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"I've taken so many 'stupid risks' in my life. I love your smart, success-focused version of them. – Jason Fonceca, Toronto

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Featured Articles

Upgrade Your Life & Career With Our 30-Day Habit Challenge (Starts November 1)

For years, I’ve enjoyed testing new and different ways to live and improve myself via the fun and strenuous 30-day habit challenge.

The concept is simple:

  1. Pick a habit you’d like to instill in your life
  2. Find a small but meaningful action you can do to reinforce it
  3. Repeat that action every day for 30 days, recording your progress

I’ve tested myself with various habit challenges for years. Some have become powerful habits (writing every day). Others were fun but eventually abandoned (eating vegetarian). Others, still, started with a daily challenge and morphed into a similar but different habit (“exercise every day” turned into “run three days per week”).

Unless you regularly give it conscious thought, it’s incredibly easy to slip into a rut with your life and routine. Applying yourself to a 30-day habit challenge is the perfect way to force yourself to take a look at your daily routine and start to find and reinforce better ways to live because they’re simple, require only a little commitment, and they build confidence as you progress through them.

Today, I’m excited to announce we’ll be making 30-day habit challenges a regular part of The Riskologist Community, and I want to invite you to join me in several that will be starting on November 1.Continue Reading →

Deadlines: MIT Research Shows You’ll Work Faster And Smarter If Someone Else Sets Them For You

I can remember almost every paper I wrote in college. Why? Because each was paired with a sleepless night of researching, writing, hair-pulling and, ultimately, a sub-par paper written hastily but somehow good enough to get a decent grade.

Most classes put the onus on me to figure out how and when to write my exposé. I knew from the first day the term would end with a big paper, and it was up to me to figure out how to apply my time appropriately to do it well. But I’m a classic procrastinator, and what that meant was pursuing other interests for 10 weeks, panicking for 5 days, and then busting out a huge blob of semi-coherent babble with a few appropriate citations[1] to make it look like I’d done my homework.

But some classes didn’t work like this. Sometimes, a professor would layout the paper-writing schedule and grade it along the way. Rather than figure out how to schedule my time, it was scheduled for me, each milestone clearly defined.

The quality of my papers when this was the case? Superb! Despite my normal “I don’t like to follow the rules” attitude, I wrote better, well-researched and edited papers if there were a number of deadlines handed to me.

I find myself in the same positions today. Give me as much time as I want to do something, and I’ll usually wait till the last minute. Tell me when you need certain pieces done by—and what the consequences of doing (or not doing it) on time are, and I’ll be right on schedule. With better results!

Turns out, I’m not the only one who noticed this. A study done at MIT shows even top performing students struggle with deadlines. The research found surprising results not just about what motivates you to work faster, but to produce better results as well.

If you’ve ever struggled with procrastination, you’ll want to keep reading.Continue Reading →

Want The Most Happiness For Your Buck? Build Things

Here’s a little experiment to try:

Think back 10 years ago. Consider where you were in life. What were you doing? Who were you hanging out with? What was life like? Now, think of two specific memories:

  1. Something you bought. Think of a physical thing. Maybe it was your first iPod. A car. A big stereo.
  2. Something you experienced. Think of something more abstract. A vacation. The birth of a child. A sports league you were in.

When you compare these two things side by side, ask yourself, “Which of these things makes me more happy today? Which do I care about more and look back on with more happy memories?”

If you said the experience, you just confirmed decades of research into the science of happiness: doing things makes you happier—over the long-term—than having things.

Of course, you already know this intuitively. But what you might not know is why[1]. And, in the world today, the urge to overwhelm ourselves with material things—gadgets, cars, bigger houses, toys—is great.

Here’s why having lots of novel experiences will make you happier than buying things, and a new way to think about using your money and time to make sure you spend it on things that will still matter to you tomorrow.Continue Reading →

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