October 2017 – Lewis Raymond Taylor

What Does Freedom Mean To You

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FREEDOM…

Spending a number of times in prison, I thought I knew what freedom was.

Freedom was being able to go wherever you want, I thought; but, once I was outside those prison walls, I still didn’t feel free.

Freedom is defined as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”.

I couldn’t speak how I wanted, for fear of rejection or disapproval.

I couldn’t think how I wanted because my limiting beliefs of inadequacy and self-doubt were so overpowering.

And I couldn’t act how I wanted, through a combination of fear of failure and the previous factors I just mentioned.

I could go wherever I wanted, but by definition, I was even more imprisoned by my own mindset, than I ever was in custody. The hindrance and restraint that is mentioned in the definition of freedom, was being inflicted my myself!

I had somehow created this mental structure that meant I was stuck in a perpetuating cycle of disappointment.

The worst thing about it, I didn’t even know I had control to change it.

The best thing about it, I did eventually realise that I had the control to change it.

It wasn’t easy, it took some time; but, through exploring my feelings, challenging my thought processes and converting my limiting beliefs into empowering ones, I was able to gain the confidence I needed to start making changes.

As I type this, not only am I sitting in a tree bungalow on the beach of Koh Tao, Thailand, knowing I have the freedom to go wherever I want; but, I also have the power to act, speak and think, exactly how I want. The way I’ve always wanted to, but never dared to.

That’s freedom.

 

My Iphone Ruins My Life

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A month ago something amazing happened!

I broke my IPhone swimming in the sea in Thailand and lost 22,000 photos and videos – covering everything I had done in life since I bought my first iPhone 3G, 8 years ago. I know! Seriously, I nearly cried.

How was I going to use WhatsApp? Instagram? Message People? Call people? What if an important email came through?…

“Surly, without me online: everything will fall apart, nobody will remember me, my business will fail and maybe the Facebooks server will crash because of all my unread notifications”.

OMG, YEAH, THE LITTLE RED NOTIFICATIONS THAT I WONT BE ABLE TO READ. NO, NO, NO, THAT’S TOO MUCH!“,

I said to myself.

Then, after a few days, something crazy happened…

I realised I wasn’t disconnected from the world at all. In fact, by being disconnected from the internet, I was in fact more connected to the world than I was before.

You see, we are more connected by technology than we have ever been. This is a blessing, but also a burden; because we are also the least present and socially connected than we have ever been.

Once I realised this, something even more crazy happened…

Now I didn’t have my phone:

I didn’t have to ask people for the Wi-Fi password every time I entered a new room.

I didn’t have to look up at my girlfriend and say, “two minutes, I’m just reading something”.

I didn’t have to constantly reach into my pocket and refresh my Facebook newsfeed that I had just exhausted 6 minutes ago.

I didn’t have to miss everything going on around me. The little things; the world moving.

Without the ability to check the online world, I didn’t have to give my attention to it.

I was able to be truly present with what I was doing.

I was able to strike up a conversation with a human, rather than sending someone a message.

I was able to really listen to people without thinking about the post or article I had just read.

And do you know what?

When I did go online: the internet was still moving, my business hadn’t failed, everybody did still remember me and I was still waiting for the same people to reply to my emails. Moral of the story?

Don’t buy a £2.99 waterproof phone case from eBay.

No, seriously now. This is what I’ve realised. As we are more connected now than we have ever been, it means that when you do take some time to disconnect from your phone/the internet/social media/your email, everything will be waiting for you to tap straight back into on your return!

Next time you reach for your phone, ask yourself:

Is it actually necessary?

What might I be missing if I’m not being present in the moment?

Remind yourself:

The same people will still be posting the same stuff and tweeting the same tweets when you return; and people aren’t going to send a search warrant out if you don’t reply to their emails straight away.

Don’t be afraid to take some down time and be present; you’ll thank yourself for it.

The internet and all of its unlimited resources are not going anywhere; but, life? That might just pass you by.

So, yeah. A month ago, something amazing happened. I broke my phone, lost everything; but, I also found a whole lot more in return.

I haven’t replaced my phone yet. I’ve gone over a month without it and do you know what?

I’m doing just fine.

What would you miss if you left your phone at home for a day or switched it off during a meal?

The honest answer? Probably not much…

But living?

Thats the thing you really want to make sure you don’t miss.

 

Of Course You Can

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A few years ago I was serving time in prison.

I decided to do some basic Math & English qualifications, as they pay you £10 a week and I fancied some money for a couple packs of noodles and some tea bags.

I was expelled from school at 15 and left with no GCSEs.

There was no reason why this was going to be any different.

At first, I didn’t allow myself to learn anything. I would get angry and say, “I’m not doing this shit”.

