Thursday, 21 September 2017

Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker,  that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.    Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

Cheryl Snapp Conner is a frequent speaker and author on reputation and thought leadership. You can subscribe to her team’s bi-weekly newsletter, The Snappington Post

Originally posted on forbes magazine...

Monday, 18 September 2017

5 Ways to Get Rid of Your Biggest Fear: Just Do it!!!

Think back to last time you really wanted to do something but didn’t? What stopped you from doing it? Did something change your mind? Was there a voice inside your head? Whatever the reason might have been, let’s take the time to stop and question what might be going on with our fears and how we can get beyond these fears so we can start pursuing things we’ve always wanted.

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Fear is an interesting little thing as it can act in ways where we don’t even know it is present. For example, we might want to do something that first requires a few things to come into place. The scenario might be getting a new job. Next thing we know we start saying to ourselves; “Well where would I work? How would I get there? How do I quit my current job? What if I can’t get another job?” These are only a few of many stories that we may begin looking into when we have that initial thought of changing our job situation. Although we sometimes call this; facing the reality of the situation and doing what’s realistic, truth is, this sequence of thoughts and rationalizations all stems from fear.

Here are some key of points to help you overcome your fears.

1) Feel The Fear and Move Forward Anyway

How many times have you been about to do something and fear is creeping up on you as you get closer and closer to doing it? In these times, right before you are about to jump with both feet in you feel the fear at its highest and then seconds or minutes into it all, the fear dissipates into nothing. This is by far one of the most powerful ways to get beyond and rid your fears. Just Do It! (Nike paid me to say that.. j/k) By taking the leap and confronting your fears, you do the one thing that we allow fear to stop us from doing -doing what scares us. My feeling is, more often than not, just doing it will get rid of the fear from that moment forward when it comes to the challenge you face.

2) Let Go of The Past

When we face a situation that we may have experienced before, fear can arise if the previous outcome made some kinda of undesirable impact on us. Maybe in the past we weren’t quite prepared for the experience, we needed to gain a lesson from it, or it just happened to turn out how it did. This doesn’t mean we need to close up and never go after it again. Looking back to the past and fearing a repeat outcome puts the control into the hands of one instance that no longer even exists! You are a new person in each moment and are ready to make adjustments as you go. Sometimes all it takes is a few small tweaks and what may have once provided a challenge in the past is now easy to move through. Either way you learned something! Let go of the past and try again!

3) Stop Looking For Obstacles

‘It’s too hard! I’m too tired! I don’t have time?’ I know these ones fairly well myself. There have been some situations in my life where I would have loved to do certain things and delayed them for quite some time due to these 3 sayings. Of course, these are not the only 3 excuses we like to come up with to put something off, but these certainly are common. Obstacles are one of the easiest ways for our minds to bury a fear. Obstacles appear real, they are quantitative and qualitative, they are easy to describe to others and others often agree with them. Given all of these qualities, it’s easy to see why we look out for obstacles all the time, but it does not mean that we are not using obstacles to mask our fears. After all, an obstacle is truly only as big as we make it. You can see it as a road block or as a necessary challenge along the path to your goal. See the obstacle for what it is, don’t give it anymore power than it needs and take the steps to move forward. There is little need to make them so serious.

4) Avoid Judging Outcomes

Have you ever been unsure of why something happened when it happens? Only to find out a few days, weeks or months later that it ended up greatly assisting your situation? It was inall moments leading up to your realization that you may have judged the experience as being bad, negative or not ideal. Instead of seeing the outcome as a succes no matter what, we define and categorize how it should have happened. This way of looking at our goals or choices creates fear in having certain outcomes play out. Often times the reason things happen the way they do is beyond our understanding at a particular time. We might want to judge or feel upset about why things happened, but they are part of a bigger plan. To help address your fears in this situation, go beyond reason and beyond judgement. There isn’t always an obvious reason why now is the time or why something might or might not happen. Go with how you feel beyond the unnecessary chatter of the mind and know that no matter the outcome, you successfully created that experience for yourself. It is likely the experience will provide you with positive growth no matter the outcome. After all, the mind is the only one who creates fear or who sees an outcomes as a failure.

