Peruse articles we wrote on various self improvement topics below.

Distractions are Your Friend – Harness Their Power

Distractions have been the greatest healers the world has ever known. They are those detached times in life where something is basically forgotten. When used properly, distractions have the power to reduce intense pains as well as stop a person from getting in the way of their own success. We can all thank distractions for helping us to overcome everything bad that has ever happened to us. Forgetting can be a beautiful thing.

We are all occupying our minds with something each minute. There is almost always something going on. Since there is always a thought going on, other thoughts are obviously forgotten in that moment. Distractions are what has kept us from dwelling on every awful thing that comes along because we are thinking about something else.

There is peace in forgetting

distractions are your friends

Take a look life after a breakup: how miserable and drained it can feel. There is often so much sadness that we don’t ever think we will make it through. Guess what? We do!

When there is a death of family or a friend, the loss is a deep pain. Nearly all of us go right back to normal after some time.

How do we make it through and why do we go back to normal? We forget, we get distracted and new life happens. After a breakup, that person didn’t think about the break literally all the time. First, they thought about it a lot… after a week, a little less… after another week, less… and so on until they were over it. As time went on, the thinking dissipated and it dissipated because other things came up- distractions. Furthermore, as time went on, memories of the other person lost their freshness because those thoughts and feelings weren’t being experienced with as much frequency. They were slowly forgotten.

Get over emotional pain: Distractions

What specifically happened that the grief thinking dissipated? The mind was busy with something else. In breakups, people commonly feel better when they go on the rebound. That’s one of the biggest breakup distractions there is and it’s the oldest trick in the book!

While distractions are fantastic for grief, professional help may be needed to solve chronic grief and depression. Here is some depression and grief tactics:

1. Date someone new

distractions are your friends

Often frowned upon for not dealing with the grief head-on. People aren’t thinking about their ex a whole lot while they are having fun with someone new. True, some grief and depression is healthy to work through. If enough time has passed though, it’s time to start dating again. I know with every new relationship, I have healed emotionally entirely from my last. If I haven’t completely forgotten about them, at least the emotional charge is gone.

2. Meet new friends

Spending time with others is curative. Foster friendships to replace the lost person in your life. Similar to dating someone new. Start to make new memories with new people or other loved ones.

3. Join a sports team

distractions are your friends

This too is bringing new people into your life, except with an added bonus of having an activity that is enjoyed and to consume your thoughts.

4. Read books and watch movies that feel good

Laughter is a great medicine and it can be achieved by watching funny movies. Replace stinkin’ thinkin’ (depressive rumination) with captivating books and movies that take you away from your thoughts.

5. Work

distractions are your friends

Almost any job will do- anything to occupy your mind until the old problems fade. What’s even better is a satisfying job or even a passionate job (if you can find your passion for now).

I have found the most depressed and grief-stricken individuals to be ones with no distractions. They have all the time in the world to dwell on their issues. People with no jobs stew on minute problems, however not actual depression or grief, it’s an example of what too much undisciplined free time and thinking will produce.

Do something at least

It is easy to recognize by now a repeating common theme. Do value adding things! No, this doesn’t suggest you sit around the local hangout spots with friends, pissing the day away. Nor does it suggest wasting time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any social junk media. Nor does it suggest even attempting to drink or do drugs to distract or numb pain. You’ll pay for it later anyhow, you always pay. The pain is just deferred.

However… when you distract yourself with quality activities, the pain is not deferred, it is instead, replaced.

Cheers, Tal

Daydream, and Daydream Often!

You remember the teachers who snapped you out of a trance, “quit daydreaming and pay attention!” ? They are partially right. School is important. To have a daydream is fantastic, in fact recommended, but there is a time and place. Daydreams are the keys to goals. Essentially, your brain is playing out a plan to achieve what you want, all automatically! Often the daydreams don’t really go anywhere, but they sure do feel good… and I’m a proponent for following what feels good.

Daydream and feel great

Daydreaming is Bad?

Daydreaming gets a bad rap. Teachers don’t like it, parents reinforce that it’s a bad habit, and friends tease for it. They accuse the dreamer of being under the influence. People say, “come back down to Earth,” or “so-and-so is out to lunch.” Perhaps they are envious of the dreamer’s ability to detach so easily and leave everyone behind, or offended that the dreamer cares more about what’s in their head than listening to the other.

Influence and Regulate the Daydream

A daydream is most effective when we influence and slightly regulate it. A daydream needs to be guided often because it should never wander into the dark side of imagination. It should never bring a person down or feel bad. Further, it is important to regulate daydreams so that they are not taking place during inopportune times. Times such as driving, an intense lesson in class, during an intimate conversation with a partner, or shooting a gun will all get a person killed, or worse… except for only the intense lesson in class, I suppose. The best way to take control of thoughts is meditation. Essentially, meditation is a practice of guiding thoughts anyway. After some practice, the mind will naturally be able to focus and gently guide a daydream. On top of that, it’s easier to escape or take control of a daydream that goes dark.

Daydreams are Foundations to Manifesting

If it feels good, do it. Obviously the mind wants to go there. It goes there for a number of things: to defragment, conceive new ideas, solve a question or just chill and explore the far reaches of the imagination. Gurus prescribe visualizations because it gets the mind seeing a clear outcome. It puts a pin in the map, so to speak- a destination. A visualization is a practice for the big event- and the more you practice, the better you get. Olympic athletes commonly visualize their entire event as part of their training. The same neurons fire, so technically they are mentally training. Some years back, I remember reading about a study where half of the participants mentally practiced a task and the other half did not. When it was time to actually perform the task, the group that mentally practiced, performed significantly better.

