10 Things You Should Never Apologise For…Ever!

Ever wondered why people say sorry for certain things when there really is no need to apologise? Or have you ever had someone dismiss you and belittle your feelings saying that they’re not valid or relevant? Well here’s a list of the 10 Things You Should Never Apologise For.

I’m not sorry and you shouldn’t be either for…

1. How you feel

Expressing the way you feel (and I mean really feel about something) is a gift. When you tell someone about the way you feel on a certain subject you should never think twice about apologising for expressing your personal perspective. That is, unless it’s harmful to the other person or intended to manipulate the situation. Letting people know where you’re at and how you feel is so important. If you don’t express your true feelings then they get swept under the carpet and you get sick. Seriously, they will fester and implode within your soul like a stink bomb.

AFFIRMATION: It is safe for me to express my truth and the way that I feel.

2. What makes you laugh

Your sense of humour is your own set-point of uniqueness. The beauty of the human condition is that there are so many beautiful types of humor and no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Whether you laugh at poo jokes, videos of kittens or even Japanese signs with amusing English translation failures – always be unapologetic for what makes you giggle. Life is funny. 

AFFIRMATION: The things that amuse me feed my soul.

3. What you believe in

This should be a deal breaker in relationships. Yes, we know that the fine art of conversation means avoiding the themes of politics or religion – however, if you have to say sorry for what you believe in, no matter what it is, you’re moving in the wrong circles. You have 100% permission to believe in whatever you wish as long as you don’t intentionally hurt people in order to prove a point.

AFFIRMATION: My beliefs are my own and the compass for my soul.

4. Your past

Yes, you might have done a turd and mailed it to a high school bully. Yes, it might have been nearly 20 years ago – however no one can make you say sorry for the silly stuff you did in the past. Unless, it was illegal or the overwhelming need for some sort of exchange of forgiveness to take place.

On the other hand you might have been dating two guys at once when you were younger and your present husband brings it up in fights. The basic rule is this…when something happens before you’re in someone’s life, then technically it has nothing to do with them.

AFFIRMATION: The past is over, the memories are pretty funny though.

5. Your future and your dreams

Never apologise for your dreams or what you want for your future. However, make room for compromise if you are in a long term situation with others so that you’re not appearing to be totally self-involved. Make your dreams happen, never apologise for dreaming.

AFFIRMATION: I allow myself to create an amazing future.

6. Your body or your weight

If you’re apologising for the way your body looks then stop it. You need to own your body –  the shape, the texture, the fact that it keeps you alive and HONOUR IT. Saying sorry to someone because you’re too big, too small, too green…whatever…is harmful to your heart. If someone can’t love you enough to know that perfection is mythical, then they need their soul Photoshopped.

AFFIRMATION: I am enough.

7. Your children

Unless they are throwing their own poo around in a restaurant or yelling out vulgarities to others, then never apologise for your children. Kids are supposed to behave like kids. And if you do encounter the grouch that speaks up and makes you feel like you need to apologise for your children then gently remind them that they once were kids too.

AFFIRMATION: Kids are vibrant, messy, loud, beautiful souls that need space to be creative.

8. How much you earn

Money is a sore spot and a tender subject for a lot of people. Never feel the need to apologise for earning too much or not earning enough. Money is an exchange for energy, that’s all. So when you’re saying sorry for having too little or even too much, then you are making a very powerful affirmation to the Universe to cease the flow of abundance.

AFFIRMATION: It is safe for me to allow more abundance into my life and feel comfortable to share my wealth when it flows with ease.

9. Your personal/emotional boundaries

You draw the line when it comes to saying something isn’t okay. We should all learn to assert our boundaries and not be apologetic for our decisions that enforce our own emotional safety.

AFFIRMATION: It’s okay, when I say it’s okay.

10. Your sexuality

This one should be the most obvious, kind of like apologising for your skin colour. No matter what your sexual orientation is, you must never need to apologise to someone because of it unless it’s used in the context of ‘Sorry, I’m flattered but I’m a lesbian.’

AFFIRMATION: My sexuality never needs to be explained.

5 Books That Will Instantly Give You a PhD in Productivity

Read these five books to instantly become a productivity master.

Becoming productive is one part art, one part science. There are some best practices out there, but most people have to determine what is going to be the best for them through a process of trial and error.

One of the best ways to get started on the productivity journey is to read books on productivity. Shocking, I know.

While I would not say I have a PhD in productivity, I will say that I am well-studied–let’s say to a post graduate level. I got to this point by reading everything I could get my hands, implementing and testing dozens of methods, and obsessively pursuing productivity for nearly 10 years.

Through this process I have read a handful of books that stand out or made a significant impact on my own approach.

These are my top five:

1. Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold

This book argues that meetings don’t suck, we just suck at running them. And most would agree that’s pretty accurate.

Meetings can be an epidemic that not only waste your time, but everyone else’s as well. When you look at the time spent in meetings, it can be truly alarming.

I reached out to Herold for this article and he stated:

“There are 11 millions meetings every day and $37 billion wasted each year in meetings. I calculate that the average employee spends a minimum of 1 hour a day in meetings of some sort, which is 12.5 percent of their work day. When companies figure that as much as 12-25 percent of their salaries are being wasted–it’s time to fix meetings for sure.”

Learning how to be more productive where we spend so much of our time is a productivity breakthrough and this book is one of my personal favorites so far of 2016.

2. Getting Things Done by David Allen

This book has become a bible for many well-known executives, entrepreneurs and founders.

The core concept is based on the idea that when a task that needs to be done enters your brain, it needs to be processed and sorted.

If it is just kept in your mind, that creates an open loop and throughout the rest of the day, your brain will constantly be in a state of stress trying to make sure it does not forget to do it.

The key here is to first capture everything and then second, sort it into various categories. Finally, take time to review. For the system to work, it must constantly be reviewed.

3. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch

You have probably heard of the Pareto Principle before, but in case you haven’t, it is based on the theory that 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of the effort that you put into it.

This is not just the case for getting tasks done; it is a pattern that appears outside of the business world as well.

Knowing this can help you to consciously think about where your results come from and where you are simply wasting your time.

4. Zen to Done by Leo Babauta

This book was written by Leo Babauta, the well-known blogger behind ZenHabits.

Zen to Done goes even more basic than Getting Things Done–I recommend that people read both books and depending on how complex and complicated their day-to-day is, they can decide which one works best.