5) Too Little, Too Late

How many times have you put off doing something only to find out it was now too late to have a go at it? I know myself I have experienced this one a few times and while regret might like to sneak its way in, that isn’t much help either. This one can also play with us in a couple ways. Either fear puts off what we are wanting to do, or the fear of having too little time makes us immobile because in the end we are afraid of failure. Either way, to address this fear is to simply take action. The journey is what’s important in the end. Whether the end result happens in time or not, it doesn’t help to keep putting things off. Let’s learn from our choices of waiting too long and choose to get going on actions now that we would like to take. When we get moving on something and face it head on, you notice quickly that your fears diminish.

My final thoughts are this when it comes to fears: they are there because something created them. Most of the time it was because of an experience of the past, judgment of an outcome or because we are afraid to fail. A combination of these thoughts exists in almost all of us and do nothing but create suffering and immobilization in what we want to do in life. While it may not be easy, starting today, take the steps to begin implementing some of these tactics when it comes to your fears. You can never fail, you are never wrong and there’s no need to judge or be judged on an outcome. I repeat due to its importance, the journey through life is what is most important, not the outcome. This goes for everything you choose to be part of.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Anxiety Is An Invalid Excuse

Anxiety is an invalid excuse. I just got back to my room after a failed attempt to go to class. I’m sitting here, writing this, trying to think of something to email my professor to sugarcoat what I’m feeling, to really drive home the point that class today was unbearable for me. You see if it was the flu or a bad head cold this would be easy. I would simply relay the symptoms and be excused with a general “feel better” and a hidden relief that I wouldn’t be getting anyone else sick. To send an email saying I just had to take a breather on a 4th Ave. step because my lungs felt as if they were collapsing and my body was shaking so badly I could hardly walk doesn’t do the trick.

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse. I was supposed to go out to dinner with my friends a few nights ago but couldn’t get myself out of bed due to some unwelcomed existential dread about nothing in particular. No, it wasn’t something my horoscope said. It wasn’t something I was anticipating in the upcoming week. I wasn’t “nervous.” I was simply incapable. “But it’ll be fun,” they said. “You never go out with us.”

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse. I fear having to tell people I’m on medication because the second I do, I see my fears written across their faces. The fact that I have to take a dose of something with an unpronounceable name twice a day just to make me feel like I’m residing on some middle ground that makes me capable of mandatory human function immediately sets off alarms that I am a lesser person, lacking independence and radiating unpredictability. All of a sudden I’m the crazy, mentally unstable girl completely incompetent and incapabe of any mundane task in front of me. I don’t even dream of revealing I have a Xanax in my bag in case of emergency, because the one time I mentioned it, the faces of my friends were the same as I’d expect if they saw me shooting up heroin in the bathroom of the bar.

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse. In the eyes of others, it makes me a liar. Lazy. Inadequate. Delusional. Crazy. I can’t say I have a diagnosis because everyone I tell is conditioned to think I’m either a deranged psychopath or I’m faking it because I’m simply too fragile to face life like a normal person; underwhelming unable to walk through a typical routine without having an upper to keep me stable. Do they think I pity myself so much to induce a self-hatred strong enough to keep myself so far from mental catharsis? Do they think I find this fun?

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse. I’ve begun to believe it myself. Every time I feel my chest get heavy, my hands get sweaty, my vision become disconnected, I tell myself to suck it up: that it’s all in my head. Maybe it is. That’s certainly where it lives. But tell that to my body when I’m locked in my room, unable to move or think or breathe. Tell that to my ears that simply decide to stop hearing and scream with hollow ringing that disorients me to the point of defeat. Tell that to the girl who has sat on grimy floors in restaurant bathrooms and called for cabs with no goodbye because, for a few moments, she can’t remember how to exist.

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse. They say there’s a science behind it. That it’s just how I work. They say it’s a sickness, real as cancer. But how am I supposed to believe it when I can’t convince myself it’s not self-induced? How am I supposed to survive an illness I’m not convinced even exists? How am I supposed to love my mind if I constantly doubt its ability to decipher reality from fiction?

