A Decade of Skill-Building

Steve Pavlina:

When you start building a skill, it’s like planting a seed. You may have to water it for a while before you see any results. But eventually you get a nice harvest that makes it all worthwhile.

What skills might you begin building today that could really come in handy 5-10 years from now?

Ten years might seem like a long time, but it doesn’t matter. That time is going to pass no matter what you do. It’s inevitable that you’ll find yourself there someday. When that day arrives, you’ll either have a decade of skill-building behind you, or you won’t. It’s up to you to decide which path you’ll take. If you don’t consciously commit to the path of skill-building, you settle for stagnation by default. Please don’t do that to yourself.

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Explore

Steve Pavlina:

If you don’t like the career choices in front of you, don’t decide. Go outside and explore, and let your intuition guide you.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that this exploration never ends. Exploring is an integral part of any fulfilling career, not merely something you do before making the choice. No career choice is final.

If you’re feeling stuck in your career choices, maybe none of them are right for you. Go outside your comfy hive. Do some of the things you’ve always wanted to try, even if they don’t seem relevant to your career. This exploration will serve you well.

And:

As I made additional career decisions, I asked myself, “What would be fun and interesting to do next?” as opposed to “What permanent career choice should I make?”

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Hit the Accelerator on Clarity Gains

Steve Pavlina:

It’s fair to say – and to accept – that there is no clarity to be found outside of experience. Experience is the mother of clarity. And this points us in an actionable direction. If we wish to gain clarity, we must get busy gaining experience. And we’ll generally achieve the greatest gains by courting fresh, new experiences as opposed to repeating previous ones. Thus, if you want to hit the accelerator in terms of clarity gains, make a habit of embracing new and different experiences. Go where you’ve never been. Do what you’ve never done. Try what you’ve never tried. This will have the triple benefit of upgrading your mental models of reality (truth), refining your palette of desires (love), and boosting your ability to blaze a trail to your desires (power).

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Feed Your Desires

Steve Pavlina:

The idea of feeding your power to your desires is incredibly simple. All you need to do is decide what you want and then focus your thoughts, feelings, and actions on those desires. Identify your desires and then run straight at them. Be totally shameless about it. Intellectually this is not a difficult concept to understand, is it?

And:

Suppose your true desire is to be surrounded by friends and family that uplift, encourage, and support you. You want to be around like-minded people who are smart, fun, and happy. You want to hang out with people who empower you.

But instead using your power to create that, you feed it into your existing disempowering relationships. You obsess over what others think about you, people who really don’t encourage you to be your best self anyway. You worry about what your Mom thinks about you. By clinging to disempowering relationships of any kind, including blood relationships, you block yourself from receiving what you truly desire. Seriously… who the hell cares what your Mom thinks anyway? Let her live her own life. You go live yours.

Alternatively, you may feed your power into relationships with your TV or your computer instead of real face-to-face connections with human beings.

Again, the pattern is giving your power away to something you don’t even want as opposed to channeling all of your power into what you desire. When you feed your desires, you simultaneously starve your non-desires. If your Mom keeps sending you critical emails that bring you down, simply flag her email address as a spammer and be done with her. Then go out and recruit fresh social connections with people who are willing to support and encourage you along the paths you wish to explore. Be loyal to those who are supportive of your desires, not to those who do the opposite.

And:

Improving all your broken, disempowering relationships is not a prerequisite for attracting an amazing social life. Your social skills don’t need to be upgraded either. You can simply let go of the dysfunctional relationships and immediately begin feeding your power to create the social life you desire. Nothing else needs to happen first.

I repeat: Nothing else needs to happen first!

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Asking the Right Questions

Steve Pavlina:

Most people ask lousy questions that cripple their results. Lousy questions turn your focus away from what you want and towards more of what you don’t want. And since we ask and answer mental questions every day, our questions wield great power over our results.

And:

Weak questions are disempowering. They keep your focused on your own ego, your problems, and your shortcomings. Weak questions keep you focused on what’s wrong… on what isn’t working. That might seem like a good idea, but all it does is further reinforce the situation you’d like to change. Weak questions will lead your brain to come up with answers that are useless, circular, or even destructive.

