5 Significant Lessons from My Personal Transformation

In the last six years I learned a lot. But I will only share most significant lessons from my personal transformation; the ones that made a huge difference because I actually applied them.

I found a lot more of groundbreaking discoveries, but I’m far from using them to the fullest. For example, I learned about the Big Potential, but I didn’t really tap into it and don’t ooze it like the other lessons.

1. Everything Matters.

That was the first lesson I absorbed and used it for a good measure; The Slight Edge lesson:
Continue reading

The Reality of The Slight Edge

Change takes time. Your mind does not really comprehend the flow of time. That’s the main reason why you struggle.

You live in the current moment. When you go back to past thinking about certain events, you don’t treat it like history, but you re-live it once again. That’s why you still hold on to old traumas.

When you dream about the future, you expect it to materialize right now. Or, very, very soon.  This is the only time horizon in the future that kids (and your subconscious) understand.

But the change takes time. The true power of The Slight Edge in my life laid in conveying this point through my thick skull.
Continue reading

You Are Cursed: Unlock Your Big Potential

The small potential curseYou are cursed since your birthday. We all are, because we live in a cursed society.

Practically every single of us lives with this curse. We grew up with it. We didn’t even notice it. We accepted it, like a person blind from birth to accept darkness as a default.

We are cursed and the name of the curse is the Small Potential.

The Small Potential is a belief that at least 80% of what matters in life is your individual qualities, possessions, character, achievements and performance.

We accept it as an axiom. Of course, you need to have good grades! Of course, you have to shoot goals and get points! Of course, you need to be in top shape! Of course, you need to deliver your projects on time and within a budget! Of course, you need to live in a great house with your family!

Of course.

But there is one awful thing that underlines this “of course” – and the others be damned.

It Starts in Childhood

Our school system is to be blamed for a big piece of this sad state of affairs.

I had been indoctrinated since my first class that getting good grades is my only education goal. What was worse, no one taught me the importance and value of collaboration. I was limited to the Small Potential since day #1 of entering the traditional school system. Each day, month and year only deepened that indoctrination.

Even when I finally got involved in some collaborative classes in a high school it felt like it was an afterthought. Those group projects “didn’t really matter” in the eyes of the educational system. What mattered were good grades.

It Continues at Work

Work systems were no different. I remember only one environment where group effort was important – when I worked on a salad field in the UK. We were paid by the job and if I slacked, the whole team suffered. Also, if the whole team worked hard we all made more money in the effect.

However, it is hard to say that this system was directed toward Big Potential. There was no growth built in that job. There is a certain limit on how efficient you can get with repeatable manual tasks.

And that was the only instance my performance was connected to my team’s performance in the work setup. I worked for several companies and I’m all too familiar with the infamous corporate yearly performance review system.


Even if there were some points about the team’s performance, they were thrown into like a third wheel. No one has ever paid attention to them. And they were indeed few and far between.

Everything was focused on me: Did I achieve my goals for the period? Did I improve my knowledge as it was assumed? Did I take classes and pass exams? Did I finish my tasks on time and with reasonable quality?

Me, myself and I, all the time.

No wonder I was tricked into Small Potential thinking. I have been indoctrinated for my whole life.

We Look in the Wrong Direction

We kind of realize, there is more than the individual performance, but we consider it to be a small factor, when in fact, it is the biggest one.

I remember when I was changing primary schools at the age of 11 or 12. My mom enumerated all the advantages to her friend and I was listening: the new school was closer, it had better equipment and better conditions.

At the end my mom added with a light air:

“And, by the way, the class Michal goes to is the best in the whole school.”

She had no idea that this was the biggest factor in my educational success. I was a bright kid and I got As’ more often than not. I remember my mom saying how proud she is of me. She never commented about the whole class’ performance.


My boys went to the same high technical school. When I browsed the school’s website looking for a list of textbooks, I discovered that this school is the best in the whole county when it comes to final exam results. To be exact, the average grades of all students are the best. It’s the individual metric, but in this context, it says something about the whole community’s performance.

This metric should attract my attention when my sons were looking for a high school. It should be my primary concern. It wasn’t. I discovered it by accident when my elder son was already attending the school.

We Sense the Littleness of the Small Potential

We know on some subconscious level that Small Potential is small. Several months ago I got a solid verbal spanking from my supervisor. I had been slacking in my day job. It was my problem and my fault. But the argument that was the strongest and hurt the most was:

“The whole team suffers because of your laziness. They have to make up for what you neglect.”

We sense what’s important, but because of lifelong indoctrination, we choose to ignore it. We focus on the Small Potential, instead of the big one: a team’s performance.

But We Choose to Ignore the Big Potential

I have access to several awesome support groups. I’m active in a Facebook group for authors, a couple of groups for online entrepreneurs, and another group for those who advertise their books on Amazon. I still keep a lively contact with my friends from the Transformational Contest. I have a couple of accountability partners. I’m in a mastermind. I have my church community; those folks have been known me for 14 years!

I don’t utilize those connections even in 2%.

