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The Ultimate Guide To High Performance

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Do you want to live an exceptional life, in which you wake up every morning, feeling energized and alive so that you can accomplish your biggest dreams?

Are you ready to live life to its fullest, stretch your potential and discover your best self, without feeling exhausted and overwhelmed?

And experience daily thrills with friends and loved ones?

Then welcome to the Ultimate Guide to becoming a High Performer.

I know how frustrating it is to work extremely hard without reaping the rewards of our relentless efforts.

As the agent of professional athletes, I have witnessed first-hand how some of the most talented prospects failed to even come close to fulfilling their potential, while other less gifted pros exceeded everyone’s expectations and became real champions.

What I have realized is that what really distinguishes people who experience sustained and long lasting success from everyone else is that they live a high-performance lifestyle. Therefore, I have made it my personal mission to share some of their high-performance secrets to as many people as I can which is why I have created this Ultimate Guide to Becoming a High Performer.

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Download your free guide

This is a long and detailed Guide with over 26,000 words! Get the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a High Performer as your own personal downloadable copy so that you can access it anytime from anywhere you like.

Please give me my personal copy!

Here’s what you can expect to learn from the guide:

Who am I and how can I help you?

Chapter 1. Four quick and easy wins that will FINALLY help you escape mediocrity

A) The one secret skill that top businessmen, athletes, and world class performers all have in common.

B) How to become more confident every single day and create momentum so you become unstoppable.

C) 60 seconds that will make you feel relaxed and inspired in situations where everyone else freaks out.

D) How to stop being a browsing internet junky and finally spend more time on things that really matter.

Chapter 2: How to become twice as productive within the next month and make your biggest dreams come true.

A) The #1 thing you need to do in order to become exceptional in your work and personal life.

B) How to make more progress in 30 days than most people do in a year.

C) The simple strategy that you can use to finish work by 4-pm every day (and get more done than ever before).

D) How to turn anxiety and boredom into excitement, even when things aren’t going your way.

Chapter 3: How to live life full of energy and enthusiasm so that you will find the power to make your big goals come true

A) How to never feel overwhelmed, stressed or burned out again.

B) The one habit you have to get right in order to show up at your best every single day.

C) 6 minutes that will make you so inspired each morning that you’ll be driven and motivated for the rest of the day.

D) How to escape the afternoon slump and stay productive and energized all day long.

Chapter 4: Developing the Mental Toughness that will make you belong to the top 3% of your industry

A) Transforming your fear of failure into the kind of courage that will allow you to take on ANY challenge that you face.

B) Create your personal ritual that will help you show up with your A-game whenever it matters most.

C) How to deal with those days when you’re feeling depressed and stuck, so you don’t fall off track with pursuing your dreams.

D) The one daily practice that will make you so mentally tough that you can overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of your success.

Chapter 5: Going beyond success and living the lifestyle of a true high performer

A) How to surround yourself with people who will support you in your big goals and dreams.

B) Making your relationship or marriage thrive even if you are fully focused on your career.

C) Making good choices and keeping your sanity even when you are flooded with business opportunities.

D) Creating financial abundance so you never worry about money again.

What shall I do next

Please click here to read my disclaimer with  regards to this Guide

Who am I and how can I help you?

Hi, my name is Allon Khakshouri.

As a kid, I used to watch tennis games on TV and hope that one day I would get the chance to meet some of these stars.

World class athletes inspired me to work extremely hard in school so that I would eventually be able to overcome learning difficulties that would allow me to excel both in my academic and professional career. They pushed me to believe in myself and go beyond what was expected from me.

Eventually, I would fulfill my childhood dream, and become the manager of three world number one tennis players in the world, including Novak Djokovic who dominated his sport for most of the last five years.

I am a sports entrepreneur, bestselling author and high-performance expert who has been lucky to witness first hand why some people in similar circumstances are extremely successful, while others struggle, something I will share with you throughout this Guide.

I also realized that while we may admire athletes, high profile business people and rock stars on TV, we must all become high performers if we wish to live an extraordinary life.

This is because we live in a world where the superstars of every industry are earning more and more, at the expense of everyone else, a trend that is unlikely to stop. So regardless of what it is you do for a living, you will need to continuously upgrade your skills OR accept working longer hours for less compensation.

In other words, to experience more success and joy, you must:

  • Get more done in less time so you can combine excellence with enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle.
  • Increase your level of energy so you feel inspired and enthusiastic on a consistent basis.
  • Develop the mental toughness that will help you overcome setbacks and build unbreakable confidence from your successes.
  • Continuously learn new skills that will allow you to become a superstar in your industry.

But here is the good news:

Experiencing breakthrough results is less difficult than you think.

Although we need some initial discipline, every new success habit you incorporate into your life will ignite the miraculous power of compounding eventually.

What makes this process so difficult in the beginning is that it takes the time to see the big results that await us.

However, all of a sudden, everything comes together, and you will be surprised how suddenly you will have achieved goals that seemed out of reach before.

Let me show you how this works with the following thought game.

Imagine, you had a choice to receive 2 Million dollars now, or get a cent that would double its value every single day (so, for example, tomorrow it would become 2 cents) for say 30 days, what would you pick?

Well, let me show you what happens with the cent……

In other words, on day 30, your cent has just become over 5 million dollars.

Isn’t that crazy?

Or consider this:

How high do you think a 1 mm thin paper would become if you were to fold it 20 times?

Let’s find out:

When you fold a page once, it will be 2 pages thick, right?

When you fold it a third time, it becomes 8 pages thick.

Can you see a pattern here?

If you continue to fold it a fourth time, it’ll be 16 pages thick;

A fifth time will give make it 32 pages thick, and so on.

By the time you arrive at 9 foldings, your paper will have become thicker than a ream of 500 sheets.

And by the time you get to 20 foldings, your paper would become more than 10 kilometers high and taller than Mount Everest!

My point is that growth happens exponentially, which is why we get these crazy results — provided we persist.

This applies to pennies, paper and yourself!

And by introducing specific high-performance habits, your success will skyrocket in no time, allowing you to achieve results that seem impossible right now.

But that is not all.

Becoming an industry mover in your field creates so many benefits:

Not only will not only earn more than your competition — you will also meet super cool people and celebrities that most people can only dream of…

This photo was taken during the US Open in 2007 where I enjoyed the company of Robert de Niro and his wife, Grace.

All this, while enjoying more time for yourself, for your friends and your family.

In fact, a surprising truth about top performers is that they not only love their jobs but also get more done in less time.

And let me ask you this:

Isn’t it the most annoying thing to feel like we are working harder than our friends, and yet they seem to constantly outperform us?

This is why you must become a high performer immediately:

The best tennis players, businessmen, lawyers, entertainers or leaders of virtually any field earn up to ten times more than their top competitors.

At the same time, they don’t work ten times harder, run ten times faster, or enjoy ten times as much talent.

Instead, they simply have a few success habits they practice on a consistent basis that make all the difference.

And you can do the same! But listen carefully!

Becoming a high performer is crucial even if you don’t consider yourself ambitions. This is because we live in a high-pressure society in which people are expecting more from us than ever before. Your competition is becoming fiercer by the day, and so must you.

For most people, this means more work and stress for less income and joy. It also means having no time to pursue big life-changing dreams.

Is this the really what you are willing to settle for?

Well, if you are still reading, not — which is a good thing. 😉

Maybe you dream to own a flourishing business, get into the shape of your life, attract a husband or wife, or simply improve your relationship with friends and family.

Or you want to become a world number one athlete, a billionaire or a leader who impacts millions of lives:

Regardless of your desires, you must become a high performer to experience exceptional results.

And that is what this Guide is about:

In the coming chapters, I will show you the exact steps to becoming a top performer by working smarter and not harder.

Are you ready?

Cool — so let’s get started…

Have fun,  Allon

Download your free guide

This is a long and detailed Guide with over 26,000 words! Get the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a High Performer as your own personal downloadable copy so that you can access it anytime from anywhere you like.

Please give me my personal copy!
  • Chapter 1

    Four quick and easy wins that will FINALLY help you escape mediocrity.

    In this first chapter, I want to show you that becoming a high performer doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. All it takes is consistent action.

    You will learn how to create new habits without having to use lots of willpower. We will then discuss what you need to do to develop the kind of confidence that will make you unstoppable.

    Next, I will show you how to eliminate stress from your life without spending much time. And finally we will incorporate a habit that will not only make you more productive than ever, but it will actually help you increase your brain power so you will become more focused and engaged than ever before.

    Hopefully, these four quick wins will then make you hungry for more, so that we can dive deeper into developing the kind of high-performance lifestyle that will make you a star in your field of business.

     

    A.)  The one secret skill that top businessmen, athletes, and world class performers all have in common.

    “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” — John C. Maxwell 

    As a High Performer, we want to introduce new behaviors that will help us experience more joy and success. Maybe we want to become more productive, experience better relationships or lose weight. The big problem many people face is that when setting big goals, they rely on their willpower, without much success.

    In a very cool study, Roy Baumeister proved how willpower depletes our energy. He invited people into a waiting room and divided them into two groups:

    • Group 1 waited in a room that also had a table set up with delicious chocolate cookies and a separate table with radishes. They were asked not to touch the chocolate cookies but were allowed to eat the radishes.
    • Group 2 also had a table set with delicious chocolate cookies and a separate table with radishes, but they were allowed to eat whatever they desired.

    In the second part of the test, the groups were given riddles to solve. The interesting outcome was that Group 1 gave up trying to solve the riddles way before the other groups. They had already depleted their willpower while resisting the temptation of chocolate cookies.

    We live in a very fast-paced, chaotic life, and barely get a moment to breath. Therefore it becomes so easy for us to deplete our energy, which is especially tragic for striving high performers.

    To overcome this struggle, I want to show you how to create what BJ Fogg calls Tiny Habits. Habits are crucial as they eliminate the need for self-control. What makes tiny habits so unique is that they don’t require us to use much effort to start with, allowing us to build some momentum and progress without depleting our energy.

    According to Fogg, a Tiny Habit is a behavior you do at least once a day, takes little effort and usually lasts less than 30 seconds.

    From the Fogg Behaviour model, you can see that the easier a new habit is, the less motivation it will require for you to follow through with (above the Action Line).

    To create a tiny habit, three things must happen:

    1. You must find enough motivation to change an existing habit.
    2. You need to possess the ability to change that habit.
    3. And you must find an existing behavior that will serve as a trigger for your new habit.

    Now here is the key:

    The whole idea of tiny habits is to choose easy tasks that will allow you to build some momentum. So for example, if you have never worked out before, you could commit to doing one push up every time you wash your hands after going to the bathroom (trigger).

    Here some more examples:

    • “After I brush, I will floss one tooth.”
    • “After I pour my morning coffee, I will meditate for 30 seconds.”
    • “After I walk in my door from work, I will exhale and relax for 2 seconds.”

    Finally, track yourself to ensure you are following through with your tiny habits. You can do what Jerry Seinfeld did when he started out in his career. Seinfeld said his big productivity secret to creating humorous scripts was to make sure he would write every day. He did this by creating a big wall calendar and marking each day that he would write, with a big red X.

    You can do the same for the coming week and follow Seinfeld’s main recommendation:

    “Just don’t break the chain.”

    Action Step:

    Choose 1-3 tiny little habits that are easy for you to do and that require little motivation. Next, think of a trigger from your daily life for each one of them that will help you remember to follow through.

    Keep doing your tiny habits for at least 7 days.

     

    B) How to become more confident every single day and create momentum so you become unstoppable.

    “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” — Joe Namath

    Confidence is so critical when it comes to being more successful at almost anything. At the same time, few people ever take the time to think about how they can actually create confidence.

    The feeling of confidences comes from making and keeping commitments. This is how you start believing that you can impact your own life, overcome problems and move towards your big goals.

    Some people call the secret of confidence domino effect:

    This is because a domino can topple a chain of domino’s in which each one is 50 percent bigger than itself, meaning that a small one can end up knocking down a domino many times its size (check out Domino Effect Video to see how this happens).

    For example, say the first domino is about 0.196 inches (5mm) tall, then the 13th domino that could be knocked down in this series would be around 39.37 inches (1m) tall.

    If we keep going, the 29th domino would be as tall as the Empire State Building and at some point, the 50 th+ dominoes would practically bridge the distance between the earth and the moon!

    In the same way, commitments over time can trigger massive results. This is because success usually is the result of sequential action steps that eventually combine themselves into a massive force.

    However, making and keeping commitments is only half the truth about building confidence.

    If you are an ambitious person, it is likely you have enjoyed so much more success already than you think.  Sadly, people tend to rush from one challenge to the next without ever contemplating the many things they have already achieved. This is why we often find so many high achievers ending up with so little self-esteem.

    They never feel like they are good enough.

    To feel more confidence, we want to honor our hard work and celebrate our successes, especially when it comes to building new habits. The more positive emotions we experience towards our efforts, the more we will feel encouraged to continue building on our initial wins so that we can continuously push ourselves towards bigger and better challenges.

    This is how we develop the kind of self-belief that makes us unshakable.

    So before we continue, I would love you to take 15 minutes to sit in a quiet place and do the following:

    Think about moments in the last 2-3 years in which you faced difficult situations and nevertheless found ways to overcome your struggles. If possible, write them down and really experience a sense of fulfillment for these past achievements. Reflect on how each situation may have helped you become the person you are today.

    Now that we have covered the past, I want us to make it a habit to really celebrate successes. This does not need to be something fancy. Pumping your fists, doing a victory dance or saying something like “I am awesome” to yourself can do the trick.

    Let’s try this with your Tiny Habits.

    Take a moment to celebrate each time you complete one of your new tiny little habits. By acting victoriously you will subconsciously want to repeat that behavior. This is how you make it rapidly become part of your daily schedule.

    Once this happens, you will feel extremely confident about your ability to incorporate new behaviors into your lifestyle.

    But look what else happens:

    Every time you instill a new habit, you also free up the energy to push yourself towards new and more impactful behavior changes. You will experience more victory celebrations, turning success into part of your new identity. Suddenly you will crave new and bigger challenges. This is how you trigger the kind of upward spiral that will make you unstoppable.

    So make sure you combine introducing tiny little habits with celebrations every time you complete them. You will see how suddenly you will enjoy introducing new behaviors that will make you feel more productive and energized than ever before.

    Action Step:

    Make it a habit of celebrating each time you complete one of your tiny little habits. If you tend to forget, set yourself reminders.

    Gradually find ways to celebrate successes regardless how small they seem.

     

    C) 60 seconds that will make you feel relaxed and inspired in situations where everyone else freaks out.

    “It is a very good plan every now and then to go away and have a little relaxation. . . . When you come back to the work your judgment will be surer since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose the power of judgment.” — Leonardo Da Vinci

    Most people rush from one situation to the next. Their mind keeps wandering from distraction to distraction, making it almost impossible to fully focus on doing one thing at a time.

