The Silent Symptom of Fear.

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So far, we’ve talked about procrastination and its cousin, taking the wrong action. Both are common fears.  Here’s another: Perfectionism.

This is another one that’s incredibly difficult to spot. That’s because perfectionism is socially acceptable. Indeed, it’s often rewarded and even encouraged.  People are told to “do the best you can.”  This way of thinking can easily lead to perfectionism, which is just another manifestation of fear.

The other reason why perfectionism is so difficult to spot is that it makes you feel busy.  You’re working on an important task, something on your to-do list.  But endless tweaking and trying to get it just right means you’ll never finish it… and that’s fear.

You see, some people procrastinate by never even starting an important project.  Those who have their fears manifest as perfectionism are different.  They’ll get extremely close to finishing a project… but then the perfectionist kicks in and the task never gets complete.

For example:

  • An aspiring novelist may get an entire book complete, but he keeps endlessly tweaking each chapter to make it perfect.  He won’t share it with anyone else – he won’t try to sell it or pitch it to a publisher – until it’s “perfect.”  This perfect state never arrives, of course
  • Someone who wants to start a blog fiddles endlessly with the blog design, choosing the right domain name and so on. He spends so much time working on these various details that he ever even gets around to writing one blog post.

Sometimes people look for a “perfect” state where they know it probably doesn’t exist (and they can’t control it anyway if it did). Case in point, the person who’s looking for the perfect mate.  He or she will turn down date after date after date because the other person isn’t perfect.  If this person’s goal is to get married, this fear manifesting itself as looking for someone “perfect” just serves as a block to this happiness.

Many perfectionists are afraid of one of the two big fears: Success or failure. It’s quite common to be afraid of failure, hence the perfectionist’s relentless pursuit of perfection.  In the perfectionist’s mind, seeking out this perfection simply decreases the chance of failure.

Other times, perfectionism becomes a tidy excuse for them not moving forward.  Once the perfectionist can admit what he is really afraid of, he can overcome the fear and start moving forward quickly.

Now here’s the thing…Hands-on experience and learning on-the-fly are two of the best teachers. That is, you can sit around tweaking endlessly, but until you finish your project and really put it to the test, you have no idea if your tweaks are even improving the project. See, all those tweaks might be changing – but not necessarily improving – whatever it is you’re doing. Thus, trying to make something perfect may be a waste of time.

Look around at the world’s wealthiest companies and individuals, and you’ll soon see that they understand that real-world experimentation moves a project much more quickly than any amount of perfectionism.

Take software companies as an example, like Microsoft and their Windows products.  These software products are good, but they’re certainly not perfect when they’re released. That’s because Microsoft executives realize that if they try to uncover every possible bug or loophole or exploitation point in the software, the job will never end. Simply put, it’s an impossible task.

Instead, software companies like Microsoft roll out the product in stages by letting “beta testers” test the product in a variety of conditions.  After that, the product is sold to a larger audience whose experiences differ from other beta testers.  In all cases, these real-world tests are the quickest way to uncover flaws.

Point is, your project is the same way. If you want to know if you’re a success, get it out on the market. It’s the only way to know for sure.

That’s it for this time. Next time you’ll learn about feeling overwhelmed.

Are You Taking the Wrong Kind of Action?

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Last time you learned how to recognize procrastination, which is one of the most common symptoms of fear.  Closely related to that – indeed, it’s really a subset of procrastination – is when you take the wrong kind of action.  So instead of procrastination that grinds all activity to a halt, you will find yourself busy… but you’re still not moving forward.

As you might suspect, this sort of symptom of fear is very difficult to spot (at least initially). That’s because you’re busy every day.  You may even feel productive and satisfied with what you’ve accomplished.  Indeed, you may even be working on your “to do” list.

And yet you’re still not getting anything done.  Not really.  You’re busy and working hard, but you’re not actually productive since you’re taking the wrong kind of action.

