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How To Get Motivated (And Stay That Way)

How To Get Motivated (And Stay That Way)

​It's time again.

Your repeating project, your commute to work, your [insert daily torture here] that never seems to go away. The argument keeps coming up, you keep having the same fight with your kids, your family is on your back ​again​.

When times get tough, how do we stick to the course?​​​

When all we want to do is quit, how do we get the motivation to continue doing what we know is right?

This does not only for situations when problems arise, but for situations where we know that we need to do something but have a difficult time getting started.

Whether it be the book that you know is in you, the business that you've always wanted to build, the perfect family life, better control over your money, or whatever else that you ​​know​ that you need, what is the best way to get started on that?

​You need some motivation. And I'm going to make a wild claim: humans ​always​ do what they are most motivated to.

They have to.​​​

​Babies, Decisions, And Bad Habits

​Imagine a few scenarios with me and pick the one that most closely applies to you.

1. You wake up early in the morning (despite hating mornings) and go to your job (despite also hating your job).

2. You spend time pursuing your dream and passion even though it means long, painful hour of reading, researching, and self-improvement.

3. Your newborn child wakes you up crying in the middle of the night. You would really rather go back to sleep, but know that your child needs to be taken care of, so you do what needs to be done.

Whichever situation applies most closely to you, all of these situations share a few things in common: you are faced with a situation you don't want to confront but you do it anyways.

These mental exercises show an interesting trait present among humans: we are allowed to choose what we do and do not do. We have control over our choices and over the actions we make.

Well, kinda.

​A big debate in the fields of psychology and philosophy deals with whether or not humans have free will, but the debate over whether or not you and I are free ​can be both misguided and destructive. (If you'd like to learn more about the debate on whether or not we are free anyway, I recommend trying here and here).

So instead of debating relentlessly, let's look at the science.

In a study on the effects of emotions and decision making, Antonio Damasio looked at multiple patients who suffered brain damage to the amygdala or the orbitofrontal cortex. This brain damage rendered many of his patients largely unable to feel emotion.

​Never hating your job again sounds like a superpower, right? You're probably thinking "Gee, if I didn't hate half my life, I could accomplish anything!"

But not so fast. Among Damasio's patients that lacked emotion, decision making wasn't actually easier.

It was more difficult. Much more difficult.

In fact, some patients, despite not losing any IQ, were rendered completely unable to make decisions. Even small decisions that had little impact on the day were turned into sources of endless debate. (source).

Damasio expounds on his research in the book Descates' Error. His argument is that without emotion, while we are undoubtedly more logical and no less intelligent, we lack sufficient motivation to accomplish tasks and make decisions.

​Damasio argued that without motivation inherent to emotion, we are rendered incapable of making decisions.

​If you will remember the examples mentioned earlier, each one had a difficult or painful event. Yet in each of those examples, you ended up doing what needed to be done (nice job, you​) in spite of the pain and discomfort.

This is because by nature, humans always follow our greatest desire and our greatest motivation.

You hate going to work, but you know you need money, so you go anyways.

You don't enjoy spending time reading or working on your passion that you feel isn't going anywhere, but you know that you have a chance to make a difference and be happy, so you do it anyways.

You don't want to get out of bed at 3 a.m. for your screaming child, but you love your baby, so you do it anyways.

In each of these situations, the motivation to act is greater than the motivation to not do anything.

And since science shows that good habits are hard to start (source) and bad habits are hard to break (source), it's not a​n extreme conclusion to say that it is difficult to change our decision making process in a long and lasting way.

So don't change your decision making process.

Change your motivations.

Here's how.

Want To Be A World-Class Achiever? ​Try Team Games

Humans are social creatures from just about every angle that you wanna look at it. Whether you're looking at research showing we're happier when surrounded by happy people (source) or that just talking to people on a bus makes you happier (source), it is obvious that we're best when we're with others.

A recent poll by Gallup looked at whether or not having a best friend at work changed your performance at your job. Results were nothing less than astonishing.

People who reported having a best friend at work were:

  • ​43% more likely to report having received praise or recognition for their work in the last seven days
  • ​37% more likely to report that someone at work encourages their development
  • ​​35% more likely to report coworker commitment to quality
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    28% more likely to report ​that in the last six months, someone at work has talked to them about their progress
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    ​27% more likely to report that the mission of their company makes them feel that their job is important
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    27% more likely to report that their opinions seem to count at work
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    21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day

​And in addition to all this, people who reported having best friends at work recorded significantly higher levels of healthy stress management compared to people who didn't have best friends at work. (source).

What does all this have to do with motivation?

With all the research in mind, it seems that one of the best ways to increase your motivation is simply to improve your positive friendships.

​The key word in that last sentence is the word "positive". Simply increasing your existing ​number​ of friendships may not be effective; quality is greater than quantity in this regard.

Research gives us reasons why we should hang out with people who are better than we are. A study on obesity found that when you have an obese friend, you are 57% more likely to be obese yourself, but the results of this study showed an even deeper importance in choosing your friends:

When a ​friend of a friend​ is obese, you have a 25% higher chance of being obese. When a ​friend of a friend of a friend​ (yep, 3 levels out) is obese, you are 10% more likely to be obese. These statistics are true ​even if you've never met these friends of friends​.​​​​​​​​​​​​ (source).

While we should never judge someone's success by their weight, this study shows the power of friendships and how likely we are to mimic those who are close to us. This law of averages is important: ​one of Jim Rohn's most powerful quotes says that "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."

And when asked what advice he would put on a billboard, Tim Ferriss said it would be "You are the average of the five people you most associate with."

So to increase your motivation's starting and staying power, increase the quality of your friendships. This can include developing deeper friendships with people you admire, spending time with people who have accomplished things you want, finding a mentor, escaping negative interactions as much as possible, or simply trying to mimic great qualities in great people.

Whatever action works best for your situation in life, the research is clear: having positive friendships increases performance and motivation while negative friendships decrease it.

Want To Be A World-Class Achiever? Play ​Follow The Leader

​​​Many people are familiar with research popularized in Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers claiming that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice was necessary to make someone an expert at something. When hearing that statistic, a few questions come to mind.

First, what exactly is deliberate practice? People understand that deliberate practice is practicing to the point of failure, but ​what does that actually mean in my life and in my goals?

Second, how do I know what to practice? While I can certainly be an expert at quoting Brian Regan, that won't provide much value in my life for the long term. What do I need to practice to become a true expert at my chosen field, goal, or dream?​​​

And if you don't know who Brian Regan is... (video has mild language).

Finally, what in the world causes someone to practice at something for 10,000 hours anyways? If a person spent 40 hours a week on this project, the length of a typical workweek, solely filled with deliberate practice to failure, then that person is going to need ​five years​ to become an expert.

And while five years may not sound like much, ​remember that it's probably not ​too​​​​ difficult to spend 40 hours a week on a hobby unless you have ​a job, any social life whatsoever, or a need to eat between now and the next half-decade.

All of these questions can be solved by having a mentor: someone who is already an expert in the field that you are pursuing. A mentor can teach you what deliberate practice in your field looks like, can show you how to best apply it, and keeps you staying the course until you yourself are an expert.

The importance of mentors can be seen in leading psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book, Creativity​: Csikszentmihalyi interviewed 91 highly creative people, including 14 Nobel Prize winners.

Csikszentmihalyi found that by the time almost every single one of these high achievers were college-aged, they had a mentor. Csikszentmihalyi's conclusion is that a mentor is not necessary to unlock someone's talent, but the presence of a mentor has the potential to make a lot of difference in someone's life.

So if you want to get and stay motivated, it may just be time to find someone who can show you the ropes and keep you in the ring when the fight gets going.

You need a mentor.

​See It Yet?

