how to deal with stress

Guide on how to deal with stress | 10 Ways to reduce Stress

You should be extremely glad you’ve landed on this guide on how to deal with stress. It is something that can be a massive drain on life and can lead to depression and anxiety. At the end of this guide I will provide you with a succinct list of 10 ways to reduce your stress.

Stress is something most of deal with on a daily basis. It can be in small levels or extreme levels, depending on the myriad of complex things our life has to handle. These causes of stress include and are not limited to:

  • Stress from work pressures
  • Stress from financial problems
  • Stress from issues with your partner
  • Stress from schooling and studies

Why you should deal with stress?

If you don’t deal with stress you could fall victim to it taking your life. That’s right 110 million people die every year from things directly related to stress every year. That’s kind of mind boggling right?

It’s hard not to get stuck in the bubble of stress and over think things. Sometimes we can end up in an endless loop of over thinking, over analysis of things that are typically are not as a big of a problem as we perceive them to be. While this seems simple in theory to just not over think things, lets look at some practical steps from some of the best thought leaders in this space.

How to deal with stress according to Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is probably the best known life coach and personal development coach to have lived. He has helped tens of thousands of people better themselves and Evan Charmichael put together this great video detailing some tactics on how to deal with stress.

  1. Decide to live in a beautiful state – you get used used to what you tolerate. So if you continue to tolerate things in your life you condition yourself to  put up with things you shouldn’t. Just as we do with stress we make a decision to tolerate this feeling. You can change that by dealing with the things that stress you out and not accepting this stress. Practice and train to be in a state of being in a positive mindset. Stressing about things will not change the outcome of the predicament but it will definitely effect your own well being. So do not tolerate this feeling.
  2. Raise your standards – creating rituals that allows you to get better. Always start with the why. Surround yourself with people who are positive rather than those who drag you down to their negative mindsets. You are a product of what you surround yourself. Rise above this and raise your standard by solving the problems that yo need to.  That’s where you can get momentum.
  3. Better yourself – always be wanting to better yourself. Whether thats learning something new, reading for 30 mins a day, dedicating yourself to living healthier, exercising. What ever it is, this will train your mind to be always thinking about being better and to be always aiming to be continuously improving. Tip: find yourself a role model that can help guide you to what you want to be. Let them be your inspiration to the being the person you can be.
  4. Believe – practice in your head that you can achieve. It’s not just physical its also mental and moving into your potential is tapping into the idea that you can do it. A belief in the potential will help you achieve what you want to. Believe in your potential and then make it happen physically.
  5. Find meaning in your life – money doesn’t matter at all, do things that help others this will bring meaning.

How to deal with stress according to Brendan Burchard 

Brendan Burchard is a New York Times best selling writer and motivational speaker. He has a Youtube channel dedicated to self development and motivation. I have turned to Bredan’s video’s over the past six years or so and really enjoy his method of motivating. It’s actionable and to the point.

  1. Decide not to be a stress case – making an informed decision not to stress. Stress is not something that in tangible it is something we make up in our mind. Since we are making it up it should be something that we can decide not to do as well. Do not stress just do. Most stress comes from two things:
    1. a false time crunch and  fake deadlines – find the truth about these deadlines.
    2.  making things in our mind more important than they actually are.
  2. There is no reason that we actually need to be stressed. To alleviate this:
    1. Get some perspective on this stress
    2. Learn to breath, the deep breathing we do the calmer we can get. Practice deep breaths.
  3. Dealing with being overwhelmed:
    1. Go for a short stroll outside to clear your mind, try 20-40 mins.
    2. Get organised – most of the stress in our life is being unorganised. So work it out! Get organised.

How to deal with stress according to Jocko Willink 

I’ve only just started listening to Jocko, purely on accident. I think I was looking up something on dealing with a bad boss. Which I do have and found that to be quite insightful. Jocko is an ex Navy Seal and now hosts a weekly podcast.

 His stance on stress is to really get perspective on the stress that you have. There is typically people out there in the world that are facing unimaginable stress that are in no comparison to the things that you are going through.

You must detach from this to understand this and perspective.

The major reason you are feeling these stresses is due to not having discipline in getting ahead of a situation, this is something you can control.

For things that you cannot control, a way to deal with it if you can’t get control of it. You need to embrace some of the things you can slightly control. Embrace that you can’t control it, you need to detach and realise this and just deal with it as it comes. If you cannot control it take that stress and turn it into your ally. Take advantage of this feeling don’t fight it, turn it on itself. Use it to make yourself think more and learn more and use that stress as a catalyst to make yourself better.

10 Ways to reduce Stress

  1. Get organised – most stress is cause by not being organised and having the discipline to be on top of the things you need to get done or achieve.
  2. Learn to say ‘No’ – not for the sake of it but this goes hand in hand with point 1. If you are organised you will understand you capabilities you will then know what capacity you have to complete something. If you don’t have the ability to do so, say ‘No’ or give realistic time frames on when something can be done.
  3. Get physical – yeah its hard work to do exercise but this can be crazy beneficial to your stress levels.
  4. Get more sleep – being tired may not cause the stress but being tired will put your stress on steroids. If there is one thing you can do that’s easy go to sleep earlier. Sleep more.
  5. In line with point 4, cut down on the depressants and stimulants in your consumption. Yes that means coffee, cigarettes, recreation drugs and alcohol. Get back to a level state of mind without the use of these. They might make you feel good for the moment, but they also affect your stress levels. Also don’t use them to help with your stress, you’re just making it worse.
  6. Try some deep breathing or mindfulness activities such as meditation. This can help you to clear your find and get to a level of relaxation which will assist you to work through why you are feeling stressed.
  7. Speak to family, friends or a professional – speaking about whats stressing you out can sometimes alleviate the stress by just getting it out in the open. It can also help by getting advice from someone you trust on your current predicament.
  8. Get some perspective on the situation. Realise it’s not so bad.
  9. Go for short walks – when you start to feel a sense of stress, pause and go outside and get some fresh air go for a short walk and relieve yourself of that stress.
  10. Face what’s stressing you out. Sometimes people do not face whats stressing them and most of the time they would be able to control it. In essence a false sense of stress because you do not act. Act and this will confront whats stressing you. Especially if you can control it.

 


Resources

Skills You Need – Dealing with Stress – Ten Tips

Psychology today – 7 Ways Mentally Strong People Deal With Stress

Youtube – How to Deal With Stress in Life – Jocko Willink

Youtube – How To Deal With Stress (Brendon.com)

Youtube – Tony Robbins: How to deal with STRESS and DEPRESSION – #MentorMeTony

 

The 6 year capital gains tax exemption

The 6 year capital gains tax exemption (CGT) | Could save you thousands

When I find little nuggets of information that I know can help people now in the future I always love sharing them. I came across this little find of the 6 year capital gains tax exemption rule on our property purely by accident. In the hunt to understand how much equity I would have in my current house that we have as an investment property, I discovered that we were eligible to be exempt from this property tax.

Now don’t get too excited yet, this CGT exemption only applies to people who initially lived in their home. Or in other words, if you have the ability to live in your property before turning it into an investment property, it will most likely be the best decision you ever make to save on capital gains tax. Now thankfully for my family, this was something that happened accidentally.

