What David Allen Can Teach Us About Getting Things Done

David Allen is the best selling author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

He’s been a productivity guru for 30 years, helping the best and the brightest across the world.

In this interview, you’ll discover how to:

  • have a fluid mind like water;
  • find your purpose in life;
  • leverage the “getting things done” methodology;
  • understand the key limitation to achieving your goals;
  • create the optimal performance state; and
  • slow down to truly live in the moment.

Listen to David Allen’s interview and follow along with the notes below.

David Allen’s Interview Notes

QUESTION: David, I’ve given a quick background about you, but if you could tell our audience a bit more about yourself, that would be great.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up so I decided to be a consultant after recalling all of the job experiences I had had in my life and bringing them together. I realized I was a really good number-two guy.

I had a lot of friends who knew what they wanted to do, so I would go in and look around and see how I could help them with what they were doing, help them improve their business processes. I then realized that organizations actually paid people to do that and they call them something. So, I became a consultant and started my own consulting practice back in 1981.

I also had an attraction to what I refer to as the ‘value of clear space’ with my own personal development and explorations. I was interested in my inner-life and the inner-worlds and spirituality, martial arts included, and a lot of that had to do with finding a clear space and mind, finding internal peace. So that was an attraction to me.

As I got involved in the professional world, I discovered it was pretty easy to disturb that space. So, I started looking for techniques that allowed me to maintain a clear mind while I had a more complex life. It turned out that those techniques I had discovered were very valuable for everyone I worked with as clients to help them gain more control and focus.

I began to put all of what I had learned together. I was then invited by a big corporation to take what I had come up with and put it in a seminar format back in 1983/1984. That is when I began to create this methodology that helped me write my book 25 years later.

Getting Things Done is essentially a set of best practices that you’re not born doing. They’re easy to do, but you have to actually apply cognitive focus on them. When you place these best practices in your life, you’ll actually find your head is much more clear and it’s easier to focus on the meaningful things you want to focus on. I had uncovered a very useful algorithm and decided to write the manual on it.

QUESTION: You mentioned your background in martial arts. I’ve always appreciated your discussion around the idea of having a ‘mind like water’. Could you elaborate on that?

If you’re at work but you’re thinking about your personal life and you’re at home thinking about your work life, that is not ‘mind like water,’ so maybe it’s easier to describe what it’s not. Your head isn’t clear; you can’t tuck your kids in bed or watch them play soccer while you’re on your iPhone. At that point, you’re not present.

It’s really another way to describe the idea of being present with whatever you want to put your attention on. The methodology I uncovered doesn’t coach you on what the content of your life needs to be; it instead gives you space internally to focus.

You don’t need time, you need room. It doesn’t take any time to have a good idea, to be present or loving with your kids, or to be innovative or creative. What these things do require is room in your psyche. If you’re hung up about things that you’re not appropriately engaged with yet, then you’re not going to have room to be creative, innovative, loving, or present.

It’s really a methodology about how to stop the noise without having to finish all of the things you’re worried or thinking about. The most creative aspect of what I had discovered is that you don’t have to finish something to get it off of your mind, but you do have to go through a very specific process in order to clear your mind.

QUESTION: Speaking of the methodology, a lot of our listeners and readers are interested in finding their purpose in life and achieving their goals. Can you tell me how one can leverage the Getting Things Done methodology to find your purpose in life?

It’s hard to focus on the higher horizons if you need cat food. A lot of people should not be focused on their life purpose; they need to spend time cleaning the toilet. The truth is, all of the aspects of your life, even the most mundane, still have a connection and resonance with what you’re all about in terms of your bigger game.

Think, why do I have a cat, why do I think cleaning my toilet is important?

You’ll start to learn about yourself. It’s because you care, because you’re a sensitive human being, because you’re a loving person. Being clear about all of those aspects of yourself and the things that disturb your clarity and your ability to relax, let go, and listen to the more natural, obvious things in terms of who you really are is going to help.

Your way of getting to this place could be having a glass of wine, meditating, or running. Anything that helps you relax can essentially eliminate the static and allow you to focus on the bigger picture. Interestingly, people naturally know what they’re about if they’re willing to quiet their life enough to listen to their inner-voice.

It’s the ability to pay attention to your inner-voice and distinguish between intuition and indigestion that makes the difference. This is something that must be consistently focused on throughout your entire life and is a lot easier to do when you have control of the noise and static in your life.

This doesn’t automatically put you on a purposeful, spiritual path, but if that is something you care about, this is an extremely valuable tool.

QUESTION: Why is lack of space — instead of lack of time — the key limitation to achieving your goals?

It doesn’t take time to come up with good ideas or to access your intuition, but you do need space — you need the ability to be able to do that. Now, time is an important factor; you need to know how long things take so you don’t overcommit, you need to keep your appointments and agreements with yourself relative to material world we’re in. So, of course you have to take time into consideration.

But, finding clearer space is a different equation. In clear space, in 5-10 seconds on the elevator you could tap through your intuition and have a heart-felt conversation with someone in the elevator — something you may not be able to do in an hours time with that same person if your head is wrapped around quite a few other things.

The methodology is about teaching you how to free up your attention to have the ability to place it on what you want to focus on at a specific time.

QUESTION: How do you create the optimal performance state so that you can spend your attention on what you feel is more valuable?

I hone it down to 5 steps on how to get clear space. I like to use the example of your kitchen. If you’ve ever felt your kitchen was out of control, you went through 5 stages of how do you do that.

First, you capture the things that are out of control in your kitchen and you clarify what they mean and/or where they should be so you can organize them. With organization you find clear place to reflect on what you want to cook and when people are coming over so you can engage appropriately.

So those 5 steps — capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage — are the steps any person can take to get anything under control. That optimal state is when you’re present, when there is nothing pulling on your mind. This state is the best state to hit a golf ball from, fire somebody from, have difficult conversations from, and cook spaghetti from.

Most people haven’t realized how much static they’ve allowed themselves to create because of inappropriate engagement of personal commitments. Getting appropriately engaged with all of the levels of commitments you have by using these 5 steps makes it a lot easier to clear the static and find your optimal state.

QUESTION: Can you give us an example and walk us through all 5 steps, starting with capture?

Well, let’s take the kitchen. You get home at 5:30 PM, and you have friends coming over for dinner at 7:00 PM. You find somebody has attacked your kitchen. What’s the first thing you do?

  1. Capture: ask yourself is ‘what is not where it needs to be’; in other words what has your attention in and around the kitchen. Basically identify the things that are not in control.
  2. Clarify: look at those things that aren’t where they need to be or what they need to be and clarify exactly what those things are that aren’t where or the way they need to be — for example, dirty dishes.
  3. Organize: put the things that are out of place where they need to be in your trusted system.
  4. Reflect: step back to reflect on your current situation. Think about the time you have before your friends arrive and the recipe you need to pull out.
  5. Engage: open up the refrigerator, pull out the butter, and melt it.

That’s a simple example, but that’s how you get your conscious under control. If I were to set down and coach you, I would first ask what’s got your attention. This would usually take me and a client one to six hours to find all of the things that are bothering them internally.