The reason why this one is so hard to spot is that you may believe you’re taking the right action. True, deep down – on some level – you know you’re just wasting time.  But you can go into such deep denial about this form of procrastination that you start to believe you are taking the right kind of action.

Taking the wrong action while believing it’s the correct action usually leads to yet another problem.  Namely, people start blaming someone or something else for their lack of good results.

For example, you see this a lot on online marketing forums.  People will purchase a book on a marketing strategy.  They may even buy it after others have told them specifically to NOT buy it.  And yet they waste weeks or even months trying it out, knowing full well that this strategy doesn’t work… or at least it isn’t suited for their marketing model

So, they waste time taking the wrong kind of action.  Then when they must face their lack of results and explain to them, they can point to this book and blame it.  They can tell themselves, “It’s not my fault. I was misled by this book.”  And so, they can point to something outside of themselves as the reason for their failure

NOTE: Blaming people and things outside of ourselves for our failures is another big block to success. Indeed, it’s so prevalent and such a success-killer that we’ll devote a future lesson to it.  For now, I just wanted you to recognize this as a bad thing.

Now let me give you another example of how you can take the wrong action on a day-to-day basis… that is, how you can feel busy and yet be unproductive.  Once again, recognising this behaviour is your first step in overcoming it.

Here’s the example…Let’s suppose you’re a beginning online marketer who’s just learned about using forum signature files to drive traffic. So, you find niche forums and start participating.  You spend the entire day jumping from forum to forum, refreshing the index pages so that you can see whenever there is a new post that you may be able to answer.

It’s easy to rationalize that you’re “working.” But if you really look what you’re doing, you’re just wasting time visiting on forums.

You see, forum marketing is useful. But it’s not something you should do all day.  That’s because it’s a “low revenue” activity. Spending the same 8-10 hours doing something else – like optimizing your sites for the search engines or finding affiliates – would likely result in a much higher return on your investment of time.

In other words, the person who spends all day browsing forums is taking the wrong action.  It may take weeks to realize this (once the person admits his business isn’t moving forward).  Or the person may never see it for what it really is.

Point is, look for instances in your business and life where you believe you’re moving forward, yet you don’t have the results to show for it. Perhaps you’re taking the wrong action as a subtle way to procrastinate.

More symptoms of fear to come.

Recognising Procrastination for What It Really Is

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Now that you know about the most common fears, it’s time you learned how to recognise them.  That’s because you probably won’t be gripped with actual fearful emotion. It’s not like when someone sneaks up on you or when you think someone is following you. In other words, your heart won’t pound, your mouth won’t go dry and your palms won’t get sweaty.

TIP: I say these things “probably” won’t happen. That’s because some people do develop anxiety, which is fear. The person who feels anxious may develop the above “symptoms” of fear. We’ll talk about that in a later lesson. For now, we’ll look at those more subtle manifestations of fear.

Instead, fear tends to manifest as inaction or taking the wrong action. Simply put, you can recognise symptoms of fears as those things you do that prevent you from moving forward. And while we’ll talk about several of these symptoms in the coming lessons, we’ll start with one of the most common: Procrastination.

You already know what procrastination is: Specifically, it’s when you avoid doing a task that you know you should be doing.  In the case of goal achievement, it means avoiding working on your “to-do” list or doing anything else that will propel you towards your goals.

Sometimes it’s obvious when you’re procrastinating.  You start the day with good intentions, but by the end of the day, you realise you haven’t done anything productive.  You may have become distracted (which is easy to do when you’re procrastinating), or you may have simply convinced yourself that something else was more important.

For example, an aspiring novelist may decide to write one chapter. The morning starts with this writer going through all the motions and preparations – starting up the computer, pouring herself some coffee, opening her favourite word processor, etc.