I actually thought I was angry at the work itself, somehow.

I’d leave the class, screw the paper up and refuse to do anything.

I acted like a complete child.

One day, my Tutor, Suzie, sat down next to me and asked me what was the matter.

Nobody had ever asked me that before and for the first time, I started to speak and what came out of my mouth amazed me! “I just don’t understand”, I said.

She comforted me and what I realised was I was just angry at myself for not understanding.

I put so much pressure on myself to understand everything, that when I didn’t, I felt like an idiot.

I was scared that people would know I was stupid.

Suzie continued to support me for around 6 months and once I had passed my basic Math and English qualifications, I hesitantly asked her, “Do you think I could go to university?”.

To this day, I remember the certainty and conviction of her voice when she looked me straight in the eyes and said “Of course you can!”.

I actually feel quite emotional thinking about that, because as soppy as it sounds, that one simple comment changed my life forever.

I left that prison with a goal and the confidence to go and make it a reality.

I started to study.

Every time I felt uncomfortable or angry, I pushed past it.

I knew why I felt that way now, so it was okay. I could now respond to my emotions, rather than react to them.

I had started to overcome my mental obstacles, but there were still other obstacles in my way.

My criminal record.

I needed to prove that even though I had an extensive criminal record, that I was still worthy of my place.

I continued to study; study hard.

I even went to community centres to learn. Searching all night online, taking in information from everywhere.

I took distant learning qualifications, gained diplomas, certifications and accreditations.

I realised I loved to learn.

Do you know what?

Because I had the hunger to succeed and the confidence in myself to take action, I started to learn quickly, too.

I eventually got to college.

Already not bad for someone who left school over a decade ago with no qualifications.

Now, I don’t say this to boast…

I say this to share a message…

I left college with a Distinction and actually the highest marks in the college.

And, I’ve now been asked to come back into the college and do a talk to the students on how I was able to achieve my results.

With my Distinction and application to the criminal conviction panel at the University…

I got offered a place!

I’m now starting my Degree in 3 weeks time and I have never felt such an immense sense of pride.

Not bad for someone who was scared of everyone thinking he was stupid.

Actually, by not trying, not pushing myself and not allowing myself to go after the things I wanted in life…

That, was what was stupid.

So, my questions to you:

What goals could you set?

What could you learn?

What could you achieve?

….and if you’re wondering if you can do it?

Of course you can!

 

Are You Trying To Achieving Someone Else’s Goal

Are You Trying To Achieve Someone Else’s Goal?

Many people make the mistake of setting a goal just because it sounds good, or because everyone else is doing it, or because it’s what they think they ‘should’ be doing. This is why people lose motivation later on; because they’re not identifying with their goal on a personal level. As a result, they’re left unfilled and dissatisfied. They then end up back to square one, trying to motivate themselves again. The thing is, if you pick the ‘right’ goal – you’ll barely need to motivate yourself to achieve it in the first place.

People make completely random goals like: “I want to go to the gym because jenny looks happy and she goes 4 days a week”, or “I want to be an accountant because that’s what my dad does and he loves it”, or “I want to eat healthily because that’s what everyone at work is doing”. STOP FOCUSING ON EVERYONE ELSE’S GOALS AND START FOCUSING ON YOU! Goals need to represent your deep desires. You first need to pin-point your ultimate life goal and then set, small progressive steps, to lead you in the direction of your ultimate life goal. Once you’re able to connect and identify with your goals, you then need to formulate a strategy of how you’re going to tackle them. If you don’t evoke an emotional response when you think of your goals – then it’s likely somebody else goal!

Start by getting a piece of paper and asking yourself:

  • What is really important to you?
  • What would you enjoy doing the most?
  • What would you do if you had 6 months to live?
  • What would you do if money wasn’t an object?
  • What would give you the greatest feeling of self-esteem and satisfaction?
  • The most important of all – what would you do if you knew for certain you would not fail?

We know we are asking you to explore your deep desires, this doesn’t mean however, that you should sell your house, move to Cambodia, throw away your shoes and ride elephants for the rest of your life…Well actually, that is possible! We want you to be ambitious – but for a minute, let us bring you back to reality. We want to help you actually achieve the goals you set yourself. We won’t sell you ‘the dream’ and tell you that “you could be driving a Lamborghini in 6 months”. Here at Hunger Start, we focus on everyday people that want to make positive improvements in their life and not that 0.1% of people that are just lucky – let’s be honest.

Today, we challenge you to start exploring your desires. You don’t connect with these thoughts on a day-to-day basis; our brains are tuned to keep us safe and comfortable. Once you start to really explore what it is that makes you tick, you will be amazed at what you start to uncover. Hunger Start

How To Make A Commitment In Four Steps

Thought about committing to a goal, but haven’t had much luck?