Anytime you’re thinking you need to clarify your life purpose is because you’re not actually functioning within your life’s purpose (at least not consciously). Anything that’s on your mind represents something that you are not yet appropriately engaged with. So, you don’t have to go far to find out where to apply these 5 steps to make action and outcome decisions.

The most important step for most people to clear their mind is step two — clarify. Most everybody has some version of a to-do list in place but do not see the next action that they need to take about what’s on their to-do list, nor will they see a specific defined outcome about why something is on their list.

Outcomes and actions — that are usually not included on your to-do list — are the 0s and 1s of productivity. Ask yourself, what are you trying to produce and how do you need to allocate resources to make it happen? You need to put cognitive horsepower and focus into your thinking process for clarification. Decision making takes time and energy.

QUESTION: We know that the 5th step of your methodology is engage. Is this the end result of your methodology — to take the action at the appropriate time — or is there a different goal or end result that people should be looking for?

The end result is the inner-peace and satisfaction that you get from doing what you think you should be doing.

QUESTION: How do you optimize personal systems for getting the most meaningful work done?

You want to make sure you have the right maps to orient yourself wherever you are whenever you are. Anybody who is keeping a calendar is already doing this by using that map to organize oneself in space and time. You need to have some external system like this to optimize your system so that you can stay focused on what you actually want to accomplish.

There are multiple levels of orienting yourself. For example, if you’re interested in life purpose, how often should you reevaluate and access?

This gets back to the six horizons that I identify in my book. There’s the big picture called purpose and your principles, the vision of you performing your purpose successfully, the shorter-term goals you need to accomplish to make your vision happen, all of the things you need to maintain like your health and finances, and then all of the actions you need to take for these things.

Having a system that lets you know what those things are allows you to clear your mind as much as possible to build orienting maps about yourself so you can review what you need to review when you need to review it. It’s really about externalizing all of the things you are engaged with, refining them, and building in a reflection process as appropriate.

QUESTION: What commonly held belief about productivity do you disagree with most, and why?

I think the most common thought about productivity is that is means hard work; the word productivity has a lot of baggage around it in terms of business/busyness. But, if you go on vacation to relax and you don’t relax, that’s an unproductive vacation.

Productivity simply means experiencing desired results. It doesn’t mean work harder. That’s the most commonly held belief about productivity — that you have more you need to do. You may actually need to slow down if this is how you feel. Try training yourself to slow down when you think you need to speed up. You may find things happen much faster and much more elegantly with much less stress if you do this.

QUESTION: Could you elaborate on what you mean by slowing down?

Literally slowing down.

  • Stop what you’re doing
  • Take a breathe
  • Sit down
  • Do nothing for two minutes

These things will allow you to access deeper levels of awareness and intelligence about what you’re doing so you make better choices, you’re more strategic, and your priorities become clearer.

The biggest human addiction is control; letting go allows you to relax and let things emerge and unfold. Getting Things Done (GTD) is not about adding more to your life; it’s about relaxing and getting appropriately engaged with all of the things you’re engaged with so that you can relax and let life unfold for you.

QUESTION: How has the need for stress-free productivity changed over the past 25 years?

For any individual it hasn’t changed. What’s changed is how many individuals now need it. The world is now always on; there’s no distinction between home and work. It’s what the digital world has produced for everyone.

The next version of GTD is probably going to be for high school students. Once they leave high school, mom has now disappeared as a trusted system. We need to make sure these young adults are ready to walk into a world where they haven’t been trained to handle all of the possibilities that are coming at them.

So that’s what changed — how many people need this behavior-set.

QUESTION: As far as how technology has evolved, do you feel that it’s helped people’s productivity?

Of course technology has increased productivity.

If I was the only one in the world with access to all of these productivity tools that are available to use, I could rule the world. But, the reality is, because of relativity, you need all of these things to keep up with everyone else.

QUESTION: Are there any specific tools you’d recommend to someone who is looking to increase their productivity?

Pen and paper. And an in-basket to place them to use notes when you’re ready for them. You can’t beat it! Digital is not the only answer; it’s about understanding the methodology. At that point, you can make any list manager work. Use whatever is comfortable for you.

QUESTION: If you only had one hour to work with someone, what would you do to help them achieve their dreams?

I would ask the following:

  • What are your dreams?
  • How would you want to spend a Sunday afternoon 5/10 years from now?
  • What are your fantasies?
  • What would you get out of those fantasies?

Maybe your fantasies such as being a rockstar or president, for example, may make you more recognized. Your fantasies may make it easier to make friends or give you the opportunity to express something you don’t feel like you can in your current life.

Think about what you can do now that would give you the ability to experience similar things in your life that your fantasies would allow you to experience.

QUESTION: What has been your greatest adventure, and why?

I think my greatest adventure is the one I’m on. I keep re-understanding it at new levels as I get older. I’ve created a world for myself where there are no problems, there are just projects.

QUESTION: Do you have any closing thoughts for our audience?

Your head is for having ideas not for holding them. Do anything you can to externalize what’s in your head and build your orientation maps so that more of who you are shows up in the world.

The Natural Wonder Balm You Need For Mosquito Bites

By Arnold / November 2, 2018

While many people are rejoicing that the summer is coming to an end and the fall is upon us, for others living in warmer, more humid areas, a difficult battle is not yet over.

I’m talking about the fight against mosquitos.

Most of us have had at least one mosquito bite – and probably a lot more! – in our lifetimes. We’re out having fun at sunset with our friends, laughing and joking, but by the time we go to bed a couple of hours later the itching begins. A small red bump confirms that those pesky critters had a feast! For most people, these bites are a minor irritation. They itch a little, but within a day or so the small red bump has faded and no-one would ever know we were bitten.

But for some, mosquito bites cause major allergy reactions which in turn lead to discomfort, pain, redness, swelling, and even infection. Serious reactions like these are called Skeeter Syndrome.

There is no real way to know how many people are affected by Skeeter Syndrome, as the majority of bites are probably never seen by a doctor. If they are, they might be mistakenly diagnosed as a secondary bacterial infection usually caused by scratching and breaking the skin.

In fact, Skeeter Syndrome is the result of an allergic reaction to proteins in the mosquito saliva.

When you are bitten by a mosquito – and only female mosquitos bite – what actually happens?

Well, after landing on your skin, the female mosquito extends her proboscis – a narrow part of the mouth used to retrieve blood – into the skin. She then injects a vasodilator which keeps the blood flowing and stops it from clotting while she feeds. In response, whether within minutes or hours, our bodies release histamines. These are what make the skin itch. The bump that so often occurs where a mosquito has bitten you is caused by white blood cells, which flock to the area in an attempt to kill off any of the saliva that is still in your system.

No one really knows why some people react so badly to mosquito bites. Skeeter Syndrome is more common in children and seniors, who have weaker immune systems, but can happen to anyone. Even if you have had normal reactions to bites before, Skeeter Syndrome can come on suddenly. Plus, there are many types of mosquito, and though you might have a normal reaction to the bite of one type, it doesn’t mean you will react that way every time to every kind of bite.