From what I have seen, Zen to Done is great for someone just starting their productivity journey while Getting Things Done is more advanced.

5. 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Nick Kruse

I recommend reading this book once a quarter. It takes nearly every popular productivity concept that’s out there and shows you how to implement it along with providing insights for how other successful people use that specific productivity method.

For example, Richard Branson and his little black book are used as an example in one section. These tangible reference points are helpful, particularly for readers like myself who are more visual learners.

Working on productivity is a never ending job. There is no such thing as the perfectly productive individual. Like everything, it is something that requires constant attention, focus, and a strong desire for steady improvement.

Jim Rohn once said “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing–that’s why we recommend it daily.”

The same goes for productivity.

BY JAMES PAINE Founder, West Realty Advisors 

5 Misconceptions About Networking

By Herminia Ibarra Harvard Business Review

A good network keeps you informed. Teaches you new things. Makes you more innovative. Gives you a sounding board to flesh out your ideas. Helps you get things done when you’re in a hurry. And, much more (see my recent Lean In video on how networks augment your impact).

But, for every person who sees the value of maintaining a far-reaching and diverse set of professional connections, many more struggle to overcome innate resistance to, if not distaste for, networking. In my 20 years of teaching about how to build and use networks more effectively, I have found that the biggest barriers people typically face are not a matter of skill but mind-set.

Listening closely to my MBA students’ and executives’ recurrent dilemmas, I have concluded that any one or more of five basic misconceptions can keep people from reaping networking’s full benefits. Which of these are holding you back?

Misconception 1: Networking is mostly a waste of time. A lack of experience with networking can lead people to question whether it’s a valuable use of their time, especially when the relationships being developed are not immediately related to the task at hand. Joe, a Latin American executive in a large company striving to promote greater collaboration, for example, told me that every single co-worker who visits his country asks him to meet. Last year alone he had received close to 60 people, a heavy burden on top of the day job. Rightly, he wonders whether it’s the best use of his time.

But, just because networks can do all these things, it doesn’t mean that yours will. It all depends on what kind of network you have, and how you go about building it. Most people are not intentional when it comes to their networks. Like Joe, they respond to requests, and reach out to others only when they have specific needs. Reaching out to people that you have identified as strategically important to your agenda is more likely to pay off.

Misconception 2. People are either naturally gifted at networking or they are not, and it’s generally difficult to change that. Many people believe that networking comes easily for the extroverted and runs counter to a shy person’s intrinsic nature. If they see themselves as lacking that innate talent, they don’t invest because they don’t believe effort will get them very far.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has shown that people’s basic beliefs about “nature versus nurture” when it comes to personal attributes like intelligence or leadership skill have important consequences for the amount of effort they will put into learning something that does not come naturally to them. People with “fixed” theories believe that capacities are essentially inborn; people with growth mind-sets believe they can be developed over time.

As shown in a forthcoming academic paper by Kuwabara, Hildebrand, and Zou, if you believe that networking is a skill you can develop you are more likely to be motivated to improve it, work at it harder at it, and get better returns for your networking than someone with a fixed mind-set.

Misconception 3: Relationships should form naturally. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about networking is that relationships should form and grow spontaneously, among people who naturally like each other. Working at it strategically and methodically, they believe, is instrumental, somehow even unethical.

The problem with this way of thinking is that it produces networks that are neither useful to you nor useful to your contacts because they are too homogenous. Decades of research in social psychology shows that left to our own devices we form and maintain relationships with people just like us and with people who are convenient to get to know to because we bump into them often (and if we bump into them often they are more likely to be like us).

These “narcissistic and lazy” networks can never give us the breadth and diversity of inputs we need to understand the world around us, to make good decisions and to get people who are different from us on board with our ideas. That’s why we should develop our professional networks deliberately, as part of an intentional and concerted effort to identify and cultivate relationships with relevant parties.

Misconception 4. Networks are inherently self-serving or selfish. Many people who fail to engage in networking justify their choice as a matter of personal values. They find networking “insincere” or “manipulative” — a way of obtaining unfair advantage, and therefore, a violation of the principle of meritocracy. Others, however, see networking in terms of reciprocity and giving back as much as one gets.

One study discovered that views about the ethics of networking tend to split by level. While junior professionals were prone to feeling “dirty” about the instrumental networking they knew they had to do to advance their careers, their seniors did not feel the slightest bit conflicted about it because they believed they had something of comparable value to offer.

The difference came down to confidence or doubt about the worth of their contributions, with junior professionals feeling more like supplicants than parties to equitable exchange. My own research suggests that the only way to conceive of networking in nobler, more appealing ways is to do it, and experience for oneself its value, not only for you but for your team and organization.

Misconception 5: Our strong ties are the most valuable. Another misconception that gets in the way of building a more useful network is the intuitive idea that our most important relationships in our network are our strong ties — close, high trust relationships with people who know us well, our inner circle. While these are indeed important, we tend to underestimate the importance of our “weak ties” — our relationships with people we don’t know well yet or we don’t see very often—the outer circle of our network.

The problem with our trusted advisers and circle of usual suspects is not that they don’t want to help. It’s that they are likely to have the same information and perspective that we do. Lots of research shows that innovation and strategic insight flow through these weaker ties that add connectivity to our networks by allowing us to reach out to people we don’t currently know through the people we do. That’s how we learn new things and access far flung information and resources.

One of the biggest complaints that the executives I teach have about their current networks is that they are more an accident of the past than a source of support for the future. Weak ties, the people on the periphery of our current networks, those we don’t know very well yet, hold the key to our network’s evolution.

Our mind-sets about networking affect the time and effort we put into it, and ultimately, the return we get on our investment. Why widen your circle of acquaintances speculatively, when there is hardly enough time for the real work? If you think you’re never going to be good at it? Or, that it is in the end, a little sleazy, at best political?

Mind-sets can change and do but only with direct experience. The only way you will come to understand that networking is one of the most important resources for your job and career is try it, and discover the value for yourself.

Herminia Ibarra is a professor of organizational behavior and the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning at Insead. She is the author of Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader (Harvard Business Review Press, 2015) and Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career(Harvard Business Review Press, 2003). Follow her on Twitter @HerminiaIbarra and visit her website.