Since the dawn of man, the brain has pretty much baffled all of us. Science is largely unsure how a glorified slab of meat can perform such a wide variety of functions like language acquisition, fine motor skills, and reminding the body to keep digesting food while using so little energy.

In recent attempts to mimic the brain's complexity and efficiency, one of the world's supercomputers took 82,944 processors and about one hour of real time to mimic ​one second​ worth of brain activity. (source).​​​

With such a powerful tool inside out heads, it's no surprise that some people want to master it... and others want to monetize it.

Brain games have become popular in recent years as a form of training the mind. Research shows that some are helpful (source), others are not (source), and that video games may hold the key to teaching new skills quickly and enjoyably (source).

​In the context of all this brain training, one brain exercise is heard of more than any other in self-help and self-improvement circles: positive visualization.

​And to be entirely honest, I was a little surprised in my research to find that science has recorded no benefits of positive visualization (much to the horror of every motivational speaker since time began).

In fact, positive visualization was shown to have a negative correlation to achievement. While sad to hear, the most likely cause is that our brain has trouble distinguishing fantasy from reality; visualizing and dreaming of an outcome literally saps us from energy we otherwise spend being productive. (source).

​Yet there is an alternative to positive visualization made popular in Eric Barker's book Barking Up The Wrong Tree​ (this book is so good, it made our list of best self-help books). The alternative, as Barker describes it, has, "the silliest name in all of social science." It's called WOOP.

Yep. You can improve your motivation to accomplish a task using a method that sounds like it came from your five year old.

​WOOP is powerful because it picks up the slack where positive visualization stops: when you WOOP, you have to envision your obstacles and define a clear way that you will overcome them when (not if) they arrive in your dream scenario.

Here's how to WOOP:

​Wish​: What is your dream? What do you want the future to look like?

​For example: "I want a perfect marriage."

​Outcome​: Be specific​. What does wish look like for you?

"I would never have any fights with my spouse."

​Obstacles​: What is in the way that will cause problems for my wish and outcome?

"One day my spouse and I may disagree over money."

​Plan​: Set up If/Then scenarios to handle these problems.

"If we start arguing about money, I will sit down with my spouse, listen to their point of view with the intent to understand, not with the intent to refute their point of view, and then discuss solutions to the problem."​​​​​

​WOOP is quite literally the exact opposite of positive visualization; it is classified as negative visualization. And while the benefits of positive visualization have been ​battered and bruised by science, negative visualization has a lot of research, both science and experience based, backing it.

As recorded in the book A Guide To The Good Life, Stoic philosophers would often ask the question "What is the worst possible thing that could happen to me today?"

While this seems quite depressing, it is actually freeing. Imagining all that could go wrong can make you really appreciate when things ​don't​ go wrong and makes you more thankful for the things you have.

On a similar note, Steve Jobs said in his famous 2005 commencement speech, about minute 9, "Remembering I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in my life."​​​

On the science side, negative visualization is so powerful it even has the ability to make you stronger without ever going to the gym.

The reason for this power is the same reason why positive visualization is so ineffective by itself: seeing an outcome literally causes your body to feel that the outcome is real. It takes your energy and saps your strength. When negative visualization imagines obstacles to overcome, your body trains itself to be prepared for these obstacles.

In one study, participants were split into several groups with the two most notable groups being the physical training and the mental training group. While the physical training group increased their strength by 53% over 12 weeks, the mental training group (with no physical training involved) increased their strength ​by 35%​ over the same time frame. (source).​​​

​When we visualize our problems (and see ourselves overcoming them), science is clear: you'll go much further and accomplish much more than just imagining that your dream life is happening to you.

​Flash, The Brain, And The Little Voice In Your Head

​​On the ground, Wally can't be beaten, not even by Superman.

No one, in entire DC universe, knows exactly how fast the Flash is. He's so fast that he can pass lightspeed. He's so fast that after a nuclear explosion, he carried the entire population of a town in North Korea ​to safety before the explosion had time to reach them.

The Flash is so fast that he literally outran Death by running millions of years into the future on accident. (source)

Your mind is not quite the Flash, but it's still lightning fast. Your brain may think upwards of 3000 words per minute, and many of those are actually directed to you. (source 1) (source 2).

​Yep. Science has proven that the only people who talk to themselves are people who admit it... and people who are liars.

Yet self talk is so powerful that when Navy SEAL candidates were taught to make their self talk positive, their graduation rate increased from 25% to 33%. (source).

​When we experience new tasks, our brains begin to analyze possible scenarios. We've already talked about why you should visualize the negative aspects of a task instead of the positive, but does this hold true for mental talk as well?

Should we tell ourselves and hear the same negative things we see in our minds?

Definitely not.

​Research shows that when we visualize negative things, we become prepared.

When we hear negative things, we become depressed.

So imagine negative things, hear positive things.

Positive self talk is necessary for motivation. Studies show that when we talk to ourselves positively, we perform better on a variety of tasks. This holds especially true if we talk to ourselves ​in the third person​.

Reasons why third person self talk (using your name, saying "he/she is really going to accomplish this") is most effective is unclear. An educated guess is that third person self talk takes your mind out of the equation a bit.

Whatever the reason, when people were engaged in self talk, they performed better on a variety of physically demanding and emotionally frightening tasks. (source).​​​

​So to max out your motivation levels, start telling yourself that you are capable of accomplishing (and enjoying) the task in front of you. Visualize the negative, but listen to the positive.

​That Famous Study Isn't Real, But This One Is

​I​f you are a fan of self-help, you have almost undoubtedly at one point or another heard of a study citing that during a certain time frame, 3% of Harvard or Yale graduates made nearly ten times as much money as the other 97%.

The difference?

The 3% wrote down their goals.

​While whoever you heard this from is well meaning, this study never actually happened.

Yet that doesn't nail the coffin for goal setting; while that study is phony, another study is not:

In this real study, participants were separated into five groups and were each given different levels of activity that they needed to accomplish for their goals.

​Two groups were told to write goals down, ​another group had to write down goals with action commitments, a different group had to do all that and then give these action commitments to a friend, and the last group had to do everything mentioned before as well as give this friend weekly progress reports.

The most successful group ​by a long shot​ was the group who wrote down their goals, made action commitments, gave these commitments to a friend, and then gave their friend weekly progress reports.

In other words, the most successful group was the group that forced themselves to succeed by making written goals, creating action plans, and holding themselves accountable.

​These actions are so powerful that the group with the lowest commitment (only writing goals down) achieved about 43% of their goals. The most successful group with the most commitment achieved ​76%​.​​​ (source).​​​

​So while you may not make 10x more than 97% of Harvard or Yale graduates, you're statistically far more likely to achieve your goals if you write them, make a plan, and then force yourself to act by making a friend keep you accountable (this isn't nearly as embarrassing as I thought it would be - friends tend to be extremely impressed at your motivation and productivity).

And if we take another look back to Navy SEALs...

When SEALs were taught to set goals with their positive self-talk (and negative visualization), their graduation rates improved dramatically. And it seems like their favorite goals to set were goals that could be described as very, very small:

"Make it to lunch."

"Get out of this water."

"​Don't panic." (source).

​So despite the false studies presented as truth, goal setting does have serious benefits. For maximum effect:

1. Write your goals

2. Develop an action plan ("How am I going to accomplish this?"

3. Force yourself to be accountable (give goals to a friend, give friend progress reports - I promise it's not embarrassing. Your friend will be proud to have your trust and glad to encourage you)

4. Keep it small

​World Of Warcraft At School And Work (Plus Why You Should Treat Yourself Today)

Joe was dead.

At least, he was going to be in a moment. Simon had just cut the rope.