    And when they do have a moment, they check out their phone, for emails, messages or celebrity pictures.

    The sad result:

    They feel restless, anxious and irritated.

    So they are not able to show up performing their best on command.

    For top performers like Olympians, this could mean working extremely hard for 4 years and then choking during the money time of their grand performance. Can you imagine how disappointing that must be?

    To prevent such disappointments, world class athletes have pre-competition rituals that help them become fully focused and concentrated.

    But they are not the only ones:

    Many top businessmen and entertainers have rituals that help them escape their rushed and chaotic world so that they can slow down their mind and show up focused and sharp at business meetings or gigs.

    Slowing down from time to time allows us to experience many benefits:

    • We start feeling more energized.
    • We think more creatively.
    • We connect stronger with the people around us.
    • We also become aware of our own thoughts and feelings so that we are able to take conscious decisions.

    In just 60 seconds we can get ourselves into a much better state to handle high-pressure situations, thanks to what I call the “Mini Time Out Routine”.

    The Mini Time Out Routine allows us to transition from one moment to the next with a clearer mind.

    All we need to do is take a minute before entering an important situation and do the following routine:

    • Find a quiet spot and close your eyes for 30 seconds.
    • Slow down your breathing, and when you feel ready, count 10 long breaths.
    • Then set an intention for your upcoming situation, and visualize yourself overcoming any obstacles so that you eventually achieve the result you desire.
    • Spend a few seconds experiencing the positive emotions that you would enjoy following a successful outcome.
    • Finally, open your eyes and make your final preparations for the upcoming situation.

    Of course, you can make some adjustments so that this routine suits your specific needs. The key is to enjoy regular moments in which you take a break from your daily hassles, and set an intention for your upcoming activity.

    The big challenge is that we rarely remember to do a routine before important occasions if we didn’t practice it in advance. This is why we want to use the Mini Time Out Routine several times a day and gradually rewire ourselves to automatically slow down on a regular basis. Once we do that, we can then consciously use the routine before high-pressure situations.

    To remember following through with our routine, we want to introduce mental triggers.

    Let me share some examples:

    • An athlete might use entering an arena as his mental trigger before competition or practice sessions.
    • An author could train to get himself into the right state every time he sits down at his desk.
    • A businessman could use opening a door before entering his office as his mental triggers.

    So think about when you want to slow down daily, and what could serve as your mental trigger. In the beginning, you may also need to set additional reminders to ensure that you really follow through with the Mini Time-Out Routine.

    Action Step:

    Get into the habit of slowing down at least twice a day, by using the Mini Time Out Routine.

    Also, use this routine before important high-performance situations.

     

    D) How to stop being a browsing internet junky and finally spend more time on things that really matter.

    “Technology is a good servant but a bad master.” — Gretchen Rubin

    The world around us is screaming for our attention.

    Whether this is our TV, our phone or the internet, we constantly find reasons to interrupt what we are doing. However, by allowing ourselves to be distracted, we also shift our attention from pursuing our personal goals to becoming a spectator of other people’s lives and agendas.

    Obviously, this is NOT what High Performance is about.

    One reason we love interruptions is because they make us seem busy while still allowing us to avoid difficult tasks, like for example planning a new project, writing a blog post or going on a hot date. No wonder it is so easy to become addicted to distractions.

    But here is the sad truth:

    Whether you constantly check emails, obsess with social media or browse the net, you are in fact avoiding to living your own life and letting other people run it instead.

    And this comes at a huge cost:

    • First of all, we are wasting precious time on these activities instead of creating our own work and doing the things we care for. This is obvious.
    • Second, study after study has confirmed that we lose not minutes but hours when we multitask due to the “lag time” our mind needs to acclimatize switching from one activity to the next.
    • Finally, by constantly being distracted, we lose the ability to focus and think clearly.

    Whether we want to come up with innovative ideas, do well in an exam or perform at our best for a music concert, without practice, our mind struggles to experience a performance state for a longer period of time.

    So before we even speak about how to become super productive, we need to train our mind to think clearly again. The cool thing is that by improving your thinking skills and becoming more engaged with what you do, you will not only skyrocket your business efficiency but also improve your personal relationships.

    How amazing is that?

    To achieve this, let me introduce you to a very simple habit, but one that will nevertheless push you a bit out of your comfort zone. We will be working on shifting a deeply ingrained behavior which triggers a dopamine rush that makes you crave for new stimulation all the time.

    Any idea what I am speaking about?

    Your online addiction. 😉

    Now don’t worry, I am not going to ask you to stop browsing for good. So relax…

    Surfing the web and answering emails are important activities.

    All I am asking from you is to resist the temptation of continuous interruptions so that you will gradually rewire your brain and strengthen your ability to be more focused and concentrated. The key here is for you to become the master of technology instead of its slave.

    This is how you can become a master of technology:

    1. Decide how frequently and for how long you want to spend time on the computer or your phone, answering emails, using social media and browsing the Internet.
    2. Schedule “online blocks” into your day, by designating specific times for these tasks. Make sure you diarize these times as you would do for meetings with other people.
    3. Resist the temptation to use the Internet at any other hours. This is how you gradually train your mind to ignore the many addictions that are constantly trying to seduce your attention.

    This is how you can achieve this:

    However, once you discover that most people will happily wait for you to respond to their emails (if you warn them in advance), you will have no more excuses left to constantly check your phone. And by persisting to train your mind to resist giving in to interruptions, you will instantly upgrade your thinking skills and separate yourself from most of your competition.

    Now, sometimes, urgent things can come up that require you to go online. In such instances I want you to do the following:

    Whenever possible, set a timer for five minutes and only then check your phone or computer.

    Why 5 minutes?

    Remember, we are training ourselves to resist responding immediately to our impulses. This is how we become the master of our time.

    I also recommend you also designate online blocks for when you are not working. After all, we are training our mind so we want to stay consistent. You will see how bonding it is to spend time with family and friends free from any interruptions.

    Of course, if required, you can designate specific times in which you may check your phone for calls, emails and text messages at home too. Maybe add a 30-minute block for pleasurable browsing if you want, but that’s about it.

    OK, maybe we can allow a few exceptions, but these need to be well defined.

    For example, I allow the use of my internet for the following purposes:

    • I listen to the lectures in my car while I drive.
    • I use the internet to find locations I am seeking.
    • I will use my phone when I am meeting someone so that we don’t miss each other.

    You can set your own rules, but make them very clear so you don’t waste time debating whether a situation justifies the use of your phone, or not.

    And then stick to them. You will notice how much more focused and present you will have become, in no time!

    Action step:

    Designate online blocks in which you can use your phone and computer to answer emails, phone calls, browse the Internet and use social media. Apart from these blocks, train yourself to resist the urge to browse your phone or computer, both at work and at home.

    Download your free guide

    This is a long and detailed Guide with over 26,000 words! Get the Ultimate Guide to Becoming a High Performer as your own personal downloadable copy so that you can access it anytime from anywhere you like.

    Please give me my personal copy!
  • Chapter 2

    How to become twice as productive within the next month and make your biggest dreams come true.

    Most people struggle to follow through with their goals because they simply don’t seem to have enough time. They start a new project or activity that could mean so much to them but often give up before seeing any tangible results.

    In this chapter, I will show you what top performers do to continuously move towards their biggest goals, and how they get more done in less time than everyone else.

     

    A)The #1 thing you need to do in order to become exceptional in your work and personal life.

    “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill

    As high performers, we want to experience an awesome life — both in terms of our professional success and also in terms of enjoying personal satisfaction. To do so, we must first of all gain clarity about how we would like our ideal life to look like before we can even think about specific short-term career goals.

    Unfortunately though, most people rarely ever take the time to reflect on their long term future dreams. They seem to believe it is inefficient to spend a few minutes picturing their ideal future.

    Unfortunately, that is why they keep drifting through life.

    The #1 trait that separates top achievers from everyone else is that they are super intentional about their ambitions. They have long term pictures about the precise outcomes they desire, as well as the benefits these will trigger, which is why they are able to continuously push themselves towards excellence.

    Let me show you three ways how you too can become more clear about your big life goals:

    1) Ask yourself powerful questions

    We want to make it a habit to ask ourselves meaningful questions not only related to our career, but rather all key areas of our life. This is how we gain clarity what it is we really want in our life so that we experience more success and joy.

    For now, let’s focus on three important categories:

    • Your Personal Goals
    • Your People Goals
    • Your Professional Goals

    1.1) Personal Goals

    To become the kind of person who feels proud about himself lives according to his personal values, experiences positive emotions on a consistent basis, and is healthy and fit, you must have a vision of what you would like your personal life to look like.

    You can do this by asking yourself questions like:

    • Who do I want to be?
    • How do I want to feel?
    • Why is this important to me?
    • What can I do immediately to improve my personal well-being?

    1.2) People Goals

    Human beings flourish when they experience meaningful relationships. Therefore you constantly want to think about how you can improve your relationships with your loved ones.

    A good way to become more intentional about your relationships is by asking yourself questions like these:

    • How do I want to show up to the most important people in my life?
    • How can I inspire the people around me?
    • What kind of experiences do I want to enjoy with the people close to me?
    • How can I improve the key relationships in my life?

    1.3) Professional Goals

    No matter what you do, if you are ambitious then your career will probably take up a big chunk of your life. So why not commit to excellence and performing at your very best?

    You can start this process immediately by asking yourself:

    • How can I get better at what I do?
    • How can I enjoy the work I do?
    • How can I make an impact through what I do?
    • If I had limited money and time, what would I be doing?

    In short, by asking ourselves questions, we allow ourselves to think bigger than we normally would so that we also come up with answers that reach beyond our current circumstances or skillsets.

    2) Write down your goals

    In a study about goal setting, conducted by Gail Matthews, participants were divided into five groups.

    • Group 1 (the control group) was asked to do nothing else;
    • Group 2 had to write down their goals on paper;
    • Group 3 had to write down their goals and add actionable commitments;
    • Group 4 had to do the same as Group 3 but also tell a friend about their goals.
    • Group 5 was asked to additionally ask to send this friend a weekly progress report.

    After a month the groups were asked to report on the percentage of goals that they had achieved, and these were the results.

    • Group 1 – 43%
    • Group 2 – 61%
    • Group 3 – 51%
    • Group 4 – 64%
    • Group 5 – 76%

    In other words, writing your goals down makes a big difference with regards to the likelihood of following through with them. So now that you have asked yourself some powerful questions, write down 3-5 big goals from key areas of your life, like health, business, relationships, finances, family, travel, hobbies, and spirituality.

    I usually choose ONE main goal and several secondary goals for each year, and then write them down as if I have already achieved them, like for example:

    • I am a bestselling author.
    • I feel fitter and more energized and ever before.
    • I make my wife smile every single day.
    • I earn XXX per year.
    • I wake up feeling enthusiastic and excited every morning.

    Productivity expert Michael Hyatt recommends you not only write down your goals but makes them extremely visible by for example placing them next to your computer screen, in your wallet and any other place you are likely to see them frequently. In addition, he recommends you review them daily and asking yourself:

    What is the next step I need to do towards achieving my goal?

    3) Visualize your dreams

    By asking powerful questions, we gain clarity of what it is we really want. Next, we need to attach positive emotions towards these big goals. In this way, we program our brain to seek the rewards of a better life, and gradually connect our goals to our future identity.

    Now here is the problem:

    Like a thermostat, our brain creates a set point of what we think is possible for us in key areas of our life. These beliefs are the result of past experiences and past conditioning.  Based on our internal feedback, our brain sorts out the 400 billion bits of information we pick up every single second, and filters out around 2000 items that shape our habits, thoughts, and expectations.

    Since most of our behavior is automatic, we are usually not aware of the invisible programs that run our lives. This is why we get so frustrated when we fail to achieve our desired outcomes, despite our incredible efforts.

    The good news is that our brain also has kind of a search engine called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which can help us find opportunities, people, and resources needed to obtain our goals if we program it to do so.

    So how can we activate our RAS?

    From the world of sport, we know about the power of visualization.

    For example, in a study by psychologist Alan Richardson with basketball players it was found that just by visualizing free throws for 20 consecutive days, participants were able to improve almost as much as another group that practiced for the same duration.

    As Golf star Jack Nicklaus once said:

    “I never hit a shot — not even in practice- without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head.”

    Does this mean we can be successful without doing taking real action and by simply visualizing our goals?

    Of course not!

    But it does mean we can program our mind to help us increase the odds of achieving our dreams, by attaching positive emotions and outcomes to our hard work.

    For example, when I speak to young ambitious tennis players, I ask them to vividly visualize themselves winning a big event and running into the stands to hug their team, family, and friends. I want them to feel the joy and excitement that such a moment of success would trigger.

    One of the reasons why visualizations are so powerful is because our RAS can pass on information from our conscious brain to our non-conscious brain. As it is not able to distinguish reality from fantasy, we can, therefore, upgrade our expectations related to our goals, which our RAS then passes on to our non-conscious mind.

    Over time, we not only start believing in our abilities to accomplish our goals but also start building up the desire and persistence to follow through with them.  This is how we literally reset our inner thermostat!

    IMPORTANT TIP: To get the best results, gradually increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of your visualizations. In other words, the more often you picture your future, the longer this practice lasts, and the stronger you capture the experiences with all your senses, the more you are programming yourself towards accomplishing your goals. This is why I do a short visualization every evening before I go to sleep.

    Action Step:

    Once a week, ideally on weekends, find a quiet place where you will be undistracted. You can sit somewhere quiet by yourself, go for a walk, or find a secluded place to chill. Dedicate half an hour to really become clear about what it is you want from your life.

    Think about questions like these:

    1. Who do I want to be?
    2. What do I want to achieve?
    3. What relationships do I want to experience?
    4. What skill do I want to master?
    5. What kind of impact do I want to have towards, friends, family, clients and other people around me?
    6. How will I feel having achieved these goals?

    Next, write your 3-5 main goals down and review them on a regular basis.

    Finally, spend some time everyday visualizing yourself living both a successful and fulfilling life. Try to experience the emotions of joy and satisfaction that accomplishing your big goals would give you, in as much detail as possible. Also, think about the obstacles you may face and how you would overcome them.

     

    B) How to make more progress in 30 days than most people do in a year.

    “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” — Benjamin Franklin

    The big challenge for high performers is that we need to combine having big dreams with creating actionable steps that get us started. Now that we have spent time thinking about our long-term goals, we can work towards tangible results.

    So take a minute to imagine having a system that would guarantee that you will achieve your biggest business goal.

    • How would that change your life?
    • And how confident would that make you feel about pursuing other big ambitions?

    Well, that is what you will have in a few minutes.

    Let me give you the 5 steps of what I call “The Monthly Challenge”. If you follow these steps, you will suddenly tick off big goals that have caused you big headaches in the past.

