- Get Rid Of Stuff — Sell or donate clothes you haven’t worn in a while, finally get rid of childhood stuff you know you will never use again, and only buy what you need.
- Consume Less Entertainment — Try to produce more instead of consuming TV, video games, or shows. Work on yourself, your life or your relationships instead.
- Create A Place For Everything — Unless it is decorations, you should have a place to store everything. Build a shelf, order a cupboard or get rid of it. If it does not have a place refer to #1.
- Schedule Your Time — To create more time you must take control of it. If you want to work less, produce more, and become more effective overall, then schedule the hours of the day and make a plan.
- Become Cost-Efficient — Think of everything in terms of $/hour. Buying a T-shirt is X hours of work, buying a TV Y hours, and that Netflix subscription costs you Z hours a month. What could you live without? How many hours a month would that save you? How much extra money would you earn?
- Shop Smart — Get a shopping list and only buy what is on there. Take stuff from the lowest shelf as that is the cheapest. Look for similar, non-brand products when buying something or buy it second-hand.
- Get A Pre-Paid Credit Card — If you do not have the money for it you shouldn’t buy it. A pre-paid card needs to be charged first before you make a purchase, giving you a day to think about it.
- Learn From Others — There are hundreds and thousands of great posts out there regarding Minimalism. Search for people who have lived the lifestyle and who are successful with it.
- Read “The 4 Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss — This is great for anyone with a job they cannot get away from and a fantastic read for anyone wanting to shorten their workdays.
- Follow The ‘5-Minute Rule’ — If you want to make something easy & habitual then do 5 minutes every day. Clean for 5 minutes, do your dishes for 5 minutes, exercise for 5 minutes, go for a 5-minute walk and read for 5 minutes. Most of the time it will be more, but just 5 minutes is enough to get you into a habit that will drastically improve your lifestyle.
- Learn About Passive Income — Let your money work for you and you won’t have to work at all. Often people could make a lot of money if they knew how. There are books, articles, and a ton of resources for this. Find them and use them.
- Spend Money On Experiences > Things — The things will usually go to waste but the experiences will be with you for a lifetime.
- Meditate — Decluttering your mind and making sure that it supports you rather than hinders you helps a lot, for it is the mind that consumes a lot of our time and energy every day.
- Drink More Water — Sounds obvious but water is the best way to flush out your system. It keeps you energetic, healthy and is often easier to get than any other drink.
- Learn To Have Fun By Yourself — This way you can finally say goodbye to this relationship that only bring you down as you won’t need them anymore. When you are your own best friend and know what makes you tick, laugh and grow you create a lot of liberty in your life to live it as you please.
- Just Do Things — Don’t think so hard about them and just go for them. Again, it’s the mind that usually stops you when you know it would be good anyway. So go out there, do those things you know you should, and don’t spend any more energy than you need to in your head.
Have NO Regrets.
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“Time was passing like a hand waving from a train I wanted to be on… I hope you never have to think about anything as much as I think about you.”
— Jonathan Safran Foer
In the final decade of his life, my grandfather woke up every single day at 7 AM, picked a fresh wild flower on his morning walk, and took it to my grandmother.
One morning, I decided to go with him to see her.
And as he placed the flower on her gravestone, he looked up at me and said, “I just wish I had picked her a fresh flower every morning when she was alive. She really would have loved that.”
As you can imagine, my grandfather’s words touched a nerve in me.
And over the years I’ve often reflected on what he said that morning, and how his sentiment relates to everyone and everything I care about.
God willing, in 40 years when I’m in the midst of my 80’s, I don’t want to sit with needless regrets.
I don’t want to wish I had done things differently – especially something as simple, yet meaningful, as picking wildflowers for the love of my life.
Don’t you agree?
Regardless of your age or where you are in life right now, perhaps you will generally resonate with my thoughts here – some things I don’t want to regret down the road…
- Spending too little time with the right people. – Sooner or later, you just want to be around the people who make you smile. So today, spend time with those who help you love yourself more. And remember, the people you take for granted today may be the only ones you need tomorrow. Never be too busy to make time for those who matter most (even if it’s just a quick phone call or a text).
- Not making your loved ones smile more often. – The most beautiful thing is to see a person you love to smile, and even more beautiful is knowing that you are the reason behind it.
- Not saying what you need to say. – Speak up. Don’t hide your thoughts and feelings, especially when you can make a difference. Be brave. Say what needs to be said. If you care about someone, tell them. Hearts are sometimes broken by the words we leave unspoken.
- Constantly comparing yourself to everyone else. – Don’t compare your progress in life with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance. It’s perfectly OK to be different. Today, the only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday. Prove yourself to yourself, not others.
- Ignoring your intuition for too long. – Sometimes your mind needs more time to accept what your heart already knows. Breathe. Be a witness, not a judge. Listen to your intuition.
- Not taking action on meaningful goals. – Instead of complaining about your circumstances, get busy creating new ones. You either suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Most of the time, the only difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you do. (Read Getting Things Done.)
- Letting others talk you out of your dreams. – Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be? Stop living for other people and their opinions. Be true to YOU.
- Vivid memories of wasted time. – There is a good reason why you should wake each morning and mindfully consider what and who you will give your day to. Because unlike other things in life – love, money, respect, good health, hope, opportunities, and many more – time is the one thing you can never get back once it’s gone.
- Collecting more excuses than you can count. – If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
- Waiting, and waiting, and waiting until you’re ready. – Sometimes life seems hard, but we often make it harder than it is. All you ever have to decide is what to do next. It really is this simple. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward. Just do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better.
- Not putting in enough effort. – In life you are either a passenger or a pilot, it’s your choice. If you want something, work for it. Do what it takes, not what is easy. It will hurt. It will take time. It will require dedication. It will require willpower. You will need to make healthy decisions. It requires sacrifice. You will need to push your body to its max. There will be temptation. But, I promise you, when you reach your goal, it will be worth it.
- Letting solvable problems stop you. – Not everything that’s faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced. Problems are not stop signs, they’re guidelines. If you want it, work for it. It’s that simple. Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you couldn’t.