It was undoubtedly a difficult decision for Simon, yet he knew that to save his own life, he had to let Joe die. The rope was cut, Joe fell, and if he had landed two feet to the right, he would have kept falling and inevitably been killed.

As it was, Joe had landed on an ice bridge. He was alive, but his broken leg and the sloped ice above him meant that he had no way of returning to Simon. In fact, the only direction Joe could go was down further into the crevasse.

So further down he went, crawling on his shattered bones.

When Joe saw a crack of sun, he knew he could somehow make it. He had no food, no water, but he did have one thing:​ that rock up ahead.

In the midst of his mountain climbing adventure gone horribly wrong, Joe recalls ​making a game out of his torturous crawl away from the mountain: he would try to make it to that rock in under 20 minutes. He would try to pass that patch of gravel in under 15.

Often he would fail, but each failure came not with a quit, but with a restart.

​After three days of grueling torture and while highly delirious, Joe made it back to his base camp.

Joe tells his story in his book Touching The Void​. His story emphasizes something important to the realm of motivation:

Turning tasks into games much us much more motivated to succeed.

In the book Sidetracked, Francesca Gino cites the study of a classroom of children, but this wasn't quite your ordinary classroom.

It was made to resemble World of Warcraft.

Children were given experience points, quests, and monsters. When a child did good on an assignment, they received points instead of a test score. During this period, children worked harder, studied more, cheated less, and were more enthusiastic about their time in class.

Shawn Anchor in The Happiness Advantage echoes this sentiment: he says that the best way to deal with stress is not to view it as a trial, but as a challenge. His book is so good that it made our list of best self help books.

And as with any game, remember to reward yourself after you have completed a challenge. The theory of operant conditioning states that an effective way to modify behavior is to reward good actions and punish negative actions, much as your parents taught you to do as a child. (source).

So next time you're faced with an obstacle, remember: this is a challenge. You can win this game.

And when you do win, treat yourself.

It's guaranteed to get you motivated and keep you there.

​Conclusion

Thanks for reading!

Motivation is the great driver of human action. A person who commands their motivation also commands their destiny.

By controlling when we are motivated, we are able to construct the life we long to live. I hope today that I have helped you achieve that life.

​Let me know in the comments: what's your most effective way to get motivated?

Stay awesome. Have a great day.

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Audible Review: Is This Famous Audiobook Seller Really Worth It?

​​Audible Review: Is This Famous

Audiobook Service Really Worth It?

​​​​​​​​My alarm clock (meaning my phone) buzzed beside me, rattling my whole nightstand.

It was time.

​Again​.

I showered, got dressed, ate a measly breakfast, and got in the car for my 45 minute commute to work.

​The radio played the same songs that it had played yesterday and the day before.

​And frankly?

I was sick of it all.

My morning routine, my job,​ my life. But the one thing that truly ​irked​ me was something most people wouldn't even bother to consider.

I hated driving 45 minutes to work and back.​​​

Pretty pathetic, huh?

I was tired of the same roads, tired of the same routine. I felt like if I could drive less, I would have more time to spend on my personal development and my own goals.

And even then, I knew that time spent on personal development was time spent on my dream life.

It was time spent on being happy.

Feeling constricted, needing a change in routine (and life), I bought my first audiobook. It was The 4-Hour Work Week​ by best selling author Tim Ferriss.

​I plugged in my aux cord, started listening, and literally overnight, my entire life dynamic changed.

​This will sound extreme, but immediately I was excited to wake up in the mornings. I showered fast, sucked down some breakfast, and was always early to work because ​I loved being in the car​.

​I changed the worst part of my day and the rest of my day followed suit.

Now not only was I listening Monday through Friday on my drove to work, I found myself listening to books on the weekends. I listened while exercising, working around the house, running errands, ​even as I was falling asleep​!

​People all over the world have fallen in love with audiobooks. And if you love to read but don't have the money or time, want ​to devote more to your own self-improvement, or simply want to change the routine, I've written this post to be an honest review of the audiobook giant Audible.

If you're looking for anything in particular, here's a quick table of contents for you.

This Audible review is written for those who may be on the fence about Audible or audiobooks​​​​​​​​​​​​ in general. This company is a powerhouse and a giant (being owned by Amazon) and has gained a ton of ground since I started using it.

But first thing's first: who needs it?​​​

Who Needs ​Audible?

​​​Audible was created for people who want (or need) to read but are unable (or just won't do it).

It is perfect for people who have a reading disorder and find books challenging yet still want the knowledge within.

It is perfect for people who want to fall in love with incredible characters, a beautiful story, and be hooked into an excellent plot, but just don't have the time.

Audible is a masterpiece for those that realize the importance of self-improvement but simply are unable to spend the proper amount of time constructing their dream lives.

If you want to read but don't have the time, need a change in routine but don't know where to go, or desire the knowledge that books contain without actually wanting to ​read​ (there's no shame in not enjoying reading), then Audible was created with you in mind.​​​

If any of these are you, Audible is perfect for you.

​​​What ​​​Audible Does

​​Audible started from the great idea (seriously, it was brilliant) that the company would make reading easier, faster, and more accessible.

How would they do this?

​They would read the book to you​.

Today, the company continues that time honored convenience.​​​

Audible reads books to you.

​And we'll talk more about this later, but Audible is capable of reading ​a lot​ of books to you. Like, a whole lot of books.

​Everything from New York Times Bestsellers to indie mom-and-pop books can be found on Audible. Audible even have their own exclusive books, meaning that some books can ​only be found​ on Audible.

It's perfect to listen in the car, turn on during a run, or even for some great background noise as you clean the house, watch the kids, or do whatever your tasks for the day are.

And most surprisingly of all, having your personal butler read you books doesn't cost​​​​​​ as much as you would think.

My average cost per audiobook is less than $9.88. At less than $10, I actually listen to books less expensively than I read them.

Audible brings the power and joys of knowledge, stories, and lives to you inexpensively in a way that anyone can use.

​The Competition And Audible's Slim Chance Of ​Success

​​​Audible has to compete with a couple of competitors in the audiobook space and everyone should ask one simply question when looking to get any new service: "Is this one the right one for me?"

And the fact of the matter is this: the audiobook space has a lot of players.

Each one claims to be the best at something and tries to accomplish everything, so the odds of one player being better than all the others (no matter how fragile some of them are) is really slim to none.

​While there are many players in the audiobook space, only a few are truly worth considering. Outside of a few large players, other companies are extremely limited in titles (such as only having audiobooks from your local library), narrated solely by volunteers instead of professionals (and thus lowering overall voice actor quality), or only allow you to "rent" books (preventing you from downloading, listening offline, or keeping the title).

Audible's main competitors are Audiobooks Now, Audiobooks.com, and Playster. Let's take a look at each of these.

I've judged each competitor based on the size of their library, the features used, and the price of the service.

​Library

​Features

​Price

Our Rating

Audiobooks Now is, in my opinion, the best competitor to Audible. It has one of the more sizable libraries among audiobook sellers, ranging in at about 80,000-100,000 books.

Audiobooks Now does have some neat features, especially in its app. You can change playback speeds, decide to stream or download the book you're listening to, set sleep timers, and so on.

Audiobooks Now really tries to push their pricing model as the premium pricing model. For $4.99/month, you get 50% off your first audiobook each month and 30-40% off other purchases.

While this price sounds great, I did a search of many popular titles and found that even after the 50% discount, you actually end up paying ​more​ than what many audiobooks cost with other services, not even counting your $4.99/month membership fee.

​While not every popular book was more expensive with this service, Audiobooks Now leaves some to be desired and may not be the pricing paragon it claims to be.