So what is this 6-year exemption rule from capital gains on your property?

Simply stated if you lived in your property for 12 months prior to switching it to an investment property to earn income from you can continue to claim it as your primary residence alleviating any capital gains tax that may apply to the growth in your property value.

The main thing to keep in mind is that throughout this period you do not claim another property that you own as your primary residence for tax purposes. To give you greater clarity I’ll give you my own experience as a scenario on how it works.

My CGT exemption scenario

In 2010 my wife and I bought our first property together. In this instance, my wife missed her opportunity to cash in on the first home buyers grant as I had bought a property some 8 years prior with my brother. Our purchase of the Seaford property was meant to be our ‘forever’ house but alas nothing end up as forever, especially in our case.

After a few year and several circumstances changing in our life we decided that we would need to move to another property to suit our requirements. At the time we were not in a financial position to buy something else so we decided to move to the world now known as rentvesting (own an investment property, rent where you want to live). Over the next 4 years, this has seen us live in another rental property but we have never bought another property.

Now that our life circumstances have changed, we can comfortably buy a house that we want to now own and live in.

Here is the kicker, because we lived in the house prior to turning into an income generating asset, we now receive a 6 year time limit to how long we can continue claiming that property as our primary residence (for tax purposes) and be capital gains exempt.

What does this mean for us?

Well on the approximate $300k increase in house price since 2010 we do not have to pay the hefty CGT saving us around $40k based on the sharing of gains to our individual incomes and being taxed accordingly. Which is crazy right?

 


Information Sources:

ATO – Treating a dwelling as your main residence after you move out

Your Investment Mag – Six-Year CGT Rule, Tax On Non-Residents And CGT When Selling A Previously Rented PPOR

RentVesting – The Six Year Main Residence Exemption

Nexia – Turning your main residence into an investment

 

How To Dump a Toxic Friend

How To Dump a Toxic Friend From Your Life for the Better.

Leading a happy life can be one where you need to take drastic measures. One of those measures is removing the shitty people out of your life that bring you down rather than complementing your life. You’re probably wondering two things, how do you know you have a crappy friend and how to dump a toxic friend?

Over the last several years of my life, I have been really trying to understand my own mind and what makes me happy. After reading several self development style books and articles, the thing that really stood out for me was the idea of removing toxic friendships from your life.  We all know, that we have a limited amount of time for socialising on a day to day and thus we should spend that time with people we actually enjoy.  Studies done by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar on friendships, shows that the average person has about 150 friends, these are people you feel comfortable in any social interaction. But breaking down that 150 is quite interesting:

  • Your closest and what you would classify as inner circle of friends  – five
  • The next level, who you would classify as those you would definitely invite to you birthday dinner – ten
  • The extended circle of friends or friends from clubs, social groups – thirty five
  • Acquatances/Filler friends – one hundred

Remember this is an average of course, but when you look at it closely you will probably start analysing your friendships with people much closer.  Oh and I’m not talking about the virtual friends in Social Media world, this is all based around the real world.  So when you understand that the brain, in itself has limited ability to actually manage no more than say 15 serious friendships, you will then realise that wasting this effort on a toxic friendship is not only time wasted, but it also makes you feel like crap!

Before figuring out how to dump a toxic friend, firstly what exactly is a toxic friendship? Here is a list to help you look at the friendships that you have and funny enough when you are reading it, you will probably be thinking about one of your friends and realise, yes just as I have been thinking.  So take a look at this list and make up your own mind.

1. Negative! Negative! Negative! – You know that person who is constantly complaining about everything in life, the inability to notice the good things in their life and typically some of this negatvity can be directed at you. Putting you down and other people you know. Seriously who needs a friend like that?

2. Unsupportive – Everyone has heard the term give and take. Well, in this case it’s all about them.  That type of friend, who you seem to always be there for and helping out, but deep down inside you know they are never there for you. They do not support your endeavours, even making fun of these achievements.

3. Envious/jealous/possessive – These kind of people are never happy for other people because internally they want what their friends have.  So if they can’t have it, then nobody else deserves to have it.

4. Manipulative – Have you ever heard of the concept of emotional blackmail? Only there when they actually need something from you, knowing all the buttons to make you say, yeah no worries mate.  But if you don’t give them what they are after, you are sure to feel the wrath and pay for it, one way or another.

5. Selfish/Self-centered – This has no benefit to me, who cares! Just because it’s not about you, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care. Do you know someone like that?

6. Immoral – Trust is an important part of all relationships, in fact probably the corner stone of all.  Without it there is nothing really.  But these kind of friends continuously lie and do things you would consider unethical.  If you offer advice or judgement about these ways, obviously to help them to a better way of acting, they will typically deny or even get angry.  When in fact all you are doing is trying to help.

7. Insincere – You ever noticed that tone in the voice or that look on the face when someone is saying something, but the actions are the total opposite.  Insincere, in my common tongue I would call that being a bitch.  Simply pretending to be happy about it is worse than saying nothing.

8. Inconsiderate – When you happen to go out of you way to help someone with something they need, sometimes these demands can be quite inconvenient.  When you do help them they are rarely thankful for it, leaving you with that feeling of WTF?

9. A bad influence – Yes you know that person who makes you feel uncomfortable to do something you don’t want to.  You could call them a bully, always hassling you to ‘come on’ just do it.  But your own moral compass doesn’t think its a good idea.

So you have your checklist of things, while you probably already know inside that a lot of these make sense. When reading, you were thinking, ‘oh man’ old mate is exactly like that.  You may have read it and thought, damn! I am a little bit like that. But all is not lost, if you think you may indeed show some of these traits towards others, especially people you like and love.  The good news is, people can change, and continuous change is the only way of making yourself and those around you better people.

The question though, is what to do with these toxic friendships? There is  two ways you can handle it. The first is, how I have gone about it. Simply sit down with your friend and explain their actions and let them know how these actions make you feel. Your simple answer to whether or not to continue this friendship will be their reaction, and guessing by the traits of these people sometimes you will get total denial and even anger.  If that’s the case it’s pretty simple, good bye old friend.

If they take it all on board, what you are saying to them and they state some kind of apology and say they will do their best to change, then give them a second chance.  Two things will then happen, life will go on and you will have a better friendship or they may fall back into their old ways and there is your sign to walk away.  Of course if the second instance happens, once again it is time to break ties with this toxic friendship.

It’s definitely not an easy thing to do and is quite confronting, but trust me for peace of mind and to help yourself getting to happier place can only be done by removing negativity out of your life.  Why would you want to be friends with people who make you feel like crap? One that you are continuously thinking about for bad things rather than the good.  Do it, dump those shitty friends and do like I have done, created new prosperous friendships with people who are simply on the same wave length, that share the same ideals.  Like I said at the start of this blog, we only have a certain amount of friendship space, why waste all that emotional energy on those toxic friendships.

If you have any stories of dealing with toxic friendships, feel free to share.


