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8 Overlooked Life Metrics that Keep You from Success

How life metrics can benefit you.

What metrics does society really care about? To this day, most of our work goes to achieving more or less the same old American dream. You know, the house, the car, and a big backyard. Most people generally will ask you what you do or where you live. This makes sense, because it gives an idea of where you currently are in the American dream. What doesn’t make sense however, is if you go about your own American dream differently and people disapprove. There’s a dissonance between societal metrics and alternative roads to success. So how should you go about monitoring your life? Continue Reading!

4 Simple Strategies to Build Your Mental Strength

Did you know that coconuts can travel several thousand miles, float up to 110 days, land on an island, and still be able to germinate? Palm trees have withstood the test of time, going back to the Eocene period. What’s even more fascinating about palm trees? They can endure strong hurricanes! Can we learn from palm trees and tap into this strength? Definitely. We usually like figuring out complicated answers, but it only takes looking outside at Mother Nature to see how she deals with adversity. You’ll learn how to apply 4 simple strategies to build your mental strength. Continue Reading!

The Upside of Symbols

How to leverage symbolism.

Anywhere you look you’ll see many symbols: political, religious, social, and commercial symbols. However, today they’re used almost exclusively by marketing. Companies understand the economic value of having recognized brands and the relationship we have with them. When you think of a brand, you have an image, a perception of its quality, and its service (among other things). Here’s a thought: Symbols are necessary. Nations have all sorts of symbols like national anthems, holidays, and their coat of arms. Even States have symbols such as the State’s bird, rock, fruit, motto, etc. Do you think you are you leaving symbols behind? What happens to people without symbols? Why do you want to tap into the upside of symbolism? Continue Reading!

3 Ways to Gain Perspective

Lessons from the Grand Canyon.

On a summer visit to Grand Canyon National Park, a park ranger told me: “You know, it’s about perspective. The Copper Canyon in Mexico is deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon, but it’s covered with vegetation. Here, the rock layers show perfectly, which makes it look much more massive. We also have the marketing going for us—the Grand Canyon.” Perspective, like the lack of vegetation in the Grand Canyon, can make a world of difference in how you perceive what you see. In other words, how to gain perspective is how to gain depth in your thinking, creativity, and problem solving skills.
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Adopt a Brewer’s Mind

How to become an idea brewer and focus on extraction.

It’s no surprise that computers are substituting a lot of human work and doing it with more precision and efficiency. And yet, we Sapiens want to become more productive and efficient. What exactly does it mean to be productive? Could my productivity be automated by a machine? For the first time in humanity, we’re facing this dilemma. While there’s much work to be done, and productivity is still of utmost importance, having a brewer’s mind offers some valuable insight and an alternative to blind optimization. Continue Reading!

Math is Underrated

How math can propel action and make you a better thinker.

Math is underrated. Because of its analytical nature, we tend to perceive math as a nuisance. As a student, you might have demanded math to be more practical. Some students feel there’s little real-world applications of the math they’ve learned. On the other hand, teachers explain that math helps you become a better problem solver. But math goes beyond problem solving. Continue Reading!

How to Enable the Growth Mindset

You have probably heard of the growth mindset. It’s the mindset that helps us embrace the inevitable hurdles we face. But the reality is that sometimes we don’t—it’s elusive when we’re struggling. Can we have a growth mindset especially when we most need to? There is an excess of advice to be joyful, but inevitably we must also face the struggles that come with difficult learning, creative challenges, or starting something new. To develop the skills that you want, you know it will require a lot of practice. Building new skills is challenging. Furthermore, can we expect to be joyful without a struggle? Of course you shouldn’t want to do something that you dislike overall, but setbacks are part of what makes life interesting and worthwhile. Continue Reading!

Problem Finding: How You Can Become Better At It

We go through many years of school solving all sorts of things. Math, for example, is about becoming better at problem solving. Granted, we do depend heavily on our ability to solve problems. But could it be possible to find problems as well? Nobody wants more problems, yet everyone wants opportunities. Could they go hand in hand? How do some entrepreneurs, parents, or teachers manage to find problems and benefit from them? Perhaps work is not exclusively about solving problems but finding them too. And by no means is problem finding about inviting unnecessary conflict. It’s about the creativity of discovering unaddressed problems we’re not consciously aware we have. An unaddressed problem means there’s an unaddressed opportunity, and the potential to generate value.
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Building Blocks: How to Make the Most out of Your Work

Building blocks don’t constitute much on their own. But put together they can create great structures. Building blocks are often used to explain the most basic unit something is built from. For example, the building blocks of DNA are the nitrogenous bases. The building blocks of a protein? Amino acids. The building blocks of physics? Atoms. Of course, scoping matters. Consider that the building blocks of sentences are words, but the building blocks of words are letters. You’ve probably heard about these analogies at school, but what’s more important is how they can be applied to improve your life. Have you ever thought about your hard work in terms of building blocks? Even more importantly: could you be building anything of substance with them?
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The Present is a Gift (So are the Past and the Future)

Understanding time and how to benefit from it.

