How far do your horizons expand?

Note: This is a guest post by Jonathan Smit, check read more about his cool traveling experiences at his blog.

If you would like to promote your blog and get some more traffic, consider writing a guest post for this blog ;) Now on to the post…

In my opinion, our worst enemy as humans is our own mindset. It’s our very selves that hold us back from taking what we really want in life and keep us locked up within ourselves. The reason I say “in my opinion” is simply because it’s my opinion, you might think something else is our worst enemy, which is fine.

I have noticed that in different countries you get three kinds of thinkers.

First you get the ones that are absolutely happy with where they are at. They have lived in their little town their whole life and have never ventured from it.

Second, comes those that are unhappy living in the same little town, they want to see the world, explore its vastness and experience different things to what they are used to seeing.

The third one, not too many people fit into. These are the people that actually do go and see the world, they the ones that take the risk and most of the time reap the reward.

Now, you probably think what’s the reward? Let me explain like this:

I grew up in South Africa as the number two type of person, but never had an opportunity to leave. Not to long ago my opportunity arrived and I moved to the USA. When I stepped off the plane in Atlanta airport, I could immediately feel that life had so much more to it. The air felt different, it even smelled different.

These are things that are beneficial to you, by broadening your horizons you can see so much more than just what is in front of you. For those of you who have done some traveling you will no what I mean. The thinking process of those who have lived in the same little city is very different to those who have been to another country.

If you fall into category one and you are happy there, that is perfectly fine. But remember that there is a much bigger world out there and what happens in it will affect you sometime.

Note: This was a guest post by Jonathan Smit, check read more about his cool traveling experiences at his blog.

Break Free from the Mainstream

It’s so easy to get sucked into the mainstream lifestyle. It’s almost natural for us to look around at what everyone else is doing and like sheep follow the rest of the herd. What’s interesting is that the American mainstream lifestyle isn’t very optimistic…

To continue reading, check out this guest blog post I wrote for

5 Reasons to Push Through Fear

  1. Fear will stop you from achieving your dreams.I’m sure you have many dreams and aspirations. Maybe one of your dreams is to travel the world, start your own business or find the love of your life. These are a few of my dreams. As I have been working on making these dreams a reality, I’ve realized that one of the biggest roadblocks is fear. To find the love of my life, or in other words meet a great woman I have had to face one of my biggest fears. The first step to meeting a great woman (or mate) is becoming social and meeting lots and lots of people. As I started doing this, I had to deal with my fear of rejection over and over again. I realized that what stops most men from meeting a great woman is fear of rejection. I still remember when how my heart would beat faster and my mouth would stutter when I would go out and initiate conversation with strangers. This is a great example of the physical results of fear that I would push through. It certainly wasn’t easy. However it paid off. I did end up building a great social circle with many great friends. I also did end up meeting a couple of very spectacular women along the way. If I didn’t push through my fear of rejection, I would have never improved my social skills.
  2. Fear always leads to mediocrity.Becoming great in any field or endeavor usually requires conquering some fear. However if your goal is to just be average or mediocre then you can skip reading this. Still here? One factor that separates the good (average or slightly above) from the great, is the willingness to push through fear. You should be smart about pushing through fear. You should evaluate the fear logically looking at two factors. The first factor is the reality of the fear, is there real danger? With my fear of rejection there wasn’t any. If I approached a new person, initiated a conversation, received a bad reaction, I would still be physically fine. Yes I might feel bad for a few seconds, my pride and ego might get a kick. However I always reminded myself that I’m trying to learn a skill. Additionally it would be foolish to give importance to strangers reactions since they don’t know me that well. As I’ve started pushing through most of my fears I learned that fear is mostly in my head and there is rarely ever any real danger. If there is a physical risk or a real danger, then you need to evaluate the second factor.

    The second factor is comparing the potential payoff (or gain from taking the risk) with the possibility of the a real danger happening. When I went skydiving I realized that it can be physically dangerous. However after looking at some statistics I quickly learned that skydiving is safer than driving. It also seemed that our potential skydiving center was safe and very organized. Additionally considering the payoff of the experience and how amazing it would feel, I decide to join my friend in doing it. It was a surreal experience, and now I recommend that anyone try a tandem sky dive at least once. This is where an instructor is tied to your back during the jump, pulls the parachute for you and gives you landing instructions.

