Quitters Never Win

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Shawn Achor, in his book Big Potential (which is one of my favorite books) tells the story of taking part in the study as a guinea pig.

He was informed that the study’s objective was to learn how the elderly fall. And that he will get a $20-dollar stipend for participating. So, for the next three hours he was going over and over again through the pitch-black corridor filled with traps, and he repeatedly fall. He wanted to quit badly, but he wanted his $20 even more.

However, he was tricked. The study wasn’t about elderly’s falls, it was about resilience in relationship to economic gains. He was the only one who persisted the full three hours. Oh, and he could have quit at any moment and still get his $20. Shawn Achor summarized this story in those words:

Quitters sometimes DO win. Defense, resilience, and grit are valuable, but only to a point.”

Why I’m telling you this story? To demonstrate how outlandish and artificial circumstances and stories need to be invented to make the above sentences right.

Think of it for a moment: where in the real life (not during the fake study with false assumptions) quitting is ever rewarded?

Quit your job, quit your relationship, quit your school, quit the competition, and what you will gain?

Nothing. Always nothing.

The best you can count on are benefits coming from alternative costs. You might have gained a better job, relationship, or education. But quitting alone doesn’t guarantee nor provide any of those benefits. You have to first invest in the new job, relationship, school or sport. Even if you “win” the cost will be higher — because the time and resources spent on both endeavors (job, relationship, etc.) will compound into a single reward.
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Live Like No One Else

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If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
― Dave Ramsey

November 2011

I lived like everybody else. I woke up at 5:30 am to get on a train at 6:10 am, so I could be on time at work. Walking to the train station, I prayed I could stay at home with my family. I plugged through the workday without much interest, wishing I’d have been somewhere else. On a train back home, I usually napped fighting off the sleep deficit.

I spent a few precious hours living my life, taking care of household chores, and playing with my kids. I stole a couple hours from my sleep reading or playing computer games.

I had a life of an average Joe, living from paycheck to paycheck. Saving a few percent of my salary was a constant battle. I never tried to explore the life outside my small social bubble. My health was OK-ish; other than an infection about twice a year and murderous allergy during a pollen season, I was fine.
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War and Your Circle of Influence

I live 500 miles from Kjiv, and the best I can do is to avoid media.

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The war in Ukraine was no surprise to me. I’m Polish. I know history well. My whole life, I expected nothing good from Russia. I was surprised whenever a Russian behaved like a human being. Barbarian mayhem, lies, deception, zero honor, and killing kids? No surprise for me.

Needless to say, the start of the war didn’t soothe my nerves. My home is 500 miles from Kyiv, less than 200 miles away from the border with Ukraine. The week before the war, I was scrolling through media headlines every morning. I did the same on the 24th of February. I spent that day, probably like most of us, trying to live my life while frantically checking the news in media.
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Your Beliefs Create Your Reality: The simplest method to discover your subconscious beliefs

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Your beliefs create your reality. There was a time in my life when I had sneered at such statements.

Pshaw! Beliefs! Anything else? Maybe a Santa Claus or a tooth fairy?

Oh, my old, ignorant, stupid self. A tooth fairy may share a lot of features with beliefs — nobody saw them in real life, they belong more to the imaginative realm than to the physical one — but there is a striking difference between those two entities: A tooth fairy is a fictional creature; my beliefs are very real mind protocols stored in my brain.

They are as real as habit loops, and their influence is as real and as pervasive too.


So, what are beliefs? According to the dictionary definition:

an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof

When it comes to the beliefs you hold, the “proof” part is totally irrelevant. When you cling to a specific belief, you can be showered with ironclad proofs and still hold to it. You will just interpret those proofs in a way that will keep your belief intact.
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Every Human Can Be Grateful All the Time

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People have a really hard time when trying to develop a gratitude practice. Quickly, they “run out” of the things they are grateful for.

I say, we are like fish who don’t notice water around them. We have the whole ocean of things to be grateful for.

Earl Nightingale said in his cult classic, The Strangest Secret,” that people take for granted everything that is free and don’t appreciate the most valuable things in their lives.

Like air. Without the air, you will suffocate in a few short minutes. Yet, who appreciates the free air? Maybe, once in a blue moon a tourist in the mountains or at the sea, who notices the difference between those environments and the smelly air of a big city.

