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2018-01-21T00:54:22.684Z
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There is no doubt that Jeff Bezos is a great example of business success. At the time of writing, he is the richest person in the world. While success in business doesn’t necessarily mean true success, I believe we can learn valuable lessons from him.

I have been following him for some time, and I have found that his achievements mainly come from the principles he lives by. These are the principles that guide his actions and help him grow Amazon to become the giant it is today.

You might not plan to build your own business, but these are still great principles to follow. Here are six success principles from Jeff Bezos.

1. Minimize Regret

This is the principle that started it all. Back in 1994, Bezos already had a comfortable job at a hedge fund. But the Internet was going mainstream and he saw a huge opportunity there.

So what should he do? Should he leave his comfortable job and take the risk?

To help him make the difficult decision, he used the regret minimization framework.

The idea is that you should take the action that will minimize your future regrets. Many people have lifetime regrets and this framework aims to avoid those.

Using this framework, it’s clear to him that he should leave his job and take the risk. If he didn’t, he would regret it years later (“Why didn’t I give it a shot?”). But by doing it, he wouldn’t have any regret (“At least I have done my best”).

If...

I recently read Your Money or Your Life, an insightful book about personal finance. I have read the book about a decade ago, but a decade is a long time so I decided to read it again to refresh my memory.

There is a concept that is emphasized again and again in the book. That concept is frugality. The book says that frugality is the key to living a fulfilled life financially and I agree with it.

What does it mean to be frugal?

Here is the definition given by the book: being frugal means having a high joy-to-stuff ratio. Being frugal is not about having a few possessions. It’s not about finding the cheapest stuff out there to buy. Instead, it’s about getting as much value as possible from your possessions. If you get a lot of enjoyment from something you own, you are being frugal. But if you barely use it, you are not being frugal.

This definition sticks with me because it makes me realize that I’m not frugal in some cases.

The most obvious example in my case is with books. I love to read, and because of that, I buy a lot of books (mainly e-books these days). There are many of them that I haven’t read, though. According to the definition above, I’m not frugal. I have a low joy-to-stuff ratio when it comes to books.

Fortunately, there are some other areas where I do better than that. With clothing, for instance, I rarely buy new ones....

Here we are in 2018. Being in the beginning of a new year, it’s a good time to start maximizing our personal growth this year.

How can we do that? How can we maximize our personal growth?

There is a key principle you need to follow for that. The principle is this:

Move out of your comfort zone

Yes, move out of your comfort zone. Why? Because you can’t grow if you just stay in your comfort zone.

The situation is similar to building muscles. If you only lift weights that you are already comfortable with, you won’t build your muscles. You need to lift weights that make you uncomfortable. In the case of personal growth, you need to do things that are beyond your comfort zone, things that still scare you to some extent.

There are many ways to do that, but here are eight ideas to help you get started.

1. Start a Blog

Starting a blog requires you to learn a bunch of new things. Among others, you will learn about writing, content publishing, and time management.

I have been blogging for more than ten years now and I can attest to its benefits for my personal growth.

2. Learn Public Speaking

If the thought of public speaking makes you feel miserable, it might be a good idea to learn it this year. A good way to do that is to join Toastmasters. I did it, and it helped me improve.

3. Learn to Code

This is not for everybody, but if you want to know how...

We are nearing the end of the year now. In just a little time, we will enter 2018.

The end of the year is a good time to reflect on our lives. It’s a good time to reflect on the lessons we have learned this year so that we can improve our lives next year.

So here is my question to you:

What life lessons have you learned in 2017?

Please leave your answer in the comments so that everyone can read it. Thanks and Happy New Year!

How are you doing? I hope your holiday season has been great! In my case, I just stay in town this time. But the atmosphere here feels different. It’s rainy and cooler than usual, and the town is less crowded. I enjoy it :)

Now that we are in the Christmas season, I’d like to invite you to join my newsletter on spirituality.

