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Building Resilience And Self-Confidence: The Military Perspective.

The Short Advice Army Man Flag

About This Article…

This week we’ve been lucky enough to interview active military personnel to quiz them on resilience and self-confidence. We’ve gained a good insight into some of the practices used in the military designed to build resilience and confidence, and how it applies to everyday people too. So, lets start by looking at how resilience and self-confidence is valued in the military.

What does the military know about resilience and confidence that we don’t?

Resilience and confidence are two of the strongest fundamentals of a well-rounded capable person. They feed and strengthen each other when either is high, but can also negatively affect other aspects of your life when either is low. The effort of building, maintaining and exuding both resilience and confidence is therefore necessary to success. Without confidence, would you have the guts to approach your future husband/wife at a bar? And what if you did have the confidence to speak and are promptly rejected? Would you be resilient enough to speak to another potential date?

A Brief History of Resilience and Confidence in Militaries.

Militaries have understood the importance of resilience and confidence for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. For all of recorded history, civilisations have depended on their armies to either protect them from hostile civilisations or to further their interests by invading others. The Romans would not have been the powerhouse they once were and held influence over the known world without a strong, resilient and confident army. All those that faced battle did so with resilience to brace them against their fears and marched with the understanding and confidence that they and their colleagues had the skills to defeat their enemies. So, what did The Roman armies, and every other successful military, do in common to ensure their people had the resilience and confidence required to make important decisions, do difficult things and risk their lives to win victory for their family, friends and fellow countrymen?

All Armies Share Three Basic Techniques to Toughen Their Soldiers into Confident, Resilient War-Fighters:

1. Rigorous Physical Training.

Have you ever worked out to the point where you feel like you’re going to be sick or pass out? It’s a feeling that most of us can relate to, we’ve worked particularly hard that day and now we’re ready for a rest. Most modern militaries utilise Physical Training (PT) to push their personnel past their previous levels of strength and endurance not only to improve them physically, but also to improve them mentally. Mental toughness is significantly more valuable to a soldier and the military than physical toughness. Interestingly, rigorous PT that stretches you beyond what you thought was your capacity pushes more mental boundaries than anything else. You can almost always work harder than you think you can. So get working. This will make difficult things seem easier and therefore make you more resilient against hard work and leave you confident in your abilities. Checkout these bootcamp programs to start pushing your limits today.

“Why do I have to carry these jerry cans for five kilometres?” “Because, I said so!”

2. Military Exercises and Tasks.

Practicing the rigours of being on a military campaign – going out into the field, camping, eating rations and enduring harsh climates – is exhausting. It is here that you can build a real confidence in your ability to withstand the harsh realities of warfare. Obviously, not everyone will partake in military exercises within their lifetime, but essentially the underlying message here is, learn to live outside of your comfort zone. All of us inadvertently seek the ‘easy way’, the path of least resistance, but more often than not, that is not the path that is actually most beneficial to us.
Get out of your comfort zone, try something you find difficult and relish the challenge. If you fail, take a different approach and try again. This will help you to build resilience and prove that life’s challenges are often the biggest rewards.

“Why are you so upset? There was only a little bit of dust!” “How can I expect you to protect your team mates if you can’t even be trusted to dust your room properly?”

3. Mandatory Shared Accommodation.

Who likes privacy? Everyone. The hot tip: there is very little to no privacy in initial military training. For many new recruits, living amongst a bunch of other new recruits means being ripped away from family, friends, comfort zones and essentially, all previous support networks and being placed into what can seem like a hostile environment. It is uncomfortable, stressful and frustrating, which is entirely the point. Learning to self-manage and problem solve by yourself, as well as with others, is an important skill. Military training teaches this through simply separating you from how you’ve always problem solved or managed your life. By suddenly altering your lifestyle, you are put in a sink or swim situation that requires your immediate attention.

“How am I supposed to get to sleep when my bunk-mate snores?” “Figure it out.”

