Author Archives: lolitime

Getting To The Heart Of The Matter: What’s Holding You Back?

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Finally, I find myself with an extra hour to spare. There’s no better time to share life-changing information than when a blizzard’s unfolding outside your window.

After being referred to Napolean Hill’s Think And Grow Rich for about a dozen times in the last year, I made the move to finally purchase his book on my kindle. I try to read it everyday in the subway.

I want to share with you his list of the 30 Major Causes of Failure because if you’re not exactly where you want to be right now, the first step is to determine what is standing in your way to success. I’m obsessed with getting to the source of things so this is my little treat for me and for you if you need a little push.

The 30 Major Causes Of Failure Are:

  1. Unfavorable hereditary background (Such as a deficiency in brainpower)
  2. Lack of a Well-Defined Purpose In Life
  3. Lack of Ambition
  4. Insufficient Education
  5. Lack of Self-Discipline
  6. Ill Health
  7. Unfavorable Environmental Influences During Childhood
  8. Procrastination
  9. Lack of Persistence
  10. Negative Personality
  11. Lack of Controlled Sexual Urge
  12. Uncontrolled Desire For ‘Something For Nothing’ (little effort-big returns)
  13. Lack of Well-Defined Power of Decision
  14. One or More of the Six Basic Fears 
  15. Wrong Selection of a Mate in Marriage
  16. Over-Caution
  17. Wrong Selection of Associates in Business
  18. Superstition and Prejudice
  19. Wrong Selection of a Vocation
  20. Lack of Concentration of Effort
  21. The Habit of Indiscriminate Spending 
  22. Lack of Enthusiasm
  23. Intolerance 
  24. Intemperance 
  25. Inability to Cooperate With Others
  26. Lack of Possession of Power Acquired Through Self-Effort
  27. Intentional Dishonesty
  28. Egotism and Vanity
  29. Guessing Instead of Thinking 
  30. Lack of Capital

So which of these are standing between you and your success?

I determined that eight of the above tend to stand in my way. Identifying the causes that keep us in a rut is the first step, then the most important things to do is be PERSISTENT and develop a PLAN backed by ACTION!

“Good things come to those who ACT!”

-Nicole

 

Always Know Your “Why”

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It’s been a rough ride for the last couple of weeks to tell you the truth. More generally, I feel that New York City has been losing it’s charm since I had that big shift in late November. Losing my momentum and spirit, I decided to ask myself why I was doing what I was doing.

“Really, what’s the point? I’m struggling and highly uncomfortable and not exactly happy with how things are going right now.”

The answers I found to that question came from within me and with the aid of a friend from home. I choose to continue living in New York City despite my current discontent because:

  • I made the leap to move here and I want to give it a chance
  • Emotions are fleeting and I figure this is a temporary low
  • Something inside of me is telling me to keep going and I secretly like the pain (maybe?)
  • I don’t want to be a quitter and jump ship before I’ve tried all my options
  • I have a lot to learn from this place
  • I’ve met so many people already and want to see where these relationships go
  • and I’m eager to experience NYC in all its seasons

My friend Maya reminded me of how bored and limited I was feeling in my hometown in California and that I should be proud of making the leap to move here without a foundation. Thanks Maya.

Thinking about the reason why I’m continuing with “the thrash” is vital to my motivation to stay where I am.

Knowing the “why” of our actions help us understand ourselves, our motives and our situations better. It’s what gives us the dose of perspective we need to live our lives intentionally.

I believe that the biggest contributor to my happiness will be my social relationships so I’m going to prioritize opportunities to meet people and network over rest and errands. Being new to the city, this is KEY! I’m just say YES.

Looks like that’ll be my main resolution for 2015. Make friends and ultimately form my tribe. To do that I will attend events from Dreamers&Doers, Meetup.com, coworkers, friends of friends and out&about. I’ve also been wanting to workout with Circuit of Change.

Well that’s about it, time to get some shut eye.

Have a nice weekend!

-Nicole

 

 

 

 

The Holidays: A Time For Reflection And Action

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Woa, I have really been slacking with my weekly posts! This was meant to be posted the day after Christmas but was then interrupted by family members eager to soak up the sun.

YES there was sunlight and NO I wasn’t in New York City anymore. I had the incredible fortune of flying to warm-weather Florida to meet up with family for Christmas. After being miserably cold, stressed and stuck in gray weather-I was eccstatic to leave. The second I landed in Florida I stripped off my sweatshirt, inhaled the sweet humid air, and bounded outside like a child.