Resources

11 Ways To Break Up With A Toxic Friend, No Matter How Hard It Seems

7 Glaring Signs You Need To Break Up With A Toxic Friend

7 People Share the Stress, Heartache and Freedom That Comes with Dumping a Toxic Friend

what to do when you hate your job

What to do when you hate your job

So it’s Sunday evening and all you can think about is waking up in the morning and going to that thing you call a job.  Your Sunday is ruined because all you can think of is this job you have to do, that you absolutely despise, so what to do when you hate your job? But why do you hate it so much? Why does it cause you this feeling of anxiety and a want to not do it any longer. There are probably a lot of reasons, but the only real thing keeping you there, is the fact you have bills to pay, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it of course. There are hundreds of reasons why you hate your job, but really understanding why, can help you realise that for your own health and well being you probably need a change. So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you hate your job.

1. No Passion for it – It seems pretty simple right? But with anything in life, you really need to enjoy what you are doing. It sounds easy to say in practice, but the reality is, if you are not doing something you love, you’re probably going to get bored after the first 6-12 months. Once you have mastered the art of doing something,  you realise that you don’t really like it. Yes you might have liked it at the start, while you were gaining some knowledge, but after a while, you are just going to feel like like blah! What the f#ck am I doing here? I have just wasted all this time on this job and now I want out.

2. Show me the money – Yes, money, money, money, can make people do jobs that they loathe, because well, it pays pretty damn good. But is that money worth all that misery? Probably not. If your job choice is based on the money, rather than something that inspires you, well you’re probably doomed in the long run.

3. I am so much better than this – You know that feeling that you should be doing something bigger than what you are doing. Stop feeling guilty about this, if that’s a feeling you have, it doesn’t make you ungrateful, it makes you ambitious.  Follow your ambition rather than following a line of complacency, which generally is the easy option.

4. It’s what I studied – Who cares? Haven’t you heard of change? Just because you decided to study something when you were 18 years old doesn’t mean it should be the thing you do for the rest of your life. There is a reason you are hating this job right now and that’s because you have changed as a person. It is almost crazy to think you are going to do something for your whole life. Once the interest has gone, it’s time to move on.

5. My job lacks any meaning – Well unfortunately that would be the case for many jobs, if not all of them. When your job doesn’t connect with your values and goals you are most definitely going to feel this way. At the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is ‘self actualisation’.  If you are in a job that doesn’t help you to find this, well chances are you are not going to like it.

6. It takes up way too much of my time – The horrible position of being employed on a salaried role, where the expectation is, you need to be there all the time. Yet they seem to harp on about work-life balance. Seems odd, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is all too common, the reality vs expectation. You need to ask yourself if spending so much time at your job is worth it? If you are constantly thinking, I spend way too much time at this job, well that’s probably a bad sign.

7. My boss is an a$$hole – This is a killer! In can be demoralising, to your confidence and your work output. Someone who either micro manages you, has constant unreasonable requests and is generally not that nice to be around. The good news is, it’s not you! People who act this way are typically the ones who are generally threatened and unhappy people themselves. Best to confront or get away from this situation asap.

8. Impending doom – A company that is going through hard times, with imminent job cuts, talk about breaking the backbone of the workforce. Everyone turns into stunned rabbits, but management harp on about how everything is going to be o.k. ‘We are the life blood of this organisation’. Well their job is to manage expectations and allow for efficiencies to continue, it’s in their best interest, because well, their job may also be under threat. It is a tough situation to be involved in, but as scary as losing your job maybe, it could also be the greatest thing that happens to you, especially if you don’t enjoy your job in the first place.

9. The commute is killing me – If travelling an hour or more each way is making you count the hours lost in your life, you need to ask yourself the question, do you like your job and hate the commute? Or do you hate both job and the commute. If its the first, you probably should figure out ways to change that. Ever thought of moving? Maybe take up some extra curricular learning, make that time count for more.

What do I do now?

While it all seems so hard to just say, f#ck it. I’m going to move onto something totally different, sometimes you just need to.  Being brave is not easy, it can be tough, but it really is just something of the mind. Constantly thinking of the reasons not to change because of money and stability and all the other different excuses someone will make, is just negative and a defeatist attitude. The reality is that execuses are not going to make you feel better, it will just continue to build that feeling of apathy and complacency. Stop being one of the living dead and change your life.  You can plan for this change. Just the thought of doing something different can be the motivator that gets you up in the morning, making you realise that who cares about this job that I am going to right now, because in the not too far future, I will be doing something I really enjoy.

If your potential new career is one, which will most definitely pay you less than you are currently earning, make the change a gradual one. Scale back your life, as in, change your life to suit what you want to do in the future. Yes it’s nice to have fancy cars, and a fancy house, but is it worth the heartache of a job that drives you insane? Simple answer, no, so readjust, make some change, plan ahead for your exit out of this toxic feeling. Plan your life around the work you want to do and then make the necessary steps to align yourself to realising that dream job.  Just scale back to adjust for that change in income.  This will have two benefits, you will begin to save money, and you will begin to see the change in the not too far future. Hope always wins.

Another obstacle to the change is that you don’t have the qualifications. Well, enrol in a course that will help you get the necessary qualifications to do the job. There are so many ways of learning today, whether it’s formal education or online courses through resources such as Udemy, just get out there and learn something new, something that you love and something that you are actually interested in. If the job doesn’t require any qualifications, but you don’t have the necessary experience, volunteer your time and learn on the job, who is going to say no to some extra hands for free? Who know’s that volunteer work that you have been doing, may just lead into a potential position.

The other thing to look at is possibly running your own business. Yes it can be an extremely scary thought, where do you even start? Well the good news is, you already have a job that pays you for your time.  Now you need to plan in your spare times for your potential new start up. The beauty of the modern day tech based world, is there are unlimited resources for you to figure out the steps in launching your business, whether its a product or a service. All the tools you need to execute are waiting for you online. It has never been easier in the history of time to start a business. Another benefit of having a day job, is that you can also gradually work on your new start up as a part time adventure outside of regular working hours and work it to a place where you can say, heck ‘all in’ and give up that day job that has rubbed you the wrong way for years.

If you don’t know what you want to do, you haven’t figured that out yet. Remember to be constantly learning new things, don’t be a creature of the system.  If your life is running on auto-pilot, where you wake up everyday, do the same shit on repeat and then go home and waste a whole bunch of time because you have no more mental energy, just stop wasting time. Turn off the TV, turn off the video games, stop abusing social media and reinvest that time into learning about something you love.  The choice is yours and the only one who can change that destiny, is you.  You can choose to be that mouse on the wheel or the person who makes the wheel.  Trust me, once you figure the wheel you want to make and decide to go after it, your life will change forever.


Resources

What To Do When You Hate Your Job

What to Do When You Hate Your Job and You Don’t Have Anything Else Lined Up (Yet)

What To Do When You Hate Your Job

Why am I always unhappy

Why am I always unhappy and what you can do about it

Do you have the constant thought of “Why am I always unhappy” well you have landed in the right place and here is a guide for what you can do about it. Unhappiness for most part is a state of mind rather than a perpetual feeling that will never end. 

Keep on going unhappiness, you’re only 5 minutes away from understanding ‘why am i always unhappy” and a whole bunch of positive steps you can make to change your mood.

