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Doug McConnell, A Long Swim for ALS

A Long Swim (ALS)

5,000 + people have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. 50,000 people will complete an Ironman Triathlon this year. But only about 1,800 people have successfully swum across the English Channel. Doug McConnel is one of them.

Crossing the English Channel is an incredible feat of human endurance. To finish, Doug had to:

  • Swim 30 miles
  • Last 14.5 hours
  • Battle through 5 ft waves
  • Endure 62 degrees F water temperature, 47 degrees F air temperature

But like most tales of human endurance, the race is only a small part of the story. As Doug says, this was a team success and the lessons learned by swimming the English Channel are lessons in teamwork.

Their team is A Long Swim (ALS), an acronym derived from the disease they hope to cure. Doug has an inspiring story. Check out his team at ALongSwim.org and have fun watching his TED talk below.


Doug McConnel TED Talk Barrington, IL
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Our Doubts are Traitors

doubts are traitors self-talk

We all have it: An inner dialogue. This self-talk is dominated by fear and doubt. It’s programmed into our reptilian brain because risk-mitigation is a survival tool. Controlling your inner dialogue is perhaps the most fundamental secret of success.

William Shakespeare was able to describe and help us understand what most people intuitively knew and felt. Here is a favorite passage from his play Measure for Measure. He says so succinctly why self-doubt is deadly.

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

In the following video, Les Brown and Jim Rohn spend 12 minutes expanding on this basic fact. It’s a great reminder that every day we should “stand guard at the door of our mind”.

Here are some main points and discussion of the video:

  1. Watching inner dialogue will determine the quality of your life.
  2. Being too cautious or too reckless
  3. Be wise and understand that everything is risky. Don’t ask for security, ask for adventure.
  4. Pessimism is a deadly disease.
  5. Our lives are most affected by the way we think they are, not the way they are.
  6. Poor thinking habits keep most people poor.
  7. As someone thinks within himself, so he is. — Proverbs 23:7
  8. Stand guard at the door of your mind.
  9. Complaining is a deadly disease of success.

If you believe success starts in your mind, this is a good reminder to keep check of your inner thoughts. Do you agree?

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Having a Vision for Your Life is a Moral Obligation

strive to be your best

Jordan Peterson, who is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has spend considerable time studying the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.

I think it’s safe to say that most, if not all, of today’s leading self-improvement authors say that you should have a plan and work your plan. Or to say it differently, have goals and consistently work towards achieving them.

It’s reinforcing for me to hear Jordan Peterson describe these same ideas, but in his terms.

There is a lot to unpack in this video, but he describes having a vision for your life as a moral obligation and those who succeed are conscientious workers (hard workers). This is a rather lengthy video, but it makes you think of goal setting in a different way.

He talks about a number of related ideas, but to me, they support the idea of achievement = goal setting + hard work.

At the very least it’s a motivating video and is a good way to start your day. Enjoy!

What was your takeaway from the video, and how can you apply these ideas to your life?

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Arnold Schwarzenegger: Rules for Success

Arnold Schwarzenegger, vision success

Achieving a high level of success in one area of your life is challenging enough. But what about Arnold Schwarzenegger who reached the pinnacle in bodybuilding, acting and politics?

When he has something to say about success, we should all take note. He’s known for pithy one-liners in his movie roles, but this video is quite shrewd. After watching it, you realize that his success was no accident. He worked hard, had terrific work habits and stayed focused on what he wanted.

Here are Arnold’s 5 Rules for Success

  1. Have a vision (goal). People don’t become successful by accident. Just as a good boat or airplane won’t reach its destination without a plan, you won’t reach yours without a goal. Pick something that motivates you. Your vision should be strong enough to keep you energized even when the going gets tough.
  2. Be happy when you are doing your work. Arnold had an infectious positive attitude and was happy when working out. Why? Because he knew every rep, every drop of sweat brought him one step closer to his goal, and he couldn’t wait to achieve it.
  3. Set a deadline. Arnold stresses it is important to set a deadline. He says you will never begin if you don’t have a deadline to meet. I’d say this is great advice. For athletes, signing up for an event can be adequate motivation.
  4. Little victories count. Arnold says the little victories are the things that can keep you motivated. It’s true that there are no overnight successes, and that it’s the tally of little victories that ultimately add up to big success.
  5. Use your time wisely. Arnold reminds us that we all have the same 24 hour handicap. He says that after sleeping, we all have 18 hours in each day. He was adamant about not wasting a single hour. Plan each day and keep to your schedule.