That’s why you need a good remedy in your first aid kit to deal with mosquito bites as early as possible.

As someone with Skeeter Syndrome, I have tried absolutely every remedy out there to help deal with my extremely painful, swollen, red, often blistered bites. Over the counter anti-histamines like Zrytec or Benadryl are of limited help because it takes time for them to get into your system. Antihistamine creams that claim to “stop itching fast” can actually do more harm than good on insect bites, causing more itching rather than less. And though Hydrocortisone cream can have a soothing effect, it should be used sparingly and its effect doesn’t last long.

Plus, none of these remedies are natural. On that note, I tried Lavender essential oil and found that, like Hydrocortisone, the soothing effects wore off quickly. Making a paste from water and baking soda might not take very long, but it is extremely messy and not especially effective. Applying a cold compress does offer some relief and eases the redness and swelling – but isn’t very practical if you have to go to work and get on with your day. I felt that there had to be something better!

The good news is, there is.

Smile’s PRID is a homeopathic “drawing salve” that has been manufactured by Hyland’s for over 50 years. A natural product, this thick, waxy brown balm is intended to relieve blisters and boils, raise splinters, and draw out thorns and ingrown hairs from under the skin. All of the ingredients are natural, and include Arnica, Calendula, and Echinacea – all renowned homeopathic substances used separately to soothe and treat inflammation. The box does not include insect bites, but I’ve found that it is by far the fastest and most effective treatment for allergic reactions caused by mosquito bites.

As you can see from the photos here, I reacted immediately (within 20 minutes) to two bites (one shown) which occurred on a morning walk at around 8.30am. By the end of the day, the two bites on my arm were extremely hot, swollen, and had spread considerably. Rather than itching, I was faced with burning pain that was only slightly relieved by applying a cold compress from the freezer.

The next morning I showered and applied PRID to the bites. The instructions suggest using the balm twice a day, so I went for morning and evening (applying it before going to bed that night). Bear in mind that the balm is a little greasy, and it’s brown, so it could stain sheets and clothing. It’s best to let it dry completely before you get dressed.

24 hours later, there was definite improvement. I reapplied that morning and got on with my day, and the bites were feeling much less hot and swollen. There was noticeable improvement at bedtime when I put more PRID on these bites.

48 hours later, the next morning, the bites had all but gone. There was hardly a sign of the redness, bruising, and swelling that had been caused by the bites. The burning pain had gone and I was feeling much better (histamine reactions can cause fever and general malaise, which almost always seems to affect me!)

After years of struggling with mosquito bites this seems like a miracle. I have been affected by cellulitis and other bacterial infections, had extensive bruising and swelling, and had to take antibiotics (and time off!) for bites in the past. They are extremely uncomfortable and painful, and trying to explain what these allergic reactions make you feel like is really hard – even when family and friends are sympathetic! All you want is for the bites to just go away, but they tend to linger for 5-7 days. That’s why I’m so happy and glad to have found something that WORKS, and works fast.

This post is NOT sponsored in any way, but is a genuine endorsement for a great product. I’ve spent $100s in the past on creams, antihistamine tablets and prescription meds that I hoped would work as well as this. Hyland’s PRID is the real deal!

10 Ways To Go About Changing Perspective During a Crisis

By Arnold / November 2, 2018

If there is one thing in life that is certain, it is that change is unavoidable.

We say, “this too shall pass” when we are facing an adversity, but that same saying applies when things are going well. When you feel like you are on top of the world, the next crisis is waiting for you around the corner.

All it takes is one bad day.

Maybe it’s a lost job or a catastrophic injury or illness. Maybe it’s the sudden loss of a loved one. Perhaps it’s a crisis of faith. No matter what is going wrong, you are never 100% helpless, even though it might feel that way in your worst moments.

One thing you can always do is take change your mindset. That’s what this list will help you do! Sometimes just changing perspective is enough to help you get back on your feet.

1. Shouting at the dark won’t make it light.

When things are going wrong, we sometimes feel like if we rail against the darkness enough, something will change. Either the darkness itself will take pity on us and change its nature or withdraw, or someone else will light our way.

Sometimes that does happen; occasionally someone will actually lend a hand. But there are going to be those terrible days when nobody is coming. On those days, shouting at the dark won’t change a thing. All you can do is get to work building a lamp.

2. You are less alone than you think.

While it’s true that worrying and raging will not make the problem go away, and sometimes you’ll have to find a solution yourself, you should never assume you are completely on your own. Help sometimes appears from the most unexpected sources. Sometimes if you start doing the work, or at least make the commitment, the universe meets you halfway.

While complaining will rarely get you any assistance, there is no reason you should not share your story with others. While a stiff upper lip may feel more dignified, it is often humility and not dignity that paves the path to redemption. Nobody can help you if they don’t know you need it. Share your situation with family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers.

You never know when someone will hand you something vital that you need to change your situation. It may be a tangible resource, or it could just be information or an idea—or simply a new point of view.

3. The past is in the past.

You would think the older you get, the easier it would be to handle bumps in the road, right? A lot of us discover the exact opposite, and that is because every single mishap suddenly sends us down flashback highway at full speed. We relive every bad thing that has ever happened to us, and immediately feel like it is all happening again.

The past is in the past; leave the past where it belongs. If lessons from the past can help you avoid repetition, use them. But do not assume that just because something bad is happening now, it means that you are “going back” to those horrible days you left behind. This is usually just an illusion.

4. You have overcome adversity before.

If you are really young, this might not apply to you, but after a while, you will start stacking up victories. When you find yourself flashing back to the scary times in your past, remind yourself of how those horrible times are in the past because you overcame them. Whether it was through hard work, a brilliant idea, or a helping hand you didn’t expect, you are here. It seemed impossible then, too!

Getting through your current challenge may seem impossible now, but if you did it before, you have a great shot at doing it again.

5. This too shall pass.

It’s true—nothing ever stays the same. There are some thresholds you can only cross in one direction, though. Not all sicknesses have cures, but thankfully many crises do not fall into this category. Even for those which do, some aspects of this kind of situation may pass.

Maybe no one can reverse your diagnosis, but perhaps you are on the verge of finding a treatment that lets you get back to living your life. Maybe you just lost your job and right now your applications are going unanswered—but tomorrow might just be the day that you get that long-awaited phone call.

6. Necessity is the mother of invention.

We’ve all heard, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” If you have taken a few knocks in life, you may not entirely agree. But necessity is the mother of invention, and odds are that at least some of the changes you have undergone through past challenges have given you something valuable.

Maybe it was a new job or a new friend, better people skills, or better money management skills. Sometimes adversity makes us stronger. Sometimes it also makes us smarter. Admittedly, not all changes we undergo are positive: adversity can make us anxious and gun-shy. It can instill self-doubt which can follow us over the years to come. But, there are positive changes to offset those negative ones, and holding fast to those will always help you out.

7. Other people do not always know best.

When you are in a crisis, everyone in the world is going to want to tell you what is happening and what you should do. Sometimes this advice is indispensable; sometimes, it can even save you from depression.

Not always, however; and not all people who are offering you their opinion have the best intentions! There are a lot of negative people out there. Misery loves company, and these people love to project their failures on you. Others may be rooting for your downfall.