But then she looks around the room and realizes she would be able to write better if she tidied up a bit.  Fair enough.  She cleans, vacuums, organizes and dusts. Then as long as she has the cleaning supplies out, she decides to clean the adjoining room.  If things aren’t particularly messy, she may do “deep cleaning” things she hardly ever does, like cleaning the bathroom tiles with a toothbrush.  That’s the kind of thing that can kill several hours.

I use this cleaning scenario as an example… but procrastination can take many forms.  Some people may simply re-prioritise their lists repeatedly, which means the one thing they want to do (or the thing they should be doing) never gets done.  The person may be super-productive in other areas of her life, but she can’t seem to make headway on that one important task.

Still, other people simply rationalise that they’ll do something “tomorrow.” For example, the writer who knows it may take her six months to write a book says to herself, “taking one day off won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things.” Maybe not.  But one day becomes two… which becomes several… and the days easily turn into weeks or months.

That’s procrastination.  And if you can recognize it for what it is (a symptom of fear), you can overcome it.  You’ll learn exactly how to do this in upcoming lessons. For next time, however, you’ll learn how to recognise another symptom of fear that’s closely related to procrastination…

How the Fear of Failure Holds You Back

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Last time you discovered that many of the most common fears are rooted in either the fear of success or fear of failure.  You also discovered that a fear of success is linked to a fear of change, fear of the unknown and even the negative programming you’ve grown up hearing.  Now let’s look at another common fear…Fear of Failure.

Most people can understand the fear of failure. When something is important to you – like a long-held dream or another goal – you simply do not want to see the dream go up in smoke. Failing is never fun… but it’s especially painful when you fail at something that’s very important to you.

Indeed, sometimes people who are not getting the results they want start rationalizing this failure or they’ll trivialize the importance of the goal. They’ll say things like, “Oh, it was just something I wanted to try out – it wasn’t very important to me anyway. No big deal.”  It might crush them if they faced the truth and admitted the dream was important, so instead they just go into denial.

More commonly, however, people simply stop working on their goals. They might drop it entirely, or they might change gears (in a way that makes it seem as if they’re starting from scratch, back to square one). They may start pursuing a different goal.

Whatever they choose, the end result is the same: They’re no longer moving towards their original goal. They’ve abandoned it.  And this is often what happens when a person has a fear of failure

Problem is, many people who have this fear of failure seem to think they only get one shot at success. And if they don’t succeed that one time, it’s over. They don’t get another shot. All their dreams and goals are crushed immediately.

For example, the writer may think they have one shot to write the next “great American novel.”  An aspiring entrepreneur may believe he has one shot at creating a successful business.  An aspiring online marketer may feel like her first site needs to be a huge money-maker, or else she’s a failure.

That’s why many people never even take a shot at their goals at all. It’s more fun to daydream about success than it is to put in the hard work of making it happen. And it’s certainly more fun to daydream than it is to be slapped with the cold reality of not making your dreams come true.

However, please note that this belief simply isn’t true.  Success isn’t a one-shot deal. Just look at inventors like Thomas Edison, who found about 10,000 different ways to NOT make a light bulb.  Or peek at Abraham Lincoln’s biography, where you’ll see that he certainly didn’t shoot right up the ladder of success.

These are two examples. There are countless others, all around the world.  Point is, if these people had decided they only get one shot at success, we wouldn’t know who they are today.  But they tried until they succeeded, viewing every setback as a lesson rather than a failure.

If you do the same thing, you can’t help but succeed.

That’s it for this time. Next time you’ll discover how to recognize fear – and it can certainly sneak up on you in unexpected ways

How a Fear of Success Holds You Back

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As you discovered last time, fears are a major factor in blocking people’s success and goal achievement.  Under the major category of fear come two sub-categories: fear of success and fear of failure.  And while there are a lot of different types of fears (dozens if not hundreds) that can hold people back, many if not most of the most common fears fall under the above two categories.

So, as we start going through some of these common fears, I’d like you to really think about your own fears.  Because even on the surface if you’re afraid of one thing, deep down you may be afraid of success… or failure. Because these two major categories of fears are so common, we’ll look at them over the next several lessons. 

