Here’s 12 Important Things I Realised In 2019:

When I strategise at the start of each week, I think back over the week just past- did I learn anything of note? Because while you might have a little ‘Aha!’ moment every day, if you don’t make note of them then it’s easy to forget they happened. So I write them down and file them away for future reference.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you know I’ve written about this before: 12 Things That Made Me Go ‘Aha!’ In 2018

So today, we’re looking back on the things that stood out to me the most over the past 12 months, those little ‘Aha!’ moments or bigger revelations that were (in the words of W. Clement Stone) “Little hinges that swing big doors”.

Yet again I’ve chosen one specific lesson from each month and I expand upon what it really means:

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“Too much screen time (even counting smartphone use) narrows the vision and gives me this ‘boxed in’ feeling. Be smart about screen time- where and for how long.”

Have you experienced this for yourself? I remember back in the day they used to say that too much TV gave us “square eyes”- and while my eyes are still round, what I’ve noticed is that being engrossed in your screen (be it your tablet or phone screen) for too long, wrapped up in the information beaming into your retinas- gives this claustrophobic feeling when you look away at last. Real life goes on, and it’s difficult to fully engage. If you’re like me and you do so much of your work online (like writing this article, ironically enough!) then you have to be careful with just how much time you spend looking at a screen.

My advice is to be smart about it- and in your downtime, get active, go find people to hang with, keep your screen time to a minimum and feel your world ‘expand’. Look at everything with new eyes.

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“I don’t do pain, I don’t do fear and I don’t do defeat. I am stronger.”

This one was inspired by the moorish YouTube Red series ‘Cobra Kai’ (which I’ve written about previously): The Truth About Cobra Kai’s ‘3 Strikes’ Policy…

In the Cobra Kai dojo, Johnny (yes, the bad guy from the 1984 original, all grown up and now the sensei) drills the following message into his students as they train:

“Pain does not exist at this dojo. Fear does not exist at this dojo. Defeat does not exist at this dojo.”

The first two are (to some extent) distractions that we can choose to ignore as we focus on the doing part. Fear is a feeling, no more. We can choose to make it irrelevant and just do. Pain is a temporary thing, and it’s something we’ve all encountered in one form or another. But it’s how we respond to pain- and that brings us to the next part: defeat. There’s a difference between losing and defeat. Losing is coming off second best in a battle. But defeat is to give up, and come off second best in the war altogether. Of course you have to choose your battles wisely, but those ones worth fighting are not the ones to do defeat in- to give up and walk away from.

Instead, it’s our choice to be stronger than all of this.

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“We choose our chains- so what do our habits become?”

Back in March, I watched a presentation in a YouTube video, talking about how we develop our nature and how chains of addiction are formed. It outlined the following path:

  1. Choice- choosing to do something
  2. Habit- regularly choosing to do something
  3. Automatic- we do something without even making a conscious choice
  4. Identity- something becomes a key part of our very identity
  5. Nature- to be something is in our nature

You can see where this leads- for better or worse. I’m not naturally an early riser, for instance, but in the past I worked jobs where I had to be on premises by 6:30am. So I made the choice to go to bed earlier and wake up at 6. It then became a 5 day a week habit. Then it became automatic- I’d find myself waking up around this time, even on weekends! 

Momentum is a big thing here- people who are a success, manage to sustain success because the choices that underpin the habits of success seep in until they become part of their nature. They may fail at some things, but they don’t fail for long because success is part of their nature.

If you want to see a better 2020, here are the choices I’d recommend you make: Devote full focus to whatever it is you’re doing. Be mindful of time spent doing any task. Conserve energy for the most productive/ positive outlets. Meditate. Think about working smarter, not harder. Exercise gratitude every day for small but good things. Rinse, repeat, and see what manifests…

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“It takes just as much effort to play small as to play big. So what do we choose?”

Following on from March’s revelation, you should be able to see now how we can choose what becomes our nature. To play small requires compromise and shortcomings, just as playing big does. But one gets better results, outcomes you’ll be far more content to live with. So what are you going to choose?

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“With the right attitude, opportunity can present itself everywhere. So Be Prepared.”