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse. I know this because my school only allows three absences per semester. My only saving grace is that the school psychiatrist believes me. I’ve officially been categorized, embossed, labeled with the word “disabled.” I feel like a sick scam. Who am I to say I’m hindered when there’s nothing visibly wrong with me: when some days I function at 110 percent and nothing can hold me back. I feel like a disrespectful fool calling myself disabled when I have a condition so loosely defined, so casual. I have no right to categorize myself as someone with real life problems. There are many who have it much worse than me. And because my vices cannot be seen from the surface they’re perceived as fake. It’s a bittersweet sentiment knowing my flaws are beautifully misunderstood in a way that allows me to pretend they don’t exist while someone is watching. I thrive in the precious moments I spend being normal. I cripple in the instances I must try to explain the place I’m coming from, the place no one will ever truly understand until they feel their heart stop beating in their chest only to accelerate far past a normal rhythm, blood rushing to their head until the whole world fades away to a crystallized screen of silent white. I’m sure the letter sent to each of my teachers makes them think I’m just a student with low self-esteem who whines and pouts my way through life, looking for shallow excuses to half-ass my work. But I want to succeed. I want to live. To live comfortably. That's my dream.

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse because I can’t convince myself I’m not insane. I can’t get over the possibility that every trigger, every panic, is rooted deep in my overactive imagination who happens to be a spiteful little bitch that likes to see me squirm. It’s in the calm moments I feel it most. When I’m finally content and that sharp jab of terror hits the sweet spot in the middle of my throat, closing in until I’m choking on invisible tribulations. It’s so vivid I can see the muscles contracting, turning purple as I fear…what? What is it that I fear? It’s the imaginary evils that sneak up and get me in the moments I least expect it. It’s the seconds of doubt that turn into gut-wrenching reservations and claustrophobic convulsing that drive me right back under my sheets until a glimmer of light breaks through the stitching. It’s the darkest days and the brightest nights because sleep is the only time I can fully escape it.

   Anxiety is an invalid excuse. So I refuse to let myself give in to the impulses. I’m a fighter. I hate the guilt I feel every time I have to step out of a room, find the little, hidden stash of pills in my purse and sneak one out of view of anyone I know. I don’t know how anyone enjoys that high. It makes me sad, the lowest I’ve ever felt, feeling incapable of performing in my day-to-day life without an artificial aid. But I’ve come to terms with the idea that sometimes there is no other option. I hope one day I’ll be okay with that.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

6 Ways to Be More Resilient During Tough Times

Examples of resiliency are all around us. Athletes who lost limbs but went on to compete again. Survivors of 9/11 who rebuilt from the rubble. Holocaust victims who are living out long, fulfilling lives. Look to your own community for inspiration. You likely know someone who once dealt with something terrible but has found joy again. In fact, researchers have found that resilience in the face of adversity is more common than uncommon.

So, what does it mean to be resilient? "Resilience is a measurement of one's capacity to recover fully from an adversity," says Charles Figley, PhD, director of the Tulane Traumatology Institute in New Orleans, where he studies traumatic stress resilience. "It's like pressing a balloon tightly and examining how completely the balloon assumes its original position." Psychologists say that resilience can be learned—it's not something we either have or don't have. So if times are tough right now, you can take steps to strengthen your resilience. Even if you're not struggling at the moment, adopting these habits now can help you down the road when life throws you a curveball.

Expect Things to Get Better

If you fall into a rough patch, you may not feel happy the next day. Or even the next week. But eventually, with time, light will begin to peek back into your life. If you want to work on bouncing back, you must expect that good things will happen, says Phyllis Zilkha, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Manhattan. "If you're expecting only bad things to happen, how resilient can you be? Why push on? What's the difference?" Optimism, Zilkha says, is the single biggest factor in recovering from adversity. It's what makes some of us seek out solutions to our troubles instead of pulling the covers over our heads.

