5 Toxic Habits I Have Quit to be Happier

I’m lazy. And I love life.

I also sincerely believe that productivity is the key skill that leads to a successful career and happy life. Why? When you’re productive, you know how to get the right things done so you never have to worry about the outcome of your career. You’ll always find work to do.

Plus, you get to enjoy life because you can get more work done in less time. That way, you’ll have more time to do things that you love. Who doesn’t want that?

Ray Dalio, a well-known investor and philanthropist, emphasized the importance of productivity in his explainer video How The Economic Machine Works.

In the 30-minute video (which I highly recommend watching), he explains how the economy works and gives advice on how you can increase your wealth. His most important piece of advice? Here it is:

“Do all that you can to raise your productivity, because in the long run, that’s what matters most.”

But I have to confess something: Living a productive life is damned hard.

But it’s also worth it because of the positive impact it has on your life.

And in this article, I want to share one of the most important strategies I’ve learned for improving your life.

It goes like this: Don’t try to copy what other successful people do. Instead, avoid what unsuccessful people do.

I learned this from one of my mentors. He has two businesses, owns two dozen properties, is an art dealer, and sits on the board of another organization. He is productive and yet has a lot of free time to go on long walks with his wife and dog or take out his boat on a sunny day.

He explained his strategy to me like this:

“I don’t know what makes people productive. However, I DO know what makes people unproductive. Stop doing those unproductive things and you’ll automatically be more productive.”

Give the above method a try. It works. I guarantee.

And to give you a few ideas, I’ll share what I’ve quit.

1. Working too much

Some days I can work 12 or 13 hours straight. I just take a break for exercising and eating. And I can keep that up for a few days.

But after a few days, there always comes a crash. Big time. I struggle. I can’t get stuff done. I don’ even want to get stuff done.

It’s not good. So I learned to be more calculated with how much I work. Ernest Hemingway tried to stop at the height of his day so he always had something to look forward to.

That’s also my new goal. But that’s hard because we always want things fast, fast, quick, quick, now, now.

Just know yourself, your work, and your deadlines. Don’t have a deadline? Take it easy because you need that juice for stressful times.

And most importantly: Have patience.

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On Writing Horror Willy Martinez

  • On Writing Horror amassed from an obsession to learn where the power of fear resides. An anthology of works studying the way in which writers evoke fear and how it may affect us. On Writing Fear is an index of terror, drawing from Aristotle, Longinus, Edmund Burke, Che Guevarra, Wordsworth, Foucault, H.P. Lovecraft, Todorov, and many more.

    Available for download below for Free as Epub PDF, and Mobi. All we ask is for an honest review!

    Chapters include digital illustrations created by the author.

     

    A must have collection of research on the power of Horror- a tormented treatment of the human passions!

    Table of Contents for On Writing Horror

    Ch 1. Fear and War: Crafting the War on Terror Using Fear Appeals Ch 2. The Art of the Coup D'etat Ch 3. The Feminine Supernatural versus the Male Supernatural Writers Ch 4. Projecting Ghost Children to Find Identity Ch 5. The Supernatural Power of the Sublime in Wordsworth's Poetry Ch 6. Disorienting Characters with Haunted Spaces and Auditory Hallucinations Ch 7. Modern Ghosts Ch 8. The Fantastic in Fear Ch 9. The Fun Side of Fear: Faustus' Tricky Imp of Satan Ch 10. Glorifying Satan

    Some of the art included:

    [caption id="attachment_4846" align="alignnone" width="188"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4847" align="alignnone" width="200"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4848" align="alignnone" width="194"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption]

     

    Intro

    On Writing Fear amassed from an obsession to learn where the power of
    horror resides. When I returned to study for my masters in English, the
    University was in tumult. The union of professors was on strike against
    the University. And of course, the students were pawns in the battle. As a
    student, I realized I was powerless in this situation, yet both the professors
    and University felt the need to deploy a rhetoric of fear. On the one hand, the
    school was threatening to lower our grades if we did not attend a class
    that was being covered by fill-in teachers and administrators, and on the
    other, we knew our teachers would be back so we didn’t want to show that
    we attended classes, and did not support them in their strike.

    Continuing
    their abuse of power, the University sent letters and emails to both
    students and their parents explaining that the students were still expected
    to attend class. The University then controlled its social media space and
    print by removing comments that were made regarding the strike – they
    wanted to continue as if nothing was going on. They were in control of the
    narrative and we were left to rumors. The school paper was not allowed to
    print any stories on the matter and the University was threatening to hold
    us accountable.