And I cannot break out of it. I’m indoctrinated. I focus on myself all the time.


I could’ve got so much more from those communities. I could’ve bounced around every question about ads on Amazon; every question about running an online business; every question about resources for self-publishers; every doubt about my faith; every life’s dilemma.

But I don’t. I don’t ask questions. I don’t ask for help. Interacting rarely even crosses my mind.

What Can You Contribute?

I could’ve helped everybody around so much more.  I have so much knowledge about self-publishing, running book ads on Amazon or marketing and technical aspects of creating an online business.

I’ve been married for 18 years; I have three kids – I have life wisdom to share.
I have rich experience about what works in personal development and what doesn’t.
I’ve been in the church community for over 20 years, I study the Bible and read books written by saints every day. I have some spiritual experiences to share.

But I don’t. Why?

Because my knowledge about the Big Potential stays at the intellectual level. I don’t truly realize how important it is to cooperate and interact. I should’ve realized; my church community, mastermind and the experience of the Transformational Contest weren’t theoretical. I gained a lot from them.

Yet, I still don’t feel it at a gut level. It’s like with kids and the importance of education. When I was a kid – and I see the same attitude in my kids – my parents’ preaching about the significance of education fell on deaf ears. School and learning is, in the eyes of kids, a drudgery.

Networking and connecting is drudgery for me. I’m an introvert. I feel good alone. Nothing beats an hour or ten spend with a good book. Certainly, it beats 10 hours spent with other people.

I’m cursed with the Small Potential

You are too.

It’s time to change it. Go out and interact. Ask for help; provide support. Ask questions; give answers. Spill your heart in front of people; encourage others when they suffer. Get some guidance; share resources.

This is how your performance grows. This is how you truly reach your full potential, your Big Potential that is an order of magnitude greater than what you can achieve alone.

Don’t Limit Yourself with the Small Potential

Self-help is a big fat lie. You cannot expand beyond yourself on your own. I cannot as well.

Let it penetrate your thick skull: you are sentenced to minimal results in all areas of your life if you focus primarily on yourself. If you don’t interact with others, if you don’t consider them MORE important than you, you limit yourself to a fraction of what’s possible.

“Nothing is to be done out of jealousy or vanity; instead, out of humility of mind everyone should give preference to others, everyone pursuing not selfish interests but those of others.” Philippians 2: 3-4

Get out of your shell.

I’m going out starting today.

Here are some communities that can help you are self-publisher/ online entrepreneur:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/357112331027292/ – Pat’s First Kindle Book

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sidehustlenation/ – Side Hustle Nation

https://www.facebook.com/groups/spicommunity/ – The Smart Passive Income Community

Power up Your Self-Talk and Reclaim Your Life

Power up Your Self-Talk
There is very little “self” in self-help. I already said that self-help is a big fat lie.

However, there are still areas where outside help can do very little for you. Self-talk is the most important of them and I tackle this problem in my next book, “Power up Your Self-Talk: 6 Simple Habits to Stop Beating Yourself Up and Reclaim Your Life.”

But what is self-talk?

“When we tell ourselves something is too hard, or easy, or that we are successes or failures, it’s self-talk.”

You are familiar with this voice in your head, this is a universal human experience. Unfortunately, it rarely says good things, especially about you. It hinders your progress like nothing else because it’s preventive in its nature. You don’t change because in 99% of cases, your self-talk convinces you to give up even before you start.

You read a self-help book that recommends doing some exercise and you think: “Later”, “It’s stupid”, “That surely will not work for me”, “I’m too stupid for that”, “It’s such a hassle.”

And you skip the exercise. That’s why, despite the countless self-help volumes guru’s readers’ success is not very common.

The authors of self-help books kind of know this problem, but they choose to ignore it. What can they do about it anyway? Sneak into your mind and say something else? They just hope the seed of their message will fall onto receptive soil.

Faulty Advice

Self-help books bombard you with a great advice: “Imagine that…”
“Tell yourself…”
“Ask yourself…”

The advice is completely useless, because it tries to break into your habitual self-talk. You don’t really know how self-insults appear in your mind. You don’t know where the damaging questions (“Why am I such a failure?”, “Why does it always happen to me?”) come from. You cannot stop yourself in the middle of your self-tirade and say something else instead.

Why? Because self-talk is one of your most ingrained habits. I’ll picture its power by comparing it with walking.

You Think. You Walk.

If you are a reasonably healthy human being, you don’t give even an ounce of conscious attention to your steps. You just walk.

Of course, you can break down the whole process into smaller parts. When you walk, you raise your leg a bit, bend a leg at the knee joint so your foot won’t touch the surface, lean forward just a tiny bit, move your left arm, lift your right arm- both synchronized so you keep your balance, move the leg forward, put the foot on the ground, move your center of weight and support your weight on the lead foot.
Power up Your Self-Talk
Changing how you walk is possible, but extremely hard. You will fall back into your old walking habits as soon as your attention gets away from conscious control over your movements. You can steer your self-talk in the same fashion in which you can control your steps. In theory, it’s pretty simple. In practice the power of habit will always win and you fall back to old patterns.