Yet weak questions are addictive. At first glance they may even seem helpful, and that’s why they’re so insidious. You might think that if you’re depressed, the best thing you can do is to ask, “Why am I so depressed?” Perhaps if you could diagnose the problem, you could cure it. But it doesn’t work that way. When you’re in a negative state or situation, you aren’t thinking clearly to begin with. You’re in no position to accurately diagnose yourself. Effectively you’re blind. So the answers you get back will be worthless. At best you’ll merely come up with a temporary solution, but the underlying condition will remain, and the problem will simply submerge and crop up again later, sometimes in a different form. Asking why you’re depressed merely feeds your depression. In answering the why question, now you’ve added a story on top of your depression. That goes way beyond acknowledging your depression and trying to do something about it.

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Killing Your Old Self

Seth Godin:

Each of us has a chance to be new tomorrow, if we care enough.

The only way to get better is to walk away from what you used to believe. And the person you become can’t possibly be the same as the person you were.

Steve Pavlina:

I have the freedom to create a present moment that is disloyal to my past in a purely linear sense. I do not have to identify myself based on my history if I see that it no longer serves me to do so.

Ryan Holiday:

“One has to kill a few of one’s natural selves to let the rest grow — a very painful slaughter of innocents.” – Henry Sidwick.

You, the ambitious young person, how many of your natural selves have you identified yet? How many of them are suffocating? Are you prepared for the collateral damage that’s going to come along with letting the best version of you out?

My victims:

Ryan, college student 1 year from graduating with honors
Ryan, the Hollywood executive and wunderkind
Ryan, director of marketing for American Apparel

All dead before 25. May they rest in pieces.

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The True Nature of Reality

Steve Pavlina:

When you feel ready, the next step is to ask to see the truth about reality. You have to intend this consciously, or it won’t happen. Say to yourself, I can see that my old model of reality is broken. I now ask to be shown what I’ve been missing. Let me begin to see reality as it truly is. Let my beliefs accurately reflect the true nature of reality.

Form this intention with your thoughts, but feel it as well. You must really want it. You must desire to see the truth about reality as strongly as a drowning man desires his next breath. If you don’t really want to see the truth, nothing will change.

This isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. The truth about reality is very different from what’s taught in mainstream society. It can be very unsettling to see your old notions of reality destroyed, even when you know they’re inaccurate. Most people would rather cling to the familiar than see their lives turned inside-out by such an immense shift in their beliefs.

(…)

If you choose to maintain your old beliefs, you cannot be shown anything that would violate them. However, once you shed the old beliefs and embrace new ones, the proof you originally sought will be readily forthcoming.

When you consciously ask to see reality accurately, some amazing things will begin to occur, gently at first, then with increasing strength and presence.

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Recurring Reflections

Steve Pavlina:

When you identify a recurring result in your life that you don’t feel aligned with, pause now and then to ask yourself, How am I creating this? Don’t ask this question with an attitude of blame but rather with an attitude of curiosity. Consider the possibility that your own thoughts or actions are causing or contributing to these outcomes.

And:

When life threatens you with a financial problem, do you tighten up and go even deeper into the scarcity mindset that gave rise to this problem in the first place? Or do you use the challenge as an invitation to shift into abundance mode, such as by being more generous than usual?

If you go deeper into the thoughts, feelings, and energy patterns that give rise to your problems, you’ll attract more and bigger versions of those same problems.

And:

Which persistent problems in your life might you actually be creating? Is it possible that you’re creating financial scarcity by acting like a financially scarce person would? Is it possible you’re creating social disconnection? Is it possible you’re creating the health status of your body?

You may not learn the real truth until you deliberately shift your patterns of thought and behavior and give yourself the opportunity to see different patterns being reflected back.

It’s when you break the old patterns and try something incongruent with your previous mindset that you can finally see the causal links that were previously hidden to you.

And:

I suggest that you start small here. Test this idea when it doesn’t feel super critical.

When you’re experiencing scarcity, try donating a small amount of money online to a cause you like. When you’re bored at work, play one of your favorite songs, shake out your body, and take a dance break for a few minutes. When you’re feeling angry, try sending someone a thank you note.