    We have other books specializing in Horror and sci-fi here. Thank you for your interest in “On Writing Horror.”

Mad Men Mad Men

  • Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature. [caption id="attachment_4742" align="alignleft" width="188"]Mad Men eBook Mad Men eBook at Mind on Fire Books[/caption] Mad Men begins with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller that causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must-read before it does get banned! Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in the Mad Men anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all men and women. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults. The Mad Men anthology was published by Mind on Fire Books. Written by Willy Martinez, A.R. Braun, and Matt Lavitt. No part of this book shall be copied without permission from the publisher.

Ghost Children Willy Martinez

  • The ghost children in “The Lost Ghost” and “The Wind in the Rose-Bush” are not restricted ghosts, and this is how these ghosts differ from the other ghosts of writers of Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman's time such as Henry James, Sarah Jewett or Ambrose Bierce. These apparitions may seem cute but think twice as these ghost children will leave you with goosebumps. This double feature of Mary E. Wilkins's short fiction is creepy enough to leave you sleeping with the lights on. Mary E. Wilkins was an American author born on October 31(Halloween), in 1852. She was at first dismissed as a serious writer because of her Feminine subjects. More recent scholarship has argued the importance of her work regarding spinster heroines or abandoned ghost children.

    The Lost Ghost

    The story of “The Lost Ghost” begins with two women conversing while they sew. Mrs. Meserve tells the story of a fine house that has just been rented but has been said to be haunted, declaring that she is done with haunted homes, yet she then goes into a story about her past experience with a haunted situation and the ghost story thus begins. As a young lady, Mrs. Meserve moved into a house with roommates, Mrs. Bird and Mrs. Dennison. Mrs. Meserve tells how she had just started school as a teacher and it was a cold year so she had a heavy coat to keep warm.
    One night while staying up she heard the sounds of a “very timid” knock with “little hands” at her door which she at first dismissed.
    She offered for them to enter but when they didn’t, Mrs. Meserve got up to check. She opened the door to the smell of what she associated with a cellar and noticed a little face holding up her heavy coat the little face says: “I can’t find my mother.” The child then flitters away and Mrs. Meserve calls to her landladies for help. The two roommates were aware of the hauntings and had come to accept the little ghost girl. Mrs. Meserve decided to stay regardless of the ghost and came to learn that the child had been poorly treated by her mother and father. The child was abandoned and found dead in one of the bedrooms by the townspeople. Then one morning Mrs. Bird wasn’t feeling too well and stayed in bed. During breakfast, Mrs. Meserve noticed a shadow walk by the window and when she got up to look she noticed the little girl walking hand in hand with Mrs. Bird. Mrs. Bird had died that morning.

    The Wind in the Rose Bush

    The second ghost story that will be examined is “The Wind in the Rose Bush”. This story is about a woman named Rebecca Flint traveling a great distance to bring back her niece Agnes to live with her. Rebecca’s sister had passed away and her sister’s husband had re-married. Rebecca came across some money and thought she would take her niece Agnes and raise her now that she had some money in the bank and also because she had no other family left. On her travels to find her niece she encounters the strangest of folks who either grunt at her or speak to her as an outsider, which adds to the resistance that Rebecca encounters on her journey. Rebecca arrives at the house and is greeted by Mrs. Dent, her niece’s stepmother.
    On the way into the house, Rebecca notices a pretty little rose bush being “agitated violently” except there was no wind.
    A short while later the two ladies are having tea and discussing the arrangements of having Agnes go home with her Aunt Rebecca when Rebecca sees Agnes pass by the window. The girl doesn’t enter and Mrs. Dent tells Rebecca that she must have been mistaken, Agnes never walked by. Rebecca stays the night and wakes the next day with still no sign of Agnes’s return. Mrs. Dent continues to make up excuses for Agnes not returning and Rebecca continues to be haunted by Agnes: she awakes at night by the sounds coming from the piano and also finds in her room that a dress was laid out with the rose from the rose bush lying on it. Rebecca continues to drill Mrs. Dent with questions but is forced to return home due to a letter she received calling her home to a sick cousin. Rebecca goes back home and through research and letter writing comes to find out that her niece Agnes had died a year ago; it was suspected to have been due to neglect but there was not enough evidence.

2. Worrying too much

What if I go broke? What if I lose my job? What if she doesn’t love me? What if I get cancer? What if this plane crashes? What if I lose my sight? What if I…?

You got your head so far in the sand like an ostrich that you can’t see how self-absorbed that way of thinking is. It’s always about me, me, me.

