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In our daily routines fueled by drive and ambition, sometimes we find ourselves at a crossroads:

Do we push harder toward achievement, or do we take a step back and instead seek quiet happiness?

Some would argue that happiness is found in achievement.

If that’s true, then I ask for someone to show me.

Achievement is fleeting.

What matters more is the feeling underneath it.

The challenge is how to navigate both worlds. Is it possible to both be in a position of power and be humble? Can you be wealthy outside and in? …

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I was sitting in the middle of the forest with nothing but a tent, a small bag of fruits and nuts, a shovel, and a roll of toilet paper.

Each of us was given a space in this forest to spend 3 days by ourselves.

It was the afternoon, and for miles all I could see were trees and trees. There were no sounds other than the crackling of leaves under my shoes when I would pace my space back and forth. Every once in a while, I would test the silence and let out a scream, wanting to see how long it would echo.


It carried into the distance for a moment and then faded. …

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So many people believe that you are either one or the other:

  • You’re either the ADD creative who can’t sit still for five minutes at a time, but wildly brilliant.


  • You’re the OCD task manager who lives for sticky notes, spiral-bound planners, and excel spreadsheets.

But the truth is, you need both.

If you are the manic creative with no sense of structure, you might have the most amazing ideas in the world but you will be incapable of bringing them to life.

On the flip side, you might be extremely organized and diligent, but unless you are willing to let yourself explore outside your comfort zone and get a little creative, you will never be able to create something valuable on your own. …

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Short post, but this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

The road to happiness is counterintuitive.

If you want to be happy in the long term, you almost always have to be “unhappy” in the short term.

Let’s say you want to be happy with your body in the long term.

Short-term happiness would be eating the bag of Skittles in your desk drawer.

  • The Skittles will give you an instant rush.
  • They’ll taste fantastic.
  • And then they’ll spike your insulin and tell your body, “Now is a great time to store fat.”

You’ve made yourself happy in the short term, but sacrificed long-term happiness.

The converse of this would be deciding to eat a healthy lunch, or have a green smoothie instead.

Is a healthy lunch so amazingly tasty that you feel a rush of happiness in the moment? …

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I wish I had known that everyone else was just as lost as I was.

I’m somewhat of a late bloomer. It took me a long time to learn some very basic fundamentals about life — like the fact that girls are human beings too and you can in fact talk to them without going into anaphylactic shock.

I had a lot of social anxiety growing up.

When I finally left for college, the world felt big and I felt small and everyone I met appeared to have it all figured out (“appeared”). People declared their majors with conviction. …

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When we talk about the traits that make people successful, the usual suspects are: confidence, persistence, patience, etc.

We tend to reduce “success” down to the simple formula of:

Belief in yourself + Running the marathon.

And for the most part, I’d agree that is its most common denominator.

But what about all the other little traits you have to pick up along the way?

What about the little things you have to learn to make the most out of that path?

Here are five unconventional traits that I have seen carry some very successful people forward:

1. Humor

The ability to laugh and lighten a room is contagious.

When you laugh, or you make someone else laugh, others can’t help but join in. …

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Let me tell you a story.

Eight years ago (has it been almost a decade already?) I graduated from college with a degree in creative writing — a degree most people in my life thought was a fast-track to a barista job at Starbucks.

Not me.

I loved to write. And I was determined to find a way to turn writing into a viable career.

My last class of senior year, my teacher (a published and “successful” author himself) said, “The publishing industry is dead.”

This had become our mantra all throughout college: nobody makes a living as a writer.

My peers hung their heads, defeated.

Not me.

I had grown up on the Internet.

At 17 years old, I was one of the highest ranked World of Warcraft players in North America. I had one of the first e-famous gaming blogs, with around 10,000 readers per day. I had always believed the Internet to be the gateway to turning dreams into realities. This ended up being the subject of my first book, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer.

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We tend to think of failure and achievement in separate terms.

Achievement means you were right.

You were correct.

You set an expectation, and then you met it.

Failure means you were wrong.

You missed the mark.

You set an expectation and you didn’t measure up.

But when we approach our work with this separate mindset, we inevitably set ourselves up for failure.

Here’s why.

The key to growth is to set goals outside of your comfort zone.

In order to continue growing as a person with your respective craft, you have to set unreasonable goals.

That’s the point.

You have to aim outside of your comfort zone and push yourself to stretch for things that you cannot yet do.

“If you know what you’re doing, you aren’t trying hard enough.”

However, in order to actually set goals far outside your comfort zone, you have to understand and be ok with the fact that you will “fail.” …

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Trust is the foundation of success.

  • If you are an athlete, you have to trust your teammates.
  • If you are a musician, you have to trust your counterparts.
  • If you are an entrepreneur, you have to trust the people you work with.

And if you’re running a company, you have to build the trust of your employees.

So many issues derive from a lack of trust.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are emotional creatures — and we know when our “spidey-sense” tells us we are not being trusted, or we do not trust the other person.

A lack of trust can greatly impact our decision-making, and even affect the work we do. …

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I have been extremely fortunate to have attracted some phenomenal mentors in my life.

In fact, just about every success or skill set I have acquired has been the result of a mentor.

Whether it was classical piano, video games, bodybuilding, music, marketing and advertising, I learned at a very young age that learning from a mentor speeds up the learning process ten fold.

And not only does it speed it up, but it teaches you nuances about the craft in a way that is nearly impossible to learn in a more formal setting, like school.

Especially in business and entrepreneurship, it seems everyone is looking for “a mentor.”

To be honest, I don’t think most people even know what a mentor really is, let alone what to look for in a mentor — so let’s start there. …


Nicolas Cole

3x Author | Viral Writer | Founder of Digital Press | 100M+ Views | NEW BOOK, The Art and Business of Online Writing, OUT NOW:

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