Those good tips from self-help books are like advice to raise your foot a bit higher, bend the knee harder or take bigger steps. They may work in isolation and when you put your whole attention on implementation. They try to affect your thinking patterns, which are already firmly established. In fact, your thinking patterns are fossilized.

Fight Habit with Habits

It’s easier to start a new habit than to modify an existing one. And removing an old habit is downright impossible. They are hardcoded in your brain. Besides, removing your self-talk altogether is not possible. It’s one of the things that make us human. You also cannot replace self-talk with some new habit.

Improving of your self-talk, as hard as it is, is the only option.


And I can teach you how to do it. In fact, I have four times more chances to teach you this skill because I’ve been there and I’ve done that. My self-talk was crappy. I insulted myself habitually. My self-esteem wasn’t even so-so. I had a negative spiral in my life.

I thought badly about myself, I thought I’m a failure and that prevented me from taking any action. Why bother? I was a failure, so I would failed again. With no action no improvement could happen in my life. So my life was getting worse and my self-talk gathered more ‘evidence’ that I was a failure.

But I turned my life around and I turned it by taking action, not by talking to myself. Well, I thought so. Anyway, my self-talk is definitely better now than it was six years ago. I modified my inner conversation from the very beginning, I just wasn’t aware I did.

I reverse-engineered what I was doing that caused a shift in my self-talk.

Improve Your Mood

First, you need to start feeling better. Crappy self-talk beats the crap out of you. Or rather, it beats the crap into you, so it stays there ready to emerge every time you want to do something outside the status quo. Thus, for the most of the time you feel like sh*t. No wonder, if you say to yourself things like:

“You worthless piece of sh*t!”

There is little sense in trying to change your life, if you feel beaten to death all the time. You need some habits that will bring sunshine into your internal world.

Power up Your Self-TalkThe easiest remedy? Smile.

Know Thyself

Then, you need self-awareness. A sh*tload of it. The grip of your self-talk over your life is so strong mostly because you don’t even notice it. It’s like those elephants which were chained as a puppy. They learned that chain constraints their movements and they stopped trying to free themselves. Later on the powerful animals don’t even try to break from a thin chain.

A lot of your self-talk comes from your childhood and adolescent years. You were weak, vulnerable and not used to using your rational mind to solve life problems. Later, as an adult, you don’t even notice that your childish self-talk keeps you in captivity.

Hence, you need a few habits that boost your self-awareness. You need to notice your self-talk to be able to do something with it. This is where most authors and coaches fall. They give you advice that you are not able to implement. I’ve just listened to a podcast with a top psychiatrist. He advises people with depression to stop when they feel sad, overwhelmed or disappointed with themselves and analyze their thoughts: Is this even true? Is this always true? Why do I think this?

The problem is those poor folks aren’t aware when they feel sad, overwhelmed or disappointed with themselves. It’s their default state! They have no idea WHEN to stop the vicious cycle of self-beating that goes on autopilot.

You need to practice simple habits, easy to do, day in and day out, which will bring to your attention to what’s actually going through your mind. Only then you can stop and challenge your thoughts.

Power up Your Self-Talk

Once you do something to elevate your mood and gained some self-awareness, you can actually do something with your self-talk. One of the most prevailing thoughts at the beginning of my transformation was “It’s impossible.”

It was so annoying! Whatever I tried to do, whatever I dreamed of “it’s impossible” had appeared in my head. Thus, I introduced a new expression into my vocabulary. Whenever “it’s impossible” crossed my mind, I replied with a mantra singing in my mind to a catchy tune four times “It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible.”

There are also other methods that work on a more subconscious level, like gratitude journaling.
Power up Your Self-Talk
And once you start doing something about your negative self-talk, once it’s improving, your whole life improves.

…and Reclaim Your Life

I learned how to temporarily boost my mood often. I became more self-aware of what was going through my mind on a daily basis. At last, I started responding differently to my offensive self-talk.

This was a lengthy process between the first decision and getting tangible results. It took me eight months before I published my first book. It took me 17 months before I earned significant amount of money from my side hustle.

But some results were speedy. I almost doubled my reading speed in a month. I achieved my dream weight in less than half a year.

However, the most important effect was my overall quality of life. As one review on Amazon says:

“I had no idea how much I mentally or verbally beat myself up all the time.”

I had no idea how this self-beating kept me down all the time.

I improved everything in my life. I doubled my income. I was sick only three times since July 2013. I bought the first house for my family.
Power up Your Self-Talkugust 2018
I started three successful new careers – as an author, a life coach and a book marketer. I pray about 10 times more than six years ago. I obtained a few professional certificates and changed my job getting 30% salary raise. My answers on Quora got over 5 million views. I published 15 books which sold over 50,000 copies.

All of this happened because I dealt with the vicious voice in my head.

Take Action

I’m far from being a master of my internal dialog. But I significantly dropped the level of emotional turmoil in my life caused by what I tell myself. My self-talk didn’t change enormously, I still talk to myself like a drunken felon all too often. But it doesn’t hurt me as much as in the past.