And the same goes with water, food, shelter, clothes, and other everyday items.

Well, shelter is not especially free, but recall how much you’ve appreciated your home when the Great Lockdown had been introduced. However, we rarely appreciate our homes on a daily basis. We take them for granted.

An Infinitive Source of Gratitude: People

Going back to fish and the ocean – this morning I realized I do not notice and properly appreciate people in my life. One thought was enough to start the avalanche of gratitude:

Isn’t it amazing that I have about a dozen people working with me, supporting me and helping me out with my writing and business?”

You see, at the beginning, the only people who supported me on my life transformation journey were doing it unwittingly. Like my wife doing household chores – I didn’t have to do them, so I had time to write. Like my employer – they paid me, thus I had funds to invest into my writing venture. Like my co-workers, who picked up my slack in work when my mind was focused on my stuff.

See what happened in those examples? They were all following their agendas, but it helped me with mine.
After several months, a more purposeful support started to organically emerge. My online friends cheering me up on my writing journey; thanks to their encouragement, I got the mental energy to continue. Chris Bell, who volunteered to edit my fifth book; he did a great job, and it became my first bestseller.

Nowadays, I have the support of a multitude of others. I especially cherish the support of those who do it purposefully to support me and my endeavors.

My two Filipino part-time VAs, who are doing the time-consuming stuff. My American proofreader, who painstakingly corrects my English. My family members, who help me out in my book advertising business.

Including my wife, who purposefully took over most of the household chores, so I could work more hours in my business. About a dozen people who helped me with my books production – formatters, editors, cover designers, audiobook narrators. Well, and dozens of beta-readers too.

My mastermind buddies and accountability partners, who carefully observe my journey and call me out about my BS.

Even More People

And there is the whole huge crowd of people providing their support while following their agenda.

A dozen or so people who purchase my books; new people every day.

Another dozen or so, who download my free books. A few dozen of my advertising service customers. About 40 people a day who visit my blog. A few hundred people who read my Medium articles. Over a thousand people who read my Polish answers on Quora. A few thousand people a day who read my English answers on Quora.

Several thousand people help me and support me every day.

Every. Single. Day.

Wow. And I barely notice, acknowledge, and appreciate them. The human fish in the ocean of people. I’m so blessed!

You Are Blessed Too

You don’t have to be an author or business owner to get the support of others. In fact, you are getting it all the time, around the clock.

This is what I mean by the human fish in the ocean of people – every day dozens, or even thousands people, follow their agenda, but they support you while being busy with their lives. People, whom you may never meet. People, whom you don’t know about or don’t normally notice.

How many people are working right now to provide water, electricity, and Internet for your home? Someone is working hard right now in a sweatshop in China, or in Cambodia, so you can enjoy your electronic device or a piece of clothing a few months down the road.

But why look for people so far away? Right there in your county, people hustle, so you can live your life. The gas you tank, the roads you drive on, the groceries you consume – every single good you utilize and enjoy is a fruit of labor of many.

Remember how we appreciated supermarket cashiers at the beginning of the COVID? Tap into this sense of wonder, and you will never run out of people you can be grateful for. They are everywhere around you.

They always have been there. They will always be there to support you.

Fish cannot live without water, and we cannot live without others. Do notice this. Do acknowledge it. Do appreciate it.

Be grateful for them.

Originally published at Medium.

Getting Bored with Habits vs. Living More Spontaneously

Getting Bored with Habits

Hi. Meet reality. It looks like this:(The Slight Edge chart)

Only what you do consistently over a long period matters.
The consequences of your spontaneous actions are irrelevant in the long run. Today you spontaneously decide to sit on a couch and binge-watch a series on Netflix. Tomorrow you spontaneously decide to go for a bike ride. In the long run, those one-time actions mean nothing.
But develop a habit of binge-watching on a couch or biking, and you will relatively quickly (in weeks, I suppose) see the difference.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” ― Gandhi

So, Mr. or Mrs. Bored, the only long-term effect of your spontaneity, in the long run, will be a more spontaneous lifestyle. We always get more of what we practice. BTW, it’s been proved at the neural level, not just the philosophical one. That’s why Gandhi’s quote is true.