I once heard this great line about happiness and I cannot recall where it comes from, but it went down the lines of, people think that the opposite of happiness is sadness. The real opposite of happiness is boredom. When I heard this it made me realise, hey thats probably true. It seems striving for happiness is something that everyone aspires to, because there is no point in leading a life of boredom. There are obviously several factors to why people are unhappy, so lets take a look at why you are unhappy and some things you can do to make yourself feel better.

1. You really don’t like your job.

Whenever things go a bit sour in a job I’m doing, I always tell myself, ‘You can do better than this.’ Dr. Seuss

I wrote something not long ago about why people hate their jobs, you can find it here. But simply it makes sense if you are not in a good place when it comes to your job, a place where you spend a quarter of your weekly time at, it’s probably time to reassess what it is you’re doing for your wage. Simply, money is not the driving factor for happiness and whilst it feels good to be secure and have money to keep you going. This horrible cycle of dependence is one that can rip the soul out of a person. The link above gives you some perspective on why and what you can do about it. Maybe it’s time for a change.

2. You are on a revolving circuit of worry.

I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night, ‘There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me dreaming of being a movie star.’ But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest. Marilyn Monroe

It seems it’s easy to say don’t worry about things, they will all work out in the end. But for the serial worrier, it seems hard to just say they will work out in the end. Whether its money, your relationships, your job or whatever, you need to understand what is worrying you. Write a list of everything that is worrying you right now, and write a set of actions that can help you to alleviate these problems. For a long time I had issues with worrying about money, I mean who doesn’t? But I created a budgeting spread sheet, which allows me have an overview of what money I owe and whether I have enough money to cover it. It has worked a treat, being aware of the issues and creating solutions for them is a much more practical way then simply not worrying about them.

3. Holding onto grudges.

At least in my life, I cannot hold onto grudges. It’s a waste of energy, a waste of time. Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down)

Holding onto grudges is one of the most toxic things you can do, as Phil put it, it’s a waste of energy and a waste of time. Do yourself a favour and just let it go. I have seen in my own family how grudge holding has become so destructive. If someone has wronged you, then confront them, close the case, tell them how you feel and move on. There is absolutely no point in letting that revolving feeling of anger towards someone float around your head space. Kill it off now and move forward, there is no point and it only upsets you further. Come on, do it now, get over it!

4. You compare yourself to others.

Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine! Jennie Finch

That little internal game we sometimes play when we compare ourselves and our achievements to other people. We are all different and there is no point in comparing yourself to someone else. As an individual as Jennie puts it, discover your own gifts and let them shine. It sounds simple and it is, so stop comparing yourself to others and appreciate all the good things about yourself. The saying goes you can’t compare apples with oranges, but really you can, they both have defining characteristics. But realistically the non comparison is more about that there is no point in comparing the two, as they are both in their own way delicious fruits. Some will like one more than others, but thats ok, if you are to compare, you lose sight of what is good about the orange (you) or the apple (whoever else).

5. The ultimate pessimist.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Winston Churchill

I’ve got to be honest here and say I used to be that half glass full kind of person. But overtime I have learnt to be optimistic about things, being hopeful is a good thing. Don’t be the negative Nancy, it only holds you back. It’s good to question things with a sense of wanting to get a better outcome, but if you are continually being pessimistic about things, makes achieving things extremely difficult with such a mindset. There’s also that saying, don’t have any expectations, then you won’t be disappointed. That’s absolute garbage. Don’t have any expectations? Expect that you can achieve, that you can do it, but if you don’t, realise that failure is a natural course of learning. Get back up on that horse and try again. Pessimism drives inaction, drop it now!

6. Loneliness.

Everybody has something that chews them up and, for me, that thing was always loneliness. The cinema has the power to make you not feel lonely, even when you areTom Hanks

One of the major inhibiters to happiness is having valued connections with other people. It’s part of the human make up, we enjoy the company of others. Now I can tell you all about loneliness and that working from home can get lonely, so I make an active effort to get out of the house and visit friends and family. I always feel my best when I am interacting with others, it’s kind of my muse in life. But if you are lonely, you need to step out of your comfort zone and meet people. Maybe reconnect with old friends or make new friends online, through resources such as meetup.com. This is a place where people create groups for people with a shared interest and they meet up on regular occasions. It’s definitely the easiest way of making new connections, shared loves.  Or you could do as Tom suggests, chuck on a movie.

7. You are surrounded by negativity

Unhappy people make me feel like I’ve done something wrong. Alexandra Stoddard

You are the product of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Now if your closest group of friends are a bunch of pessimists and negative people. Well you’re going to have to make changes. You can either confront your friends and say hey I’m not feeling so good about all this negativity. If they don’t like it, well its pretty simple, make some new friends. See the above on meetup.com.

8. Being unhealthy and low body self-esteem.

A strong body makes the mind strong. Thomas Jefferson

It’s pretty simple, self loathing of your body and how you feel is a horrible feeling. While it seems a simple thing to fix, all you need to do is some exercise and eat better. Sounds easy right? But it is an ever growing problem in society, we don’t have time and we can’t be bothered. But this needs to change. I need to change. Having a healthy body leads to a happy mind, its pretty easy to realise that if you feel good about your body, you are going to feel good about yourself. I should really exercise more.

9. Complacency and you’re not learning new things.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Gandhi

If you are happy plodding along in life, good for you. But for most, that feeling of stalling and not going anywhere can be a major buzz kill. Sometimes your own complacency can be blamed for that along with a lot of excuses, like time. But nothing can replace the power of learning new things. Whether its a new hobby or a book on an interesting topic. Learning new things can lead to new things in life in general, knowledge is a very powerful thing. If you are not learning something new every week, change that. If you waste time watching meaningless TV like the average person does, swap it for something like a book or an explanatory video or whatever. Just learn something new, trust me, it will change you for the better.

10. You’re too busy.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of being busy, and being busy is not necessarily productive. Tim Ferriss

People always like to convince themselves that they don’t have enough time. We fill our lives with meaningless tasks and convince ourselves that we are busy. If this is the case for you, you need to do an assessment on what you are doing with your time. Take Parettos Law (80/20), that 20 percent of your activities will lead to 80% of the outcomes in life. So start getting efficient, stop wasting time on shit that doesn’t matter and do the things that really matter. Set goals and focus on these things that will make your life better. Use those 168 hours per week well, be sure to get the appropriate sleep as this no doubt will help in feeling refreshed and well rested. Thats a cure for the sads in itself.

11. You care way too much about what others think.

By not caring too much about what people think, I’m able to think for myself and propagate ideas which are very often unpopular. And I succeed. Albert Ellis

Seriously, who cares what people think. It’s not about saying it out loud that you don’t care what they think, it’s just about doing it, not caring. If you are continuously worried about what people think, then you are never going to try and do something. This obviously links into the whole idea of fear of failure, because why else would you care what people think. Be yourself, be brave and tell the world I am f$#king awesome.