Don't Ignore Your Calls and Emails

There's no shortage of reasons why having a support system helps us get through tough times. Friends and loved ones can provide an invaluable distraction from our negative thoughts. When we're feeling isolated, they remind us that we're attached to a group—and that we're important to someone. They can also provide a fresh perspective: "If they're not in the middle of the grief or the difficult period, people outside it can see a broader picture and say, ‘Yes, what's going on now is terrible, but look at this possible positive outcome,'" Zilkha says. "Social support is among the ‘protective factors' that increase our odds of having high resilience when faced with daunting adversity," Figley adds. "It enables processing of the experience to focus on solutions."

Go On a Mind Vacation

Although it's natural for your mind to turn over events in your head, getting a break from negative thoughts can be restorative and healing, and keeping yourself busy can give you some much-needed distance from your troubles. Work is a time-honored way of recovering from pain—you're getting paid to focus and produce, so you won't be able to think about your problems as much. Or volunteer, which shifts your focus from yourself to others and could even help you see your troubles in a new light. One study at Vanderbilt University found that volunteering reduces depression and enhances happiness, life satisfaction, self-esteem, physical health and our sense of control over our lives. Try spending some time engaged in a hobby that you can lose yourself in. These moments when you're not focused on your pain or loss can create an opportunity for joy to sprout again.

Tickle Your Funny Bone

When Figley looked at what makes emergency first responders resilient to traumatic stress, humor emerged as one of the most important protective factors. Humor dampens down our natural fight-or-flight reaction to negative events and lowers our stress hormones. It also shifts our perception of a difficult situation from an emergency to a less distressing issue, so we can calm down, look at it from different angles and cope with it better. "When you feel that you have done the best you can in addressing
questions like ‘Why did this happen to me?', take a break and experience something that makes you laugh," Figley says. It will not only help you feel better in the moment, but allow you to adapt to the reality you're faced with.

Count Your Blessings

Feeling grateful—something we can actively work on—improves our overall wellbeing and helps us cope with our troubles. In one study, people who created a list of five things they were grateful for over the past week felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about their expectations for the upcoming week than those who recorded hassles from the past week. The happiness-boosting benefits of thankfulness even helped people living with a difficult health condition. Study participants with a neuromuscular disease felt better about their lives and more connected to other people after they wrote a gratitude list than those who didn't count their blessings.

Finally, Remember That This, Too, Shall Pass

Try reminding yourself of this when you're feeling low. Because it's true! "Everything in life has a beginning and end," Zilkha says. These endings may not be the best outcomes you can imagine, but they can bring some relief. For example, if you've gotten a serious diagnosis, you'll probably feel panicked and distraught. That feeling will subside a bit when you learn about treatments and start working toward getting better. If you're going through a divorce, you won't miss your ex as keenly a year or two down the line. "When something bad is happening, it's like being in the middle of the ocean," Zilkha says. "When you're there you think it just goes on forever, but it doesn't. I'm no believer that everything will turn out wonderful, but things can be better than they are now."

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

It's Not What You Think

Chris Cornell died early Thursday morning. His band Soundgarden played a show on Wednesday night at the Fox Theater in Detroit. Two hours after the show ended, he was gone.

For two days, I’ve been working on a piece to pay tribute to him, and it’s been a struggle. Usually when I have a problem like this it’s because I’m staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what I want to say. That’s not the problem this time. The problem is I have way too much to say.

I’m not going to sit here and claim to have been a huge fan of Soundgarden. I didn’t dislike them, I just had to take them in small doses. I was a fan of Cornell. I love “Seasons,” the solo song he had on Cameron Crowe’s movie, Singles. It’s a droning acoustic song about isolation and the meaningless passing of time. Your basic nihilistic statement written at what was probably the peak of rock’s most nihilistic period.

I was a fan of Cornell as a person. Of all the great musicians that were packed into Seattle in the late 80’s and early 90’s, from Mark Arm of Mudhoney to Jeff Ament of Mother Love Bone and Pearl Jam to the Great Tortured Genius himself, Kurt Cobain, Cornell seemed like he rose a little bit above the others. He was the unofficial communicator of the Seattle scene. Like a Pacific Northwest Sinatra, he had a charisma and a calm grace about him. He was thoughtful, even charming, in interviews, unlike his compatriots who disdained fame and accolades (or at least pretended to). Cornell was the guy who seemed most like he could handle all the attention without turning it into an existential crisis.

