Growth Mindset

How to Choose Education over Entertainment

How to Choose Education over Entertainment.jpg

How to Choose Education over Entertainment

The tools you need to incorporate into your life to make the switch

I can remember the time when I finally graduated from University and I told myself,

That's it. You're done with education now, no more learning, no more school, and no more exams. All of that is behind you.

How naïve I was to think like that.

Fast forward 10 years later and I realised how I've only scratched the surface with my education. I feel like I'll never reach my learning goals. I'm constantly learning new skills, finding new interests and hobbies to fill up my time.

However, I had not always thought this way. Had I not made the switch to choose education over entertainment, I would've still been that same kid who graduated from University thinking he knew it all.

So what changed? How did I make the switch and more importantly how can you choose education over entertainment?

Don't worry, I plan to answer all the questions in this article.

The why

You must value learning above everything else. This will lead you to all of the right choices.

Robert Greene

Let's start with the why first.

There are countless benefits to choosing education over entertainment. here are just a handful of them:

  • New opportunities
  • New experiences
  • Healthier lifestyle
  • Better confidence in yourself
  • More money

The list is endless. What was it that made me make the switch? It was something more, something bigger. Lifelong learning gave meaning to my life.

Before the mental switch, I realised I was wasting my time. What was I wasting it on? Finding out which NBA superstar wanted out of their current team, what absurd adventure Peter was going to go on in Family Guy and figuring out how to get Solid Snake to destroy all the machines in the Metal Gear Solid (I did love that game!).

When I had decided to prioritise learning over entertainment, I experienced all of the benefits that I listed earlier. It was a hard and long journey, but it was worth it. I grew as a person, my mentality changed, my friends changed, and even my environment changed (I'm currently writing this article in a different country from where I was brought up). New opportunities were being presented to me that had not been available before. Life had become exciting again and I realised that was all because I had made a conscious decision to choose education over entertainment.

Let me get this straight, there's nothing wrong with spending your time watching films, playing computer games or supporting your local team. It's just that all of these forms of entertainment shouldn't take over your lives, there's so much out there to experience in life. Wouldn't you want to experience something new for yourself?

The different forms of entertainment

Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.

Benjamin Hardy

What do I mean when I say entertainment? If the medium that you're consuming isn't teaching you something new or providing you with information that could benefit your life, then all it's doing is taking up your time and mindlessly numbing your brain.

Comedy shows, movies, computer games. They all fall under entertainment, but it isn't so black and white. I've learned so much about the world watching movies, my hand to eye co-ordination have excelled playing computer games and I've picked up new ways of thinking watching a few comedy shows.

What separates the two is when you mindlessly find yourself consuming entertainment for entertainment sake. I'm sure you've found yourself in a YouTube wormhole, where you start with one video and 30 minutes later you realise you've watched a series of videos that have no relevance to what you were originally watching. I know I've done this many times.

Or you tell yourself that you'll be watching one episode on Netflix and 3 hours later you've finished the entire season in one sitting and you don't know where the time went. That autoplay feature is so dangerous!

Deliberately spending your time to wind down and watch an entertaining show is fine, everyone needs to relax a little, but when you consume too much and you have no control over it, that's where there is an issue with how you spend your time.

How to set up your day for education

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Benjamin Franklin

Choosing education over entertainment is living a deliberate life. You're choosing to spend your time the way you want to and not because someone or something forces you to. This means planning, taking control of your life and removing certain distractions.

Below are a few examples where you can make significant changes to create an environment of constant learning.

Social Media

We live in a world of distractions, we're bombarded with so much information that we don't know what to do with it. Every company is fighting for our attention and once they get it, they use manipulative techniques for you to stay.

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and every other social media platform is constantly fighting for your attention. Right now they're winning. Research states that we're spending on average 142 minutes per day on social media. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through your different feeds, finding out how your friends are spending their summer vacation, how about using that time wisely and choosing to learn something new instead?

I know it can be hard to stay away from social media, it's just too tempting to open the app and see the latest hot news. That's why you need to make it difficult to access your social media apps. The more steps there are to accessing your apps, the less inclined you are to opening them.

For example, removing your social media apps off your phone and only accessing them through the desktop prevents you from accessing social media so easily. That way, you won't find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your phone, wasting your precious time. Or you can use certain apps to lock you out of social media apps at specific times, that way you're forced out until you enter a password or until it's a specific time. FocusMe is a great app for that and I use it to keep me out of YouTube on my phone.

Or you can be extreme like me and remove social media altogether from your life.

Whenever people find out that I have no social media to my name, they gasp as if I'm diagnosed with a terminal illness. I decided to quit social media entirely for over 5 years now and it's been the best decision of my life. Not only has it helped with my well-being, but it has freed up so much of my time that I can use it for more important things.

How are you going to deal with your relationship with social media? Remove it entirely or get it under control? Whatever you decide, you need to act on it quickly as it's eating up a big portion of your time.