A Daydream Can Improve Mood

When daydreams are happy memories, future plans, or ruminating over a desire, it feels great. That’s what this is life is all about, after all. We work our asses off, sacrifice and undergo pain to try to feel great at the end of the day. The beautiful shortcut is to think of things that feel good and a daydream is a fantastic vehicle for just that.

Take some moments out of the day to simply let the mind wander. Watch where it goes, monitor how it makes you feel and dwell on the great feeling parts- really milk it. It may prove to be a helpful pick-me-up when energy gets low in the day or that needed recalibration on a coveted goal.

Cheers, Tal

Judgement of People is Necessary – See Why

The non-judgement critics have gone too far, just like all the other social justice movements. The judging of people specifically. We are so protected, overfed and bored that we feel we need to fight against judgement. True, we could improve upon the tendency to over-judge, such as trivial judgements (we aren’t talking about them in this post), but judgement is still very necessary. It’s often correct and has a value beyond apparent comprehension.

What is Judgement?

Judgement is thinking about or seeing something and placing a personal opinion on it. The opinion is a conclusion drawn about how the judgement maker feels or thinks about the “thing” in question. Judgements happen almost instantly because we’re wired for it… and for a good reason.

Judgement necessary

We Need Judgement

Judging someone is frowned upon nowadays with everyone going nuts trying to be holier-than-thou. We all judge, including the self righteous types, whether we like to admit it or not. Have we forgot what a vital utility people-judging is?

Judging in Prehistoric Times

We were cavemen and women (tribe people) far longer than we have been “civilized”- by hundreds of thousands of years. That means the instincts and wiring our ancestors formed still controls us today. Back then, we had our tribe, our village. When a new group tried to integrate or feign friendship, it wasn’t safe. War amongst out-groups was common. New people or a new person could not be trusted and therefore, the judgement adaptation was developed.

I speculate that racism stems from that instinct not to trust outsiders. As far as its utility today, hate-racism is going too far, but do we need a modicum of pre-judgement, even if it is toward an out-group.

Filtering for Rentals

I unapologetically cast judgement all the time- my business lives and dies by it. When I have a vacancy for one of my rentals I have to judge the applicant by their appearance, attitude and the info they give me. The amount of deadbeats that have applied for my units in the past would scare most people out of the business. My harsh judgement kept them out of my houses and I avoided their no rent payments, potential damage, and upsetting of other tenants. Unfortunately, I didn’t judge a few of those deadbeats harsh enough, so they made it through my filtering process, causing damage, bringing drama and trying to live rent free. Unfortunately, this province is backward enough that it can be difficult to evict one of these awful tenants, so judging is imperative.

Filtering for Jobs

Human resource and employers vet people all the time. They judge by the resume, appearance, and interview, all for blatantly obvious reasons. Companies don’t want to get stuck with an employee that will steal, be lazy, or incompetent. Perhaps the new employee makes a mistake big enough that it jeopardizes the company. Sure they will get fired immediately, but the damage is already done. It is better to filter in the first place.

Filtering in Various Relationships

People are incredibly judgy in the dating world. Men do it, women do it. Most of it is absolutely necessary. We judge because we don’t want to spend time with someone dangerous or a psycho, for example. Judging who to trust expands further than dating though. We do it with friends, family and acquaintances. If someone asks to borrow $1000, the first instinct is to judge the hell out of them! Why? Because if that money needs to be returned eventually, it’s good to know that the borrower is an honourable, solid person.

Judgement necessary

Going Forward

Before one condemns another for being judgemental or racist or what-have-you, they must remember that they, too, judge all the time. The most likely difference is that the judgement maker is willing to be vocal about it, while the condemner suppresses it down and pretends they are above that.

I propose that judgement of others and out-groups should have plasticity. While it’s fair game to cast judgement on someone, that judgement of them is open to changes if they can prove themselves trustworthy. Until then, the judgement is not open for dispute.

Cheers, Tal

Making Your Message Clear – Speak Confidently

With political correctness at an all time high here in North America, communication can be challenging. People are offended way too easily, so everyone is becoming nervous speakers and they find it difficult to be real. Clarity is important to speak confidently. Clarity stands for “the truth” and is a raw, unmolested message. The fat has been trimmed and the message is inborn with certainty. People value clarity at the podium, in boardrooms, attracting the opposite sex, family interactions, in classrooms, on websites, and virtually everywhere.

how to speak confidently

We largely appreciate, rather than condemn, clear, well-spoken speakers and writers. We honour them for their courage, think of them as intelligent for their clarity and respect them for their raw honesty. They are also a target for criticism. Consider the audience… a little bit. Let’s understand what good and bad messages are like, both written and oral. Speak like a pro. Write like a pro.

Watered Down Messages

A fast way to lose an audience’s attention and resect is with too much fluff and unnecessary words. It takes away from the important parts- the parts that need the most attention! An example of watering down a message is when making a complaint to customer service. The complainer beats around the bush about the problem, or sandwiches the raw and real complaint amongst apologetic and way too many softening statements.