If your gut tells you that someone does not have your best interests at heart, then dismiss their negativity and move forward. Listen to the people you know want you to make it, and believe you can do it. These individuals are the ones who will help you find your solutions.

8. A phoenix always burns up in flames before it is reborn.

Before you can be reborn as a smarter, stronger, happier person, sometimes you have to say goodbye to something first. There could be something better out there waiting for you. Maybe losing your job is the best thing in the world, and you just don’t know it yet—because your real career hasn’t yet begun. Maybe that injury that forced you to move back to your hometown for support will reconnect you with the people you love. Maybe the crisis of faith you are facing now will strengthen your belief.

Whatever the case may be, you cannot turn the page in the story of your life until you are ready to let go of the page you are on. Sometimes when we cling to those pages, life turns the page for us. We may not be ready for it, but you never know what the future has in store until you read on.

9. Record positive happenings

Recording positive happenings and your experience of coping with things helps you keep your spirits up and to see that you are headed in the right direction.

  • Shift your focus from the painful to what you have here and now.
  • You do the best you can – find your way to positive things and what you can do and enjoy.

As you begin to keep track of positive events, it is common for negative thoughts and feelings to be weakened – just by virtue of keeping these records. This happens because you give yourself permission to shift your focus from the things you can’t manage to the things that you can. That gives you more room for other thoughts, and the negative thoughts and feelings shift more into the background.

10. ​Dare to accept your pain

The most common trap is to choose to avoid the situation. Constantly shutting out the feelings you have over the long term could simply serve to reinforce the pain. It is therefore not good advice to just “pull yourself together.”

  • Dare to accept your pain.
  • Put what you’re feelings into words.
  • It is important that whoever listens to the story acknowledges the other person’s experience.

How To Be Positive Even When Times Are Tough

By Arnold / November 2, 2018

Ever notice how the whole world seems against you when times are tough?  Or on the flip side, when you wake up on the right side of the bed everything seems to magically come together to your benefit.

The thing is…

Your attitude (whether positive or negative) is a direct reflection of what you predominantly think about.

Research suggests that happiness is a choice that anyone can make.  So it’s not the world that treats you differently, it is you who chooses to see the world differently.

As Psychologist William James writes brilliantly:

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.”

So which your mindset to be positive even when times are tough, try these positivity boosting tips…

Tips To Be Positive All The Time

1. Eat good, wholesome food

What you eat plays a crucial role in how much energy your body produces, which in turn affects your levels of mental energy and focus. According to Mind (a UK-based mental charity), improving your diet alone can give you positive feelings, clearer thinking, calmer moods and more energy.  One study found that a vitamin deficiency could cause a decline in mental health leading to stress, anxiety, depression, addictions and other psychological disorders.

Eating a healthy balance of foods rich in vitamins, protein, minerals, fibre and antioxidants can help to increase the cognitive function of your brain, keeping you alert and even lifting your mood.

2. Exercise regularly

The benefits of regular exercise are not only those visible in the mirror. Studies show that regular exercise is a way of increasing the levels of serotonin in your brain without the use of drugs. Why would you want to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain? Well, serotonin is the chemical in your body which is responsible for maintaining your mood balance. So higher levels of serotonin equal happier days and more stable moods.

3. Meditate

Most people regard exercise as a no-pain-no-gain venture,  so it’s easy to downplay the role of meditation as an exercise of the mind. Meditation in its simplest terms is mindfulness. It doesn’t necessarily require sitting cross-legged and staring into space – all that is required is finding a quiet space in your head. This practice – which can be carried out by anyone, anywhere and at anytime (provided you can clear your head) – has been shown by one study to reduce anxiety.  Apart from reducing stress and inducing relaxation, another study has shown that meditation can also change how you perceive and process the world around you.  Get your FREE guided meditation download here.

4. Try Hypnosis

We are capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. The conscious mind can be very limiting, and hypnosis is a great way to awaken it and transcend the limits defined by your conscious mind. Through hypnotherapy, you can reprogram your thoughts and align them towards a more positive path. Hypnosis has been successfully used to tackle addictions, weight gain, stress, physical pain, insomnia and a lot more. Hypnotherapy by a professional can be expensive, so try self-guided hypnosis for FREE here.

5. Surround yourself with positive people

According to research, stress is contagious and the more you surround yourself with it, the more it is likely to affect your thoughts. Thankfully, studies also show that happiness too is contagious, therefore there is a choice to be made in which of these you want to be affected by. To maintain their positive disposition, positive thinkers surround themselves with people and things that will help that attitude flourish. So, avoid negative people like a plague and make excuses to spend time with positive, optimistic people.

6. Reflect on positive things

The best way to expand any skill set is to practice habits which reinforce the set of skills. This applies to building a positive mentality as well. The nature of the world we live in today means that our brains react much more intensely to bad news than they do to good news. To override this default setting of the brain, make a habit of spending a few minutes to reflect on those few, positive moments you encounter. Keep a journal, create a vision board and affirm what you have on the board. Record your perception of positive events, the changes you want to see in yourself and the changes you already notice. Review this regularly and tweak them if necessary. You will find that gradually, you will learn to look for the good in situations, and slowly teach your brain to not get overly excited when presented with negative information.

7. Be positive and grateful

Developing an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude is a scientifically-backed way to create a positive sense of well being, and just like surrounding yourself with positive influence – this is also under your control. Gratitude is one of the most effective ways to shift your focus away from the negative things in your life, towards the positive. According to a study in The Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, grateful people tend to appreciate simple pleasures in life, defined as “those pleasures in life that are available to most people,”. Be grateful to sleep in a bed each night, for access to food, for the opportunity that each day brings, for access to the sun that comes up each morning, for the customer service agent who greets you with a smile, for the people that love and care for you, and for a body that lets you experience life each day.

8. Speak positively

As with any sort of training, the more you practice, the better you get  —and you can practice being positive.  If this is new to you, the easiest way to start is to by being positive when reflecting on who you are. Tell yourself you’re awesome. Tell yourself you look good. Tell yourself you did a great job at work or raising your kids or whatever it is you do.

Be honest with yourself, be positive, and do your best to look for the good in you. And, whatever you do, don’t focus on the negative. It’s okay to not like everything about yourself, but don’t focus on what you don’t like. We all have positive attributes, and it’s up to you to remind yourself of them every day.

105 Inspirational Words of Encouragement

By Arnold / November 2, 2018

In today’s hectic world, it becomes harder and harder to calm the mind.

Without moments of quiet and clarity, we go a full day without hearing our own inner voice. Finding this mental space helps us both in challenging times and moments of celebration. It allows our mind to come back to who we are.

Inspiration words of encouragement have a powerful effect on the mind. A 2015 study by Brain and Behavior confirmed that repeating a word or phrase quiets what is known as the “default-mode network”—a network that fills the mind with busy, distracting thoughts.

Yet, mantras allow the mind the rest and help us focus and see the world without the distracting chatter.