B.L.U.F (Bottom Line Up Front)

(Yes, that was some military lingo that we picked up along the way). The point of all this stress and frustration is designed to build resilience. So many of the ‘pointless tasks’ required of soldiers in training are not pointless at all. They build resilience, cohesion amongst the team and give the instructors confidence that their soldiers can operate as required, when required, as opposed to when the soldiers feel like it. Bottom line, push yourself to solve problems in ways you wouldn’t normally. Put yourself in difficult (albeit safe) situations and test yourself. Avoid using the support networks you normally use and test your abilities when under stress. And the best part is that all of this can take place in everyday life too, outside of the military.

As always thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Overcome Your Fear of Failure: 5 Fail-Proof Tips

The Short Advice Fear of Failure

Understanding Fear of Failure.

Fear of failure is quite common. It’s normal for us to experience this to some extent, although in extreme cases it can become a phobia. More specifically, atychiphobia. Of course, there is a phobia to describe just about every fear imaginable, so don’t throw yourself into that category just yet. A powerful emotion that is a driving force behind fear of failure, is shame. The shame in knowing that you are not good enough if you do fail. The shame in others knowing too. It can drive us to self-sabotage and procrastinate until we give up. So don’t let these feelings mount, combat them by putting some simple strategies in to place…

The 5 Fail-Proof Tips to Overcome Fear of Failure

We all have dreams and aspirations. And they wouldn’t be dreamy, if they weren’t somewhat difficult to achieve. Achieving your dreams is never going to be easy, and sometimes we tend to talk ourselves out of even trying. Because, what if I don’t succeed? Well, the reality is that you won’t always succeed. And yes, failure can be a scary thought. But don’t let that get in the way of trying. Trying leads to opportunity, and with every small step that you take, your chances of success increase. Maybe only slightly, but they do increase. As will your access to more new opportunities. But the closer you get, and the more work you put in, your fear of failure mounts. We’d prefer to believe that the reason we didn’t achieve our goals is that we didn’t try in the first place. Because trying, and not being good enough is terrifying. So, we stop trying. But before you give up, and continue working in a job that doesn’t motivate you, consider our first ‘Fail-Proof Tip’… 

1. Embrace Your Fear.

Are you afraid? Good. You should be. If you aren’t, then you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone yet. There isn’t a great deal of personal development that happens there, so step number one is to throw yourself into the path of fear, simply by trying. Your fear of failure is necessary in order to balance out the positivity that is associated with courage and bravery. Without fear, these positives could not exist. So be brave enough to try! Yes, you may not succeed your first go, or your second, or your third… But if you can succeed at trying, that is a big step towards achieving something of value, even if that something isn’t what you initially set out for… “Well, Columbus wasn’t looking for America, my man, but that turned out to be pretty okay for everyone.” – Beanie, Oldschool

2. Plan for Success.

Through planning, you allow yourself to visualise your path towards achieving your goals. Breaking down your goals into smaller, more achievable steps will help you to create a pathway towards your long-term goal. In doing this, your approach becomes far more realistic, and your fear of failure will be combatted by the confidence you feel after achieving each step. Don’t expect it to disappear though. It won’t, and it shouldn’t. Rather, use it to remind yourself how you felt before reaching the last small milestone. If you were able to overcome your fear of failure once, you can do it again, and again, and again… 

3. Leverage Your Passion.

Hopefully, it is your desire to succeed in an area that you are passionate about. Don’t let success/failure dictate your level of enjoyment. Your passion should not be dependent on either of those things. If you are doing it because you love to, and not because you have to, then you will immediately have an advantage. Of course, to excel in an area you are passionate about, you’ll have to do some things you may not want to do in order to improve your position. Next time you’re undertaking one of these tasks, just remember it is your passion that will benefit, and give you satisfaction, rather than solely focusing on what you will gain from success. 

