – and perhaps learned through a few mistakes, stumbles and losses – you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments. – Jack Canfield

There is no need for us to let life tear us down at every little inconvenience or annoyance.  We can all be happy.  Decide what it is that you are going to wake up for each morning and keep all your focus making it happen.  Nothing can stop you.  Nothing can get you down, because you have the potential to do anything you set your mind to.  Remember to look at things on a grander scale and you will see that, overall, life has a lot to be grateful for and you will smile.

 

Choose to be Great; Not Comfortable

“I’m continually trying to make choices that put me against my own comfort zone. As long as you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing.” – Ashton Kutcher

I want you to think about this question, “Am I comfortable?”
 
Your answer is most likely yes, at least in many areas of your life.  I am here to challenge you to change that answer.
 
I would imagine that many of you are thinking, “Why would I want to be uncomfortable?”  My answer is simple: to become great!
 
I’m not asking you to trade in your comfort for a life of misery, anxiety and unhappiness.  I want you to trade in your comfort for greatness.  Many of us wish to accomplish great things and live life to the full potential it offers, but we find ourselves back in the same spot time and time again.  We allow the mindlessness comfort of our lives to keep us exactly where we are, and why shouldn’t we?  Things are relatively easy in that state.  However, deep down you will always long for more growth.
 
You cannot be happy, fulfilled, or great, without continued growth and improvement.
 
Comfort makes us accept where we are and gives us excuses for not moving forward.  Tim Ferriss wrote, “People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”  That statement is true, and very sad.  I challenge you not to be one of those people.
 
If you want to do something great; if you want to be someone great; If you want to get the very most that life has to offer, then I challenge you to get uncomfortable.
 
Step outside your comfort zone because everything you want to become is waiting for you on the other side!

Add Something Good

There is a method used in the Nutrition field that has been used to effectively change diets of people all over the world.  The method is extremely simple, yet proves to be effective time and time again.  That method is this: focus on adding good foods to your diet rather than focusing on eliminating the bad.  There comes a point that the body starts to crave the good foods and loses interest in the bad.  The result is that the body no longer wants fast food and soda, but it craves fresh vegetables and other sources of nutrients.  A person’s diet is completely changed from the very core and, using this method of change, the changes usually last.

I was recently thinking about this method and realized, from my own personal experience and through working with others, that this method can be used to improve other areas of life as well.
Focusing on the negative aspects of your life will only magnify them.  Instead, may I suggest that you start adding more good things and focusing on those.  The negative will eventually atrophy as less energy is directed towards it.
However, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself by trying to add a handful of good things at once.  If you try to do too much, then it will be easy to get discouraged and revert back to the negative habits you are trying to eliminate.  To avoid this, simply add one good thing a time.  Spend some time focusing on that one good habit you want to add to your life.  I would suggest working on each habit up to even a month before considering something new.  This might feel like a lot of time, but progress will be more solid and likely to stick if you take your time, and anyways, that’s 12 new good habits a year.  Can you imagine how different your life would be if you had 12 new habits, that were designed to optimize your life, each and every year?

Here is a list of some good things you could add to your life to help get the ideas flowing:
  • Create a daily habit of reading –  This is a huge one.  Reading expands your mind, knowledge, and takes discipline.  Commit to read a little bit every single day; even if it is only for five minutes.  Reading is the first thing I do each morning and I have found that it sets myself up to take on the day and to be ready to think and learn instead of react.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
– Oscar Wilde
“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss
  • Meditate – I have found meditation to be a huge tool in helping me overcome bad habits and begin to create the life I want.  Meditation clears the mind and allows you to have more control over your thoughts and emotions as you go throughout the day.  There are many guides to meditation online that you can look for, but the basics are essentially sitting with good posture and focusing completely on your breath.  I promise you that you will have an avalanche of thoughts as soon as you begin, but the trick is to acknowledge having each thought and then refocus on your breath.  Try not to attach any emotional feelings with the thoughts that arise; simply acknowledge having had a thought and then refocus.
“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation.”
– Jean Arp
  • Exercise – Exercise is an obvious example of a new habit that you could add to your life.  It helps overall health and energy levels, and can increase confidence and productivity in other areas of life as well.  You do not even need to go do some crazy intense workout everyday.  Just do something.  There are lots of good at-home workouts that you can find online that you can do at home.  Even push-ups and jumping jacks every morning will help you get moving in the right direction.

“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”

– Wilhelm Von Humboldtb
  • Learn a new skill – Pick something you have always wanted to.  Maybe it’s to learn a new language.  Maybe it’s to learn how to cook.  Maybe it’s to learn woodworking.  Whatever it is, this is chance to start down the path to mastering a new skill.  Commit to doing one thing to learn more about that skill everyday.  This will give you something to work on and help keep you motivated as you see the progress made in developing a new talent.

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Ultimately, the more you focus on your good qualities, and adding more good qualities to them, the more effectively you will eliminate the bad.  The dark cannot survive in the light.  Fill your life with good positive things and the negative will be forced into smaller and smaller corners until it finally has to leave all together.  And anyways, who wants to put all their energy into what is wrong and bad when it could go towards all the good inside each and every one of us.

Get Mad

I need you to get mad.

Too often in life we float through our day to day routine without much real thought as to what we are doing and why we are doing it.  Occasionally we will catch a glimpse of something inside of us that yearns for more, but our initial plans to make those dreams come true quickly fall apart as we continue operating in the routine that we have set up.  Whether you struggle with addiction, anxiety, the fear of missing out or you are just tired of the mundane and you want to create your own life, it is time to get mad.
No more gazing lethargically into some distant future.  Start creating the life you want today.
Why do I say to get mad? Ayn Rand wrote, “Man has the power to act as his own destroyer—and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.”  Everyday that you waste on a routine you want nothing to be a part of, is another day you are destroying yourself.  Doesn’t that make you mad?  Doesn’t that make you want to change?  Get mad and use it to fuel what is going to become the amazing life you have always dreamed of. Put all of your energy into what you want; into something that is important to you and that matters.
 
Starting right now, in this very moment, you can begin to create the life you want. It’s time to fight back! It’s time to become who you want to be!