  3. Fear will limit your happiness.Living in your comfort zone usually turns your life into a boring everyday routine. You are generally taking the same comfy actions and therefore can predict their results. However if you start getting out of your comfort zone and facing some of your fears you can eventually create a rock star lifestyle. I’m not speaking of all the lavage aspects, instead the unpredictability, excitement, and fun. You just have to try getting out of your comfort zone to really see the big payoffs. A quick way to do it is to initiate conversation with a stranger. A simple “Hey, how are you” or a giving a compliment is an easy way to do this. Who knows you might even make a new friend.
  4. Fear will cover up your creativity.Creativity is risky and uncomfortable. Often people try to work on their creativity, and while it is a great skill to develop, it is risky. The unwillingness to take risks and regularly get out of your comfort zone will inhibit your natural creativity. Your natural creativity is when you have a great idea or think outside the box. You can start strengthening your natural creativity by following the little voice in your head that tells you to do something in a different way. Once you notice that your natural creativity is developing and no longer inhibited, then you can take different workshops that will increase your creativity. Performance art workshops (improv comedy, acting, singing, playing a musical instrument) usually build your creativity.
  5. Fear will cover up your uniqueness.When we are born we are all naturally unique in certain ways. This is very easy to spot if you observe a young kid. Young kids are very uninhibited and they let their uniqueness shine. We all are naturally unique. Your uniqueness comes from that little voice inside of your head that suggests you try this or that unique thing. Taking unique actions tend to attract a lot of attention especially in public. Additionally it tends to draw more judgments from others. This is why conformity is very easy and safe. However there are many rewards to being unique including a happier self, a more fulfilling lifestyle and an easier time figuring out your purpose. I think the reason a lot of people can’t find their purpose is because they have always conformed. Uniqueness is simply acting in line with your personal values and preferences.

Lack of fear does not equal stupidity. There are of course good reasons why we feel fear. Fear is a protection mechanism to help us survive. For example it’s great that you might feel a bit of fear crossing a busy intersection. This fear keeps your senses alert. What I’m recommending is taking calculated risks.

From Lame To Fame – 5 Steps

After my How To Become Great article got a lot of interest I decided to explore the concept of success some more.  Consider the following:

  • Most of us are born with similar financial resources (most of a countrie’s population falls into the poor or lower-middle class)
  • Most of us are born with a similar amount of time (70 years is the average life-span the last I checked)
  • Most of us have access to all the information and learning resources we’ll ever need.  This was first started by public libraries where anyone could read a book and learn basically anything.  And more recently has exploded through the internet where you can do a quick search and in seconds find the info you are looking for

So why do a few of us become great while most are just average? There are many factors which I highlight in several of my posts:

However the biggest most common roadblock to success is FEAR. Yes the big “F” word ;)  Fear is such a roadblock to success on so many levels that an article such as this one couldn’t possibly cover it all.

Our fears are often a freak show.  We hide them, we work around them and we never really wanna face them.  Yet they are often what holds us back in life.  And no I’m not talking about your fear of snakes or spiders.  Although that does remind me of a funny prank I played on a friend once with a leather snake ;)

I’m talking about fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of social settings, fear of success, fear of fame, fear of attention, and so on.  I’m sure you can at least relate to a couple of those fears and would agree that they have sabotaged your life in many ways.

For example, fear of rejection can really sabotage your dating life, whether you are a man or a woman.  If you are a man and you are scared of rejection you will never really ask out any women you find attractive.  If you are a woman and you are scared from a man rejecting you, you will never really be able to trust men in the first place.

