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eric kraus

teamwork

Habits Are The Key To Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a relatively new concept that’s getting a lot of buzz lately. Many people are seeking to be more “mindful” and are trying to pay more attention to little things in life: everything from feeling a breath in their lungs to noticing the specific color of the sky.

There is no ‘one thing’ that means being mindful; and mindfulness is not a destination to achieve. There is no right or wrong way to do it: there is only practicing it. It’s an art slowing down and increasing ones awareness of the self and world.

Why? Because studies show these small moments of mindfulness lead to happier people.

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Sensory Deprivation Float Tank

I recently took the advice of a colleague and spent 90 minutes in a sensory deprivation float tank to help myself relax better. Freaky huh?!  Absolutely not, it was unreal.

Preparation

I was a bit anxious about the experience overall. Being completed isolated from light, sound, etc. and in such a small enclosed tank. I’m not normally a claustrophobic person, but the tank had some how made it into my mind in the same filing cabinet as military intelligence techniques for water boarding.

Like most things in my life, I did a ton of research. I watched YouTube videos, read blog posts, and talked to several people. However, all research concluded with the same experience:

“It was awesome.”

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Motivation vs. Willpower

Motivation” is the reason for which you choose to do something or behave a certain way. Having a lot of motivation is simply having a strong understanding of why it is you wish to do what you want to do.

Willpower” is a combination of determination and discipline to do something or behave a certain way, despite having a clear understanding of the challenges involved with doing the action.

Summary: Motivation is having a purpose. Willpower is having the balls to do it.

The Happiness Myth and 6 Tips to Soar Above It

We still believe that success will lead us to happiness. Financial success, friendships, health, love, etc. etc. We believe by obtaining these things, happiness will follow.

Unfortunately, it’s not true. And in fact, we have it backwards.

Happiness Leads To Success

There is significant research showing that people who are happier tend to demonstrate better work performance, receive more income, have better and longer relationships and even have better health and overcome illnesses quicker.

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“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
—Proverbs 17:22

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vintage scale

Who I Am vs. What I’ve Done

Success.  Are you Interested or Interesting? It boils down to two simple words. We’ll come back to them in a minute.

Happiness

Most successful people will tell you that money rarely leads to happiness. They will tell you, at best, money provides safety, predictability and access to things or places. They will tell you that money makes life easier to focus on what truly makes us happy…but money itself doesn’t necessarily make us happy. They will tell you all these things; but they don’t believe it themselves.

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If you’re trying to build a new habit…Streaking might be for you

I’ve struggled with todo lists my entire life. Like many others, I am very disciplined at entering tasks into my todo list. However, I suffer from “Todo List Blackhole Syndrome” or “Todo List BS”. Tasks go in, but they never come out.

To overcome “Todo List BS”, I’ve added another trick to my productivity arsenal. It’s Streaking.

Streaking

Streaking is a method of tracking the number of times I complete an activity in sequence.  

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Size Matters – The Best Problems to Have

“A big opportunity is better than a small one, but a small problem is better than a big one.” – The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.

One of the reasons we have challenges starting work is that we can’t visualize what success looks like in the short-term. As humans, we often don’t do or even start things we’re not good at. Procrastination can be that fear of failure getting in the way. We ask ourselves questions like: Where do I start? Is that the right place to start? When will I be done? What does success look like? How long will it take? etc.

In some circumstances, it is important to perform such planning. In others, it can completely stall our ability to start.

“We are kept from our goal, not by the obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”
-Robert Brault

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Focus on impressing yourself

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of years reflecting on my strange obsessions with everything from experimenting different diets to my many (many) hobbies. The result of my investigation: self-improvement. I’ve always been a continual learner; I crave information and improvement.

However, through my journey over the last few years, I’ve been alone. Meaning that no one has been pushing me (or pulling me) for these changes. I’ve been doing it because I simply want to improve myself. The thing that has kept me going is an obsession with continually impressing myself.

You Are Your Best Critique

A lot of excellent advice will tell you to get a coach whenever embarking on a new challenge; and generally, I agree.

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My ONE Thing

I’ve been reading The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Rather fitting, the book discusses one main theme: To be successful, focus on ONE thing and one thing only. It’s full of great quotes, useful analogies and anecdotes to apply the principles behind achieving success. About half way through the book I started to think, “What’s my ONE thing?”  which led me to writing this post.

My Challenge

I’ve been blogging on/off for the last couple of years, and have recently tried to improve the frequency and consistency of my content output. I’ve been proud of the work thus far, but always wish I could do more.

Many successful daily bloggers talk about only publishing content that they are truly proud of. Since writing is a in-my-spare-time endeavor, my challenge has been balancing prioritizing between my day job and family and the time needed curate and edit quality posts. I’ve been struggling to find that time needed to write the quality content that I would be proud of.

Quality vs. Quantity

I am conflicted with the advice of these bloggers… to only publish extremely high quality content. For starters, it’s a subjective valuation of the content. Is it my opinion or the readers? Surely, it’s the readers, right? For example, I might be overly anal about grammar, while a reader has mostly ignored my punctuation and is more interested in the story. You get the point.

Also, I believe doing is better than thinking. Rather than spending more time thinking about a single post, I’d rather spend that time working on a second or third post…

The entrepreneur in me says, more/regular posts are better than writing the “perfect” post.

Figure It Out

While the major premise of the book is discussing the idea of focusing on ONE thing, there is an undertone of “getting started immediately” as well. The best quote of the book is found early and is taken from the movie City Slickers. It’s the part of the movie where Mitch and Curly, who haven’t seen eye-to-eye up to this point, leave the group to herd stray cattle. As they ride together alone, they seem to bond over a conversation about life.

Curly: “Do you know what the secret to life is?”
Mitch: “No. What?”
Curly: “This.” [holds up one finger]
Mitch: “Your finger?”
Curly: “One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean sh*t”
Mitch: “That’s great, but what’s the ‘one thing’?”
Curly: [smiles] “That’s what you’ve got to figure out”

Just Start

This introduces my newest experiment: figure out what my ONE thing is…and I plan to do that by writing more regular posts. Same types of content, just shorter and more regular. My current plan is to attempt to post content every other day or so and focus solely on keeping the schedule.

I’ll be keeping these posts separate, under the category: daily.

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