Encouraging phrases themselves spark a positive neurological response. As early as the 1970’s, a scientist found that by just speaking “positive verbs” the area of the brain responsible for movement jumped into action. In a nutshell: when we repeat positive phrases, our brain physically responds.

Use this list of 101 inspirations words of encouragement for days when you need support from sadness and anger or for daily practice in times of success and calm…

Mantras for Good Health

  • My body is a beautiful creation that changes and grows.
  • I choose actions, food, and ideas that help me stand taller and stronger.
  • Each day, my body can heal itself.
  • I fill my mind and body with light and love.
  • I exercise to greater understand my body.
  • I send loving kindness to each organ and area of my brain.
  • Peace with my body inspires others to find peace for their own.
  • Feeding my mind feeds my body.
  • I am allowed to take the time to heal.
  • I will listen to what my body is trying to tell me.
  • I will seek help when I cannot help myself.
  • My health standards come before anyone else’s beauty standards.
  • I will check in with myself and give my body what it needs.
  • When I feed my body well, I am more capable to connect with those around me.
  • Today, I will speak kindly to my body.
  • I am thankful for my abilities.
  • I will proceed through my day with determination, not judgment.
  • I set my own standards and benchmarks.
  • My mental and physical health comes before my career.
  • I will find new ways to support the health of those around me.

Words of Encouragement for Success

  • I have integrity and drive and worked persistently for this moment.
  • I am worthy of praise—both from others and myself.
  • With each day, I will take smaller steps toward my joy.
  • Working toward my goals inspires others around me to do the same.
  • Improvement and growth are never linear.
  • The more I improve myself, the more I can help the world around me.
  • I have the power to spread love to each and every person that crosses my path.
  • My path is unique and I will walk it with pride.
  • I will pause and appreciate this beautiful moment.
  • I can define what “success” means for me at this given moment.
  • I will spread enthusiastic light to those who need it today.
  • I built this mountain with small stones, and only then began to climb.
  • This day can act as a beacon of hope for the days when I need inspiration.
  • My community supports me and I support them.
  • I will be present in my current joy.
  • Change is inevitable, in good times and in bad.
  • There may be trouble ahead, but I am strong enough to face it.
  • People trust me because I am trustworthy.
  • Each success is an opportunity to help others.

Everyday Mantras for Mindfulness

  • Today I plant the seeds for the life I long to live.
  • I am open and willing to flow with life’s changes.
  • I build a space of calm and clarity all around me.
  • My creativity is precious and unique.
  • One activity at a time; there is no need to rush.
  • No one can distract me from this moment but me.
  • I am supported in my work and goals.
  • Today, I will see the world with enthusiasm and curiosity.
  • My breath is an entryway to a place of inner calm.
  • I will seek the sacred in the ordinary.
  • Each person I meet is a friend and fellow world traveler.
  • I am capable of small positive changes.
  • Balance in all things brings peace and contentment.
  • Today, I will create something new.
  • My mind longs for new information and growth.
  • Acts of kindness ripple through the world.
  • My compassion does not go unnoticed.
  • Time is never wasted when I am fully present.
  • Today, I will step outside my comfort zone.
  • Setting goals for the future gives me direction in the present.
  • My five senses are a doorway to the present moment.
  • I will heal by connecting with others.
  • I am a constant work in progress, and that is okay.

Words of Encouragement for Times of Sadness

  • Tears are a river that takes you somewhere…tears lift your boat off the ground, carrying it downriver to someplace better.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  • Though I feel pain, I am still my true self.
  • When I care about emotions, I am more capable of caring for others.
  • Change is the pathway to growth.
  • I will nurture my inner pain and listen to its message.
  • I did everything I felt was right at the moment; I have no need for regret.
  • I am not alone and I am not forgotten.
  • Asking for help makes me stronger.
  • From change comes great possibility.
  • I will listen to my sadness with patience and love.
  • My words, thoughts, and ideas are important to the world.
  • I am deserving of rest and rejuvenation.
  • The world outside my mind does not define me.
  • I am protected in love and kindness during this difficult time.
  • You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” –Pema Chodron
  • Although I feel out of control, I am safe, cared for, and healthy.
  • The dangers of the past do not define who I am today.
  • I am not a burden to others, as they are not a burden to me.
  • For now, I will seek joy in the small moments.
  • I am deserving of self-patience and self-love.
  • The world needs to hear what I have to say.

Backed by scientific research, repeating these mantras and words of encouragement changes the way the brain responds to change.

Post of these inspirational words of encouragement on your desk or throughout the house as a reminder to speak kindly to yourself.

Life is always fluctuating. And just as the world outside us constantly changes, so can the way we view it.

What is the purpose of life?

By Arnold / October 31, 2018

If we look at religions and philosophies over the span of human history, there has been one question that has been either asked directly or alluded to, in all cultures.

This question is: 

What is the purpose of life?

Since we as human beings developed the ability to think rationally and analyze our surroundings, we have been curious about why things are the way that they are. This holds true on both a relative level, such as when we want to know how organisms have evolved, and an absolute level, such as when we ask more broad questions about meaning, god, and the nature of the universe.

Sometimes when we ask a question, we need an immediate answer. At other times the most appropriate response is to consider why we are asking the question in the first place. This is particularly relevant for these broad, often subjective questions that have no clear-cut answer.

People come to wonder about the purpose of life for a number of different reasons. Maybe they’re just inherently curious, or they’ve recently experienced a family tragedy, maybe they’re questioning their faith, or they’re going through a depression and are looking for a renewed sense of meaning.

How to find the purpose of your life

To find the purpose of life you’re going to need to do some digging. Because there are so many answers to this question, it’s important that you find the one that resonates with you. It must give you enough of a feeling that it satisfies your need to ask that question. As I touched on, this starts with knowing why you want to know the purpose of life in the first place.

Here’s how you can answer the big question: What’s the purpose of life…

The purpose of life is to be happy

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley

One of the most obvious conclusions we may come to is the need to be happy. Popular psychology will often promote happiness as the highest virtue, and this is reflected in mainstream Buddhist teachings as well, such as those of the Dalai Lama. Unfortunately, we often don’t know exactly what happiness is, and it can therefore, be hard to find. To know how to find happiness, and whether or not it is an adequate purpose to your life, you need to first discover what happiness means to you. Once you have a crystal clear image of whatever that is, you can start to go after it and see if it gives you the sense of purpose that answers the big question.

The purpose of life is to leave a legacy

“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” – Jim Rohn

In the hyper-competitive world in which we live, leaving a legacy is often implicitly put forth as the highest virtue. Leaving a legacy is one way that we will feel valued in society and remembered after we have gone. However, this doesn’t need to be achieving something on a grand scale, such as building a business empire or becoming a successful athlete – it could simply mean starting a family and leaving the world a slightly better place than when you came here.

The purpose of life is to love others

“Not only do self-love and love of others go hand in hand but ultimately they are indistinguishable.” – M. Scott Peck

All major philosophies and religions have espoused the importance of love. Love seems to be a healing agent to human suffering and something that connects us across time and culture. When we are able to love others unconditionally, we see our environment naturally become a more stable and fruitful place, and the lens through which we see the world is more positive and productive.