You Lie to Yourself

We are habitual creatures TO THE CORE. We share the parts of our brain where habits are formed and stored with reptiles and birds. Habits are as primal as an adrenaline rush or pangs of hunger.
Scientists determined that about 40% of our daily actions are habitual, completely automatic. Whether you decide to be more spontaneous or not, almost half of your actions are automatic. But if you decide to not develop good habits, guess what kind of habits will stick?
The bad ones. They are easier to sneak into your life because they use the immediate reward system of your body. You scroll through the social media feed and your brain is bombarded with dopamine. You inhale cigarette smoke and you immediately feel how your system is soothed.
Thus, you don’t notice you formed a habit before it is solidified and starts weighing you down.
But for 99.9999% of people who choose the ‘spontaneous’ route, end up at the downward curve.

The Game Is Rigged

You cannot change your biophysical structure by the decision you are going to be more spontaneous. Bad habits will glue to you along the way. You will feel free like a bird and spontaneous like a leaf moved by wind. But you will finish at the destination of the downward curve: failure.

(The Slight Edge chart – the downward curve)
“More spontaneous” is a nice narration for your lazy brain to not use your willpower and energy.
Another quirk of the subconscious mind is that it always tries to save your energy and BS stories you tell yourself are the cheapest way to avoid any effort.
Be a human. Smartly exercise conscious control over your actions.
Decide what habits you want to have and put your attention, time, and energy into building them.
Without direct access to your bodily reward system, you need to supervise the process with a plan, determination, and giving yourself rewards of your choice.
Or be spontaneous and slide down. Your choice.

How Will Good Habits Give Me Benefits in the Future?

Extrapolation based on experience

First of all, thanks to my good habits I will have a future worth looking forward to.
Habits compound. Bad habits lead you into a worse future. Good habits led you into a better one. This is the reality:

(The Slight Edge chart)

By the way, this is how I discern between good and bad habits:
Good habits are the ones that provide good results after ten years of practicing them.
Bad habits are the ones that provide bad results after ten years of practicing them.

My Story

In 2012 I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. The book’s message is based on those two principles:

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” — Jim Rohn
“Failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” — Jim Rohn

A Few Examples


2013 vs 2010
I shed excess weight. My look improved. My self-confidence improved. My health greatly improved. My chronic allergy almost disappeared and I was getting sick once in two years, not twice a year.

Some of my books

Habits Are Not a Silver Bullet

But they are close to it. Despite all the successes I enjoyed in the last years, my family life has been troublesome. My kids have problems with depression. My marriage too often reminds me of balancing on a rope over an active volcano.

Habits Are Holistic in Nature

When you build a good habit you don’t improve just one area of your life. You improve yourself.

Good habits will provide good results in my life in the future.

Are You More Successful Once You Stopped Following the Herd?

Are you more successful once you stopped following the herd?I found this question on Quora.

The first moment after you’ve stopped following the herd (i.e., “once”), you are in a very bad spot. You are in a wasteland. The herd has just gone through the area, and everything is trampled and eaten. You are behind the herd, and predators are lurking, waiting for lonely and weak individuals at the herd’s outskirts. It’s scary and dangerous.

But after that first moment, when you begin to follow your own path—no longer behind the herd, but in front of it or in an entirely new direction—life becomes so much better. The whole pasture is just for you. You seldom meet predators, because they’re mostly busy watching the herd.

You’ve taken a risk, and it’s more than paid off.

My Experience

I followed the traditional path. I finished a university degree and got a day job in a big company (500+ employees). I changed jobs a few times. I was earning twice the average salary in my IT job.

Despite this, money was tight: we had three kids, were starting from scratch, and couldn’t count on help from our poor parents. We were living from paycheck to paycheck.

Despite this, it was a moderately good life. . .

. . . Except that I felt miserable. I was just getting by, not thriving. I had nothing to look forward to; our future looked bleak. No chances for promotion, no chances for improving our lifestyle, constant uncertainty. Once, in 2009, I was even laid off. It wasn’t a nice experience.

In 2012, I decided to stop following the herd. I kept my day job, but I started something new and totally crazy. For the first couple of months, I didn’t even know what I was doing; I was only sure I don’t want to stay behind the herd.