And most importantly, it doesn’t stop me right in my tracks. I act. I’m above the whispers in my head. I steer the direction of my life, not the random thoughts that are bouncing inside my skull.

I want the same for you. Take action.
Sign up below and I’ll send you a notification at the book launch, so you can grab it for 99 cents.

3 Simple Habits to Change Your Personality for Good

Your personality is the conglomerate of your habits because your habits shape you into who you are.

Thus, to transform your personality, you need keystone habits – the habits that beget the creation of more good habits without much effort.

“Keystone habits are habits that have a multiplier or a domino effect in your life.” — Brian Tracy

How do keystone habits provide this domino effect? By providing more good habits without friction.

Usually, developing a new habit is a hurdle with a doubtful outcome. You need to pay attention to your new behavior, cultivate it, track it, you fail, and you get frustrated… A keystone habit eliminates 90% of this cycle

You simply feel like trying something new and you do it without much conscious effort.

There are two keystone habits known to science. They were enumerated in the book “The Power of Habit:”

1. Exercise.

The power of exercise is not solely in better health, performance and energy levels. I say these things are just by-products of exercising.

Six years after going back to my pushups I finally decided to get serious about my weight. I changed my diet. I lost several pounds.
3 Simple Habits to Change Your Personality for Good
My years-long exercise discipline taught me the value of perseverance on a truly gut level. When I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, the book that argues that perseverance is a foundation of any results and can catapult you to a great level of success, the message immediately clicked in my head.

Despite the fact I hadn’t pursued any personal development for 16 years, I decided to try Jeff’s approach.

The rest is history. I found my purpose, my reasons to live. I developed dozens of good habits. I rebuilt my life.

2. Healthy Eating.

Scientists are trying to find the perfect diet to fight off those diseases by eliminating different kinds of food: sugar; fat; dairy, etc. They generally overlook, however, the fact that there are societies that are free from those diseases and yet still consume a lot of sugar, fats, dairy, and meat. But those societies consume these in their natural form, not processed.

A straightforward conclusion can be drawn here: you can eat a reasonable amount of dairy products or high-fat foods, which in themselves give nutrition, but not processed foods containing these nutritious elements. When we eat processed food, we’re consuming the results of an artificial food production process, which is more difficult for our bodies to absorb.

I know people on Paleo diet and on vegan diets who thrive. There is no single diet appropriate for all. People vary on anatomic levels. Japanese cannot eat the exact same things European eats.

Eat as much of natural foods as you can. The simple rule of thumb to discern between natural and processed food is: was this food you are going to eat living somewhere a few days ago? You know, apples grow on trees, pizzas don’t.

The third habit has the power to transform your personality as well.

In this podcast episode, Shawn Achor, the author of “Happiness Advantage” tells about an astounding experiment. A 4-year kid with a pessimism gene was being asked for one month each morning about three new things he was grateful for. It made him a hardcore optimist for the rest of his life.

Wow! Now brace yourself, they did the same with an 84-year-old guy who had the same gene. The same thing happened.

Gratitude is a powerful force. Practicing it just a few minutes a day can rewire your brain.
I didn’t do genetic tests on me, but I suspect I have this gene too. Before reading ‘The Slight Edge’, I was a gloomy guy. After listening to ‘The Compound Effect’ by Darren Hardy, I started a gratitude diary about my wife. I wrote down just one to three things every day describing what I admired in her, what had she done for the family that day or even how pretty she is.

A habit of gratitude is the easiest on Earth to cultivate. Little I had thought about that journal. It was such a tiny thing, but it started a gratitude avalanche in my life. Today I keep three gratitude diaries – one about my wife, one about my kids and one “general purpose” diary. Each day I jot down from 15 to as many entries as I can fit into a page.

You can become a gratitude fountain in no time and reprogram your brain to positivity. Each morning write three new things you are grateful for.

Is Continuous Self-improvement a Skill that Can Be Learned?

Yes and no.

No, because it’s not a skill. You cannot say that being a great doctor or a great basketball player is a skill. It’s a whole skillset that makes a person a doctor or player. There are many skills that mesh into being a person who continuously grows.
Continuous self-improvement

It’s not a habit as well, at least not in the literal sense of this word. It’s not a single activity that you repeat over and over again. But in the broad term, yes, it’s a habit, “a settled or regular tendency or practice; a usual way of behaving.” However, if we pick this meaning, it comes back to being someone who is dedicated to self-improvement.

And yes, you can learn that, because becoming someone is learning, isn’t it? No one was born a great doctor, pilot or a basketball player. Also, cultivating specific habits isbecoming. According to the word’s etymology, your habits denote who you are.

So, the best way to learn continuous self-improvement is to cultivate appropriate habits.

I. Habits of the Mind.

Who you become is more about your attitude than your action. You wouldn’t have let an overwhelming majority of first-year medicine students to make a surgery of your kid, would you? But in five years or so, this young man or woman will become a highly skilled surgeon… if they have the appropriate mindset that will push them through their studies.

