Posted Leave a commentPosted in 4 minute read

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” -  Stephen R. Covey

Most of us believe that anxiety impacts only the person giving the speech or presentation. Studies done by dr. Paul King show that listeners feel anxiety as well. During his research a group of college students were told that they would be asked question after a presentation they were about to listen. The level of their state of anxiety were going up with presentation time running out. But when they took the test it dropped off immediately.  



Dr. King convince us that, the accumulation of information results in “cognitive backlog”. More and more information is getting stuck what means that it cannot be processed and out brain is not able to create necessary connection.  In this case it’s impossible for us to asses, store or recall the information.  As backlog gets bigger, internal pressure rises quickly and we are on a highway to losing all that information.  Information burden increases along with a listener’s anxiety. It can even result in getting frustrated or angry.



We all know that thinking and speaking are very physically demanding activities. Unfortunately, right from the beginning of our educational journey everybody around us underestimate listening. No surprise we end up getting programmed the same way.  



Effective listening is exhausting and demanding as well. It’s hard work. The heart rate quickens, respiration increases, and your body temperature rises. Just like a stress response, it can be physically and psychologically draining. What’s more we are exposed to it for extensive periods of time. Hours of presentations or meeting. Whole days at school. You name it.


First day at work

Do you remember your first day at a new job? Were you listening to presentations or onboarding for a whole day? Couple days? Or maybe you went straight to your new desk and we were trained by a new collage? How did you feel after the day was over? Were you energized, relaxed or ready to go get a beer with your friends? Very unlikely.


Not immediate and not easy

It’s very likely that you felt exhausted. Drained. You needed some quiet time. That’s because you have just experienced cognitive backlog. You have received some many new information that it got stuck in a line. It needed to be evaluated, labeled and stored. And that takes a lot of time. And lot of energy. It’s a process. Don’t expect it to be immediate and easy.


I told you that yesterday!

I perfectly remember how tired I was after first couple days in my every new job. So many new things, skills, people, places. Exhausting. What about next morning? Do you remember a situation when you were asked to recall something from a previous day? I told you that yesterday, right? – have you ever heard that? Well, it’s probably because of the cognitive backlog.  The information didn’t stand a chance to get where it supposed to get.


More is not better

Think about that when you will be teaching your new college at work or when you will get giving another presentation. Or when you will be teaching your kid. More is not always better.  It’s better to study content on two or three occasions for short period of time instead of spending entire day or evening and getting choked by that information.


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Posted Leave a commentPosted in 3 minute read, FAILURE STORIES

A 20-year-old Warren Buffett was well on his way to accomplish his goal. Becoming millionaire by age 35. By the age 16 he already made $53,000. He had a flair for making money in the stock market. Combine this with education in elite schools and you end up with a story that looks nothing like a failure story, right?


Our biggest fear

Wrong. We’ve all got our own failure. My failures can be different than yours. And your can be different than her or his. But Warren’s failures and fears were very similar to what most of us experience. Young Warren was terrified of public speaking. Yes, you read that right. Aren’t you afraid? Most of us are. It’s the number one fear we have. Death comes second. Which means that most people are more afraid of speaking in public than death. So was Warren but it didn’t stop him from becoming a great speaker.


Facing fear

Did he have something you don’t have? No. He was aware of his biggest fear and he knew it won’t disappear by itself. He decided to face his biggest fear. Although he didn’t need to be a great speaker then he was thinking about his future. He knew he won’t be able to run from it all his life and he ended up signing for Dale Carnegie speaking course but dropped out before it even started. “I lost my nerve”.



He was so nervous, that he would arrange and choose his college classes to avoid having to get up in front of people. "I was so terrified that I just couldn't" – he says. "I would throw up…In fact, I arranged my life so that I never had to get up in front of anybody." 



In one of the interviews he said "I knew I was going to have to speak in public sometimes. The agony was such that just to get rid of the pain I signed up for the course again."  Warren enrolled the course with 30 other students who, just like him, were frightened. "We were all just terrified," Buffett said. "We couldn't say our own names. We all stood there and wouldn't talk to each other." 


Why shouldn’t you?

They got a book of speeches that was full of examples of talks you might give to keynote an event or if you were trying to win an election. Every week they had to give one of those speeches. "The way it works is that you learn to get out of yourself," Buffett said. "I mean, why should you be able to talk alone with somebody five minutes before and then froze in front of a group?" 