Then my path crystalized: I would be a writer.

The first 15 months was a wild ride. I rebuilt my daily routine. I quit watching TV, playing computer games, and reading fiction, and I instead dedicated time to my personal development and writing. I worked 10–16 hours a day, 6 days a week. It was exhausting, but I enjoyed the process.

Sixteen months after realizing I wanted to be a writer, I published my fifth book, and it became a bestseller. I earned half of my yearly salary in one month from book royalties.

Since then, I’ve become more successful than ever: my income has doubled. I’ve made more friends. I’ve overcome my shyness. I’ve lost weight and beat hundreds of personal fitness records. I’ve published 16 books and sold over 53,000 copies. I’ve liberated my wife from her day job and downsized my day job to 10 hours a week.

And I feel more alive than ever.

“Can you be successful by following the herd?”

This question horrifies me. The ambiguous answers people give to it horrify me even more. Take a look at a few definitions to understand my terror:

Herd: a large group of animals that are kept together as livestock, such as for food.
Livestock: farm animals regarded as an asset.
Success: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

So, sure, you can be successful in the herd . . . if your definition of “success” is “getting slaughtered.”
Are you more successful once you stopped following the herd?
But if getting slaughtered is not your life’s purpose, GET OUT A.S.A.P.!
No matter the risk.
Yes, it’s a metaphor. Nobody is going to literally slaughter you if you stick to society’s norms. Not literally—but definitely metaphorically. Because following the herd slaughters your soul.

Want proof? Have a look at the herd’s well-being. Here are some numbers from the USA, one of the most successful (if not THE most successful) countries in the world:

The average American household carries $137,063 in debt, while having a median income of $59,039.

Over 66% of Americans are overweight or obese.

United States adults watch an average of 4–5 hours of television per day.

About 77% of Americans won’t have adequate savings to retire at age 67.

Four out of five Americans have less than a year’s income saved for retirement.


This is the state of the herd. This is your destiny if you follow it. If being obese, wasting 25% of your waking hours in front of a TV set, and leeching off the government when you retire is your definition of success, follow the herd.

Otherwise, you’d better find your own path.

As for me, having scouted both paths…  I can promise you that NOT following the herd is 1,000 times better.

The 7 Podcasts I Listen to Regularly

podcasts I'm listening to regularly There is a plethora of podcasts out there, but there are only 7 podcasts that I subscribe to on my iPhone. I’ll tell you why those specific shows are part of my personal space and I’ll finish with 6 podcast episodes that were mind-blowing for me.


I consider listening the best way to connect with people you look up to and want to be like them- in other words, to change your personal philosophy.

I don’t listen to audio materials very much nowadays. Listening is a great way to keep your mind occupied whenever you do something manual (like doing the dishes) or you do nothing at all (like waiting on a train).

But I value prayer much more than listening and whenever I can hide inside my mind I’d rather pray than listen.


However, I still made a room for listening to podcasts in my daily schedule. A part of my morning ritual is stretching for about 15 minutes and during that time I can listen to about 25 minutes of a podcast episode (I use 1.5 acceleration to consume more audio content in a given time).

I listen to personal development and business stuff. I love the shows that mingle both of those things together.

Let’s dive into the list:

1. The Business on Purpose

This is a show whose host I know personally. Scott Beebe is my mentor and he is a member of my mastermind, IronSharpensIron. I met him in Nashville twice.

His podcast is done in a short snippets, usually 4-7 minutes at a time. It’s recorded in the trenches, usually when Scott goes back with a coaching meeting with a business owner.

While there is a lot about building a business in his show, there is also quite a lot personal development advice. Scott is a firm believer that business is not “just a business” but incorporates you as a whole person.

2. Brian Buffini Show

I discovered Brian less than a year ago. And I immediately fell in love with him. He is the most Jim Rohn-like person I ever (virtually) met. No wonder. Jim was his mentor. Early in his career Brian attended Jim Rohn’s seminars. Later, Jim was a speaker on events Brian organized.