4. Manage Your Emotions.

If you’ve just trawled through instagram and seen all the happy, smiling faces earning six figures a month working from home, you might think it looks easy. Firstly, it’s not. Secondly, most of these people are probably liars, and not earning anywhere near what they claim (nor are they helping anybody in the process). Aim to be realistic about your expectations of what your journey towards success will look like. A few months in, after strictly following your plan and seeing little to no reward, you will be upset. Disappointed, angry, dejected, embarrassed… Any combination of negative emotions that stop people from doing what they want to every single day. Emotions will arise without your permission. How you respond though, is completely within your control. 

5. Build Your Resilience. 

Accepting your fears is the first step towards developing mental toughness. But don’t stop there. Be resilient as you face your fear of failure, and keep going. There is much to be gained by embracing the old saying ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. As the negative emotions arise, and try to keep you from realising your dreams, remember that it is action that will make them subside. You will build a resistance to this internal negativity by proving to yourself that you can overcome it through your actions. The road to success shouldn’t be a dark and miserable one. It will be tough, but happiness can (and should) be found in hard work, and not just the end result. 

Final Note…

One step at a time, you will be able to overcome your fear of failure. It won’t disappear forever, but it doesn’t have to for you to achieve success in your chosen field. Never stop trying, and enjoy the trying part too, not just the succeeding part… As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Finding Internal Happiness: The Happiness Investment Strategy

Internal Happiness The Short Advice

Happiness Starts at Home

Not your literal home, but the figurative one inside of you. You are in charge of your happiness, and solely relying on others to provide it for you is unwise. Whilst you might be able to influence the life choices of the close people in your life, you cannot entirely control them. And nor should you! Rather, consider the things that you can control in your life that bring you happiness. If you haven’t been practicing this, then it’s time to find something that you are passionate about. Something you are so grateful for that no relationship could ever take from you. Hypothetically, if all of your meaningful relationships fell by the wayside, how would you fill your time? Please don’t say ‘cry’, that’s not the answer we’re looking for here… In other words, what would you do that would make you happy if the closest people in your life were no longer around? A difficult question to contemplate, but a necessary one if you are to be a sound investor of happiness…

Purchasing Shares in Happiness

If you are lucky enough to have some strong family bonds, good friendships and a romantic relationship, you are probably not as lucky as you are a good friend, relative and partner. That is to say, you have earned these relationships, and the benefits that come along with them. All of your positive attributes that have helped bring you happiness have put you in a buyers position. The question is, how will you spread your wealth? Too many people make the mistake of investing their life savings of happiness chips into a romantic relationship, and expect to put their feet up and sip cocktails on their figurative island in the sun. When their relationship ends, they can’t even afford to pay the mortgage on their happiness, and so, depression becomes their new form of currency. Continuing with this metaphor, lets consider an investment strategy to better manage our happiness:

1. Diversify Your Happiness Portfolio

Smart investors spread their wealth, so do the same with your happiness. Don’t invest it all in your romantic relationship, and neglect your friendships. Don’t forget to spend time with your family, because your financial success has become an overbearing focus. This point is all about creating balance. Not just between the people in your life, but also the activities you undertake. 

2. Invest in Others Wisely

Every now and then, investors take a leap of faith based on some good information. Sometimes we will over-invest when an opportunity presents that seems almost too good to be true, and sometimes it is. Remember the importance of finding the right balance, and check your insecurities at the door. Try to judge every opportunity on its merits, rather than comparing each to your last investment. This can be said of people, business opportunities or other. 

3. List Your Own Company

Invest in yourself! Happiness shouldn’t all be passive income, so get involved in your growing portfolio. Put time aside to find and develop your passion, and excel in areas of interest. This might be a hobby, business opportunity, or both. Whatever it is, it should add value to your life, and hopefully other lives as well. Two important criteria that will help you generate a strong revenue stream of happiness. Get out there and achieve your goals

4. Ride the Peaks and Troughs

Heres where the analogy gets a bit tricky… You can’t sell at the peak of your happiness, and then reinvest when you hit rock bottom. A financially sound idea, but one that doesn’t translate well in the context of happiness. Instead, the point we’re getting at is that you can’t always be happy. When we invest in our passions, and in people, we’re generally in it for the long-haul. Naturally, we’ll have ups and downs. Relationships experience conflict, and the motivation that drives our passions can waver. This is the leg-work behind ‘happy’ that is necessary for it to be sustainable. So, enjoy the good times, and make the tough times better. 

