Self Improvement

What Neuroscience Says on Why Self Improvement is So Effing Hard (and What to Do About It)

What Neuroscience Says on Why Self Improvement is So Effing Hard (and What to Do About It)

Everything you do, or experience, or think is affected by the expectations you already have.

Take your arms, for example.

With both arms intact, your brain works swimmingly. It sends signals to your limbs, they move, they provide feedback, and your brain breathes a sigh of relief that the cycle is complete. When you expect your arm to move and it does, your expectations are fulfilled. All is well.

But if one arm were missing, this feedback loop doesn’t close. A variety of sensations, including pain, can follow.

In a fascinating book Phantoms in the Brain, Dr. Ramachandran explores the world of neuroscience through people who have lost a limb. Patients experienced phantom sensations in an extremity that no longer existed; some as simple as a fleeting tickle, others as irritating as an un-itchable itch and, in the worst of cases, pain.

The patient’s brain, having sent a signal to the missing limb, would expect a response. Without receiving one, its neural pathways would get confused, causing severe phantom pain where none should be possible.

Ouch.

Or take relationships, for example.

Sculpting Your Best Self: How Self-Improvement is Best Done Through Sculpting Others

Sculpting Your Best Self: How Self-Improvement is Best Done Through Sculpting Others

You are a block of stone.

Chipped and cracked and carved by life.

Molded since birth, you now embody a unique shape, reflecting all that you’ve become.

Your parents were the first to sculpt you. Using the only tools they knew how. Tools given to them by generations of parents before them, they whittled you into the shape they wanted, or needed, or were proud of. A sculpture of sorts.

From Nice Guy to Respected Leader: 5 Tactics Nice Guys Can Use to Gain Respect and Avoid Finishing Last

From Nice Guy to Respected Leader: 5 Tactics Nice Guys Can Use to Gain Respect and Avoid Finishing Last

What he said to me was, “You’re such a nice guy, Mike. The nicest.”

What he meant was, “Everyone is trampling all over you. You’re not aggressive enough. You’re never going to get anywhere in life, and you certainly aren’t going to find success in this company.”

I’ve heard it a thousand times before.

“Mike, you’re such a nice guy.”

or

“Mike, you’re the nicest. So nice.”

Which would be great if it were a compliment. But it’s not.

Of course, there’s truth to what they say. I am nice. I do treat others with kindness. I would give you the shirt of my back if you needed it.

But their so called compliments are laced with an undercurrent of misgiving concerning my ability to get ahead in life or, at the very least, avoid the wrath of distrustful, self-interested sinners who would rob me of my possessions, my honor, and my virtue.

These stabs at my character disguised as flattery are enough to make me wonder if I should be more of an asshole.

Nice guys finish last, right

5 Mindset Hacks That Make Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson So Massively Successful

5 Mindset Hacks That Make Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson So Massively Successful

Sorry, this post isn’t for you.

It’s for me.

It’s for me internalize the mindset of a big-screen hero, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Someone who, though I’ve never met, I respect and admire.

It’s for me to capture the thinking of a giant who has been kicked around, ignored, laughed at, and ridiculed only to bust through to success in endeavor after endeavor.

It’s for me to embed an absolute can-do, break -through-walls, leap-over-obstacles kind of attitude into my psyche. 

This post isn’t for you. It’s for me. But you can read it anyway :-).

In fact, I’d love everyone read these ideas and watch the video at the end.

I want everyone to hear Dwayne Johnson’s heartfelt words and catch a glimpse of how this success-genius made his way through failures from poverty to continual and lasting success.

Because unlike so many other successful people who share what they’re doing today to be successful, he talks about the mindset he fostered in the past that led him to his present and will help him grow and win big in the future.

Stop Feeding Your Brain Mental Garbage

Stop Feeding Your Brain Mental Garbage

Less than 10 minutes after waking, I threw up cigar chunks into my master bathroom toilet.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Twelve hours earlier, the groom and I were celebrating his upcoming wedding with a night on the town in historic downtown Leesburg, Virginia. 

As you might have guessed, this night included alcohol and stogies.

We drank and walked and talked and smoked and drank some more. We hopped from restaurant to restaurant, downing wine and beer and whiskey, all the while drawing down a box of cigars purchased at the local tobacconist.

At one point, the groom had me laughing so hard that I bit down on the cigar butt, crumbling the outer paper, which I inhaled, coughed up, then involuntarily swallowed.

I washed it down with a swig of wine—all of it came up the next morning.

Gross, I know.

But it perfectly illustrates the entire point of this article... 