I love that Brian is sharing so much good stuff of Jim, stuff that is not talked about very often. For example, I feel like I and Brian Buffini are the only two guys on the planet discussing personal philosophy. When I listened to his episode about changing one’s mindset I was like: Wow, this guy totally stole my “Trickle Down Mindset” book 😀
It was because we both learned from Jim and we teach what he taught.

I love everything about this show. It’s a weekly podcast in a diversified format. There are plenty of interviews, but also some keynotes from live events or solo shows by Brian where he dives deeply into one topic.

I’m addicted to the Brian Buffini Show and every Wednesday morning I consume the latest episode.

3. EntreLeadership

This show is an amazing mix of business, leadership and personal development with the more of the latter. Ken Coleman, the host, is a master interviewer. I loved many episodes of EntreLeadership, especially with nonfiction authors talking about concept from their books.

The episodes are usually concise, half an hour long or shorter, an exact fit to my stretching routine.

There were so many episodes that it was easy for me to pick from their archives only the things which applied well to my situation.

4. 12-minute Convos

The host of this show is Engel Jones, my only friend from the Caribbean. He is super-amazing guy fascinated by variety and underlying universalism of human beings. He holds the Guinness world record for the most people interviewed in 3-month time!

On his podcast he interviews people from all over the world in the same fashion, with the same questions.

I listen to it because Engel is my friend, because his voice and Caribbean accent immediately soothes my ears and mind, and because the variety of his guests are mind-blowing.
He already interviewed over 2,000 folks on his show! Binge-listening through 12-minute convos archives is not an easy feat!

5. Book Marketing Mentors

The host of this show is Susan Friedman. This is a podcast for authors, mostly self-published and it’s about all things marketing.

I had followed a few high-quality self-publishing podcasts in the past – Rocking Self-publishing and Authority Self-Publishing by Steve Scott… but they ended their shows!

I value Susan for her non-standard approach. Yes, there is a lot of basic advice for beginners, and it’s nothing new for me, but she also interviews people who are outside of the self- or even publishing world altogether and bring their tactics to the table.

If you are an author, you will find something good for you in Book Marketing Mentors podcast’s archive.

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Susan and had the opportunity to meet her on a video call. She is as great in person as on her show.

6. Business that Lasts

This is another podcast I had the privilege of being interviewed on. However, I subscribed to it not because I listen to my interview over and over again.

I love Jay’s concept of the business – the one that doesn’t wear you out, stress you out, and make you ready to quit. This is the formula for entrepreneurship success – creating something that lasts while living your life at the same time.

Jay is doing a terrific job of bringing amazing guests on his show (don’t judge it by my appearance; I was lucky to get there). His guests usually have businesses that lasts for decades and more often than not they are millionaires.

There is also quite a lot of personal development in his show. Jay is interested in the holistic approach to building a business and it shines through his questions for his guests.

7. Smart Passive Income

This is the first podcast I ever listened to. In fact, thanks to following Pat Flynn I discovered what podcasting is.

The fact that I still listen to this show speaks volumes about the quality of the show and the host.

Pat Flynn is an amazing dude who was laid off his position in an architecture company in 2008 and started an online business. After initial success, he started teaching others how to build and run a successful online business.

His episodes are an excellent mishmash of personal lessons, great interviews, success stories and business lessons.

SPI is one of the very few podcasts that publish their whole transcripts to every single episode. I love this. I learn by reading, not listening. I can find the specific information in a written document 100 faster than by trying to go over an audio file searching for this 15-second point which captured my interest. And when I find something in the transcription, I can copy and use it. I quoted Pat Flynn in my books in my books using his podcasts’ transcriptions.

The three of the six podcasts episodes that hit me really hard were produced at Smart Passive Income.

The most impactful podcast episodes I’ve ever listened to

Sometimes, very rarely, the episode I listen to blows my mind. It struck straight into my heart. It’s not the host, it’s not the guest, and it’s not the show. Usually, it’s just one or two sentences that hit hard and a light bulb comes off. The below six episodes did that for me:

1. What’s the best approach to goal setting.

Internet Business Mastery was a company behind Pat Flynn’s online success. The two hosts of the podcast with the same name recorded hundreds of episodes. Plenty of them are darn good. I listened mostly to those that touched personal development and they have plenty of them.