    Step 1: Choose your main project:

    Many people overwhelm themselves with too many big ambitions. However, what makes high performers so different is that they invest disproportionate time and effort to achieve a very specific goal. Instead of trying to do lots of things, they focus on the important ones.

    I want you to do the same and choose an important challenge that will seriously impact your career — this will be your main project.

    I am not saying you should have no other things going on in your life. Instead, the idea is that you must give your utmost to complete this project, which will hopefully then open the door to then working on something even bigger.

    As Gary Keller says in his book The One Big Thing, ask yourself:

    “What is the one thing, that by doing it will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

    So depending on what you do, this could mean:

    • Performing at your best at a competition.
    • Writing a book.
    • Creating a marketing strategy.
    • Becoming super productive so you have more time for yourself or your family.
    • Getting into the best shape of your life.

    Step 2: Define your key steps

    Now that we have chosen your main project, we want to define the key stepping stones to successfully completing it. You want to make sure you focus on working on the most important activities in your business, or the key skills of your sport or art.

    For example, if you want to start your own profitable online business, these steps would probably include:

    1. Choosing your niche.
    2. Building your audience.
    3. Creating a product.
    4. Developing a sales funnel.
    5. Connecting to other influencers of your niche.

    As a professional tennis player, you may break down your key skills into:

    1. Improving your technique
    2. Becoming fitter.
    3. Working on your mental skills.
    4. Playing more tournaments.
    5. Strength and flexibility training.

    If you don’t know what these steps are, look at someone who has achieved what you are going for, and list the skills that helped them get there. If you still struggle, try talking to them, or if that is not possible, get a coach, read books, or find any other resources that will allow you to pinpoint the skills you need.

    Your goal is to really narrow down your project into 4-5 steps that would allow you to complete it successfully.

    Step 3: Monthly Challenges

    Next, set a deadline for your project.

    This could be in 3 months, 6 months, a year, or in 4 years if you are preparing for the Olympics. Then, break down this period into monthly challenges. If this is difficult, start with your first monthly challenge.

    Remember though that each challenge is geared towards progressing completing one of your key steps to accomplishing your project.

    For example, for your online business, this could mean writing a guest post, attracting 1000 new subscribers or generating 50k in income. For an athlete, it may mean reaching a certain ranking, qualifying for a specific competition, or getting into the best shape ever.

    Once you have defined your monthly challenge, I want you to break it down into four weekly goals.

    To achieve your weekly goal, you may need help, like a coach, mentor or friend. Or you may need to research how to complete it so that you experience the progress that you are seeking. The good news is that the more you need to stretch your comfort zone to complete your weekly goal, the bigger the breakthroughs will be that you enjoy.

    Remember, it is your short term pain that will trigger long-term gains. 😉

    However, by regularly completing weekly goals, you will be evoking lots of positive emotions that will help you build the kind of confidence you need to pursue your big dreams.

    Step 4: Track your progress

    Business advisor and big performance expert Todd Herman argue that while athletes know their “playing field” and enjoy instant feedback thanks to their results, many entrepreneurs struggle to track the impact of their activities. This is how they waste lots of time on things that do not contribute to achieving greater levels of success.

    To avoid working on the wrong low impact activities, you want to spend at least half an hour at the end of each month to review your progress for the last 30 days, by asking yourself questions like these:

    • What worked well?
    • What can be improved next month?
    • What have I learned?
    • What can I do differently?
    • What can I eliminate from my schedule?
    • How can I reach out to help me?

    Then re-plan your coming month so that you can be sure that you will experience the progress you desire.

    Step 5: Celebrate your wins

    If you achieved your monthly challenge, well done!

    Make sure you celebrate and reward yourself.

    We talked about this in Chapter 1, but it is something too many people forget. When we reward ourselves for being productive, we stimulate our brain to continue supporting our new habits.  Since achieving your monthly goals is a big deal, I want you to be a bit more extravagant in the way you celebrate than with your tiny little habits. This could mean going to your favorite restaurant, treating yourself to a spa day or taking your family on a cool vacation.

    Remember one thing though!

    We are all humans and we suffer from setbacks. So if you didn’t quite complete your monthly challenge, don’t be too hard on yourself.

    We are all humans and we suffer from setbacks. So if you didn’t quite complete your monthly challenge, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, think about what you could do better in the coming month and then recommit to your last monthly challenge. By continuously optimizing your performance system and tailoring it to your specific needs you will become more productive than ever.

    Action Step:

    Introduce a 30-daychallenge for the coming month and follow the 5 steps outlined above.

     

    C) The simple strategy that you can use to finish work by 4-pm every day (and get more done than ever before).

    “If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive—no matter how skilled or talented you are.” — Cal Newport

    In this section, I want to teach you how you can become so productive that you will be working less, instead of more. Finally, you will be able to combine professional success with a vibrant personal life.

    Let me share with you a strategy from the world of high performance that has served academics, business stars, and world class athletes. It is based on the idea that we need to work smarter and not harder.

    In his book, Deep Work, Cal Newport argues that three groups of people will thrive in the years to come.

    • Investors with deep pockets;
    • High-skilled workers who are good at working with intelligent machines.
    • Superstars who are the best at what they do.

    To achieve the latter two, Newport argues that we need to possess both the ability to learn complicated things quickly, as well as the ability to produce on command at an elite level. Newport rightly suggests that this is only possible for people who are able to focus intensely without succumbing to distractions. He calls this “deep work”.

    But here is your big opportunity:

    Deep work is rare, and it is increasingly valuable.

    This is the simple reason why you can outperform your competition regardless of what you do. And it is a skill that will help you experience more joy and fun with your friends and family.

    And the best part is this:

    To optimize our Deep Work, we must schedule lots of free time and allow ourselves to recharge our batteries. We also want to give our mind the opportunity to switch off, wander and process the day- funnily this is when we often experience some of our best breakthrough ideas, which is why people often experience their “Eureka” moments while taking a shower or in the bathtub.

    In other words, as ironic as it might sound, working too much can actually harm your productivity. In fact, it is highly likely that you will become more successful in your business or career if you stop working at a specific time, like say 4-pm — provided of course that you have done some serious Deep Work by then. The rest of the day is then free for you to rest, relax and enjoy yourself.

    How cool is that?

    Let me make four suggestions that will help you fulfill the dream to stop working by 4-pm while possibly becoming more productive than ever:

    1) Introduce Power Blocks

    You already have a clear picture of your big project, your monthly challenge, and your weekly goal. Now I want you to dedicate 90 minutes to what Newport calls Deep Work and Ericsson calls Deliberate Practice. I call it your daily Power Blocks.

    During a Powerblock I want you to work on ONE activity that will seriously move you towards your weekly goal. For an athlete, it will be practicing a specific skill, while for a businessman it might mean setting time aside to work on strategic aspects of his work.

    This sounds simple but isn’t easy at all:

    Most people love spending their time switching from one urgent and often unimportant task to the next. This makes them feel busy without doing the kind of work that could help them experience real breakthroughs.

    Instead of doing the same mistake that most people do, I want you to take regular time in which you are free from distractions to push yourself towards completing a meaningful activity that really matters to you, something that will move your business or career forward and is a legitimate priority for your monthly challenge.

    Follow these guidelines and you will experience transformational Power Blocks:

    WHERE: Find a quiet place where you can enjoy 90 minutes free from distractions. If this is too long, start with 60-minute blocks, or 45-minute blocks. Create an environment that will allow you to perform at your best.

    WHEN: Ideally do your first Powerblock as early as possible, BEFORE you check your emails, and your daily hassles take over. Several studies have confirmed that by checking your email within the first hour of your morning, you are sacrificing 30% of your weekly productivity. You don’t want to do that.

    WHAT: Work on the ONE important task that will move your business or profession forward the most. Usually, this is something that takes creativity and effort and that is something no one else can do for you.

    HOW: Practice to become super productive and eliminate any distractions. I do this by committing to my ONE activity and giving myself the sole alternative to sitting at my desk doing nothing during that time. An athlete will commit to an uninterrupted practice session. Plan your activity BEFORE you start your block and stick to it. You don’t want to lose time switching from activity to activity. In other words, no emails, phone calls or anything else that could get me off track.

    Once you have completed your Powerblock, give yourself at least 10 minutes to relax and chill, before you switch to your next task. You have really pushed yourself and your mind and body deserve a few minutes to chill, and doing something that evokes pleasurable emotions (more on that in the next chapter).

    2) Say “no” more often

    In order to work less, you need to value your time more. This means preventing other people’s agendas from robbing your productive working time.

    The only way you can do this is by saying “no” more often and eliminating false obligations from your schedule that don’t really serve your big ambitions. If this sounds difficult then remember that every time you say “yes” to someone, you are actually saying “no”  to so many other things that probably are more important in that moment.

    Let me give you an example:

    I used to schedule long meetings with any person I wanted to speak to. Now I have reduced my meetings to a minimum, and say “no” unless I really see a need for face time. I try to resolve as much as I can over the phone with people as it saves everyone lots of time.  In addition, if possible, I schedule all my meetings on the same weekday, usually in 30-minute windows, so that we don’t waste any time. This shift by itself has saved me hours every week.

    The best way to reduce your commitments is by reviewing your weekly schedule at the beginning of the week and then eliminating any meetings and unnecessary obligations that seem unnecessary.

    Look at your schedule by asking yourself:

    “Is this a high impact activity?”

    If it is not, either eliminate the task or think about why you still want to keep it, being mindful about the stories you might be telling yourself to justify that task.

    4) Stop working at 4-pm

    Let’s be honest.

    Most of us could structure our day so we can progress our needle movers AND finish our working day by 4-pm. Yet it seems that only selected artists and athletes allow themselves to use their late afternoons to rest, relax and have fun.

    The reason I say this is because the kind of work we usually do in the late afternoon or evening is not the kind of Deep Work that will propel our business or career forward- most of us feel a bit tired by then and are not as productive as during the earlier part of the day.

    This is not difficult to plan. Just think about how much quality deep work you can do before exhausting yourself:

    Most of us are capped at around 3-4 hours of high-intensity work before feeling exhausted and tired, which we could easily complete in the mornings. That leaves us with a few more hours to finish other daily tasks.

    So all we need to do is reduce our “shallow work” as much as possible during the day and eliminate it all together once we arrive home from work.

    By setting a deadline for 4-pm, we are forced to plan our day carefully, rush through mundane tasks, and secure plenty of quality time for ourselves and our families.

    And here is another big benefit.

    By ensuring that you stop working at 4-pm, you will have plenty of time to refresh your mind and return back the next day feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. You will be surprised how much more high quality work you will be doing in less time.

    So how do you best finish your day, especially if you haven’t completed everything you wanted to do?

    Newport proposes we spend the last 15 minutes each day with what he calls a strict “Shut Down Ritual.” During this time, we want to plan how we will complete and schedule any unfinished work in the coming days. By doing so, we eliminate what scientists call the Zeigarnik effect, whereby our mind keeps thinking about incomplete work.

    Action Step:

    Plan your week in advance and schedule daily Power Blocks.

    Eliminate any meetings and obligations that are not absolutely necessary, so that you can ensure you finish your working day by latest 4-pm.

     

    D) How to turn anxiety and boredom into excitement, even when things aren’t going your way.

    “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” — Marc Anthony

    We all strive to do well in our businesses.

    However, success without happiness is worthless — after all, what would all the money in the world mean to you without experiencing positive emotions and flourishing relationships?

    This reminds me of one of my favorite stories about a Fisherman and a Businessman written by Mark Albion:

    A young businessman was at the pier of a small coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Seeing several large yellowfin tuna inside the small boat, the wealthy businessman complimented the fisherman on the quality of the fish and asked how long it took to catch them. “Only a little while”, the fisherman replied.

    A little surprised, the young businessman asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The content fisherman said, “This is enough to support my family’s immediate needs. I don’t need anymore.” “But what do you do with the rest of your time?” asked the confused young man. “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a walk with my wife, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my buddies; I have a full and busy life.”

    The lad scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

    The fisherman asked, “How long will this all take?” to which the young man replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then?” The businessman laughed and said “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

    “Millions, sir? Then what?”

    “Then you would retire, move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a walk with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your buddies.”

    Okay, after reading this story you might think I am against the idea of becoming wealthy — that is not the case.

    Instead, I am suggesting that since we are already spending so much time at working, let’s also enjoy what we do.

    In fact, to be a high performer we want to succeed beyond the standard norms of our industry, and over the long term. This requires the kind of persistence that is only possible when we love what we are doing.

    Which brings me to the million dollar question:

    Why do most of us struggle to find joy in our day to day lives?

    This is a philosophical debate that we all need to answer for ourselves.  But let me give you a starting point that has helped me enhance the way I feel.

    Over the years I realized something paradoxical about happiness.

    On the one hand, successful people all have big goals — and this is a good thing as they drive us forward and move us towards taking action.

    At the same time though, people who really love what they do are often detached from specific outcomes. This is what allows them to enjoy the pursuit of their goals as much as their achievements, and ultimately makes them feel happy most of the time.

    Without a doubt, we want to have long-term goals and commit ourselves towards achieving them. At the same though we must remember that we can’t control whether we will win a tournament, close a big deal or win an Oscar — all we can do is give our very best and learn from setbacks so that we constantly improve ourselves and move towards our big dreams.

    When we expect a specific outcome, we get very frustrated as soon as things don’t go exactly as planned and keep chasing one goal after the other whenever we are successful. This is a setup that predestines us for disappointments.

    For example:

    • We become obsessed how much we want to earn.
    • We focus on winning competitions.
    • We depend on what other people think about us.
    • We ruminate about missed opportunities.

    The reason our expectations often make us feel miserable is because we can’t control our outcomes. What we can control though is our attitude and how we respond to different situations.

    Dan Pink proposes we have to satisfy three needs that we can all control, in order to feel truly motivated in our profession:

    First, we all want to excel and strive for Mastery. This is how we can learn the kind of nuances and expertise that will allow us to continuously feel excited about what we do.

    The problem for most people according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, best-selling author of the book Flow – the psychology of optimal experience, is that they are either too stressed or too bored in their work and therefore rarely feel fully engaged with what they do

    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow Channel, Adapted from 1990 Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

    To perform at our best, without ever losing interest, we want to continuously push ourselves, without feeling overwhelmed and burned out. We do this by taking on challenges that are neither too easy nor too difficult. This is how we experience what he calls “flow”.

    Second, we want to experience a sense of Autonomy.

    In other words, we want to have some say in whatever we are doing. For example, in a study by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan of workers at a bank, they found that by employees enjoyed higher job satisfaction and better job performance when they were given choice over how to do things and meaningful feedback as well as encouragement.

    Finally, Pink proposes we need to experience a sense of Purpose to feel motivated to perform at our best.

    The purpose here can mean finding something beyond self-interest and helping millions of people, but it is sufficient if a person contributes in any meaningful way.

