This show is sponsored by Breakfall Studios
We all wish we had super powers. We all wish we could do more than we can do. Stan Lee
Well, here we are at last. Who would’ve thunk it? 100 episodes in – Technically I’m at something like 104 as some are unlisted updates etc – but officially here I stand, and I’m very grateful to you all for accompanying me on this great journey. Today is the last of the long episodes and in it I am going to look back over the previous 100 shows and pick out 10 productivity techniques that will supercharge your life if you choose to take them on board. Having knowledge of these techniques is only half the battle you see, they will only ever make a difference to your life if you put them into action.
As Stan Lee would say with great power comes great responsibility but I’m going to grant you these superpowers to do with as you may; all I ask is that you use them to strive forward in your life and career towards the success that awaits you.
I just want to add before I kick off that I’m running a short Indiegogo campaign to support the next couple of years of the podcast if anyone out there is interested in supporting me. I’ll post links in the show notes and of course I’ll be all over social media with it so if you love the show and want to see it continue, I’d really appreciate your help. Even if you are not donating, then a simple retweet or share would make all the difference.
Without further ado though, let’s get into this!
Gaining superpowers doesn't mean you know how to use them. Richelle Mead
The first of these powers takes us right back to episode 1 and it is HIGH LEVEL THINKING. I couldn’t create a list such as this without mentioning it in fact as it is a technique that has given me control of the things I can control in my own life and career. High Level Thinking is developing an overview of your life and career to allow you to take control, more easily make decisions about which direction you are moving and to make positive changes. To achieve it you must begin to develop a habit of focus ON your life and career, at the same time that you find yourself living and working IN it. I found this basic premise mind bending when I first came across it as I had sailed through life and fought the battles along the way as they came up – and very often finding myself stepping unthinkingly into them. High level thinking allows us to stop wasting our time and mental energy on the unimportant and focus on the bigger picture and the bigger win.
The advice I find myself giving out again and again to friends and colleagues is simply that you are in control of your own destiny and HIGH-LEVEL THINKING will give you that, but it’s only accessible to you if seize control of the wheel, take the driving seat in your life andstop you’re yourself from drifting through it.
The second superpower which I offer up here is from Episode 8 and it’s Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule. This has got to be one of the episodes that generates the most feedback as so many people seize upon this rule and gain great advantage from it. The rule is simply this:
If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.
I’ll say that again
If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.
This Rule is a one-size-fits-all solution for the one problem we all face—we hold ourselves back. The secret isn’t knowing what to do—it’s knowing how to make yourself do it. Mel’s Ted Talk is called How to stop screwing yourself over and I love that title, as I do think that we sabotage our own efforts time and time again through politeness or upbringing or fear of letting others down. She explains that The 5-second rule is a way of harnessing “activation energy”. That the moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, to use the Rule. When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and physically move towards action.
There is a window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind killing it. It’s a 5-second window. And it exists for everyone. So the 5 Second Rule is a way to outsmart your brain by changing hesitation into ACTION. She also points out that “from each small act of courage, more courage follows. It compounds and says that hopefully when you’re old, you will be able to look back on a courageous life.” I wished I had learned about this rule sooner as I have had countless opportunities to talk to celebrities about their life and careers but I have almost always chickened out, This is the sort of superpower that would have given e the courage to open that dialogue and I would have had less regrets if I had done so. You can find more in episode 8 but before you doubt all this, try it out. It’s worked remarkably well again and again for listeners to this show. Try it yourself and be amazed at what you will achieve.
If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. That is #2 - the 5 Second Rule.
A similar power to this, but one that has an entirely different purpose is from episode 9 Four Great Hacks To Beat Procrastination. THE 2 MINUTE RULE is this if you have a task that takes less than two minutes, just do it now. It empowers you to overcome procrastination or as it’s sometimes known laziness by making it SO EASY for you to start taking action that you can’t say no. It’s surprising how many things we put off that we could get done in two minutes or less.