As you might know, there are five aspects of life: work, health, learning, social, and spiritual. But I only write about the first four aspects here. People have different beliefs about spirituality and therefore I choose not to write about it at Life Optimizer.

To make the five aspects complete, I decided to create a separate newsletter on spirituality. I’m a Christian so it’s based on Christian values. Along with the writings on this website, the newsletter will make your personal growth complete because all five aspects are covered.

You can join the newsletter here. I believe this Christmas season is an especially good time for that.

Happy holidays!

For years, I didn’t have the habit of working out. Then one day I decided to start building the habit and now I’m glad to say that I work out almost every day.

So how can we get motivated to work out?

The starting point, I believe, is internalizing the benefits. The more you internalize the benefits, the more motivated you will be.

Here are the benefits you will get from working out:

  • Energy
    Personally, this is the benefit that I like the most. Since I spent years not exercising, I can attest to the difference it makes. Exercise gives me more energy throughout the day. It results in more enthusiasm and better focus.
    For this to happen, I suggest you exercise in the morning. That way you will get the energy you need for the rest of the day.
  • Improved Self-Control
    Studies show that exercise can help you build self-control. In The Power of Habit, it’s mentioned that exercise is a keystone habit, which means that building this habit can help you build other good habits.
  • Happiness
    When you have more enthusiasm and self-control, you will increase your happiness. I can say from experience that working out is a good way to lift your mood.
  • Long-Term Health
    Working out is essential for maintaining good health. There are so many health risks that can be reduced if you make working out a habit.

In addition to the benefits above, you can use your exercise time for learning. Bill Gates, for instance, uses his exercise sessions...

I like to learn from top performers. I like to observe how they achieve their level of performance.

From my observation, there is one characteristic that I notice again and again. It seems to be a common thread among them. It seems to be something that they all have.

That characteristic is immersion. Top performers are immersed in their fields. They live and breathe what they do.

I realized this when I observed world chess champion Magnus Carlsen. Once, in an interview, he was quizzed about chess positions from games decades ago. The interviewer asked him to identify the games where the positions come from: who the players were and when the games were played. And guess what? He could identify each one of them!

How is that possible? How could he do such a thing?

The short answer is that he thought about chess all the time. He was immersed in it. He even said that during the interview, as he was speaking, he had chess positions flashing through his minds. Wow!

I see this characteristic again and again in top performers. Jiro Ono, for instance, was so immersed in the art of sushi making that he dreamt about new kinds of sushi at night. That’s how he got many of his ideas. And that’s why the title of his documentary (a very good documentary, by the way) is Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Another example is Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. In his biography, he said that wherever he...

Update: the offer below has expired, but click here to get 30% off Blinkist

In my recent article about Warren Buffett, I wrote that you should invest in your knowledge. Knowledge is power and having a knowledge advantage will take you far in life.

To help you apply that, there is a Blinkist Black Friday deal for you: for a limited time, you can get 50% off Blinkist subscription! This is the only time in the whole year to get Blinkist at this price.

Blinkist is an app that helps you get the key ideas from nonfiction books. It solves the problem of having to spend a lot of time to read a book. With Blinkist, it takes you only 15 minutes to get all the important ideas from a book. It’s a great way to upgrade your knowledge and save your time.

There are more than 2,000 titles in its library with new titles coming every week. I have been a happy subscriber for more than three years now.

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I recently read The One Thing by Gary Keller. It’s an insightful book that can help you get the most out of your life.

The message of the book is simple: you should focus on just one thing that gives you the most impact. Not a few things, but just one thing. So it goes further than the Pareto principle that says you should focus on a few important things. That’s why the book calls its principle extreme Pareto.

A key reason why the approach works is that the most important thing is usually difficult to do. It’s not something we are comfortable doing. It’s not something we would naturally do. As a result, we tend to procrastinate doing it. How? By doing the less important things! But, by removing the less important things, we have no choice but to do the most important one.

This mindset can be applied to different areas of your life. Here, though, I’d like to apply it to habit building.