    For example, Amy Wrzesniewski studied janitors at a hospital and found that some saw their work as merely a job, others as a career with prospects to increase their income over time. However, she also noticed there was a third group who saw their profession as a calling. These janitors believed they were making a difference to the patients by contributing towards their well-being, for example by spending more time with patients and ensuring that they lived in good conditions. They were also much happier and more motivated than their colleagues.

    By knowing why we want to achieve a goal, we are able to generate the kind of joy and excitement that will help us persist even when things don’t go exactly our way. And that is a key to being both happy and successful.

    With this in mind, I want you to think about WHY accomplishing the project you chose in section b is so important to you.

    Going through the following questions will help you:

    1. What are the extrinsic benefits of accomplishing my Project?
      Think of all the tangible benefits you will enjoy from achieving your Project. We all want to feel we are working towards something, whether this is our dream house, a dream body, a promotion or some other extrinsic goal, and there is no reason to feel guilty about this. So what is it you are after?
    2. What intrinsic benefits will my Project bring me?
      While things like money and fame can be motivating, they are not fully satisfying. This is because each time you achieve an extrinsic goal, you instantly adjust and seek more. After all, we all get used to what we acquire very quickly and also find new people to compare ourselves with. So think of a deeper reason why this project means so much to you. Maybe it will help you provide for your family, allow you to feel more confident, grow as a human being, make your wife proud, or give you the opportunity to impact millions of people.Take a moment to think about this.
    3. How can I enjoy the process of working towards my big Project?
      Time flies, and if we only enjoy results, we will be depriving ourselves of the many amazing moments we could be experiencing throughout our journey. So take a moment and think about how you can find the right balance between challenging yourself without feeling overwhelmed or bored and feel more engaged and inspired on a daily basis.
    4. Does this Project seem worthwhile and attainable to me, considering the other things I could be pursuing?
      Do you really believe you will experience benefits within what you consider reasonable time? Or could you be spending your time doing better things right now? Consider learning new skills and developing as a person as rational reasons that could justify your Project. Remember also that you must be ready to delay your urge for instant gratification if you want to achieve something exceptional with your career.

    Action Step:

    Spend time thinking about why your Project is so important to you, and how you can create the kind of passion that will allow you to give your best, every single day.

    Download your free guide

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  • Chapter 3

    How to live life full of energy and enthusiasm so that you will find the power to make your big goals come true

    Top achievers understand a very important high-performance secret.

    While we only have limited time, we can constantly increase how energized and inspired we feel. This is how the very best professionals are able to multiply their productivity while feeling relaxed, rested and rejuvenated.

    In this chapter, I will teach you how you too can feel more energized than ever while performing at your best on a consistent basis without stressing yourself out. I will also show you how to include lots of pleasurable moments into your busy schedule so that you will become a happier individual.

     

    A) How to never feel overwhelmed stressed or burned out again.

    “Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day and it’s something that it doesn’t get a day off.” — Demi Lovato

    Roger Federer took off 6 months last year to rest his body and recover from some of the injuries that had been nagging him. Many thought he was close to the end of his career. However, he surprised the sports world when he immediately won his premier Grand Slam in years.

    All of a sudden, at the age of 35, he now seems nowhere close to the end of his career.

    Injury trouble: Federer receives attention during his Wimbledon semi-final against Milos Raonic

    Throughout his career, Federer appreciated the need to rejuvenate his body and mind so that he was able to show up feeling inspired, focused and enthusiastic wherever he went. In fact, one of the biggest high-performance secrets is that in order to perform consistently for the long run, we need to prioritize recovery time.

    This is something athletes understand, but many business people and entertainers forget.

    Why is recovery so important?

    Well, to perform at our best, we often have to endure lots of stress. The truth is that stress is neither good nor bad — stress is simply chemicals telling us we are facing an immediate challenge or threat. In fact, brief surges of stress hormones are beneficial to us, as they motivate us to give our best and get things done. This is how stress helps us be productive and successful.

    But here is the danger:

    When we experience stress, our brain releases adrenaline and noradrenaline, increasing our heart and breathing rate, metabolic rate, blood pressure and blood flow to our muscles. This survival mode originally served to protect our ancestors from dangers.

    However, over time, when our stress levels persist for too long and too intense, the symptoms of overuse will wear us out. This is when stress becomes toxic and we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and often frustrated.

    As a result, we perform below our capabilities and also don’t enjoy what we are doing.

    Therefore, we must make it a habit of taking time off to rest and reviving ourselves. This must happen in multiple ways.

    Let me show you three layers of recovery time that will instantly help you feel more rested and revived.

    1) Daily basis

    Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz explain in The Power of Full Engagement that we want to approach our high-performance tasks, in the same manner like a sprinter approaches a race, giving our very best for short periods of time, and then allowing ourselves to rest.

    In other words, high performance comes from pushing ourselves as much as we can and then allowing ourselves to rest. We do this by designing a lifestyle that is based on expanding and renewing energy in all the key areas of your life.

    Most people do exactly the opposite:

    They approach life as if they are running a marathon, but one with no ending in sight. No wonder so many people feel caught up in a never-ending rat race which leaves them feeling exhausted, depleted and even burned out. It is similar to overusing a muscle until it leads to an injury.

    Eventually, these people end up being less productive and of course also less satisfied and happy with their lives, sometimes even harming their health and wellbeing.

    Regardless if you are an entrepreneur, athlete or entertainer, you want to introduce short breaks at least every 90 minutes and definitely between your Power Blocks. During these recovery moments, try to avoid doing things that exhaust you, like checking emails or answering phone calls. Instead, spend 5-10 minutes on stretching yourself, taking a short walk, or even just to tune in with your breathing.

    You may think it is weird to need to pay attention to your breathing, but this can be a powerful way to quickly feel recovered and energized– breathing triggers a natural relaxation response through which we remove our attention from energy draining activities like thinking and worrying.

    See for yourself and try this:

    Breathe in and count to four, and then breathe out and count to five. Repeat this for a say minute. Notice how much more relaxed you feel.

    2) Weekly basis

    Ideally, you want to take off at least one day a week. That means no work related meetings, phone calls and emails. Instead of being busy, you want to enjoy quality time for yourself and do fun activities that make you feel rested, revived and rejuvenated.

    Obviously, everyone has different ways to fully recover.

    Let me share some suggestions that have significantly enhanced my weekends:

    • I like to switch off my computer and use my phone solely to coordinate meeting up with friends. It is amazing how much clearer I start thinking after a day of my digital diet.
    • I try and spend some time just reflecting on my week and about how I can improve the coming 7 days for the key areas of my life.
    • I spend lots of quality time with friends and family whenever possible.
    • I also love to spoil my wife and myself with a weekly massage.

    3) Periodic basis

    Top achievers work extremely hard. Surprisingly though, they are also often the ones enjoy longer and more frequent vacations than everyone else.

    Athletes, for example, usually take a longer offseason to recover, rest and then prepare for their upcoming year. At the same time, people in business and other professions also benefit immensely when taking periodic vacations.

    As JP Morgan index said:

    “I get more done in 9 months than I do in a year.”

    Many people take a little or no vacation, hoping to catch up once they take their career to the next level. Unfortunately, that is a costly mistake. AS bestselling author Shawn Anchor argues, taking time off for holidays is critical to our success as they make us feel happier and more engaged. Specifically, he suggests we plan our vacation and travel itinerary at least a month in advance, whenever possible choose a far destination and ensure we experience fun social interactions so that we return back home feeling revived and inspired.

    Within this spirit, I love to take short vacations every three months.  It is important to schedule them in advance so that I don’t keep postponing them whenever I I feel busy. It is amazing how much fresher and effective I am when I return from those getaways.

    My wife and I love to mix short trips with more adventurous outings, relaxation holidays and romantic escapes. Sometimes we go abroad, and other times we travel somewhere close to our hometown. The key for us is to get out of our usual work week routine.

    This is us having fun in Japan.

     Action Step:

    Make sure you get enough recovery time on a daily, weekly, periodic basis.

    Schedule your recovery time in advance and plan your next vacation now, so that you ensure that you will give yourself a few days to completely switch off from your daily hassles.

     

    B) The one habit you have to get right in order to show up at your best every single day.

    “Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” — Thomas Dekker

    If I good give you one piece of advice to feel better and perform bigger, it would be very simple:

    Sleep more!

    Yet, one of the biggest challenges high performers have is that they don’t get enough sleep. They think they are so busy that they end up going to bed way too late.

    The truth is that being exhausted inhibits your ability to perform at your best. Our body and mind need sleep to fully recover from a long day and process the many experiences we lived through.

    And despite what many of us think, study after study confirm that almost everyone needs at least 7-8 hours of good sleep a day.

    So what can you do?

    Step 1: Prioritize sleep

    Make sure you are aware how important it is to get enough sleep. Without appreciating its importance, I can give you tons of advice and it won’t make a difference.

    So take a minute and think of a time when you felt well rested and fully energized — how much more productive and influential where you?

    Step 2: Commit to 8 hours sleep and create a bedtime routine

    Eight hours sleep may seem impossible at first. However, if you think about it and make a priority, you will find solutions:

    Start by going to sleep half an hour earlier each week, until you finally reach at least 8 hours. You may struggle with this initially — going to sleep isn’t easy, and it is the time of the day you have the least energy left. What really helps is to set up reminders for when you want to retreat to your bedroom and track your sleeping times in a blog. In this way, you will get a sense if you are moving towards getting enough sleep.

    In this way, you will get a sense if you are moving towards improving your sleeping times.

    Getting enough sleep is only half the deal. We also want to ensure that we are enjoying quality sleep by introducing a nighttime ritual that gets you feeling more relaxed before bedtime.

    After a busy day, it takes a conscious effort to slow down your mind so that you stop thinking about all the things you have experienced during the day. However, it is so worth it because you will sleep much better than ever before.

    I would start with going to sleep at the same time every evening and following a similar pre-sleep routine. This could mean brushing your teeth, reading a book on a sofa close to your bed, and then getting into bed at say 10-pm. In this way, you condition your brain to get ready to sleep way before you close your eyes.

    At first, this may sound extremely boring. However, once you automatically start waking up feeling more energized and fresh, you will love your new sleeping schedule. And it will help you be so much more productive.

    Let me share with you my night routine:

    • Around 7:00-pm: One of us puts our baby to sleep. This takes time as we have a nighttime routine for him as well.
    • 7:45-8:30-pm: Quality time with my wife.
    • Then I usually take a hot shower.
    • After my shower, I do a short meditation to calm my mind.
    • I continue with reading something inspirational.
    • Once I close my eyes, I reflect on my day and some of its highlights for a few minutes. I also think of five things I am grateful for.
    • By 9:30-10:00-pm I usually fall asleep.

    IMPORTANT TIP: We all have bad nights from time to time. So if you feel exhausted or tired, you may need to give yourself a short break in the afternoon for a power nap.

    Step 3: Create your sleep sanctuary

    I have a huge projector in my bedroom and used to love falling asleep while watching TV-no wonder that I would often wake up in the middle of the night.

    Watching TV definitely affects the way you sleep. But if you must, do it outside your bedroom, and enjoy something lighthearted and funny that will have a positive impact on your sleep.

    In addition try to create a pleasant atmosphere in your bedroom that will stimulate rest and sleep, especially before bedtime. This does not need tone complicated.

    You can do simple things like having candles in your bedroom, or dim the lights at least an hour before you sleep.  To maximize the quality of your sleep, I also suggest you avoid eating in your bedroom, darken the room with curtains and find your ideal sleeping temperature.

    Action Step:

    Make sure you increase your sleeping time by at least 30 minutes this week, in case you don’t yet sleep 7-8 hours. Also, introduce your personal bedtime ritual.

     

    C) 6 minutes that will make you so inspired each morning that you’ll be driven and motivated for the rest of the day.

    “By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.” — Hal Elrod

    Wouldn’t you love to wake up feeling fresh and alive every morning?

    I know I did before I discovered morning routines. Until then, I would dread my alarm clock and get up feeling grumpy and tired.

    However, by introducing a few habits every morning I was able to boost my energy level and become so productive in the mornings that I often have lots of free time in the afternoon to do whatever I please.

    I now wake up between 5:00-6:00-am, before my family is up, and this is what my current morning ritual looks like this:

    • I drink a glass of water when I wake up.
    • 20 minutes of inspirational reading.
    • 10 minutes of visualizing my biggest life goals as well as the outcomes I desire for my day.
    • 10 minutes stretching and moving my body.
    • 5 minutes of saying affirmations to myself.
    • 5 minutes for a cold shower before my son wakes up.
    • 10 minutes of planning my day and setting clear intentions as to what it is I want to achieve.

    Of course, if you have never done a morning routine before, then spending one hour may feel a bit overwhelming. However, even just a few minutes can make a big difference.

    In fact, let me share with you Hal Elrod’s “6-minute Miracle Morning which he summarizes with the acronym LIFE SAVERS:

    All you need to do is get out of bed, drink some water, and then go to a place where you can do the following six habits, each for one minute:

    • Silence time: Just spend one minute sitting in stillness, observing your breath, and feeling deeply relaxed. Notice any thoughts that may pop up, as if you were observing them as a bystander.
    • Affirmations: Say out loud to yourself a positive statement like “I feel excited and happy and can’t stop smiling”, while actually experiencing those emotions and expressing them with your physiology.
    • Visualization: Spend one minute picturing you accomplishing a big goal for the day or for the coming month. This could be you succeeding in business, spending quality time with your family or winning an important competition.
    • Exercise: Subject to your health condition, spend one-minute doing jumping jacks and getting you to feel awake and alive. Or alternatively spend this time stretching.
    • Reading: Spend one minute to read something inspirational and uplifting.
    • Scribbling: For the last minute, write down into a journal any thoughts or feelings you wish to express. Alternatively, you can also just plan out your day in your head so that you know what your big goals are.

    Over time you can extend your morning routine and focus on the activities you enjoy most and the ones that will help you feel energized and fresh for a fulfilling day.

    Action Step:

    Introduce the 6-minute morning routine into your schedule for at least a week, and then tailor it to your specific needs and time constraints.

     

    D) How to escape the afternoon slump and stay productive and energized all day long.

    “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F Kennedy

    Many years ago I discovered a young, talented kid that I would manage for many years. He went on to become the third best tennis player, but more often than not, struggled to perform at his best in grueling long matches. In fact, this was a key obstacle to beating his main rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and winning more Grand Slam tournaments.

    Until one day, after losing another Grand Slam final, he finally had enough. On that day, Novak Djokovic decided to transform his life.

    From his diet to his fitness regime, he changed his daily routines to make him not only one of the fittest athletes but also the best tennis player in the world for many years to come.

    Novak Djokovic while working his core muscles

    Djokovic understood that being physically fit is the foundation to becoming a true warrior, as everything else becomes so much easier once we feel good in our bodies.

    If you don’t agree, just think about this for a second:

    Imagine you receive a new car with the condition that it needs to last for your whole life. How would you maintain and take care of it?