Now he’s dead because, as it turns out, he had been dealing with an existential crisis most of his life. I was a fan, and I had a ton of respect for him. But it’s taken me a little while to understand why his death has affected me as strongly as it has.

At first I thought it might have something to do with the fact that I was mostly a bystander while the music of my generation was taking over. Just as Nirvana and Pearl Jam were making that gigantic breakthrough in 1992, my fiancé and I discovered we were pregnant. So instead of investigating mosh pits at the 7th Street Entry, or watching Soundgarden and Pearl Jam rule the stage at Lollapalooza (it was a traveling festival in those days), I was hastily throwing together a wedding and then changing diapers. My wife and I got an early jump on things, so we’ve always told ourselves that we’d make up for lost time in our forties and fifties.

Well here we are, and something like this just makes it feel like we’ve arrived too late. But while that’s a legitimate thing, I don’t really think that’s exactly what is bothering me.

Then I thought maybe it’s a generational thing. Grunge is the gift that Generation X gave to the world of music. We took all that slacker cynicism, mixed it up with our older siblings’ sneering punk attitude, Zeppelin’s low end and, if we’re being honest, a little heroin. The result was the musical version of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. It was gorgeous art that was absolutely sure that nothing really matters, making it feel immediate and important. It was the sound of a generation telling everybody, including ourselves, to fuck off.

And while we were wallowing in our splendid alienation, our spokespeople, predictably, started dying. First it was Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone. A lot of us didn’t know about him until Cornell, along with Wood’s erstwhile bandmates (who were about to form Pearl Jam) memorialized him with a one off tribute called Temple of the Dog. Somehow, Wood’s story made death part our music’s romantic foundation.

A couple years later, Cobain killed himself with a shotgun. He was 27. Our Bob Dylan, the voice of our generation, threw it all away because he was afraid he was becoming a cliché. At least, that’s what we told ourselves at the time.

Shortly thereafter, Kristen Pfaff of Hole overdosed and died in a bathtub. And then Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon overdosed and died on a tour bus. It felt like people like D’arcy Wretzky of Smashing Pumpkins, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, and, perhaps especially, Courtney Love – Pfaff’s bandmate and Cobain’s widow – were all headed in the same direction.

Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley died of a gruesome overdose. The fact that his body was not discovered for more than a week felt somehow fitting. He was a emblematic of a generation that just wanted to be left alone.

And just when it felt like our music, and maybe our entire generation, would never live to see 30, things turned around. Love and Weiland cleaned their acts up (at least for a while). Bands like Pearl Jam thrived long after the term “Heroin Chic” disappeared. Before we knew it, we were a decade into a new century and a lot of the Poets of Grunge were still standing. Some of them were even in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It felt like our heroes were out of the woods.

When Weiland died of an overdose of cocaine, alcohol and MDA at the end of 2015, it felt like an echo, and not something rooted in the present. He had become the most notorious addict of them all over the years; in and out of rehab so many times we had all lost hope for him. His death was something that had been predicted so often for so long that it might as well have happened in 1997.

But Chris Cornell died of suicide on May 17, 2017, at the age of 52. He was a dad. He was a philanthropist. He was becoming an elder statesman of rock. He was a grown up. Cornell was aging gracefully, even doing that thing where some guys get better looking as they get older. He got Soundgarden back together, and they made a great new album a couple years ago. His voice still had all the power and strength it had displayed in his youth. Much like the rest of us, the world had kicked his ass a couple times, and he survived.

But now he’s gone, and goddammit, his is the death that bothers me the most. As I’ve been thinking about this, I’m realizing that it’s both a personal and a generational thing. Cornell had a long struggle with depression. As have I. As have many of you.