3 Reasons Why Flying First Class Is Worth Every Penny

Spending a bit more can turn your flight into a profit center

The first-class cabin at the front of the plane may be just a few yards from your economy seat, but it might as well be in a different world. While you’re trying not to bash your knees on the tray table, to eat plastic food, and to get to sleep with a couple of tightly-packed strangers, on many international flight those at the front are lying on a bed in a private cabin, having just enjoyed a dinner prepared by a chef. Served on real china. Of course, they’ll have paid a fortune for those luxuries. A first class ticket from Singapore to New York on Singapore Airlines can set you back around $15,000. Along with the bed, you also get a dining table behind your private sliding doors, a 23-inch entertainment system, and a proper wine list.

But a touch of luxury isn’t all you get when you cash in your air miles, dig deep into your travel budget, or demand the client upgrade your ticket. When you stay in economy, you miss out on three other benefits that are way more valuable than a better class of reheated meal.

1. Time and Energy

First-class passengers arrive at the same time as everyone else. You’ll get off the plane first, but that will only save you a few minutes. The hours it can save you are in the recovery from the flight. David Liu, founder of TheKnot.com, described in The New York Times how, in the early days of his business, a venture capitalist he met was shocked to learn he had saved money by booking a red-eye with three layovers. Instead of being impressed by his thrift, she told him the company couldn’t afford a stressed-out CEO, and booked him on a first-class flight home.

If you’re flying economy class long-distance, your next day or two are going to be a washout. You have to factor in the cost of lost productivity and maybe even a lost deal, if you roll off the red-eye and into a presentation. Bear all those expenses in mind and that economy class seat doesn’t look so cheap anymore.

First-Class-Cabin

2. Networking

The first-class areas are the ultimate networking rooms. It starts in the lounge, where you get a proper place to relax, alongside people who are at the top of their professions. It continues on the plane, where you might find yourself sitting alongside the founder of a multimillion-dollar company or the chief executive of a Fortune 500 business. That’s valuable. Last year, Chinese gaming company Da Lian Zeus Entertainment paid $2.35 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett. You’ll pay a lot less to spend several hours sitting next to someone guaranteed to be a success in his or her field.

Those networking benefits are worth grabbing even on domestic flights. The comfort levels might not be much higher, but for a little more money, you’ll get to chat and exchange contact details with people at the top of their professions. If you want to meet and chat with people who have deep pockets and plenty of knowledge, you have to sit at the front of the plane.

first-class

3. Work

If you’ve ever tried to work in an economy-class seat, you’ll know it’s almost impossible. There’s barely enough room for your lap, let alone your laptop. A first-class seat is a real office, complete with power outlets, privacy, and Wi-Fi. While you’re squinting at a movie on a small screen in the back of the plane, the people at the front have a chance to pull even further ahead.

So should you be splashing out on a first-class plane ticket next time you travel? If you’re traveling for business and can afford it, it’s worth it.

More for your entrepreneurship 7 Key Habits, Practices, and Experiences

first class

By Joel Comm. Author and speaker 

Why Bill Gates So Successful?

7 Key Habits, Practices, and Experiences

It was 15 years ago today that Bill Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft.

While he stayed involved as chairman and chief software architect, it was the start of his major life transition. Here are seven keys to his success–taken from the history of his life and applied to one endeavor after another.

1. Get in early–and learn.

I don’t know if there are shortcuts in life, but there are certainly head starts.

Gates had a big one. In 1969, when he was in eighth grade–when very few schools had any kind of computer system–his school bought an early machine along with blocks of processing time. Gates was excused from regular math classes to learn to program, and became enthralled with it. His first computer program: a tic-tac-toe program.

2. Seek forgiveness, not permission.

Too many people fail to succeed because they hold themselves back. Whether it was youthful folly or instinct, Gates didn’t fall into this category.

As an early example–that computer in eighth grade? When the school’s funds eventually ran out, Gates (with his friend Paul Allen and other students) exploited bugs to obtain free computer time. When they were caught, he and the others traded their bug-finding ability for more free computer time.

3. Value your work.

Another big problem many people have–they are afraid to ask for money. Here again, Gates never had that problem. At age 14, he was writing code for a local company’s payroll program; by age 17, he and Allen launched a company that used an early computer program to help count road traffic.

Gates also pushed to get paid during the 1970s, when business was seen as “square” to put it lightly. After he realized that computer amateurs were using pirated versions of his software, at 21, he wrote an “Open Letter to Hobbyists” telling them to “pay up” so he could “hire 10 programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.”

4. Learning matters more than school.

Gates was a good student–he scored almost perfectly on the SAT–and he was from a family that valued education. He enrolled at Harvard at 17, but didn’t declare a major and instead spent his time using Harvard’s computers.

By his second year, however, Gates dropped out of Harvard to start a company with his high school friend, Allen–and begin his real education.

5. When you’re in charge, take charge.

It’s funny how perceptions change, but when he was running Microsoft, Gates had a reputation as a difficult, extremely competitive boss. Much like his contemporary Steve Jobs, descriptions of his reaction to employees he disagreed with in meetings were harsh. One described Gates’s criticism as “devastating.”

At the same time though, he took responsibility. During the first five years, when he was overseeing all of the business aspects of the company, he also oversaw (and often rewrote) every line of code in the company’s products. If you’re old enough to have used MS-DOS or the original version of Windows, you’ve used a product Gates helped code.

6. Be the guy who predicts the future.

Obviously easier said than done, but Gates saw the future first at several key moments. One of them–and this is a classic story–came in 1980, when he negotiated a deal to license the DOS operating system to IBM for a low $50,000, but had the foresight not transfer the copyright. As a result, Microsoft was able to license the OS to other vendors who cloned IBM’s machine, thus making a much bigger and more profitable market for his company.

More chillingly: Gates has said recently he’s concerned about the threats of super-intelligent machines on humanity. Let’s hope he’s not seeing this prediction as clearly.

7. Take on a big enough mission.

In some ways this should be the first item on the list, as truly successful people first choose endeavors worthy of their time.

In Gates’s case, fast-forward to the 2000s, after he transitioned out of Microsoft and became a full-time philanthropist. Using the examples of John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie (and the mentorship of Warren Buffett), Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, are among America’s most generous philanthropists, focusing on “big problems” that they believe governments around the world are incapable of solving.

BY BILL MURPHY JR.