    That question changed my life:

    Our body is that car: We only get one and it needs to last all our life…

    Therefore I suggest you commit to making this your healthiest year possible.

    Thankfully, a few lifestyle changes can already make a huge difference to your wellbeing, and this really does not need to be that difficult. In fact, just by increasing our physical energy by say 20% daily, most of us will enjoy huge benefits.

    With this in mind I want to challenge you to take a minute and think about:

    • What you feel you need to do more?
    • What would you like to reduce doing?
    • What new habits could have the biggest impact on your wellbeing?

    Cool, there you go, you have just created your own personal wellness program for the coming year.

    However, if you need more ideas, let me share with you some thoughts on two important aspects of a healthy lifestyle: exercising and nutrition.

    PLEASE NOTE: That I am neither a Fitness Coach nor a Food Expert, and I can only tell you what worked for me. Definitely, speak to your doctor and a nutritionist if you are serious about really upgrading your lifestyle.

    Step 1: Commit to regular workouts

    Some of the latest research has confirmed how our body and mind are interconnected.

    For example, working out on a regular basis helps us:

    • Overcome stress and feelings of pressure.
    • Feel more confidence and self-esteem.
    • Alleviate depression.
    • Reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
    • Improving our sleep.
    • Prevent, delay or reduce effects of various diseases like Alzheimer and dementia.
    • Improve our learning abilities as exercising creates the chemicals that form new neural pathways.

    In fact researcher Michael Babyak argues that since it is in our nature to move and run, not exercising is equivalent to taking a depressant! He conducted a study in which he treated three groups of depressed clients, in three different manners.

    • The first group was instructed to exercise at least 3 times a week for the course of the research.
    • The second group was given medication, and;
    • The third group received both medication and the instructions to work out.

    The result was that 60% of all the participants felt better by the end of the study. As expected, the exercise group needed a bit longer until they experienced improvements to their well-being. However, the most interesting part of this study came from analyzing the relapse rate to feeling depressed, 6 months after the study:

    Surprisingly, only 9% for the exercise group relapsed, compared to 38% for medication group and 31% for group exercise/ medication group.

    This study does of course not mean there is no need for medication. Rather, it serves to show how exercising can really help us overcome feelings of depression.

    So even if you are not an athlete, I still recommend you to exercise at least 3-5 times a week for an hour if possible.

    For high performers, endurance training is especially important as it increases our ability to focus and push ourselves beyond our comfort zone.

    Remember, before starting any new physical activity, please speak to your physician or doctor to make sure that you choose a workout program that suits your personal needs.

    With that in mind, let me share some ideas how you could combine doing cardio workouts with some kind of bodybuilding training.

    • I recommend at least two workouts of an hour, doing cardio. This could be taking a fun class like for example the Kickbox workout I do.
    • I also suggest you aim for 20-30 minute weight lifting sessions a week. If you can, use a trainer at least initially and focus especially on strengthening your core muscles.
    • Always remember to warm up before and stretch after your workouts.
    • Walk whenever you can in your daily life.
    • Introduce fun sports activities and hobbies into your weekly schedule.
    • Be creative whenever possible: for example, reduce the use of the elevator, travel by bike etc.
    • Daily stretching is important: muscle flexibility can help prevent injuries and can also help reduce tensions.
    • If possible, create variety: for example, mix up the way you do your cardio training by attending different classes.

    Step 2: Become a more conscious eater

    In a study of the Ben-Gurion University and Stanford University, researchers analyzed over 1,000 parole hearings over the course of a year and found a pattern to the parole board’s decisions. They were not related to the men’s ethnic backgrounds, crimes or sentences. Instead, decisions, whether to grant parole, were all about timing.

    Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time. The reason for this was that releasing prisoners was a risky endeavor, and judges were only willing to take such decisions when they felt energized and awake, which either was in the mornings, after eating their breakfast or after their lunch breaks.

    In other words, nutrition is crucial to being a high performer, regardless if you are an athlete or someone who needs to take wise decisions. This is because we are constantly engaged in activities that require willpower. Interestingly, we barely learn about nutrition even though it’s so obvious that what we put inside our bodies will impact our lives.

    I am not an expert on nutrition, and highly recommend you see one.

    However, let me share with you what I know:

    • Drinking is crucial, and many people suggest we should drink 6-7 liters of water a day. Make sure you drink when you wake up, as the body dries up during your sleep, and make it a habit of drinking often, throughout the day.
    • I personally enjoy eating 3 main meals a day and two smaller snacks in between. The key is not to overeat and I try not to make my meals bigger than one plate full of food.
    • Schedule your dinner early in the evening and ideally latest three hours before bedtime.
    • Try to become more mindful when eating, by taking your time, and literally enjoying every meal free from too many distractions. Become more aware as to what kind of foods improves your well-being, and what food might be troubling you. Also, try to become more aware when you are hungry, and when you are full.
    • Whenever possible, eat a green based diet (i.e. fresh vegetables).
    • Remove Gluten as much as you can. If you need to eat bread, eat only multi-grained bread.
    • Avoid drinking milk and replace with for example almond milk.
    • Eliminate what I call the three whites as much as possible: These are salt, sugar, and flour.
    • Consider supplements like multivitamins, calcium, fish oil and vitamin D.
    • Educate yourself about diets, by reading books and online posts on this important topic.

    Action Step:

    Commit to making this a health conscious year by working out 2-4 times a week, subject to your doctor’s approval, and developing your personal nutrition plan.

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  • Chapter 4

    Developing the mental toughness that will make you belong to the top 3% of your industry.

    “I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.” — Michael Jordan

    In order to be successful, you need basic skills. This is a prerequisite. However, skills alone are not enough if you aim to achieve extraordinary things.

    The difference in skills between the very best compared to average performers in any field are often minimal, and yet top performers claim all the fame and financial gain.

    So what do these select few in every field do better than everyone else?

    • Is it that they work ten times harder?
    • OR are they just ten times smarter?

    Obviously, this can’t be the case. In fact, often they even work less than their peers do. What distinguishes them though is that they are mentally tougher. They perform best when it matters most and when the stakes are highest.

    Without mental toughness, we tend to avoid bigger disappointments by also avoiding challenges and isolating ourselves from opportunities that could help us raise to the next level at whatever it is that we do. In other words, deep down we will settle for what we have, instead of striving for more. This is why we end of plateauing.

    High performers, on the other hand, develop the kind of mental toughness that enables them to trigger massive energy so that they can perform towards the upper limits of their abilities. It gives them the power to continuously get better at anything they do, while willing to handle unpleasant setbacks as part of this process.

    To become exceptional in your profession, you must become mentally tough.

    In this chapter, I will show you how to instantly nurture the kind of inner strength that will allow you to amplify your success to new levels so that you can outperform your competition.

     

    A) Transforming your fear of failure into the kind of courage that will allow you to take on ANY challenge that you face.

    “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela

    Let me start our discussion with a few questions:

    • Do you ever feel that you are hard on yourself?
    • Do you sometimes get frustrated for no major reason?
    • Does it ever happen that you can’t stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong in your business and your life?

    If so, I can calm you down.

    You are like most of us who tend to get stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts that often makes us feel miserable and hopeless.

    Our brain, which is the most powerful and amazing tool we can possess, is not really programmed to make us happy and fulfilled. Traditionally it served to keep our ancestors safe from mighty hunters by constantly scanning the world for danger.  Scientists often refer to this as our “negativity bias”.

    Luckily this instinctive response is outdated.

    Most of us no longer face daily life threatening situations. What remains is our instinctive behavior, which is why we can freak when we lose our car keys or mess up an important date. Now is it our ego that feels threatened very easily.

    Within this spirit many of us also resist change — we feel most comfortable sticking within our comfort zone rather than exploring unknown territory. This is how we protect ourselves from disappointments or embarrassments.

    If your goal is to reach new levels of success, avoiding to try out new things will not help you grow. Therefore you will have to change your perspective with regards to setbacks and failure.

    And here is the key to mental toughness:

    Your thoughts are neither true nor wrong, but they can support or harm you in the pursuit of your big dreams.

    As Henry Ford once said:

    “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”

    For example, if we constantly think that you are a failure and doomed to live a life of mediocrity, guess what happens?

    You are creating an association in your brain that links setback with an image of yourself as someone who is not able to achieve his biggest goals. And sadly, over time your beliefs will have set your limits in key areas of your life in the same manner in which a thermostat controls the temperature in a room. This is how thoughts become the kind of self-fulfilling prophecy that will prevent you from truly fulfilling your potential.

    In fact, the word mediocrity comes from the latin words Medius and Ocris. Medius means middle, and Ocric means rugged mountain. In other words, when we get stuck in the middle of the mountain and stop trying to climb to the top because we feel discouraged.

    The good news is that as much as our beliefs can harm us, we can also consciously condition them to serve us.

    Take for example the runner, Roger Bannister:

    In his time, it was considered humanly impossible to run a mile under 4 minutes. However, to the surprise of everyone, Bannister proclaimed that he would break that benchmark. He trained extremely hard, did daily visualizations, and got better from race to race. Interestingly, when he did eventually succeed, many others followed suit not long after, now that they believed this was in fact possible.

    Finally, they were able to reprogram their “unconscious sweet spot” that was holding them back.

    Beliefs determine our feelings, which then trigger us to behave in certain ways. As a result, we experience outcomes that reinforce the initial belief.

    And here comes the big high-performance secret that could change your life.

    So listen carefully!

    While most people try to avoid difficult situations and cherish comfort and convenience, top achievers embrace struggles and see them as opportunities to learn and grow. They constantly stretch their abilities in their quest for improvement.

    I already told you how my former client Novak Djokovic was stuck at being the third best tennis player behind legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal until he suddenly decided to transform his weakness — his physical health — into a strength and become the fittest player on the Tour.

    And by doing so he became the most dominant force in his the sport for several years.

    In short, top performers are willing to suffer short term pain for long term gain, by working on the key skills that will help them experience significant breakthroughs. This is how they become unstoppable.

    But here is the thing.

    We people often choose short term pleasures even though we know they will harm our productivity, health or wealth in the long run. Which brings me to one of my favorite studies, called the Stanford Marshmallow experiment, consisting of a series of tests on delayed gratification.

    This is how it worked:

    Young pre-school kids were given one marshmallow which they could either eat immediately or — if they were able to wait until the tester would return into the room (approximately 15 minutes later) — get a second one.

    The responses were amazing.

    Some kids couldn’t resist the temptation and immediately eat the marshmallow.

    But about 1/3 of the kids were able to find ways to prevent themselves from giving in to the temptation and were able to wait until the tester returned.

    See YouTube Video.

    Now here is the interesting part.

    The researchers followed the lives of the kids that took part in this experience and found that the ones that were able to delay gratification would:

    • Enjoy better school grades
    • Earn more income
    • Enjoy better relationships
    • Turn out to be more resilient
    • Less prone to negative habits and addictions.
    • Be more confident.

    So how is this relevant to you?

    Many of us like to take the path of least resistance.

    In her book, Stop Saying You’re Fine, Mel Robbins uses the snooze button as an example of the power of the mind to defeat its own best purpose by avoiding the quest to fulfill our big dreams. Instead of getting up and jumping at the chance to experience a fulfilling day, many people choose the short term convenience of staying in bed a bit longer.

    However, this behavior comes at a price.

    It is the ability to persist with our goals that will allow you to become a happier and more successful individual. If you don’t believe me, check out what Will Smith says about becoming successful:

    Cultivating a Growth Mindset

    Hopefully, I have been able to convince you that the ability to delay gratification is the secret spice to a happier and more successful life. Let me now show you three steps that will help you develop the kind of growth mindset that will really allow you to take your performance skills to the next level:

    Step 1: Reframe struggles into challenges:

    I want to share with you a study by Carol Dweck called The Effect of Praise on Mindsets in which she wanted to find out the different results school kids would enjoy from having either a Growth Mindset (the belief that we can improve our skills through effort and learning) or a Fixed Mindset (the conviction that we are the result of inborn character traits and talents).

    So she did a test that had four stages:

    First, she gave all the kids a very simple riddle.

    After they solved it, half the kids were praised for their intelligence (a fixed trait: for example by saying: “you are so smart”), while the other half were praised for their effort (a growth mindset trait: for example by saying: “you worked so hard”).

    In part two, the kids were offered either to try a harder riddle or do another easy one that they would surely manage to solve.

    Guess what?

    The vast majority of kids with a Growth Mindset chose to try the harder option, while 67% of the kids with a Fixed Mindset preferred taking the easier option.

    Next, the kids were given a riddle that was incredibly difficult — one that they would surely all fail. Carol Dweck wanted to look at how the different groups attacked this challenge.

    What she discovered was that the effort group (Growth Mindset) worked harder, longer, and actually enjoyed this test more than the intelligence group — who quickly became frustrated and gave up early.

    Finally, Carol Dweck and her team gave all of the students a test that was just as easy as the first.

    The results were pretty amazing:

    The intelligence group actually did worse on this test than they did on the first. Their average score dropped by 20%.

    In contrast, the effort group did much better. Their average score ended up increased by 30%.

    In other words, the effort group outperformed the intelligence group by 50%!

    To embrace a growth mindset, you must also consider yourself an eternal student. This is how you develop the grit that will allow you to persist working towards becoming the best at what you do.

    You can do this by regularly choosing projects that go beyond your current capabilities and skills, and that will require effort and learning to succeed. For an athlete, this may mean choosing to win a medal at the Olympics as his goal, while for a businessman it might want to learn how to improve his sales skills.

    Once you have defined your challenging project, you can then define the 3-4 key skills you would have to master to move towards your target, so that you can then develop a precise learning plan.

    This is where I sense we can learn so much from world class athletes, whose practice regimes look very different from those of amateurs and many people from other industries:

    • Their training entails considerable efforts to learn and improve. This is why they usually have coaching teams.
    • Often, they main trainer is someone who enjoyed big successes and who understands the mental pressures top performers face.

    I remember for example that when my team worked with the tennis player Andy Murray, he had already been the second best player in the world. However, he wanted to take his game to the next level and win Grand Slam events.

    So we engaged former world number one Ivan Lendl as his coach. Within a short time, Murray had won his first two Grand Slam events and later on continued to become the world’s best tennis player.

    Now Lendl didn’t initiate dramatic changes in Murray’s game. Lendl helped him develop the mindset of a Champion, while fine tuning some minor aspects of his game- and that made all the difference.

    Many entrepreneurs or business people rely on themselves, which requires lots of discipline.

    If you are on your own, let me share two suggestions that will help you push yourself on a regular basis to improve your current competencies.

    First, you need to create a personal learning curriculum to continuously improve. This might mean choosing to read 3-4 books in a month on a topic, attending courses or hiring coaches or mentors who have already achieved the goal you are after.

    Second, you must engage yourself in what Anders Ericsson, the ultimate expert on experts, calls deliberate learning.