- Not taking on enough risk. – Wouldn’t you rather have a life of “OH WELLs” than a life of “WHAT IFs”? Do what you can while you can. Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone. Some of my best life experiences and opportunities came to me only after I dared to lose.
- Settling for less than you are capable of. – Remember, growth and change may be painful sometimes, but nothing in life is as painful as staying stuck where you don’t belong.
- Putting your own needs and happiness on the back burner. – All jokes aside, your life only comes around once. This is IT. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you laugh, often.
- Letting impatience govern your decisions and actions. – Patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.
- Giving up too soon. – Forget how many times you’ve broken down. It’s about how you stand up and move on. You may have to go through the worst, to get to the best. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.
- Letting someone walk all over you, ad infinitum. – Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option. And walk away from anyone who continually robs you of peace and joy. Life is too short to waste your time with people who abuse and bully you.
- Not helping others when you were able. – If you have a lot, give your wealth. If you have a little, give your heart. Just give what you can. No one has ever become poor by giving.
- Ignoring your roots and those who have supported you. – Never forget where you’ve been. Never lose sight of where you’re going. And never take for granted the people who travel the journey with you.
- Not appreciating what you have when you have it. – We often forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but of deeply appreciating what we do have. No, you won’t always get exactly what you want. But remember this: There are lots of people who will never have what you have right now.
- Letting your health go. – Your body is the only place you will truly ever live. If you’re lucky enough to have a body that’s in good health, be wise enough to keep it that way.
- Years of struggling to find happiness outside yourself. – Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around you, but rather what’s happening inside you. Too many people depend on others, or outside sources, to gain happiness, but the truth is it always comes from within.
- Letting too many plans blind you from the beauty of now. – When life is good, enjoy it. Don’t go looking for something better. Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have. You must be willing to loosen your grip on the life you have planned so you can enjoy the life that is waiting for you now.
- Being too narrow-minded to see the opportunities given to you. – Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you WANT because you NEED something else. And what you need often comes when you’re not looking for it.
- The limitations you put on yourself. – It’s often our own thinking that hurts us. There’s no reason to imprison yourself. Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box.
- Letting negativity get the best of you. – Remember, true strength is when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.
- Never admitting and growing beyond your mistakes. – You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them.
- Not accepting responsibility for life changes you need to make. – If you’ve been asking the same questions for a long time, yet are still stuck, it’s probably not that you haven’t been given the answers, but that you don’t like the answers you were given. Remember, it takes a great deal of courage to admit that something needs to change, and a lot more courage still, to accept the responsibility for making the change happen.
- Seeking too much validation from others. – You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, FINE enough, and STRONG enough. You don’t need other people to validate you; you’re already valuable. You are YOU and that’s the beginning and the end – no apologies, no regrets.
- Impressing the wrong people. – Not everyone will appreciate what you do for them. You have to figure out who’s worth your attention and who’s just taking advantage of you. Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you constantly feel pressured to impress.
- Time spent on drama and needless arguments. – Life is too short to argue and fight. Count your blessings, value the people who matter and move on from the drama with your head held high.
- Letting a grudge hurt your happiness. – Let it go. Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness. Holding one is like letting an unwanted company live rent-free in your head.
- Endlessly worrying about things. – Move on. Stop letting it bother you. If a problem can be solved, there’s nothing to worry about. If it can’t be solved, worrying is useless.
- Forcing what’s not meant to be. – Never force anything. Do your best, then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control. Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting. Have faith that things will work out, maybe not how you planned, but just how it’s meant to be.
- Getting stuck in the trap of consumerism. – Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t need, to impress folks they don’t even know. Don’t be one of them. (Read The Total Money Makeover.)
- Never traveling when you had the chance. – Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before.
- Not choosing to laugh at life more often. – Life is way better when you’re laughing. Being positive in a negative situation is not naive, it’s a sign of leadership and strength.
- Resisting change instead of rolling with it. – You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago. You’re always growing. Experiences don’t stop. That’s life.
- Talking the talk, but never walking the walk. – When it’s all said and done, be sure you haven’t said more than you’ve done. In the end, actions always speak louder than words. So work hard in silence, and let your success be your noise.
If you’re struggling with any of these points, know that you are not alone.
With COVID and so much turmoil in the world today, many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, think more clearly, and live a life free of regret from moment to precious moment.
This is precisely why Angel and I wrote our book, “1,000 Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently.”
It’s filled with short, concise tips on how to do just that.
And believe it or not, Angel and I review a lot of our own material on a regular basis too, just to center our minds on these positive principles.
The bottom line is that it’s never too late to take a step in the right direction.
It’s never too late to become the person you are capable of being.
Things can change if you want them to, at any age.
Even my grandfather found genuine gratitude for all the other amazing ways he showed my grandmother his love every day when she was alive.
Right now, regardless of your circumstances, you have an opportunity to write yourself a present and future with more peace of mind, free of needless regrets.
It’s your turn…
Let’s flip the concept of this article around.
Instead of sharing something you don’t want to regret down the road, answer this:
What have you done lately that you know you will NOT regret down the road? Write it down.
Your Biggest Problem Is You Think You Have Time
Here’s how to really maximize your days
A time waster is my worst nightmare.
I worked with many of them in corporate.
They existed for the sole purpose of wasting other humans’ time
The reason has nothing to do with intelligence.
They simply had not discovered the value of time
They didn’t realize the reason we waste so much of our time chasing money is because it buys back our time.
So they unconsciously wasted time as if it were infinite.
Charles Darwin, who is best known for his thoughts on the science of evolution, knew the value of time.
The inspiration for this article is an edited quote of his.
“A man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of his life.”
“The trouble is, you think you have time”
Author Jack Kornfield said this on an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast.
It has stuck with me ever since.
How many of us waste the days because we think we have plenty more to come?
I used to joke with friends and family on every birthday that I was Peter Pan and lived forever.
I lived that way my entire life and abused my body with alcohol.