Executive editor, TheMid.com, and founder, ProGhostwriters.com

 

BUY HAPPINESS

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE AGE-OLD QUESTION OF MONEY AND HAPPINESS

By Kellie Colunga

“It’s the hap, happiest season of all,” the crooners sing. But is it? As much as we try to make loved ones our focus at the end of the year, the subject of money always seems to be lingering in the background. Whether you’re keeping a running mental tab on what you’ve spent on the holiday festivities, you’re waiting to hear if you got that raise or bonus, or you’re determining your end of the year giving, chances are you’ve got your mind on your money and your money on your mind (as Snoop Dog would say).

Is your money really serving you? Does it make you happier? Are you using it to lead a more fulfilled life? If you answered no to any of these questions, take heart, there is hope. Because the science says money does bring you happiness – if you use it right.

HIT YOUR TARGET

Happiness is correlated to income, but only up to $75,000, according to a highly publicized 2010 Princeton study. So what does this mean? According to the research, people reported having a greater “emotional well-being” based upon income up to $75,000, after which the level of happiness evened out.

Essentially, this study quantified what we instinctively had guessed – that money alleviates the stress of providing our most basic needs. In other words, $75,000 of annual income buys peace of mind. Meanwhile, low income intensifies the emotional strain of the trials of life like medical emergencies and divorce, causing compounded pain from financial insecurity.

In fact, one study concluded that income could actually reduce the incidence of serious mental illness. “We know from the results that changes in family income are important drivers of people’s emotional lives,” said David Clingingsmith, author of the paper and associate professor of economics at Case Western University.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’ve already hit that $75,000 threshold and you’re not happy, it means you just need to learn how to spend effectively. Keep reading! If you haven’t hit that target yet, first things first: you need to get to know your numbers. Implement a spending plan and take massive action to get your financial security in place. Just having an emergency fund that covers your basic needs for three to six months will alleviate the little voice of panic inside you (or your partner) that constantly questions what will happen if a crisis occurs. (Book maybe you like MONEY Master the game)

However, the science says that no matter where you are at in your financial journey, spending your money in these ways will bring you more satisfaction in life.

3 WAYS TO SPEND MONEY THAT WILL ACTUALLY MAKE YOU HAPPIER

SPEND IT ON OTHERS – AND WITNESS THE IMPACT

As it turns out, science has upheld the maxim, “it’s better to give.” A Harvard study conducted across over 100 countries found that whether rich or poor, people who give to charity are happier. Perceived happiness increases even more when we can see the impact our gift has on someone.

Remember that moment when you gave someone a gift that you just…could…not…wait for them to open? As they opened your present, you searched their face for the delight that you knew that you put there by giving them a gift you knew they would love. Giving a gift that changes someone’s life or just makes them feel known and loved meets our deep need for love and connection, improving the quality of our own lives whilst improving another’s.

SPEND IT ON EXPERIENCES

Make memories, not purchases. Spending money on experiences makes us happier than spending money on material things for a few reasons.

For one, spending our money on experiences creates a connection with the people we shared that experience with – and those memories form a bigger part of our sense of identity than the things we buy. In fact, we remember experiences as better than they actually were. Alternatively, we adapt to the material purchases quickly.

ALREADY CONVINCED, BUT NEED IDEAS? HERE IS A LIST OF 7 “EXPERIENCE GIFTS” WE PUT TOGETHER FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON.

paper from Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich showed that we also get more pleasure out of anticipating experiences than anticipating the acquisition of material things. There is a reason that those brilliant credit card commercials tell a story of purchases made to create a ‘priceless’ memory. It is the experiences that stir up your emotions; it is the experiences that they are selling.

Consider this: The two days your spend waiting for your Amazon Prime package to arrive doesn’t build the same kind of anticipation as planning and dreaming about that vacation to Belize does. You take the time off work, brush up on your Spanish, read travel blogs and more, all the while thinking about how epic this trip is going to be. And once it’s over, you’ll tell the story of zip-lining through the rainforest to anyone who will listen for the rest of your life.

Best of all, we don’t compare experiences quite the same way we compare our material possessions to other people’s. Teddy Roosevelt may have said it best when he postulated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” But thankfully, keeping up with the Jones’ doesn’t translate to experiences the same way it does to things. Sure, the Instagram pics of your college roommate’s family trip to Hawaii may give you travel envy, but it doesn’t diminish the joy you experienced camping in Yosemite with your spouse.

Although it may be easier to prioritize buying material goods, thinking they’ll offer better value for money in the long run, psychologists tell us that the opposite is true.

BUY BACK YOUR TIME

Studies also show that we are happier if we buy back our time. Wait, isn’t time the one thing money can’t buy us? As it turns out, no. Time is one of the most important things money can buy, precisely because it is such a valuable resource.

As the author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending, Professor Elizabeth Dunn, suggests: “Don’t buy a slightly fancier car so that you have heated seats during your two-hour commute. Buy a place close to work, so that you can use that final hour of daylight to kick a ball around in the park with your kids.” A University of Zurich study agreed, citing that you would need a 40% raise to offset the added misery of a one-hour commute.

But it’s not just time sitting in traffic you can buy back. What would you be willing to give up to gain back the time you spend cleaning your house? Pack your lunch a couple of days a week and you may find that house cleaner is suddenly within budget, freeing up those precious hours.

This is especially difficult for those of us from hard-working families who were brought up to do things ourselves. Sure, we can change our own oil, but is it the best use of our time? Will it bring you joy? If so, have at it. If not, reconsider what your time is worth and spend accordingly.

TELL THE RIGHT STORY

Finally, your happiness is ultimately determined by the story you tell yourself. What is the story you consistently tell regarding your finances? Is it empowering you or limiting you? Is your story making you happy? As Tony Robbins says, “Change your story, change your life.”

On your journey to financial freedom, be sure to cultivate gratitude. One of the main reasons that collecting more things doesn’t make us happy in the long run is because we adapt quickly to it. Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor at UC Riverside, says,” If you have a rise in income it gives you a boost, but then your aspirations rise too…You’ve stepped on the hedonic treadmill. Trying to prevent that or slow it down is really a challenge.”

Consciously fostering gratitude is key to maintaining joy. 

Wherever you are in your financial journey, may you find joy this holiday season

Book may be you like MONEY Master the game

More about Success: Why Sarcastic People are More Successful

Original Post in Tony Robbins/Money 

How to handle toxic people

Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all, stress.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus—an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Most sources of stress at work are easy to identify. If your non-profit is working to land a grant that your organization needs to function, you’re bound to feel stress and likely know how to manage it. It’s the unexpected sources of stress that take you by surprise and harm you the most.

