“Pleasure can be supported by an illusion; but happiness rests upon truth.”
- Sébastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort
How you live is determined by your beliefs. People who change the world tend to believe in powerful truths that propel them to greatness. Here are seven such beliefs…
7. Writing your goals down gives you the best chance to reach them
The only other alternative to writing down goals is to keep track of them in your head. But have you ever tried writing everything, and I mean everything, down? When I did, I wrote down 127 things.
I couldn’t believe I had been trying to manage that much information in my head.
Studies show that the pre-frontal cortex, your brain’s manager, can hold about 2-3 things at once. In simple terms, there isn’t a single person who can manage their life in their head as well as outside their head, written down. And management is only part of the reason to write goals down.
It turns out that the act of writing something (not typing, handwriting) has a meaningful cognitive impact too. This study found that writing thoughts down on paper increases their prominence in your mind. Holding on to the paper retains that increased mental prominence while throwing the paper away seems to “discard” the thought along with it.
Writing your goals down is required!
“Write it down. Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants; cant’s into cans; dreams into plans; and plans into reality. Don’t just think it — ink it!”
6. Dancing makes you smarter
Aside from guaranteeing a smile and a good time, dancing actually makes you smarter!
Dancing shows a healthy perspective of life too. People who dance are not afraid to have fun. Life is too short to get embarrassed.
“Each day I count wasted in which there has been no dancing.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
5. Saying affirmations to yourself in the mirror can change your mind
Perhaps it is lame to talk to yourself in the mirror. I know it wouldn’t look “cool” if someone else saw you do it. But it isn’t a waste of time when you consider the power of repetition.
The brain has a network of neural pathways that determine your habitual thoughts and behavior. When thoughts or behaviors are repeated, a neural pathway somewhere in your brain is slightly strengthened. Over time, this is how a habit forms.
Many people reading this have habitually negative thoughts about themselves. That’s not healthy and they deserve better.
If your negative belief relates to self-esteem, and you say, “I am valuable” to yourself in the mirror every morning and mean it, you’ll believe it more and more over time. Whoever you want to be, daily affirmations can bring you closer to that identity. It doesn’t work through pseudo-science or voo doo, it works through repetition.
Repetition has a powerful impact on the brain. You can’t mindlessly repeat a phrase though – you have to mean it and concentrate on it as you’re saying it.
Affirmations aren’t required for greatness, but if low confidence, negative thoughts, or limiting beliefs are holding you back, affirmations can help you get closer to where you need to be.
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
- Muhammad Ali
4. The world owes you nothing
The world doesn’t owe you a good job. It doesn’t owe you a pleasant life. It doesn’t owe you anything. You owe those things to yourself if you want them.
Society cares about what you can do for it. If you count on goodwill to get you places, you’re going to be disappointed.
The real world is fiercely competitive and it takes significant effort to make an impact. Some win and some lose. It’s a harsh truth of reality, but believing anything else is a lie that will hold you back. Knowing this can help you do what it takes to get what you want out of life.
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
- Mark Twain
3. You deserve greatness more than you deserve a break
Of people who have achieved greatness – whether in money, fame, or making a difference – there is a similarity. They work hard. Some of them work too hard for their own good.
This difference in mindset could be that successful people believe they deserve success more than they deserve a break.
I’m not saying that you don’t deserve a break – we all do – but I am saying that this thought could be what’s keeping you from greatness. A study by Ayelet Fishbach and Ravi Dhar suggests this idea of deserving a reward can really thwart our progress.
The study went like this: First, a group of dieters was split into two groups. Then, researchers reminded only one of the groups of their positive progress in dieting. Next, both groups were offered a reward choice – an apple or a chocolate bar. Of the group who was reminded of their progress, 85% chose the chocolate bar compared to 58% of the other group.
This shows the potential negative effects of the “I deserve a reward” mentality. A higher percentage of people who were praised chose the less healthy chocolate bar. It also shows people love chocolate, but we knew that already.
Some Americans take too many breaks. According to Neilsen, Americans watch an average of more than 5 hours of television every day, which is 1,825 hours per year!
Imagine if you focused on a hobby instead of watching five hours of television. According to the 10,000 hour rule, you could master the hobby in just six years; not be decent at something, but master something! You could become an great pianist or guitarist, dancer, or public speaker! (note: I don’t believe the 10,000 hour mark is a magical number, but it seems to be a good estimate of time to mastery.)
The mistake we often make is seeing the present day as unique, when it’s not. Oh, today is different because [excuse]. Actually, barring something dramatic happening, almost all of your days are going to be similar to today.
Today is the best indication of how the rest of your life will be. And keep in mind that most of us have less than 28,000 days to live, according to the average life span. That isn’t very many days.
If you’re burnt out, take a break, but don’t convince yourself that today is anything but the best chance you’ve got to head in the direction of your dreams. It doesn’t matter if “seize the day” is cliche. Today is a projection of the rest of your life.
“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” —Jim Rohn
2. You don’t need everyone to like you
If you’re going to be a person who impacts the world, not everyone is going to like you. At the base level, you’ll have people jealous of your success. Beyond that, some people have opposing values, and you will be unfairly labeled and judged at times.
The worst way to live life is to try to please everyone around you. If everyone likes you, it means that you’re playing it very, very safe.
I write articles to help people live better lives, and I’ll occasionally get insulted, questioned, and discouraged. It’s not a problem though, because I don’t write for them, I write from my passion to make a difference and for the people who appreciate what I do.
Other people are one of the most important aspects of an individual’s life – we’re social beings and need each other. At a basic level, however, you only need love from family and/or friends to have a fulfilling life. Beyond that, any people who like you are a bonus!
And the best news is that 99% of people won’t hate you for no reason. They’re more likely to like you for no reason! You can be yourself without worrying about what others think.
Almost all people will respect you tremendously for having the courage to be yourself in all circumstances. Let go of the need to impress everyone, and your life will surely improve.
“You can’t please everyone, nor should you seek to, because then you won’t please anyone, least of all yourself.”
- Dylan Moran
1. Nothing is more important than your habits right now
Your habits are the single most important part of your life. A Duke study found habits to comprise 45% of our behavior; amplifying that, habits are behaviors we repeat every day. If you’re not currently pursuing a good habit, you need to get on it!
The difference between a good or bad habit can be a great life or a horrible life. Invest time and energy in modifying your habits, and they will pay for themselves for years to come. This year, I made exercise a habit, and it’s been great for my health. I went from being able to do six or seven pull-ups in a row to my current record of 16!
I also read and write every day. If you’re interested to know the strategies I use to develop new healthy habits with ease, despite having weak willpower and inconsistent motivation, get my Tuesday messages. These are like extra blog posts exclusive to Deep Existence subscribers. You’ll get 40 wallpapers and 2 more gifts just for signing up.
I’m also writing a book called Mini Habits – it shows you how smaller habits can bring bigger results. The book releases later this month. To be notified and get everything mentioned, you can sign up here and I’ll talk to you this Tuesday!