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How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over by Mel Robbins at TEDxSF 2011

A TED Talk A Day, Day 29: This talk by Mel Robbins touches on topics that are important to all of us: how to get what we want, and to really get that sh*t done.

  1. The first question to ask is: “What do you want?” Ask this in the “selfish” sense; this is not meant to sound good to others, it is about you, or me.
  2. Getting what you want is simple. But it doesn’t mean it is easy. The information about how to get what we want is already out there — on the Internet, in bookstores.
  3. One of the problems is the F-word: “fine”. We tell other people we are fine when we are not, and the bigger problem is that we say it to ourselves and try to convince ourselves that we are fine not having what we really want.
  4. Saying we are fine is also way of telling ourselves we don’t have to do anything about the things we really want. That is why we don’t push ourselves to get there.
  5. We are fortunate: the odds of each of us being born in the situations we were born in are 1:400,000,000,000 (400 trillion). Yet what is the first decision we usually make every day? We hit the snooze button. And we “snooze” not just our mornings, but other things that we do.
  6. The fact is this: we are never going to feel like it. It is what scientists call activation energy — the effort it takes to switch from auto-pilot to doing something new.
  7. It is our job to make ourselves do what we don’t want to do so we can be everything we are supposed to be. The problem is we keep waiting for ourselves to feel like it, but we’re never going to feel like it.
  8. We have to force ourselves to break our routine. Robbins sees our brains as having two modes: auto-pilot and emergency brake. Most of the time we operate on auto-pilot; but when we are asked to do something we don’t want, our “emergency brake” is activated. Try this: set your alarm of 30 minutes earlier, and when it goes off, jump out of bed immediately. This puts us face-to-face with the physical force that is required to change our behaviour. This force is the same one that is required for us to do the things necessary so we can get what we want.
  9. It’s our routine, our auto-pilot, that’s killing us, because we are doing the same thing most of the time.
  10. When we feel stuck or dissatisfied, it is a signal about our life, the same way we feel hungry when we need food, and thirsty when we need water. But it doesn’t mean our life is broken. It is a signal that our need for exploration is not being met.
  11. We all have a need for exploration and growth, and the only way to get that is to be uncomfortable. To do that we have to get out of our own heads, past our feelings, outside your comfort zone. The first moments of getting outside our comfort zone is difficult, but after that it is fine.
  12. The 5-Second Rule: If we don’t take action on an impulse we have within 5 seconds, our  brains pull the emergency break on us. “Your problem isn’t ideas, the problem is you don’t act on them.”

Suggested action step: I will do the things that lead me to where I want to be, especially if they are uncomfortable. I will act quicker on my impulses (something I have already tried to practice).

15 things I wish I knew when I was 25

Sometimes we forget what we know is good and true, and instead fall into the trap of habit. So sometimes we need reminding.

I did this exercise for day 64 of Claudia Altucher’s Become an Idea Machine (which called for only 10 things!), and realised this was not a list to my younger self; it’s really a list to myself right now, so I wanted to keep it handy.

15 things I wish I knew when I was 25

  1. Brush it off. Yes, things didn’t work out the way you wanted. Now get up, decide what the fuck you want to do next, and go do it.
  2. Stop expecting people to be perfect. Including yourself.
  3. Stop wasting time on what doesn’t matter.
  4. Stop waiting for things to fall in place.
  5. Take care of your body. It will take time, so start learning now.
  6. Keep in touch with your friends.
  7. Have random fun. It will make you happy.
  8. Try things that seem difficult or “unlike” you.
  9. Take care of the ones you love.
  10. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of what’s important.
  11. Meditate.
  12. Listen to your gut. Explore the things your instincts tell you to.
  13. Following what you think you “should” do or what’s “safe” will only lead to pain.
  14. The only limitations are your thinking and your habits. You can change them.
  15. There is enough time in life. Stop wasting time thinking there isn’t.

Where the magic happens

(Originally published Feb 4, 2014.)

Lately I’ve been running up against a wall of I-don’t-knows.

I feel like I don’t know what I need to do to move my life forward; I feel like I don’t know how I can grow the business we’ve started. There are all these things I’ve started but no longer sure how they’re helping anymore, if at all.

Ever been there?

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