In 2015 I got the news I had narrowly avoided cancer after they found a lump the size of a golf ball in my guts and had to cut it out.
From that day on I no longer thought I had time.
My mind now tells me I’m living on borrowed time. So my time management philosophy has radically shifted.
Tragedy shapes how you think about time.
The next time one happens in your life, use it to recalibrate how much time you think you have left.
It will help take how you use time to the next level.
The biggest lie about productivity culture
Popular productivity advice assumes we want to complete more tasks on our to-do list.
We work harder for nothing… and don’t understand why.
We actually don’t want to be more productive
What we really want is more time — Shane Parrish
All paths in life lead to us wanting more time
That’s because life is a gift.
There’s so much to do and so many places to visit.
It’s the reason I gave up my job and learned how to invest money.
I couldn’t give a flying hoot about Lambos and mansions.
I just want the joy of full control over my time to do whatever I want.
If my day is completely wasted then I want to know it was me that caused it, not the result of some micromanaging boss with a tiny brain.
Use productivity to increase how much free time you have. Then it’s working in your favor, as opposed to being a giant distraction.
“Time discovers truth”
(According to Seneca.)
You see it all the time.
People who think there are shortcuts to getting results, when in reality, time in the game beats everything.
Let time show you the truth?
Did you stick at it for 12 months?
Now, time for the uncomfortable truth: Did you stick at it for five years?
If the answer is no then time is showing you the truth.
The truth is you’re impatient.
Your desire for fast results is the cause, not whatever your excuses are screaming in your head.
Time shows you if you’re committed to a goal or just lying to yourself.
Time multiplies whatever you feed it
Good habits make time your ally.
Bad habits make time your enemy.
Habits create compound interest in the productivity world.
I view habits as a way to become efficient at a skill and get more out of it, so I trade a smaller amount of minutes each time I do it.
Take writing as an example.
I used to be a slow writer.
Now I can write twice as fast.
That’s not an accident.
My writing habit, practiced for the last seven years straight, led to the efficiency.
You can do the same.
- Pick a task or skill.
- Schedule it in your calendar.
- Repeat weekly.
If you have an off day, repeat the habit but only for a short time.
That’s how you keep habits working for you, even when life messes things up and you have no control over it.
The speed of time strangely varies
What if you could use productivity to time travel?
Flow states have been spoken about at length, however, not like this.
Chef Frank Prisinzano claims he time travels daily with flow states that put him on autopilot.
You’re doing what you love and it doesn’t feel like work.
You can even escape your body’s movements so that your mind is free to wander and see the future.
Flow states have altered his perception of time so much that he says, “I got addicted to the flow of that job,” when describing a chef job.
These flow states lead him to many odd coincidences which he claims guide him.
The greatest tragedy he says is that many people haven’t accessed flow states before.
This upsets him because he believes they’re therapeutic.
It’s this harsh reality that has led him to teach people how to access flow states that he says are a feeling that will “change your life.”
When you’re in the zone and you’re doing everything by touch and feel — you’re not worried about time. It just doesn’t exist.
Flow states increase the value of your life by optimizing the way you use time and experience it.
Let that sink in.
How to maximize the value of your time
Thanks to Parkinson’s Law that states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” — time works against you by default if you don’t choose how you’re going to think about it.
The ultimate solution is to use the power of doing only one thing.
YouTuber Ali Abdaal says, “Every day I try to write down the one thing I need to get done that day.
By focusing on just 1 thing I don’t drown in all the other tasks I need to do.”
Ali goes on to suggest we leverage artificial deadlines.
I love that idea.
It’s why I get my wife to schedule social events right after my writing sessions.
It gives me motivation and a deadline to work to.
Takeaway: One objective per day increases the value of your time.
My only measure of success is how much time you have to kill — Nassim Nicholas Taleb
It all boils down to this
The value of your life is expressed through time.
Don’t waste time.
Instead, make it count.
Give life all that you’ve got.
The game of life has a predictable outcome: death
So you’ve got nothing to lose.
Invest time while you have it.
Say no to dumb stuff.
Let me leave you on this bizarre thought from Katrina Paulson that will warp your understanding of time forever and keep you up at night:
If we can’t change our past, what does that say about our futures?
Perhaps, there’s more to the concept of fate than we realize.
Is it feasible that everything and everyone has a purpose
Could it be that there’s a reason you and I happen to be alive right now?
That everything that we do and everything happening around us is supposed to happen?
That Time wants it to happen?”
Stop Doing These Things, They’re Making You Hate Yourself
Things most people don’t do responsibly at all
I could make so much more money writing if I just told people what they wanted to hear.
If I already know I’m going to get into trouble for writing this, so why am I doing it?
I have this compulsion to tell the truth, or at least the truth as I see it, even to my detriment.
And the truth is that there are a lot of cultural trends in society that are making people miserable and it’s obvious.
Not picking on him, but Tom Kuegler posted this Tweet the other day:
Let’s stop the false belief that you need to swear away porn, drinking, sugar, Netflix, and god forbid anything else that gives life a little fucking flavor in order to be successful.
I mean, I agree with the sentiment.
But it’s not as if most people just dabble in these a little bit and stop just before the point these activities make them start to hate themselves.
No, a bunch of people in society are run by these habits
It probably is a good idea to swear them off for a while and get your shit together if I’m being honest.
There’s just this growing culture that nobody should be judged.
We should all get to do whatever we want and suffer zero consequences from it. It’s a nice utopian sort of thought.
But like all utopian concepts, it only works in theory, not in practice.
Do what you want to do.
But if you engage parts of this list too much you’ll probably end up hating yourself to varying degrees.
“A little porn doesn’t hurt.”
Sure, I’ll grant you that
But how many people watch just a little bit of porn?
It’s a major issue, especially for men.
Constantly ejaculating into your own hand from watching videos and images of other people having sex on a screen isn’t be good for your confidence, self-esteem, sex drive, any of it.
Imagine a kid with a smartphone at age 11 with unlimited access to porn while going through the most tumultuous time in their genetic development.
That can’t be good.