In between all those exhaustive dinner plans, travel plans, and/or extra work plans; there’s bound to be some time to sit back and think when you’re vegging out. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in because it is a result of the human reaction to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

I found myself thinking: “YES! I’m going to spend every minute outside and absorbing as much Vitamin D as possible!”

Moving to New York City and witnessing the change in temperature taught me to really appreciate the freedom I had in California to spend as much time in the outdoors as I wished. I could to dash outside on a whim without having to throw on three layers of clothing.
I’ve been soaking up all this extra time in the sun since Monday morning. It’s been a complete joy to sunbathe on the beach with my parents and my grandma who traveled all the way from Peru to be with us this holiday season.

Everyone’s seen the focus of New Year’s Resolutions and the good intentions for the next year to achieve outrageous success. What tends to happen is that people’s enthusiasm waver within just two weeks of buying that new gym membership or resolving to read a book per week. That’s because no one is taking the time to right down their resolutions, review them daily, and hold themselves accountable.

The simple act of physically writing down the goals, aspirations or milestones that you want to reach is the first step towards achievement and success. The second step is to review them everyday in the morning and at night to keep your eyes on the prize.

Why put in so much effort you ask? If you don’t want to put in the effort then you might want to reconsider those goals you set for yourself! They might not be what you really want to do. The key to having direction and momentum in your life is to have exciting and worthwhile goals.

So what goals are you setting for yourself this year? To tell you the truth I’m not even sure about mine yet! That’s why I’m attending a Dreamers&Doers event tonight to brainstorm with high-achievers and start this year strong!

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Happy Planning,

Nicole

Establishing Habits That Contribute To Your Happiness

My funny attempt at meditation in Texas

My funny attempt at meditation in Texas

Goodness gracious I tried two new things last week that made a hugely positive impact in my mood! I attended a public speaking meetup and tried meditation.

Last Sunday I finally took the initiative and went to the “Public Speaking Bootcamp” meetup group that I’ve been meaning to go to for months. There was a group of 8 friendly and successful people who were there for the same reasons as I: to feel more comfortable in the spotlight and to effectively address an audience.

Each person took turns telling a story or answering a question and would then await praise and constructive criticism from the rest of us.

This group is different from the well-known Toastmasters meetup group. Toastmasters has many more members and is focused on prepared speeches while this group was more about “getting up there and talking to the audience while thinking quick on your feet.”

This improvisational approach is an effective way to get the speakers more comfortable with themselves and to build their self-confidence.

I was absolutely thrilled with my performance all three rounds. I didn’t expect myself to be as smooth, fluid and articulate as I was. I normally see myself as a nervous speaker. I think I did well because I chose topics that I was knowledgeable about and spoke from the heart.

This was so good for my self-confidence that I felt slightly addicted and wanted to practice everyday after that!

Another thing I tried was a 2-minute breathing meditation that I’ve been putting off forever. I knew I needed to try this because I have a lot of tension and tend to be a worry-wart. So I dropped everything and gave it a go.

I tuned off the music on my computer and resolved to focus on deep belly breaths without timing myself. I started to feel the calming effects immediately. When I decided to stop I realized I had meditated for FOUR WHOLE MINUTES!

I, the hyperactive worry-wart was able to focus on nothing but breathing for 4 minutes! This is a huge accomplishment for me. The deep breathing had such an intoxicating effect on me that I resolved to do it everyday. I did it again yesterday before work.

Please try it!

I got this idea from Jeff Olson’s Slight Edge where he suggests readers to do these “Happy Habits” everyday for 3 weeks:

  1. Each morning write 3 new things you’re grateful for.
  2. Journal for 2 minutes a day about a positive experience you had within the last 24 hours. Describe with every detail to re-experience positive emotions.
  3. Meditate daily watching your breath go in and out for 2 minutes. This trains your brain to focus.
  4. Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day. This can be writing an email thanking someone for something they’ve done or helping a stranger carry their luggage up the subway stairs (always happening in NYC).
  5. Exercise for 15 minutes a day. Simple cardio has a powerful anti-depressant effect.

Jeff suggests trying one at a time and then slowly adding in the others to your daily routine. Starting small is effective in that it doesn’t overwhelm you. Steady changes are more effective than big diets and/or 30-day hardcore lifestyle changes (like bootcamp fitness) because they are so doable and easy-to-do.

You might not even notice the steadily increasing effort or results but they WILL come and people WILL notice. It’s as easy as walking 10 minutes a day and slowly working up to a 10-minute run and then add another minute everyday until it becomes 30 minutes a day!