41 Ways to Get Home Early Every Day This Week

The Night Before

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1. Get 7 hours of sleep

2. Lay out daily clothes in advance

3. Block calendar for important work

4. Schedule commute time

5. Schedule breaks

6. Plan to deal with time obstacles

7. Schedule administrivia

In The Morning

8. Exercise

9. Eat healthy food that energizes you

10. Tell everyone when you plan to leave

11. When work begins, begin work (don’t get distracted)

For Meetings

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12. Squeeze meetings together

13. Focus (or leave) meetings that aren’t productive

14. Reschedule meetings that start late

15. Hold stand up meetings

16. Decline meetings where you can’t contribute

17. Add buffer between meetings and tasks

Managing Tasks

18. Schedule important tasks

19. Prioritize urgent tasks

20. Delegate unimportant tasks

21. Delete the rest of your tasks

22. Limit emailing to 3x per day

23. Automate repetitive tasks with apps like IFTTT

24. Bundle similar tasks together

25. Set a timer for your tasks

During Work

26. Begin with the end in mind

27. Minimize distractions

28. Stick to your schedule

29. Delegate

30. Work on what matters

31. Focus with music

32. Work intensely

33. Take breaks often

34. Work when everyone else isn’t

Administrivia

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35. Call instead of email

36. Send shorter emails… get to the point

37. Only read emails where you are in the to: line

Before Heading Home

38. Block time before you leave to clean up your day

39. Reduce and remove clutter in your workspace

Don’t Forget…

40. Add some greenery to your workspace (scientifically proven to increase productivity)

41. Sit, stand, walk, talk, act confidently


About the Author

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Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.

Subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter on personal excellence and business mastery that one client called “The Owners Manual to an Awesome Life.”

Control Your Effort, Control Your Schedule

Control Your Effort, Control Your Schedule

In Orange County, California, the sun warms your skin like a campfire on a cool evening.

I was visiting for business, but accepted these personal pleasures that came with travel.

So, when the opportunity to ride top-down in a convertible along the Pacific coast to Los Angelos arose, I desperately wanted to take it.

3 Science-Backed Daily Habits for a Life of Happiness and Success

3 Science-Backed Daily Habits for a Life of Happiness and Success

Success and happiness are built on layers of science.

Let me explain.

Habit #1 | The Common Element to Irritability and Worthlessness (The Opposite of Happiness and Success)

Nick chucked his controller into the Nintendo, hard.

It bounced off the front plastic and flew to the floor, but he wasn't done. He picked it up in a fit of rage and threw it again, and again, and again. With every throw, his face grew hotter until he looked like a ripe cherry about to pop in the hot sun. He threw that controller over and over with all his might, cracking the plastic until the Nintendo relented and shut down (for good) when he finally destroyed the on/off switch.

3 Immediate Mindset Changes to Drastically Improve Your Life

3 Immediate Mindset Changes to Drastically Improve Your Life

I can attest from first-hand experience that striking out sucks.

It doesn't matter how you do it.

Swinging under a ball for that third strike feels like opening a drain to let all the potential flow out of your body. No base hit. No home run. No chance to be the hero in front of an audience of cheering fans.

30 Days of Daily Planning for a Better Life

30 Days of Daily Planning for a Better Life

The last place I ever wanted to be was on a twin-engine propeller plane in an ice storm.

Yet there I was, sitting in seat 2b, listening to the engines labor to keep 20 tons of metal and humanity afloat. Unlike the constant drone of a jet engine, this prop plane had a chant—a repetitive roar intermingled with a gnarly growl—like a lion voicing his displeasure as he tumbled around in an industrial dryer.

Be the Mentor and the Student

Some days you teach. Other days you learn. Most days you do both.

Be the mentor and the student every day.

Teach others what you learn and learn what others teach.

It’s the best way to grow and surround yourself with lifelong learners.


About the Author

mike_mehlberg.jpeg

Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs organize their brain and schedule so they can organize their life and business.

Subscribe to my free, weekly newsletter on personal excellence and business mastery that one client called “The Owners Manual to an Awesome Life.”

The Necessary Ingredient to Leadership, Competitive Greatness, Everything

The Necessary Ingredient to Leadership, Competitive Greatness, Everything

It was a three Advil and two Tylenol kind of morning.

I should have known it would be.

You can’t drink two beers, down three glasses of wine, eat four cake pops, go to bed five hours late, and expect to wake up at six am rearing to go.

At least I can’t.

No, when I woke this morning after a night of food-and-bedtime-debauchery, you could have told me…

10 Things Nobody Can Take Away From You

People can steal so many things from you—your money, your attention, your time.

Here are a few things they can’t:

  1. Your Fire

  2. Your Skills

  3. Your Ideas

  4. Your Effort

  5. Your Wisdom

  6. Your Reactions

  7. Your Perspective

  8. Your Uniqueness

  9. Your Experiences

  10. Your Determination

  11. Your Self Respect

There may be others. Comment if you think of any below👇.

In the meanwhile, take caution. While nobody can steal these things from you, you can steal them from yourself.

Stay diligent, stay disciplined, and always keep building that which cannot be taken away.


About the Author

mike_mehlberg.jpeg

Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human.

The Importance of Living by Simple Rules

The Importance of Living by Simple Rules

Every year without fail, on the first day of school, my Father would remind me to follow three simple rules:

  1. Do what’s right.

  2. Do the best you can.

  3. The golden rule.

This past week, as school started for my own children, I reminded them to follow those same three rules. They got the first two, but when asked to recall the golden rule they said, “to have fun?”