Something you notice when you read or watch the stories of enough successful people, is that a hefty amount of them didn’t enjoy success right away. There’s any number of wealthy business figureheads who started life with worn shoes, a week away from being turfed out of their cramped 1 bedroom apartment and onto the street. Sports stars who were diminutive in size or with physical ailments you’d think would wipe them out of contention. You get the idea. But what took these people to success was the right attitude. Instead of failure being a sentence, they saw it as a lesson, a bump in the road. Then they kept on going. Before the opportunity presents itself, first we’ve got to be ready to take it. It’s one thing to get your foot in the door, another to actually walk through that door- and stay- so first and foremost, we need to have the attitude that matches success, before success itself manifests.

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“Regardless of what else may be happening (or not happening) in life at a given time, getting the important stuff done, crossing off the other outcomes and keeping the wheels moving- that’s the best thing you can do in the meantime.”

This is another mark of success- being able to still devote focus to the key areas and action items that constitute success, and getting them done. A winning team, business or organisation is underpinned by their ability to keep working away and focusing on those major items, regardless of anything else- and this means that sometimes you’re able to achieve success against all the odds. Those are often your most glorious triumphs that reveal far more about yourself than an easy triumph.

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“Boldness is the ability to go ahead and act without being sabotaged by fear or doubt, and to do so believing in a better future.”

In short? Just do it. Feelings are temporary, and often irrational. But results last forever.

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“There is more than one road to the Holy Grail”

I spoke about this last year in my final piece, towards the end: A Tale Of 3 Cities- My Take On The 2010’s, Part 2…

When we recognise that there is not just one fixed path to our ultimate outcomes, it makes us more adaptable, resilient and allows us to think more creatively. In addition, we’re less susceptible to comparing ourselves with others and wasting our time measuring ourselves by what we see of other people, not knowing the smaller details to put it all into perspective. If you adopt a “Whatever it takes” attitude, you open yourself up to opportunities and experiences you wouldn’t have enjoyed otherwise.

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“Despite the time you put into preparing something, sometimes deviating and trying something new or different actually brings you better results. Don’t become too set in your ways”

This really follows on from what I shared for August. But it’s good to have a message like this sink in that little bit more, because of how it opens your world up- and the possibilities that lie before you.

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“The value of your net worth is found in your network.”

I’ve often found that meeting great people isn’t entirely reliant on the people you have in your circle- instead, it’s found in the people they have contact with. When it comes to business networking this can be highly prolific because while you might go to an event with 20 other people there, if those 20 people each know 20 other people, you’re looking at potentially 400 people- and how many of those 400 people might be the very type of person you’re looking to connect with.

So it pays to be mindful of your network and finding a few good people to get alongside, because once you make the right connections, opportunity flows on from there.

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“Sometimes if you want to enjoy the view, you’ve got to make the climb first!”

This one came to me while out for a walk one warm afternoon late in the spring. I saw this long, steep grass hill and felt the desire to hike up it. It was a bit of a climb, and by the time I reached the top I was in a sweat! I walked on, along a street that followed the ridge of this hill. Then rounding a corner- I stopped. Looking out before me was an amazing view of the beach, lined by Norfolk Island pines, then the ocean beyond it- a view I’d never seen before. I only discovered it because I bothered to climb a hill I’d never ventured up before.

Here was this amazing view- and yet I wouldn’t have found it if I didn’t make the effort first of all. That’s the thing about enjoying the spoils of success- most things of real value don’t come easily (as I’ve talked about before): Finding True Things Of Value (Or, The Best $50 I Ever Wasted)…

It’s life’s great testing ground. Provided you just do it, keep learning, remain open to opportunities and appreciate that there’s more than one road to the holy grail- you might just get to enjoy that beautiful view after all…

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“Little hinges swing big doors, sometimes even without our realisation that they have”

Ever had somebody say “You’ve changed”? It probably felt pretty good, didn’t it? But what was the best part- somebody noticing a positive change about you, or that you’d (probably) barely noticed any change about yourself, which made the other person’s compliment a welcome surprise?

I’m convinced that the key to achieving this is found in the steps we looked at earlier:

  1. Choice- choosing to do something
  2. Habit- regularly choosing to do something
  3. Automatic- we do something without even making a conscious choice
  4. Identity- something becomes a key part of our very identity
  5. Nature- to be something is in our nature

That little hinge could be just a (seemingly) moderate change in diet, a change in routine, a change in schedule or a change in attitude.

And if you want to see big doors open for you in 2020, then it could be one (or all of) these little “hinges” that make them swing for you at last!

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