At the beginning, we are all newbies and we fail often. But if you have the proper attitude, you will not stay failed.

Several habits that directly or indirectly help with keeping your mind on the course of self-improvement are:

  1. Cultivating vision.

You won’t become someone else on a whim, there has to be a deeper purpose in your quest or you will not persevere.

I repeat my personal mission statement every day. I was on a progress fair in September, an event dedicated to personal development. I spoke with several coaches, authors, and entrepreneurs who had a stand. Every single one of them had their own mission statement.

Ask around, ask your workmates, neighbors, and family if they have their mission statement. I bet the ratio of people knowing their mission will be much lower among your peers (if it’s above zero, it’s already decent).

There are other ways of cultivating vision. Every day I read a few sentences from three books that shaped my personal philosophy, skim through about 100 quotes that helped in solidifying my worldview and look at my vision board.

The exact method is secondary. The must-have is to regularly refer to your vision of continued growth.

  1. Meditation.

There is a zillion of benefits of meditation. You can focus better, your health is better and so on. But I consider the foremost advantage of meditation that you become more self-aware.

It’s so hard to get a grip on what’s going in your mind for normal Westerners (and with the globalization of the culture we all slowly became Westerners). Meditation deals with that. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and try not to think. Good luck.

Because you focus on nothing else and your thoughts emerge spontaneously, you cannot help but notice them. At last. It may be the first time that you are conscious of how they arise. Such self-knowledge is necessary if you want to improve, otherwise your subconscious beliefs and habits can torpedo all your good intentions.

  1. Prayer.

It is like a mix of cultivating the vision (purpose) and meditation (self-awareness) with a divine element. A great mix, if you ask me.

II. Habits of the Body.

You need to be in a decent shape to improve continuously. It doesn’t mean you have to be 100% healthy. Some great people in the history were crippled in a way or another (e.g. Maya Angelou, Hellen Keller). It’s simply so much easier to grow when your body doesn’t hamper your progress.

  1. Sleep well.

Only about 2% of the population have genes that allow them to function optimally with 6 and less hours of sleep a day. The rest of us need more.

Sleep needs are individual. Doctors say we should sleep 8 hours a day. Scientists found that in primitive cultures, where people don’t screw with their daily rhythms with artificial light, humans sleep 6.5-7.3 hours on average. Keep in mind that those folks also suffer much less stress than urban dwellers, live in an unpolluted environment and don’t eat processed foods. They also get a healthy dose of physical activities.

In modern culture, our minds and bodies experience much more of those negative factors and get too little the positive ones. Thus, we need more sleep to absorb all the ‘damage’ of our lifestyle.

  1. Eat well.

Almost all diets are BS. One rule is true in every diet: don’t eat processed food. Of course, it’s close to impossible nowadays, but you should aim to minimize processed foods in your diet to the bare minimum.

Which foods are processed? Generally, those that weren’t alive a couple of days ago, or if they were processed, it was done by natural means. E.g. grain or groats that were dried.

  1. Move well.

Sitting is a new smoking. I know best by myself. I sit almost every day over 10 hours a day.

Walking is a natural physical activity for humans and we don’t do that enough. Smuggle short and intensive exercises into your day. I do that with pushups, dips, and pull-ups. Move, move, move. Being a potato coach may not be a shortcut to death, but surely it’s a shortcut to low-quality life a few decades down the road.

Physical activity is connected with creativity. Almost every artist and entrepreneur admit that they got the best ideas while running, walking or working out.

III. Habits Mastery.

The fastest way to become dedicated to personal development is to create new habits, like the ones I instanced above. The fastest and most reliable way to develop a habit is to keep tracking of it, especially at the initial stage. Good habits don’t develop on their own, you need to put some conscious effort into it.

  1. Don’t break the streak.

This is the basic level of habit tracking applicable practically for every habit. Whether you want to exercise, eat more vegetables, write 400 words a day, speak to a stranger or do a random act of kindness, you should have in place a practice of checking on yourself at the end of the day if you have done what you resolved for, or not.

It’s a powerful motivational technique. If you do something once and notice it, it’s not a big deal. But if you continue the next day and keep a record, that’s another story. You start to be attached to the outcome. If you build a streak of several days with your new habit, you will be more likely to continue. And each day you make the streak longer and your motivation grows too.

  1. Keep a log.

This adds another level to your tracking. It’s not necessary nor wise to keep such a log for every habit you want to develop, because it puts an additional workload on your shoulders.

Keeping a log not only tells you if you have done your discipline but also how you’ve done it. It provides motivation, but also information.

I keep a writing log. Writing is an important part of my life and I want to keep sure I’m on track with this habit. In my writing log, I note down the length and topic of each of my writing sessions.

Thanks to this log I can tell my writing speed. I can also tell that since I started it in September 2013 my writing speed almost doubled and I write as fast in Polish and in English. Those data would’ve been unattainable for me if I haven’t kept the log.

  1. KISS.

The rule of thumb is that your tracking cannot hamper your habit development. Keep it stupid simple!