The purpose of life is to create your own meaning

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” – Joseph Campbell

Since Nietzsche proposed the death of god over one hundred years ago, we’ve seen a dramatic decline in the widespread mainstream adoption of world religions. What has followed has varied greatly, however, in secular societies existentialism and humanism are two philosophies which have become relatively popular. These ideologies propose that meaning is something that we create, not something that is given to us by a higher power. The purpose of life therefore according to existentialist philosophy, is to create your own meaning and to bring it to fruition.

The purpose of life is to make a positive difference

“Aim to make a difference in someone’s life every single day, including your own.” Dow Zantamata

Making a positive difference may seem like a cliche and underwhelming purpose, but when we make an effort to do so on a practical level, meaning ensues, because we see the fruits of our labor in real time. Again, it’s necessary to stress that making a positive difference need not be anything huge. We’re conditioned by social media and popular culture to think only a grand scale influence is worthy of pursuing, but the reality is that small, visible changes are often more personally rewarding.

The purpose of life is to have a variety of experiences

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do.” – Mark Twain

Another way we can find purpose in life is to have a rich and fulfilling array of experiences. As far as we can determine, there is only one life, at least in this particular form. Meaning is therefore created when we celebrate the gift of our human experience through our five senses. Travel, entertainment, love, relationships, good food and novel experiences are all ways in which we may do that. Though not everyone has equal resources to do so, they can still seize opportunities within their own lives if they want to truly live life with no regrets.

The purpose of life is to find something important enough to justify suffering

“If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.” – Viktor Frankl

Suffering is an inevitable part of life, and understandably, it brings a lot of people to question purpose and meaning. There are a number of different approaches to suffering. Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism and Hinduism believe that the meaning of life is to escape the cycle of suffering. This is done through either the Eightfold Path or the philosophy Yoga. On the other hand a western interpretation, such as that of Viktor Frankl and Friedrich Nietzsche is to find something in life that justifies the suffering. Nietzsche encapsulated this in his famous phrase “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

Ultimately there are a number of answers to the question: what is the purpose of life. Fortunately for us, we have access to unlimited books that have been written by people who have committed much more time and energy to the question than we ever could. By reading these books, discussing their ideas and reflecting on the experience, through time we may be able to find an answer that resonates with us.

The 10 Most Inspirational Poems About Life

By Arnold / October 22, 2018

It’s very easy, as we move forward as a culture, to leave behind the relics of the past. However, there are certain things that have stood the test of time, and served as important tools and artforms to express and transmit culture, as well as to educate and entertain.

One of these art forms, which is given a relatively small amount of attention in modern society, is poetry.

Poetry can be therapeutic, it can give us advice about how to leave, and it can teach us important lessons about the past.

Through the skilful use of language, metaphor and symbolism, poetry is able to express human feelings in a way that day to day conversations may be unable to do. Though highly subjective, certain poems have lasted hundreds, even thousands of years, and still manage to inspire us, despite the wide gap in culture and time between the reader and the writer.

Both the act of reading and writer poetry can help you craft an integrated narrative about yourself and your place in the world. The following poems about life are widely regarded as some of greatest in history.

They may take you on a journey, and show you a side of yourself and someone else, that you would have been otherwise unable to gain insight into.

Here are 10 of the most inspirational poems about life.

Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson

This modern poem comes from spiritual activist Marianne Williamson. Her philosophy comes from A Course in Miracles, a modern Christian approach that has its roots in Gnosticism and non-dual philosophy. The words are incredibly empowering, and remind the reader that they are deeply connected to a power much greater than who they believe themselves to be.

Memorable lines:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness

That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves

Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

If by Rudyard Kipling

This poem was written by Victorian-era poet Rudyard Kipling as a tribute to the British politician Leander Starr Jameson, as Kipling was reportedly inspired by his military actions. The poem is written in the form of paternal advice. The lines reflect a stoic philosophy which sees the mind as something to be used to our advantage, and not something to be lost in, particularly in the heat of battle, whether that be with ourselves or someone else.

Character of the Happy Warrior by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth is one of the most well-known English poets of all time. This piece was similarly composed in response to a military hero, Lord Nelson, who was a leader in the Napoleonic Wars against the French. While the poem again refers to war, the metaphors are apt for all battles in daily life. The happy warrior is an idealised version of a person, but he is also a part of you, an archetype to which you should aim, who is able to take on challenges with a smile and embody our most noble traits.

Memorable lines:  

Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,

And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train!

Turns his necessity to glorious gain;

In face of these doth exercise a power

Which is our human nature’s highest dower:

Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves

Of their bad influence, and their good receives:

By objects, which might force the soul to abate

Her feeling, rendered more compassionate;

Is placable—because occasions rise

So often that demand such sacrifice;

It Couldn’t Be Done by Edgar Guest

Edgar Guest was an American poet who was known for his positive and inspirational poems. Writing in the early 20th century, his work is often quoted as some of the earliest forms of modern self-help. It has been widely used in popular culture and its motivational tone can inspire success when we are facing tough challenges.

Help Yourself To Happiness by Helen Steiner Rice

Helen Steiner Rice was a famous 20th-century poet who has financial success writing verses for greeting card companies. Her books still sell copies today, even 40 years after her death. Help Yourself To Happiness is another optimistic poem that teaches us to look beyond wealth and materialism for happiness, and to find happiness in our mental state and the compassion we offer to others. This time tested wisdom is a common theme in poetry, and religion, and much of Rice’s poetry touches on spiritually driven ideas.

Memorable lines:

Difficult because we think that happiness is found

Only in the places where wealth and fame abound.

And so we go on searching in palaces of pleasure

Seeking recognition and monetary treasure,

Unaware that happiness is just a state of mind                                      

Within the reach of everyone who takes time to be kind.

For in making others happy we will be happy, too.

For the happiness you give away returns to shine on you.

Dreams by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was an American political activist. His poetry was often highly reflective of his personal struggles with racism in 20th century America. He is often believed to have been a homosexual, which was kept a secret through his life. Dreams showcases Hughes ability to be optimistic, even in a very tough situation economically and culturally.

Memorable lines:

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

The Guest House by Rumi

The 12th-century Persian poet Rumi is believed by many to be one of the greatest poets of all time. This Muslim poet has deep roots in Sufi Mysticism, with much of his poetry exploring his close spiritual relationship with God. Rumi is even believed to have achieved enlightenment are many years of deep meditation. The Guest House is just one of hundreds of examples of this poets self-awareness and knowledge of the human mind and condition. This inspirational piece contains timeless wisdom, and helps us seen how our thoughts and emotions are visitors, and how we may objectify them, love them, and allow them to pass.

Memorable lines:

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness.

Some momentary awareness comes

As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

Empty of its furniture,

Still, treat each guest honourably,

He may be clearing you out

For some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

Meet them at the door laughing,

And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

As a guide from beyond.

Look Well to This Day
By Kalidasa, Indian Poet, Fifth Century A.D.