So how do you go from lame or average to fame or greatness, well you need to conquer your fears, and here are 5 steps that will help you tremendously:

  1. Be FearlessDo it, don’t just think it. Instead of saying “I’m not scared” or “I wanna get over my fear of…” just do it.  You might need to take small steps at first but you need to do it.  One thing I always wanted to do was skydive.  When the opportunity came up I decided to just do it.  Now of course this might sound a bit extreme, however it was a blast.  In most cases though I notice I have taken gradual steps to get over my fear.A big fear for me was fear of rejection especially around strangers in social settings.  And it still is to a lesser degree.  To get over that I started by first learning everything about social skills I could find. I then went out and would make eye contact with strangers on the street.  Then I would try smiling.  Then I actually started saying “hi how are you” to strangers.  Now I’m at the point where I can comfortably walk up to any stranger and probably have a fun 10-15 minute conversation.The key is getting out of your comfort zone and taking gradual scary steps.  You have to be fearless not to try.  You have to fake it until you make it.  Start doing scary things and your body will gradually find them less scary.
  2. Don’t Care Most of the things we care about or worry about are very insignificant.  Most of our worries never become reality anyways.  Think about it when was the last time you actually worried about something and had it really happen? I would guess 1 out of your last 100 worries turned into reality.Often we care too much about pleasing others.  We care too much about how we come across. We care too much about our pride and ego.  We try to follow our parents guidance and advice, and we really do care about being good sons and daughters. Well I say forget that.I’m not saying become a jerk, I’m just saying that if you are always putting others and their needs before yours you are not being authentic.  You aren’t being real.  You are trying to live a pretend life and project a pretend lifestyle.Start being real.  If that means that you will offend some people so be it.  If that means that some of your current friends might dump you for it, then oh well you’ll make new ones.  If that actually happens it means that they are probably losers in the first place and aren’t good success models to start with.

    When you actually start being real and more authentic something amazing happens.  You notice that your relationships with others become a lot stronger.  Even people who don’t agree with you will start trusting you more, and be open around you.  Why?  Because they know the real you, they know you got boundaries, and people actually respect that.

  3. Burn the Boats It’s a known fact that many successful tribes and warriors burned their boats right after they landed on their enemies grounds.  They burned their ships and basically made it impossible to flee the war that they are about to engage in other than victoriously.  They either fought and all died, or they were victorious and took over the land and everything in it.If you are trying to become successful in any area of your life you need to burn the boats.  You need to make it so that failure isn’t an option.  I know that sounds nice and all but I bet you are asking, “how the hack do I do that?”  Here is a practical example.Changing career paths.  You decide you want to change your career path.  So how do you burn the boats or cut off any hope of staying in your current job?  You first tell all of your friends and relatives about your decision. Because now if you wont follow through they’ll probably hassle you about it.  You get some guidance on how to start in your new career of choice.  If you already have some money saved up that you can live off for a few months, you might even consider quitting your job tomorrow. Because once you quit there is no going back. You start getting a resume ready and even maybe start applying to jobs in your new career path.
  4. Nothing To Lose Everything To GainRemind yourself “I got nothing to lose and everything to gain”. How come?  Think about it. You created your current lifestyle, everything you have, all your accomplishment, financial wealth, relationships, connections and so on.  If all of those were to be taken away from you, using the same logic, you can get them all back in time.  So no matter what kind of risks you take you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  You can always come back to your little comfort zone.  However by stepping up, and taking risks you really do have everything to gain.  The world is yours for the taking.
  5. Shatter Glass WallThe glass wall is the sum of all of our limiting beliefs and insecurities that hold us back in life.  When I was too shy to talk to strangers I had a very thick glass wall.  I thought strangers wouldn’t be nice to me.  I though they didn’t want to talk to me.  I thought they didn’t want anything I had to offer.  I thought I would annoy them. And so on.I had to shatter that glass wall which was mostly based on my own insecurities.  To shatter it I had to start acting in spite of my insecurities.  I had to feel the fear and do it anyways.You first step to shattering your glass wall is becoming more aware of it.  You have to start seeing it for what it is, a bunch of insecurities and limiting beliefs.  It’s called a glass wall because it’s often invisible.  Often we assume that we are right, things are they way we’ve always been taught and we never question our beliefs and insecurities.

5 Tips to Surround Yourself with Success Models

image source:dbking

Surrounding yourself with the success models will automatically steer your life and your efforts toward success. A success model is someone who either has achieved a goal you are working towards or can guide you in the path towards achieving it. On the other hand surrounding yourself with the wrong crowd will make it much harder for you to succeed. Whenever you spend a lot of time around a person, you naturally become more like them whether they are a good or a bad influence. Here are tips on how to surround yourself with success models.