5. Know When to Buy/Sell

Buy when you have the wealth to buy. That is to say, once you have developed some internal happiness. When we are unhappy within ourselves, our insecurities can have too-strong an influence over who we choose to invest in. And when that person’s stock opens significantly lower than when we invested, it can be difficult to sell. Put simply, unhappiness can land us in unhappy relationships. And the same insecurities that saw us settle for these relationships, has us trapped inside them. If you don’t remember how to be happy alone, and are too heavily invested in a negative relationship, it can be much harder to end it (sell). So get back to focussing on point three, and invest in yourself first! You’ll make a better partner in the long run.

Final Note

Happiness is in infinite supply, just like sadness. It is, however, a little harder to find. With the right motivation, resolve, and a sound happiness investment strategy, you’ll be on your way in no time. So get up off the couch, and get stuck into whatever makes you happy, and adds value to other lives as well. If you’re not sure what that is yet, go and find it! As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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SMART Goals: What Are They And Why Should I Use Them?

SMART Goals The Short Advice

The Importance of Goal-Setting

Goals give purpose to our actions and are a major consideration of the ‘Success Blueprint‘. They provide the direction and motivation needed to be successful in our endeavours, acting as ‘stepping stones’ to track our progress. Goal-setting should incorporate both long-term and short-term goals, to ensure that we set ourselves realistic and achievable targets. This brings us to the acronym that we’re going to dissect in this article, SMART goals. 

SMART Goals

The term was first coined by George Doran in a 1981 article for Management Review titled ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T way to write management’s goals and objectives‘. Whilst this article was written for the context of business management, the idea itself is not exclusively for business application. Since 1981, the term has been further developed, and can be presented in a number of ways, according to Robert S Rubin. Below, we’ve chosen what we believe to be the most helpful term for each letter of the acronym, to describe the process of defining realistic goals. 

Specific

Exactly what are you aiming to achieve? Don’t be vague, be precise. This will help you to define the steps that you’ll need to take in order to achieve your goal. The more specific your SMART goal is, the easier it will be to identify the path that will get you there. In previous posts, we have referred to this path as the ‘short term goals’ and ‘regular activities’ necessary for overall success. 

Measurable

How will you measure your progress? Consider the criteria that must be met in order to continue moving towards your end goal, and ensure that these points are clearly defined. Now, consider how you will measure the success of your overall goal. Is your SMART goal specific enough for you to clearly define what your success will look like? As well as setting a specific goal, set specific targets that will allow you to track your progress and encourage you to continue towards the ultimate outcome. 

Achievable

Make sure your goal is a realistic one. It’s okay to reach for the stars, but sometimes you need to focus on making it outside of the Earth’s atmosphere first. That is to say, the achievement of realistic goals, will make those less-attainable goals more attainable. Similar to above, long-term goals need short-term goals, and broken down further, regular activities, in order to be successful. Naturally, your shorter-term goals will be relatively easier to achieve in comparison to your long-term one. 

Relevant

This point encourages you to consider if your goal is relevant to you, your environment, and your needs/wants. Your SMART goals should be aligned with your values and principles. How will they contribute to your overall development, and how do they relate to any other future aspirations/goals? Chasing large goals can affect other areas of your life, so consider whether it is a wise life-choice before embarking on your journey. 

Time-based

Perhaps one of the most important points of the SMART goals acronym. This brings us back to specificity in a way… Exactly how long are you going to allow yourself to achieve your goal? By setting deadlines for each task, you’ll keep yourself on track. This also takes us back to the ‘measurable’ point. Completing tasks within a time frame that you’ve set provides a measurable point of success. Or perhaps you didn’t meet the time frame? That’s okay too, it still provides a measurable benchmark that you can improve on. 