Recent research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people—caused subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

 The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to neutralize toxic people. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ to keep toxic people at bay.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when dealing with toxic people, what follows are twelve of the best. To deal with toxic people effectively, you need an approach that enables you, across the board, to control what you can and eliminate what you can’t. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of far more than you realize.

They set limits (especially with complainers)

Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.

You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

 They don’t die in the fight

Successful people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.

They rise above

Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it; their behavior truly goes against reason. Which begs the question, why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix?

The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer the analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.

They stay aware of their emotions

Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognize when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.

Think of it this way—if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with a coworker who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod. If you’re going to have to straighten them out, it’s better to give yourself some time to plan the best way to go about it.

They establish boundaries

This is the area where most people tend to sell themselves short. They feel like because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve found your way to rise above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when you don’t. For example, even if you work with someone closely on a project team, that doesn’t mean that you need to have the same level of one-on-one interaction with them that you have with other team members.

You can establish a boundary, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to encroach upon them, which they will.

They won’t let anyone limit their joy

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them.

While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what toxic people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.
They don’t focus on problems—only solutions

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress.

When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling them. This makes you more effective by putting you in control, and it will reduce the amount of stress you experience when interacting with them.

They don’t forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Successful people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

They squash negative self-talk

Sometimes you absorb the negativity of other people. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or help you move past it. Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of. You should avoid negative self-talk at all costs.

They limit their caffeine intake

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re surprised in the hallway by an angry coworker.

They get some sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present.

A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your approach to toxic people, giving you the perspective you need to deal effectively with them.
They use their support system

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To deal with toxic people, you need to recognize the weaknesses in your approach to them. This means tapping into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.

Bringing it all together

Before you get this system to work brilliantly, you’re going to have to pass some tests. Most of the time, you will find yourself tested by touchy interactions with problem people. Thankfully, the plasticity of the brain allows it to mold and change as you practice new behaviors, even when you fail. Implementing these healthy, stress-relieving techniques for dealing with difficult people will train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.

This post originally appeared at LinkedIn. Follow the author here.

Amazing Mini Habits That Will Make 2016 Awesome

What are some of the best life tips? 

Originally appeared on Quora–the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Nelson Wang, founder of CEOLifestyle.io, on Quora:

Over the past 31 years of my life, I’ve learned a lot through my experiences. These include:

1. Having my articles featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Fortune, and Inc.

2. Starting two companies and building four top 100 apps in different categories.

3. Ten years in the technology industry at amazing companies like Cisco, VMware, Box, and Optimizely.

4. Writing a book that hit No. 1 on Amazon in the résumés category, with more than 40,000 Kindle downloads.

And today, I’ll be sharing with you my top 100 tips on work, life hacks, and life lessons. To make this list easier to read, I’ve divided it into the three categories:

  • Work tips–Nos. 1 to 34
  • Life hacks–Nos. 35 to 55
  • Life lessons–Nos. 56 to 100

Hope this helps you live an epic life!

Work tips:

1. Say no to one-hour meetings–“I love hourlong meetings,” said no one ever. One-hour meetings are often unnecessary. You can usually accomplish in 30 minutes what you thought you needed an hour for. Thirty minutes will force you to be concise and on point.

2. Do the Steve Jobs walk–Steve Jobs did some of his most important meetings while going for a walk. I do this all the time. First, having meetings in conference rooms can feel very stiff. Second, getting people outside of their everyday environment may get them to see things from a new perspective. Third, being physically active during your meeting could help you think more clearly. So open the door, get some fresh air, and go for a walk.

3. Visualize your success–Imagine three groups of basketball players. The first group practices shooting free throws 20 minutes a day. The second group doesn’t practice free throws but instead visualizes themselves making free throws. The third group doesn’t practice or visualize at all. The results? There was a significant improvement in the second group. In fact, they were almost as good as the first group. By the way, this is a real experiment that was conducted by Australian psychologist Alan Richardson. So if you want to get that new job, imagine yourself prepping for the interview, nailing it, and signing the job offer. Visualize what you want your future to be.

4. Listen before speaking–Seek to understand first. How can you make an intelligent remark about something if you haven’t taken the time to observe what’s happening first? You have two ears and only one mouth. There’s a reason for that.

5. Keep your daily to-do list small–Instead of writing up a huge to-do list every day, focus on completing the three most important items every day. This forces you to prioritize your activities to ensure you’re getting the best return on your energy and time. Ask this question: “Do I really need to do this today?”

6. Set goals–If you don’t even know where you’re headed, how will you create the plan on how to get there? Set your destination first, and then set sail.

7. Celebrate progress–The journey to your goal could be a long one. So make sure you take the time to celebrate your progress along the way. Eat a nice dinner. High-five your teammates. Strike a gong. Do a fist pump. Yell out from the rooftops. Because success is worth celebrating.

8. Figure out your why–It’s a such a great question that isn’t asked enough. Why does it all matter? Figure out your why and that’ll be the fuel for your motivation. Whether it’s supporting your family or making an impact on the world, figuring out your why is critical for taking your work to the next level.

9. Understand your strengths and amplify those–You’ll be naturally talented in certain areas or you’ll practice a skill enough to become an expert at it. Focus your energy on amplifying those strengths rather than trying to be adequate at everything. Better to be an expert at a few things than a mediocre jack-of-all-trades!

10. Don’t burn bridges–I get it. We all work with jerks at some point in our careers. Who cares? Don’t let it get to you. There’s no need to say anything bad about them. If anything, try to find humor in the situation, learn from it, and move on. You’ve got better things to focus on. Like being the most epic version of yourself that you can be.

11. View challenges as opportunities–Have you ever spent a long time waiting at the post office to ship something? I know I have. What if, instead of complaining about the process, you had viewed that challenge as an opportunity and created an app that would allow you to request a driver to come to your house and pick up and deliver your shipment for you? You would have created Shyp, an amazing app that does exactly that.

12. Shorten your commute–For a few years, I traveled for work more than three hours on the freeway every day. I was stressed, tired, and exhausted. I also wasted a ton of time sitting in a car. It’s absolutely not worth it. Work near where you live. If you can, make it within walking distance. Imagine three hours a day working on something you love. Time is precious. Don’t waste it on the freeway.

13. Test your assumptions–Did you know that A/B testing helped Barack Obama raise $60 million by running a simple experiment? This blog post from Optimizely highlights how different tests run on media and buttons made a huge impact on results. At the end of the day, all of us have an opinion at work. The only way to know the answer is to test your assumptions.