12. You don’t have enough ‘me’ time.

I love to have a bath with beautiful, relaxing music on and have no rush to do anything. It’s a wonderful indulgence, and it helps me to calm down and stop my mind running overtime. Kylie Minogue

Dude you better start relaxing. You know, get some ‘me’ time, where you can sit with yourself, gather your thoughts and unwind what ever possible negativity you may have inside your mind. I was a victim of not being able to relax for years, going to the beach seemed crazy. What, we are just going to sit down and do nothing. Thankfully I have finally found the beauty in relaxation. People think its crazy, but talk to yourself, work through your thoughts. You spend the most time with, well yourself, so why no connect with your internal mind. Meditation works good for this and I try to get in at least 30 minutes of meditation every day. Works wonders.

13. Have you got a dog?

Many of the qualities that come so effortlessly to dogs – loyalty, devotion, selflessness, unflagging optimism, unqualified love – can be elusive to humans. John Grogan

Get a dog, they are awesome and they will make you awesome.


Resources

Do You Ask Yourself “Why Am I Always So Unhappy?”

7 Common Habits of Unhappy People

10 Signs of Walking Depression

How Ruslan Kogan Can Inspire You to Start Your Online Dream

How Ruslan Kogan Can Inspire You to Start Your Online Dream

Ruslan Kogan’s rag’s to riches story, is one, which demonstrates how the power of an idea, lateral thinking, empowerment of staff and cheeky tenacity, can lead to amazing results. Ruslan like many entrepreneurs, does not come from a background of wealth and like myself, comes from an immigrant family, who decided to make Australia their new home.  He is truly a self made millionaire, with the power of the online sphere and one big idea, he has gone from nothing in 2006, when he launched his dream, to a whopping $320 million empire.  Yes in eight years, he has become one of the richest people in Australia and has created the largest online Australian electronics retailer.

Hang on wait a second, but how did he get there? Amazingly and true to entrepreneurial stories, this one also starts in a garage, yes, in the garage of his parents house in 2006, with zero capital and one big idea.  What was this big idea? To leverage an untapped electronics manufacturing in China, cutting out all the levels in supply chain and selling quality product at sometimes ridiculous prices. Launching a challenger brand to the consumer electronics market in Australia, one which was itching for someone to come in shake it all up and as simplistic as it sounds, that is what he did. Causing disruption within a market, which was dominated by a few traditional retailers, his goal, creating a new value propositions for consumers.  For years many have literally been taking the piss out of consumers and he was one of them, this inability to afford new LCD TV technology was something that rubbed him the wrong way.  So the opportunity was there. A strong value proposition was his competitive advantage and now, he has literally changed the landscape of Australian retail in just eight years.

But how does one overcome the barrier of having no capital to invest in stock? You get clever! Harnessing the power of the largest e-commerce community , eBay, he setup an account with eBay, where he offered people the opportunity to pre-purchase the products.  Whilst customers understood there was a wait involved, they were willing to allow for this as there were substantial savings involved for them. The funds were collected through the pre-sales and  this then allowed him to then arrange the manufacture of the the low cost televisions, breaking the traditional model of buy and sell, to this new pre-sale launch model, it’s quite simple yet mind blowing at the same time.  Although eBay didn’t like these practices, they swiftly shut down his eBay account.  But the idea was already proven, he demonstrated that the concept worked and with the help of some friends and family he was able to get some credit advances, to allow him to fulfil the orders.  And this was the tipping point.

Continuing with the ideal of reducing the steps in supply chain, he then branched off into 3rd party distribution of household brand names such as Samsung and Apple. Again remaining inline with the continued ethos of providing the ultimate value proposition to the end consumer, these products were able to be sold at a much reduced amount compared to his friends in traditional bricks and mortar retail.  It’s not hard to understand the growth that comes with such a value proposition.  But it’s not just the products and their unbelievable prices, he also values the customer, setting unprecedented levels of customer service.  Understanding that the customer is your soul concern and doing all that you can to keep them satisfied can only be beneficial to the longevity of the business.  Whilst many traditional retailers value that ‘one off’ purchase of the consumer, Ruslan understands the value of a lifetime customer and repeat purchases is something that Kogan has mastered extremely well.  Especially in the technology world, where things are continuously changing, he knows the next time a customer is looking to make another purchase of a new piece of technology, he believes he has done everything in his power to reassure them that Kogan is the place to return to, for both quality, price and customer service.

My out takes from looking at what Ruslan Kogan has achieved are:

  • What is your competitive advantage? What makes your product or service different / better than others?
  • Create disruption, in large markets there are always opportunities for challenger brands, it’s a big pie, just take one bite of it!
  • Online retail can operate with greater efficiencies of their real world retail counterparts.
  • Be more efficient then those bigger than you. Kogan $1.5M turnover per employee, Amazon $600k.
  • Think different. Just because things have been done traditionally one way, flip it and say why can’t we try this way?
  • With big ideas comes big risk, not everything is going to work out, but persistence will always overcome resistance.
  • Build a community, engage with your customers and find out what they want.
  • Analyse the facts not the emotions.
  • Continuous improvement and change, analyse whats working and what’s not, drop the not and look for other opportunities.
  • Understand what your customers want and optimise your product to exactly what they want.
  • It’s hard work and a lot of hours, be prepared for that.
  • Last but not least, be yourself, Ruslan is a straight up dude and has not conformed to perceived images, it’s working for him and it can work for you.

Think about all these areas, remember there is so much to learn from those who have done it before you.  The opportunities are endless and with our ever changing consumer landscape, this is your time to shine.  Who knows, your little idea may well be  the thing to take you on your way to being the next online success story. Take inspiration from Ruslan Kogan’s story. It demonstrates to all of us, that with dedication an idea and some pure grit, you can make big things happen.

stop worrying about being liked.

A guide to stop worrying about being liked.

It’s taken me such a long time to grasp the concept of not worrying about being liked. Whilst I’ve always been a somewhat black and white, opinionated person, this still hasn’t stopped me from being a person who makes sure to please people. For what reason was I doing this? I’m a little unsure to be honest. It’s probably a combination of wanting to be part of a group and the inherent need to have connections with other people. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the line I guess I really stopped caring whether or not people liked me or not. Not that I actively went out there to make people dislike me, but I just represented my self and my attitudes just as I felt they required to be represented. I spoke to people just as I would expect to be spoken to, but I never shied away from saying what I exactly felt.

The other thing I decided to do was stop being the friend who maintained friendships. What I mean by that, is that I would no longer be the one who was leading the friendships. Where there was reciprocation, I was more than happy to be part of that healthy relationship, but by no means was I going to be the one who kept making contact in efforts to maintain friendships. There is one simple test that can be done to assess most of your friendships. It’s as simple as stop contacting them. There was of course friendships I knew within my heart were still genuine, even though contact had subsided between us, I always knew there was a place in my heart for certain people. But for others I just tried this test and well the results speak for themselves.

The problem was, there were many friendships that I felt I was the one maintaining the connection. I suddenly thought, why am I the one doing all the leg work in this situation? This is going to sound harsh, but there is a point in life where you just realise that most people just don’t really think about you. Do yourself a favour,  think about yourself and whether or not you spend much energy thinking about others, little to none right? It’s a harsh reality, but it’s the reality that we are all consumed with our own little worlds. It’s not that we don’t care about other people, we just have a limited capacity to really have any meaningful thought about others. It’s not an active thing, it’s just how it is.