The most potent and direct lesson on brevity and getting a message across is depicted in the movie Moneyball. An apropos lesson on how Billy Bean fires people-

Um’s, Ahh’s, You know, Like, I Mean

These filler words have no place in this world. It’s awful to hear. Every radio host out there could use a lesson or two about this. I’m surprised no one says anything to them- they’re professional speakers after all. I digress… Check out the following sentence examples and notice that there is nothing lost if we omit those waste words.

Um and Ah

Take a look at “um” and “ah” first. What is the true necessity of those words? To hold the listener’s attention, that’s what. Deep down the speaker feels they will lose their listener if they stop making a sound. Someone who can speak confidently takes pauses, and instead, intrigues the listener more.

“When was the last time you did laundry?” “Um, I don’t remember.”

“There is um 8, possibly 9 planets in the ahh solar system.”

You Know

“You know” is also a weak phrase. Aside from it being an utterance filling the void it’s a question and it’s asking whether the listener is listening or if they even care. The speaker doesn’t trust that the listener is following along. People perceive questions in general or the inflection at the end of a sentence as an inferior action. Try it now: Ask a question out loud and right near the end of the sentence, raise the inflection of your tone. Now do this with everything you say and hear how weak it sounds. Try the opposite: state a question while keeping your tone the same. Even let it drop near the end of the question and listen to what that sounds like. Cool, huh? That’s more like what it is to speak confidently.

“You know, I had a great time the other day.”

“This problem over here is really affecting us, you know? We won’t stand for it much longer.”


The misuse of “like” has such deep roots that it will probably never die. The young and the old say it. The temptation to use it is incredibly strong… but it means nothing. It’s merely a sophisticated grunt, but for many, it sounds trendy to use it. As a 30 year old student in University, I couldn’t stand when my 20-something year old classmates would answer a prof’s question. It was so common and they sounded like (proper use) uncertain, timid little children. It was hard to respect them.

“Mr. Lister, can we, like, do our project on whatever we want?”

“Like we had a great time at the dinner party. The chef was, like, so on point.”

I Mean

I notice “I mean” more in peoples’ phraseology these days. It sounds like people have just found a more intelligent way to say um and ah, thus sounding less like a caveman grunting. Either way, it’s a waste of words and it’s trying too hard.

I mean, he hasn’t always been that way.”

The teenagers these days have so much growing up to do. I mean, even teachers are having a hard time.”

The Power of Silence

I was in a band with my cousin years back and my uncle, who had 40 years experience playing in bands, came out to listen to us rehearse. He stopped us and pointed out that we were trying to fill every moment with sound. He said, in his quiet demeanour,”guys, you don’t always have to be making a sound. The power is in the silence between the notes.” He was exactly right. When there is silence in a song- a pause, the anticipation is incredible. The silence is often louder than the music!

Listen to it all (for best effect) or skip to about 2:20 and let it play to the end-

If nothing else, taking pauses obviously gives the listener a chance to follow what the speaker is saying. Further, the speaker may be a fast talker and they are hard to understand.

Speak to Be Heard

Quiet and soft spoken is often just that- quiet. However, both loud and soft ways can work if executed properly. To speak confidently, loud and clear establishes a much needed authority. On the other hand, speaking softly with a serious depth of confidence can be equally powerful. People will lean in and strain to hear what is being said because they don’t want to miss it. There’s an element of curiosity present. Most importantly of all, great communicators own what they say and stand by it. Having said that, if you can’t stand by it, don’t say it.

 Make Your Message Clear and Speak Confidently

Kill the filler words and phrases. They make the speaker/writer sound uneducated and weak. Use your big boy voice to earn respect or authority. Say what you need to say and own it- speak confidently. It’s good to know that with a little awareness and practice, the bad habits can be eliminated. It all starts with thinking before you speak… and while you speak.

  1. Honestly think before you speak. Take your time, the filler words will die over time.
  2. Embrace the pauses. Try to be silent until the next clear thought comes to your head.
  3. Keep tonality even or enthusiastic, but never make everything you say sound like a question.
  4. Speak loud enough and take ownership of it. Stand by your words if they are worthy.

Cheers, Tal

You Teach People How to Treat You – Get Respect

Through life, we meet and interact with many people. Some are family members, some are friends, others are acquaintances or merely a store clerk ringing you through the checkout. Nearly every single one of these relationships treats you the way they do because you’ve probably set it up that way- good treatment or bad treatment. Some of us have family members that feel comfortable enough to pick us apart or a partner that has a fit whenever they don’t get what they want from you. Today is the day to take ownership and get respect- you have given them permission to be that way.

Let’s look at extremes first-

Think of someone in your life that no one messes with, a Darth Vader type person, for example. Is it magic that no one nitpicks them or luck that people don’t tease them? No way. These people draw a distinct line and expect others to respect it. On the other side, there’s the timid, subservient Cinderella types who let people boss them around.

“Look inwardly first.”

It is time for some self-evaluation to get to the bottom of this lack of respect you’re receiving. Is there anything, absolutely anything, that you could be doing to invite this treatment? Look at your responses and reactions to these people, the way you carry yourself/body language, your clothing, and your tone of voice. Are any of your behaviours weak and do they invite abuse? If you truly looked within and left all your excuses at the door, you would likely find a plethora of improvements needed.

“It takes 2 to tango.”