Applied to habit building, it means that you should focus on building just one habit that will give you the most impact. Don’t try to build too many habits at once. Instead, pick just one habit and focus on building it.

In The Power of Habit, such a habit is called a keystone habit. This is the habit that can start a chain reaction of positive events in other areas of your life.

How do we choose this habit?

The One Thing suggests using the so-called...

I recently read Warren Buffett’s Ground Rules. It’s a book about Warren Buffett’s investing principles in his partnership years (1956 – 1970), the years before Berkshire Hathaway. The idea of the book is that he managed a relatively small sum back then so the principles are more applicable to individual investors.

The book is an investing book, but also I learned life lessons from it. Here are eight timeless life lessons from Warren Buffett that can help you get ahead in life:

1. Invest in Your Knowledge

While reading the book, I was impressed by the depth of Buffett’s investing knowledge. He was only 25 years old when he began! Now I understand why he became the only student of his mentor, Benjamin Graham, who ever got an A+.

How could he have such depth of knowledge? The answer is that he invested in it. He spent a lot of his time daily on reading.

The lesson here is clear: you should invest in your knowledge. Knowledge is power and having a knowledge advantage will put you ahead in life.

2. Do Your Homework

In the world of investing as in other areas of life, many people do things without really knowing what they are doing. They just blindly follow the crowd or some “experts”.

Not Buffett. He always knew what he was doing. Why? Because he had done his homework. Before making an investment decision, he spent countless hours researching and analyzing the facts. In fact, he was so immersed in it...

A while back, I wrote about the mindset for overcoming a fear of failure. The mindset says that the regret of failing is less than the regret of not trying.

Now I’d like to introduce you to a mindset that extends that. I call the mindset the experiment mindset.

What does it mean?

In essence, the experiment mindset means that you are eager to try new things. You don’t just do what you are always doing. Instead, you are eager to try something new.

This mindset is powerful. It can open doors of opportunities for you and change your life.

Here are several things that will happen if you have this mindset:

1. You will become more observant.

If you have the mindset, you will become more observant. Why? Because you are constantly looking for new things to try. And, of course, you will find new things to try.

2. You will be ready for failures.

As its name says, this mindset is about experiment. Since it’s just an experiment, you know that you could fail. Consequently, you are prepared for failures. Failures won’t stop you.

3. You won’t put everything on the line.

Since it’s just an experiment, you won’t put everything on the line. For instance, you won’t put your life savings into a new business venture. Instead, you will do things in such a way that you can sustain losses.

4. You will have no regret for not trying.

This is important: lifetime regret often comes from not trying. But this mindset helps you avoid that....

A while back, I read Grinding It Out. It tells the fascinating story of how Ray Kroc built McDonald’s.

One interesting thing is that he only started building McDonald’s when he was already 52! You might think that at that age someone’s ‘golden age’ has passed; they wouldn’t build something new, let alone something big. But the story of Ray Kroc proves otherwise. It proves that it’s never too late to build something big in your life.

I learned some success tips from his story. Here they are:

1. Believe That the Best Is Still Ahead of You

How could he make such a big commitment at the time when most people already think about retirement? How did the possibility even enter his mind?

A key factor was the mindset he had. He believed that the best was still ahead of him. He was eager for something more. He didn’t just stay in his comfort zone.

This mindset, if you have it, can make a big difference in your life. Believe that the best is still ahead of you. Believe that there is more to come.

2. Always Be on the Lookout for Opportunities

When you believe that the best is still ahead of you, you will be on the lookout for opportunities. You will open your eyes for them.

Kroc already had a good business selling multimixers at that time, but he didn’t stop there. He kept looking for the right opportunity. Eventually, he heard good things about a restaurant named McDonald’s that intrigued him.

Being on...

It is often assumed that someone who is risk averse and who resists their desire to achieve something does so because they are afraid of failing. In actual fact, there is a second fear that holds people back from striving toward their goals: the fear of success.