Are you ready to stop: messing around; procrastinating; waiting for the right moment; allowing fear to overwhelm your decisions, intellectualising; overthinking; doubting yourself; and any other negative thought process that has been holding you back making a real commitment to yourself?

Here’s what you need to do:

Explore

Some people will often start a goal by merely doing something productive and ‘seeing how it goes’ – this doesn’t work.

It’s important to explore BOTH the opportunities AND the obligations of your goal. Establish all the difficulties in your plan, BEFORE you start – so you’re ready for them when they arise, so that they won’t throw you off guard, discourage you and leave you feeling… yes, you’ve guessed it, demotivated!

Yes, it’s important to highlight the positives of achieving your goal, but you should also be aware of the things you’ll have to sacrifice, all the hard work you’ll have to put in and what obstacles you are likely to face. So, when things get tough, you’ll be ready for it and you’ll be able to start focusing on the opportunity, whilst accepting the obligation at the same time.

Opportunity Obligation: It is important however, to ensure the opportunity outweighs the obligation. Make sure you really enhance all aspects of the opportunity to yourself. For example:

You want to lose weight for a holiday, but at the same time, you are like me and LOVE cheese and pizza and cheese. Did I mention I like cheese? Anyway, the point I am making is if you like cheese more than you want to lose weight, things are going to be difficult. Make sure you sell yourself your dream/goal. Highlight and enhance all the positives; make them as desirable as you can!

Ask yourself:

 

  • What will achieving the goal mean to you?
  • How will it make you feel?
  • How will it change your life?

Fight

 

Be aware – your brain will try and trick you! You brain is very clever, it is designed to keep us safe… a natural instinct to keep us alive. Your brain will try and avoid anything uncomfortable and without warning it will start to justify why you’re not achieving your goals (this is more commonly known as… lame excuses). Your brain will continue to justify and rationalise to a point where you agree with yourself that achieving your goals and aspirations is a bad idea and you’re just fine how you are.

Listen, let me tell you something… you’re lying to yourself. Ignore that destructive part of yourself. Fight it off. Fight it hard. Because it was come back, time, after time, after time, and keep trying to justify more reasons as to why you should get back into your comfort zone. But let me tell you another thing, you wont get anywhere by staying there. I find it useful to write myself a note and stick it on the wall. When you’ve managed to finally fight off denial and your true self is exposed, motivated and ready. Capture that feeling, that drive, that emotion and write a note of what you want to do. I also find it useful to sign it. That way, when the negative, life destroying part of you comes back again, you’ll have the note to remind you what’s really important to you and to try and ignore any temporary feelings and emotions.

Believe

I understand this can be a daunting experience. I know I’m going to sound cheesy here, but this is the number one most important part to successful goal-achievement, so I have to say it. Some of you may never have heard it before…

You can do it. No listen to what I am saying here: you absolutely can do it. Self-believe is crucial to motivation. Affirming your worth and abilities are very important. There are so many people that hold back because they feel they are incapable of doing something. Achieve it. And then wonder what the hell they were worried about in the first place! You will be amazed at what you can achieve.

Commit!

I go back to what I said at the start: STOP waiting… You may never get the chance if you keep waiting.. there is absolutely not better time to start than right now… so start now.

Explore. Fight. Believe. Commit.

Top 20 Tips To Start Making Things Happen – Motivation Cheat Sheet

1. Set Time Boundaries
If you set yourself a task, with no end point, you’re basically telling your brain that you have to do that task indefinitely! I don’t know about you, but studying or exercising, or whatever your task may be, for the rest of my life, doesn’t sound that appealing! Set yourself a realistic time frame, like: I will study for one hour. Sounds more manageable and achievable now, doesn’t it? This will allow you to not feel so overwhelmed with the task at hand and start getting things done.

 

2. Negotiate with yourself
Offer yourself an incentive to work towards a certain task or goal. Tell yourself something like: I will work for one hour and then after, I will take a walk in the sun and get an ice cream. Make sure you pick a reward that makes you eager to get your task completed.

 

3. Fake It
This one is strange, but it really works. After all, motivation is a state of mind. We have full control over how we position our mind-set; so, if you aren’t feeling very motivated or enthusiastic, then just pretend that you are! After a few minutes, you will have adopted that mind-set and you can continue smashing your goals for the day.

 

4. Start small
Sometimes the task we have set ourselves may seem a bit daunting. We need to get things started. A good way of doing this is by giving yourself a productivity spike; therefore, leading to motivational momentum. Just start by doing something small: tidy your desk, do the washing up or even get yourself out of bed and in the shower. After this, you’ll be more alert and ready to move onto more challenging tasks.