Maintain a strength with humility in every interaction and that’s a fantastic start. The rest, chip away at, change by change. When it’s important to assert dominance, there’s several quick tactics that will help.

Establishing Superiority and Respect for Special Circumstances-

  • First impressions- starting today, make every new meeting one where you are carrying yourself with the maximum respect that you hope to receive from the other party.
  • Respect yourself- fake it ’til you make it if you have to. Show yourself so much respect that another person interacting with you will have no choice but to do the same.
  • Let “no” be your default answer- boundaries sometimes get pushed whether you say yes or no, but no establishes a more favourable precedent up front.
  • Short arguments/negotiations- when you engage too long in an argument, it screams “I’m willing to negotiate.” Get in, make your statements, get out, the end. An accurate and confident negotiator does not need to convince anyone.
  • Blunt and clear language- brevity and an unmistakable message gets the point across with power. No “um, ahh, like, I mean, kinda” words. Less is more, baby.
  • Ignore/no response- disarming the bully or bossy type can be as simple as ignoring or not responding. There is a delicate way to pull it off without making the situation worse. It has to be done with an air of “I don’t care because I’m above that. This interaction is over.”
  • Thousand yard stare- look directly into their eyes, as if looking straight through them without blinking for long periods of time. Nah, this one was is just for fun, but’s there’s a little truth to it. See “eye contact” in your researching.

To sum up respect…

Respect for yourself and others is always important and is one of the first habits to adjust. I use “no” in my rentals. They ask if they can paint the room, my answer is “no.” They ask if they can pay half rent now and make it up to me, I say “no.” Imagine how often they would be doing it if I started saying yes. In the first place, their question implies that they expect you may say no, but they’re trying anyways. Let the no’s roll off your tongue like butter.

I used to get caught up in arguments with tenants that went round and round. Big mistake. For every minute I hung around, it invited them to argue their point more and show them that their point was valid enough that I would consider hearing it. What should have been communicated was, regardless of whether I was right or wrong, “my roof, my rules.” What works well with that is disregarding nonsense arguments and statements. Text message is wonderful at communicating finality. If an ex that you’re trying to get rid of keeps buzzing you, quit responding!

Respect to all!


Don’t Do YOUR Best, Do MY Best

To do YOUR Best is Sometimes Not Good Enough

Many of us have been the boss or manager of something in life, one time or another. The mandate of that duty is to ensure that work is completed with quality and in a timely manner.  You have to do your best possible work. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen. In my experience employing people, I’ve had some good help and some bad help. Overall, I’ve had enough bad help to come to an important conclusion: Don’t do YOUR best, do MY best.

I tend to have high expectations for most people, myself included. The above quote is my maxim, my warning, when I prep someone to work with me as inferior or partner. It’s an improvement on the cliche instruction, “do your best” or the response to the cliche excuse, “I did my best!” What it means is, when you’ve been tasked to do something, instead of doing your best, take it a step further. Do the best that you think how I, as your manager, would complete it, and to the quality/speed that I would complete it in.

do your best

Excuses are 95% bulls**t. They are often either a lie or covering up laziness.

In my tree removal business, for example, I had a couple guys working with me and I constantly reminded them to get back to work or speed up. When doing reno’s on my properties, I get people to help me. Time and time again, I’ve had to go back and fix their work. When we get down to it, their excuse is that they’re doing the best they can. I basically tell them, “your best will have to be better. Step it up and work on my level.”

No excuses - do your best

It’s important for all of us as employees, employers, supervisors, service providers, tradesmen, etc. to open our minds to a new level quality or speed. The best you can always can be improved and should match that of the highest possible expectations… just in case.

Cheers, Tal

Poor Will Always Be Poor- Be the Reverse

There are many articles that discuss the habits of the rich and successful.  This post can be a checklist to see whether you’re on the right track. This is what not to do and the prohibitive behaviours that keep the poor stuck. We discuss what successful people don’t do and talk about the habits of the high achieving people point by point, in contrast.

“Poverty is a chosen lifestyle- everyone can do something”

We aren’t talking so much about the homeless type that quietly the sit on sidewalk and beg for change, this is about the class between them and the middle class. We’ll call them the upper poor class. I live in a well-off city with what appears to be still a high concentration of poor. They are almost everywhere here and are prevalent in the downtown core, as well as pass by my house on foot regularly. Since there are so many, they are easy to observe and understand their behaviours. Additionally, I work closely with many poor and know much about the inside of the welfare system, along with the finances of the program users.

The poor will stay poor because…

  • Overspending:
  • They waste so much money that they waste money that isn’t even theirs. I had a tenant on the system that received welfare money around the 1st of each month. The same day, he would hire a taxi to take him for cigarettes, then Subway, then Tim Hortons, and the Beer Store for a case of beer. He would do that on the 1st of the month, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc, every day until he ran out of money. He had his month’s worth of money squandered away by about the 10th of each month. On this approximate day, he would use the last few dollars he had to hire a cab and bring his $1000 smart TV and Xbox to the pawnshop to pawn. That same day he would come home by taxi with a full pack of cigarettes, x-large coffee and Subway sub in hand, along with a fresh 6 pack of beer. This cycle went on every month he rented from me.
  • Spending money on needless items:
  • If the government ever released welfare user’s bank statements, many would look like this: Beer Store $20, Beer Store $20, Tim Hortons $2.50, Beer Store $20, Subway $9, Tim Hortons $2.50, Dollarama $10, Tim Hortons $2.50, Beer Store $20, and No Frills $30 (grocery store- thumbs up). This is real. Money is wasted on non-essential things like coffee, fast food, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, tattoos, pets, etc.
  • Hard on things:
  • I watch them destroy everything they use. The clothes they buy get ruined because they simply don’t care about having them endure. They disrespect their rental housing in a number of ways such as; smoking indoors, allowing their pet to wreck the unit, leaving behind garbage, and mysterious holes in walls. This class will be the the first to litter and disrespect their surroundings. They can only see short term.

