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A Few of My Favorite Nuggets From My 30 Day Plan

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

How to Win Friends and Influence People:

Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain: This may be the most promising nugget of information that I can use over and over in the entirety of the material I have gone through. The idea here is basically: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” An extremely simple concept that many of us forget each day.

It’s easy to fall into criticizing a boss/friend/co-worker/significant other behind their backs or shoot down someone’s ideas without thinking about it and without offering any better alternatives. This type of behavior is counter productive and fosters a lot of negativity.

I am going to try my hardest to avoid criticizing, condemning, and complaining for all 30 days and and at least recognize when it is happening to stop it in the future.

Smile: This is also so basic but still so important. Find ways to genuinely smile, it will make you happier and make it easier for the people around you to get along with you. It’s easy to forget the most basic things like smiling and joking around when you get caught up in projects, but that is the spirit that helps keep you energized and avoid burning out.

Think and Grow Rich:

Napolean Hill’s Self-Confidence formula: The formula involves creating thoughts based around the goals you want to achieve. The idea here is to envision your future successful self for 30 minutes a day. Write a script that you repeat to yourself twice a day describing and helping you visualize your ultimate goals. This will, in turn, naturally influence your thoughts and actions in the direction of the goals you hope to achieve.

It sounds a little gimmicky and it reads like a very basic version of “The Secret,” but I have never followed a prescription like this before so I am going into it with an open mind. At the very least it will keep me goal oriented.

Awaken the Giant Within:

I already shared the conviction creation system from ATGW. I will be focusing on fostering one conviction a week spending a few minutes concentrating on it each day.

AWTG’s empowering morning and evening questions: Ask yourself about five questions in the morning and five more in the evening with content along the lines of: “What am I happy/excited/grateful for in my life right now?”

This is a technique that I have used in the past that I had forgotten. It worked very well to keep my thoughts focused on positive things in my life and it genuinely made me happier.

Getting Things Done:

I will be doing my best to follow David Allen’s comprehensive organization system. The system is pretty rigid so I will try use it to the tee for a while, and then adapt it to my own level of comfort, filtering what works and what doesn’t.

The Power of Now:

Tolle’s concept of observing the thinker: The basic assumption of the book is that we are always thinking, even when it is not productive to do so, and that we have a lot to gain by simply “shutting off” when thought isn’t necessary.

Observing the thinker is the process of “watching” your thoughts and recognizing when you don’t need to be thinking. This means all the random things that come into your head, distracting you from focusing on the here and now. After you recognize this excessive thought, try to stop it and bring yourself into the moment. This will help you avoid being lost in your head. It helps clear your mind and restore focus into what you are doing.

Overall a lot of the things I am going to be focusing on are done in an effort to avoid negative thinking and focus on positive goals and being a happier, more productive person. I am excited to get this experiment underway and I’ll let you know how it is going along the way!
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Creating a Conviction

April 5, 2011 1 comment

One of the best ways to drive yourself that I have read about so far is creating a conviction in your belief system. A conviction will create such a positive connection in your head with a certain behavior it will lead you to take massive action. There is a four step process to creating a conviction that sounds simple to follow but takes a significant amount of work to achieve.

Step 1: Create a basic belief that you want to turn into conviction. A belief is just a thought in your head that is powerful enough that you do not question it. For our purposes right now say the belief you are trying to achieve is: “I am a skilled programer.”

Step 2: Create references for that belief. This is integral, use your experiences, imagination, and knowledge to create different references that will shape the belief. One of the great things about this step is these references don’t necessarily have to be true, you just have to believe them.In our programming example think of times in your head where you have created great projects that you were especially proud of. Imagine the type of projects you WILL create with your skill set. Think about winning contests and the excitement and joy it caused you. Also, associate massive pain with not achieving your new conviction. Imagine all the areas of your life that will suffer as a result of not having that conviction.

Step 3: Find a triggering event. Create one event that “fire’s up” that belief. It can be a small start but make sure you DO start. Do not be afraid to jump in even if you’re not quite sure what you are doing. Commit yourself to taking action. In the case of programming it could be as simple as creating a basic HTML page.

Step 4: TAKE ACTION. This is the most important step. Do anything you can to associate your experiences with your new belief. Practice, create, compose, whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish, and do it often. The more you do this the stronger your conviction will become. Associate great enjoyment and pleasure from carrying out your new belief. Attach positive emotions to strengthen your belief to the level of conviction. Know that you are living how you want to live and you are directing your own path rather than letting your environment control you.

One thing to keep in mind: We can create references from other peoples opinions of us. This is called social proof and it is something that could severely hurt your chances of achieving your conviction. If you take limiting criticism’s to heart it will diminish and possibly stop your path to conviction.

So ignore the haters, tune them out. Acknowledge what they say, then disregard it. These are the people that are trying to see you fail. They don’t want you to rise above their level so they try to bring you down. These are the people you want to distance yourself from eventually because they can become toxic in the long run.
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Reading Plan Update

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

My reading project has taken more time than I anticipated, mostly because I am actively pursuing getting the most out of my reading. I want to understand and retain the material in these books as best I can. I am also taking the most comprehensive notes I have taken on any books in my life.

I am using the “read to lead” mentality and so far it is working out great but the major side effect is what I gain in understanding, I lose in speed. My goal is to finish reading an outlining each book by April 16th. At that point I will post about my 30 plan of action into the world of uber-productivity.

Books I’m reading

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

So here is my initial list of personal develpoment books that I will be using to start my 30 day experiment. It’s limited right now to assure I will be able to complete everything. I specifically chose books that covered fairly distinct material so there will not be very much overlap.

I used Steve Pavlina’s recommended list to help me choose the books I will be going over to achieve this ambitious experiment. I will be starting with these and maybe adding a few more if I think I can handle it:

1. Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
– A great primer on NLP. The first time through there were some really great concepts that I learned that helped me dealing with people in my last job as a Leasing Consultant. Great negotiating tips and a lot of great tips to increase personal happiness by controlling your own mood/thoughts/behavior. 30 days following this advice alone will help my state of happiness and should increase my productivity dramatically.

2. How to Win Friend’s and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
-This book also helped me greatly working as a leasing consultant. I was able to put myself in the shoes of the customer and really get them to understand the product we had to offer using Carnegie’s techniques. Reading the different tactics in the book helped me evolve as a salesman and greatly improved my interpersonal communication. Reminding myself about these techniques should help me do a better job maintaining relationships.

3. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
– Success is nothing without happiness and I believe using some of these techniques, especially teaching myself to stop thinking at time to clear my thoughts, will be very beneficial. This will help me gain a sense of balance. Meditation has always helped me when I become overly stressed so using it at the start of the project should ideally help me to avoid stress that might result.

4. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
– Essentially a book a bout dreaming big. TAGR doesn’t really give a lot of hands on techniques like the others but is more of an inspirational classic that helps keep hope alive. By consistently reading and re-reading, it will help inspire me to perform well and realize my dreams.

5. Getting Things Done by David Allen
– the only book I have not already read. GTD will basically be an attempt to reorganize my life to become a high effieicency/output kind of person.

I chose a list of books I am already familiar with on purpose because it will be easier to go back over the material the second time and extract what I have already used successfully in the past that I’m not using right now. It will also help me identify new techniques that I might have missed the first time through.

I will be taking much more detailed notes this time to have something to go over and keep me on track each day. I am going to use the next week and a half or so to review each book, get my notes down, and put my system in place.

Once I have my plan laid out I will do my very best to follow the plan for 30 days. I will be posting a detailed breakdown of each book and plan on how to follow it for 30 days. Hopefully the end result will be a happier, more productive me.
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