  • check-circle
    ​Has a large library
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    ​Good features on website and app
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    ​Clear pricing model
  • ​Other sellers have a more significant library
  • Times Circle
    ​Pricing model seems inexpensive, but may end up costing more per book than other services

​Library

​Features

​Price

Our Rating

Audiobooks.com is another competitor of Audible. With a library of over 100,000 books, it ​has a larger selection than many audiobook sellers.

Audiobooks.com has many similar app functions as other audiobook sellers: set playback speeds, sleep timers, place bookmarks or notes, and so on.

Audiobooks.com has a very simple pricing model: pay $14.95/month for a credit, then buy additional credits for $14.95 if you want.

The additional credits are a nice feature because it essentially caps the cost of books at $14.95, no matter what the book is. Many books obviously cost less than $14.95 and can be purchased without using a credit.

The extra credit option is really a nice perk here. If for some reason you are totally anti-Amazon, you'll probably be pretty satisfied with Audiobooks.com.


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    ​One of the larger libraries among sellers
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    ​Good features on website and app
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    Can purchase other credits, capping the cost of books
  • ​Significant library lacks many popular books

​Library

​Features

​Price

Our Rating

​Playster, even as a viable alternative to Audible, markets itself more as a full-service subscription than just an audiobook seller, so it has trouble competing with services like Audible.

Playster has about 40,000 audiobook titles, which means you'll be getting a much more limited selection than with other providers.

Playster has a nice app with all the common features, but I have one major gripe with the features of Playster: once your subscription ends, your audiobooks are gone. There's no option to truly purchase an audiobook.

On the flip side, Playster scores well on the Price metric because it works as a subscription service, not as a seller. So while you can't actually buy and books (and thus can't use them after the subscription), you can read as much as you want while your subscription is active.

This sounds great in theory, but the limited library really hinders the effectiveness of this Netflix-style model.


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    ​Can read as many books as you want during active subscription
  • ​Small library
  • Times Circle
    ​Can't buy or keep books after subscription ends

How Audible Stands Out Among Its Competitors

Even though there are many players in the audiobook space, Audible consistently outperforms on almost all key metrics.

It really is the Babe Ruth of audiobooks, hitting homer after homer.

Audible has remained my audiobook provider of choice because it consistently excels at providing what ​audiobook services need in regard to titles available, app and website features, and pricing. Let's take a look at each.

​Library

​Features

​Price

​Our Rating

​​​​​​​Audible consistently clocks in as a preferred audiobook provider because it really shines above much of the competition.

Even in the past few years, Audible has made significant improvements in regards to what all you get with this service.

To start off with, Audible's library is big. ​Big​big​. The most recent number I found was a little dated (2016) but even then, Audible was clocking in at over 200,000 books. Since I have been using Audible, they have consistently added new titles.

I have rarely searched out a book on Audible to find that it wasn't available, but it does happen occasionally. Audible doesn't contain every audiobook in the world, but ​I should mention that when a title is unable to be found on Audible, that title may not be available anywhere.

Audible has been great about restocking the shelves with new and excellent reads.

Audible also has some really neat features that serve ​to distinguish it from the competition in a lot of areas.

Since Audible is an Amazon company, they obviously link up with everything Amazon. And I mean ​everything​. If you listen across multiple devices, your place is automatically updated so you won't have to find the exact time you left off. Another cool Amazon perk is that Audible can sync up with your Alexa device and Alexa will read your books to you.

​Also in the feature list, Audible has ​​​a neat deal with Kindle called Whispersync. If you buy the Kindle and Audible versions of a book (​which does get you a discount), you can have the book read to you while you follow along in Kindle. The apps automatically track where the speaker is and it's super easy to read alongside the narrator.

As far as pricing goes, Audible offers a standard option of one credit per month for $14.95 and with this monthly subscription, you get 30% off all titles.

That is pretty standard, but Audible ​shines above the competition in two powerful ways:

First, Audible offers more ways to subscribe than one. While the standard subscription offers credits for $14.95/credit, one subscription model can get you credits for as low as $9.57/credit. There's a wide range of options.

​Surprisingly, a massive majority of the competitors I looked at only offer one membership option. Audible currently offers four.

Second, Audible offers what they call "The Great Listen Guarantee".

​It. Is. Amazing.

If you don't love a book, you can return it for a full refund ​even after listening to it​.

I'm sure there's some way they prevent abuse, but I have returned over 10% of my books and saw no repercussions.​​​

While Audible's standard membership may be slightly more pricey than a few competitors, the wide range of titles, great feature list, and ​amazing​ refund policy more than make up for it.​​​

Right now, Audible is offering a trial where you get any two audiobooks for free. If you're interested, click the button below.


  • ​Massive library (200,000+)
  • ​New titles added often
  • ​Links with Amazon and can be used on Alexa devices
  • ​Tracks your place on any device
  • ​Whispersync allows the book to be read to you while you follow along
  • ​Offers four different membership options
  • ​Great Listen Guarantee
  • times-circle
    ​Standard membership may have you paying more than some competitors


​Audible's Membership Options

​As mentioned earlier that Audible stands out from competitors in one way by offering a variety of membership options.

Here, I will further explain those options. The biggest difference between memberships is how many credits you get and the average cost per credit, so here are some common traits among all the memberships.

  • ​Receive credits to be used for any book you choose. One credit = one book
  • ​Receive a 30% disount on all books if you do not want to use a credit
  • ​Keep all books after membership expires
  • check
    ​No ads
  • check
    ​Listen offline
  • check
    ​Great Listen Guarantee - If you don't like a book, exchange it
  • check
    ​Audible shows - Audible's take on podcasts

​Gold Monthly​: Gold Monthly serves as Audible's standard option. After you try Audible for free, you'll be charged $14.95 per month and get one credit.

Average Cost Per Credit​: $14.95

​​​​​​​Gold Annual​: Gold Annual is a bit of an upgrade from Gold Monthly. You'll pay $149.50 and receive your 12 credits all at once. This means you get two months ​free​.

​Average Cost Per Credit​: $​12.46

​Platinum Monthly​: Platinum Monthly is where Audible really begins to shine. For two credits per month, you'll pay ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​$22.95 per month.

​Average Cost Per Credit​: $11.48

​Platinum Annual​: Platinum Annual ​says that if you pay $229.50, you'll receive​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ 24 credits all at once. This plan gives you two months ​free​, four credits ​free​, and Platinum Annual is Audible's way of crushing the competition, even on price.

​Average Cost Per Credit​: $9.57​​​​​​​​​

​Audible's Free Trial​: While Audible's membership options are wide and varied, the best membership option is always the free membership option.

On this front, Audible is offering a special promotion right now (that they could end at any time) where you can get two audiobooks for free.

Don't love the service after your two free audiobooks? No problem. They are yours to keep.

Click below to try Audible for free.​​​​​​​​

Conclusion

Based on the library size, the feature list, and the price points, I recommend Audible as the best audiobook service on the market today.

If you are looking to get in a good read without spending the time, need some variety on your work commute, want to improve yourself, or want to save money on books, audiobooks can serve as a great option to fill those needs.

​Tell us in the comments below: What's your experience been with audiobooks? What are you looking for in an audiobook provider?

Thanks for reading!

Stay awesome. Have a great day.

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Copyright Information: Copyright Elite Happiness. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.elitehappiness.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

The Ultimate Guide On How To Be A Better You

​The Ultimate Guide On

 How To Be A Better You

​I'm sure you understand the feeling of wanting more, particularly the feeling of wanting more out of ourselves.

Not many days go by where we want to have ​​less​ money​​​​​, be in ​worse​ physical condition, and be even ​further​ from our goals​​​​​​​ or dreams.

​Instead, we always want a few more dollars, a few less pounds, less stress, and happier lives.

​We know we can achieve more! Have you ever looked at yourself and felt the incredible potential locked up inside of you? I know I have.

The problem arises when we are unsure how to unleash our potential.