Having a never-ending stream of dopamine hits isn’t good for your brain either
I’ve had that experience watching porn — suffering from the paradox of choice with my dick in my hand.
Too many videos to choose from for the ‘ending.’
Excessive porn use and masturbation have been linked to erectile dysfunction.
It’s been linked to anxiety and depression.
Clearly, it can cause issues in marriages and relationships.
And a lot of men use it as a scapegoat to cope with the fact they don’t think they measure up with women in the real world.
Don’t just take my word for it, ask the millions of men who’ve joined movements like no-fap because they realize how much of an issue, an addiction, porn has become in their lives.
Remember my rule: if you hear a sweeping top-down message from the media or society it’s probably bad for you.
I’ve seen a bunch of outlets and pundits speak out against guys who are practicing no-fap or participating in ‘no-nut November.’
Why do people care if guys are choosing not to masturbate for a month?
If you’ve been paying attention, the answer is obvious.
Your societal overlords hate anything that has to do with personal responsibility, discipline, or boosting your own self-esteem without their help.
Distraction-free people become aware and awake people
Porn is a huge time suck and distraction so it’s promoted as healthy. It’s not.
Having a Few Too Many
Alcohol is the only drug people question you for not doing.
It’s kind of strange that such a destructive drug is so normalized in our culture.
A night of too much drinking and a few poor decisions can change your entire life or cost you your life, or someone else’s.
Just ask Henry Ruggs who now faces decades in prison after killing a woman and her dog while driving drunk.
Jordan Peterson put it well in an interview with Theo Von:
“You might say, why do people drink too much?
If you like alcohol that’s a stupid question.
Well, cause it’s great
So why stop?
You do stupid things when you’re drunk, you compromise your health, it’s really hard on the people around you, it tends to turn you into a liar, and it screws up your life.”
But, you don’t drink and drive, so you’re good.
You’re not a binge drinker, so it’s fine.
You just like to have one or two to relax with your buddies after work
Maybe a glass of wine after a long day, a few days a week, maybe all week. You don’t get drunk, you just like the taste.
I drink. I’m not saying don’t drink, ever.
But I am saying that alcohol is pretty much poison and it creates a slippery slope that has a ton of consequences.
It messes with your fitness gains, sleep quality, and has also been liked to anxiety and depression. It’s a personal choice for all of us, but ask yourself what role drinking plays in your life. Why do you do it?
Do you do it genuinely for fun?
Or do you do it to cope with what’s going on in your life?
Is drinking getting in the way of a better life for you or does it fit well with the life you want to live?
I’ve seen a recent string of friends, acquaintances, and even people I interact with online saying they’re ready to put the bottle down for good because it’s just a net negative.
These aren’t all alcoholics either, just people who’ve come to the conclusion that drinking is fucked.
Building Your Identity Around This False God
I’ve never come across someone with politics as a central piece of their identity that looks happy.
And political affiliation as a central piece of identity has been running rampant.
I kid you not, half the profiles I see on dating apps have some sort of political reference or reference to a topic that has been politicized.
You see it on social media profiles
Is that really what people think is most important about them?
That’s all they have
Is this where we’re at as a society?
I’m afraid so.
We’ve gone from an era where it was gauche to discuss politics to one where it’s all we talk about.
I read this Tweet from the anonymous fiction writer Delicious Tacos:
Abandon your political ideology.
It’s just making you mad.
Nobody cares about political issues as much as they love to virtue signal, finger wag, and be smug self-righteous jerks.
This quote from the Last Psychiatrist says it perfectly:
What do protestors want?
Can they articulate it meaningfully, not in platitudes or “people over profits” or “more fair income redistribution” soundbites?
They can’t tell you because they don’t know
They can, however, yell at you what they don’t like, and the louder they yell it the more they hear it themselves
Nothing is expected to be accomplished, it is all for branding.
Drop the brand.
Focusing on Fake Life Instead of Real Life
“Everything on the Internet is Porn.
Your goals & visions should only exist in your Minds Eye.
You should only be able to see them by manifesting them into reality Constantly viewing a life you dont live isn’t motivation, it’s a masturbation that robs you of focus & imagination.”
Comparison is the thief of joy, right?
Then Instagram has got to be making us miserable.
If you spend every day of your life looking at the highlight reels of other people, it’s going to be hard to feel good about yourself.
You look at perfectly sculpted, and photoshopped, bodies that make you feel bad about your own self-image.
You see the seemingly glamorous lives of others, which can be faked.
Here’s an article about how fake influencers rent a Lamborghini for cheap or take pictures on a private Jet that never leaves the ground.
Human beings are social animals that have a comparison mechanism wired into them
At least when you’re in person you can size someone up more accurately.
Everyone’s confident, everyone’s a genius, and everyone’s beautiful, except for you of course.
The internet is here to stay and most of us are trapped in it for good, including me.
But be careful to not let your brain get turned into total mush.
Every time I watch Wall-E it seems prescient like that’s exactly where we’re headed.
We’d rather live in the fake world than the real world.
The metaverse is already here — look at your screen time.
All of these points aren’t meant to be finger wags.
They’re meant to wake you up a bit and temper some of these habits that, when overlapped, will make you feel bad about yourself.
Throw Out the Baby and the Bath Water
I’m not some puritanical type of person at all.
I’m very libertarian when it comes to letting people choose how they want to live
It’s literally a free country.
But, there are some ways to live that are objectively better than others or are at least very subjectively better than others.
What am I trying to say here?
I’m trying to say you can’t just live any way you want and expect things to go well.
Without some organizing principles and standards for how to live, you’re going to get lost.
You’ll fall into nihilism.
“God is dead,” because people think they’re smarter than God.
They need some structure, guidance, and wisdom.
If you take out the fanatical aspects of religion, like telling people they’re going to go to hell if they don’t believe, the vanilla tenets of Judeo-Christian ethics are pretty good.
We built society on them.
Society is falling apart without them.
Mainly, it’s falling apart because many of us don’t see each other, ourselves, as divine.
And I’m just defining divine as someone who is special because they miraculously appeared onto this planet when the odds were slim to none.