The students supported one another, and slowly, slowly, slowly, Buffett got comfortable in front of a crowd. This low-stake situation was perfect environment to work on this craft. "Some of it is just practice — just doing it and practicing," Buffett said. "And it worked. That's the most important degree I have." After taking the course, Buffett was confident enough to speak in public and, perhaps more importantly, propose to his future wife Susan.



At a very young age Buffett became passionate about investing, money and achieving success. That ongoing enthusiasm comes through in his speeches and interviews. As Carnegie put it, "Even people with only mediocre speaking ability may make superb talks if they will speak about something that has deeply stirred them." People will see your passion, smile and positive energy and that will make a huge difference.


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Posted Leave a commentPosted in 6 minute read, FAILURE STORIES

Look at a man the way he is and he only becomes worse, but look at him as if he were what he could be, then he becomes what he should be - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


It’s very important to believe you are the one to do it- Les Brown

He was born in an abandoned building, adopted and labeled as educable mentally retarded early in school. His life is a story of perseverance and hustle to get where he is right now.



Shortly after being born on the floor of an abandoned building in poor side of Miami, Les Brown and his twin brother were adopted by Mamie Brown, a kitchen worker and maid. When Les was in 5th grade he was labeled as educable mentally retarded and put back from the 5th grade to 4th grade. Same thing happened again in the 8th grade. Upon graduation, he became a city sanitation worker in Miami Beach. But he had a dream of being a disc jockey. At night, he would take a transistor radio to bed where he listened to the local jive-talking deejays. He created an imaginary radio station in his tiny room with its torn vinyl flooring. A hairbrush served as his microphone as he practiced his patter, introducing records to his imaginary listeners. He was wrapped up in his own world, living a dream.


Greatest gift

He didn’t receive any collage training but one particular speech and drama instructor changed his life. His name was Leroy Washington. Mr. Washington gave him a greatest gift anyone can ever give. A different vision of himself. When Les was in his class waiting for a different student, Mr. Washington said “Young man go to board and work this problem out for me”.Oh, Sir I can’t do that” – replied Les.Why not?” - said the teacher.  “I’m not one of your students”.  While looking at him Mr. Washington said: “Go to that board and work the problem out”. With a trembling voice Les mumbled “Sir I can’t do that, because I’m educable mentally retarded. I’m in special education”. The students started laughing and they said: “That’s Lesley. Not Wesley. His DT. Wesley is the smart twin”.  “What is DT stand’s for?” – said Mr. Washington.  Lesly relied with a shame on his face: “I’m the dumb twin, Sir”. As the students laugh at him, Mr. Washington came from behind and looked at him: “Don’t you ever say that again. Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality”. On the one hand Les was humiliated but on the other hand he felt liberated.


Worth doing badly

From felling free he looked at his goals and dreams and said to himself How am I going to do that? He went straight from his heart to his mind and he stayed up there for 14 years.  The first time Les stood up to speak publicly his mind set down. He looked at the audience and he panicked. He had to introduce a play but he ran of the stage. Mr. Washington said to him: “If you run now, you will always be running. Anything that’s is worth doing, is worth doing badly until you get it right. Go back out there”. Other students dog him out and he became the laughing-stock of the whole school


Breaking the fear

Another event came out Mr. Washington said: Mr Brown you’re up. Les went up and pretty soon when people laughed at him it didn’t even bother him. Later one day he came out and he came to himself. He broke out of that fear and in front of the whole school gave the first of his great speeches.



One day Les boldly went to the local radio station during his lunch break from mowing grass for the city. He got into the station manager’s office and told him he wanted to be a disc jockey. When it turned out that he didn’t have any background in broadcasting, it was the end of the conversation. But young Les was far from being over. His commitment to his goal was remarkable. Les had strong enough reasons, higher purpose than simply wanting to be a disc jockey. He wanted to buy a nicer house for his adoptive mother, whom he loved deeply. This job was just the step on the way.


And so Les returned to the station every day for a week, asking if there were any job openings. Finally, the station manager gave in and took him as a free intern. Les did whatever was asked of him at the station – and more. While hanging out with the deejays, he studied their movements on the control panel. At night, he practiced and prepared himself for the opportunity that he knew would present itself.



One Saturday afternoon it did. Because of his persistence and preparation, Les was ready. He wowed the audience and his general manager. As you pursue your dream, you are becoming stronger and smarter. In one of his speeches he said: There will be times when doors of opportunity open up for you as you walk your path. Stay focused and stay true to your dream, and more doors will open up for you.