Life is way too short to worry about who likes you and who doesn’t. These are quite juvenile thoughts and behaviours and there is a point in life where you simply grow up and act accordingly. Whilst the majority of people are stuck in the world of the vain society filled with fakery and false relationships, I’ve opted to no longer be filled with such a mindset. Whilst I still have many long term friends, I have made many new special connections based on the fact I’m actually interested in being connected to this person. I rarely waste my time with people who I have zero connection with, because there really is no point. We are both wasting time. It’s tough being honest about these kinds of things, but my gut is fairly good in figuring out who I enjoy spending time with and those that I don’t and I’m not really sorry about that.

Whilst saying that, it doesn’t hide the fact that there are some that I did genuinely enjoy the company of that unfortunately failed the connection test. The only thing that this does is tell me that I obviously invested more time, effort and emotion into a relationship that was purely one sided. It’s sad but true. I don’t take it personal and have nothing against these people, it’s just the nature of life and we all lead busy lives and can’t necessarily fit everybody in.  There is a great chance that I am also one of these people to someone else. I’ve also been active and told many I was friends with exactly how I feel about the situation and whilst that’s been uncomfortable, it’s also been extremely gratifying and empowering to let that pent-up angst out against people who I can only classify as pretender friends. It’s amazing how most of the time that it was a mutual feeling. Honesty always wins.

I just started wondering why I was actually writing this and realised, it really was a self actualisation moment and wanted to share to see if anyone else had this same life evolution. Worrying about people liking you. It kind of sounds stupid when I think about it now. The reality is, I’ve learnt that just being true to myself and portraying that, the right friendships will evolve out of that, because there will be certain people who are drawn to who you are, exactly just as you are. These friendships are truly the best ones, as it feels seamless and natural, I have many long term ones along with some new friends that I share this feeling with. There is zero point in spending time with people who do not respect you or bring you down because my time and their is so precious.  It’s a simple thought process but have only started to realise it, the older I have gotten. The reality is you should live the life you want, not the one that makes others happy.

Building a Tribe

Essential Guide To Building a Tribe

Sometime’s you just need to sit back and watch, watch how people somehow or another seem to be part of something, the need to feel part of a greater group or movement. It is no secret that human beings are quite tribal. But what are the essential steps to building a tribe? A lot of the material I have been reading lately, states that ones amount of fulfilling interactions with others can play a major part in someone’s levels of happiness.  Personally, I find this to be one of my greatest motivators in life, I enjoy being around others and in general connecting with new people. But let’s take a few steps back and understand tribes and exactly what I mean. To be clear, I am not talking about tribes in the Amazon Jungle, although they are tribal, I am just merely talking about how people bound together behind a certain cause or interest. So what are common modern day examples of tribes, well there are plenty but the most common are things like music artists or genres, sports teams, movies, video gaming and there are so many more.  Simply it is a group of people who have a passion for a specific thing and sharing that common interest, is what brings them together.

Please let’s not confuse these with cults.

But understanding the tribal nature of human beings is something people can harness and create amazing movements around.  With the strength of modern day technologies and the connectedness that we all have with each other, creating tribes and movements has never been easier. A great modern day example of this would be, the charity group Movemeber.  The whole movement whilst it is all about raising awareness and money for prostate cancer and men’s health, the whole novelty and idea behind growing a moustache was just brilliant.  Such tribal movements are great examples of how this mindset can be used to do amazing things. I would classify this action as the creation of modern day tribes, unlike the more common forms I mentioned earlier.  These modern day tribes are popping up all over the web, being lead by innovators and thought leaders, individuals themselves have become the movement itself, it is simply amazing. But big ideas like this, typically start small and grow into these large movements.  I am sure if you are reading this, at one stage or another you have wanted to lead a movement or a tribe of some kind and I am hear to tell you, anyone can.

My own experience within the spectrum of creating tribes revolves around the e-commerce store I have built. In an extremely small niche of furniture recycling, together with my wife, we have created what I would describe as the latest movement in painted second hand furniture.  Yes painting furniture is something that is not new, but by accident and with the want to be different then the plain old white and black painted furniture, we decided we wanted to splash a bit of colour into the world.  So with that in mind we created our brand and set off on a mission to put some of the brightest furniture into the world.  But little did we know, we were gaining this small but loyal following of fans of our work and after putting more than 1,800 pieces of recycled furniture I realised I had started a movement.  We then noticed that people started to take creative inspiration of what we were doing.  Some might say copying, but it’s a free market and painting furniture is definitely no new idea.  We just flipped it and said, let’s do something different. When you lead, people will follow, this is the tribal instinct in itself.  Whether it’s something you specifically set out to do or like me something that has accidentally happened, creating tribes is something anyone can do.

One of my favourite authors and main inspirations behind wanting to start writing is a man called Seth Godin. Some might call him the leader in the tribal movement and the leader in business and thought provoking writing.  It was a few years ago that I read his book ‘Tribes’, as an insight at the time into trying to understand how people think and why these tribes form.  I was looking for inspiration for my band, and tactics to help us further progress our following. I never really applied any of what I had learnt.  Maybe I was a little apathetic about it at that stage, but I do have a renewed vigour in regards to how I apply myself to creating a new level of tribalness for my band.  But the thing I have learnt most of all, is that a lot of this seems to be instinct and in some cases it just happens.  This being said there are many things to take out of it and I do think if you apply yourself you can really create a movement of some kind. Here are a few things you can think about:

  1. No Idea, No Tribe – With anything you need an idea, your tribe will typically be about something you are actually interested in or a shared desire.  For example my tribe revolved around recycling furniture with happiness.  Another tribe I am involved with myself as a follower, is the Smart Passive Income Blog, with my continued want to learn and become financially dependent, this blog highly resonated with me. So whether you love cats, want to show people how to stay fit, healthy eating habits, or self development.  As long as you know there is a shared desire out there and you would like to be a thought leader in this area, then you have a group of people to lead.
  2. Create a space to meet – Create some kind of presence, a blog, a youtube channel, a forum, or a Facebook page.  You need somewhere where you can share your information and lead. You also need a place where people can discuss and talk about this shared desire, a destinations where these people can meet and where you can construct conversations with them.  You might be the leader, but interaction amongst the group is necessary, it allows them to connect and share their ideas, the real purpose of starting a tribe.
  3. Stay True to You – Simply just be yourself, if you want to connect with other people you need to act like one.  Just talk like a real person, be yourself and let your own personality shine through.  I think of the times where I worked in the corporate environment and was once told that I was too casual in my presenting approach.  At first I was offended, but now I take that as a compliment.  Who wants to be just another robot, I know I don’t.
  4. Vulnerability – Share your stories and don’t be afraid to be a little bit vulnerable, these stories will show you are real and people will be able to connect to you. Showing you are human, just like everyone else, is ok. Personally in my own endeavours, I have always been open with people about why we started recycling furniture.  Both my wife and I lost our job within a week of each other and decided here is our opportunity to do our own thing and we did!
  5. Always be accessible – Answer all the questions you get about something, if you get emails, do your best to respond as soon as you can. Get on Twitter and let people contact you that way.  While you are still small you have the ability to do that.  Unfortunately if your tribe grows exponentially, then you may have to look at other measures.  One of my favourite examples of this is Pat Flynn’s, rather new approach in the ‘Ask Pat’ add on podcast to Smart Passive Income, where he answers questions from his followers.  When you receive thousands of emails a day, sometimes you’re just not going to be able to get to them all and yes Pat, I am one of those.
  6. Be Relevant – You started this movement for a purpose and reason, while sometimes it’s ok to stray from the path.  Be sure to predominantly stay inline with what you initially set out to do.  Or if you do want to look at other things, be sure to try and connect this back to your soul purpose or cause.
  7. Be Generous – Let’s just say that people absolutely love getting things for free and dont’ be afraid to be over the top with your generosity, the whole element of giving, is a key driver to success to many people out there, trying to build their tribes.  Think about anything that you could pass on as something of value to your followers, this can be used to start collecting information and creating your database of online followers.
  8. Be Awesome – Awesome is probably my favourite word. I always try to be awesome, everything I do, I try to do it awesomely (if that’s a word), everything I write, I want it to be awesome, everyone I interact with I want them to know I am awesome.  Being awesome starts with one simple thing, a big smile!  Let that smile take you to where you need to go.