It’s possible that, along with grunge, Generation X’s other great gift to society is depression. I mean, of course it was here long before the Baby Boomers started re-producing, but we talk about it more than those who came before us. We talk about it as a demon or a monster. It’s a dark shadow that shows itself at any point in time without warning. It surrounds us, isolates us, and quiets us. Depression likes to blame things. We feel like shit because of mistakes we have made in life or because of the state of the world or because we aren’t perfect. Without a lot of help and a lot of work, it’s impossible to know that it really is a chemical imbalance in our brains. After twenty-plus years of trying to de-stigmatize depression, some of us still have a hard time recognizing it for what it is. And even then, it doesn’t always matter.
You might think grunge is about anger, but that’s not completely true. Yes, it can sound that way, but it’s really about depression and cynicism. Those two go hand-in-hand, along with their nasty little sister, anxiety. When the three of them get going, they just eat hope as quickly as it can be summoned. That leaves despair and despair is exhausting, not just for those who experience it, but for the people around it as well. So we keep it to ourselves because we don’t want to be a burden. And then it gets to be too much. Doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a mom, an accountant or a rock star. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written about it your entire life as a means of keeping it at bay. It doesn’t matter if the music you made about it brought in fame, respect and millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter if your entire generation has suffered from it. Depression makes you feel totally alone. You hit the breaking point, and then, like Chris Cornell, you die alone in the bathroom.

This was a well-respected member of his community; a beloved musical hero who seemed to have it all together. This could have been any of us. And brothers and sisters, if it’s you, don’t mess around with it. Please find some help.

Cornell is speaking to us all one last time. This isn’t something we left behind with our twenties. This isn’t something cured by age or financial security. This isn’t something you “outgrow.” If it’s allowed to fester, depression is stronger than wisdom. Depression is insidious and tenacious. Depression can get to anybody. It can make you feel like an old man at 27. It can make you feel lost as a child at 52.

Call it a senseless tragedy. Call it a second-act cautionary tale. Call it whatever you want. Just don’t blow it off as meaningless.

Rest in peace, Chris.

Rich Larson is a freelance writer and budding publishing entrepreneur. If you like what you’ve read here, please CONSIDER THIS. He can be reached at richlarson@nexttenwords.com

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

15 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Self Confidence

The root of success arises from self confidence. If you can’t trust your abilities, qualities and judgements, nobody else will trust them either.  How you perceive yourself is how others will perceive you, so your perception of yourself is critical.

These 15 strategies will help you develop self confidence and allow you to get that mental perception of yourself that will allow you to succeed.

How To Build Self Confidence:
1. Create a Goal
This is always the first step to anything. Make a commitment in your heart that you will believe in your abilities. That you will believe in your judgments. That you will become more self-confident.

2. Get to Know Yourself
Every self-help coach in the world will tell you this one tip and it is quite trite.  But the only way you can help yourself is if at first you understand who you are.

What triggers your fears? What makes you feel nervous? Why do you not trust yourself?

Once you figure out everything that makes you tick, you can start building on the areas where you need improvement.

3. Groom Yourself
Your appearance greatly affects your self confidence. So even if this sounds very obvious, being clean and tidy can really stimulate your confidence. By simply taking a shower and cleaning up, you will feel a lot better about yourself.

4. Dress Good
Like the above point, your appearance greatly affects your self confidence. So if you dress good in the sense that you like what you wear. You will feel a whole lot more confident about yourself.

Note: Dressing good doesn’t really mean conforming to others likes. The only way you will build self confidence is if you are comfortable in your clothes.

5. Straight Posture
How a person hold himself greatly reflects how he feels. For example a person who is lying won’t stand straight and tall, he would probably hunch and have a closed posture.

So to build self confidence, begin to practice good posture. Stand up straight, don’t hunch your shoulders, keep your head up and don’t fidget.  Just remember people who have good posture feel good about whom they are, and you want to be that type of person.

6. Think Positive (Perspective)
You need to learn how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This way your perspective on life will change and you will feel that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I find the best way to put a positive twist on life is to ask why not to all your problems.

“You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

7. Play an active role
I think this is the most important step to build self confidence. You need to stop sitting on the sidelines but actually get into the game. If you continue to sit on the sidelines of life you will never achieve anything.  So if this means organizing a function or involving yourself in an event, do it.