If you exercise every day in your home gym, keep a wall calendar there and mark on it each day when you completed your workout. If you track your expenses, keep a pocket notepad with you and write down each purchase as soon as you make it. If you track your calories, have a Fitness Pal app on your mobile and put your entries right after a meal.

Tracking and doing your habit cannot be separated in time and space or it won’t work. Also, it must fit your lifestyle. Mingle your habit in your tracking into one activity. If you don’t have a smartphone, you obviously cannot have a Fitness Pal app on your mobile.

Keep it simple, don’t complicate and you will develop your habit faster and it will be more solid.

Continuous self-improvement is not a skill, it’s a lifestyle, it’s who you are. If you want to modify who you are, modify your habits.

Your attitude is more important than any other aspect, but you shouldn’t neglect your body. Your body is your support system. Without good shape and health, your growth is hanging on a thin thread instead of being reliably supported.

4 Proven Ways to Change Your Life (Two Are Really Easy!)

4 Proven Ways to Change Your Life
I’m fascinated by the topic of changing one’s life, because I changed my own and I help others to do the same. I found the most convincing methods set out by BJ Fogg, a head of Persuasive Lab at the Stanford University. The guy spend over two decades researching how humans change their behaviors and he found three ways to change your life:

#1 Experience an epiphany
#2 Change your environment (what surrounds you)
#3 Take baby steps (change of your habits)

I also found the 4th way which is kind of shortcut.

You can use any of them to change your life, but they are not equal. Let’s analyze them one by one.

#1 Way to Change Your Life: EPIPHANY

We know plenty of stories of people who experienced a sudden epiphany and revolutionized their lives. This path is tempting. A light bulb emblazing over your head and you have everything figured out.

The trouble with enlightenments is that they are hard to curate. In fact, it’s close to impossible to engineer a true epiphany. You can practice spiritual disciplines or take psychedelic drugs for years and still a life-changing enlightenment will elude you.

So, it’s great if you get an epiphany, but it’s a poor strategy. You may pursuit enlightenment your whole life and never really change your life.

#2 Way to Change Your Life: ENVIRONMENT

It’s a pretty decent strategy… if you can use it. When I decided to change my life I was 33 years old, I had been married for 12 years, had three kids, a day job in a big media company and 35-year mortgage to pay off. I wasn’t in a position to introduce any rapid and significant changes into my surroundings.

Change of environment doesn’t come easy.
It’s usually connoted with big changes in our routine: a death of someone close, getting married, changing jobs, graduation, a birth of the first kid, buying a house, moving to another city, state or country… It’s not something you can engineer often and not something you can take lightly.

The awesome thing about this strategy is that it robs you out of the most of your old patterns. The more radical the change, the more it affects your daily routine. It is one thing to change job in the same town between competing companies and totally different to start a new position in a faraway city.

The not-so-good thing is that whatever change in your environment you introduce, you are still yourself. You may neglect all the new external influence and stay the same.

#3 Way to Change Your Life: HABITS

According to BJ Fogg, this is the most reliable strategy. I fully agree with him. For the first 22 months of my life transformation there wasn’t a single change of environment in my life. I had the same family, the same job and lived in the same flat.

After 22 months we bought a house and moved into it after another two months. My commute routine shifted slightly. The next external change took another year. I changed jobs.

But in the same timespan I developed dozens and dozens of new daily habits. My daily routine changed dramatically.

Why BJ Fogg talks about “baby steps?” Because according to his research, most people are incapable of changing their habits in any other way. The pitiful 9% success ratio of New Year’s resolutions makes a pretty solid supporting argument for this thesis.

I guess Fogg is right. Expert after expert says that developing more than one new habit at a time overwhelms most of people. We also have this stupid tendency to start something really strong, burn out and quit quickly.

Tiny Habits

BJ Fogg also invented a way to develop habits without a fail called Tiny Habits. According to the definition, they are something:

  • 1. you do at least once a day,
    2. takes you less than 30 seconds,
    3. requires little effort.

In my experience, points #1 and #3 are crucial, but not #2. I developed multitude of habits very fast, because I aimed for daily habits and they were relatively effortless for ME.

Reading a book written by a saint for 10 minutes a day could’ve been a torture for many. For me it is a pure bliss.
The same with studying the Bible for 10 minutes a day.

For many people studying the professional documentation about database administration it’s something between black magic and reading in foreign language. But I had already had over 6 years of experience in that area. It wasn’t a pleasure for me, but I could force myself to do that for 10 minutes a day (not 30 seconds).

Daily Action

Creating a daily habit is like 10 times easier than a habit you perform six days a week. When there is no gap in your streak, consistency comes more natural and faster. It is also stickier.

And you need to adjust the difficulty level for your abilities. In 2012 I adopted a habit of doing a consecutive series of pullups to a failure point. It “required little effort” for me.

For the previous six years I had been doing a consecutive series of pushups to a failure point, and believe me, it’s much more difficult. When you do pushups your lungs and heart give up before your muscles do.