And if you need a little pick-me-up, here are some of Arnold’s best movie one-liners.

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Daniel Tammet: Potential, insight and perception.

Daniel Tammet savant brain power

Savants are those types of people who have a particular talent. They are generally considered genius and are likely socially dysfunctional. Dustin Hoffman played a savant in the movie Rain Man, and his character inspired by Kim Peek the real life
Rain Man . Kim Peek is considered a mega-savant and had incredible memory retention and recall. Although he could, and did, memorize volumes of information, he lacked basic motor skills probably due to the way his brain was formed.

You may have seen stories about musicians or artists who are genius’ or prodigies in one area or another. Often diagnosed as autistic, these people have accessed different parts of their brains and in some ways are brilliant–and in other ways severely disabled.

Daniel Tammet is a special kind of savant. He had seizures as a child and researchers think that these seizures re-wired his brain. But what’s so incredible about Daniel is that he seems relatively “normal” for a genius. And because he can describe how he thinks and processes information, he has become incredibly valuable to scientists who study how the brain works.

Here is a mini-documentary about Daniel I found fascinating:

Here’s DaDaniel Tammet, Brain Power

Here’s Daniel’s TED Talk from 2011 if you are interested.

I find it fascinating that the humans are capable of learning a language in a week, or memorizing vast volumes of information, or doing mental math computations, or drawing detailed landscapes from memory. Who doesn’t find it fascinating?

I’m always taken by these stories and reminded that we are capable of so much more than we think we are. Our brains are vastly underutilized. These stories always inspire me to rethink what I’m doing and how I might do things differently.

Do these types of stories inspire you? What lessons can you learn from Daniel and will it inspire you to make some change in your life?

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Goggins overcame his fear of the water to become a Navy SEAL.

gogoggins nothing is impossible

CAUTION: Video contains language not appropriate for some minors.

David Goggins, would have never become a Navy SEAL, had it not been for overcoming his fear of the water. His story is rife with overcoming challenges, but overcoming his fear of the water was an important first step to his success.

I was afraid of the water, terrified of the water. The fear overcame me … I quit.

David Goggins

But Goggins started asking, “What if?” “What if I became a SEAL?” What if … ?” He kept asking himself these questions and they enabled him to overcome the challenges that faced him.

His is an amazing story. He was afraid the water (aquaphobia) yet chose to become a SEAL. Not only did he eventually become a SEAL, but he excelled at it. Somehow he was able to overcome his fear of the water–and a whole lot more–to accomplish many things.

Joe Rogan brings a fine point to the conversation when he says, “People need to hear this story. This is an exciting story for people, because there’s a lot of people out there that feel trapped, and they feel stuck, and they feel like they can’t do anything because this is who they are. You’re a guy who felt that exact same way, but figured out how to not be that person, and be a person who you would admire.”

Here are some tips on how to overcome the fear of swimming.

David Goggins, retired United States Navy SEAL and ultra-distance athlete.
David Goggins faced and overcame his fear of the water.

Can you relate to some of Goggin’s struggles? Do you have a fear of water, or other fears you want to overcome?

Is swimming part of your regular fitness routine? Check out our products that make you life a little better outside the swimming pool.

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Mark Cuban on Entrepreneurship and Success

not big on excuses, mark cuban

Mark Cuban is a successful American entrepreneur and investor. He is a household name due to his appearances on the TV reality show “Shark Tank”. His business career reaches back in to the early 1980’s and his first notable success came in 1990 when he sold MicroSolutions for $6 million. He earned approximately $2 million on the deal.