“Poor think mostly in the short term.”

  • Disrespectful and inconsiderate:
  • They will exploit and often defraud government systems- i.e. welfare, mother’s allowance pay, disability pay. People from this group will be checking mine and my neighbour’s car’s doors at night to try to steal what’s inside.  I have to actually yell at these types for shortcutting 60′ across my front yard. I’m on a corner and they walk right up alongside my house to shortcut to the perpendicular street without a single consideration. It’s how these people carry on so unapologetically that keeps them where they are.
  • Love drama:
  • Jerry Springer Show, Cops, Honey Booboo, etc. These shows are not watched by successful people. Drama is a waste of mental energy and does nothing positive to relationships and your affect. Drama often has one person losing, falling, failing, getting hurt or similar.

“Generally, drama is soul-destroying.”

  • Always someone else’s fault:
  • “Someone else got me kicked out, welfare or work didn’t pay me on time, I can’t get a job because no one is hiring, I’ve been sick, I’ve been too busy.” The list of excuses goes on, but all of it could have been avoided. It’s their life story.
  • Major complainers:
  • The poor complain the loudest. Besides, it’s someone else’s fault anyway. They do nothing to improve their situation because they’re too consumed with complaining and blaming. According to them, they got a bad deal. No, they’re getting free money, so they’re getting a better deal than the rest of us.
  • Wasted time:
  • Poor aren’t looking for a job, not out jogging, not taking classes, they are loitering or hanging out at the library… however, not inside reading. So much time with little-to-no obligations, yet nothing actually accomplished.
  • Reject success:
  • Most of what they say and do exudes poverty. I listen to them talk and it’s in their language and topics of conversation. I’ve tried mentoring several of them and everything I say goes in one ear and out the other. It’s understood but nothing is implemented.  Success isn’t even in their realm of thinking. Take for example some of my dear friends from impoverished countries that I’ve visited. In Philippines, making $1200 per month would be considered an excellent wage. When we talk about trying to reach that, they are swift to dismiss it as if it’s impossible. They simply have no idea how they would ever achieve that.

People become successful people because…

poor vs successful people
  • Accept the great possibilities:
  • History has taught us time and time again that so much possible. “Rags to riches” is not an expression for nothing! Just break down the goal into bite sized pieces and approach it backwards: to earn $1200, one has find $300 per week or $60 per day (presuming a 5 day week). Start asking yourself questions such as, “what can I sell that would bring $60/day to me? Or, what job would pay me $6-$7/hour? Or, what job could I get that yields me $3/hour, as well as a side hustle that profits $35/day? Being creative works.
  • Make productive use of their time:
  • Whether it is reading, learning, attending classes, joining groups, working, side jobs, building quality relationships, exercising, join sports teams.
  • Don’t complain:
  • Complaints simply make you feel bad. A complaint can be made, but it should be followed by a solution, and better yet, an action. Complaints really only give you more of what you’re squawking about. Does “what you resist, persists,” or “what you think about, you bring about,” ring any bells?
  • Personal accountability:
  • Successful people take ownership of their life, outcomes, mistakes and successes. They don’t do much blaming. Most things that happen to you are your fault. Get over it. The remainder of things could be summed up to providence (for argument’s sake). If you look at your life and its events, you can trace back each event to its element and it probably came down to something you did, said or thought. On the other side, celebrate successes! They’re your fault too!

“Accountability is likability.”

  • Reject drama:
  • Not only can successful people control their emotions, they will not invest in others’ drama and emotional peaks and valleys. While a street brawl may break out and people are all crowding around to check it out, the successful are above it and understand there is no value in engaging. Nor do they feel that draw to the drama that is all to common these days. See: social media.
  • Care about themselves and their environment:
  • The successful pay their bills and honour agreements they make. They keep their word! You can observe a successful type organizing neighbourhood cleanups, dressing appropriately, keeping quiet in public places that are meant to be quiet. Japan is a great example of a place where they care about their surroundings and fellow people. They are extremely apologetic and go out of their way to not inconvenience one another.
  • Take care of things they use:
  • Successful individuals buy items that are meant to last and they treat them as such. Their cars, clothes, houses and gadgets all last a long time because they take care of those things. For me, I have 12 year old Nike socks, for example, that are still in regular rotation because I took care of them, along with much of the rest of my clothes, jackets and shoes. Successful people consider the long term. They can see long and short term for investments, relationships, environment, and personal possessions.

“Respect your possessions and they will respect you.”