Pullups? Even now I cannot do them longer than for a couple of minutes. When I finish doing pushups, I feel like I’ve just gone through hell. In case of chin-ups only my arms’ muscles protest loudly.

#4 Way to Change Your Life: SHORTCUT

Only about two years ago, despite two decades of research, Dr. Fogg admitted that he didn’t pay enough attention to a social aspect of developing new habits (and changing oneself). If your closest social circles actively oppose your life change, your chances decrease rapidly. If you have a social support for your change, your chances rise disproportionally high.

I drove my wife crazy with all the changes I adopted. She scorned and derided me for everything I wanted to accomplish. Less than a month into my author career she sent me an email saying that my books are no good, I should rather find myself a better job. She also added a few curses and invectives for “balance” 😉

The shortcut for a life change I practiced and recommend is spending time with people you want to be like.

I survived my wife’s foul moods, because I found a different source of social support. I met online new friends and spent time with them.

The Ultra Shortcut

Dr. Dunbar, an English anthropologist, discovered that humans include only about 250 people into their internal circle. He supposed that that was an average number of the tribe members in prehistoric times. But he was most blown away by accidental discovery – we can allow into our internal circles even superficial entities like brands.

The more so, we can allow into this internal social circle real people who we know only through books, videos and audio. The man who had the most influence in the early stage of my life transformation was Jim Rohn. I discovered him three years after his death, but I consumed hundreds of hours of his videos and audio programs. He became my virtual mentor. He was the main reason I didn’t give up.

You can do the same – follow someone online and consume their materials to the point when they become “real” to you, a part of your internal “tribe.”

If You Want to Change Your Life…

… focus on changing your habits. I wholeheartedly recommend the Tiny Habits course. It’s free and takes only a tiny amount of your time during a single week, yet it will teach you all the basics about habits development. What is more, the course is practical, so you’ll also immediately put this knowledge into practice.

If you want to explore habits development beyond tiny size, check out my Infallible Framework for Habit Development.

To accelerate your progress, habitually spend time with people you want to be like. The awesome thing is that nowadays you can do it via online means with practically anybody. They can even be deceased and still provide an immense influence on who you will become.

How to Become the Best Version of Yourself?

How to become the best version of yourself
I study successful people. I guess they mastered the art of being a better version of themselves than they were yesterday. So, I’ll discuss their methods.

I may be wrong, I may not cover all the angles, but these are the most common habits I found among successful people.

You are unique, so the habits you’ll use to improve yourself will be unique. I have studied successful people and I found six common areas they focused on. Whether they succeeded in sports, art, business or spirituality, these themes repeated themselves.

Thus, my advice is to develop habits in those six areas. I don’t see how you can improve those things and not improve yourself.

  1. Self-knowledge.

It’s pretty hard to become a better version of yourself if you don’t know what you are improving on. To map out your journey you need a starting point as well as destination. And because you change all the time, you should study yourself all the time.

“Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves–their strengths, their values, and how they best perform.” — Peter F. Drucker

The habits that can help you in this area:
a) Meditation
There are zillions of benefits to meditation, including increased focus and finishing at a lower blood pressure. Of these, I consider self-awareness the biggest benefit. Usually, you just automatically respond to your subconscious thoughts. Meditation makes you aware of those thinking patterns and allows you to step between the impulse and your response.
b) Journaling
Capturing your self-talk on paper is very enlightening. It’s a powerful tool to clarify your thoughts and to gather plenty of data on yourself.

I journal six days a week and review my entries on Sundays. Sometimes, I write about my emotions and recent events, but always from the perspective of asking why this small trigger released such a strong emotion or what caused me to behave in such a way yesterday.

But most often, I simply research my internal world, journaling about my doubts, dreams, fears, aspirations, etc.

While meditation gives you self-knowledge on emotional level, journaling gives it on both emotional and intellectual levels.

  1. Health.

A successful person rarely doesn’t care about their health. It was more common in the past, when people moved more and were eating real food, not the semi-chemical crap we consume now.

But even back then folks like Benjamin Franklin recognized the importance of exercise and diet. Nowadays, health and success are almost synonyms. Of course, you can be sick and still become a better version of yourself. It is simply much fricking harder.

My friend, Rebecca Patrick-Howard has a rare genetic disease and is dying much faster than most of us. Yet, she also moved from depression and being broken into the realm of successful authors who support their family from writing in a few short years.

I’m a very healthy person, but I don’t sell as many books as she does. I cannot imagine how I could’ve succeeded with my books while battling with constant pain and dozens of pesky afflictions connected to her disease.

With today’s health fad we all know what to do to improve our health. You know it too. It’s time to do, instead of contemplating.
a) Exercise
Every single day. We are spiritual creatures in physical bodies. We need to move our bodies to stay in decent shape.
b) Eat Well
There are plenty of different diets. Some of them come from religion or lifestyle choices. But there is one truly healthy rule: eat as many unprocessed foods as possible.