Are SMART Goals Flawless?

Nothing, and no-one is perfect. SMART goals are a fantastic tool to plan and analyse the goals we set for ourselves. But there are other considerations we should make during the goal-setting phase. Because, just like interests, goals can change. Measures of success can change. So, we must be able to adapt throughout our journey in order to achieve our goals. That is why critical self-reflection is so important. If you have been unable to meet the targets outlined by your SMART goals, then you need to understand why. Our mistakes and failures are but invaluable lessons that provide the basis for our success. Absorb these experiences, and use them to refine and re-implement your SMART goals. 

Final Note

If you don’t start today, you’ll wish you had tomorrow. Use the SMART goals acronym to refine and re-implement your current goals, and give yourself the best chance at achieving success. We sure hope you’ve found this article helpful, and we are forever grateful that you’ve taken the time to read it! So, as always, thanks very much, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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Productivity Vs Procrastination: 5 Pertinent Points

Productivity Fist

Productivity vs Procrastination: Civil War.

Procrastination, ‘The Land of Counter-Productivity’, and civil unrest. Whether you’re studying, working, or developing a project, we’ve all journeyed there at one time or another. A self-destructive government wasting it’s resources, and you’re the President. But it’s time to clean up the streets, and appoint a new Secretary of Defence that isn’t so easily corrupted by fidget spinners and Netflix. The campaign for productivity has begun…

The 5 Pertinent Points of Productivity

Your productivity is measured by your level of quality output. This quality output is what you need to produce in order to achieve your goals. The more efficiently you can do this, the closer you’ll be to success. The first step towards being productive, is actually being there…

1. Be Where You Are.

This is a lesson on managing your internal and external environment, and the things that you can, and cannot control. Are you losing focus whilst writing an essay because you can’t help thinking about the deadline? Stop it. You can’t change the deadline. So put that thought aside, and concentrate on what you can do now, with the resources that you have available now.

2. Consider Your Goals.

Goal setting is an important part of creating direction and motivation that you need to consider. Why are you putting yourself through this? The process of achieving our goals may at times be tedious, but this hard work is what gives value to our goals in the first place. If it were easy and valuable, wouldn’t everyone have already achieved your goals?

3. Consider Your Consequences.

If goal setting is the positivity, then consequences are the negativity. Don’t ignore negativity simply because you fear it will classify you as a pessimist. Be aware of what you could be missing out on if you choose not to do the work required. But, don’t dwell on it. That is the difference between being a realist and a pessimist. Hoping to achieve your goals won’t achieve your goals.

4. Re-Think Your Approach.

This point refers to efficiency, productivity’s dearest relative. If you feel like you’re chasing your tail, perhaps its time to change your process. There will always be improvements and adjustments that can be made to the way you approach any activity. After all, nobody is perfect. So, time spent procrastinating could instead be spent on reviewing how you do things. Is your environment conducive to productivity? What could you change? What distractions could you avoid, and how?These questions will lead to improved efficiency and productivity.

5. Do Something Else.

If all else fails, you can declare a productivity vs procrastination cease-fire. Walk away, and do something different for a little while. That doesn’t mean go off and watch a feature length film. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you should indulge in the activity that is causing you to procrastinate. If you’re studying, it might mean go for a walk to grab a coffee, and get back to work in ten minutes time. Basically, give yourself short breaks if you become distracted for a period of time, and then return ready to work.

Signing the Peace Treaty.

Learning to work harmoniously alongside the inevitable temptations of procrastination will take some doing. Follow The 5 Pertinent Points, and begin campaigning for a stronger balance of efficiency and productivity today. Like anything, you’ll refine and adjust as you go along… It may not be a perfect process, but with each step you take, you’ll be far closer to where you need to be. Realise your goals, and earn your happiness.

As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.