Mental conditioning

When he watched Dr Norman Vincent Peale speak publicly he thought: I could do that. I would love to talk to people. I can do that. But when he started going back to his car his mental conditioning activated itself and it said: Les Brown you can’t do that. You don’t have a college education. You don’t have the training. You’ve never worked for major corporation. What makes you think you can?



It was hard when Les entered the motivational speaking arena in the mid-1980s, he had virtually nothing but one tape of his motivational speeches. He rented an office in Pen Penobscot Building in Detroit, Michigan and he felt on some hard times. He was sleeping on the floor in his office. In one of his great speeches just three years later he said: “I didn't even want a blanket or a pallet on the floor. I wanted it to be hard and cold so it would motivate me to keep striving. I didn't want to get soft." It was hard for him when had to read a letter from bulling management that he cannot sleep in his office. It was hard for him to go through the lobby and get laughed out.



Pursuing your dream, you will face disappointments, defeats and failures. But that’s okay. That’s given. Dreams are supposed to be hard to reach – that’s why they are called dreams. It’s very important (to know) when you hold on to that dream, there are moments when you’re going to doubt yourself. Rough times are gonna come but they have not come to stay. They have come to pass – Less Brown

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Posted Leave a commentPosted in 100 days - strategy, 5 minute read

Based on a Jeff Olson’s ‘The slight egde’


Water or soda?

Do you ever have a choice between a glass of water and a glass of soda and you pick the soda because “well if you have a glass of soda today, it’s not like you’re going to wake up overweight and unhealthy tomorrow?”



That’s basically how we all like to think that somehow, success only comes from doing huge, important things right. We have that big paradox. On one hand, you’re right. The little decision doesn’t really matter. This one decision won’t really affect your health in any significant way, right? Getting drunk one time won’t ruin your life. Eating chips when you feel instant urge won’t make you unhealthy. Examples are everywhere.


Power of compounding

But on the other hand, it’s really the only thing that matters. Because in a year, you will be the result of your every little decision compounded. We simply are humongous piles of our own decisions. It’s not about judging anyone but it’s especially easy to notice in our physical appearances. We can all agree that not everybody’s going to be an athlete but we can easily spot if someone is working out 4 times a week for last 3 years, right?


Easy (not) to do

In essence, every little decision matters. And these little things are easy to do. When you’re on your lunch break tomorrow can make a choice of drinking water instead of soda, fruit instead of cake, vegetables instead of fat fries. Anyone is capable of doing that. But since it’s so easy to do, it is also easy not to do, and just order the soda.



But what if you decide to do this little thing right? You won’t be any healthier the next day, but after a year you would see huge health benefits from it. We have to stop thinking just about instant pleasure because the true reward is usually postponed.


Working out

I have come back to working out in the beginning of January. I haven’t been doing that for last couple of years. At least not regularly. Now it’s 6 times a week. Just 30 to 40 minutes in the evening. It has become such a vital part of my moonlight. I’m not falling asleep over my laptop any more. I feel a lot more energized and I don’t feel any muscle or joint pains any more. What’s quite suppressing to me is that it was fairly easy and there were only few days when I really had to push myself to do it.



Just two days ago, I went to catch up with my best buddies. One of them told me how he stopped eating sweets 9 month ago. He said: ”I really loved sweets and I was really nurturing that emotion. When I was coming back to my parent’s house I was everything they had. If they had a whole bowl of candy I was on it until it was empty. Sometimes when I was at home working on my laptop in the evening I was eating three regular bars of cholate in one sitting. I love it. One day I’ve really decided to stop”. Now after 9 month he feels energized, healthier, lighter. He doesn’t experience neither energy swings nor huge sugar urges. Every once in a while, he allows himself to eat a piece of cake but this is just a reward. It’s not an urge, instinct or a habit. This allows him to really enjoy the moment.



We can apply this to anything. Like Reading. What’s if you decide to read for 15 minutes a day before going to bed? That’s pretty easy to do. But since it’s pretty easy to do, it’s also pretty so easy to ignore it. If you read for 15 minutes tonight you won’t suddenly wake up smarter or more enlighten tomorrow morning. But what about a year from now? That’s going to be at least 6 books. 6 good books can literally turn you to completely different person. Whether it will be related to finances, sales, accounting, relationships or overall happiness. But first you need to make that decision.   