14. Dip your toes in the water–You never really know until you try. If you never try, you’ll always be wondering “what if.” So what are you waiting for? Want to explore a new career? Want to learn about a different department? Want to start your own business? Dip your toes in the water. Make it happen.

15. Give credit where it’s due–People can’t stand it when someone takes credit for something he or she didn’t do. Don’t be that person. Recognize others when they do an awesome job. It creates trust among teammates and will further your company.

16. Every person you meet is a potential door opener to a new opportunity–Be nice to people. You never know how you can help one another down the road.

17. Make data-driven decisions–When in doubt, look at the data. What is it telling you?

18. Trust your gut–Data-driven decisions aren’t quite as helpful when there’s little or no data to work with. In those cases, go with your gut.

19. Focus on the 80/20 rule–Twenty percent of your clients will usually generate 80 percent of the return. Focus your energy on the work that matters.

20.  Ten-years test–You’re going to run into problems that might seem like disasters. Don’t freak out. Instead, use the 10-years test. Will this problem matter in 10 days? In 10 months? In 10 years? Probably not. And if it won’t, don’t stress about it. It’s not worth it.

21. Do what you love–Life’s short. Do you really want to spend 23.8 percent of your life working at a job that you hate? Didn’t think so. Do what you love.

22. Focus on making an impact–Don’t do work for the sake of looking busy or only because someone told you to. Think about the impact. And if it’s not impactful, have the courage to say so. Challenge yourself to do great work that makes an impact.

23. Lead with or without the title–You don’t need a big title to make a difference at your company. You can lead by driving a new initiative, coming up with an awesome idea, or coaching and encouraging your teammates to be at their best.

24. Build a personal brand–You have a living, breathing brand. Want to build a great brand? Dress the part. Act the part. Live the part. For example, if you want to be perceived as a great content marketer, you’ve got to act the part. You could write a ton of Quora posts, LinkedIn articles, and blog posts on the subject of content marketing. That way, when people have a need for content marketing, they think of you, because they’ve seen 500 of your posts.

25. Invest in your LinkedIn profile–Nearly every single recruiter who has reached out to me this year found me on LinkedIn. Think about that for a second. Times have changed. We used to submit our résumé to company websites to find jobs. While it can still work, it’s not the most effective way to learn about job opportunities. Once you submit your résumé, it’s immediately outdated. LinkedIn, however, is brilliant, because people are incentivized to update their profiles constantly. So what ends up happening? Recruiters find most of the best talent on LinkedIn. It’s a new age, folks. Invest in your LinkedIn profile. I have a ton of tips on this in my book The Résumé Is Dead.

26. Leave your business card at home–Add someone on LinkedIn instead. It’s easier to keep in touch with him or her, reduces your administrative work in loading that person into your contact book, and updates on each other are easily viewed. Welcome to the cloud.

27. Stay humble–You might be pretty good at what you do, but chances are somebody else in the world does it better. And even if you are the best at it, chances are you aren’t good at a million other things. So stay humble. Stay foolish. Stay hungry. And keep learning from others.

28. Embrace failure and learn from it–You are going to fail at some point in life. It could be a big event, like getting fired. It could be a small event, like forgetting to do the laundry. It’s all relative. The important thing is to recognize that the process for dealing with big or small failures is the same. Acknowledge that it happened. Deal with the situation. Learn from it. Improve yourself. And move on. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, went from being a single mother living off unemployment benefits to becoming one of the best-selling authors of all time. Failure happens. It’s how you deal with it that matters.

29. Embrace your champions–Along the way, you will find people that genuinely believe in you and your mission. They will cheer you on. Embrace them. Even if your only champion is your mom.

30. Embrace your naysayers–On this same journey, you’ll also find people who doubt you every step of the way. Embrace them, too. Only this time, use that doubt as your source of motivation. I had four managers who ranked me second to last in interviews at a Fortune 100 company. I used that to motivate me when I finally landed a job. I ended up managing the No. 1 operation in the country. Thanks for the motivation.

31. Recognize the importance of transparency–People are more empathetic when they understand why things are happening. When they’re left in the dark, it becomes hard to build trust. Be transparent.

32. Invest in a standing desk–A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sitting increases our chances of getting a disease or condition that will kill us prematurely. Holy. Moly. Get a standing desk. Now. I did this for two years and felt way more productive.

33. Work smart–Why are we doing this? Does it have to be done this way? Is there a better way to do it? How can I get a better return in less time? Keep asking questions like this. Working hard is great. Working smart and hard is a even better. #WinningCombo

34. Find mentors who live your desired lifestyle–Want to work five hours a week and travel the world? Find people who have successfully created a passive-income lifestyle, like Pat Flynn, Eric Siuand Benny Hsu, and have them be your mentors. While they may not be able to mentor you one on one, you can have them be virtual mentors by following their website learnings.

Life hacks:

35. Freeze your fruits and vegetables–You want to eat healthy, but your produce always manages to go bad before you can finish it. So here’s what you do instead: Right before it goes bad, freeze it! Then you can use it in soups, stews, or smoothies in a pinch!

36. Cut the cable cord and get Netflix–You still get awesome entertainment and just reduced your monthly bill a ton.

37. Clean your home once a month–Decluttering your living space will declutter your mind. Here’s a simply way to determine what you keep: Have I used this in the past year? If not, donate it.

38. Utilize quick pick-me-ups–Sometimes you just need something to jump-start yourself into a happier mood. Watch a funny YouTube video (Jimmy Fallon’s Lip Sync Battles, Ellen DeGeneres clips), sing one of your favorite songs out loud, or dance like nobody’s watching. Life’s short. You may as well have some fun.

39. Buy a chapstick keychain–Have you lost your chapstick before? I’ve lost a ton. That’s why I bought a chapstick keychain. Problem solved. My lips have never been happier. Smooth like butter.

40. Host events–When all is said and done, relationships are what matter. Host an event for your friends, family, and loved ones so that you get a chance to spend some quality time together. Want to do it on a budget? Make it a potluck. Want to make it work related? That’s awesome too. Trust me, your co-workers want to enjoy life outside of the office, too. They may not always remember what you did in the office, but they’ll definitely remember the epic get-togethers you hosted.

41. Invest in an awesome mattress–You spend about 33 percent of your life sleeping. Why would you skimp on your mattress? Help yourself get the best sleep possible.