They say, “Don’t live in the past, or you’ll be depressed,” and “Don’t live in the future, or you’ll be anxious.” Some people say, “Live at peace in the present.” They say, “Live in the moment.” “The present is a gift”. What do you think about that? Discarding the past or the future (as much as the present) is delusional. First, we must understand that each time frame has costs and benefits. No one is better than the other. So having said that: how can we embrace the benefits of the past, present, and future? And how can we better manage the challenges in each time frame? Continue Reading!

How to Get out of Your Own Way (and Tackle Any Challenge)

Like in football, we want to tackle our challenges head on. We want to find solutions and be proud of how we resolve to meet our challenges at each stage of our lives. You care about the meaning of what you do. But we’re often too much in our heads. To tackle your challenges you must go beyond (or below) this mindset. How to get out of your own way is all about integrating the rest of the body. As much as it’s beneficial to approach your challenges analytically, it can also interfere with simple truths. It’s easy to get too caught up either trying to figure everything out or become too busy—that is, occupied but getting nowhere.
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Redefining Struggle with Meaning

Struggling has a bad reputation. It makes us feel uncomfortable, and we just want to avoid it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When we struggle, what we focus on makes a difference: are we focusing on the painful feelings? Or are we focusing on conscious growth? Often times, it’s the moments of struggle when we stand up courageously to solve difficult problems. We have all heard the saying to “step outside your comfort zone.” This reasoning implies that we move away from comfort to struggle. I find this phrase misleading, and I’ll let you know why. But moving into the learning zone is a sound proposition. Continue Reading!

Redefining Self-discipline (and Why it Matters)

Can you imagine what your life would feel like with more self-discipline? What would you do? When you take action on something that matters to you regardless of your immediate impulses—you practice self-discipline. It’s choosing to move forward to act on what you most care about despite hardship, and it feels really good. In fact, we could all use more of it. Every time that we practice self-discipline, we choose to reclaim our life. We pursue our dreams, act on them, and stay motivated when we don’t feel like it. We engage in self-discipline by exercising our willpower and focused attention to choose action over distraction. Continue Reading!

How to Seek an Imperfect Life

In 10 Empowering Principles to Live by, we explored that a set of beliefs is what we use to make sense of our world. We feel or think about something, and then our brain compares it to our cognitive map to understand the situation or generate meaning out of it. With time, we adjust those inner rules so that we can navigate our lives more effectively and with more clarity. But what does this have to do with seeking an imperfect life? What does that really mean? Why would we want to seek an imperfect life and how do we live it? Continue Reading!

Three Degrees of Effort

Have you ever wondered what effort is really about? Do you think about having to try hard, spend a lot of energy, and feel frustrated as a result? Well, effort is not just about trying really hard. Effort is about how we apply energy to get what we really want. The three degrees of effort is an approach to understand how to apply more strategic effort to act on difficult learning and challenging setbacks. Continue Reading!

Engage Your Goals with Inquiry

Do you ever think about your thinking? Or better yet, do you ever think about how you think? If we were to portray the thinking process, what would it look like? One thing is true: how we think matters because it affects how we feel and consequently, what we do. In the last insight I explored the topic of goal setting and the importance of making them exciting. Also, I talked about keeping them short and simple in a way that they convey with clarity what you desire to experience. Continue Reading!

Writing (and Engaging) Goals that Matter

Can you imagine trying to open a coconut with your bare hands? When I was around ten years old, this is exactly what I had set to do on a humid summer day at the beach. I started early. I went searching for a coconut that looked like it had just fallen. I found one, brought it back, and started to work. My cousin and I each had one, and we began tearing every little fiber we could get to. After about six hours, I had managed to tear off about half of the coconut’s husk. I was exhausted and my fingertips were numb. We continued the next day. Once we removed most of the husk, we got to the hard shell. Continue Reading!

Being Dynamic: Start Anything!

We are grounded with our roots anchored deep in what matters to us.  Perhaps we have even identified our ingredients of strength and passion.  Now what?  Being dynamic is our next step.  We’ll learn how movement happens so that we can navigate confidently to pursue our dreams.  What would you do if there was nothing you couldn’t handle?  This is at the core of being dynamic—feeling capable to move powerfully and attuning to our capacity to adapt, no matter the challenge.   Continue Reading!

Why (and How) Change Happens

Think about something you would really like to change. Now, imagine yourself actively engaging in the process to change that—feeling strong, focused, and determined. What happens between the moment when we want to change and the moment when we engage? We all have something we want to change, but we often hesitate to engage because it’s exhausting, especially if it involves a high degree of uncertainty. But why is it so hard to start and to stick to it? Why does change happen? Continue Reading!

How to Choose Language that Matters

Reframe your challenges with empowering language.

Let’s go back to High School, particularly to that Physics class. You might remember two important concepts we learned: potential energy (stored energy) and kinetic energy (energy in motion). A glass of water on a kitchen counter top has potential energy because it took energy to move it up. If it were to fall, that energy would (re)turn into kinetic energy and make it shatter. Language is no different, words display these properties. Words store potential energy at their core and they trigger emotions as kinetic energy. You can choose either disabling language or empowering language. Continue Reading!