 

5. Don’t compare yourself with others
Comparing yourself to what other people have achieved or how great their life is, is only going to kill your motivation. There is no point in competing with other people; you have absolutely no control over them, whatsoever. The only person you have control over it you. Look in the mirror, that’s your competition.

 

6. Remember your successes
Stop focusing on everything you’ve done wrong and start focussing on everything that you’ve done right. Remind yourself of all the success you’ve had and that feeling you get when you achieve a goal.

 

7. Act like your heroes
Find someone you admire. Then learn about them and find out how they behave. When you’re feeling de-motivated, just act as if you were them. It’s worked for them, so it will work for you!

 

8. Remember to have fun
Need to clean the house? Then why not stick some blaring music on and have a dance at the same time? Need to exercise? Then why not try boxing or pole dancing? The more you enjoy a task, the easier it is. If you’re doing a task that you really can’t have any fun doing, then go back to cheat number 2 (negotiate with yourself) and give yourself a reward of having some fun after you’ve completed your task.

 

9. Don’t fear failure
There is no such thing as failure. Every time you ‘fail’, you’re learning and working out what doesn’t work, which is equally as important as what does work. Remember, every second that you’re working towards your goals, you’re winning. You’re already succeeding. Don’t see anything as failure, see it as progression. Once you realise you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, it makes things a bit easier!

 

10. Figure out your ‘why’
How can you motivate yourself to achieve something, if you don’t really know why you’re doing it? Make sure you explore every aspect of your task and the goal it is allowing you to work towards. Enhance all the positives of obtaining your goal and why you’re doing. If you REALLY want something and know how it will change your life, it makes it a lot easier to work for.

 

11. Remind yourself of your mission
Keep your goals in the front of your mind at all times. Write notes to yourself, stick pictures on the wall, set display pictures on your phone; just make sure you’re constantly reminded of you mission!

 

12. Cut down on TV
Do you realise how much time you’re wasting watching TV? Most people could probably get a Degree if they swapped TV viewing for studying. It’s very easy to avoid our own lives, by focusing on other people’s. Also, be careful around watching the news, it can be quite depressing sometimes. I’m not suggesting you become ignorant to the world we live in, but maybe try limiting how much of others people’s information you absorb, and start focusing on you.

 

13. Put your phone on aeroplane mode
It can be impossible to concentrate or motivate ourselves when we’re not focused. With social media notifications, messages, phone calls and everything else, it can be a major distraction. Turn your phone to aeroplane mode, you’ll be less inclined to reach for your phone when you know there is nothing on there to look at!

 

14. Take a break
Sometimes it’s not good to force ourselves when we’re really struggling; it can just make things worse. If you have been working for a period of time, then take a break: stretch your legs, have a nap, drink a coffee, eat some food. After your break, get back to work!

 

15. Make use of your creativity
When we get a new idea, or think of something abstract, we really use our brains and it can cause a nice little surge of motivation that you can use to get things done. Take out a piece of paper, pick a subject that interests you and start brain storming. Maybe a business idea, invention or the name of a book?

 

16. Feed yourself with motivational content
Use your spare time such as when you’re driving or at the gym, to listen to encouraging, motivational and personal development audio. YouTube is a great place for this, it has enough material to last you for the rest of your life and it’s all completely free.

 

17. Imagine a different life
You do realise that the life you have now may be completely different to the one you may have if you keep pushing yourself, don’t you? Stop imagining your future with the same life you have now. Think outside the box and remind yourself that you could have a completely new life, with completely different boundaries. Exciting, isn’t it? Do you know where excitement will lead you? Yup, you guessed it. Motivation!

 

18. Make each day count
As depressing as this sounds, it’s important to remind ourselves that we don’t have long in this life. One day, it will all be over and we will wish that we had embraced every opportunity and took advantage of every single day of our lives! Why wait until it’s too late?!

 

19. Be grateful
Rather than focusing on everything you don’t have, start focusing on everything you do have and how luck you are! YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED RIGHT NOW! You’re capable of doing anything you want to do! So, make the most of it. Be grateful for the life you have and go out there and go get whatever it is that you want! It’s there for the taking.

 

20. Find support
They say “a problem shared, is a problem halved”. That is referred to sharing your problem with one person. Now, imagine dividing your problems between over 4,000 people? Sound good? Well make sure you join our group – it’s jam packed full of like-minded people, motivating, inspiring and supporting each other to go out there and make things happen. You can join right now for free by clicking here.
If none of that works, you’ll find me on the ‘Hunger Start Community Network’ group, drop me a message and I’ll give you a few extra pointers!
Hope to see you there soon.
Lewis Raymond Taylor ~ someone who’s been there
Hunger Start Limited