That way you won’t injure yourself either. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hair:

“Slow and steady wins the race. Fast and furious burns out or gets too cocky and slacks off.” Slow isn’t important, STEADY is the key. If you stay consistent with your positive actions you’re heading up on the success curve.

It all starts with the first step. Take one, then another, and another. People procrastinate and avoid trying new habits that can improve their lives because sub-consciously they are afraid and resist change.

I don’t try these new things because I have to, it’s also fun to improve! Improving and getting good at something new is really FUN!

It is so empowering to learn to meditate when you never thought you could, or to nail that speech when you used to shake at the thought. I’m certain that I and anyone who uses the Slight Edge philosophy in their everyday lives  will reach unimaginable heights and live long, happy lives.

What do you think now? Do you want to get off your ass and make your life happier and better? I know I have and will keep doing so.

What happy habit will you take on for the next 3 weeks?

Stay tuned..

-Nicole

Birthdays And Insights

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So my 26th birthday just passed this Monday on December 1st and along with it came many different emotions. I think this tends to happen around “important” dates and holidays when people’s expectations tend to run higher than any other time of the year.

I say this because this Thanksgiving and 26th birthday is the FIRST time I wasn’t surrounded by a single family member or close friends.

For those of you who have been through this, you understand how unsettling it can feel. I’m new to this and this is why in the past I never imagined I’d move away from family. The funny thing is, my brother Michael is going through the same thing for the first time too. Amazing, similar experiences with completely different circumstances.

Despite this shock I joyfully express my gratitude to the people who have made their way into my crazy life in NYC and have welcomed me with open arms.

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I send a “thank you” to Roxy’s family for having me in the defining month of September and inviting me over for Thanksgiving. And I also send a “warm thank you” to Aleksandra, Giovanna, Jinna and Wendy for being good friends to me in the short time I’ve known them. I would be eccstatic to share another Peruvian feast with you again and again.

After my birthday dinner, me and a friend decided to go out until very late and ended up having a foolish scuffle. The next morning, I was left with a terrible hangover, aching body and some post-birthday blues that were facilitated by the hangover. The foolish scuffle caused me to feel negative emotions and turn introspective.

I’m going to commit to getting to sleep earlier and to stop drinking alcohol because I realized that I HATE the resulting hangover/blues much more than I love the short-lived high of being buzzed.

What’s worse, these negative habits grossly diminish productivity. There’s not a chance I’m going to work out, eat healthy or be alert after those late nights.

I’m afraid this is going to alienate me a little bit because people here generally like to drink outrageous amounts of alcohol and stay out until the sun rises. Either way, I have to do what’s best for me and am confident that I will find people that think and act similarly.

One of the biggest reasons for this resolution is my reading of Jeff Olson’s The Slight Edge and the idea that every single little decision you make is either working FOR you or AGAINST you.

An example could be every time you decide to eat that cheeseburger instead of a nutritious meal, hit the snooze button and skip your early workout, or worse – have a long night and lose half of the next day. Basically, it resembles the “compounding” of good or bad choices that end up resulting in your failing or improving health, relationships and finances.

There couldn’t be a better book to read for my current situation than the Slight Edge. The reason why this concept is so treasured by me and all of Jeff’s readers is the simplicity of it all.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”

The 95% majority of people that are struggling are motivated by quick results and instant gratification. The successful 5% are those who use the slight edge to take action with a vision of where they will be and a confidence that their consistent good decisions will make a difference.

So remember, every decision you make counts. Think twice before you decide to skip that seminar, neglect to call your friend who you haven’t talked to in a while, or get that extra drink.

You’re either on your way down or on your way up, I know I’m on my way up.

-Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging From Hiding

My mood is a lot sunnier now than it was last week. I have to attribute that to the compounding of negative events that unfolded in the previous weeks. First, getting sick is a huge DOWNER. Second, finding oneself having to look for a new job again SUCKS! You put these together and you get pressure, helplessness, and anxiety.

Fortunately I did the right thing by trying to get as much done as possible through the computer applying for jobs and then reading a book directed at changing destructive thought patterns. I knew I had to change something inside of me because I tend to “coincidentally” get sick when there’s a big change happening.

It HAD to stop! I refuse to go through something as frustrating as that again. I want to be strong and equipped to rise up when adversity hits again. Many NY veterans have told me that I’ll probably get sick here more often than in California but I refuse! I won’t let it happen.

I know that my anger, denial and hesitance to move on (in regards to my job situation) eventually led to my diminished immunity and my nasty cold. Combining the physical disciplines of increasing sun exposure, movement, and interpersonal interaction with the mental disciplines of daily positive affirmations, reading and effective goal setting helped me to heal and lighten up my mood.