It may seem counterintuitive to be afraid of something that so many people spend their entire lives chasing, but success can bring challenges of its own and these can discourage some who may otherwise have the ability to attain it.

They effectively sabotage any chances they may have of fulfilling their potential so as to avoid having to deal with the consequences of their accomplishments.

But what, I hear you cry, could possibly deter people from getting ahead in life? Why would they ever be content with underachieving? Here are 8 possible reasons you might fear success in life:

1. You’re Afraid of the Unknown

Right now your life is predictable. You are in an established rhythm that you can follow without any great thought. Your job doesn’t stretch you, your finances are relatively secure, your free time is taken up by the same old routine each week, and your relationships are stable.

To succeed, you would have to rip up this script and replace it with all sorts of unknown quantities: new people, new places, new lifestyle, new activities. Upon realizing your goal, things might change yet again as your new, successful self faces fresh choices and obstacles.

The unknown is scary, so rather than give it...

Let’s talk about stress, baby…!

Have you looked around lately? Almost everybody is stressed! Everybody has too much to do and not enough time. Burnout rates are higher than ever before. Even though we live in the greatest luxury… we keep stressing ourselves. Think about it: stress sucks all the fun out of life.

Take a moment to imagine what a life without stress could be like.

When the clouds disappear, a beautiful blue sky remains. Similarly, when stressful thoughts and emotions disappear… all that remains is peace of mind.

A clear head. Happiness. Joy.

Do you think that living without stress is a utopia? Keep reading and open your mind. The information that follows may just be the single most important thing you read this week.

The problem is that most people are playing the game of life by the wrong rules. Imagine what happens when you play a game of football by the wrong rules. No matter how hard you try, you can never win. You always end up frustrated, exhausted, demoralized, empty…

We’ve all learned what stress is. Now, what if I tell you that most of what we know about stress is simply… NOT TRUE.

Myth #1: A bit of stress makes you perform better

The right level of challenge makes you perform better. But stress makes you perform worse. This is how neuroscientist Amy Arnsten puts it: “Neural circuits responsible for conscious self-control are highly vulnerable to even mild stress. When they shut down, primal impulses go unchecked and mental paralysis sets...

The word professionalism seems so boring, and unachievable. Everyone who goes out and works majorly thinks giving their best shot during the regular work hours is what professionalism all really is.

But professionalism is so much more than this. It is beyond the bounds of prescribing the most effective drugs or the long list of successfully won cases of a lawyer and apparently much more than the catchy and convincing speech of the salesman.

Ever wonder, why didn’t you like the best-known, specialized expensive doctor you went to? Or why weren’t you convinced when that salesman at the Cosmos asked you to buy the detergent which you knew was good?

The answer to this mystery is simple: because the people behind the desks were not professional enough to gain your confidence in them.

They maybe perfect in their fields, maybe the best, but they didn’t click you because you didn’t find their attitude, style and overall attire appropriate and professional.

This is where the secret lays, the secret to ace your way to the top, to get what you have been dreaming about with minimal effort but maximum gain.

The easiest road to the goal is to show the world why you deserve it and trust us, it comes from within. When you are confident, motivated and determined to achieve your set goals, that energy from within inspires you to become professional.

It triggers your need to dress up appropriately, talk effectively, show your best manners and communicate nicely.

The vessel you are would be fresh...

You know the feeling well. Come on, don’t deny it.

The mounting frustration, the sense that nothing works as it should, everything is irritating and time-consuming. You have no patience, you feel knotted up inside and there’s a slowly enveloping cloud of blackness developing over your head like your own little personal black storm.

Yes, you’re in a bad mood and there’s nothing you can do about it. The day’s ruined and your life’s just a bit crap and why oh why does nobody understand the terrible burdens you, and only you are suffering?!

You rattle on in a cantankerous fury, muttering on under your breath and bemoaning your lot in life.

We all get into a bad mood from time to time and it can be, at best, just inconvenient and annoying. However, at worst it can ruin your day, put a strain on your relationships and, in the longer term, affect your self-esteem and well-being.