  1. Get a clear idea of your goals and personal valuesWithout having clear specific goals, and personal values there is no way to tell if you are surrounding yourself with success models or failure models. There is a difference between a goal and a personal value. A goal is a futuristic want you are working towards achieving. A good example of a goal is wanting to lose weight. A personal value, is a preference, a trait or characteristic you like that you can start implementing right away. Some of my persona values are positivity, optimism, randomness, humor and open-mindedness. Once you have goals and personal values you can start evaluating whether a friend is a success model or not.
  2. Spend less time with the wrong crowdYou will start realizing that some of your close friends or maybe even relatives aren’t a really good influence on you. Maybe they don’t believe that achieving your goals is possible and tend to always put you down when you bring them up. Or maybe their personal values don’t align with yours. Whatever the case is, just try to spend less time with them. Also when spending time with them, make sure you are steering the direction of the conversation. For example if they bring up a negative subject, just switch the conversation by starting to talk about something positive. Get them talking about things they like or love so that you can experience their positive side.
  3. Build your social skills
    In order to have more choice in the quality of friends and relationships you create you must have good social skills. When I was younger I had bad social skills, and was great full for any friends I made whether they were good or bad. As I started working on my social skills I started having a lot more choice in the friendships I make. A quick tip to improve your social skills is to simply introduce yourself to strangers when you’re out. I usually just say “Hey, I’m Andrew, Whats your name?”. It’s a natural reaction for a stranger to introduce him/her self back. Just carry on the conversation from there. You might be really nervous trying this out at first, but just do it at least 10 times, and it will start becoming easier. I will be discussing social skills in future posts, however this tip I gave you will help you get started.
  4. Get involved in workshops and social groups related to your goalsIf you want to lose weight, you should join weight loss support groups or go to group fitness classes at your gym. This will help you come into contact with others who are working towards your goal of losing weight or staying fit. It will certainly also increase your chances of making friends with similar goals. As you spend more time with those new friends you will automatically move closer and closer towards your weight loss goal. For example if you were to go out to eat with one of those new friends they will tend to order healthier foods. This will encourage you to also order healthy foods or menu choices also. I just used weight loss as an example goal, however this strategy works with any other goal.
  5. Offer value to your success modelsOnce you have made friends who are success models make sure you are offering them value. Don’t just become a vacuum that only sucks value from them. Otherwise you will notice the relationships will deteriorate and they will be trying to avoid you. You just need to ask what is valuable to my new friend? Maybe there is a skill they are trying to learn that you can teach them or help them in learning. Maybe you can introduce them to other cool people. Maybe you can invite them to fun events and parties that you go to.

Are Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Fears

“Dreams Bigger Than Fears” – I’ve heard this quote and it really resonated with me.  In order to achieve any kind of dream it often requires overcoming fear.

When was the last time you felt those butterflies in your stomach?  When was the last time you felt nervous to the point where your body started shaking?  When was the last time your mouth dried up and you started stuttering as you tried to speak?

If it’s been a while then it’s clear that you’re getting very comfortable.  You really need to start getting out of your comfort zone.

Often we want the best of both words.  We want to sit back, be comfortable, relaxed while at the same time having our dreams come true on their own.

So the question I have for you is Are your dreams bigger than your fears?

Discomfort is a Prerequisite for Success

The biggest roadblock to achieving a goal is often wanting to stay inside our comfort zone while doing it, this is IMPOSSIBLE.  Let me give a quick example from my own personal life…

I often wanted to build my own business, make my own money, and never have to rely on a 9 to 5 office job.  From a young age I knew it was “my calling” so to speak.

Anyways after college I got a 9 to 5 job and it was okay for 6 months but then I really started resenting it.  The job was fine but I disliked the atmosphere, it often felt like going to jail everyday, and I hated the remedial stupid tasks they had me doing it.