  • Practical money spenders:
  • Successful people understand the value of buying quality. It’s more money up front, but lasts far longer and ends up costing less in the long term than cheap junk that breaks too soon. Furthermore, they will spend money on investments- a healthy balance of assets and, yes, some liabilities. I know affluent people who solely buy items for their life that will give them a return if they ever needed to liquidate- nothing is a total loss. Dinners out, alcohol consumption, Tim Hortons coffees, junk food, etc. are all heavily moderated, if existent at all. It’s about purchasing “needs” rather than “wants.” Having control over impulses is a valuable tool to have.
  • Financially aware:
  • Successful people have budgets figured out. They know what they can afford to spend based on what their income and obligations are. They are logical and practical spenders and know their limits. Debt is perfectly ok to have. In fact, it’s very necessary to the majority of financial projects and goals. The distinction for good debt is when it’s used to ultimately increase your money position in the long term. In other words, the successful make sure that debt earns them money.

Making these discoveries over the years eliminated any sympathy I have for the poor. It’s fine for people who want to go out and “help” the poor, but hey, the poor have been helped all their lives and they’re still in the same position. What does that tell you?

“Your actions dictate your future.”

An efficient summary of this post is to have a balanced care about yourself, others and your environment. Make logical and holistic decisions to be not only responsible, but profitable and money saving.

The Chinese proverb, “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” The poor are the man wanting and receiving the fish. The successful people are eager to do the learning.

*Note: This post is generally speaking about the poor and of course there are exceptions.

Cheers, Tal

Just Do It! Learn to Beat Fear For Real

Fear, procrastination, laziness- these are just a few culprits of what all amounts to the same thing: low productivity and low action. Fear of rejection, procrastinating on a DIY home reno, and the “I just don’t feel like it today” sentiment. Can we all relate yet? Just do it.

We have busy lives and we are always trying to squeeze out as much as possible with what little apparent time we have. Mothers managing young children, college students fulfilling their academic responsibilities, the fresh young graduate ready to take on the world and slice off a piece for himself. There comes times when the aforementioned limitations steal your fire and inhibit the goals, or at least, the maintenance of a happy existence.

Our old nemesis, fear…

On many different levels, fear stops someone from doing something. Sweaty palms, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, temporary stupidity. We can be thankful for it, because without a healthy dose of it, the human species may not have been as successful as it is. It stops us from doing a lot assinine things- dangerous things. In modern life, we have removed many of the possible dangers, and with that, reasons that certain fears exist. Take for example, the fear of public speaking. Why why why why why? (spoken frustratingly). Deep down, there is an evolutionary theory to answer that. It is proposed that humans needed that adaptation to survive, whereby living in groups and being with this tribe increased the chances of a person surviving. Alone, a human would not last long in the stone-age wild.

Why the heck do we still fear it?!

Public speaking frequently shows up on surveys as being more feared than the fear of death.

Ok, some political figures are permitted to have the public speaking fear. Bobby Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt come to mind. Realistically though, no one is going to kill you, chances of injury are incredibly low, and you won’t be stricken with a terrible virus. The worst thing that can happen if you just do it is negative feedback, and therefore, a “perceived ejection from the group,” but not actually kicked out, keep in mind. Ultimately, you’re all good!

“Fear is only from your perception. And you are wrong a lot.”

  • Learn to control and guide thoughts on your own terms

Meditation is a great practice to take command of your mind, steer it where to go, and it obeys.

  • What would be the worst thing?

A nod to Graham Duncan for this thought provoking question. When confronted with a fear, ask, “what could be the worst that could happen if I do X?” Truly dig to the core, considering all safety measures of course, and the worst answer will often be quite small and manageable.

  • Visualize

The brain has difficulty differentiating between real and imagined. Use that as an advantage and visualize a fearful event being successfully completed with as much depth as possible. Practice is the mother of skill. Visualize the scary thing often and eventually it will feel neutral or possibly interesting instead.

Just do it. beat fear
  • One step at a time

Feel free to take bite sized pieces of the worry, not all at once. It won’t feel so overwhelming.

  • Do at least something

Thanks Mark Manson for this gem. You’re days away from getting your income tax completed? That’s ok. Don’t sit down to do all of it. Plan to do only 1 hour and quit. Honestly. Just do something. More times than not, the momentum from that hour will keep you exceeding that initial time limit. Additionally, the feedback loop in your mind that rewards you for completing that hour, and it makes you want to do more. If you don’t work past the hour, that’s ok. At least some of it was completed.

  • Just do it

An example from my life is the fear of heights I experience. It felt awful higher than 10 ft off the ground. Two years ago, I had 2 trees that needed some major limbs removed and instead of paying the $1000+ to get it done, I bought out the equipment from a man retiring from the business. I decided to do my own limbing/removal and offer that service to the public as a side project. Many dollars of profit later, I reminisce about some of the 60 foot trees I was hanging from at the top, the wind swaying me and the tree, chainsaw in hand . Each time I climbed past 10 ft I became so incredibly nervous I swore I would quit right there, forever. However, every time, I put my metaphorical middle finger up and decided to just do it.

As for “just do it” public speaking fears, many cities in the world have Toastmasters, a public speaking group where one can screw up, babble, stutter, and no one cares negatively whatsoever. In fact, they may not even be consciously listening. I’ve been a member. I just walked in and began… full of anxiety, mind you.

  • No one cares

This is two-tiered: they don’t care and you don’t care. First of all, people often don’t care about your public speaking screw-up. Even if they do care immediately, it is usually forgotten later. People are preoccupied thinking about themselves and how they are perceived to worry about your mistakes. Next, you have the camp that will feel sympathy for the speaker’s mistakes, so that’s clearly nothing to worry about. The second tier is, who cares what they think? Even if the listeners cared about the awful speaking, how many of them have the value and authority enough to have a worthy opinion… and one that would matter to you. Mostly, who cares what they think!