When we are in a mood it’s hard to see a way out, difficult to see the wood for the trees and it can become all enveloping and a self-perpetuating cycle of irritation and fury.

Here are nine tips on how to get out of a bad mood:

1. Admit It and Get It Out of Your Head

The first stage is to admit to yourself, and to others, that you are actually in a bad mood. How often has someone gently pointed out to you (possibly out of annoying concern!) that you seem to be in...

In my post last week, I mentioned that I was working on an investing course. I’m glad to say that it’s now done! How to Invest Long-Term in Bitcoin is a course that teaches you how to invest with a long-term view in Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is the hot topic in finance right now for a good reason: it’s increasing fast in value. But many people come to the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies with a short-term mindset; they just want to make a quick buck. This course is different because it takes the long-term view. It’s not about getting rich quick; it’s about how to win the game in the long term.

If you want to better invest your money for long-term financial goals (e.g. retirement), this course will be helpful. There is more information about it on the course page.

You can use the coupon code below to get a special discount (the normal price is $50):

  • BITCOIN10 to get it at $10 (80% off) (20 coupons available)
  • BITCOIN12 to get it at $12 (76% off) (30 coupons available)
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I enjoyed creating the course and I hope you will also enjoy it!

 

In investing, there is something called rebalancing your portfolio. A portfolio has different asset classes in it (such as stocks, bonds, and cash), and there is a particular allocation that best serves your financial goals.

Over time, however, your portfolio might go out of balance. One asset class might outweigh the others because its price increases rapidly. The allocation will then deviate from its ideal.

What should we do then? How can we handle such a situation?

The answer is rebalancing.

Rebalancing is the act of getting the asset allocation back to its ideal. You do it by selling the asset class that’s overweight and buying the one that’s underweight. With this, your portfolio will once again be in a good shape to serve your financial goals.

I believe that the idea of rebalancing also applies to life. You need to make sure that your life is balanced and if it’s not, you need to rebalance it.

In investing, the asset classes are stocks, bonds, and cash. In life, the ‘asset classes’ are the five aspects of life:

  • Spiritual: your relationship with the greater power.
  • Health: your physical health.
  • Work: your career and finance.
  • Social: your relationships with others.
  • Learning: your personal development.

We need to rebalance our lives from time to time. Here are the steps to do that:

1. Find the aspects that are underweight.

Look at each of the five aspects. Which ones do you think are underweight? Which ones do you think need more attention?

2. Find the aspects that are overweight.

Now, do the opposite and find the...

I love quotations. They are short but contain a lot of wisdom. They allow us to learn the lessons of life in a concise way. We can learn a lot just from reading and pondering good quotations.

I’m always on the lookout for good quotations, so I’d like to ask you:

What is your favorite quotation?

Let me share mine first. Here is my favorite quotation:

“Say no to good opportunities so that you can say yes to the great ones.”
~ Rick Warren

This quotation has helped me make many decisions in life.

Now, what’s yours? Please share it in the comments so that everyone can read it. Thanks!

Do you want to live your life to the fullest? If you do, then there is a big obstacle that you need to overcome. That obstacle is fear, and among the different kinds of fear, a major one is a fear of failure.

Imagine putting a lot of effort into something but it doesn’t work. What you get in return is nowhere near your expectations. It wouldn’t feel good, would it?

The problem is, the fear of scenario could prevent you from taking any action at all. And taking no action means making no progress. It means that your life will just stay the same. This, of course, is not the way to live your life to the fullest.

What should we do then? How can we overcome a fear of failure?

I found an answer when I read Originals by Adam Grant. The book is about people who dare to be different. There is a statement there that caught my attention:

“They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.”

Failing would yield less regret than failing to try. You need to keep this in mind. The mindset that you need to have is this:

The regret of failing is less than the regret of not trying.

Yes, you might have regret when you fail. But guess what? The regret will be less than the regret of not trying!

When people are on their deathbeds, their regrets center around things that they didn’t do. They regret not taking risks....