When we lose that, and reduce ourselves and others to something less than that, we can end up hating ourselves and each other at the same time.
Be Happier With Less — 16 Tips To Living A Minimalistic Life
The Most Powerful Lesson I Learned to Inspire Action
Regret is always worse than failure.
In life, it’s not the things you do, but the things you don’t do that you’ll regret the most.
When I think back on my past, it’s the opportunities I didn’t take that I shake my head over—not asking out a person I liked, not taking a chance, or not saying what needed to be said.
On other hand, it’s the opportunities I did take that I’m most proud of—even with my catastrophic failures, I’m still grateful I tried and I admire my courage.
Ultimately, those experiences helped me understand a powerful lesson that inspired me to take risks, no matter the situation, and improve my life—and I’m confident it can boost your courage and success too:
Failure Is Always Better Than Regret
If you’re going after something you care about, failing isn’t a problem.
In fact, the sting of failure is always better than the regret of not taking action—because even if you fail, at least you moved forward and found out the answer instead of never knowing and missing out on life-changing opportunities.
“In the long run, people of every age and in every walk of life seem to regret “not” having done things much more than they regret things they “did”, which is why the most popular regrets include not going to college, not grasping profitable business opportunities, and not spending enough time with family and friends.”
— Daniel Gilbert, Ph.D.
In my life, I’ve had plenty of massive, embarrassing failures—the kinds that make your cheeks burn and make you wish you could hide.
But speaking from experience, those moments of pain were absolutely nothing compared to the pain of inaction.
You see, if I got rejected or embarrassed myself, I would eventually get over it in a few hours or a day.
And in the meantime, I still could savor the accomplishment of actually doing something that terrified me.
I could feel excited that I took action toward my goals and I could feel relieved because I got my answer, got closure, and moved on.
But if I hesitated and missed my chance, I would suffer much, much longer.
That sting of “why did I chicken out?” would persist and persist and eventually cause more frustration, self-doubt, and hesitation.
As Richard Paul Evans would say, I “failed by default” because, rather than them saying “no,” I said “no” for them because didn’t even try.
Then, I’d have to wait until “next time” (whenever the hell that was) to get another shot, and I’d always have to wonder what would’ve happened if I just tried.
I’ve had this happen far too many times in my life — and each time, I felt disappointed and frustrated with myself.
Yet it’s not just with opportunities like asking someone on a date or selling something; it also includes having difficult conversations with people.
For the vast majority of my life, whenever someone was rude, mean, cruel, or insulting toward me, I bit my tongue, walked away, and kicked myself for not saying anything.
I didn’t have the courage to call people out in a firm, fair, and civil way, even if I was right or wrong.
Due to my upbringing, I grew up with severely low self-esteem and had a “freeze” response where, in moments of stress, fear, or danger, rather than fighting or fleeing, I couldn’t move or think—so I know exactly what it’s like to feel terrified of doing or saying the wrong thing and freezing myself.
Maybe you too have a chance to have a difficult but necessary conversation, but you worry that the result will be bad or negative so you let it pass.
But the truth is you will never know if your choice is actually right or wrong until you take action.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
How to Finally Take Action
Sure, I could recommend you indirectly “build more confidence” by exercising and building a stronger body, improving yourself, healing your traumas, finding new friends, and more.
But while they can help a little, they won’t guarantee you’ll start taking action when the moment arrives.
Worse, you might find yourself delaying action because of it. (I’ve seen this a lot.)
I’ve seen people who still won’t move forward because they’re waiting to get a little leaner, a little more “healed,” a little more active with their social life, etc. before they finally seize their opportunities.
But honestly, you don’t have to do any of that.
If you just start right now, with all your current imperfections and flaws, you’ll be cured once and for all.
The only way to truly break free is to take action at the moment, even when your heart’s pounding and your legs are shaking.
Once you realize that the momentary pain of taking action is far better than the constant suffering of inaction, your life will never be the same.
To push yourself during those moments, remind yourself of who you want to be and what you want to accomplish.
If you’re about to hesitate and miss your chance, put yourself in the shoes of your future self and act in a way that will make your future self proud.
Also, as David Goggins teaches, stop negotiating with yourself.
Stop allowing yourself to create excuses or reasons about why you missed your chance and then try to rationalize your regret.
How bad do you actually want it? If you truly want it, then commit to it and never waiver.
“To be frank, willpower is for people who haven’t decided what they actually want in their lives. If you’re required to exert willpower to do something, there is an obvious internal conflict. You want to eat the cookie, but you also want to be healthy. You want to focus at work, but you also want to watch that YouTube video… So, are you serious about this? Or are you just talking? Are you still on the fence, or have you decided? Until you decide, you’ll be required to use willpower and will continue making minimal progress.”
—Benjamin Hardy, Ph.D.
For example, in 2020, I promised myself I would never fail by default again (i.e. never face the regret of not trying), and holy shit, it was one of the hardest promises I've ever made to myself.
I put myself through some very uncomfortable, difficult, and awkward situations—I had to act in ways I’ve never done before and I had to make mistakes.
But once I told myself, “This is how it's going to be for the rest of my life,” there was no turning back. I seized every chance that fell on my plate after that, consequences are damned.
Ultimately, the outcome didn’t matter, good or bad — what mattered was I honored my commitment, refused to negotiate with myself, took action, and moved a step closer toward being the person I wanted to be.
By doing so, I could feel proud of my confidence, courage, and self-worth. And the more I practiced being comfortable with the uncomfortable, the better I got.
Don’t live a life marred by the pain of inaction.
Commit to avoiding regrets and embracing the failure that comes your way.
Commit to becoming the fearless person you aspire to be.
Commit to taking action, despite your discomfort.
And you’ll never regret it.
Failure Only Feels Bad When You’re in the Middle of It
You don’t look back and grieve about past failures once you made it.
Most entrepreneurs know that startups across the globe have a terrifying rate of failure.
Similarly, most athletes never make it to the top of their game.