I am no longer a subscriber of this podcast since it became a solo show, but I can easily recommend the first 300 episodes or so.

Anyway, this particular episode was about goal setting. Jeremy Frandsen shared one of his recent goals- to be able to take his family to a no “no” trip to a Disneyland. What’s no “no?” He agreed to everything his daughters asked him. Buy this or that thing? Take this or that [karuzela, widowicho]? Yes, no problem.

I listened to this episode while commuting back from work. I waited for a train on the platform.

Hearing how Jeremy describing his trip I suddenly burst into tears. I would love to do this for my family too. I yearned for that. We had gone through awful financial struggles at the beginning of my marriage and we lived very modestly ever since I joined the workforce.

The kind of experience Jeremy described was like an impossible dream for me.

2. How happiness fuels your success.

Have I said Ken Coleman is an awesome interviewer? You bet! This podcast episode was one of a very few which I listened to several times with a pen in my hand and noting down snippets of it.

In this episode, Shawn Achor explains the scientific basis of happiness research. I listened to this episode in autumn 2015. Back then, I already had been practicing gratitude for three years.

And I had no idea how powerful it was!

Listening to this episode was eye-opening. I finally could connect so many missing dots in my own journey. I understood why I was able to change my life so quickly, how my mindset changed and how I improved practically every single area of my life. It was all thanks to gratitude.

I shared discoveries from this episode in several Quora answers and articles and they always resonated very well with my readers. Two of my six top Quora answers are about gratitude, including the #1 answer.

I had been sending people over to this podcast episode so often that finally I saved it in my reference file.

3. Change your thoughts, change your life.

The tagline on my blog says “Change Yourself, Change Your Life, Change the World.” So, this particular podcast episode was right down my alley before I even started to listen to it.

And it is about shaping one’s personal philosophy. This is so neglected in today “self”-help world.

I listened to the episode and I swelled with pride. Here was a goy’ (I love this Irish accent!) who own 47 companies and hires thousands of people. His company provides coaching to tens of thousands of small business owners.

And his teaching was like directly taken from my book “Trickle Down Mindset.”

Brian’s advice is right on the spot. Unlike pitiful gurus who teach to “just believe in yourself” or “just think that…” Brian says exactly what to do, in tangible steps. No magic, just common sense and you can enhance your mindset for good.

4. Changing the world.

This is an awesome episode in itself, telling the story of Adam Braun and his initiative, Pencil of Promise, which funds schools around the globe.

I was excited to listen to it because it says in the title “how to change the world” and I’m personally interested in this subject.

I wasn’t disappointed. At the end Pat asks his guest:

What is the mindset we need to have in order to affect the most people in the world?

And Adam provides the precise answer.

5. The Miracle Equation.

Pat from time to time does some fanboy interviews with guys and gals to whom he looks up to. This is one of them.

However, Pat doesn’t stutter in awe when he has his heroes on the podcast. He asks intelligent and insightful questions.

In this episode he dissected the newest book of Hal Elrod, “The Miracle Equation.”

Again, I was deeply encouraged by what I was hearing. Hal’s conclusions, and he is far more successful than me, were exactly in line with my own findings.

I wrote this piece at the very beginning of my transformation, barely a year into it. I wrote it more from my studies than experience. Yet, my post was a mirror copy of Hal’s equation.

Of course, I like the most Pat’s line from the episode:

“It is extraordinary to be consistent.”

It’s nice to be called extraordinary by one of my personal heroes.

6. Why people hate us online?

This is an amazing episode for everybody who is going to do anything online. Writers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, youtubers – they all need to memorize this episode by heart.

I started to put my stuff out there in 2013. This was fresh after Pat Flynn overcame his struggle with a hater. I took Pat’s advice and applied it diligently. I got my (un)fair share of negative reviews and hate. It bothered me very, very little, despite the fact I was at the beginning of my journey- full of self-doubts and insecurities like all beginners.

Thanks, Pat Flynn.


However, I got the most from this particular episode in regard to my personal life.

“Hurt people hurt people.” – this phrase stuck with me. I will never receive personal attacks in the same way.

Thanks again, Pat Flynn.

Off you go to listen to those awesome podcasts! Please, share with me the particular episodes that have blown your mind in the comment section.