Today, I want to help you be the best version of you that you can be. I want to teach you how to be a better you, using exact steps that I myself took to increase my financial freedom, hit my health goals, decrease my stress, and live an overall happier life.

Enjoy.

​Know Your Why

In his powerful book Start With Why​, Simon Sinek discusses how ​​​​great leaders, organizations, communicators, and people all have something in common: they understand the reasons behind what they are doing.

And not only do the greats of the world understand the reasons, but they allow these ideas to seep into their very soul to provide inspiration to accomplish whatever stands before them.

We, to improve our lives in every way, must do the same.

We must find your passion.

Passion: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.

To truly be a better you, you must find your why. Find what motivates you. Find what gets you up in the mornings. It can be selfish ("I want a better home/car/body") or altruistic ("I want to help children in need") but it must be present.

​When finding your passion (and you definitely have one), there are a few things you should keep in mind.

​1. Be specific​: You want your passion to be something that you can ​almost ​taste, touch, feel, or experience. It needs to be something that feels right outside your reach.​​​​​​

For example, ​one of my written passions is about my body. It says this: "I want a rocking hot body. I want to run my hands down my stomach and feel my six pack. I want to love taking my shirt off."

​When I look at that passion written on my whiteboard in my room, I ​feel​ what it's like to have that body. I can ​touch​ the abs in my mind. I can take my shirt off and ​love every second of it​.

Make your passion so specific you can touch, taste, smell, and feel it.

Want to go on a world traveling tour? Describe where you're going, how you're getting there, what you're gonna live like when you're there.​​​​​​​​​

Passion to be the best at something? Explain to yourself what it's like to be the reigning champion, what others see when they look at you, what it's like to feel confidence flowing through your veins.

When describing your passion, be specific to the smallest detail. Allow your soul to feel what the fulfillment of your passion will be like.

​2. Be honest​: Earlier I mentioned that some passions are selfish and some are not. ​Both are okay​.

A​ selfless passion is fantastic! You want to adopt the homeless, cure malaria, end worldwide hunger, and change the world for the better. ​That is amazing​. I am so thankful for people like you.

But humans are innately selfish and for this reason, altruistic passions are often less effective at immediate motivation than selfish passions are.

Let me give you an example. Let's use my earlier passion of having a super hot body. My end goal for my life is for people to like me so that I can give them the keys to happiness. That's the end goal for me.

I think having a decent body is probably helpful towards the goal of getting people to like me. ​But it's a lot easier to cheat myself when my goal is further out​.

​Altruistic, or selfless passions are often largely ideal. They are difficult to touch, feel, and experience in our minds and this makes it difficult to motivate ourselves using altruistic passions.

So what I recommend is to make a passion pyramid. Take your massive, world-changing altruistic passions and break them into smaller, selfish passions.

Because selfish passions are here; selfish passions are now. They can be touched, felt, and are ​extremely​ motivational.

​Here's an example from my own passion pyramid, including a nice picture.

Up top, I have my greatest passion: provide happiness. ​Below that, two more altruistic goals: solve people's needs and give people their pleasures.

Since the pyramid gets a bit crowded at this point, let's just follow the "Give Pleasures" branch.

Two of the ways I can give people pleasure is by entertaining them and providing them with convenience. Both of these are ​also​ altruistic and selfless.

But below those two passions?

My passions below all these altruistic goals are simple: I want to be funny, be physically attractive, and own a great business.

Below all the altruistic, idealistic, difficult-to-define, world-changing passions are passions that I ​feel​. Passions that I can ​touch​. Passions that ​make me burn with desire​.

Below all my self​less​​​​ goals are my selfish ones because I am able to immediately take action on these.​​​​​​​​​

The passion pyramid is the best motivational tool for me. Period. And I wish someone had taught me how to do one a lot sooner in life.

​Don't allow yourself to believe that you are immoral because your immediate passions are selfish; in fact, a passion pyramid is extremely ethical because out of your selfish desires come incredible joy for everyone else.​​​​​​

But you must be honest.

If your beginning and end goals are selfish, then don't lie and put passions that sound better to outside ears. This is about making ​you​ a better ​you​.

This is for you. Be honest with yourself. Don't be afraid to be a little selfish because even selfishness can be turned to good.

​3. Write it down​: As a child, I noticed an interesting phenomenon in my father: he would consistently make and remake plans or ideas.

As I grew older, I began to realize that he had to remake his plans because he never truly remembered them due to the fact that the only records of his plans existed in​side of his head.

​So I learned early on that something concrete begins to form when we write things down.

I 100% totally and completely recommend writing your passions down. Make a pyramid, make a list, it doesn't really matter because what's effective for you is different than what's effective for me.​​​​​​​​​ Do what's best for you.

I once read in Grant Cardone's Be Obsessed Or Be Average​ that Grant writes his passions down every day and the things he keeps seeing pop up are the things that he knows he wants to do in his life.

A passion in your head will never be as effective as a passion on your paper. Write it down, keep it with you, and always remember that it will never happen if you don't make it happen.

Let this passion drive you to be the person you want to be.

Let this passion drive you to be the person you know you can be.

​Develop Discipline​

​There is no short road to improving your life, increasing your happiness, changing your relationships, and achieving your long term goals.

Allow me to phrase that differently: there is no straight road to being a better you.

The road to becoming who you want to be and who you know you can be is long, painful, and filled with twists that are guaranteed to throw you off track at some point.

Anyone saying that self-improvement is easy is setting you up for disappointment in the long run.

Self-improvement isn’t easy.

When we improve ourselves and become the person who we want to be, we are literally waging war on our old self. We are creating fortresses of good habits and making siege engines to tear down our old, harmful habits.

​More on this later.

Improving ourselves is one of the most difficult things a human can do because it requires self-awareness, the willingness to be wrong, and the ability to charge head first into something that we know isn’t going to be easy.

Self-improvement requires discipline.

And discipline is never developed in a day.

It is developed in the forges of failure, shaped by the hammers of repetition, cooled by the passage of time. Discipline is both our weapon against who we don’t want to be and our shield against destructive habits.

Discipline isn’t easy.

Discipline is scary.

When it comes to developing discipline, I want to let you know: you are going to fail.

It’s just going to happen.

In your quest to be who you know you can be, your quest to be the person of your dreams, you are going to come up against a lot of resistance.

Resistance to change (“I don’t want to get fit, lose weight, etc.”).

Resistance from your own body (“I don’t have the energy”).

Resistance from time (“I’ve only got 24 hours in the day and it’s not enough time to do that”).

Resistance from family, friends, and other loved ones (“Why can’t you just settle for who you are?” or “But I like who you are now!”).

And one day, at one point in time, when all the stress of life overwhelms you and you feel incapable of doing any more, you are going to fail.

Maybe you are trying to get an amazing body and suddenly, with no warning, the scale says that you instead of losing weight, you gained a few pounds.

Maybe you’re trying to follow a dream and travel and you’ve been saving up some money when out of nowhere comes a random expense that you didn’t plan for. You’re set back months.

Maybe it’s a business dream. It’s a book dream. It’s a family goal, relationship goal, or a habit you’re trying to get into and something stops working right.

In all of these situations you have the best of dreams, the best of intentions, and for reasons entirely out of your control, things just stop clicking. They stop working.

In some way, shape, form, or fashion, you fail.

Maybe it was your fault, maybe not. Maybe it was a random fluke of the universe, maybe not. What is certain is that whatever you were planning didn’t work out for you.

You stared failure in the face.

There’s no true way to prevent all failure in life. Somewhere, at some point in time, you are going to mess up.

That is okay.

You’re human. Have no fear, I do it too. And no matter what your enemies (and loved ones!) say, they fail too.

There’s no true way to stop failure.