  • Smart Drugs

Note, I do not recommend for or against their use. However, the internet is rife with anecdotal evidence of certain nootropics helping to ease the anxiety and boost motivation. Many have been found to be completely safe in moderation as they are often just herbs or concentrated capsules of food we already eat. I have only used Phenylethylamine (derived from cocoa) and Theanine (derived from tea leaves). Both have jacked up my energy and taken the edge off, making me more relaxed, yet energetic. I felt slightly more devil-may-care and natural. There are more than the two I have discussed, yet it is a subject of its own.

  • Therapy

Don’t be lazy. Just do it yourself because many have before you. Put the work in!Paragraph

Cheers, Tal

How to Make Friends – The Next Level

The crux of being human is the wanting to be liked and make friends. We are pack animals at our core and strive to be socially accepted no matter how evolved or independent someone thinks they are. This need for social acceptance is assumed to stem from caveman days when people rolled as tribes and rarely went off alone, lest they be killed by another animal, due to their vulnerability.

Social acceptance is ubiquitous. The need to fit in is deeply engrained in us. It’s why everyone isn’t running naked in the streets. It’s why we avoid confrontation and fear making a mistake public speaking. It motivates us to behave and do the “right” things- to fall in line.

There’s a lot of fluff advice out there on how to be cool or liked and most of it is painfully redundant and obvious. I’ve compiled a list that goes deeper than the “smile” and “listen” and “join a group” advice. Here, however, we  focus on the most effective not-as-obvious attributes. This list can accomplish several things. It can make you more likeable at work, more attractive to the opposite sex, and generally make you more magnetic. More than just how to make friends, acquaintances, attracting partners, and making your life easier, life will become more fun and satisfying.

Steps to Make Friends

  • Be extra engaging
  • I’ll never forget several people through my life who were very engaging and therefore, well liked. When I would come to their house, they would greet me warmly and ask a few sincere questions. When I went out with these people, they collected and could make friends everywhere they went. They naturally approached and chatted away to whoever was around. Sometimes they would simply wander around and meet people. Also, they were great at getting others involved, whether it was having them make rounds with them to meet people at a party or to just join our group. Engage with people and do it everywhere.
  • Make them feel very important
  • People love feeling important and they go to what makes them feel that way. It’s why we patronize the restaurant where they know our name and know where we like to sit. It’s the same reason why we’re drawn to people who greet us with enthusiasm and are genuinely interested in us. Similar to why a pet owner is so entranced with the ritual of coming home to their dog: because it greets them with intensity. Great hosts are excellent at making people feel important. They always check on you and your drink/hunger levels, as well as introduce you around as someone special. The opposite is true for those who make you feel low and inferior- you don’t want to be around them. Attract people to you by making them feel important every time they are around you. They will have no choice but to want to be near you.
  • Be really interesting
  • Observe bars, dinner dances, family get-togethers, and the like and you will notice that when you have something going on right then and there or have cultivated a life that’s “going on,” it draws people in. For example, at family get-togethers, conversation often gravitates toward someone in the family with great things going on in their life, such as a unique job or crazy hobby. When at a bar, and there’s a group that is doing a lot of dancing, smiling, high-fiving, they’re magnetic and all eyes are on them. That group is far more interesting than staring at your bottle of beer or some inconsequential chit chat. In contrast, how many people want to meet and talk with that person sitting there peeling the label off their beer? NO one. That’s who. Have that hobby. Be that group.
  • Ask relevant questions
  • When you ask someone questions about their passion, all bets are off. We had a shop teacher in high school who hated us and walked around the shop with a chip on his shoulder. He used to bring his kayaks in to work on them, and one day a few of us started asking him kayak questions. Immediately, his eyes lit up and he gabbed away about his kayak trips and the maneuvers they do. He loved us from then on. We had another teacher for French class in elementary school who would teach as normal until we would ask her about her trip to France she had years prior. If we didn’t want to do a French lesson that day, we would ask her about France at the start of the class.
  • Touch
  • A simple non threatening, non sexual touch has a power. When you can tell it is a genuinely friendly touch, it feels great to receive it. You make a connection beyond words. There’s research on the power of touch and honesty. When a stranger gave a typical touch to another while asking a question that is easy to lie about, the person lied far less than if there was no touch. Use appropriate touch to connect.
  • More carefree attitude
  • Not needy would also suffice. You should go through life never feeling like you need anything, especially approval, friends, etc. Intrinsically, we seek those things, but extrinsically, it shouldn’t be our mission or utmost priority. Friendships and relationships are more real when you don’t NEED them, you simply like having the people in your life (see unconditional love vs conditional love). Let love and friendships evolve naturally… because desperation is a stinky cologne.
  • Neither a No nor Yes man
  • You are stoic with your no’s because it expresses your personal power (which is attractive) and shows you are not approval seeking. Further, being too agreeable is a turn-off to people because it comes off as disingenuous and untrustworthy. Find a healthy balance of both, and for God’s sake, be decisive about it.
  • Honesty
  • Honesty is more likeable than not. I tend to prefer a raw honesty approach, but some people can’t stomach it. Regardless of whether an honest message is offensive or not, it is still something you can trust and feel safe around. You may not like it, but at least it’s not deceiving you. Be real and honest.
  • Be mostly positive
  • Not over-the-top positive, just not negative. The people who have this figured out are great to be around because they don’t introduce negativity into the interaction. Their positivity doesn’t piss you off because it isn’t exaggerated. It’s calibrated well enough that, instead, you strive to meet them on that level because it’s contagious.
  • Confidence of a leader
  • A leader that possesses a few or all of the above traits is bonus points, but being a leader is, in and of itself, likeable. The unconscious reasons of being associated to a leader-type point to: having better access to resources and security through the leader; an authority that can guide them; and social proof (being known as linked to a leader). A good example of the attractiveness of a leader is people’s desire to be near and connected to celebrities. Choose to be a leader in some area of your life.
Make Friends