Every little decision

Paradox – on one hand you can fall for the unsuccessful mindset ‘well, it’s not like this little decision matters’ but in reality, the little decisions we make are all that matters. Every little decision of yours will be compounded at the end of the year. Who you are will be the result of it all. Neither you, me nor anyone else will be able to control every piece of our behavior. Luckily, we are not those little robots which do everything right. But at least we are more aware of how we think about little things and we can change them piece by piece. 


It counts

Try to align more of your little decision with your vision. The more you can do it the closer you will be to the person you really want to become. Take responsibility for where you are in life. It’s always us who decide to buy that soda.  


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Posted Leave a commentPosted in 5 minute read

There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them – Bruce Lee

Most of us do very well in beginning of a new endeavor­. We learn rapidly and we make huge leaps. Visible giant progress makes you excited and propel you even more. This lasts of a while and then you come to a point in which you hit a plateau. It means that now you’re taking the same amount of effort but you’re not getting the same effects and progress. Unfortunately, very often your performance, execution and efforts drop off and this usually happens because you either didn’t bring enough emotions to the process or didn’t get enough repetitions. What to do when you hit a Plateau?



As George Leonard writes in his great book ‘Mastery’, your success will look like a plateau. Most of your journey on your path to mastery will be spent on different plateaus. Sometimes you have to wait for months to see any kind of progress. Then at some point you experience a quick quality jump, a short progress curve.  After that brief, sometimes quite high, quality jump there might come a short regress time and it’s essential for you to see that the new plateau is higher than your previous one. That is how growth actually happen. You work really hard for an extensive period of time and then you jump to a higher level.

That’s a greatest moment to separate the wheat from the chaff. The vast majority of people are not fully committed. Well, they think they are when they see progress but when they don’t doubts come to play a serious part.


New endeavor

What happen when you take on a new endeavor. Let’s take squash for example. When you start you are totally green, you have no skills whatsoever. You don’t know the rules, you don’t know how to hold a racket, you have no technique, you have no strategy for a game. There is really nothing to start with. Within short period of time and a little bit of training you get pretty good. It relatively easy to make huge progress. You compare yourself to people who train four times more than you do and you don’t see such a big difference. You get to a conclusion that you must be better, more talented than they are since you’ve got to their level a lot faster. Then out of nowhere you hit a plateau. This cause disappointment and frustration. If you are not fully committed, you will decide to quit shortly after hitting plateau. While your ego is not stimulated anymore, you will end up making up a new story for yourself:  This is obviously the wrong sport or a profession for me. That’s just not for me. I don’t have it in me. The very moment your ego feels bored, you quit.  You look for and start a new passion. This goes on again. Huge progress, progress, progress, plateau, doubts, quitting.


My lack of perseverance

It will not come to you as a surprise but this was my story with sports. I loved sports all my life. I was actually doing so many of them I could probably beat you in 8 or 9 out of 10. Yes, I’m pretty sure about it and I know it sound cocky.  My motivation and excitement were very high from the beginning every single time. Squeezing and digesting every information, every inside. This was going on for at least a year or two. Sometimes longer. After that time, I was either losing my motivation and drive or something external happened and I’ve quit. This happened with karate, indoor soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball, krav maga, running, swimming, working out, squash, just to name a few. In most of the cases I wasn’t making a conscious decision to quit and I was not aware of hitting plateau. But ignorance and unawareness won’t protect you from failure. I was hitting a plateau, then quitting and then finding a new passion.


Are you ready to hit plateau?

In the same situation the best people in those sports, the true masters expect problems to come. They are mentally ready to hit a plateau. What is the reason to be furious or disappointed at something that is so inevitable? Regardless of your plans or desires it is going to happen. Most successful people always find a way to go on and finally to break plateau after plateau. They are always certain there is a way. They look at others who already did it and they model their actions and beliefs. You can find tips and cues in every single success story. That’s a great way to jump ahead. 

Do you recall hitting a plateau? Are you ready for the next one?


Knowing the game

Somebody who knows the upcoming challenges can guide or mentor you. Those people who know the true reason for their own success are usually able to repeat this success time after time. They are still winning because they played that game before and they are modeling their own ingredients of success. If you know the road ahead, you have the power of anticipation not reaction. You will have enough time to solve the problems before they get any power over you.

If you struggle finding a mentor you can always look for people great in a very narrow thing, like speaking, coding or working out, to which you get access.

