My Top Experiences & Lessons Learned in 2016 (Written for Millenials)

2016 has been the best year of my life.

I invested a lot of time into learning about myself and took the most action towards achieving what mattered most to me. This is the way I determine the success of any year and why I found this one to be the best yet. The remainder of what you read will be a collection of my experiences and take a ways from what can only be called “a life changing year”.

The Power of Your Morning Routine

In the first quarter of 2016 a good friend introduced me to a book entitled “The Miracle Morning”. In a nut shell, the text explained the story of an extremely successful sales man who got into a terrible life changing accident but bounced back and realized all his life’s desires by making time for self-development in the mornings.

After reading, I immediately implemented it. Here is my morning routine.

  • Alarm goes off at 4:50am
  • Workout (5:05am-5:55am)
  • Sauna & Shower (5:55am-6:10am)
  • Drink Green Tea and Read 10 Pages of the current book you are reading (6:10am-6:30am)
  • Meditation- Extremely Important to me (6:30am-6:40am)
  • Journaling 6:40am-6:50am)
  • Free Time, or just chill (6:50-7:00)
  • @ 7:00am- Leave for work

So what? Who cares about this, what has it produced? Although seeming like a list of chores, the combined activities but me in the best position to have a successful & productive day. Taking care of the gym in the morning gives me more free time after work. In addition, it’s healthy to exercise but doing it in the morning before work gives you energy like you’ve never had before that will power you through the day. But the real value in doing this routine for me is that your body has experienced so much before you step in the door at work so you feel refreshed, ready and more prepared for the day. There’s tremendous value in journaling and meditation as well, but this blog isn’t about that.

Acknowlege Your Biases

Do you like Brussel Sprouts? How about Olives? Most young people would say no to perhaps one or the other, but even more will say flat out, “I don’t like them.” But here’s the real question here, how long has it been since you tried one? More importantly, how long have you been holding on to that belief without consciously challenging it?

Acknowledge the fact that you may not have had a positive experience the first time you:

  • Met a specific person
  • Consumed any foods/drinks for the first time
  • Attended an event
  • Listened to a type of music

I could go on and on, but the lesson here is that by acknowledging the biases we have based on past experiences, we can challenge ourselves to become more open minded and accepting to new ideas, more specifically how we perceive them. Our bodies, minds and way of thinking change throughout life, it’s a good thing to test the limits.

Not Focusing On Money

Okay. This one is huge. When I was 20, my Dad passed away (You don’t have to say sorry, all is well.) and money was tight. This made me focus almost all my efforts and brain power into obtaining money and left me with a ton of stress.

During a conversation with my sister in June, she said these words: “The real difference between you and me is that you just do things for money and I just wanna be happy.”  These simple words really hit me. Got me thinking deeply about myself and the amount of time & focus I put into money. She helped me realize there are more important things in life that deserve our attention. Things like whether we are truly happy, things like our families and relationships. I Like to credit her with creating this spark that led to me heavily investing time and effort into the subject of positive psychology. Ever since I have read a few texts on happiness and positive psychology, implementing techniques from the books and incorporating them into my life, feel free to check them out:

  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor
  • Before happiness by Shawn Anchor
  • PsychoCybernetics by Maxwell Waltz

Faith Desire and Action

While completing Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think & Grow Rich” earlier this year, I learned a lot about the power of faith, desire and action. Think about your goal in life. Do you want to be a business owner? Start an App? Own a Boat? 2 Boats? 2 Boats and a Great Dane? That’s great, now ask yourself this, what’s stopping you from getting there? Don’t answer it right away, but ponder it.

Faith

Now ask yourself, is this something I truly believe I can do? Do you have the faith in yourself that this goal is attainable? That you personally have what it takes and can do this? If you do not, chances are your goal will not be realized. Faith is the reason why people develop great inventions after 100 failed attempts, why athletes can push their bodies to the limit and break records. It’s a powerful force and the first step in accomplishing anything, believing that it can be done.

Desire

Next ask, is this something you truly want? Do you have a burning desire for this thing, do you want it as bad as your next breath?

Action

Always the most difficult thing to do is act. Now that you have faith in the ability of this goal to be achieved, have a true desire for it, all that’s left to do is act. What specific things will I have to start doing to achieve this goal? This will be the road map for your success and give you a place to start while constantly adapting and modifying as your life changes.

Applying these three principles into anything I truly wish to accomplish has pushed me to do more than I have in the past and travel to places I would have never been otherwise.

40 bits of Information

At any given moment, your brain is exposed to 11 Million bits of information. However, it only has the processing power to focus on 40 bits of information at a time. Why is this significant? Because our thoughts shape our world and how we perceive it.

For example, with myself, I used to focus almost all that 40 bits around money and let those thoughts swarm my mind. So, it’s not a shock that I was experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress because of my finances. Because I constantly THOUGHT ABOUT THEM. The value in this experience was realizing that I could invest those 40 bits in a different way. I could focus on things other than money to cleanse my mind of sometime irrational thoughts about money and my financial health. So, ask, how do you want to feel? Then invest your “bits” accordingly.

Stop looking for the Negative

Before this year, I would often look at the reason to “NOT” do things. For example, if a co worker asked me for a drink after work, these thoughts would run into my mind:

Crap, now I have to:

  • Spend money
  • Drink alcohol
  • Put my time into something other than what I originally had planned
  • Risk a DUI (Even if it is just one drink, if you get pulled over and have to “blow” you could be screwed over for just one beer).

I realized that I was focusing on all the REASONS NOT TO GO. Who said, I had to drink or spend money? I realized that I was thinking in a fixed manner, that I wasn’t giving people my honest effort to do things because I my brain would go to all the reasons to not do them.

My recent travel to Brazil for the Olympic Games this year serve as a perfect example for this. Despite hearing nothing but news on: Murder, corruption, violence and Zika, I decided to go and had one of the best experiences of my life. Had I not been open to realizing the potential positives that could result from the trip, I would have probably never went.

Don’t let a negative thought control your final decision.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. These are the activities and habits that have carried me into what has been, my best year of my young life.

Please feel free to comment or share some of your biggest take aways from this year.

-Danilo Vuk Capric.

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