There is, however, a way to defeat it:

Stop being afraid of it.

Failure is a pain, a burden. It is a frustrating thing to experience.

It is not a tragedy.

It is not the end of the story.

It is a learning experience.

Of course, the best way to learn is through the failures of those who came before us, but some lessons are not so easily taught. Some lessons must be experienced to truly sink into who we are and make an impression in our memories.

​When it comes to developing discipline and forcing your body to obey your commands, I want you to try something.

It's gonna sound silly, you're gonna look silly, and others are gonna look at you funny if they catch you doing this.

Wherever you're at reading this right now, I want you to ​verbally​ speak these words:

"I am not afraid of failure."

I just said it as I wrote it and ​​​sure enough, I got a funny look from the other person in the room (hi babe!).

And now that you've said that, I want you to do something else.

Every morning (I don't care how you feel upon waking up!) how about you and I find the nearest mirror, look ourselves in the eyes, and repeat those words?

"I am not afraid of failure."

​Because in our quests to being the best versions of ourselves that we can be, the version of ourselves we see in our dreams and fantasies, we're going to be forced to stick to hard roads, to travel where others are not, and do what others do not expect us to do.

We are going to have to go against the grain, walk on the road less traveled, and be criticized for not allowing ourselves to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually weak.

We will be forced to develop discipline and the greatest way to develop discipline is to destroy our fear of failure​.

And if ​you feel alone in this journey, I want you to remember: I am doing this with you. Whenever you are reading this, take comfort that I woke up this morning and repeated the same mantra you did. We're in this together. (I would love to hear that you're developing discipline and not afraid of failure. Feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] and let me know).

In your quest to be a better you, one of the most game-changing super powers you can have is the power of discipline. Develop it through trying, trying, and trying again, never fearing what is next to come.

​​​Create Habits

​​Remember when I said we would take about habits more later?

Well... it's later. We have arrived.

​Habits are necessary ​because ​life is exhausting​.

I can't tell you how many times I have woken up and wanted to hide in the sweet bliss of my blankets, never to see the outside world again.​​​

And I think everyone can sympathize with the feeling of getting home from work, school, or a busy day and wanting to do ​absolutely nothing​ until bedtime.​​​

​Our self-improvement dreams or goals usually get pushed to the very bottom of the day's to do list simply because we don't have the ​time to do those things in the morning or the energy to do them in the evening.

When I was trying to get in better shape and have a body that I was pleased with, I wanted to get up early, work out, and get my exercise out of the way.

I inevitably ended up getting a gym membership, going faithfully for a week, and, in not very long at all, going less and less during my precious morning hours. Since I didn't have the time to work out in the afternoon, I usually stopped working out at all.

"Five days a week rain or shine" quickly turned into "Once a week if I run out of other things to do, if it's nice out, and if I absolutely cannot get over my shame of not going last week."

The full cycle was usually complete within a month of me joining a gym.

I'm sure you probably have a few stories that sound pretty similar: an initial burst of enthusiasm allows you to power toward your goal or dream but you are slowly worn down until you place your goal or dream on the ​bottom of your to-do list.

It's not your fault.

It's human nature.

And the only way to overcome nature is with nurture.

You have to develop a habit.

If I'm any judge, I would guess that most of your habits right now consist of eating three regular (junk food) meals a day, plopping down after work to watch tv or read a book, and telling yourself that you ​are​ gonna exercise this week.

I would guess that for most of us, our habits are dreamstealers.

They do not regenerate us, do not motivate us, and do not prepare us for the challenges to come.

​Without us ever realizing it, our habits steal our energy, they steal our happiness, and they steal our dreams.

​Bad habits are dreamstealers.

Good habits are dreamgivers.

I won't lie to you, developing a habit isn't easy, but nothing worthwhile in life comes easily.

I want to repeat that statement because that's the most powerful sentence in this whole post.

​Nothing worthwhile in life comes easily​.

Not one thing.

So in your quest to develop habits, start with the mindset that ​it will not be easy​.

In fact, research suggests that the ​most simple habits in the world (drinking a glass of water upon waking up) takes 21 days to become a true habit​.

For more complex or difficult tasks (reading 30 minutes a day, working out, eating less sugar, not participating in useless arguments), research suggests that it can take anywhere from 18-254 days.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Yep, you read that right. Go ahead and take a quick gasp because ​it could take you a better part of a year to get used to working on your goal.

Any self-help guru promoting less is not looking out for your best interest.​​​

​​​That's the bad news.

Ready for the good news?

It sounds a lot worse than it is because there's a trick to it.

When I was trying to build new (beneficial) habits, I tried to do a lot at once.

Exercise, write, eat healthy, read, give compliments, be thankful upon waking up, and so on.

I ended up forming none of those into a lasting habit.

With some practice, I eventually found ​some tactics that work best and, using these tactics, have developed multiple habits with only a fraction of the hassle I was having to deal with before.

Here are those tactics.

​Master One Habit At A Time​: ​​​​​​​​​​While this will sound counterintuitive, I want to offer you some advice I wish someone had told me earlier in life: no one can multitask.

Leading researchers show that time is best managed when it is managed for one thing at a time, not while multitasking.​​​

This is because the brain is very inefficient at moving from one task to another and according to Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management From The Inside Out, multitasking robs time from us because of the brain's poor ability to switch back and forth between tasks.

This also applies when forming habits.

I recommend starting with one habit, working on it until you have mastered it, and then moving on to another.

And about this one habit you start with...

​Start With The Smallest Possible Habit​: Yep, another counterintuitive piece of advice.

Here's an example. Let's say you want to get into a habit of fitness.​​​​​​ You undeniably have a lot of options for exactly how you want to start on that journey.

I recommend starting with the smallest possible habit. Start by drinking more water, perhaps. Start by skipping out on dinner dessert or that last glass of wine.

Starting small accomplishes two things.

​1)​ It builds a support base for the larger habits. In the example above regarding fitness, you can't truly be fit until you are hydrated. Your body will very literally be running on empty. Starting with an extra glass or two of water per day will be an excellent first step to a healthier life.

​2)​ Small habits take less time to form. I'm going to make up numbers here, but let's say that drinking a glass of water upon waking up takes 30 days to turn into a habit. Exercising five days a week is a habit that may take 120 days to form.

​It makes a whole lot of sense to start with the foundational yet easy to form habits. Start by stacking one at a time. Before you know it, you will be so much closer to being the person of your dreams.

​Educate Yourself

Of all the tips, tricks, and strategies in this post, none are so essential yet so neglected as this one.​

That is because the key downfall is humanity is our pride.

We believe we are great and, by way of the universe's greatest paradox, this belief is what hinders us from truly being great.

Many people stumble through life, never planning ahead, never willing to improve themselves, and then are upset at the hand that they are dealt. These people, these life-hitchhikers, believe that if things don't work out how they want it to, then it is ​the fault of someone else.

We are surrounded by life-hitchhikers.

And the key flaw in these life life-hitchhikers is that they never truly understand or utilize the power of self-education.

When I speak of education, I don't necessarily want you to think of college.

While college can be a great form of education (though the cost is rising and the benefits are shrinking), education does not end at graduation.

Education begins at graduation.

More so than the power of a lecture in a crowded classroom, I am speaking to the power of self-education. This type of education is the type that is won through blood, sweat, and tears. It can be found primarily in two forms.

We can learn from our experiences, and we can learn from other people's experiences.

We can learn through practice or we can learn through reading what others have practiced.

​Person experience teaches through fire and fury and for that reason, it is preferable to learn from the experiences of others when possible. The primary method that this is accomplished is through reading.

I don't want to be misunderstood here; reading to educate ourselves is fundamentally different than reading for leisure. Reading for self-improvement is not always easy and not always enjoyable, but with a plan, it can always be beneficial.