Phew! I’m glad to be out of the gloom. I’m actually happy it’s going to SNOW on Wednesday! I also have a few interviews tomorrow so things are starting to look up. I’ll give you an update afterwards.

Stay tuned..

-Nicole

Dealing With Seasonal Changes

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Wow I’m so new to this drop in sunlight and temperature! In the last couple of weeks I have been experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is the winter blues that usually occur in late autumn/early winter causing depression, irritability, unhappiness or low energy attributed to less sun exposure.

I am definitely feeling funkier than usual and I think the huge decrease in my outdoor activities is the culprit. The fact that I’ve been sick and not spending much time with people is another factor. It has come to my attention that I require lots of physical activity, sun exposure and regular interaction with people to feel happy.

I have to take a proactive approach to address this trend so I can be effective in my job search and to experience more joy. The truth is that EVERYTHING works out in our favor when we have a good attitude and project happiness onto people and our surroundings.

It’s tough to make get positive results if you’re not feeling very optimistic to begin with but, alas, that’s why you have to accept the feeling and then move on. You have to push through and “act the way you wanna feel.” I borrowed that last quote from the book I’ve been enjoying titled The Happiness Project by Getchen Rubin.

I chose to read The Happiness Project because Gretchen takes on a series of actionable steps to bring more satisfaction to all areas of her life: Vitality, Marriage, Work, Parenthood, Leisure, Friendship, Money, Spirituality, Knowledge, Mindfulness and Attitude. I appreciate the approach because it resembles cognitive behavioral therapy which, in my eyes, gets faster results than trying to change the way one thinks.

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

As for now, I’m going to do a few things to feel better:

  1. Apply to jobs on Craigslist and Sittercity.com
  2. Reach out to friends here and from home to feel more connected
  3. Go for a walk when the sun’s out
  4. Find a yoga or dance class to attend when I’m able
  5. Download some music on my phone to make it more fun to work out in the gym
  6. Attend some art meetups when I’m able

I think that’s enough for now, stay warm!

-Nicole

 

 

Making The Right Kind Of Investments In Yourself

9239547017_da455d0098_z  Oh my goodness I just did something HUGE!!!!!!!

I managed to buy a $500 ticket to the annual World Domination Summit for Summer 2015 just a few hours ago! For those of you who don’t know what WDS is, I’ll explain:

It is an annual gathering of interesting people (who are doing great things or destined for great things) from all over the world. It takes place in Portland, Oregon and thousands of people come for an immersive experience in life, work, and travel. The four-day event consists of main-stage events with keynote speakers, many of which have delivered TED Talks; workshops that focus on specific topics, and lots of meetups, parties, and informal engagement. It was founded by Chris Guillebeau, the author of The $100 Startup and The Happiness of Pursuit. The event’s slogan is “living a remarkable life in a conventional world.”

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WDS bings the world’s movers and shakers together

This was a good investment because I know the importance of environment and “putting the right people in your corner.”

Another way that I re-framed it was thinking about how much I could spend in less meaningful activities:

  1. $200 for a 3-day festival in which most attendees are partying and under the influence of (insert here)
  2. $200 for a 1-time Skydiving experience
  3. $500 for 1 week at Burning Man or a few days at Coachella where most people are also under the influence
  4. Or $500 for a weekend of irresponsible spending on “fun” which many young people in New York City are in danger of doing under specific circumstances

I’m in no way condemning the people who choose these activities, I’m saying that they aren’t necessarily good for networking or have a high return on investment. I am prepared to feel uncomfortable now so I can experience the rewards later.

I know it won’t happen until this coming July but I have already been working on surrounding myself physically and virtually with people who bring me up and encourage growth in NYC and through the Live Your Legend community. I even managed to arrange a mini-LYL meet-up in Manhattan. I met two lovely ambitious ladies who are just as determined as I am to make a dent in the world. We also provided important knowledge to each other about other do-good groups and people.

I have to thank Scott Dinsmore for bringing this yearly event, and many other “movers and shakers,” to my attention. If it weren’t for Live Your Legend’s online tools, articles, and group participation, I wouldn’t have known about Jonathan Fields, Simon Sinek, Blogging or Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.

I just realized that the author of the book I’ve been enjoying is also the founder and ringleader of the World Domination Summit! Things in my world are finally starting to connect and come full circle!

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It’s a great feeling when all the stuff one has gone through starts to make sense. For a while there I felt like I was running in-place. I wonder if others have felt similarly.