Let’s start with the fear of success…Fear of Success It almost seems unreal when you first hear about it: Fear of success.  How can that be?  How can a person who’s excited about a goal simultaneously be afraid to achieve it?

The answer is simple: The fear of success often boils down to a fear of change and a fear of the unknown.  You see, people intuitively know that if they achieve their dreams, their lives will change. The bigger the dream, the more change, they can expect

On the surface, this sounds great. For example, people who dream of writing a book and making millions of dollars with it may happily imagine all the benefits of fame and fortune. They daydream about what they’d do with all the money.  They think about appearing on talk shows and having raving fans at book signings.

But all of this is very different from a “normal,” quiet life.  It’s unknown. It’s a big change. And all of this can be quiet frightening.  Suddenly people are worried about things like:

  • Having relatives and friends asking for money.
  • Less privacy.
  • Being forced to be a role model for others.
  • Being under constant pressure to succeed and do great things

And so many more.

Another big one is being talked about in a negative way. For example, the aspiring author may hear his friends and family talk about other rich and successful people, saying things like “He’s such a blowhard and a show-off now that he got his book published.”  In turn, this aspiring author is afraid that if he becomes wealthy and successful, people will talk about him in a negative way behind his back, too.

NOTE: Generally, this sort of negative talk is used by people to rationalize why they don’t want to be rich and successful. Indeed, some people will even say as much. For example, they’ll say, “I’d never want to be rich because rich people are greedy, mean and evil.”  That’s an excuse (a poor, untrue one) for not getting rich, which in turn becomes a block to success.

All of this is tied to a fear of success.  The person needs to acknowledge this fear before being able to move past it.  If you recognize yourself in this lesson, congratulate yourself… because you’re one step closer to achieving all that you want.

Now stay tuned for the next lesson, where we’ll take a close look at one of the most common fears

What’s REALLY Holding You Back from Achieving Your Dreams?’

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If you haven’t achieved everything you want in life, then it’s quite possible that something is holding you back.  And before you can move forward, you need to find out what, exactly is holding you back. That’s what we’re going to start exploring, beginning with this lesson.  First, you’ll get an overview of the many possibilities. That is, you’ll learn about some of the more common reasons and factors that keep people frozen in place, not moving ahead.  In the coming lessons, we’ll then examine each of these factors in more depth. Finally, you’ll discover how to overcome these various reasons, fears, and other success-blocking factors. Let me start with a warning…You may glance down the list below and say to yourself, “none of this is relevant to me.”  This could be denial.  You may have such a deep-seated block in place that you may not even be aware of it!  That’s why I ask you to read this list and the coming lessons, even if you don’t think the lesson refers to you

What’s more, I’d like you to absorb this information with an open mind and without judgment.  That’s because if you start judging a certain factor as “silly” or “stupid,” then you may not want to admit that this factor is hindering you. And if you can acknowledge it, then you can’t move past it. So, read on with an open mind and attitude of overcoming whatever is holding you back.  Here then are some of the more common success blocks, reasons, and fears.  Keep in mind that these are large categories of factors and that you may be blocked by some or even all these factors:

Fear.  This is a big one. And that’s because it encompasses all sorts of fears, including fear of success, fear of failure, fear of stepping out of one’s comfort zone… and many more.  Because fears are so common – and very effective at holding people back – the next few lessons will examine fear.