When it comes to my self-education, I tend to go back and forth between extremely practical and extremely motivational books.

Depending on my mood and what I'm working on, I will usually either be reading a skill-type book (like something teaching how to trade options on the stock market, for example), or a book that inspires me to be better (such as one with stories of successful people).

Both are good, both are helpful, and your ideal ratio of practical/motivational will depend entirely on you and your personality.

Whatever type of helpful book you are reading, I want you to understand the value of educating yourself through literature: through the power of a book or audiobook (such as Audible, which I use daily), we can absorb the entire life of another person.

By reading another person's writing, we can attain 60, 70, maybe even 80 years worth of knowledge and experience in just a few hours.

We can rejuvenate our souls and inspire ourselves to reach better places, places that we know we can go to.

Readers are leaders.

Readers are teachers.

Readers are the people who change the world.

Be a reader.

Education does not end at graduation. The day after graduation is when true education can begin.

​Show Yourself Some Love

Few things in life feel so good as achieving a goal when it was thought to be impossible.

When something ​feels ​impossible and you ​do it anyways​, there are not many moments in life that can rival that glorious joy.

You hit a weight loss goal, you wrote a novel, you started a business, you healed your family.

Whatever goal you hit, no matter how small (wake up early every day this week) or how large (bring home $100k this year), I want you to do something.

I want you to take a moment and reward yourself.

Positive reinforcement is an incredible way to promote good behavior so if you've found yourself meeting or exceeding your own expectations, take a moment and give yourself a little pat on the back.

This rule comes with one caveat: reward yourself in an arena that your goal ​was not in​.

Let's say for example you got to a weight that you've wanted to be for ​years​! You finally shed those pesky pounds and you've never been more proud when you look in a mirror.

Take some time to reward yourself, ​but do nothing that will add those pounds back​.

​If you just lost weight, don't go snacking on donuts.

If you just ended a huge dispute, don't go taking time off and letting things degrade.

If you just got a raise at work, don't go blowing your money on junk.

Keep your goal and your reward in separate categories.

The reason we do this is for one simple reason already discussed above: discipline.

If you hit a weight loss goal and go snacking on donuts, you're going to redevelop that sugar addiction and have an extremely difficult time resisting.

If you just got a big raise and blow the money, there's a good chance that you will wake up the next morning and regret the bad habit you're starting to develop.

​Putting your goal and your reward in the same arena puts a major strain on your discipline. Instead, reward yourself in categories unrelated to your achievement.

Here's a real life example. My father owns a business and he recently hit a major income milestone. He considered taking a short vacation and I recommended against it.

Why?

Because I knew (and so did he) that if he went on vacation, his income would go ​below​ where his goal was at. He would have lost much of his progress up to that point!

When you hit your goals and crush them into oblivion, take some time and ​give yourself some love​. Reward yourself. Write yourself a metaphorical check.

But you will thank yourself if you keep your reward in a different field than your goal. It will preserve your goal, keep your discipline strong, and help you to hit the next goal ​that much easier​.​​​​​​​​​

Be Willing To Change

​This is at once the most simple yet most difficult of all these strategies.

To be a better you, you must realize that you have to change.

That is going to be uncomfortable, because knowing that we must change requires us to look at who we are and know that ​we are not good enough yet.

​We have flaws.

We fall short.

To be a better you, you must realize that you have things that you do not excel at and that you can get better at these things over time.

You must be willing to look in a perfect mirror and see your flaws. Avoid the mirror that hides you. Avoid the mirror that makes you look wonderful.

Look in the mirror that shows you for who you are ​and then change it​.

Want a better body? ​Do it​.

​Want better financial health? ​Do it​.

Better relationships? ​Make them​.

Better mental health? ​Create it​.

To be the best version of you, the version of you that you ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​know and believe you can be, you must see the real you and decide to change the real you.

You have to be willing to change.

You have to take responsibility, even for things that aren't directly your fault.

Maybe you were dealt a bad hand. Maybe you were betrayed. But in the end, your finances, your fitness, your relationships, and your happiness will be determined by the decisions you make and have made.

Your life is ultimately determined by you.

So to be the best version of you, you have to be willing to look at your environment, take responsibility, and begin the steps to changing it.

You can command your life. That isn't mumbo jumbo, it's not self-help hype.

It's the truth.

Want to know how to be a better you? Be willing to change the current you for the better. Utilize your discipline. Conquer your fears head on. You can be the person of your dreams.

​Conclusion

​Being a better you starts as quickly or as slowly as you want it to. The ball is in your court now. What are you going to do?

​Thanks for reading.

Stay awesome. Have a great day.

Copyright Information: Copyright Elite Happiness. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.elitehappiness.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

How To Be An Expert At Decision Making (And How To Kill Stress Before It Starts)

​​How To Be An Expert At Decision Making (And How To Kill Stress Before It Starts)

​​Research estimates that your average adult makes about 35,000 decisions every day. (source).

Yep. You read that right.

​35,000.

If you're anything like me, you don't even like to think ​about numbers that high. ​Yet research shows that not only are we making upwards of 35k decisions every day, but our decision making processes actually get worse as we continue to make decisions throughout the day. (source).

​Contrary to popular opinion, good lives are not just dropped into the laps of some people and unjustly robbed from others. Good lives are, in general, ​created from a series of good decisions in the past and the present.

​As my grandfather always told me: for 90% of our lives, we are just as happy as we choose to make ourselves.

Good decisions make for good lives.

​So to improve our lives, we must begin to improve our decisions.

Here ​are some traits of incredible decision makers.​​​​​​

​​​Nonnegotiable, Unalterable Terms Of Service

Compromise is important in all things.

Relationships, business, even where we want to go out to eat can all be subject to someone else saying that they would prefer something else.

And when it comes to the relatively unimportant things in life, compromise is, well, pretty unimportant. No one is going to turn into a serial killer because they wanted to eat Mexican instead of Italian.

In other areas of life, compromise should be considered unacceptable. These areas vary from person to person and I give a few examples of my nonnegotiables below, but there are a few characteristics that your nonnegotiable, unalterable terms of service should have:

​1) It should be something ​that is important to you

​2) It should be something that ​you believe in even when faced with opposition

​3) It should be unique to you, not a copy of anyone else ​(you're unique - that's a good thing)​​​

​4) It should be something that you believe will have a positive impact on both you and the world

​5) It should be long term

​​Nonnegotiable, unalterable terms of service are the things in your life that you absolutely cannot bend on. These conditions are symbols of what you believe to be a good, successful, and happy life.

​A few of mine are based off of the book ​Top Five Regrets of the Dying​.​​​

  • ​I will have the courage to live the life I choose
  • ​I will have the courage to tell others how I feel
  • ​I will do what I view to be right based on the evidence available
  • ​I will do what I believe is best for the largest number of people​​​​
  • angle-right
    ​I will ​trust myself and remember that I am the only person who knows what will make me happy
  • angle-right
    ​I will forgive myself when I am wrong and improve upon my mistakes

​When it comes to decision making,​ nonnegotiable, unalterable terms of service are the basis of your ability to decide. You can only have a good view of what you will compromise on if you know what you won't compromise on.

I find it best to write my nonnegotiable terms down and keep them close; when problems arise, these serve as a constant remember of what I stand for and what I am willing to do.

These need to be the foundations of what you believe. Some other examples may look like the following:

​I will do what is right for my kids, even when they disagree.

​I will always use reason when evaluating problems.

​I will keep my word no matter what.

​Remember to make these unique to you and feel free to change them. Changing the values in your life is not a bad thing; it is a sign that you are growing and maturing into someone who can be all that they need to be in life.