So people go out there and start your tribe.  I know I am starting mine now, well my new one, hopefully the ideas and thoughts I put out to the world can help some people, I know it’s helping me to realise how much I enjoy writing and sharing with other people my stories and my advice. I got my first text message from a friend last night, who told me about how she was loving what I was doing on my new blog and how it has inspired her.  Let’s hope this inspires you. Please let me know, feel free to comment below.


Resources:

Three Important Steps to Building a Killer Tribe

15 Steps to Building Your Online Tribe

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUILDING YOUR TRIBE

Why Bands Fail to Succeed

Why Bands Fail to Succeed

It was only a few days ago that I was ranting on about how failing is winning. Today it seems the Lazy Susan has spun towards an ugly beef and black bean sauce, known as, success within the music industry. For some time I have been trying to get my head around what the term ‘success’ actually means. But the reality is, that success is in the eye of the beholder. Success to some may be the small things, for example, to write a song and play it in front of a crowd, to that person and their goal, this is success. They completed what they set out to achieve, even if it was only playing to the dude at the bar and your mum and dad. Where as to some, success equals fortune and fame. This maybe a goal but to most it is an unrealistic dream. It is simply like winning the lottery and if that’s what you set out to do, those expectations are only setting you up on a path towards failure.

I put out to my friends on Facebook, what they thought was the major reason for bands failing to succeed. The feedback was overwhelming and actually quite down the line of what I was thinking. It was good to know that people thought similarly to me on this topic. I never like to hold back on my thoughts and for one, I don’t like to make excuses for anything I do. To me, excuses are a copout, they are weak and when you lack any accountability and throw blame at others, it’s pretty lame. It is bizarre to think that I have been involved in the music industry and actively playing in my band longer than anything else I have done in life, what was I thinking?

In trying to write a list of things for the topic of this post, why bands fail to succeed, I was trying to think of everything I would have done better, stuff I would have done a little different but then I realised, I wouldn’t change a thing. I have definitely learnt a lot along the way and have a shit load of advice I can give from my experience with my time in Bronson. But it’s hard to write about failing, when I honestly feel like I have done everything I wanted to do and in my blog about ‘why I quit listening to metal’ you can read about exactly why I feel this way. I know it sounds wanky to say that, but I really don’t care. Acknowledgement of your achievements is an extremely powerful thing to do.

I’m getting side tracked though, this is not about me (apologies for my rant), this is about anyone who is in a band, anyone starting a band or anyone who just want’s some tips on launching anything really. To be honest, a lot of what is written below could be used in regards to launching anything in a team environment because that’s what a band is right? So after collation of the feedback and my own thoughts, these are the defining factors to a bands failure to succeed, according to the people (note there are probably a lot of other things that contribute to this discussion. There are plenty of so called ‘experts’ in the industry and if you would like to add some more spice to this succession curry recipe, feel free to in the comments below):

1. High Expectations and no goals – Just use the analogy of climbing a mountain, when you decide you want to climb a mountain, you’re not going to start with Mt Everest straight off the bat. You might try your local hiking track , then move on to 1,000 steps Ferntree Gully (which is crazy hard also), then you might try something harder, you get the point right? Reduce your expectations, set achievable goals and plans to get there. Hitting those goals can be very fulfilling and gives you the encouragement to take that next challenge. But don’t set the bar too high. Don’t discount an end goal, but you need a path of little goals to get to the final destination.

2. Poor work ethic – Seriously, if you don’t want to work hard for it, it’s not going to happen on its own. Typically you will have 3-5 people in a band and everyone needs to pull their weight.  As the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Everyone needs to understand the minimum expectations of being part of the project and the consequences if they don’t fulfill these. I know this makes it sounds like a job, but if you are going to take it seriously, sometimes you need to treat it that way. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be fun. If you want to smoke bongs and chill out, maybe you should think about something a little less goal orientated, like Video Games.

3. Lack of business skills – In my opinion, probably the most most important part of creating a commercially successful band, along with song writing abilities. Business skills revolves around everything that isn’t music related, whether it be organising tours and shows, creating marketing, budgeting, PR plans and networking within the industry. If no one in your band is good at any of this, you better get someone involved who can or someone better learn quick smart, or you will be floundering in your mum’s basement for a long time.

4. Lack of Originality – What is originality these days anyways? Meh, what is success? It is a debatable topic really. I do think originality is not just the sound of what you are producing, it is the total package. The music, the image and the attitude. A new favourite quote of mine from a book I read  this past year, from an inspiring book that I totally recommend any creative person, called ‘Steal Like an Artist’. This is not the specific quote but it went down the lines of, borrow from one and you will be labelled a stealer, borrow from many and it will be considered creativity. It makes sense, how many new idea’s can you have today? Everyone is inspired by someone. Take all of what inspires you and make them your own.

5. Persistence and Desire – It is easier to quit than to push on through the hard times, I must admit in a decades journey I have thought about throwing in the towel plenty of times. But the thought of not being involved with the band anymore is one that I could’t seem to handle. While I have the ability to continue creating, performing and hanging out with mates, why not continue this thing I love? It’s easy to quit, but with a hunger and desire for your music, great things can happen. Your next opportunity is only around the corner and typically most people quit, when that big opportunity is waiting for them. Winners never quit and quitters never win.

6. Learning how to write good songs – While I am no ‘real’ musician, I understand the importance of constructing a good song is truly and art in itself. As Gary the guitarist in Bronson says, it only takes one song. Further to that Fieldy the bass player from Korn put it so well, it doesn’t matter how good your chops are, if you can’t write a good song, don’t bother (insert Hetfield voice) because nothing else matters.

7. You’re actually pretty shit – Sometimes you really just aren’t that good. The ability to recieve feedback in this instance is crucial to becoming better at your art. There are plenty of stories of great musicians who didn’t start off so well, Elvis was told after his first show that he should give up and continue driving trucks. He took that advice on board and worked on his craft to become one of the greatest artists of all time. Perseverance is a trait that seperates the winners from the losers, and your ability to hone your craft is one, which will set you apart from the rest of the noise. Check out this article on why failing is winning for some more tips.