And we all know how miserable failure feels — no matter if it’s a relationship that fails, a bad grade at school, a failed project, or a huge dream we can’t seem to turn into reality.
Knowing what you want but not getting it sucks.
There’s no point in sugarcoating that reality.
But what most people miss is that it only sucks at that moment of failure.
If you lose a competition, move on, and win the next one, you won’t be as sad about the first loss anymore.
If you get divorced but end up meeting your soulmate and spending the rest of your life with someone who lights up your heart, the divorce won’t feel as painful anymore.
And if your first business fails, but your second ends up being widely profitable and successful, dealing with the failure of the first one suddenly becomes easy.
“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
— Coco Chanel
The story about the horse
There’s a parable about a farmer whose horse ran away one day.
“How unlucky!” his neighbors told him.
“Good thing, bad thing, who knows,” said the farmer.
A week later, the horse came back come.
“That’s amazing!” said everyone in the village.
Again, the farmer said: “Good thing, bad thing, who knows.”
A few days later, the farmer's son climbed up the horse, fell down, and broke his leg.
“How unlucky!” everyone says.
And once again, the farmer says, “Good thing, bad thing, who knows.”
The next day, all the young men of the village are called into military service.
Due to his broken leg, the son of the farmer is excused.
“Good thing, bad thing, who knows,” the farmer says.
The point of this story is to focus on the “what is” instead of the “what if”.
So often, we’re wondering about what could’ve happened if…
What if I’d received that investment for my business.
What if I that accident never happened and I could’ve followed a professional career in sports.
What if I’d started a Youtube channel back when it was easy.
What if I’d invested in Bitcoin in 2010.
The problem with what if is that nobody knows.
Maybe your life would be miserable if you’d invested in Bitcoin in 2010.
Maybe it would be amazing.
The harsh reality is that most what-ifs aren’t worth your time, and you’re better off by just moving on in life.
Overcoming failure is 1% strategy and 99% swallowing your pride
Quite often, we hold on to failures or missed opportunities because we believe we can change the situation, even though we actually can’t.
And the reality is, it’s damn hard to admit that you failed.
Realizing that your oh-so-perfect business idea was probably not that perfect is painful.
And it’s even more frustrating if you told your colleagues, friends, and family about it and now have to admit that you’ve been wrong.
So it’s tempting to keep going and waste endless hours, even if you already know that your idea is meant for failure.
In the worst case, you additionally try to make it look good (e.g., on social media) so nobody can even doubt your greatness.
But by neglecting false decisions and a wrong path, you’re just manipulating your future.
Swallowing your pride and admitting that you’ve been wrong or that you made mistakes isn’t easy, but it’s highly efficient.
And the truth is that most success stories are based on lots of failures and mistakes anyway.
You can read as many great books as you want and have the greatest mentors on the planet, but you’ll likely still make a few mistakes if you have big ambitions in life.
What most people don’t understand is that life isn’t about avoiding mistakes or failure.
It’s about embracing all our experiences and emotions, including the negative ones.
In fact, your success wouldn’t be as interesting and fulfilling if it was easy to achieve.
It’s the bumpy road that shapes your personality and adds interesting stories to your journey.
You don't know what you don't know until you
J.K. Rowling got rejected by 12 major publishers before Harry Potter got published.
Walt Disney was fired from The Kansas City Star because his editor felt he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.
Later, Disney’s idea for Mickey Mouse and his theme park got rejected around 300 times.
Pablo Picasso is known for having created around 100 masterpieces in his career.
What most people don’t know is that he created 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings, 300 sculptures and ceramics, and 34,000 illustrations during his 78-year career.
Rovio, a video game development company, launched 51 unsuccessful games before developing the world-famous game Angry Birds.
You bet that J.K. Rowling, Walt Disney, Pablo Picasso, and the founders of Rovio all felt miserable and frustrated when spending endless hours on their passion without any recognition or rewards.
Eventually, their perseverance paid off and they got rewarded for their efforts.
But in the middle of the rejections and failed projects, none of them knew what it was good for.
And they probably asked themselves what if they could just get accepted and rewarded for their efforts.
J.K. Rowling might’ve been dreaming about a successful career as a fiction writer, but she surely didn’t know what would happen when she knocked on the door of the 13th publisher.
Success is a numbers game.
The more often that you choose courage, the more likely you’ll succeed.
That’s all easier said than done, especially when you find yourself in the middle of a frustrating failure, but it’s the harsh reality.
As James Altucher describes in The Power of No:
“Life is a series of failures punctuated by brief successes.”
Don’t rush through failure.
Allow yourself to feel bad and grow out of your pain.
There’s no success story that’s not based on multiple mistakes and failures.
Your breakthrough might be closer than you might think.
Just keep going.
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“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff
life is made of.” — Benjamin Franklin
I recently received a thank you email from a reader and course student named Hope.
She said our work helped motivate her through an arduous recovery process following a serious car accident last year.
Although her entire story was both heartbreaking and inspiring, this one line made me pause and think:
“The happiest moment of my life is still that split-second a year ago when, as I laid crushed under a 2000 pound car, I realized my husband and 9-year-old boy were out of the vehicle and absolutely OK.”
Dire moments like this force us to acknowledge what’s truly important to us.
In Hope’s case, it was her husband and son.
And in the remainder of her email she talks about how her family spends significantly more time together now, sharing daily stories, telling little jokes, and appreciating each other’s company.
“The accident made us realize how much time we had been wasting every day on things that weren’t important, which prevented us from spending quality time with each other,” she said.
It’s hard to think about a story like Hope’s and not ask yourself: What do I need to stop wasting time on?
Here are some things to consider that I’ve been examining in my own life:
- Distractions that keep you from special moments with special people. – Pay attention to the little things, because when you really miss someone you miss the little things the most, like just laughing together. Go for long walks. Indulge in great conversations. Count your mutual blessings. Let go for a little while and just BE together.
- Compulsive busyness. – Schedule time every day to not be busy. Have dedicated downtime – clear points in the day to reflect, rest, and recharge. Don’t fool yourself; you’re not so busy that you can’t afford a few minutes of sanity.