When faced with easy or tough decisions, be prepared to use your nonnegotiables to start the decision making process. By eliminating the impossibles, you only leave the genuine problems to be dealt with.

​​​​The Surprising Way In Which Video Games Can Help Put Out House Fires

​In my younger days of playing video games, my friends and I always had an order of succession to killing the bad guys: take out the healer first, then the highest damage dealers, then the enemies with the lowest health.

We always started with the healers because we didn't want to seriously injure a couple of baddies just to have them restored back to full health or worse, resurrected completely.

We always went to the highest damage dealers after the healers because these are the guys who really posed a problem to the team. As any good World of Warcraft player can attest, one or two shots from the high damage dealers and ​you're​ the one needing a revive.​​​

Finally, we went for the lowest health enemies. This usually meant avoiding enemies commonly known as "tanks" that had high health, dealt low damage, and were largely just meant to distract the players from other enemies.

Believe it or not, my friends and I use this exact method when dealing with our problems in real life today because not all ​problems in life are created equal.

And usually, we never just have one problem at a time. It seems like when life gives out problems, it gives them out in a way where we have more than a few to spare.

Here is an ideal order of succession for problem solving in the real world:

First, deal with the root of your problems. There's no sense in only handling the symptoms of a greater dilemma. 

Second, handle the most crucial and important problem at hand. Any problems that are going to overwhelm you or become more difficult over time need to be handled quickly.

Third, once you have dealt with the root of the problems and the worst problems, begin eliminating the most simple problems to get rid of. I have a rule that if nothing crucial is going on and I have a problem that can be handled within 10 minutes, it needs to be dealt with immediately.

​In situations where you are experiencing multiple issues at once (roots, big problems, and lots of small pesky ones), the most effective method is to begin a situation analyses.

​Analyzing the situation in depth will help you to avoid short term solutions that do not help much in the long run. You will be able to more accurately identify which problems need to be dealt with and which can be ignored.

Situational analyses have a few steps:

​1)​ Decide whether or not a decision needs to be made at all. Is a decision now more helpful than a decision later? What are the consequences of not deciding? What is the best and worst case scenario?​​​

​2)​ ​​​If a decision must be made immediately, determine the greatest possible threat. What is the root of the problems you're experiencing​? If no common root exists, ask what problems are causing the most damage.

​3)​ If you have eliminated the roots of many of your problems (or your problems don't have common roots) and you have eliminated the most threatening of the issues, ask yourself what can be taken care of quickly, preferably in under 10 minutes.​​​ Do those tasks next.

​4) ​Think ahead. If two problems can be eliminated with one solution, begin working on that solution. Think about how your solutions now can eliminate future issues.​​​

​5)​ If action ​needs to be taken immediately, take action immediately. ​Do something​ to handle problems that need to be handled right now. Your hasty actions may not be the​ perfect solution, but doing nothing is definitely the wrong solution.​​​​​​

​The Ethicist's Guide To Playing Unfairly

Cheating is largely seen to be an unfair behavior and one that will get you kicked out of just about any game that you're playing, yet it is a behavior that humans undertake quite frequently.

​When we cheat, it is because we view cheating as having a bigger reward than it has a risk. In research by Dan Ariely, Dan shows that people will gladly and visibly cheat when the opportunity exposes itself ​up to the point​ that it harms their character or standing with others. (source).​​​

We cheat because we view cheating as having a bigger reward than it does a risk, but this does not mean that all things that have more reward than risk are cheating.

In fact, the things in life with great reward but low risk are the things that we must exploit to become incredibly successful. Let's use reading as an example.

When you read a book, (or listen to an audiobook) you are exposing yourself to the entire accumulated knowledge of the author on a subject. This can be 30, 40, 50 ​years​ of information, study, and wisdom.

The cost?

Often under $15, usually under $10.

​Are you willing to pay $15 to have the complete life experiences of someone else on a subject? 

​Incredible decision makers seem to have one habit in common.

​They are obsessed with disproportionate risk/reward spreads​.

In the king's English, that means these achievers strive to have an excessive amount of reward for a small amount of risk. Incredible decision makers want to gain a lot and only lose a little.

​Approaching life in ways here we can find limited downside and infinite upside makes for an incredible investment of time, energy, or money.

But with every decision, you must calculate the risk and reward. How much must be at risk for the reward that is presented?

​​Berating someone cruelly after they make a mistake probably feels pretty good in the short term, but in the long term, this can turn even a gentle soul into your enemy for life.

Complimenting, on the other hand, has very low risk but a fairly high reward: you may gain a long term friend who can help you out of disaster.

Risk and reward must be evaluated in every scenario. Judge what is at stake, what is to gain, and exploit the best opportunities. It's not cheating; you are ethically pursuing the best, most lucrative, most enjoyable opportunities.

You're basically an ethicist already.

​Lay Down The Hammer (Violently)

When you are in the throes of decision making, with information swirling around you, time slowly sinking away, and the consequences becoming worse every moment, sometimes decisions must be made swiftly and with force.

​When forceful decisions must be made, make them rapidly and with no remorse. When it is time to act, put ​the hammer down.

​In Robert Greene's book The 48 Laws of Power, ​law number 15 "Crush Your Enemies Completely" exemplifies this.

​Now we're definitely not going to tell you to crush your enemies completely on a website called Elite Happiness (lol) but the principle applies in many areas.

When you have to act, act overwhelmingly and leave nothing to chance.

Car coming at you head on?

​A chance to fix a broken relationship?

An incredible investment opportunity?

A business that you ​know​ you could succeed at?

An opportunity to follow your passion with 100% effort?​​​

When the time comes to act, act with overwhelming force.

​While telling you to "act with overwhelming force" can be easy on my part, it is difficult to nail down an exact application to such a broad suggestion.

Since I think I'm not the best person to tell you how to most efficiently act with overwhelming force, here is some advice from a Navy SEAL, one of the best decision makers on the planet:

​You're A Wizard, Harry

Great decision makers are some of the most low-stress people on the planet.

To explain why, I must first explain where stress comes from.

Stress is a result of the inability to cause a situation to become like you want it to become.

Whether this stems from unchanging factors (like not having more than 24 hours in the day) or from factors you can influence (how much time you spend watching Netflix instead of doing important things), stress almost always comes from situations not being as we like them to be.

Which leads to this nugget...

​The best decision makers are low stress.

Why?

​Because they influence the situations around them​.

If a situation can't be changed, they don't worry about it.

If a situation can be changed, ​they change it​.

Because great decision makers have ​nonnegotiables, have analyzed the situation, have measured risk and reward, and have acted to influence the situation to their liking, ​their stress levels are lower because their influence on life is higher​.

​Have you ever looked at something such as a dream home, a high paying salary, or your dream life, and felt like that object was so far away from you that you'd basically need magic to get it?

Good decisions, compounded over time, have such a powerful effect on your life that they are basically magic. By starting right now, today (no matter how old you are, no decision will be as important to your life as the next one you make), you have the power to positively (or negatively) impact the rest of your life.

Want to lower your stress? Begin impacting the world around you. Stop passivity, start acting, and eliminate your stress because ​you are a force to be reckoned with​.​​​

Want to kill stress before it starts?

Stop sticking to the sidelines. Make an executive decision.

​It may be wrong. It may be silly.

But if you make enough wrong choices, eventually you'll begin to figure out what decisions are the ​right​ choices.

Then make those.

You'll change your life, become who you want to be, and lower your stress all in one.

It's the perfect solution.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​​Conclusion

​​Thanks for reading!

My challenge to you is to go out there and make some decisions today.

Stop autopilot.

​Think​.

​Do​.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

​Tell us in the comments below: what's the best decision you ever made?

Mine was when I started this website and got to provide some value to your life.

​Stay awesome. Have a great day.

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