I know all about it. The above examples are all from my personal life. I used to be the king of the ‘what if’ game. But here’s the thing:

YOU’RE NOT GOING TO DIE RIGHT THIS SECOND.

Get over yourself. Stop worrying. And do something useful.

3. Being hard on yourself

“I suck!”

No, you don’t.

“Why?”

You got out of bed this morning, right?

“Yeah.”

Congratulations. You survived this hard thing called LIFE. Be proud of yourself. Everything you do after getting out of bed is a win.

4. Neglecting your personal education

“Woohoo! I finished college. Goodbye lame old books!”

If that was you, no matter how long ago, you do suck. Who learns one thing and stops forever? I don’t even know why we have that idea planted in our brain.

I always thought that learning stops when you get out of school. But the truth is: Your life stops when learning stops.

Invest in yourself. Learn something. Read books. Get courses. Watch videos. Do it from home or go places. It doesn’t matter. Just learn new things. You’ll be more productive and get more excited about life.

5. Hating rules

I saved the best for last. Most people hate rules, right? It starts when we’re kids.

“Why do I have to do this? Why do I have to do that?” Says the annoying kid.

“Because it’s better for you! That’s why!” Answers the wise mentor.

When we’re adults, we don’t have to follow rules (other than actual rules set by the government, but you get what I’m talking about.)

“Rules are dumb!”

That’s what I always believed. I thought I was a maverick. But I was an idiot.

Rules are actually THE BEST thing about life. Without rules, we would be watching Netflix and eating cookies all day long.

And when it comes to productivity, the first rule is: Have rules.

If you want to live without rules, go ahead. But life is not Fight Club. Rules actually help us to solve problems and get the most out of life.

Josh Weltman, an advertising creative director for 25+ years, and the co-producer of Mad Men, put it well in his book Seducing Strangers:

“Solving a problem requires a weird combination of freedom and constraint. Whenever I hear “Just have fun with it” or “Think outside the box,” I know from experience that things are about to turn into a colossal waste of time.”

Good news: you make up the rules.

For example, one of my personal rules is this: Never complain. Another one is: Read and exercise every day. And: Close the day every evening by setting your next day’s priorities.

When you combine all your productivity rules, you have a system. Voila!

I rely on my system to work smarter, better, happier, and effectively. It took me years to figure out that a system is a good thing, and a few more years to develop one, but it was worth it.

Because now, I get to be a very productive person. Not bad for an unproductive person, right?Read the original article on Medium. Copyright 2017.

Join 4,684 other subscribers

On Writing Horror Willy Martinez

  • On Writing Horror amassed from an obsession to learn where the power of fear resides. An anthology of works studying the way in which writers evoke fear and how it may affect us. On Writing Fear is an index of terror, drawing from Aristotle, Longinus, Edmund Burke, Che Guevarra, Wordsworth, Foucault, H.P. Lovecraft, Todorov, and many more.

    Available for download below for Free as Epub PDF, and Mobi. All we ask is for an honest review!

    Chapters include digital illustrations created by the author.

     

    A must have collection of research on the power of Horror- a tormented treatment of the human passions!

    Table of Contents for On Writing Horror

    Ch 1. Fear and War: Crafting the War on Terror Using Fear Appeals Ch 2. The Art of the Coup D'etat Ch 3. The Feminine Supernatural versus the Male Supernatural Writers Ch 4. Projecting Ghost Children to Find Identity Ch 5. The Supernatural Power of the Sublime in Wordsworth's Poetry Ch 6. Disorienting Characters with Haunted Spaces and Auditory Hallucinations Ch 7. Modern Ghosts Ch 8. The Fantastic in Fear Ch 9. The Fun Side of Fear: Faustus' Tricky Imp of Satan Ch 10. Glorifying Satan

    Some of the art included:

    [caption id="attachment_4846" align="alignnone" width="188"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4847" align="alignnone" width="200"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4848" align="alignnone" width="194"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption]

     

    Intro

    On Writing Fear amassed from an obsession to learn where the power of
    horror resides. When I returned to study for my masters in English, the
    University was in tumult. The union of professors was on strike against
    the University. And of course, the students were pawns in the battle. As a
    student, I realized I was powerless in this situation, yet both the professors
    and University felt the need to deploy a rhetoric of fear. On the one hand, the
    school was threatening to lower our grades if we did not attend a class
    that was being covered by fill-in teachers and administrators, and on the
    other, we knew our teachers would be back so we didn’t want to show that
    we attended classes, and did not support them in their strike.