- Negative thinking about your current situation. – Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile. So talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.
- The needless drama around you. – Be wise enough to walk away from the nonsense around you. Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see.
- The desire for everything you don’t have. – No, you won’t always get exactly what you want, but remember this: There are lots of people who will never have what you have right now. The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for. Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they already have.
- Comparing yourself to everyone else. – Social comparison is the thief of happiness. You could spend a lifetime worrying about what others have, but it wouldn’t get you anything.
- Thinking about who you were or what you had in the past. – You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago. You’re always growing. Experiences don’t stop. That’s life.
- Worrying about the mistakes you’ve made. – It’s OK if you mess up; that’s how you get wiser. Give yourself a break. Don’t give up. Great things take time, and you’re getting there. Let your mistakes be your motivation, not your excuses. Decide right now that negative experiences from your past won’t predict your future.
- Worrying about what everyone thinks and says about you. – Don’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you; they do things because of them. You honestly can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react and who you choose to be around.
- Self-deception. – Your life will improve only when you take small chances. And the first and most difficult chance you can take is to be honest with yourself.
- A life path that doesn’t feel right. – Life is to be enjoyed, not endured. When you truly believe in what you’re doing, it shows, and it pays. Success in life is for those who are excited about where they are going. It’s about walking comfortably in your own shoes, in the direction of YOUR dreams.
- Everyone else’s definition of success and happiness. – You simply can’t base your idea of success and happiness on other people’s opinions and expectations.
- Those who insist on using and manipulating you. – What you allow is what will continue. Give as much as you can, but don’t allow yourself to be used. Listen to others closely, but don’t lose your own voice in the process. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Boundaries & Expectations” chapter of “1,000 Little Habits of Happy, Successful Relationships”.)
- Trying to impress everyone. – One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don’t have to like everyone, everyone doesn’t have to like us, and that’s perfectly OK. No matter how you live, someone will be disappointed. So just live your truth and be sure YOU aren’t the one who is disappointed in the end.
- All the fears holding you back. – Fear is a feeling, not a fact. The best way to gain strength and self-confidence is to do what you’re afraid to do. Dare to change and grow. In the end, there is only one thing that makes a dream completely impossible to achieve: Lack of action based on the fear of failure.
- Doubting and second-guessing yourself. – When in doubt just take the next small step. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.
- People who continuously dump on your dreams. – It’s better to be lonely than to allow negative people derail you from your sanity. Don’t let others crush your mood or dreams. Do just once what they say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their negativity again.
- Thinking the perfect time will come. – You can’t always wait for the perfect moment. Sometimes you must dare to do it because life is too short to wonder what could have been.
- Band-Aids and temporary fixes. – You can’t change what you refuse to confront. You can’t find peace by avoiding things. Deal with problems directly before they deal with your long-term happiness. Build sustainable habits that move your life forward. (Angel and I build small, life-changing daily habits with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of the Getting Back to Happy course. And we’d be truly honored to work with YOU.)
- Close-minded judgments. – Open your mind before you open your mouth. Don’t hate what you don’t know. The mind is like a parachute; it doesn’t work when it’s closed.
- Other people’s mistakes and oversights. – Today, be tolerant of people’s mistakes and oversights. Sometimes good people make bad choices. It doesn’t mean they’re bad; it simply means they are human.
- Resentment. – Kindness is not to be mistaken for weakness, nor forgiveness for acceptance. It’s about knowing that resentment is not on the path to happiness. Remember, you don’t forgive people because you’re weak. You forgive them because you’re strong enough to know that people make mistakes.
- Any hateful thoughts at all. – Set an example. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. Make kindness a daily habit; it’s what makes life happier and more fulfilling in the long run.
- Regrets of any kind. – You don’t have to be defined by the things you once did or didn’t do. Don’t let yourself be controlled by regret. Maybe there’s something you could have done differently, or maybe not. Either way, it’s merely something that has already happened. Leave the unchangeable past behind you as you give yourself to the present moment.
- Every point in time other than right now. – Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress too much about the future, it hasn’t arrived. Do your best to live NOW and make this moment worth living.
Now, it’s your turn…
Truth be told, the most important decision you will ever make is what you do with the time that is given to you. So let’s revisit the question I proposed in the intro:
What do you need to stop wasting time on?
Yale Research Confirms What You’ve Always Suspected: Nobody Is NormalJessica Stillman
Every day, millions of people around the world ask Google some variation of the question, “Am I normal?”
Burdened by shame, we turn to the internet to figure out if our behavior, our bodies, and our deepest emotions mark us as outside the mainstream.
into our browsers late at night suggests that, yes, whatever your quirk, lots of other folks probably have it too.
But if search engine data alone seems like a flimsy basis to determine whether or not you’re a freak, I have good news for you. Yale research has confirmed it scientifically.
A new review published by two Yale psychologists in Trends in Cognitive Sciences argues that we’re all a little bit weird, but being weird is, in fact, totally normal.
There is no such thing as normal.
In order to feel like a weirdo, you have to believe there is such a thing as normal — a standard or optimal state of being in whatever area you’re worried about.
Or in other words, for talking to yourself to be strange, it must be true that not talking to yourself is objectively better.
And for a question like, “How often do most couples have sex?” to make sense, you need to assume there is a range of sexual behavior that’s both common and ideal for all.
The Yale study takes aim at this understanding, revealing the world isn’t neatly divided into the healthy or unhealthy, the ideal and the subpar.
By analyzing a host of traits — from the beak shapes of specific bird species to psychological characteristics like our appetite for risk-taking — the authors show that these qualities exist along a continuum, and separating the “normal” from the “weird” is usually impossible.
There are, of course, extreme cases where some characteristic or behavior is clearly unhealthy.
If a beak can’t crack nuts and the bird is going hungry, the beak is a problem.
If your anxiety is so bad you can’t leave the house, seek treatment.
But for all but the most obvious maladaptations, there is almost always a mix of good and bad results from any given variation.
Take anxiety, for instance. Is it weird and bad if you’re more prone to worry than most other people you know?