    To find out what separated star students from everyone else, Ericsson conducted a study with violinists at a renowned school in Germany.  He discovered that there was only one criteria that determined whether a violinist would outperform everyone else in his class, namely the number of hours he spent purposefully practicing his craft.

    This was even so with the so-called “talents” who often benefited from early tuition from their parents.

    Deliberate learning includes four criteria that you want to include into your practice rituals as well, namely:

    • Being extremely intentional about what it is exactly that you want to learn. You want to be aware what skill will take you to the next level of performance.
    • Focusing 100% on learning during your practice/ learning sessions. For this purpose, use Power Blocks so that you ensure you won’t be distracted.
    • Receive feedback as to whether you have improved your skill. You can do this by setting metrics that allow you to measure your progress, or by hiring someone like a coach to objectively help you with this.
    • Constantly refining your skills and learning methods so that you continuously progress towards your big goal. In other words, continue doing what works and research new ways to learn even more effectively.

    Step 3: Transform your beliefs

    Having a Growth Mindset is so valuable as it allows us to continuously learn new skills and take on real challenges. However, ultimately, what really shapes our beliefs, is how we respond to both our successes and failures.

    Martin Seligman, a leader of positive psychology, wanted to find out what characteristic the most successful insurance salespeople had in common. Bare in mind that sales is a profession in which individuals are constantly exposed to rejection.

    Surprisingly, it was not education, gender or socio-economic criterias.

    Can you guess what it was?

    What determined successful sales people was their level of optimism and how they would interpret their successes and failures.

    From his study, Seligman concluded that optimists see the world very differently than pessimists, in at least three ways:

    1) How permanent/ temporary an event feels:

    Optimists consider disappointments as temporary setbacks from which they can bounce back quickly. At the same time, they view successes as more permanent and integrate them into their identity.

    Pessimists, on the other hand, need a much longer period to recover from failures and consider successes as more temporary and fleeting.

    2) The extent to which an event is pervasive and affects other areas of life:

    Optimists allow good events to brighten every part of their lives while considering setbacks as specific and unrelated incidents.

    Pessimists assume that a failure in one area of life means failing in life as a whole. At the same time, successes don’t really affect them that much.

    3) How personal they take events:

    Optimists attribute successes to themselves while attributing failures to others.

    Pessimists do the exact opposite and relate negative events to their own flaws while attributing successes to other people.

    In short, optimists understand one vital truth:

    We can either learn to fail or fail to learn.

    This is because what really shapes our beliefs is how we respond to both our successes and our failures.

    As one of America’s most successful inventor Thomas Edison said:

    “I failed my way to success’’

    To train yourself to become more optimistic, Seligman developed the “ABC Method”.

    This is how it works:

    Every time you experience a negative event or feel overwhelmingly challenged, go through the following steps.

    A –Adversity: Become aware when you face difficult situations.

    Example: failing with a business launch

    B – Beliefs: Notice how you interpret the event, and what beliefs it triggers.

    Example:  I am stupid, this is too hard for me.

    C – Consequences: What conclusion to you draw from that event?

    Example: I won’t try this again, it is pointless.

    D – Disputation: Search for evidence to challenge the negative thoughts from A-C. The key is to argue against your own distortions of reality.

    Here are some ways how you can do that:

    • Alternative explanation: I didn’t prepare myself properly. I launched it too early.
    • Evidence: I succeeded with other businesses.
    • Inaccuracy of belief: Am I magnifying the negativity of this event, minimizing past successes and making up stories?Just because I didn’t succeed this time, does not mean I can forget all my past successes.
    • Usefulness of beliefMakes me feel demotivated and depleted.Is there any less destructive way to look at this? For example, that I can learn from my mistakes and failing this launch that will actually help me in the long run.

    E – Energization: Once you are able to condition yourself into positive thoughts and behaviours in response to A, B-D, you will feel more energized. Suddenly you become a benefit finder.

    Remember: Beliefs are neither true nor false.

    They are nothing more than special neural patterns in our brain that have become so ingrained that they become automatic. Although they share the stories and limiting scripts we tell ourselves, we have the power to change them by developing a Growth Mindset and disputing our many irrational thoughts on a regular basis.

    Action Steps:

    Step 1: Reframe struggles into challenges

    The best way to cultivate a growth mindset is by embracing daily challenges by reframing them from a philosophical point of view. Instead of seeing them as daily hassles, you want to view them as both opportunities to solve specific problems in your life, while building the kind of character that will allow you to become your best self.

    Step 2: Commit to continuous learning.

    Think about your biggest goal right now and the most important skills you need to master to accomplish your big dream. Consider yourself like an athlete who works towards getting better every single day. Now make a plan how you will learn those skills, and who can help you in this process.

    Step 3: Transform limiting beliefs by using the ABC method

    For a week, make it a daily habit of thinking through three events or adversities a day, going through the whole ABC-process. If you don’t have time during the day, just write down specific events that trigger beliefs, and go through the process in the evening.

     

    B) Create your personal ritual that will help you show up with your A-game whenever it matters most.

    “The more exacting the challenge, the more rigorous our rituals need to be.” — Jim Loehr

    Have you ever totally messed up an important situation in which you wanted nothing more than show up at your best?

    Maybe you didn’t do well during a negotiation, made a fool of yourself at a date, panicked during up a job interview or choked during a big competition.

    I bet most of us have.

    If this has happened to you it was either because you did not prepare enough for that important occasion, or because you care too much about achieving a specific outcome.

    Without a doubt, preparation is crucial for success. However, this is not what most high performers struggle with.

    Instead, they suffer from feelings of anxiety that can cause us all so many headaches.

    And this is what I want to talk to you about so that you won’t ever need to fear facing big challenges again.

    You see, when we become really good at mastering a complex skill, our non-conscious memory takes care of most of the details of our high-performance activity. It’s like learning to drive a car, which is extremely difficult in the beginning but becomes almost automatic over time.

    What happens to many high performers though is that they try so hard to be successful that they become worried about messing up. This can create lots of stress and activate negative feelings like anger and fear — not ideal emotions to capitalize big occasions.

    This is why so many gifted people choke and mess up in big high-performance moments.

    In his book, Bounce – Matthew Syed shares a study conducted by Robert Gray in which professional baseball players were asked to swing at a moving ball. One group was asked to answer whether random background music was being played in low or high frequency. The other group had to say whether their bat was moving up or down at the instant music was being played.

    Do you think the questions affected their performance?

    Well, when asked about the frequency of the background music, the players had no problem with their performance. However, interestingly, when asked to judge if their bat was doing an up or down movement at the instance music started playing, their performance level plummeted.

    Why do you think that is?

    Syed explains that when we start contemplating about our automated skills, we start messing with our brain. The same thing happens whenever we want a specific result too much, as we suddenly start thinking of all the details related to our performance. We start hesitating to rely on our acquired skills, which Syed calls a combinatorial explosion.

    To overcome choking, high performers must have rituals that allow them to tap into their best mental state.

    This is how:

    • Athletes can train for years to win a gold medal at a 100-meter sprint race that takes less than 10 seconds.
    • Entrepreneurs feel sharpest when negotiating the deals of their life.
    • singer can show up on the stage full of enthusiasm regardless of what is going on in his life.

    The key to performing on command is that we need to prepare ourselves in advance for high-pressure situations and anticipate any obstacles that we may face on the way. We do this by exposing ourselves consistently to similar circumstances, and creating a ritual that will allow us to get into our best mental and emotional state.

    In fact, our mind is such an amazing tool and you will be surprised how easily you can shift your state.

    Let’s try this out right now:

    1. Rate your level of energy right from 1-10.
    2. Next, close your eyes and focus on increasing that rating by at least one or two spots. Focus on feeling energized, alive and positive.
    3. Give yourself another push and up your energy level by one more notch.
    4. Now rate yourself again.

    Did you feel a difference?

    How amazing is it that in just a few seconds you can upgrade how you feel!

    So imagine what you could achieve with a 5-10 minute ritual.

    Let me share some of the things you could do before pressure situations:

    1. Visualize big moments: Visualize yourself performing at your best. Try to really put yourself into the anticipated high-performance situation and imagine experiencing the thoughts and feelings that would support you most in that moment. Picture yourself feeling confident and enjoying this high-pressure situation. Also visualize yourself overcoming some of the obstacles you may face, like feeling nervous or making a mistake and then recovering to still perform at your best. The more you practice this, the more prepared you will feel, and the better you will be able to use visualizations before big moments of your life.
    2. Get yourself physically into a performance state: Create a routine that gets you into the right state to perform at your best. For example, you may want to move your body by bouncing up and down so that you get yourself feeling energized and alive. You can also add music to stimulate yourself.
    3. Focus on your breathing: You can get yourself to feel calm and relaxed by taking several slow breaths or even doing a short meditation. You can also use breathing to energize your body by using what Brendon Burchard calls breath scaling, whereby you start breathing slowing and gradually breath faster and deeper (without hyperventilating) until you feel you are ready to reduce your speed again.
    4. Integrate past success into your identity: Make sure to recall and relive past successful moments whenever you want to feel more confident.
    5. Cultivate acting skills: Start acting out the emotions you would like to be feeling during any High-Performance situation. For example, if you desire to feel confident, stand up tall, have a smile, and do anything else that makes you feel good about yourself. The goal is to simulate your best possible self.

    By creating a ritual that suits you best, and practicing it on a daily basis, you will be able to automatically trigger the right thoughts and feelings for the high-performance situations you face.

    IMPORTANT TIP: Afterburn high-performance moments: Re-visualize how the event went, by thinking about what you did well, and what you could do differently or better next time.

    Action Step:

    Create your High-Performance Ritual

    Develop your personal High-Performance Ritual and use it at least once a day, so it becomes an automatic process you can retrieve easily when it really matters.

     

    C) How to deal with those days when you’re feeling depressed and stuck, so you don’t fall off track with pursuing your dreams.

    “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

    Of course, our high-performance state only reflects one artificial side of who we really are. When it becomes too dominant, important needs stay suppressed. In addition, we may feel exhausted from constantly pushing ourselves and stretching our abilities. Therefore, we need to balance our performance state and address our true needs, on a regular basis.

    Connecting to our true needs allows us to become aware of what goes on inside our head and body, and what it is we are missing to feel at our best. This could be a physical need (i.e. exhaustion), an emotional need (lack of self-esteem), something mental (i.e. worries, distractions) or even spiritual (i.e. drive to grow and explore newness). Without addressing any of these needs, they can become chronic problems that prevent us from achieving our goals and from performing at our best.

    Addressing unmet needs:

    A problem many of us face is that we are not even aware as to what we are really missing. This is because we have learned to suppress feelings of pain and replace them through all sorts of coping mechanisms.

    For some people, this may be drinking lots of alcohol to relieve themselves from emotional stress. Others may retreat themselves to watching hours of TV. And yet others might numb their feelings by working excessively.

    Regardless of whether we are aware of our unmet needs, or not, it will be almost impossible to both perform at our best over a sustained period of time without taking good care of ourselves.

    To do so, we need to critically think about the difference of “our needs” and “our wants”. While the former refers to something that is necessary for our long-term success and happiness, the latter simply satisfies a short-term desire.

    For example, we may feel like eating junk food to help forget disappointments and creating instant gratification. Of course, we know that we are not really addressing our core feelings, and over time can be harmful. By addressing our real needs, rather than giving in to short-term wants, we lay the foundation to feeling energized and fulfilling our potential.

    In a high-performance situation, this could mean experiencing a paralyzing fear of failure that prevents us from competing against the best, speaking in front of big crowds, or applying for a dream job. Of course, we could try and suppress these feelings of negativity in the short run, but sooner or later we will succumb to the unbearable pressure, and fail if we don’t address our true needs.

    One of the key psychological obstacles I see for top athletes comes from their fixed mindset believe that they have to be perfect, in order to be successful. They often feel threatened that if they do not perform at a certain level, they will disappoint important people like parents and friends, and even lose their support.

    Limiting beliefs, combined with emotions of fear, will, of course, increase our stress level and usually prevent us from doing well. Our Amygdala, the internal warning system of our brain, will light up every time we risk failure, and shut down our cortex which is responsible for our ability to focus and stay calm. As a result, our fight, flight or freeze response kicks in, which is why we underperform.

    In order to cope with our fears in such situations, we usually then have only two choices:

    • We can try even harder to become better. For some people, this can actually work for a while, but at the price of sacrificing their joy and all their time to match all these expectations. Many others will eventually burn out.
    • Or, we may choose (invisibly) to give up and sabotage ourselves. At least we can always tell ourselves that we could have done better if we really tried. In other words, we choose to master our disappointments and settle for an ordinary life at best, rather than seeking to strive. Often, this is a reason why people procrastinate.

    Either way, we sacrifice true success which includes performing at our best and loving what we do.

    In order to become successful, we want to nurture our needs, by accepting that we are humans and not machines. We must appreciate that pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone will generate feelings of fear that we need to address in some way or another.  Once we recognize and welcome these emotions, we realize that more often than not, they are just conditioned thoughts that we can actually overcome.

    Often, there is no need to be upset or anxious. We never know how a situation might impact our future.

    This reminds me of the following fable:

    One day, the only horse of a farmer, ran away.

    His neighbours said:

    “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be very upset.”

    The man answered:

    “We’ll see.”

    A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses following.

    His neighbours said:

    “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

    The man just said:

    “We’ll see.”

    One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, who broke both his legs.

    His neighbors said:

    “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

    The man just said:

    “We’ll see.”

    The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted

    His neighbours said:

    “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

    The man just said:

    “We’ll see.”

    The moral of the story is that in the moment of disappointment, we never know what impact it will have in the long run.

    I know that when I suffer a disappointment, I love playing out various different alternatives in my head, often fearing the worst outcomes.  This can make me feel extremely restless and nervous. However, I have discovered that by expressing my concerns and feelings in some ways, I allow them to gradually dissipate.

    Let me share two ways how you can start doing this:

    IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you feel you have unresolved issues that are influencing your well-being or your performance, you should see a professional specialist to help you work through them.  The suggestions that follow are only meant to serve day to day issues that high performers face.

    1) Create your Support team

    One thing that distinguished Novak Djokovic from a very young age was that he already had a whole team around him from a young age. I remember when he played my tournament in Thailand at the age of only 17 years old, he arrived with a team of three people. Other players were mocking him but he knew that if he wanted to become the best tennis player in the world, he would need a professional team around him.

    Top performers have a support system of coaches, mentors, and close friends:

    Why do you think that is?

    Obviously, a coach or teacher can help us acquire the skills we need to become successful.

    But that is not the only reason we need to have a team.

    As a top performer, we often feel very lonely.

    Study after study confirm that the happiest and most successful people enjoy rich and fulfilling social lives — it is an important human drive to want to belong with others and create intimate relationships.