So in my free time I would try to work on business ideas however I could never do it.  I just never really had the motivation to work another 3-4 hours after coming back from my boring day job.  You see I was trying to achieve my goal of building my own business without stepping outside my comfort zone.  It simply didn’t work.  So I knew what I had to do.  I had to quit, and figure it out from there, so I quit without really any kind of plan so to speak…

When I quit I faced another challenge.  I had great business ideas but the fear of failure had a really strong hold on me and I never really gave it my all.  In many ways I was a mess.  I let the fear of not knowing how I’m going to pay the rent really get a hold of me, and I crumbled.  So I eventually went back to another 9 to 5 job.  But guess what…

Six months into my 2nd job and I started feeling miserable going to work.  The job was good and it actually paid a lot of money.  So I decided to quit again.  Yet this time it was much harder, having failed the last time, I learned from my mistakes and put together an action plan to improve my chances of success this time…

I can’t even begin to tell you how uncomfortable it was to quit once again.  Even explaining it to my family and friends a 2nd time was a little tough.  They would often give these strange looks and think I’m going through some “phase” like a teenager or something and hope that I snap out of it soon and go back to the “real world”…

Anyways this time, I didn’t let fear hold me back, I really stretched my comfort zone in so many way that basically within 2 months of quitting I had setup a business idea that was making me $300 per month of passive income, income that kept coming in without me having to work for.  A month later I replicated the same idea and started another business that brought in more passive income, and things started taking of…

And the big key was stepping out of my comfort zone instead of letting my fears choke my creativity and my abilities.  So if you’re feeling stuck right now or in a rut, then you need to regularly get out of your comfort zone.

Security Does Not Exist which is Great News

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Helen Keller was def & blind for most of her life yet lived a rich, exciting, meaningful life. She frequently traveled to different countries, offered so much to the community and never let her disabilities limit her potential.

Security isn’t a law of nature, it usually isn’t even the norm, there are no guarantees in life. Security is something we created and choose to believe to mentally cope with danger. Security allows us to live our lives in a predictable pattern. This predictability tricks us into thinking that as long as we are doing the same things, we know what will come next, and will be ready for it. This is a false belief. At any moment, one’s life can be turned upside down breaking one’s daily pattern, and shattering one’s false sense of security. At any moment the phone could ring with some real bad news. At any moment one can lose their job, get fired or laid of. At any moment one might be involved in a life threatening driving accident that’s not even their fault. There is nothing one can do to avoid danger.

This idea might sound very sad and negative. However it’s really great news. Think about it, if life is always safe, predictable, what would be the point? We would always know what happens next, we would never even have any good stories to tell. If people don’t experience tragedies, and awkward situations, what would be left to talk about, get excited over, or seek help for. There would be no motivation to do anything great even, everyone would just do enough to get by. There would be no need for self improvement or growth.

You must be very careful not to let fear stop you or limit you. Unpredictability is a part of life, so as long as your choosing to wake up everyday and get out of bed, you must accept life for what it is, an unpredictable playground. Accepting that life is dangerous and unpredictable allows you to take more calculated risks. It frees you from a lot of your limitations that are based on fear. It’s also a motivation to take more smaller risks and make your life more exciting. Most of the everyday risks aren’t only small but have trivial worst case consequences. However the rewards and learning that results from those risks can be very rewarding and enriching to ones life experience.

You must also start accepting life for what it is, and enjoying the present moment, because in reality it could be all you have left. There is no guarantee that anyone will live to be 70 or 80 or 90 years old. This is freeing because it means you can and should start enjoying life now. Don’t put off that international trip you have been wanting to take. Don’t put off that beach vacation you’ve been delaying. Don’t put off that fun class you have been wanting to sign up for. Start enjoying life and having fun today. You should by all means have and work on your goals, building a brighter future. However at the same time you must accept the present for what it is, and enjoy it. A healthy balance between enjoying the present and also working on a better future is a must because life is a journey not a destination.

Stop shying away and trying to live in your imaginary box of safety. It’s boring, it’s not real, and even if you don’t take risks, unpredictable danger might still find you. Shatter that box of predictability and security, replacing it with a new box. A box of total acceptance and appreciation for how far you’ve come and how much progress you made in life.