Recommended Reading: The One App to Help You Focus


Planned learning times

Have you gone through the day not knowing where the time went? Or do you find that you constantly tell people that you don't have time for this or that? Taking control of your calendar is an important step to taking control of your time. What do we want to do with our time? Learning of course.

One technique that I've incorporated into my calendar is to plan my learning times ahead of schedule. I generally like to keep it to the same time of the day so that I don't forget. I like to block off 30-60 minutes a day to learning something new. It could be from learning how to draw to learning a new instrument. Whatever it is, I know that I'll be spending time every day to educating myself.

What time of the day isn't so important, I've experimented with late in the evening to early in the morning. What is important is that you remain consistent. After much experimenting, I found that learning first thing in the morning works for me as I have time to myself and I generally don't have anything going on. When I used to plan my learning times in the evening, I would find that unplanned events would pop up and I'd have to skip my learning time.

Recommended reading: How to Be Consistent

Is there time in the day for you to spend learning something new? Can you keep it up consistently? Can you protect that time? Have a look at your schedule and experiment with blocking time off for yourself to learn.

Recommended reading: How to Take Control of Your Time


Do not disturb mode

Whilst you're learning it's important to rid yourself from any distractions. That could mean shutting yourself in a room away from friends and family, but don't forget to leave your phone whilst you're at it!

Phones can be a major distraction, they're constantly going off notifying you of new messages, social media updates, and weather reports. If you've removed social media apps from your phone already, that's great, but you need to make sure you stop any other notifications popping off on your phone.

Whilst I'm learning I like to keep the Do Not Disturb mode on, that way my phone is dead silent and it's not fighting for my attention. Or better yet, leave your phone in another room and forget that it's even there. Either way, your phone is a distraction and it shouldn't take you away from your learning time.

Recommended reading: Take Back Your Life with One Phone Setting


Read books

Reading has been a game-changer for me. Ever since I decided to choose education over entertainment, I would fill my time reading books instead. From autobiographies to financial intelligence, reading books is a sure way to learning something new.

You may not call yourself a reader, I'm not expecting you to finish a book a week. When I started reading, I would read 10 pages a day and put the book down. Now, similar to my learning time I like to block off reading time during the day. Whatever method you'd like to incorporate into your life, figure out a way so that you're constantly reading new material.

With less social media and phone distractions in your life, there should be time for you to read a few pages throughout the day.


Incorporating a growth mindset

Deciding to shift into a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset is going to be one of the most important decisions in your life.

What is a growth mindset? It's the mentality to not walk away from any challenges and to see any failures as learning opportunities. It's the mindset to seek education first, as opposed to being entertained. If you can shift your mindset to constantly learning, it'll lead you down the path to a successful life.

Incorporating a growth mindset is down to lifestyle changes. If you've applied all of the advice that I've listed above you're on the right track, even reading this far is a great feat in itself. Just remember that it's not an overnight thing, nor will it change instantly.

These things take time, but with a little persistence and consistency. You'll be a learning machine in no time.

Recommended reading: 7 Free Apps to Develop a Growth Mindset

Live a deliberate life

Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery

James Clear

The decision is yours. Do you want to spend the remaining years of your life consuming different forms of entertainment, or do you want to live a deliberate life full of learning and new experiences?

I'm not telling you to make a drastic change in your life, I'm not expecting you to drop everything and spend hours in the library. Subtle lifestyle changes are all I'm suggesting. As all of these small little changes will eventually have a great effect on your life.

You can still watch movies, play computer games and hang out with your friends, just don't let that be the main priority. Stay curious, learn new things and gain new experience, in the end, it'll help you live a rich and full life. Or in my case, a life full of meaning.


Do you want to learn new skills to improve the quality of your life? Download the free 13-page e-book that teaches you the methods to approach every new skill you plan to learn. These same methods are what I've been using and it has helped me learn skills effectively in half the time. Click here to download the free e-book.

Take Back Your Life With One Phone Setting

Take back your life with one phone setting.jpg

Take Back Your Life With One Phone Setting

How to use the Do Not Disturb mode the right way

“Allowing an app to send you push notifications is like allowing a store clerk to grab you by the ear and drag you into their store. You’re letting someone insert a commercial into your life anytime they want.”

— David Pierce

There I was sitting in front of my computer editing the latest video, I was on fire and nothing was going to stop me from reaching my deadlines. When all of a sudden, I felt a ‘buzz’ in my pocket and heard a ‘ding’ emanating from the same location. It was my phone notifying me of a new email that had come in, it was important and it needed my attention. After replying to the first email, I noticed another email had made its way into my inbox, it too needed my attention. After 45 minutes of replying to emails and several messages from a variety of Whatsapp groups (they were important!), I finally managed to get back to editing the video.

Did I hit my deadline? I was nowhere near. This happened often and seldom did I have any peace and quiet to work on what was in front of me. I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar?