If you for any reason can do that as well look for digital mentors but be extra careful and aware who you choose to follow.

For last couple months I follow and breathe on Gary Vaynerchuk. I learn and listen to him during the day and put all that in action at night. It’s not about motivation, knowledge or inspiration. No. It’s only about going out there and actually DOING IT.    


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Posted Leave a commentPosted in 6 minute read

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success – Napoleon Hill

Let’s say you have created that compelling vision we were talking about before. You thought through what your habits need to be. The level of your excitement and motivation is at its highest point. You have started your Journey and you practice your habits for a few weeks now. Everything is going great, you are in living your Journey but you cannot see any progress. You start to worry. Am I doing something wrong? Why I’m not progressing? Why I’m still so bad at it? When we start something new, very quickly we tend to look for any sign of progress. We are worried if you cannot find any. It supposed to be easier than it really is. After few hours of practice, we expect to be good at this. We want instant effect.


P&P – Patience and Persistence

Think about the time when you were learning any new skill, let’s say for example reading. It was probably long ago and since you’re reading this it means that you use that skill from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s not so obvious anymore. How long did it take you to be good at reading? Was it an hour, 5 hours, 10 hours? A day? A week? How about a month? No, it was a lot longer than that. You were practicing and practicing, hour after hour until you felt comfortable at reading. Your parents were encouraging you to keep on going. They said: Be patient. You’re going to learn. Keep on practicing.  They were convinced that you will succeed. Very often we forget about that when become adults. We forget about patience and persistence. We want it now and we want it easily. As silly as it sounds that’s the truth.


Practice! Practice! Practice!

What about learning how to drive a car? That should be a newer memory. Maybe it’s going to be easier for you to relate to. Were you a Formula 1 driver or even a taxi driver after a couple hours of practice? No way. But you didn’t stop practicing, did you? Did you saw massive results right away? Once you spend hundreds of hours behind the wheel it became your second nature. Well, for most of us. If you think about it for a minute, it was very complicated at the beginning. It required high level of focus and multitasking. You had to control the wheel, break, clutch, accelerator, road signs, situation on the road, other drivers and on and on. It seemed complicated but most of us became at least decent drivers. This is a great lesson most us of went through but it seems like we’ve got nothing out of it besides skill itself.  It should teach us that we need to be patient. Practice is not to be done once you become good, whereas it is required to become good. 


Talent is not everything

Another concept that is misinterpreted at the highest level is Talent. I believe talent is highly overrated and almost always it’s mistaken with hard work. On the other hand, hard work is grossly underpriced. Don’t get me wrong I believe in talent. It exists and its very important factor of success. It allows people to move faster and take bigger leaps towards success. But talent became one of the biggest excuses of our society. Talent without hours and hours of working on your craft will not get you anywhere. Most times what gets labeled as talent is hours and hours of hard work.



If you are indeed talented but you won’t be working your socks off, you will never be successful. Never. You will probably be off to a good start but you will never reach your potential. You will be one of those brief stories about wasted talent. We all know so many of them. Our friend form high school or college or our soccer team. We’ve seen it.  



While I was attending athletic high school there was a dedicated basketball class. They were playing really great and in the first year of high school they became national champions. Very quick success. Along those talented group of players were a guy who I was playing against just a year ago in a primary school game. He was not good at all.  Slow and not athletic enough. He had very little skills and even smaller understanding of the game. But he was on the team due to his size. I think he was about 200 cm (6 foot 7) in the 8th grade. That was quite a size for a high school kid in Poland. He was not the star of that high school team. During and after high school most of the players from that team went to play for a local team in one of the lower leagues. One by one they were resigning and jumping from that basketball train. Until he was the only one left. I don’t think you can say that he was very talented but what you must see is how persistent he was. He worked really hard. He didn’t quit. In 2015 he was the first player for that high school team who debuted in the highest ranked polish basketball league. That is a great example of the power of persistence and it can easily be an inspiration to keep on grinding. Results will come you just need to be patient.


What about results?

But how long do we have to wait for results? We often say or at least hear the statement I’m tired of waiting. All of us look out and search for progress. From the time we were little kids we were told that Hard work pays off. If you work hard you will see results. I believe this statement is both true and false. If you still think you will see progress, growth and improvement almost every day then you haven’t been paying attention to your life. It never works this way. It may happen by accident but then it’s not a permanent progress. Most of us just quit during the process because of our lack of patience.

Are you patient? How much time are you willing to wait for the results?


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