You got an email to respond to? Do it now. You got an online payment to make? Do it now. Need to pack the dishwasher. Do it now. Need to send an invoice, or send a thank you text, or make the bed or whatever you have to do, just do it now and it’s done, and it's behind you.
If you don’t then these small easily achievable tasks build up and suddenly you’re looking at 10 or 20 of them and they’re on your mind and they’re a mountain of work. If you shoot them down as you go, however, then they are behind you and you’ll be able to focus on the stuff that matters.
Can all of your goals be accomplished in less than two minutes? No, but every goal can be STARTED in 2 minutes or less. And that’s the point. Small accomplishments like this start to become a habit and large jobs split into small parts, become after time, a sum of their parts, and complete.
So that’s the basics of the two-minute rule. It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a real superpower for clearing the decks forcing you out of a productivity slump, and getting you on top of a mountain of small tasks.
The 4th superpower is the ability I grant you to REMOVE TOXIC PEOPLE FROM YOUR LIFE.
Toxic people are lying about in wait for us, de-friended and shunned by the previously burned, and they WILL pop up and draw the life essence from your soul if you are not too careful. They are like a barnacle on the side of your happy and productive life, bringing nothing but angst and rewarding you with nothing in return.
They aren’t in the shadows wearing a dark cloak and sporting a malevolent grin. They sneak in under your radar and turn on you when you least expect it, and they can be difficult to spot as within themselves - even THEY sometimes, don’t know that they are toxic at all.
Don’t ask why people keep hurting you. Ask yourself why are you allowing it to happen. Robert Tew
There are many toxic archetypes, the forever victims, the drama queens, the time wasters, the drama magnets, the emotional vampires, the energy vampires, the sociopaths and the control freaks to name but a few but in whatever form they come they drag you down and create chaos angst and misery in your life and work.
Interacting with toxic people will leave you emotionally wiped out and feeling frustrated, unfulfilled and possibly angry. Don’t allow yourself to become worn down as a result of giving and giving and getting nothing in return.
Removing a toxic personality from your life no matter what pot-shots they take at you as you go, believe me they won’t make it easy, will lift your spirits and grant you a freedom that will be more valuable than whatever you have perceived to have lost. And of course, I know that it is not always possible to walk away from family members, but you can at least hold them at arm’s length and not breathe in their toxicity by limiting contact.
Removing toxic people from your life will always change your life for the better. You just need to make it happen.
The 5th Superpower I offer you today is to PROTECT YOUR MENTAL ENERGY.
In his awesome book, THE SCIENCE OF INTELLIGENT ACHIEVEMENT, Isaiah Hankel says that “Mental energy is the world’s hottest commodity. People are going to try to steal it, drain it, and suck it up every second you’re awake. Yet very few of us protect it. Few of us know how.” He points out that “Mental energy is OUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET. Without it, you won’t have the enthusiasm, motivation, drive, and physical energy to live a full rich life. - The problem is this asset DEPRECIATES RAPIDLY every day.”
And that depreciation comes about through distraction. It’s why I urge you in episode 3 to do a brain dump and prioritize, and get all of your thoughts and tasks and worries out of your head and onto a piece of paper or a whiteboard.
Isaiah goes on to say that “People carefully protect the money in their bank account and the time in their calendar, but they do little to protect their attention.” And “Attention”, he says “is the gateway to your mental energy. WHERE YOUR ATTENTION GOES, YOUR MENTAL ENERGY FLOWS.”
He quotes several scientific studies in the book, stating that we only get about an hour and a half to two hours of peak mental energy and five hours or less of “near” peak mental energy each day. For the rest of the day, our mental energy levels are medium to low at best. But don’t worry - The good news is that if you get enough good sleep, your energy replenishes 100%.
I think mental energy is especially valuable if you regard yourself as a creative and are constantly having to come up with new things, out of the box thinking and solutions, but HOW DO WE STOP IT FROM GETTING AWAY FROM US?
“Taking back your mental energy is not a cakewalk. It’s a dogfight.” Says Isaiah, “as it depletes so quickly again each and every day and every DISTRACTION, everything on your mind, will have a pull at it and tear a piece off.”