    In fact, feeling isolated can be more harmful than being a smoker, as it creates massive invisible fear that we will lack any support when we face danger. Loneliness can lead to increased blood pressure, stress and depression to name a few symptoms.

    Next, the people who surround us can influence our self-belief and hence potential.

    As Goethe once said:

    “Treat a man how he is, and he will stay the same. Treat a man how he can and should be, and he shall become as he can and should be.”

    You will be surprised how much influence the people around you can have:

    In a famous study called the Pygmalion effect, teachers were told that specific students in their class were considered extremely “talented”. In reality, these students were picked out randomly.

    What happened was that over time, the teachers created positive expectations towards the “talented” students, giving them more learning opportunities and challenges, and also praising them more? As a result, those students became the best of their class.

    Finally, coaches, mentors, friends, and spouses can push us to achieve extraordinary things that we would struggle to do by ourselves.

    They can help:

    • Create and sustain motivation.
    • Experience positive reinforcement and support.
    • Give objective feedback.
    • Stick to positive habits.
    • Become aware and more independent thinkers.
    • Help us overcome our doubts and negative thinking.

    In other words, having people who believe and support you, can make a big difference to your success and well-being.

    2) The Power of Journaling

    It is a human need to share our feelings with people we feel close to. This gives us the psychological safety of being appreciated for who we are. So if you have a trusted person you can share your dreams, passions, fears and concerns with, then you are in a great position to express yourself and refuel your energy levels.

    However, even on your own you can process your emotions and express yourself.

    In a study, James W. Pennebaker researched the benefits of journaling. For that purpose, he invited participants to spend four days writing 15 minutes each day about their most difficult experiences, ideally things they would not speak about with others.

    Specifically, they were asked to describe how they felt about them. They were also asked to analyze the events of their lives. After 4 days, the results were disappointing. The participants showed no real changes in how they felt.

    The interesting outcome of this study was that after following the participants for a year, Pennebaker found long-lasting results:

    They were now healthier and happier.

    Pennebaker’s study has shown us that the habit of journaling brings along many benefits:

    • For a start, it can be extremely helpful to write about negative events from time to time in a focused manner, rather than ruminate about them all day. Negativity is draining so we rather deal with it in a concise and structured manner.
    • Second, by expressing any negative emotions, we take out the sting from arousing feelings, so that they no longer run our lives.
    • The third benefit of journaling is that it can make us aware of unmet needs, where they come from and how we can address them. For example, we might realize it’s about time to let go from a difficult experience from the past, or that we need to forgive someone, and even ourselves, to feel more at peace with ourselves.
    • Finally, journaling helps us make sense of our life story. With the help of such self-understanding, we appreciate why we do the things we do, and can then address the causes of self-defeating behaviors so that we can finally live up to our own expectations.

    Important Tip: While it is important to write about our negative events, it is also valuable to write about positive experiences. However, we need to do this in a very different manner. When writing about difficulties, it helps to analyze events in detail. However, we do not want to do that when writing about positive experiences. It is enough to simply write about them, and maybe even relive and experience those happy moments again throughout this process.

    Action Step:

    Surround yourself with people who care about you and support your big dreams. Get a coach, mentor or close friend with whom you can share your big ambitions, desires, and fears in a very open and transparent manner and figure out how to overcome any limiting beliefs.

    In addition, journal from time to time about how you feel, in the most authentic possible manner.

     

    D) The one daily practice that will make you so mentally tough that you can overcome any obstacle that stands in your way to your success.

    “You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are.” — Norman Vincent Peale

    In a study in New Zealand, researchers checked how well kids could focus on one task without getting distracted. They then tracked them down when they were between 30-40 years of age, and found that the ability to focus was the number one predictor of success and health, before IQ, the wealth of their family, or origin.

    So how can we improve our focus?

    Well, we know that our brain is the most powerful device there is:

    It consists of over hundred billion nerve cells, with each neuron connected to thousands of other neurons. To write down all the zeros that would define the number of possible brain connections would take around 75 years.

    Our brain controls everything we do and does over quadrillion operations per second.

    This is why we work best when our brain works right.

    However, with about 60,000 thoughts going through our mind every single day, almost 95% of our behavior happens automatic for most of us.

    This is why changing our behavior can be so challenging.

    The good news is that we can all learn how to become more focused, and even consciously strengthen our brain. This is because, in contrast to what people used to think, our brain is extremely malleable, regardless of our age.

    This was demonstrated in a study led by Alvaro Pascual-Leone, half a group of volunteers learned a simple 5-finger keyboard piece, practicing it repeatedly for a week with their right hand.  The second half of participants only imagined playing the same notes.

    When the researchers measured the region of the brain that controls the fingers of the right hand, they noticed that in both groups it had expanded.  In other words, thinking alone increased the amount of space the motor cortex had devoted to the specific function of moving those fingers.

    In another study with London Taxi drivers, who are known because they have to learn the names and locations of all the streets of their city, researchers compared the brain sizes of the cabi’s before and after their training. What they found was that the part of their brain responsible for memory (Hippocampus) grew bigger over time.

    Again, by consciously memorizing locations they literally transformed part of their brains.

    MRI showing growth (left to right) of the hippocampus in taxi drivers – image courtesy of Elenour Maguire, Wellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, University College London

    With the help of focused attention, we can improve vital skills and even change the physical structure of our brain. At the same time though we must remember that we can also strengthen negative behaviors and thought patterns if we allow our mind to do whatever it wants. This is why it is so important to train our brain in the same way we would train our body.

    The practice of daily meditation:

    “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” — Old Zen Saying

    Probably the scientifically most effective way to strengthen our brain comes from the practice of daily meditation. This is how we can constantly improve our ability to pay attention, increase our brainpower and hence tap into our unlimited potential.  

    To prove this claim, a scientist called Pagnoni compared 12 Zen meditators with 12 novices who had never practiced any meditation.

    As the volunteers had their brains scanned, they were asked to focus on their breathing.

    Once in awhile they would be required to distinguish a real word from a nonsense word displayed randomly on a screen, and then asked to immediately return back to focusing on their breathing.

    The scans revealed that after being distracted, Zen meditators brains returned their attention faster back to the breathing, than the novices.

    Pagnoni concluded:

    “The regular practice of meditation may enhance the capacity to limit the influence of distracting thoughts.”

    Pagnoni then tested subject’s ability to focus using what is known as the rapid visual information processing test.

    In that task, subjects were asked to look at a computer screen while numbers flashed rapidly in random order. The goal was to press a button anytime one of three target sequences appeared.

    For example, one target sequence could be 1-3-5.

    So as the volunteers watched the numbers fly by, like for example 1-5-1-3-5, they were asked to hit a button as soon as they saw the target sequence. They had to respond quickly and avoid making mistakes to get credits.

    As expected, the meditators outperformed the novices on the task, spotting more target sequences and making fewer mistakes.

    But that is not all!

    Meditation can trigger so many other benefits in a relatively short time.

    In one study by Jon Kabat-Zinn revealed that by just meditating for 15 minutes a day, for an 8 week period, resulted in lower feelings of anxiety and better moods.

    In another study conducted with the help of the Dalai Lama, the brains of some of the most experienced meditators were scanned. The fascinating finding was that they had a much higher left to right prefrontal cortex ratio, which is one of the most objective ways to measure the degree of happiness that people experience.

    Meditation can also help us:

    • Cope better with stress.
    • Reduce symptoms of anxiety.
    • Improve our sleep and general well-being.
    • Feel happier.

    But what effect does meditation have on our ability to concentrate?

    And the best part is that meditation neither needs to be difficult, nor long.

    How to start meditating?

    Find a quiet place where you can, sit for say 5-10 minutes in the beginning.

    Take a moment to relax, close your eyes and focus on your breath.

    That’s it!

    In the beginning, you may struggle a little as you are not used to sitting still by yourself. Thoughts may keep popping up, which is completely normal. Bare in mind that this even happens to advanced meditators. This is part of the process, and it gets easier over time, so just stay patient.

    The important thing while meditating is to never to judge yourself.  Just watch your thoughts come and go, as if you were an outside observer. In his book, NeuroWisdon-Mark Robert Waldman recommends that when your mind does wander, notice where it goes, and become aware of any thoughts, feelings, body aches and urges that come up. Then gently bring your attention back to your breath.

    In fact, I love to picture myself diving in the middle of the ocean and looking up to the waves, which symbolize my thoughts and feelings. This allows me to observe them in a non-judging manner.

    Waldman also suggests that it will help to immerse ourselves in every detail of the breathing experience — as if we are picturing it through a microscope. You can do this by trying to notice how you breathe-in cold air and breath-out warm air. Or you can focus on the sound of your breathing and place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly so you can notice it rising and falling.

    If it helps, repeat a mantra or count “1” for each in-breath and “2” for each out breath until you feel at ease again.

    If you need more help, maybe start with a guided meditation.

    But here is the most important part:

    Daily meditation can really transform your life and help you improve your mental toughness dramatically. At the same time, although it only takes a few minutes, it is so easy to forget. So make sure you try it for at least a month, by making it a habit that you attach to a trigger (i.e. brushing your teeth, taking a shower) from your daily life (i.e. brushing your teeth, taking a shower). Alternatively set yourself a reminder on your phone.

    Or even better, do both!

    And if you want more tips on meditation, check out this clip from Headspace. They also offer 10 days for free, and that will give you a great idea what meditation is about.

    Action Step:

    Daily Meditation

    Make it a habit to meditate once a day. Start with 5-10 minutes and gradually increase to 20 minutes. You can use applications like Headspace, or simply practice focusing on your in- and out-breaths.

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  • Chapter 5

    Going beyond success and living the lifestyle of a true high performer.

    Having worked with many tennis players from when they were young until they became superstars, one team often prevailed.

    These guys work so hard until they eventually experience a breakthrough result. They think to themselves:

    “Wow, now I have made it. This is what I have dreamt about.”

    Suddenly, life becomes so different.

    • Everyone wants to become their friends.
    • They get flooded with business opportunities.
    • Young, gorgeous fans adore and admire them.
    • Experts tell them what to do with their money.

    In this chapter, we will address some of the big challenges successful high performers face, and what we can do to enjoy a truly exceptional life.

     

    A) How to surround yourself with people who will support you in your big goals and dreams

    “Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” — Misty Copeland

    Many people believe it is not possible to be happy while being extremely successful.

    I don’t agree.

    I have seen extremely wealthy people who also are kind, happy and loving individuals.

    At the same time, of course, it is very common that people change with success.

    Has it ever happened to you that somebody called you arrogant and annoying, but you didn’t know why?

    This is something many high performers experience on regular basis.

    They bust their backside to create habits that allow them to become top performers

    They feel proud.

    But something seems odd:

    Friends and family around them seem confused about why they have changed their lifestyle, have so little time for them, and even seem a little bit jealous at times.

    Often those closest feel neglected, stirring a need to constantly criticize everything they do, creating ruptures that can last forever.

    To make things worse, I have seen time and again that when an unknown athlete enjoys a big breakthrough, they suddenly become surrounded by all sorts of “groupie friends’’. I am sure this is no different for any other exceptionally successful people.

    All of a sudden, people start behaving differently, treating them like super humans. From one moment to the next these often young rising stars feel extremely important, special and even overwhelmed.

    They become so absorbed into their own life that they forget the real needs of family, friends, and supporters. And whenever they hear any criticism, they get upset and defensive, thinking that nobody understands them properly.

    Eventually, top achievers start feeling extremely lonely.

    They begin to question whether their efforts and hard work are worth the price that they are paying and start self-sabotaging their career — often without noticing.

    This is when we hear about celebrities who hang out with the wrong crowd and look for quick wins instead of true mastery.

    Invest in true friendships

    So let me share with you how you can avoid these pitfalls, it is quite simple:

    You want to surround yourself with true friends.

    I say this for two reasons:

    First, having good people around you will make you feel so much better–it is known that the happiest individuals on this planet are the ones who enjoy a rich, fulfilling social life. After all, what is all the success in the world worth, if you have no one to share it with?

    To enjoy a vibrant social life, we must always take a good look at our behaviour towards others and stay kind, respectful and loving with the people around us. Once we sincerely do that, we will be surprised by a number of people who will reciprocate and support us with our aspirations.

    Second, as top performers, we are also exposed to lots of seductions that could take us off the track of a sustainable career. Therefore we want to create an environment that constantly challenges us to grow our vision, skill sets and character.

    In other words, we want to surround ourselves with friends who make sure that we don’t ever feel satisfied with what we have achieved and instead push us to continuously evolve and maximize our potential. Ideally, they too are people with big personal and professional ambitions.

    As Jim Rohn once famously said:

    “We are like the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”

    Instead, I am suggesting that you want to have people around you who can push you to pursue excellence both as a human being and also professionally rather than becoming lazy and complacent.

    High-performance expert Brendon Burchard speaks about people having three kinds of friendships:

    • Old Friends: i.e. childhood or school friends. We often feel we must stay in touch with them even if they don’t really support where we are right now in life.
    • Maintenance Friends: These are people and even some family members you stay in touch with but don’t see too often.
    • Growth Friends: These are friends who seem to be growing with you, who you respect and love hanging out with, and who push you to excel.

    All three categories are important.

    But as TOP achievers, we must include Growth Friends into our lives who appreciate our goals and can help us move towards them.

    With this in mind, I urge you to take a moment and consider who from your circle of acquaintance could become your Growth Friends, and what you could do immediately to reconnect with them on a more regular basis.

    You could hire a mentor, coach or anyone else who already achieved some of the goals you are after.

    Or you can join or create a Mastermind group.

    This does not need to be complicated — for example, I speak to three growth friends once a month on a skype call where we discuss our goals and hold each other accountable to follow through with our commitments.

    Whatever you choose to do, I can tell you one thing for sure.

    Lasting success becomes so much easier when we are supported by like-minded people rather than battling our daily struggles by ourselves.

    Action Step:

    Take a moment to think about your circle of friends:

    • Who are your growth friends and how can you amplify your relationships with them?
    • If you don’t have any/ enough growth friends, what could you do to develop this kind of friendships?

     

    B) Making your relationship or marriage thrive even if you are fully focused on your career.

    “I’ve found 94 percent of the time that couples who put a positive spin on their marriage’s history are likely to have a happy future as well. When happy memories are distorted, it’s a sign that the marriage needs help.” — John Gottman, Ph.D.

    Please note while this section refers to high performers who are married you can apply the strategies to any kind of relationship.

    Sadly, many successful people not only struggle with demonstrating care towards friends, family, and fans, they literally sacrifice their marriages in the pursuit of big professional goals. Often they end up suffering from draining conflicts, heartbreaking divorces, and devastated kids.

    This kind of conflicts not only affect their own well-being but often also harm their ability to continue performing at their best.

    John Gottman, probably the leading expert on the relationship, claims he can predict with about 90 percent accuracy if a couple will divorce within the coming few years. He can do this after listening to them speak to each other for about five minutes.