Look well to this day,
For it and it alone is life.
In its brief course 
Lie all the essence of your existence:

The Glory of Growth 
The Satisfaction of Achievement 
The Splendor of Beauty

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is but a vision. 
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, 
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

The Invitation
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
And if you dare to dream of meeting 
Your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
For love, for your dream, 
For the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
If you have been opened by life's betrayals,
Or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, 
Mine or your own,
Without moving 
To hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, 
Mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness 
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes 
Without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, 
or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself,
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. 
I want to know if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty 
Even when it is not pretty every day,
And if you can source your life 
From its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, 
Yours and mine,
And still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 
"Yes!"

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
Weary and bruised to the bone, 
And do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand 
In the center of the fire with me 
And not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you 
From the inside 
When all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone 
With yourself,
And if you truly like the company you keep 
In the empty moments.

The Best Productivity Planners to Get You Through the Day

By Arnold / October 22, 2018
In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in which he made the now idiomatic statement “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

I’d like to propose that we update this statement with another certainty for the modern working world.

Death, taxes and….increased productivity.

Alright, maybe that was a little tongue in cheek, but that’s the point of a joke. It needs to have enough truth to make it worth discussing. And in the modern world, we are unbelievably focused on productivity, and it can often cause an undesirable amount of stress.

With increased demands on our time, it becomes more and more important to plan in a way that relieves some of the pressure and prevents us from falling behind.

Here are 9 of the best productivity planners to get you through your day.

BestSelf Co.

This journal originally started as a Kickstarter project and has since become incredibly popular. The BestSelf Co. planner spans thirteen weeks and is focused on helping you set achievable goals that can be chunked into concrete actions in an appropriate time frame. It’s a beautifully designed tool that includes essays about productivity and positivity gives daily inspirational quotes to set the tone. There are a number of thoughts related to self-improvement, with some engaging stories and anecdotes to back them up.

Best for you if:

You like self-improvement books and would like some extra motivation to get you through the day.

The Morning Sidekick Journal

This is a daily journal that is focused on helping its users develop a highly effective morning routine. With 66 days worth of pages, user than track their morning progress over a two month period. The journal is to be filled at night time before bed and in the morning after waking up. By recording your sleeping times and most important task for the next day, you can offload your cognitive stress, set your intentions and get a good rest.

Best for you if:

You often start the day full of stress and without a clear direction, and you’d like to get a better grip on your mornings.

The Mastery Journal

This journal comes straight from John Lee Dumas, the host of the amazing Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. The Mastery Journal teaches you how to master focus, discipline and productivity in just 100 days. With four daily sessions to complete and reflect on the most important tasks of the day, and 10-day reviews, this journal is a little more advanced than your average planner. Its design is clean and very well made, and there is a detailed introduction that outlines how you may use the journal.

Best for you if:

You’re a driven, Type-A individual who would like a challenge for the next 100 days. This journal is not designed to be used all the time.

Mobile Planners

Any.do

This is a simple but useful app for iPhone that comes in a free and paid version. The daily review feature allows you to review your most important daily task immediately before you commit to it, which comes in handy with the paid version as there are location-based reminders that make it feel as if the planner is really integrated into your day.

Best for you if:

You have the tendency to be forgettable and want something that can remind you about your tasks on the go. Also if you’re willing to pay for the pro version.

Hours

This is an incredibly simple app whereby you simply track all the time you spend on different tasks, down to the minute. It´s color-coded and user-friendly and all you need to do is hit the clock to start the timer. Don´t be deceived by the simplicity, tracking your hours closely can be an incredibly insightful way to manage your productivity.

Best for you if:

Often feel like you are wasting time and want to know where exactly it’s all going!

Just Press Record

This app is a voice recorder that automatically transcribes your voice notes. It has recently been updated on iOS with a clean user-friendly interface that makes it look like the music and messages apps. The app supports over 30 languages, which is pretty impressive, and the transcription is accurate. If you often think of ideas on the go and down have time to write them down, Just Press Record will be an absolute lifesaver.

Best for you if:

You like to flesh your ideas out by talking about them, and you tend to find yourself on the go without the time or space to note things down.

Desktop Planners

EverNote

EverNote has been a staple productivity app for years now, but with frequent updates, its´status as a productivity planner kingpin is not being questioned. The desktop app allows you to capture any note, memo, file, or receipt and put it all in one place. Though it has been criticized for being increasingly costly over the last few years, those who use it are quick to point out that the amount of time you save and the amount on creativity the app facilitates, easily pays back the cost. If you are involved in any kind or research or project management tasks, EverNote is the way to go.

Best for you if:

You have to synthesise a lot of information and you want somewhere to put it all in one place.

Trello

Trello has fast become one of the leading project management tools available. In some ways, Trello is like a simplified version of EverNote for teams. If you want to track multiple projects and keep your teams connected, Trello is an incredibly cost-effective way to do so.

Best for you if:

G Suite

While many people won’t necessarily consider the suite of Google cloud-based tools a productivity planner, when used together they are incredibly effective. Google apps can be used on any device and the files are immediately updated, so regardless of where you are or what device you have with you, you will have access to the latest file. The app is a free alternative to Microsoft Office, which has been criticized for being increasingly expensive and not very user-friendly. Google products can be integrated with almost all other web apps and the free and automatic updates mean you never need to worry about the software. If you use Google Calendars, Drive and Sheets to track your tasks and time spent, you may never need another productivity planner!

Best for you if:

These are appropriate for everyone, and most of us are probably using at least one of them. If you don’t feel like you need any fancy bells or whistles and you want something free and easy, Google apps are for you.

Ultimately, planners can only ever facilitate productivity, they can’t change your attitude towards your work. However, if you’re looking for something that will help you along the way, these tools are some of the best available.

28 Quotes About Birthdays to Help Write a Birthday Card

By Arnold / October 22, 2018

We all appreciate birthdays. Whether they’re our own, or someone else’s, they offer us an opportunity to focus our attention on the individual and celebrate their achievements, successes and happiness. They also offer a new start – our own personal New Year – for the year ahead.

Birthdays are an important ritual, particularly when many of us can feel undervalued or overlooked in a complex and competitive world. As they come around every year, it can sometimes be hard to express our appreciation in a heartfelt and original way.

That’s why we may want to write a well thought out birthday card. One that is precise and profound, and truly lets the person we are celebrating understand how we feel about them.

However, it’s not always easy to come up with the appropriate message. Saying the right thing, at the right time, is dependent on the personality of our loved one, what they are going through in their life at that time, and our particular relationship with them.

Do we give them some food for thought about aging? Do we offer them some profound life advice? Or do we go for something laid-back and funny?

The following examples will help you find the perfect thing to say, so you can express a message of love, care, and optimism, and help someone celebrate their birthday with pride, passion, and purpose.

So without further ado;

Here are 28 quotes about birthdays to help write a birthday card.

On Aging

We live in a culture that is so focused on staying young forever, that it instills a certain degree of fear and anxiety about the aging process. What we should be doing instead, is celebrating the wisdom that comes with age. The following quotes can help your loved one see that aging is something to enjoy, not something to worry about!