It can’t be stressed enough that the most important, yet easy habits to adjust are being engaging, being interesting and make them feel important. Each one on their own has the power to revolutionize your life. This post could have easily been called “how to be liked,” or “how to be magnetic,” or “how to be cool.”  The same listed principles apply to how to make friends.

People will honestly talk behind your back to say how much they like you. Those that embrace and implement these points rarely have any haters, and not even envious haters because they’re so likeable! Even when you try to hate them, it’s too hard because they’re approach is so disarming.

Hopefully seeing how to make friends here makes it an easier task after all. Good luck!


The Real Law of Attraction – Actually Make it Work

You want to get stuff, right? Attract things into your life? Law of Attraction can help.

The law of attraction has become wildly popular in the last decade or so, yet it’s been active all along, whether we believe in it or not. There are also hundreds, maybe thousands of pieces of literature that all say elementarily the same thing, but in different ways. All law of attraction and some success books could be distilled down to just this post.

We all want things, constantly wanting things, and that’s ok. There is a small process that will give you whatever you can get your head around. Notice I didn’t say “anything you want?” Ultimately, you will be the limiting factor of what you receive, so it comes down to whatever you believe possible to receive.

The beauty of the law of attraction is its simplicity. Don’t let this book or that movie complicate the process for you. Abraham Hicks makes it extremely simple and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to them for the blessings in my life from this. To date, they offer the clearest message of all the law of attraction speakers and writers. Their steps are short and sweet, though we’ll turn up the dial after this first list and probably change your life.

Here are their steps:

  1. Ask – Ask for something or even the simple act of wanting is good enough. You could visualization exercises at this point if it feels good to do. Not necessary at this point.
  2. Universal forces put it together for you – Your input on this is not needed.
  3. Allow it to come – Put the work in, believe, trust, expect and it will manifest into reality.
  4. Appreciate and solidify – Feel appreciation and consolidate the process as habit.

The above are great on their own, but the magic is really in the following:

  1. Desire – Want something, really want something.
  2. Universal forces put it together for you– No input needed
  3. Allow it to come- The most crucial step. The one that people have the most difficulty with. When you plant a seed, do you dig it up every day to see if it has sprouted? No, you leave it alone! Let nature do its work! In allowing, your job is to feel good and follow it. That’s it! Do things and think things that make you feel good and allow that to motivate and guide your actions. It sounds too simple, but that’s honestly it.

Law of attraction is brilliant because, in the end, it isn’t about getting the thing you want, it’s about feeling good. Basically, feel good=manifested desires. It’s ironic that while feeling good, receiving the desires don’t really matter anyway. You probably desired because you knew it would make you feel good, and guess what? You already do!

Every day, practice attracting and do visualizations with fervour is the typical advice. That can help, if done correctly, but often it’s done with lack in mind or non-belief. The whole reason why people do those exercises is to attract what they want, but instead they give off vibes and beliefs of not having and therefore nothing happens. There is a fine line between the feeling of having and not-having. The focus should always be on the feeling like you have your desire already.

Einstein Law of Attraction

So how do I feel good? Think about things that make you feel good. Do things that make you feel good. Do whatever training, practice or exercise that helps you get there. It doesn’t matter, just get there. People often use meditation to train their brain to be able to easily change back to thoughts that feel good when t

hings go the other way. Meditation also neutralizes a low mood and bad vibes.

It’s important to note, bad feelings are indicators that you’re going the wrong way… or not even going. It’s like the game “Hot and Cold.” When you’re getting closer, it feels good (hotter). When you are moving further from your desire, it feels bad (colder). Simple enough?

Back to focussing on simply feeling good to manifest desires…

When the focus is purely on thinking and doing good feeling things, you stop wondering when your desire is going to manifest. Essentially, you’ve let it go. Perhaps it could be thought of as a distraction. By the way, great things happen while distracted (time goes by quickly at work, remember forgotten things, get over a breakup, etc). In this case, distraction equals patience and both give off neutral vibes/beliefs (neither lack nor abundance).  Though, it’s the lack that will keep you stuck. Think about cooking in a slow cooker: put the raw food in, set the dial and go find something else awesome to do for the day. One thing that doesn’t make it cook faster is standing there and checking on it. I’ve tried.

After all, enjoy the journey and don’t rush it.

To sum it all up one last time, that’s:

  1. What do you want?
  2. Try to feel good and follow that good feeling. No wondering or worrying.
  3. Receive.
  4. Enjoy and appreciate.

Cheers, Tal

Copyright 2020 Talbot Biermans

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