Depression. This can range from having the normal “blues” to having clinical depression.  Because lack of motivation is a major symptom of clinical depression, it’s easy to see why depression can hold people back from achieving their goals

Bad health habits. This sounds simple, but poor health habits (such as eating the wrong foods and not getting enough sleep) can keep a person from achieving goals. That’s because poor health habits contribute to a lack of energy, lack of mental clarity and lack of focus, all of which are needed to achieve your goals

Getting burned out. If you try to take on too much, or if you’re leading a stressful life, you can simply burn out.  This lowers productivity, motivation and your overall enthusiasm for a project

Goals not important anymore. Sometimes you lose enthusiasm for a project, often because the goals just aren’t as important to you anymore.  You need to re-evaluate your goals to see if they truly aren’t important anymore… or if you’re just rationalizing so that you don’t feel guilty about not achieving your goals

Feeling overwhelmed. Finally, sometimes you have trouble moving forward simply because you feel completely overwhelmed. You’re not sure what step to take first.  You may not even be sure if you’re working on the right goal.  This may be a symptom of fear… or you could have just created a goal that was too ambitious. That doesn’t mean you need to scale it back, but you may need to set goals for smaller milestones.

That’s it for this time. Next time you’ll find out if fear is blocking your success.

Introduction to How to Increase your Productivity’

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Are you as successful, thin and happy as you want to be?

If you’re like most people I meet, the answer is “no.”  After all, there’s always room for improvement.  You have goals you want to meet and dreams you yearn to turn into reality. But maybe something is holding you back.  Have you ever made a goal, set a tentative deadline to reach it… and then the deadline arrived, and you were nowhere near achieving your goal?  Maybe you wanted to write a book, start a business, make more money, lose more weight

You started out with good intentions. You were enthusiastic.  And maybe you even initially took steps to achieve your goal. But suddenly you weren’t taking those steps anymore.  You rationalized why you weren’t taking them. And soon the goal was put on the back burner, unmet and out of mind

Sometimes when you look back on your unmet goals, you’re not even sure what went wrong.  Why did you lose your enthusiasm? Why was it so easy to get distracted and eventually completely derailed?  Was it fear, holding you back?  Or did a lack of productivity derail you?

 If any of this sounds familiar, then congratulations: You’ve made a great decision by joining Dynamic Productivity!

That’s because over the coming months we’re going to examine every single factor that’s holding you back and keeping you from living the life of your dreams.  Once your motivation and enthusiasm are running at 100%, then we’ll delve into the topic of productivity.  You’ll learn how to get more done in less time, which frees you up to focus on those things that are important to you!

Bottom line: You’re about to discover the secrets of achieving more in your life, getting more free time, enjoying more success in life and being the happiest you’ve ever been!

 Sound good? 

Your first lesson

Then first things first: Before we can jump into this talk of motivation and productivity, you need to choose a goal.  This is a topic we’ll cover in more detail in future lessons. But for now, you need to choose one goal to work towards.

This goal could be anything: writing a book, starting a business, losing weight, making more money… the choice is yours.  For the purposes of this course, we’ll focus on achievement and success. For your first goal, you may want to choose something related to those themes, as doing so will make these lessons really speak to you.

Now, some people have one overriding goal that they’ve thought about a lot over the last several months or even years.  If that sounds like you, then that’s probably the goal you should choose.

 Others, however, have several goals they’d like to achieve. The goals may seem roughly equal.  If this sounds like you, then here’s how to choose one goal…

 After you’ve finished this lesson, I’d like you to close your eyes and imagine yourself achieving the various goals that you have in mind.  Really imagine the moment.  Picture how you’ll feel when you meet your goal. Imagine what other people would say to you

>Now, there’s one goal that probably made you feel better and happier than any other goal.  Obviously, that’s the goal you should choose. Choose the one that has the most emotion attached to it

you do this little exercise and all the goals still feel roughly equal to you, then here’s what to do…

If you’re deciding between two goals, flip a coin.  If you have more than two goals, then write them down on little slips of paper, put the papers in a hat, and draw randomly to decide which goal to tackle first. Sometimes you’ll randomly draw one goal and feel disappointed.  If so, then you know that’s not the goal to start with… and once you know your true feelings, you can then make a better decision.  It’s a way to “trick” yourself into choosing the right goal!

 That’s it for this time. Next time you’ll find out the truth about what’s holding you back