Moreover, Chris’ Happiness of Pursuit is about his quest to visit every country in the world before the age of 35 and about the many other “questers” he met along the way. Through his interviews with hundreds of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, he reveals how anyone can bring meaning into their life by undertaking a quest.

I’m very excited about what’s to come.

An Update On Last Week’s Goals

Fall-Inspired Self Portrait done with colored pencil

Fall-Inspired Self Portrait done with colored pencil

So last week I undertook the project of publicly sharing six ambitious tasks for me to accomplish between Thursday 10/23 and Saturday 11/01. This was an experiment to test the effectiveness of perceived accountability. I say “perceived” accountability because I have no idea how many people or if anyone is consistently keeping track of my blog and its progression. This is fine because its visibility is still public and that puts pressure on me to deliver.

Unfortunately I didn’t complete most of my “weekly big six” because I forgot to consider my mom’s visit to NYC! I am by no means blaming it on her, I am acknowledging the fact that I GROSSLY lacked perspective while planning. I also didn’t know that I was going to be so over-scheduled by my employer.

This is where I got with them:

  1. (Check) Start doing some form of cardio or strength exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days a week
  2. (Check, more work needed) Seek out events and interest-focused groups to attend in Bushwick (probably through Meet-up)
  3. Seek out and attend some exercise or dance class in the area
  4. Buy more towels, a window curtain, trashcans (Check) and recruit my  mom as a decorator (In Progress)
  5. Reach out to at least 2 different resources each day for getting work in my field
  6. (Check and In Progress) Do some awesome things with my mom because she’s visiting and I’m SUPER EXCITED

Although I didn’t put this in my to-do list, I AM very happy with the art piece I created last week. Revisiting my identity as an artist will become the new theme of the year for me, especially now that I’m in New York. This has been unexpected, as art is the last thing on mind when I find myself stressed and I anticipated being highly stressed in New York. This new urge to get back to art has been an utterly pleasant surprise that I am welcoming with a huge embrace. What’s even better? The fact that winter is almost here and the weather is going to be more conducive to me staying in and contemplating an empty canvas.

I’ve also been getting urges to expand my understanding of art into the realm of technology. I know that I’m “young” and expected to really “get” the tech world and all its tricks but I have never been a fan of “screens.” It’s time, it’s time I accept that I can’t run away from these things anymore and I need to learn to conquer them and use them for my benefit in means of graphic design, photography, editing and whatever else I should learn.

Keep Creating!

-Nicole

Accountability

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Should I write? Should I draw? Should I finally buy those few things I needed or tackle those important errands that I keep procrastinating on? Should I just do nothing and watch a TV show in the comfort of my bed to give my feet a brake? I feel terribly disconnected, should I call a bunch of people?

Does this ever happen to you? You finally find yourself some free time without any interruptions nearby and you start stressing about how to use it. I don’t know about everyone else but I am extremely susceptible to that sensation since I still don’t know “loads” of people here and I happen to be an over-thinker and analyzer, always searching for a way to improve what is. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel satisfied, this constant urge to search is the juice that drives me to continue learning, experiencing incredible things and meeting wonderful people.

I’m writing this post right now because I want to create some form of accountability that I believe will help me get to where I want to be faster AND I don’t like breaking promises. Perhaps, you can borrow from my approach. So I have been in NYC for 2 months and I’ve made progress in huge strides. It has now been 22 days in my apartment in Bushwick and it’s time I establish myself:

Starting from now until next week (10/23-11/01) I will have:

  1. Started doing some form of cardio or strength exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days a week
  2. Sought out events and interest-focused groups to attend in Bushwick (probably through Meet-up)
  3. Sought out and attended some exercise or dance class in the area
  4. Bought more towels, a window curtain, trashcans and recruited my visiting mom as a decorator
  5. Reached out to at least 2 different resources each day for getting work in my field
  6. Done some awesome things with my mom because she’s visiting and I’m SUPER EXCITED

Sheesh, that’s a long and ambitious list. I can handle it though. When it comes to list-making it’s better to keep it short or it will seem too overwhelming and you might not tackle it at all. In “Train Your Brain for Success”, Roger Seip states that one shouldn’t have more than six items on their daily “to-do” list. These are called “The Daily Big Six.” This is more effective than having a list of 20 tasks that may or may not be urgent or important. I’m obsessed with lists. I think it’s the only way I can stay focused and remember what I have to do with the constant distractions.

Do you have much use for lists? How about accountability?

Thanks for reading, now I have to catch up with some people back home.

Take care.

-Nicole