8. Understanding a want vs expectation – Simply dont be a douche, having a set expectation that you deserve some level of achievement is just stupid. It is great to want an outcome, but to have blind expectation is just dumb. Just as respect is earnt not given, you need to embrace this. Nobody owes you anything, let alone nobody really cares. But if you do a lot of the things mentioned here, it can only help with how you want to succeed.

9. Not enough Hawaiian Shirts – Ok this was a selfish one a friend of mine pointed out. But what I wanted to point out from this, is don’t be afraid to be different. There is so much beige in the music industry, for example in the Metal culture, which I am involved in, so many people seem to look the same, dress the same and act the same. It is just same in so many other music cultures, Indy folk and their op shop gear, hip hoppers and their homie G stickered hats. This is a personal opinion of mine, but I think that’s just f%$cking boring. Push the snooze button, for all those that claim they are different. Meh shut up! But standing out from a huge over populated band crowd is even tougher today, you either sink to the bottom or float to the top, so don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd doing something different.

10. Team Work – Remember there is a group of you, make sure to share responsibilities. It will be team effort that will allow the band to gel as a unit. Make sure that not one individual feels the burden of organising stuff, whether thats related to the actual music or business related activities. How many times have I heard people say things like ‘well I’m not an organising kind of person, I’m a musician’. Well that’s nice, but I’m sure there are other things you can help out with, involvement from all can only be for the greater good of the project and help with not letting specific members burn out from all the responsibility and really, its just selfish.

11. Killer live show – Well this one is pretty self explanatory. Go out there and entertain, thats what being part of the music industry is about. People pay money to be entertained, whether precision playing and creating the ultimate music experience or if its a ridiculous over the top energetic live performance. What ever it is, you need to WOW the audience, otherwise, what’s the point? There is none really, get the f$%k off the stage, sounds harsh, but seriously, I don’t think live music performance is your thing. You’re probably better off trolling in your bedroom.

12. Image – This is ofter a contentious and debatable subject. I do think that picking something the whole band is comfortable with for some level of consistency will always help. I mean you can can go way over the top, eg. Slipknot and Kiss, or you could have the attitude of looking like you just got out of bed. It really doesn’t matter, but please, be consistent in your message, especially of what you actually look like.

13. Be your true self – Simply don’t play music you think is popular, play music you love.

14. Get rid of the ego – Don’t be a dickhead really. The music community in Australia is small and so very tight, just like the inside of a rubber glove? The word can get around quickly if you are a dickhead. Show respect, be nice, it’s not so hard, common courtesy and manners goes a long way. Don’t be a band that walks around with some kind of entitlement, it will make you no friends. My personal pet peeve is bands that take ages to get off stage after their set. You know the ones, telling each other how awesome they are, just get off the f$%kin stage mate. We all have a job to do, do your thing and pack up as quick as you can, respect the other bands that are sharing the stage with you.

15. Courage – Yes we all have our insecurities, but if these insecurities are holding you back from getting up there and putting your music out to the world, then you may need to rethink whether or not this is for you. It sounds harsh, but some people are just not made for being on stage. As much talent as you may have, if you fear being judged then your in for a horrible ride. Thick skin and the ability to take criticism is all part of it. People don’t realise how good feedback is, it lets you know where you need to improve. Although sometimes, there will be plenty of baseless opinions, that type of shit you just need to ignore.

16. Don’t make excuses – Excuses are lame. Don’t blame and make excuses, take it on the chin. A real person takes ownership of all bad situations. Sometimes you need to grow a pair and be accountable. The other thing, which really rubs me the wrong way, is the old adage of success in this industry is not about how good you are, it’s about who you know. Well refer back to point number 3, business skills and networking, make your own luck and network with the people you know can help your music career. Write a list of everyone you know can help your progression and begin that relationship now. Don’t make it an excuse, make it a plan.

17. Have Fun and don’t take any shit – If it’s no fun, then why are you doing it? If someone is being a dickhead call them out. It’s simple, communication in whatever form, whether it be your band mates or those outside of it, tell them how it is. You will be surprised by how being candid with people can result in a great relationships. Some people feel they need to flex muscle, sometimes you need to flex intelligence.

18. Think outside the square – The music industry is very much a different place to it was 20 years ago. For some reason so many people are still stuck on this idea of ‘build it and they will come’. Whilst endless touring can be a formula to doing well, there are so many other ways to go about it in todays tech society. Don’t dream of landing some kind of record contract, that is so 1990’s. DIY self managed is the future and most profitable model. Be brave and be different, continue to stay relevant, there is so much noise out there, do everything you can to stand out from the crowd.

So there it is, a not so concise look at why bands fail to succeed. Thank you to all who provided some input, it really did help in creating this list. I’ll be honest, this is all from experience and I don’t know everything, that’s for sure. There is probably a lot more advice that could be added to this. I am pretty sure if you follow most of these rules, this can be a recipe for a successful and fun music career. Remember that point number one is extremely important for setting up your success, because success as earlier mentioned is in the eye of the beholder, create reachable goals and expectations. I only wished I knew a lot of these when I first started out, it would have saved me a lot of headaches and friendships. If you are reading this for some tips on your own musical journey, I wish you the best of luck. It’s not easy, but its a heck of a lot of fun, stay true to yourself and succeed in what ever way you want to.

5 Quick Tips for new bands

5 Quick Tips for new bands

When you are first looking to start your journey as a musician or as part of a band, there are several things you need to consider. Here are five simple tips for new bands to help get started on your musical journey:

1. Plan – If you start your music career and don’t have a plan for what you want to do, you will be flying blind with no goals to achieve. Wondering why things aren’t going anywhere? Well thats purely because you have nothing to assess your progression on. If you can tick off tasks of achievement on a list, at least you know you are actually doing something productive. Whether its small goals like, write 3 songs, perform 10 live shows, have 300 Facebook fans. Whatever it is, write them down and agree on them.

2. Practice – Put in the hours of rehearsal, because when it comes time to perform you better be good. First impressions last, although don’t put too much pressure on yourself because it is ok to make mistakes. If you make mistakes when you have done all you can to be prepared, such is life, move on and learn from it.

3. Get Feedback – To often to early, musicians shy away from showing their art. Remember if you are making music that you want people to listen to, you better make sure there are people out there who like it. Otherwise, well, you may as well stick to the bedroom and do it for you.

4. Start collecting information – When you play shows or have an online presence where people can connect with you, make sure to get their details, email addresses, phone numbers, what ever. Get the information that can allow you to continuously communicate with them to let them know of new songs, news shows and news about you. The biggest piece of advice is not to rely on social media.

5. Networking – Find out who can help with the progression of your career, whether its booking agents, bigger bands, industry influencers, media outlets, anyone you can possibly think of, write a list of these people. Start networking with them to let them know at least who you are. Don’t come on to strong straight away, networking is about building relationships and you don’t want to be that person who annoys people by selling before telling.