    When asked how he does this he says there is a magic formula for marriages to flourish.

    What he means with 5:1 is that for every negative interaction, couples that flourish experience at least five positive ones. According to Gottman, everyone else will sooner or later suffer a decline in their matrimonial satisfaction.

    Of course, high performers are extremely immersed in what they do. As a result, they often forget to show regular interest and care for the needs of their loved ones.

    This is tragic as they could benefit so much from having their spouse as a true supporter on their side.

    So let me share with you a few simple ideas that will help you increase the positive moments in your relationships and hence upgrade the quality of your life.

    1) Daily Love Triggers

    As couples, we need to experience joy and fun on a regular basis. Sadly after the initial dating phase, these emotions become rarer and rarer for many of us.

    This is especially so once we have our first baby.

    I discovered that setting a simple intention to make my wife smile again on a daily basis works miracles. Even small gestures that take the little time can have had such a huge impact.

    Give it a try:

    Whether you text flirtatious messages, make a compliment, send flowers, or praise your partner, you will instantly spice up your relationship if you do this consistently.

    My personal goal is to surprise my wife on a daily basis, regardless of whether I just had an argument, am tied up at work or have any other excuse. In fact, even when traveling abroad I try to think of ways that I can make her smile.

    But here is the key.

    You want to be genuine with everything you do.

    For example:

    • Whenever I write a flirtatious message, I get myself feeling excited.
    • Or while picking flowers, I picture her response, which always warms my heart.

    If you follow through with this simple piece of advice, you can already expect wonders to happen. 😉

    IMPORTANT TIP: Like with every new habit, it is easy to have good intentions and even easier to forget them after a while. So set yourself a daily reminder on your phone stating “make partner smile”.

    2) Compliment your partner at least once a day

    Everyone longs to be appreciated, which is why we want to praise and compliment our spouse or partner as frequently as possible.

    This is especially so for high performers who work hard in their careers and enjoy the constant limelight. I have witnessed many times that in such instances a partner often feels neglected.

    To avoid this, make it a daily habit to say something nice to your better half.  It is so simple and can make such a big difference.

    3) De- escalate conflicts

    Conflicts are normal.

    At the same time, they can become draining and affect everything we do.

    Therefore we want to set an intention to reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of our fights by incorporating a few simple yet critical ideas into the way we argue. This may sound difficult at first, but it will save you so much energy and time, in the long run, it is well worth the effort.

    3.1) Avoid arguing when you feel angry

    Try to notice when you feel angry and irritated, so you can avoid discussing heated topics until you feel more relaxed. If necessary, ask for some time alone to cool down.

    For example, my wife and I agreed that we both have a right to request a time out whenever we argue. This allows us to postpone discussing things in the heat of the moment.

    Also, if you want to raise a complaint to your partner, make sure you begin with what John Gottman calls “soft start up”, whereby you start any by saying something positive first before you make a request or complaint.

    Example: “My dear, I love you very much, and we had such a wonderful morning. However, I get very upset when you come home late without letting me know.”

    3.2) Never criticize, only complain

    Ideally, you want to begin an argument by stating the observable facts in a neutral and non-blaming manner. Once you have done that, you can share how you feel about an incident, and continue with the request you want to make. Remember to explain why this request is important to you.

    Also, be wary of what psychologists call “attribution error”. This is when we think that our mistakes are the result of circumstances (i.e. “I felt tired”) but at the same time attribute other people’s wrongdoings to character flaws (i.e. you are always lazy).

    This can be very offensive which is why Gottman teaches couples that while it is fine to complain about a certain behavior (i.e.  “I get upset when you interrupt me”), they ought to prevent criticizing a partner and attacking a personality trait (i.e. “you always interrupt me”, or “you never take care of the baby”).

    Also, especially after having expressed your complaint, make an effort to always listen to your partner attentively, and empathetically. It is important that our loved ones feel safe to express themselves so that we can prevent little grudges from building up and escalating to an outright war. Therefore, always honor what they have to say to you.

    3.3) Always end a conflict in an uplifting manner

    You always want to end a dispute in an uplifting manner so that you and your partner can get on with life without suffering from background noise.  To do so, make sure you always accept repair attempts (i.e when they apologize) by your partner as soon as they come up, in a forgiving and non-condescending manner.  This allows you both to eliminate that constant nagging that saps out the life of any relationship.

    4) Be interested instead of interesting

    Many high performers feel the need to maintain this image of being perfect. However, that can feel extremely stressful and also restricts the intimacy a couple can experience over the long haul.

    Therefore I suggest you make it a habit to practice expressing yourself openly to your partner, by sharing your deepest desires, fears vulnerabilities. You will notice that we all love people who have flaws, that is what makes us human. And once partner also begins to open up more, you will both enjoy a much more vibrant and passionate time together.

    Of course, I can’t promise that you will never have unpleasant arguments with your spouse again. However, I do believe these simple guidelines will help you experience shorter and softer disputes, hence improving the quality of your relationship.

    If you do want to dive deeper into this subject, I highly recommend you read the book, 7 principles for making a marriage work, by John Gottman.

    Action Step:

    1. Create daily reminders to make your partner smile at least once a day.
    2. Make sure you praise and compliment the key people in your life.
    3. Next time you sense you are entering a heated argument, ask for some time to cool down. Then follow the recommendations from above to ensure you have a constructive argument instead of a heated conflict.  Remember also to always try and end a dispute in an uplifting manner.

     

    C) Making good choices and keeping your sanity even when you are flooded with business opportunities.

    “It is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — J. K. Rowling

    Once you become a top performer, you will be offered more opportunities than you can handle. This can feel like a big privilege, but it also becomes so overwhelming that you start allowing distractions to stop you from continuing to focus on moving your career forward.

    Often, when people become successful, they also become overconfident. So they forget the desire and effort it took them to get where they are and start taking their foot off the pedal.

    This is when high performers become complacent:

    • All of a sudden, they are no longer willing to struggle;
    • They avoid new challenges;
    • And have no desire to improve their new skills and do whatever it would take to experience new levels of success.

    Instead, many will seek shortcuts in the hope of making quick and easy money.

    Sadly, they often experience significant setbacks and disappointments.

    I have seen business people get flooded with so many offers that they barely had time left for their core projects. I have also seen world class athletes and entertainers become so engaged with sponsor activities and PR-activations that their careers started plummeting.

    And you don’t want to make those kinds of mistakes:

    Instead, you want to remind yourself that every project and a big goal will require your time, effort and money. Therefore, you want to make sure that you spend most of your valuable time on high impact activities that will generate the most promising returns for you.

    This is why it is so important that you take wise decisions about what new opportunities you may want to pursue.

    To do this, let me share with you a simple way how to evaluate new propositions so that you can then choose between two alternatives and pick the one that makes the most sense for you at any given time.

    This is how it works:

    First, decide on the criteria that matter to you when choosing between different opportunities.

    Let me share the ones I am using right now.

    1) Income OR results

    I want to pick a project that can generate satisfying income or results. So I rate each option according to the projected income.

    2) People

    I love to be involved with people I like, so this is an important criteria for me.

    3) FUN

    For me, it is important that I enjoy what I do, and that I sense feelings of passion and excitement for the opportunity in question.

    4) Personal Development

    I love the topic of personal development and enjoy projects that allow me to grow in my skills and as a person.

    5) Lifestyle

    As a bachelor, I loved traveling the world — so being a sports agent was my dream job. However, ever since I became a dad, my life has changed dramatically. So now, ideally any new opportunity needs to fit into my lifestyle of someone who craves quality time with his family.

    6) Skills/ Impact

    I want to choose a project or opportunity where I feel I can really contribute in some manner, and that is somehow related to my personal skills and expertise.

    You may have different criterias which are fine. The important thing is to create a system that helps you take difficult decisions without wasting too much time and energy.

    Next, you want to rate your alternatives from day 1-5 in each of your criteria. So in my example, each opportunity could have a maximum of 30 points.

    Finally, you can add up the total points of each option you are considering, and you will get a great indication as to which project could suit you best right now in your career.

    REMEMBER THOUGH: Once you make a choice, it is crucial that you are willing to fully commit to making it as successful as possible.

    Action Step:

    Create your personal system to evaluate opportunities

    When you have the choice between several opportunities, take some time to consider each project, and go through a predetermined evaluative process that will help you gain clarity as to what it is you really want to do.

     

    D) Creating financial abundance so you never worry about money again.

    “Money is a lubricant. It lets you slide through life instead of having to scrape by. Money brings freedom, freedom to buy what you want, and freedom to do what you want with your time. Money allows you to enjoy the finer things in life as well as giving you the opportunity to help others have the necessities in life. Most of all, having money allows you not to have to spend your energy worrying about not having money.” — T. Harv Eker

    The big dream of most people is to create the kind of financial abundance that would allow them to schedule their day in the manner they desire. Yet so many celebrities and famous people who earned tons of money end up broke.

    So let’s talk about how you can avoid this:

    Most high performers trade their most valuable commodity — time — for money, at least initially.  This is why they are dependent on working hard. Once they stop, they often lost their only income source.

    However, the reality is that we can only create long lasting financial freedom if we make money work for us, by creating enough passive income streams that eventually cover all our expenses even if we stop working.

    And there is only one way we can achieve this:

    We must cultivate the habit to save some money on a regular basis so that we can create income streams that work without us. This is how we take full advantage of the power of compounding.

    You can never start too early with saving:

    In his book Unshakable by Tony Robbins gives the example of two friends, Joe and Bob:

    They both decide to invest $300 a month.

    Joe starts at the age of 19, keeps going for eight years, and stops saving at the age of 27. He has saved $28,800. His money then compounds at say a rate of 10% a year.

    By the time he retires at 64, he will have increased his wealth from $28,800 to $1,863,287.

    His friend Bob begins investing $300 a month only from the age of 27 and continuous to do so until the age of 65. In these 39 years, his money also compounds at 10% a year.

    When he retires at the age of 65, he has saved $1,589,733.

    The moral of the story: 

    Although Bob invested almost five times as much as Joe, he ends up with $273,554 less than his friend, who never invested a dime after the age of 27.

    I urge you to start saving for your financial freedom immediately.

    But please let me be clear on one thing:

    I am not giving you financial advice, nor am I an expert in this field.

    So let me make an IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  

    I am merely telling you what worked for me, and urge you to take independent advice before taking any kind of action!

    It is a four step system that comes from T. Harv Eker, author of The Millionaire’s Mind.

    And this is how it works:

    First, create one main bank account and five additional subsections, that you that you treat as separate entities.

    Divide them as follows:

    • “N” for necessities; or your day to day expenses. This can be your main account.
    • “FFA” for savings; or financial freedom. I will get to this in a minute.
    • “LTS” for long-term savings. These funds can be used for things like purchasing a new car or financing college for your kids.
    • “E” for education. You want to continuously improve your skills that will help you belong to the best at whatever you do. To achieve this, you want to invest in books, seminars, and coaches.
    • “P” for play. This is income you use to spoil yourself and your family.
    • And “C” for charity. Eker convincingly argues that only by sharing will the universe provide you with amazing opportunities.

    Next, if possible, divide any post-tax income you take out of your business as follows:

    • 50% of your income for ordinary expenses for you and your family;
    • 10% for each of the other subsections of your account.

    Obviously, you can adjust these numbers so they work for you.

    For example, if you can’t distribute your money in this way right now because your expenses are too high, you could start by using 90 percent of your income for your general expenses, and distribute the rest as I describe above.

    The main thing is to start the habit of saving, immediately.

    Over time allocate higher percentages to the various accounts until you reach the levels I describe above.

    If on the other hand, you don’t need to spend half your income on your daily expenses, add any the surplus to your freedom account. This will help you move towards financial abundance much quicker.

    Third, make sure you reinvest any income from your FFA account into safe investments that generate income.

    Remember, the real route to riches is to save a portion of your money and invest it so that it compounds over many years.

    Tony Robbins offers these 4 core principles to investing:

    1. Don’t lose: Protect yourself for when everything goes wrong, as nobody can predict with 100% certainty how the market will perform.
    2. Asymmetric risk/ reward: Robbins mentions the example that when Sir Richard Branson launched Virgin Atlantic Airways, he started with just 5 airplanes and negotiated the right to return them after a year if the business would fail. That left him with minimal downside and limitless upside.
    3. Tax efficiency: Robbins argues it’s not what you earn that counts, but what you keep. So speak to a tax advisor to structure your business in the most efficient legal manner.
    4. Diversification: Robbins gives many reasons why he loves Index funds that invest in different asset classes. For him, the key is to be protected from one-sided setbacks and our tendency to stick to what we know.

    Finally, reinvest any income from your FFA investments back into your FFA account.

    This is really important. To gain financial freedom, you don’t want to spend the returns of your investments, but instead, use them to continue increasing your Freedom account and your passive income streams until you make enough passive income to cover all your living expenses.

    I highly recommend you read Unshakable by Tony Robbins and seek professional advice before making any investments.

    Action Step:

    1. Create your personal wealth plan and start saving.
    2. Start saving immediately on a separate financial freedom account. Also, speak to professionals before making any kind of investments.

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  • What shall I do next?

    So there you go!

    Now you have everything you need to become a top performer in your business or profession.

    Here’s what we’ll cover:

    • On day 1, I’ll help you get started with one quick win that will save you lots of time and help you train your mind. It will also help you get started on the right foot and build momentum.
    • On day 2, you will receive a very simple plan that will help you transform your big ambitions into tangible outcomes.
    • On day 3, we will talk about how to supercharge your productivity so that you will get more done this week than you probably did in the last few month.
    • On day 4, I’ll show you simple ways to feel more energized and alive than ever before. The thing is that while we have limited time, we can multiply how energized we feel, and this is a big secret of top performers.
    • On day 5, I’ll give you some big ideas how to improve your well-being so that you can fully focus yourself on consistent long-term success.
    • On day 6, I’ll show you a specific strategy world class athletes use so that you can perform at your best on command and never again crumble in those big pressure moments.
    • On day 7, we will develop the kind of mental toughness that will make you more resilient than ever.

    Every morning you will get an email with an actionable step you can do for that day, or if it is more convenient, for the following day.

    In just one week you will discover how to move towards your biggest goal faster than you have in the last year — without feeling overwhelmed, stressed or burned out.

    I’ll also share some specific strategies with you that top athletes in the world used to become high performers.

    I’m doing this because I don’t want you to just read this guide and forget about it. If you actually put all the exercises it into action, you will be able to experience more progress in both your career and with regards to your general well-being in a WEEK than you did before in a YEAR.

    Are you ready for this?

    If yes, just leave your name and email address in the box below – and you can get started with becoming a true high performer IMMEDIATELY!

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    Then join the 7 Day High Performance Challenge and discover:
    1. How to become more productive in a day than most people are in a week.
    2. What you need to do to wake up every morning feeling energized and alive.
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