Just put in the effort, take calculated risks and begin to understand, that you have the capability to do anything.

8. Gratitude
If you continue to dwell on your shortcomings you will never be able to pick yourself up, and look forward to the future.  Give gratitude to yourself where it belongs and reminisce on your successes, triumphs and accomplishments.

You will find that this self-gratitude will greatly fuel for your self confidence and that it will help you face challenges.

9. Do Things Faster
This might sound quite strange but it’s actually quite good. I noticed that when I started walking faster and doing things at a faster pace. I felt better about myself.

I figured out that this because when you do things faster, you feel busier and that makes you feel important. This feeling of importance builds self confidence and resultantly makes you feel better.

10. Smile
This has become quite cliché but it is fundamentally the most effective. By smiling you create a sense of happiness and a sense of self. These two things together are what create confidence.

Try to smile as much as possible :)

11. Put Emphasis on Solutions rather than Problems
Whenever you face a problem, don’t dwell on the problem itself. Look forward to solutions and put emphasis on solving the issue.

12. Work out (Exercise)
Along the same lines of appearance and self confidence, exercise and fitness has a huge role on how confident you feel about yourself.

By exercising you will improve your physical appearance; you will become more energetic, and you will kill stress.  This will all add up, and you will improve your life greatly.

13. Complete small things
Taking a huge project or task can be quite overwhelming. But if break it down into chunks and complete it little by little. You will feel bursts of accomplishment when you finish those small tasks.

These feel good accomplishments will make you feel a lot better and a lot more self-confident.

14. Do something you have been procrastinating
Many times, we leave things and just don’t get time around to get to them.  Try to make some room and get some done. This will make you feel great.

15. Be Prepared
You only feel insecure and self-doubting if you’re not prepared. Imagine an exam and you didn’t study, you would probably feel unconfident about your abilities.

This same thing can apply to life. If you are not prepared for something you will feel unconfident about it until you get ready.

So try to be ready for anything in life and self confidence will come automatically.

Good Luck on Building Self Confidence!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

10 Signs Your Personality Is Intimidating Others

The world we live in is full of people who judge us. They know nothing about us. some do not even know our names, but they judge us all the same.

We should not let the words or actions of these people bother us, We are who we are not who they think we are. Has anyone ever called you intimidating?

Sometimes intimidating people come off as rude or even ‘evil’ for the way they react to things. Those around them fail to see the kind person behind the tough exterior and it can cause issues from time to time. I have found that the most intimidating people are also the most caring when you get to know them.

The 10 most common traits I have noticed with ‘intimidating’ people are as follows:

1. Your word is good.

Honesty is something that you value big time. If you say you will do something you always follow through.

2. You are straightforward.

You always speak your mind and do not care who gets upset. Lying is never an option.

3. You are open minded.

You are open to new ideas and always willing to try new things. This allows you to achieve success through any opportunities that you are willing to take.

4. You create solutions.

You focus more on the solution than the problem. You don’t make excuses and you just get things done as you should.

5. You are strong-willed.

You are focused and will go to extra lengths to make something happen.

6. You do not like people who complain.

Complaining is something that makes you mad, you would rather work alone than with someone who spends the whole day complaining. You don’t have time for their shit and will not pick up their extra weight without letting them know where they can shove their complaints.

7. You do not tolerate willful ignorance.

You are open minded, yes, but you will not entertain anyone who is judgmental. You will either walk away from them and their ignorance or lose your patience with them and let them have a piece of your mind.

8. You are wise.

You are always learning new things and new ways of thinking. You think things through and never waste time. You are wise beyond your years.

9. You do not like small talk.

To you, small talk can be a bit annoying. You do take the time to deal with it often and would rather be sitting alone. You only want to partake in conversations with meaning. If someone cannot have a real, deep and meaningful conversation with you then most likely they do not even converse with you at all.

10. You are kind.

You are one of the nicest people in the world, really. People are quick to judge you because you do not waste your time and often see success. It seems people love to judge those who are doing better than them and this is one of those circumstances.