42. Iron your shirt without an iron–Don’t have an iron? Your last resort: Hang your clothes in the bathroom while you take a hot shower and then dry them with a blow-dryer. It works for me all the time!

43. Arrive at least two hours before your flight’s takeoff time–Especially if it’s an international flight. Trust me, I’ve flown to more than 50 cities in a year. You don’t need the stress.

44. Pack food for your flight–You don’t have to pay a small fortune to have lunch at the airport anymore. Bring your own sandwich, fruit, or snack.

45. Wiggle your body during turbulence–I use to hate hitting turbulence. It would make me a nervous wreck. The solution? Wiggle your tush when the turbulence hits. You’ll feel less of it. I don’t know why this is true, but it works. I’ve tried it a few times now!

46. Charge your phone faster–Switch it into airplane mode and it’ll charge faster.

47. Get an extra battery pack–Let’s face it, we use our phones for almost everything nowadays, including directions, finding places to eat, communicating, and entertainment. When our phones die, we’re close to being incapable of doing anything. I’m kidding, of course. But life does get harder without a smartphone to help out. So buy an extra battery pack.

48. Stay away from processed foods–The more you eat whole, natural foods like vegetables and fruits, the more likely your diet will stay healthy. Stay away from the processed stuff.

49. Don’t live someone else’s life–Learn to build your own values, passions, opinions, and personality. You are not anyone else. You’re completely unique and awesome in your own way. This is your life. Own it. When I told people I wanted to build a blog focused on motivation called CEO Lifestyle, some of them were skeptical. Who cares? It’s not their life. It’s mine. If I get passionate about motivating other people, I’m going to make it happen. #MakeItSo.

50. Skip the caffeine–You don’t need it. You can make yourself more focused and awake by doing things that are completely natural and free. Here are some quick examples: exercise, meditation, drinking enough water (your frequent bathroom trips will make you alert, trust me), and working on something you’re passionate about.

51. Slow down–We get it. You want to make a dent in the universe. You want to change the world. You want to create something magical. Slow down. Take a deep breath. You don’t have to react instantly all the time. Sometimes, taking a moment to collect yourself and to think about the situation might drive a better outcome for you. I learned this from a special person I met in Spain and it’s improved my quality of life tremendously.

52. Color code your keys–My friends taught me this trick. Ever fumble through your keys and think you’ve found the right one, only to try it and realize it’s not? There’s a fix for that. Color code your keys. For example, our garage door is the yellow key, the green key is for the main public entrance, and the red key is for our front door to our apartment unit. You can buy colored key covers on Amazon or use nail polish or paint to make the keys color coded. #problemsolved

53. Put a small garbage bin in your car–Notice your car getting messy? Admit it, you’ve tossed stuff you needed to throw away into the passenger seat before. You don’t have to live that kind of life. Get a small garbage bin.

54. Hang a tennis ball in your garage–Speaking of cars, have you ever had trouble parking yours in the garage? Seriously, it’s not easy to make sure that you’ve parked close enough to the wall so that you car doesn’t get crushed by the garage door. Hang a tennis ball in your garage so that you know exactly when to stop moving forward.

55. Stuff newspaper in your shoes–It’ll remove the moisture and some of the smells they’ve picked up over time. OK, I admit it, I haven’t tried this one myself but I’ve heard it works.

Life tips:

56. Learn one new thing a day–This could be one word from a new language, a scientific fact, a life hack, or anything else that you’re interested in. Over time, learning one new thing a day will shape you into awesomeness.

57. Remember people’s names–Did you know that a study has shown that if you call people by their name, they usually respond with more energy and engagement? Yup, I ran that study. And my sample group has been the thousands of people I’ve worked with over my 11-year career in technology. When you say someone’s name, it shows that you care. It shows that you recognize his or her presence. It shows that you’re a nice person. Try it.

58. Focus only on the present–Stop regretting the past. Stop worrying about the future. Focus on the present. Focus on the now. Feel the sun on your face. Feel the wind behind your back. Hear the wind as it blows the tree branches. Dig your toes into the sand. Listen when people talk. If you read a page from the last chapter over and over again, you’ll never finish the book. So stop thinking about the past. Be in the now.

59. Listen to your body–When you’re exhausted, don’t fight it. Take a nap or sleep. When you feel stressed out, take a break. When you feel sick from eating that 10th donut, well, maybe you shouldn’t have done that. Learn to listen to the signals in your body and respond in the right way.

60. Learn to let go–Mistakes happen. Don’t dwell on them. Life isn’t perfect. Think of any issues you run into as speed bumps–they make the ride a little uncomfortable but you’ll get through them.

61. Read before sleeping–Don’t let the blue light from your computer or phone keep you up at night. You can use F.lux, which is an awesome app that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day. This way you can use your computer to read an awesome book and learn something new. Or you can go the old-fashioned route and buy a hardcover book. Getting into the routine of reading before sleeping will help you wind down the day and learn something new at the same time!

62. You are the five people you surround yourself with–A few months ago, I ran into what I thought was a disaster for my company. A part of me wanted to shut down the company (it’s called Collide). My good friend and co-founder Steve challenged me immediately. He asked what I wanted to achieve in life and why I created the company in the first place. After a long talk, I realized that I wanted to stay the course. Steve helped me understand that my desire to succeed was far greater than my fears. I’m telling you this story because I’ve learned that surrounding yourself with people that inspire you to be better can completely take your life to new levels.

63. Learn to say no–You can’t do everything for everyone. Stop spreading yourself thin. Learn to say no. Focus on a few things and be great at those.

64. Explore the world–Travel the world. It’s a great way to get a fresh perspective on life. Howard Schultz traveled to Europe and fell in love with the coffee shops there. Guess what happened next? He started Starbucks. #GetInspired.

65. Build your own values–Model yourself after people you admire. At the end of the day, though, you’ve got to be able to make your own judgment calls. The best way to do this is to decide what your values are. Once you do, write them down and post them on your mirror. It’s the foundation of who you are.

66. Embrace change–You need to get comfortable with this simple idea: The only thing constant is change. Instead of fearing it, embrace it.

67. Clean along the way–Sure, you could let those dishes pile up for a month, but that would be pretty painful to clean up. Along the way, your home would start to smell, fill with fruit flies, and generally be less enjoyable to live in. So don’t procrastinate. Clean along the way.

