Platitudes won’t help you. I know, I’ve tried to implement them all. They’re frustrating.
Go for it! Live for today! Stay motivated!
I’m more interested in how we can radically improve our lives. How can we stay truly motivated? How can we maintain hyper-efficiencies? How can we stay happy at work? How can we find true fulfillment by cultivating the most attractive aspects of our personalities?
Here are 10 unexpected things you can do daily to radically improve your life:
1. Don’t obsess over “how” you’ll do something.
Four years ago when I launched my agency Silverback Social, I just did it. I knew that I wanted to create a digital agency that led with social media. I had no idea how I was going to do it.
I still remove the “how” from most of our agency issues. We continue to grow, over- perform, and excel in every endeavor, winning awards and working with some of the most compelling clients.
Obsessing over your “how” will only lead you to full-on panic. Define your “why” for sure, but let go of the “how.”
2. Invest in clothes that fit. Yes, seriously.
My dress shirts and suits are all custom-made. This isn’t as extravagant as it sounds. You can order custom clothing for about the same cost as off-the-rack clothes from Banana Republic. You just have to be patient for the clothes to get delivered after you’ve been measured.
When you have clothes that fit well, you feel better. When you feel better you perform better. Removing the stress of selecting a shirt that will fit in the morning frees up psychic energy.
I can select any shirt in my closet and know that the fit is perfect and I will feel and look great all day. It may seem superficial, but I think it helps me to perform my best.
Meditation can reduce stress, improve your concentration, and increase happiness. But you don’t have to sell all your worldly possessions and live in a cave to meditate. Meditation can be anything.
When you’re washing your hands today, slow down and really think about how you’re washing your hands. Feel the sensation of the water. Smell the aroma of the soap. Enjoy it. You’re meditating!
Realize that your thoughts and feelings aren’t you. Acknowledging that you’re having a thought is a powerful way to separate yourself from the thought. I recommend the Headspace app to help.
4. Buy a stand-up desk.
We’ve all read the news and heard the grumbling about how bad sitting down all day can be for us: It’s worse than smoking, etc. I do think that my new stand-up desk can be a healthy alternative.
I’m also smart enough to know that you can overdo anything. U.S. News Health says that there are some ways in which stand-up desks can do more harm than good.
The gist? Don’t stand still all day long. Alternate positions throughout the day. Also, some tasks are better suited for sitting.
5. Shut off electronics for short increments.
I worry about the effect of electronic devices on my children. The best way that I’ve been able to remove this concern is to carve out play time without any devices around. This means that I leave my iPhone behind as well.
My girls are 8 and 5. My 5-year-old decided to try golfing with me recently. She loved it. Just the two of us, with my undivided and undistracted presence.
I felt myself reflectively reaching for my iPhone to take photos of her golfing.
Instead I soaked in the moment. We don’t need to document every waking hour. Later that day my 8-year-old and I had a dance party. We danced to and sang the Beatles. We spun and sang and giggled.
No electronics needed. Just my own private little memories with my girls. It makes my heart swell just thinking about it. Radical life improvement!
6. Get up early.
I hate the morning. Really, I do. So much so that on my wedding day, my brother referenced my inability to wake up to an alarm clock in his best-man speech. The crowd erupted in laughter. Super.
The benefits of waking up early are vast. For me, it’s more about self-mastery than anything else. By waking up early I’ve taken control of my day. Now I regularly wake up at 5 a.m. to work. I find that I do my best thinking at that time of day.
I don’t have to like it, but I know that I’m hyper-productive in the morning. I use apps like Sleep Cycle to help me manage my normal aversion to mornings. You should try it too.
7. Read more.
Reading can help improve problem solving, expand your vocabulary, and even cultivate exposure to different ways of thinking. If you really feel that you don’t have time to read, I recommend that you download Audible for a free 30-day trial and listen to audiobooks.
If audiobooks are too tedious, try educational podcasts, or TED talks.
Really what we’re looking for is a removal from pop culture and fear-mongering news feeds as entertainment. I want you to enrich and challenge your brain–not numb, or over-stimulate.
8. Live in a different city at least once in your life.
When I was 20 years old, I studied in Leuven, Belgium, and traveled to 14 different countries. That travel allowed me to grow in ways that I can’t quantify. I was able to find my way around an airport, a train station, or a bus terminal without incident. I ate different foods and experienced different religions.
Awareness, education, and respect for other cultures will enhance your life in untold ways. It will also expand your business and social circles. When I was 26, there was an opportunity to live and work in London.
Because I had already traveled, I jumped at the chance. It catapulted my career, and helped me earn more money than I had ever seen in my short working life.
Sharing your thoughts is a powerful connector. Start with a blog, or create on LinkedIn or Medium. I wrote my first blog post and earned $260,000. I also used writing to get the attention of new clients, new jobs, and my television career.
Write every day and share what you know. Learn how to write better along the way. If you don’t want to share your thoughts with the world, start a journal.
I began a journal when I was 19 and traveling through Europe. Now I read my entries to my daughters as bedtime stories.
10. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
I’m an over-sharer extraordinaire. To some people it’s a turnoff. Guess what? I don’t want to associate with those people. It’s the way I’m wired, and I’m not about to change because it makes you uncomfortable.
I blog about everything from my family to my friend who was murdered. Vulnerability in life and business cultivates trust.
No pretense, just you–unfiltered. Try it. I dare you.
This article was originally published in my column for INC.com.
Hi, my name is Chris Dessi. I’m CEO of Silverback Social. I’m also author of the book Remarkable You: Build a Personal Brand and Take Charge of Your Career
If you’d like the first chapter of Remarkable You for free, just head here.
“I’ve known Chris for a long time and adore his work ethic, standards and passion… I am sure if you are lucky enough to get to know him through this book you will agree.”
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“The definitive book on personal brand building that everyone is talking about. Two huge likeable thumbs up!”
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