What’s “processed?” You know this as well. An apple was on a tree a few days ago. A pizza was not.
c) Sleep Well
Eight hours a night is a rule of thumb. Sleep needs are individual. Some people need more (for example, Matthew McConaughey sleeps 8.5 hours a night), some people need less (I’m fine with 7-7.5 hours of sleep). Humans in natural conditions sleep 6.5 to 7.25 hours.

Find your sleep needs and get enough sleep.
d) Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is one of the modern world’s curses. Another rule of thumb is drink 8×8 ounces or 2 litres of water a day. Those needs are individual too. A tiny gal needs less water than 7-feet ogre.

And don’t drink empty calories (soda). That’s not a path to good health.

  1. Networking.

Successful people deliberately network with others.

“Your network is your net worth.” ― Tim Sanders

Your worth is not only monetary. I think, the financial aspect is the least important. Your self-worth is determined to a huge degree by the people you associate with. Successful people understand that and that’s their primary motivation for cultivating their network.

Helpful habits:
a) Thank You Notes
People don’t even take time to thank others nowadays. You will stand out using this simple technique. Handwritten thank-you notes are more powerful. They’re rare in the digital age.

You can send a short audio or video. They’re more powerful than a simple email.
b) Testimonials
Testimonials are like public thank you notes. Write reviews, give testimonials, share them on your social media. The receiver will appreciate it.
c) Collaborate
It always pushes the envelope a bit. When you have to work on common projects your level of interaction increases naturally.
d) Spend Time
This simple networking method always works. You should apply it especially with the people you look up to. The more you can be around your mentors, the faster you will emulate them in your life.

  1. Vision.

Successful people are obsessed with their vision, whatever it is. But first they need to create one. That’s why I started with self-knowledge. It takes some soul searching to discover (Victor Frankl said “detect”) your life mission.

Once they realize what they want to achieve, they keep that vision in front of their mind as often as possible. Average people are often amazed by the drive of successful people. But this drive is not a result of a single enlightenment, as we like to imagine. Successful people habitually refer to their vision every day.

Useful habits:
a) Personal Mission Statement
Well, you need to first create one. Once you have it, there are many methods to use it. You can read it, listen to it, repeat in your mind, visualize it and so on. The point is to refer to it every single day, so your mission is always in your mind’s agenda.
b) Vision Board
Humans think in images. If you have a visual reminder of your purpose, you can look at it multiple times a day.
c) Visualization
You can simply imagine the joy of fulfilling your purpose. Visualizing yourself in the process of getting there would be even better.

  1. Education.

The biggest mistake you can make is to think that you are finished learning when you earn your degree. Education is a lifelong process.

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn

And it is you who have to take charge of your education. Today’s education systems are outdated and expansive. What is more, you need proper learning habits. It’s no longer about appearing in the class 5 days a week. It’s about studying on your own as often and long as needed.

Handy habits:
a) Reading
Read books, blog posts or articles in specialized magazines- whatever makes you more knowledgeable about your subject.
b) Listening
YouTube has countless hours of useful lectures, workshops and speeches. You can convert them into audio and listen to them while doing semi-mindless tasks like driving or washing dishes.
c) Watching
It’s not my cup of tea, but there are people who learn well from watching videos. If that describes you, go for it.
d) Teaching
You retain more if you teach what you’ve just learned, because you create more associations to your knowledge. Also, your students may challenge your assumptions and you need to reflect on your knowledge base to come up with convincing arguments.
e) Doing
There is no better learning method than practice. Each time you use your knowledge you gain experience and create more associations. Practice makes you also a better teacher. Internalized knowledge is four times easier to transfer than dry theory.

  1. Habits.

Successful people recognize the utmost importance of habits in their lives. They don’t let their habits be a conglomerate of social and physical environment. They consciously work on avoiding bad habits and developing good ones.

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.
― Mahatma Gandhi

I don’t have useful habits here for you. My point is, you need to analyze, develop and maintain your habits. Self-knowledge and education are very handy for accomplishing that goal.

I have two great resources for you:
a) Tiny Habits course which is free, short and easy. It also teaches the basics of habits development by implementation and experience, not pure theory.
b) My blog post series Infallible Framework for Habit Development explains in great details all the necessary elements to develop lasting habits. When I stuck to this framework, I always succeeded. When I didn’t follow it, the output wasn’t as good.

How to Build Willpower, Self-discipline and Perseverance?

How to Build Willpower, Self-discipline and PerseveranceOne can build willpower by eating only a millet for two weeks. One can build self-discipline by taking cold showers 10 times a day. One can build perseverance by maintaining the same workout regime (e.g. a 5-mile run) every single day.

There is zillion ways to build those traits, however 99% of them are not really applicable for average mortals. Thus, let’s talk about some things that can help you starting with little to no willpower, self-discipline or perseverance.

First, it will be amazingly useful, if you can shift your thinking about those traits. Normally, those traits are considered something above-human, difficult and tiresome.

In reality they are simply character qualities, like any other (picture self-confidence, patience or diligence here). What is more, it’s much easier to develop and maintain them than to struggle through life without them. Take a closer look at below chart:

How to build willpower, self-discipline and perseverance?

The Slight Edge chart

Continue reading