68. Silence can be beautiful–You don’t always have to fill up silence with words. Sometimes there is beauty in being silent.

69. When in doubt, simply respond with “Let me think about that.”–Let’s face it, we don’t always have the right answer. Instead of rushing to answer, tell the person that you need time to think about things further. This shows that you’re being thoughtful and also gives you something to respond with.

70. Do your most important task first thing in the morning–Your energy will be higher at this moment. It’s why I work out first thing in the morning most days.

71. Use the “we’ll see” method–Even when it seems like something terrible has happened at the moment, there’s the possibility that it might lead to something good in the future. So instead of making up your own conclusions about the future, just tell yourself, “We’ll see.”

72. Meditate–You can use apps like Headspace that are free and can help you clear your mind. This is an awesome way to relax your mind and body.

73. Realize that most people don’t care about you–Sorry, people’s lives don’t revolve around your universe. Well, the exception might be if you’re a celebrity. But in all seriousness, stop worrying about what other people think of you. Most of them don’t even really care that much. Instead, focus on being the best possible version of yourself.

74. There are a few people in the world that really, deeply care about you–Keep those people close to you in life. They’re the ones that can make your life amazing. They’re the ones who will stick with you through the good and the bad.

75. Roll your clothes–When you travel, try rolling your clothes to maximize packing space. I did this and can fit 2.5 weeks of clothes into a carry-on now.

76. Only you are responsible for your life–So own it. Take control. You have to figure out what makes you happy. What gets you inspired. What drives you.

77. Say something awesome to yourself every day–Positive reinforcement can help you maintain an upbeat mood even in the worst of times. Treat yourself well.

78. Take a deep breath–Didn’t that feel awesome? Yeah, try doing that more. You’ll feel better.

79. Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination–Growing up, I used to tell myself, if only I had this specific thing, I would be happy. After 31 years of living, I can tell you that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is a state of mind. My close friend told me that he feels happiness when the sun shines on his face. He almost died when he was in his early 20s. He was saved by a stranger who donated a kidney to him. He’s happy that he’s alive today. You can find happiness now. It’s right in front of you, everywhere you look. It’s up to you to open your eyes.

80. Remember to have the time of your life–No one lives forever. So while you’re here, remember to have the time of your life. Laugh, smile, and have fun.

81. Promise only on what you can deliver–Reliability goes a long way. A ton of people overpromise and underdeliver. Don’t be one of those people.

82. Be fearless–Fear is just a feeling. Learn to take it head-on. Have a bias toward action and be fearless.

83. Marry your best friend–You want someone who’s going to be there with you through the best and worst of times. Someone you can talk to all night or have a completely comfortable silence with. Someone who loves you for who you are.

84. Be insanely curious–Being curious will help you keep an open mind. By doing so, you’ll learn new ideas and help keep passion and excitement in your life. You don’t know everything, so learn as much as you can in your life!

85. Think about how you can help others–At the end of the day, your legacy will be the people you loved, those who loved you, and how much you helped others.

86. Time is your most valuable asset–I had a family friend who spent most of his life saving up every penny to eventually live the life he always wanted. After years of saving, he was involved in a tragic car accident. He never lived the life he dreamed about. Money is valuable. Time is even more valuable. Use money to help you find more time. Time with your loved ones. Time with your buddies. Time with your spouse. Time with your kids. There are 525,600 minutes in a year. How do you spend your time?

87. Someone else’s recipe may not work for you–Just because it worked for someone else doesn’t always mean it’ll work for you. Learn from others, but also realize that everyone’s situation is unique.

88. Have an idea jar–Whether it’s for love, friendships, or family, an idea jar is a great way to ensure you’ll have activities to do together. The next time you have an idea for something, put it into the idea jar. Each week, you can pull one idea from the jar and–voilà!–you’ve got some fun in your hands.

89. Act exactly how you feel–Why the poker face? It’s unnecessary. If you’re upset, act and feel upset. If you’re happy, smile. Better to be 100 percent authentic than to live a lie.

90. Smile at people–It makes you happier. It’s contagious. It lowers stress and anxiety. It strengthens your immune system. It makes you seem more competent. It makes you look trustworthy. It can even be an effective management technique. And yes, every single one of these claims has been proven by a study. Every. Single. One. By the way, it costs you nothing. That’s awesome.

91. Simple is good–Stuff has administrative debt. That new car you just got? Maintenance and insurance. Those 10 shopping sites you subscribed to? 100 emails in your inbox you have to go through. Keep life simple. It’s easier and more enjoyable.

92. Don’t get attached to stuff–Once you take care of your basic necessities, like your health, shelter, clothing, and food, chances are that stuff won’t make you happy. Don’t get too attached to it. When we leave this world, we can’t bring our stuff with us anyway.

93. Choose experiences over stuff–What you should value are experiences. A simple dinner with your mother talking about life. A vacation with your spouse to a place you’ve always wanted to travel. A long talk with friends over a warm fire on a cold winter night. Working late night with your teammates to build a game-changing startup. These are the moments you’ll remember.

94. Don’t compare yourself with others–Just focus on being the best possible version of yourself.

95. Make something for someone to show that you care–It’s easy to buy something for someone. Making something with love, passion, and care is much harder. Go the extra mile and make something for the person you love. Need ideas? Check out Pinterest.

96. Love yourself first–Before you fall in love with anyone else, make sure you’re in a good place. Learn to love yourself, including all of your awesomeness and your flaws. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the better you can love someone else.

97. Your word choice matters–Your words have a lot of power. Version 1: “We have a problem with our project.” Version 2: “We have an opportunity to fix things on this project.” I feel a lot better hearing version 2. What about you?EdTech The 10 Hottest Online Classes for Professionals

98. Learn to let go–Sometimes you can’t fix something. Let it go. Yup, I wrote this life tip earlier. I’m repeating it because it’s that important.

99. Everyone has a story–Maybe someone was mean to you today. That sucks. But what if you found out it’s because the person had just learned about a tragedy in his or her family? It changes everything, doesn’t it? Just remember, everyone has his or her own story to tell.

100. Love–When all is said and done, all that you’ll really remember are the amazing people you’ve connected with and helped along the way. Love your friends. Love your family. Love your spouse. Love is all that matters. Love more.

I hope this list helps you live the best life possible. What are you waiting for?

Go. Start. Now. Because it’s never too late to be amazing.

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This question originally appeared on Quora–the knowledge-sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.