    Continuing
    their abuse of power, the University sent letters and emails to both
    students and their parents explaining that the students were still expected
    to attend class. The University then controlled its social media space and
    print by removing comments that were made regarding the strike – they
    wanted to continue as if nothing was going on. They were in control of the
    narrative and we were left to rumors. The school paper was not allowed to
    print any stories on the matter and the University was threatening to hold
    us accountable.

    We have other books specializing in Horror and sci-fi here. Thank you for your interest in “On Writing Horror.”

Mad Men Mad Men

  • Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature. [caption id="attachment_4742" align="alignleft" width="188"]Mad Men eBook Mad Men eBook at Mind on Fire Books[/caption] Mad Men begins with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller that causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must-read before it does get banned! Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in the Mad Men anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all men and women. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults. The Mad Men anthology was published by Mind on Fire Books. Written by Willy Martinez, A.R. Braun, and Matt Lavitt. No part of this book shall be copied without permission from the publisher.

Ghost Children Willy Martinez

  • The ghost children in “The Lost Ghost” and “The Wind in the Rose-Bush” are not restricted ghosts, and this is how these ghosts differ from the other ghosts of writers of Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman's time such as Henry James, Sarah Jewett or Ambrose Bierce. These apparitions may seem cute but think twice as these ghost children will leave you with goosebumps. This double feature of Mary E. Wilkins's short fiction is creepy enough to leave you sleeping with the lights on. Mary E. Wilkins was an American author born on October 31(Halloween), in 1852. She was at first dismissed as a serious writer because of her Feminine subjects. More recent scholarship has argued the importance of her work regarding spinster heroines or abandoned ghost children.

    The Lost Ghost

    The story of “The Lost Ghost” begins with two women conversing while they sew. Mrs. Meserve tells the story of a fine house that has just been rented but has been said to be haunted, declaring that she is done with haunted homes, yet she then goes into a story about her past experience with a haunted situation and the ghost story thus begins. As a young lady, Mrs. Meserve moved into a house with roommates, Mrs. Bird and Mrs. Dennison. Mrs. Meserve tells how she had just started school as a teacher and it was a cold year so she had a heavy coat to keep warm.
    One night while staying up she heard the sounds of a “very timid” knock with “little hands” at her door which she at first dismissed.
    She offered for them to enter but when they didn’t, Mrs. Meserve got up to check. She opened the door to the smell of what she associated with a cellar and noticed a little face holding up her heavy coat the little face says: “I can’t find my mother.” The child then flitters away and Mrs. Meserve calls to her landladies for help. The two roommates were aware of the hauntings and had come to accept the little ghost girl. Mrs. Meserve decided to stay regardless of the ghost and came to learn that the child had been poorly treated by her mother and father. The child was abandoned and found dead in one of the bedrooms by the townspeople. Then one morning Mrs. Bird wasn’t feeling too well and stayed in bed. During breakfast, Mrs. Meserve noticed a shadow walk by the window and when she got up to look she noticed the little girl walking hand in hand with Mrs. Bird. Mrs. Bird had died that morning.

    The Wind in the Rose Bush

    The second ghost story that will be examined is “The Wind in the Rose Bush”. This story is about a woman named Rebecca Flint traveling a great distance to bring back her niece Agnes to live with her. Rebecca’s sister had passed away and her sister’s husband had re-married. Rebecca came across some money and thought she would take her niece Agnes and raise her now that she had some money in the bank and also because she had no other family left. On her travels to find her niece she encounters the strangest of folks who either grunt at her or speak to her as an outsider, which adds to the resistance that Rebecca encounters on her journey. Rebecca arrives at the house and is greeted by Mrs. Dent, her niece’s stepmother.
    On the way into the house, Rebecca notices a pretty little rose bush being “agitated violently” except there was no wind.
    A short while later the two ladies are having tea and discussing the arrangements of having Agnes go home with her Aunt Rebecca when Rebecca sees Agnes pass by the window. The girl doesn’t enter and Mrs. Dent tells Rebecca that she must have been mistaken, Agnes never walked by. Rebecca stays the night and wakes the next day with still no sign of Agnes’s return. Mrs. Dent continues to make up excuses for Agnes not returning and Rebecca continues to be haunted by Agnes: she awakes at night by the sounds coming from the piano and also finds in her room that a dress was laid out with the rose from the rose bush lying on it. Rebecca continues to drill Mrs. Dent with questions but is forced to return home due to a letter she received calling her home to a sick cousin. Rebecca goes back home and through research and letter writing comes to find out that her niece Agnes had died a year ago; it was suspected to have been due to neglect but there was not enough evidence.

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