Protecting your mental energy means many things but one good example is ditching those toxic types I just talked about. Stop “burning your mental energy on emotional drama and learn to walk away from energy draining people.” Instead find people who will energize you and keep you on track towards your goals. Then, hold onto them.
Protecting your mental energy is one of the most popular episodes I have ever created. It seems to hit a nerve with those of us who haven’t yet fully engaged in High Level Thinking and it propels new listeners right up into it. I strongly urge you to go back and listen to that one.
You possibly ain’t going to like this one but the next superpower that it within your grasp, number 6 on this list, is to TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK. The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung said “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.” I think that if he were alive today, he might say the same about social media.
In episode 30 LESS SCROLLING MORE LIVING I point out that if you take a break from social media you’ll learn to live in the moment, and appreciate the life you’re living. You’ll regain time that is otherwise wasted and get on top of tasks that just never seem to get done, from small household chores to larger life changing goals. You’ll also be able to make time for people, actual face to face time, not virtual - which is a far healthier way to maintain great friendships and relationships. Finally, you’ll also be able to avoid the competitive one-upmanship of popularity practices that, consciously or not, lead you to comparing yourself to others and vie for your attention online.
In 2011 the former Vice President of User growth at Facebook said “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.”
He expressed regret for his part in building tools that destroy the social fabric of society.
And Sanam Hafeez, a faculty member at Columbia University says “When you feel anxious because you haven’t updated your profile or aren’t ‘connected,’ that’s exactly when you should disconnect,” - “Being away for a month allows the brain time to create new neural pathways, which means new behaviours and routines begin to replace old ones,” - “So if you typically reached for your phone when you woke up to check Facebook, after 30 days, you would have adopted a new ritual, which is the new normal.”
Seize the day folks. Stop letting social networking dominate your life and plan your own social media detox. It’s as easy as just doing it, and when you’re finally offline, enjoy the experience and embrace your new found freedom. You won’t believe the difference it makes to your long-term goals. Ref: Doing a shift before you even leave the house.
The 7th Superpower is ACCURATE THOUGHT. It is lesson 11 in my LAW OF SUCCESS mini-series and comes from episode 43. I chose this productivity superpower as time and again I see problems arise and great swathes of time wasted by woolly, unclear, lazy, or just mistaken thought.
The lesson on ACCURATE THOUGHT teaches us that we must separate facts from MERE INFORMATION and it goes on to say that we must then separate our FACTS into TWO CLASSES just as I talked about a minute ago. These classes are the IMPORTANT and the UNIMPORTANT, or, the RELEVANT and the IRRELEVANT.
Napoleon Hill explains that FACTS WHICH WILL AID YOU to any extent whatsoever in THE ATTAINMENT OF YOUR DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life are IMPORTANT and RELEVANT; and that all that you cannot use is UNIMPORTANT and IRRELEVANT.
I mentioned this quote in the last episode - Peter Drucker says “It is fundamentally the confusion between effectiveness and efficiency that stands between DOING THE RIGHT THINGS and DOING THINGS RIGHT. There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency that which should not be done at all.”
In the lesson Hill talks of “the law of evidence” and “the object of this law is to get at the facts. Any judge can proceed with justice to all concerned if they have the facts upon which to base their judgment, but they may play havoc with innocent people if they circumvent the law of evidence and reach a conclusion or judgment that is based upon hearsay information.”
This world that we live and especially data gleaned from the internet is a minefield of misinformation.
Sorting TRUTH from LIES in today’s world is increasingly difficult. The trouble is if you believe the hype and the misinformation which we are manipulated to understand as truth, then you will find yourself wasting time and money and energy on stuff that later proves to be pointless Tune your mind to that of accurate thought, and train it to think objectively. Only spend time and energy on things that you know will further your ultimate goals and dreams, and don’t waste any time whatsoever on the rest.
The 8th superpower is from episode 88. It’s perhaps better presented as a super mindset and it is to REMAIN AWARE OF AND AVOID VICTIM MENTALITY.