On the net, is that a win or a loss?
Or look at risk-taking.
If you’re a little further on the fearless end of the spectrum, your chances of suffering some life-threatening mishap are likely higher, but so are your chances of starting a world-changing company.
“I would argue that there is no fixed normal,” senior author Avram Holmes commented, summing up the findings.
“There’s a level of variability in every one of our behaviors,” and “any behavior is neither solely negative or solely positive.
There are potential benefits for both, depending on the context you’re placed in.”
Let your freak flag fly.
That reality is a challenge for clinical psychologists, the research points out, as it greatly complicates the task of deciding what constitutes a mental illness in need of treatment.
But for the rest of us anxious, late-night Googlers, it’s good news.
Barring obvious dysfunction and misery, you are almost certainly way more normal than you think you are.
Or to put it differently, you’re weird, but so is everyone else, so stop worrying.
That means you should probably be more positive about both your quirks and those of people around you.
“We’re all striving towards some artificial, archetypal ideal, whether it’s physical appearance or youthfulness or intelligence or personality.
But we need to recognize the importance of variability, both in ourselves and in the people around us,” concludes Holmes.
We’re all freaks together.
That’s something to celebrate.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
Three Surefire Signs You Are Wasting Your Life
Recognize the subtle signs of waste to avoid feelings of despair and lost potential.
If you are thrilled with your life, I encourage you to stop reading now.
I can offer you little more.
And I suggest you make no changes.
Given the odds of you being “very happy” are a mere 14%, you likely have room for improvement.
A key component of sadness and a lack of fulfillment is its aftertaste, regret, feelings of self-blame for time wasted, for the potential that went unfulfilled.
The most haunting decisions aren’t usually acute: the decision to go streaking, to spin the slot machine a few more times.
They are slower burning and insidious.
Their damage is far greater and longer lasting.
Here are three signs they are happening now.
The mirror of two selves
I can remember the precise moment I knew something was fundamentally wrong.
She asked, “What are you guys doing tonight?”
This was code for, “Are you guys going to the bar?”
It was a Sunday night and we’d just gone out three nights in a row.
We were hungover to all hell and had to work again on Monday.
Her impulse was evolving into a full-blown addiction.
It spiraled out for several years before she got clean.
Today, she’s been sober for more than six years.
She owns her sobriety and attends AA.
Her career is soaring.
I’m extremely proud of her for getting in front of the problem and taking ownership.
She lives in stark contrast to another friend who continued spiraling downward and now lives on the streets, a shell of the person I knew.
At a more subtle level, we shouldn’t be looking back at ourselves, a year, three years ago, and see the same person staring back at us.
I don’t buy into this idea that we don’t have time to go back to school, that we don’t have the energy to exercise.
I worked a very difficult full-time job while also going to graduate school.
I still found time to do other things.
There were several classmates with multiple kids doing the same thing I was and still thrived.
Your calendar has room for self-improvement.
One of the hardest things I’ve had to accept isn’t that some of my friends are doing nothing with their life, it’s that they are going to have to live with that decision some day.
Several are much smarter and more talented than I’ve ever been — yet here we are approaching 40, and they are stuck in cycles of drama and low paychecks.
Don’t stay in your room waiting for something to happen in your life.
You are too concerned with the cost of change
The sunk cost fallacy was in its most damning iteration during the Vietnam War.
We continued throwing American lives, dollars, and bombs at a war that had dubious motives at best. And despite its extreme controversy, we stretched it out for years because we’d already put so much into it.
We didn’t like the idea of “losing” a war. In reality, it was unwinnable.
Many of you are caught in this trap as we speak.
You are in a ho-hum relationship because you’ve already spent eight years with that person.
Shared history, comfort, and negligible progress are now a reason for continuity.
In the end, eight years of history becomes a justification for twenty-four more ho-hum years.
Some of your most catastrophic financial decisions follow this logic.
You are holding a stock or business that, deep down, you know is headed for the abyss.
That cat obedience training startup comes back and asks you for more money.
They say, “Without more funding, we are going bankrupt.”
You either give them the money.
Or you realize the ego-bruising reality: a cat obedience program was laughably doomed from the start.
Psychologist’s offices are filled with customers in their mid-30s.
This is when people begin taking stock of their lives.
They think about what they want to accomplish.
They realize there are so many things left undone and question their ability.
Retirement homes are filled with elderly people despairing over their life decisions.
A study by Dr. Karl Pillemer, looked at 1500 people over the age of 65, asking them what they regretted most.
The most common regrets cited were not picking the right partners, not building stronger friendships, and not taking more career chances.
The sunk cost fallacy asserts we should weigh the cost of leaving versus the cost of staying, not the cost that has already been incurred.
Use this analysis at your next bad job, relationship, or money decision.
You may save your life from a very consequential wrong turn.
You are amazing at something that adds no value
My dad lectured me in my teens, “Wow Sean.
If you put as much time into studying as you did into those games, I wonder how you’d be doing.”
He wasn’t wrong.
I’d become frighteningly good at some of these games, at the expense of my grades and college options.
His phrases haunted me for years after leaving the nest.
Two decades later, after my ex-wife and I separated, I had this huge void in my life.
There was an opening of time and resources that I knew needed to be filled in the right way.
In the past, I’d become a master of various nothings.
They neither expanded my bank account nor gave me a deeper sense of pride.
I took up writing.
I’d long fantasized about writing but never could bring myself to dabble.
That writing became a daily hobby for several years.
I kept chipping away at it.
And here I am today, paying for my groceries, insurance, and every major bill with this keyboard.
Pursuing mastery is one of my life’s greatest joys.
Don’t buy in to a dream that adds nothing.
Recap for memory: 3 signs you are wasting your life
- You are the same person you were last year and the years before that. There is no development or reflection on mistakes and how to move forward.
- You stay because you fear the cost of change despite the cost of staying being so much higher.
- You are an expert at something that adds no value to your life. Explore your talents and give them time to incubate. Don’t be a master at arguing in comment sections.
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