His career has skyrocketed since then and he has become one of the most noteworthy modern entrepreneurs.

Here is a compilation by Evan Carmichael, Cuban’s 10 Rules:

  1. Now is the time. There is never a perfect time to start (a business), but today with the internet, you can start a business now part-time without leaving your current employment.
  2. Be passionate. Cuban has always been passionate about businesses he’s been involved with. When you are passionate you enjoy what you do and you don’t watch the clock.
  3. Don’t make excuses. “I’m not big on excuses. Everyone has the ability to do it, they just have to go for it.”
  4. Learn from history. Most likely your business idea isn’t unique. Understand why the businesses before you failed and try to figure out if you have a competitive advantage.
  5. Enjoy competing. “The ultimate sport is business, because you have to compete with everybody.”
  6. Know your business. “Small business don’t fail for lack of capital. They fail for lack of brains. They fail for a lack of effort.”
  7. Be brutally honest with yourself. Mark cautions that most business startups lie to themselves about how great they are when in reality they are in a hyper-competitive marketplace. His antidote is hard work and knowing your business better than anyone else.
  8. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Leverage your strengths and work with people who compliment your weaknesses.
  9. Be unique. “There needs to be a defining feature of your company and you need to be the best at it.”
  10. Be yourself. Understand what motivates you and follow your passion.

What lessons can you learn from Mark? Is there something new here you can apply to your life in sports, business or in your personal life?

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Stop Wasting Time: Why schedules are important.

jordan peterson schedule, routine

Here is some motivation today provided by Jordan Peterson who is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He begins by reminding us of how much time the average person wastes in a day. Before you read on, ask yourself this question: How much time do I waste each day? Make a mental note of the number.

Peterson says, “I often ask undergraduates how many hours a day you waste, or how many hours a week you waste? The classic answer is 4-6 hours a day. … That’s 25 hours a week, 100 hours a month (2 1/2 full work weeks). It’s half a year of work weeks per year.”


I often ask undergraduates how many hours a day you waste, or how many hours a week you waste? The classic answer is 4-6 hours a day. … That’s 25 hours a week, 100 hours a month (2 1/2 full work weeks). It’s half a year of work weeks per year.

Jordan peterson

That number seems outrageous, but probably rings true. You can calculate the number anyway you want, but Peterson suggests if you put it to a number of $20 per hour, it is around $50,000 per year wasted. A financial number any of us would find enormous.

So what is his suggestion to remedy the problem? Peterson recommends making a schedule, but he cautions many people get it wrong.

Jordan says many people view a schedule as too restrictive, “Make a schedule and stick to it. It’s not a prison. I have to do this, then I have to do this. WRONG!”

He says instead you should view a schedule as a tool you use to create the most beneficial day for yourself. He says, “Set the schedule up so that you have the day that you want. That’s the trick.” He continues, “If I could set it (the schedule) up so it’s the the best day possible that I could have, practically speaking, What would it look like? Then you schedule it. “

He goes on to talk about how you need to think about what you actually want in life, and schedule things responsibly, and try to stick to it. If you only hit 50% of what you scheduled, then you were a lot better off than if you just wasted all of the time. As you get better at scheduling and as you become more productive, then you will become better at it.

One thing he said that I took particular note of, especially because Peterson is a clinical psychologist is, “You cannot be mentally healthy without a routine.”

Do you currently have a schedule? Will you start one, or improve on your system in 2019?

Watch the full motivation video below.

Jordan Peterson: Motivation of being more productive.
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Are You Busy or Productive?

wake up early

Joey from his Better Ideas vlog talks about being busy vs. being productive. How many people do you know who are always busy, but never seem to get anything done?

Do you feel like you are constantly busy jumping from one distraction to another? Are you constantly interrupted and beginning more projects than you are finishing?

Joey has two tips to get you back on track:

  1. Start waking up early in the morning. Use that morning as productivity time when you aren’t distracted.
  2. Shorten your to-do list. From your entire list, pick the most important things on your list and do those.

You can see his entire vlog below.

Are you busy yet wish you were more productive? Then his tips may work well for you.