We must stop this incessant victimhood mentality.
Somebody else will not fix things.
Somebody else will not make me healthy.
Somebody else will not make me happy.
These things are my responsibility.
Not the neighbour’s,
not the government’s,
not the church or the civic club.
It’s really an extension too of HIGH-LEVEL THINKING if you’d like to consider it that way. It’s so prevalent, so toxic and so dangerous that I count it very high on the list of distractions that will reduce your productivity to ashes if you let it take hold.
It’s an attractive mentality to have as Victims seemingly have No accountability and playing the victim brings secondary gains such as sympathy, attention, and access to medication or funds. It satisfies unconscious needs when it comes from past trauma or other negative experiences playing the victim card will mean that you will avoid taking risks. Projecting blame on others is a key part of the victim mentality. It’s a way to avoid being truly vulnerable and taking risks. When it comes to finding success, sometimes you have just got to move out of your comfort zone to get things done.
Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality. John Gardner
In order to avoid it you must
Take responsibility. You are the only one who controls your actions. You might not be able to control others, but you control how you react to them. You control who you spend your time with, and where. Realize your potential and get in the driver’s seat of your life.
Have Self-care and compassion. Victim mentalities are subconsciously adopted as a way to cope, often from past trauma. Be compassionate to yourself in your recovery and practice self-care and self-love.
Start saying no. You can say no to something you don’t want to do. It’s okay. Even if other people feel you are letting them down, take care of your energy and prioritize yourself.
...and Educate yourself. Read about victim mentality and how it affects your life. The more you educate yourself on the topic, the more likely you are to stay on track with your recovery and avoid going back to your old way of thinking.
Character, not circumstance, makes the person so don’t participate in the Oppression Olympics. Victim mentality is something you learn in a social environment, but you have the power to overcome it. It takes courage to speak against the woke brigade or other outside pressures but it’s easy to step out of it and have your own thoughts.
Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said that he had a dream that his four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” and I believe that he wished that for all of us. Please let the content of your character represent you, not some faceless victim narrative.
Number 9 on this list is DONT JUST THINK IT, INK IT. I talk about this in shows like episode 72, SMART goal setting where I encourage you to make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. The power here though is much simpler. That of writing your plans and goals down. Not keeping them in your head and losing track. Writing things down enables a higher level of thinking, and therefore, more focused action. When your brain isn't busy remembering everything, your brain can then process anything. It's when you're not overwhelmed that you become free to intellectually analyze and ask important questions.
Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, at the Dominican University in California, led a study on goal-setting with nearly 270 participants. The results?
You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.
It not only forces you to get clear on what, exactly, it is that you want to accomplish, but doing so plays a part in motivating you to complete the tasks necessary for your success. The process of putting your goals on paper will force you to strategize, to ask questions about your current progress, and to brainstorm your plan of attack.
The final superpower from the first 100 episodes is a topic from right back in episode 2. I believe that it is the single most important thing to be aware of as you take control of your life and attempt to find success. What I am taking about is THE POWER OF NO.
… and John C. Maxwell agrees with me – he says “Saying no is very near the top of the productivity techniques that I use most often – Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best”
Learning to say NO is a lesson that I learned the hard way and it took a nervous breakdown to bring it firmly into focus. Avoiding burnout starts by saying NO often, and meaning it.
For me saying YES seems to come from an internal need to be Nice - to be incessantly agreeable. You may find yourself saying YES because you want to impress, or gain favor, or maybe because you have an inherent fear of rejection and don’t want to disappoint people, make them angry or just appear unkind. Perhaps you say yes just because it’s your default answer and you might not really understand why you say YES.
If it’s just born out of habit then it’s one that must be changed if you are to give yourself the best chance for success. If you say yes to everything that comes your way you’ll never be productive.
If you say yes to things that really don’t light your fire, or that don’t further your dreams and goals then you are doing yourself a disservice. You’re likely spreading yourself so thin that you’re doing the person you’ve said yes to a disservice too. You’re not only setting yourself up to fail but that in turn will get you stressed out and create feelings of anger and resentment for the person that’s you’ve said yes to.