“We live in a youth-obsessed culture that is constantly trying to tell us that if we are not young, and we’re not glowing, and we’re not hot, that we don’t matter. I refuse to let a system or a culture or a distorted view of reality tell me that I don’t matter. I know that only by owning who and what you are can you start to step into the fullness of life. Every year should be teaching us all something valuable. Whether you get the lesson is really up to you.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

“Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. – Franz Kafka

“If you are pining for youth I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory, you live in a place that doesn’t exist. Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” – David Bowie

“There are six myths about old age: 1. That it’s a disease, a disaster. 2. That we are mindless. 3. That we are sexless. 4. That we are useless. 5. That we are powerless. 6. That we are all alike.” – Maggie Kuhn

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” – Mark Twain

“Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.” – Dorothy Canfield Fisher

“We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.” – Lauren Hutton

Life advice

Like any annual event, a birthday is an annual milestone that offers us the time and space to reflect on our lives and how far we’ve come. You may want to write a birthday card that offers some life advice to the birthday boy or girl, so they can look back at their life with pride and look forward with a sense of hope and optimism.

“A friend like you is more priceless than the most beautiful diamond. You are not only strong and wise, but kind and thoughtful as well. Your birthday is the perfect opportunity to show you how much I care, and how grateful I am to have you in my life.” – Anonymous

“A birth-date is a reminder to celebrate the life as well as to update the life.” – Amit Kalantri

“A birthday is just another day where you go to work and people give you love. Age is just a state of mind, and you are as old as you think you are. You have to count your blessing and be happy.” – Abhishek Bachchan

“Rather than see aging as a reason to contract, we should view it as an opportunity to expand. We should make sure each year of our lives are more interesting than the one before.” – Srinivas Rao

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are – even if you are getting older. Thank you for being that friend, and happy birthday.” – Anonymous

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” – William Barclay

“Today you have added another candle of knowledge and wisdom to your life. May it give you the power to enlighten the whole world. On your birthday, I wish you joy and happiness.” – Debasish Mridha

Funny Sayings & Well Wishes

Sometimes, the best way to celebrate is to be silly. This can serve two purposes; firstly, it can set the mood for the birthday celebration, and secondly, it can help alleviate some of the anxiety around aging. These funny examples will help you to communicate a message that is light-hearted and carefree, and encourages us not to take things so seriously!

“Happy birthday to one of the few people whose birthday I can remember without a Facebook reminder.” – Anonymous

“Birthdays are a new start, a fresh beginning and a time to pursue new endeavors with new goals. Move forward with confidence and courage. You are a very special person. May today and all of your days be amazing!” – Anonymous

“You know you’re old when the candles cost more than the cake.” – Bob Hope

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! – Dr. Seuss

“Birthdays are a new start, a fresh beginning and a time to pursue new endeavors with new goals. Move forward with confidence and courage. You are a very special person. May today and all of your days be amazing!” – Anonymous

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! – Dr. Seuss

“You know you’re old when the candles cost more than the cake.” – Bob Hope

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”  – William Shakespeare

“I don’t mind getting older; it’s a privilege denied to so many!”  – Chris Geiger

"Aging is hard work, and you've earned another year!" – Anonymous

"Your special day fills us all with joy and laughter." – Anonymous

35 Quotes About Strength to Persevere

By Arnold / October 22, 2018

Life is a funny thing.

We often tend to overestimate somethings we are capable of and underestimate others. The human mind, while great at calculations, is not so great at predicting our own potential.

However, when we need to find strength, it’s most likely that we will find it outside of ourselves. This may be in spirituality or religion, in relationships, or simply in the words of others who have come before us and faced similar struggles.

The following quotes will show you how successful people throughout history have viewed strength. What you’ll see is that their mindset and their attitude towards finding strength is what can lead them to persevere through difficulties.

Tough times are inevitable, and this is a fact many of us don’t actively try to face. But if we recognise that we are capable of doing so, and we are prepared in our attitudes and philosophy, we can grow as people and go on to push the boundaries and experience a richer and more fulfilling life.

Here are 35 quotes about strength to persevere.

 

You can find great strength in hardships
Have you ever heard the phrase “pressure makes diamonds?” It comes from the fact that coal, which is dark and dirty, when under pressure for a long period of diamond, turns into diamonds, one of our most valued jewels. The same is true of the human being. When we put out muscles under regular stress, they grow, when our immune system faces challenges, it becomes stronger. And when we face challenges in life, and approach them with the belief that they can make us more psychologically resilient, that’s exactly what happens.


Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow.

-Mary Anne Radmacher, American author and artist


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger


Fall seven times and stand up eight

-Japanese Proverb


“I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”

– Audrey Hepburn



“Life is very interesting. In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.”

– Drew Barrymore


Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure.

- Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), British politician and writer


“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.”

– William Ellery Channing


Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.

-William Feather (1889-1981), American author



“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

– Khalil Gibran


Finding strength in love

Love is a felt sense of connection between people and things. When we feel that we are connected to others, we share burdens and we share strengths, so that ultimately we feel more powerful and capable in times of need. This is why so many people throughout history have placed such a significant importance on a greater power or the greater good.


“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

– Psalm 28:7


Failure is often that early morning hour of darkness which precedes the dawning of the day of success.

-Leigh Mitchell Hodges (1876-1954), journalist and poet


“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke


“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.”

– Andrew Solomon



"One's dignity may be assaulted, vandelized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered."

– Michael J. Fox


“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

– Lao Tzu


“The harder you fall, the heavier your heart; the heavier your heart, the stronger you climb; the stronger you climb, the higher your pedestal.”

– Criss Jami


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

– Vincent Van Gogh


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

– Vincent Van Gogh



​“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.”No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”

– 14th Dalai Lama


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

– Vincent Van Gogh


"Being Deeply Loved By Someone Gives You Strength, While Loving Someone Deeply Gives you Courage."

– Lao Tzu


Strength builds character
The people we meet with the most interesting personalities and the most refined values are very often those who have been through difficult times. Imagine that your character is like a piece of marble, and every tough situation is chipping away at little pieces of you that are unnecessary. With enough time, something refined and interesting will emerge. Though it is up to you to develop a positive value system that means what emerges is beautiful. Those who bear life’s suffering without guidance are at risk of falling prey to nihilism.



“Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.”

– Demi Lovato


“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

– Christopher Reeve


“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

– Walt Disney


"Nothing is more Beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears."

– Demi Lovato


Strength can be learned if you put your mind to it
Many of us have the misconception that strength is an inherent trait that we can’t change. That may be true in certain physical domains, though it would be argued by behavioural scientists that we underestimate our capacity for improvement. Psychological resilience, for example, is one area that is very flexible, and through training and therapy can be changed significantly. We often see strong people and believe they were always like that, but that’s cause we’re only seeing a snapshot of their life. If we saw all the moments they’d felt weak, we would understand that they’re very much human like us.


“Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult, no matter how unfair, you will do more than simply survive. You will thrive in spite of it.”

– Joel Osteen


“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

– Mahatma Gandhi


“He who believes is strong; he who doubts is weak. Strong convictions precede great actions.”

– Louisa May Alcott



“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

– Maya Angelou


“Anyone can give up; it is the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would expect you to fall apart, now that is true strength.”

– Chris Bradford

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