If you don’t like the outcomes you’ve been experiencing, try setting a radically different cause in motion, and see how it affects your results.

Turn towards the patterns that feel more loving and more powerful to you, even if you can only manage this for a short time. When you disrupt your previous patterns, you’ll also raise your awareness of the old reflections you’ve been serving up unconsciously. And this will help you step into a zone of power that lets you change those patterns – and improve your results too.

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The World of Social Flow

Steve Pavlina:

One of the greatest areas of stuckness among my readers stems from trying to work on personal goals that would work so much better when framed as social goals. When you do that, you have to self-power everything.

It’s like hosting a party all by yourself and trying to make it fun and interesting all alone, with no one to help you, and with no guests participating. Then you may tell yourself that once you have a really good party going alone, then you’ll finally invite some people. What you don’t see is that people are the party.

In business and life, people are the success. People are the money. People are the fun.

The best part is that you don’t have to figure out all of the party details by yourself. You can co-create an awesome party together. It all starts with your intention. A party based on your personal goals isn’t likely land well. So step back and create a more aligned intention. Start telling people you want to host a fun party, and ask them if they’ll help steer you in the right direction. Ask them what would make them happy to attend? Listen. Involve them. Even if you only talk to one person about this, that can build momentum.

And:

If you want more money and success flowing through your life, don’t focus so much on trying to acquire and achieve. Think instead about throwing parties and inviting people with fun, interesting, and stimulating offers. Direct your ambition towards creating nice social flow.

Think about the people and businesses that you love to patronize. Think about the best companies or fields you’d love to work in. Can you see how their perceived invitations and offers are more interesting than just, Come help us achieve our goals? We wants moolah!

And:

You want more abundance flowing to you? It flows from other people. And if they don’t care much about helping you, you’ll find it 10X more difficult to get that flow going, maybe 100X. Everything you try to achieve will be self-powered, and self power is weak.

And:

What I’d really love for you to grasp is the mindset of moving beyond framing your goals as strictly personal and opening yourself up to the world of social flow. Most of the good stuff you want in life will come from this social flow, so it’s wise to stop trying to achieve your goals by acting like you’re on an island bouncing ideas off a shredded volleyball. If you honor this social flow and learn to appreciate it, you’ll achieve your goals more easily, and you’ll have a lot more fun in life as well.

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Matchers vs Mismatchers

Steve Pavlina:

When I do creative projects today, I start with matcher mode. I work through the purpose and vision. I get enthusiastic about the results that will be generated. I think about the positive ripples. I get aligned with doing the project. If I share the idea, I prefer to share it with matchers, so they can help me better understand the idea’s potential.

When the idea is a bit more developed, I turn to the practical side. I identify the risks and list them out one by one. I look at the potential downsides. I consider problems that may arise and how to address them.

Matcher mode is faster. Mismatcher mode is slower. When I want to speed up and go faster, I shift into matcher mode. When I feel uncertain about the risks, I downshift into mismatcher mode and work through more details in advance.

And:

What problems don’t really matter much even if they happen? What problems could you fix later if they happened? What problems would be relatively easy to pre-solve or prevent if you just think them through?

Also think about the opportunity side: What opportunities are you delaying or at risk of missing because you’re fussing over potential problems? How will you feel if someone else beats you to the punch because you moved too slowly? Are you really being cautious… or merely sluggish?

And:

It’s common to see people pointing to problems as roadblocks. How many times have we heard people mention these or similar problems as reasons they can’t move forward in some area?

  • I can’t afford it.
  • I don’t have the time.
  • My family won’t let me.
  • I live with my parents.
  • I don’t have the skills.

If you lean too heavily on mismatcher mode, problems tend to become excuses for inaction. The existence of a problem is all you need to put the brakes on.

If you can lean towards matcher mode though, then problems can be seen as hidden opportunities, including all of the problems listed above. True matchers are advancing in all of these situations.

And:

Remember these final rules of thumb:

  • Shift into matcher mode when you want to go faster (or if you sense that progress has been too slow or nonexistent).
  • Shift into mismatcher mode when you want to be more cautious (or if you sense that progress has been too chaotic, unstable, or stressful).

The key is to apply these modes of thinking at different times, so they don’t interfere with each other.

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