Guard your TIME by saying NO to unnecessary requests. DECIDE WHAT YOUR PRIORITIES ARE and make YOUR OWN goals, objectives and prosperity your first priority. Other people’s goals, that don’t in turn further your own in some way, are NOT your responsibility.
STOP BEING NICE – Guard your MONEY by refusing to be the easy touch. Other people financial problems are NOT your responsibility.
One thing to absolutely be aware of is manipulators. They are out there and they use a series of underhand diversion or set up tactics which the less aware amongst us may fall for.
Manipulators will say things like, this would be really good for you, but you can question that – will it really? Why?
They’ll use flattery to pull you in. Oh I really love your work, I’d love you to be involved.
They will try and guilt you into it, saying things like well you said you would help, or even blame you for something not working out unless you come on board – this is sometimes called "blameshifting" – without you this won’t work. I need you. YOU will ruin their (insert reason here) if you don’t help.
Or I helped you, and now you owe me – This is something which may also not actually be true – Did they help you or did they just think they helped you? Even if they did and you want to help, what cost will it be to your life, your work, your relationships?
How’s about gas-lighting? Some people will entirely make things up and try and convince you that you said or did something that committed you to their purpose. The less aware amongst us will out of politeness accept what is said, but it must be challenged.
Some people will out and out threaten you. If you don’t help me then I’ll use your competitor for example.
Saying NO starts by STOPPING yourself from saying YES and you can do that if you put a bit of work in. By saying NO to unimportant tasks, requests and even thoughts we can avoid a lot of angst and if you’re already in over your head - begin to reclaim your life.
Productivity starts with you taking control of your own life, your own destiny. Remember every time you say YES to one thing you’re saying NO to something else.
Learn to set boundaries. In short, learn to say no. Don't guilt and shame yourself. Say no to people and things you don't want. Just say no. It is your right, it is your time, it is your energy. Akiroq Brost
The 10 productivity superpowers that I offer up are as follows HIGH LEVEL THINKING, THE 5 SECOND RULE, THE 2 MINUTE RULE, REMOVING TOXIC PEOPLE FROM YOUR LIFE (also check out my episodes on bad collaborations and time wasters if you like that one btw), PROTECTING YOUR MENTAL ENERGY, SOCIAL MEDIA BREAKS, ACCURATE THOUGHT, REMAIN AWARE OF AND AVOID VICTIM MENTALITY, DONT JUST THINK IT - INK IT, and THE POWER OF NO.
Call to Action
You may have to revisit this episode to get on top of some of these superpowers but I will post links in the show notes for each of the separate episodes that I have delved into here today.
This podcast has only been made possible by the support of the various sponsors that have come my way over the past several years and today's show is no different. I’m genuinely excited in fact to tell you a little about today's sponsor as they are fellow action choreographers and stunt professionals. Since 2015 Breakfall Studios has offered individual and group training opportunities to the New York City stunt performers and actors. They offer regularly scheduled fighting, falling, tactical and stunt/action related workshops. If you are a production in need of fight coordination, a space to rehearse, shoot previz or host an audition, their Midtown studio is available for rent. Have an actor in your production who needs fight training? They've got you covered. Centrally located in Midtown, Manhattan, they will make finding time and space a bit easier. Their facility is fully equipped with a variety of pads, mats, prop weapons, a basic rig system, scaffold, and more.
Thanks to Breakfall Studios and to all of the sponsors who have supported the show over the years. Thanks to everyone in fact who has subscribed and listened to my ramblings and especially to those who continue to support the shOw, talk about it on social media and who share the posts there.
With the exception of the occasional interview show which I’ll try and put out now and again all shows will now be 10 minutes-ish or under from now on in. Please don’t forget to support the IndieGoGo campaign if you can as it finishes in a couple of day. If you can’t help financially, even a share or a retweet would make a big difference.
Next weeks show is called Never Play To The Gallery so if you fancy it, join me then. In the meantime…
I’ll end with a quote from John C. Maxwell who said
Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today.
Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!
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