It occurred to me, what was stealing my attention was my phone. I knew that in order for me to be uber productive and get work done, I had to have a better relationship with my phone and its notifications.

What began as an experiment to focus on my work, has greatly benefitted every other aspect of my life. From relationships to personal growth, being completely distraction-free has allowed me to direct all my attention to what’s in front of me.

Depending on how you use it, the phone can be a useful tool or an annoying distraction. If you refuse to separate from your phone and leave it in another room, there is another way to stop it from constantly distracting you. In this article, I outline how I’ve managed to take control of my life with just one setting on the phone.

How distractions affect your focus

Every social media platform and messaging app is fighting for your attention and distracting you from what is important. Meaningful time spent with family and friends, creative work and focused studying are all lost because of a notification.

According to a recent study, after a simple distraction,

“It takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.”

23 minutes! Can you believe it? A simple vibration or light emitting from your phone is enough of a distraction to lose focus, what’s worse is that these distractions happen on a regular basis, how much time are you losing because of a simple notification from your phone? Getting 3 messages within 5 minutes has robbed you from over an hour of focused time.

The one phone setting that can change everything for you

For those of you that that are unaware of the Do Not Disturb mode, it is an option that stops all notifications on your phone, rendering your phone completely silent. All noise, including vibrations and lights, are turned off, this makes it impossible to know if someone has messaged you or not.

Back then, I didn’t understand the concept of not being notified, I thought to be readily available for anyone made complete sense. If I had the Do Not Disturb mode on, how would I know if a family member or friend wanted to get in touch with me? I had no need for this feature. I’m sure you can agree with me?

In my journey of minimising distractions, I realised that in order for me to take back my attention I had to stop all notifications by using the Do Not Disturb mode. It took a few months of experimentation with the settings, but I managed to find a setting that worked for me.

What happened after? I now have a better grasp on life and I feel that I have regained control of my focus, relationships and productivity.

How I’ve set the Do Not Disturb mode

I prefer to have my Do Not Disturb mode on 24/7. I want to check my messages on my terms and not let a notification decide that for me. Using the Forest app, I would work in 25-minute blocks and take a 5-minute break once a block is done. It is only during those breaks that I will check my phone and reply to any messages that I’ve missed.

Recommended reading: The one app to help you focus.

“But what if there’s an emergency?” Sure, I understand that. You want to make sure that you’re available at a time of crises. I assure you, if there’s ever an imminent crisis nobody is going to send you a text message, let alone an email.

It’s for that reason I have only a handful of people (my immediate family, extremely close friends, and business partners) that can call me at any time and I will get the notification. Just to be clear, the only notification I will only receive is a phone call from those that are on my favourite list, I will not be notified if they message me. I’ve told every member on my list that if it is truly an emergency they can call me, for anything else, they can message me and I will get back to them by the end of the day.

Whenever my phone rings I understand that it is an important call and I must pick up, but rarely has this ever happened. With the Do Not Disturb mode on, I have created an order of priorities, if it doesn’t vibrate it doesn’t get my immediate attention.

How to set your Do Not Disturb mode similar to my settings

For Android users:

  1. Settings > Sounds and vibrations > Do not disturb

  2. Check ‘Turn on now’

  3. Select ‘Allow exceptions’

  4. Check ‘Custom’

  5. Set ‘Calls from’ to ‘Favourite contacts only’

  6. Go to your contacts and select only the people that are truly important to you

  7. Check the star next to their names to add them to the favourite list

For iPhone users:

  1. Settings > Do Not Disturb

  2. Check ‘Do Not Disturb’

  3. Select ‘Allow Calls From’

  4. Check ‘Favourites’

  5. Go to your contacts and select only the people that are truly important to you

  6. Select ‘Add to Favourites’

Conclusion

After a few months of living with the Do Not Disturb mode turned on, I realised not everything is as urgent as it seems. I don’t need to pick up every single phone call that comes my way, a text message doesn’t need to be replied to immediately, an email can sit in my inbox for a few hours.

Why let these messages take your attention when you can spend it working on the more important tasks or spending time with people that matter to you most? It’s a matter of priorities and understanding what is important to you.

Would you rather you spend your time reacting to every notification? Or would you rather be active and deliberate with everything you do and take control of your life?

Turning on the Do Not Disturb mode allowed me to do just that, perhaps, it can do the same for you.

I would suggest taking it slow and experiment with the Do Not Disturb setting, if you can find a nice balance between ‘complete isolation’ and ‘readily available’, perhaps, you’ll be able to find that it’ll greatly benefit not only your focus but also your relationships, creativity and all other aspects of your life.

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Do you want to learn new skills to improve the quality of your life? Download the free 13 page e-book that teaches you the methods to approach every new skill you plan to learn. These same methods is what I've been using and it has helped me learn skills effectively in half the time. Click here to download the free e-book.

7 Free Apps To Develop a Growth Mindset

7 Free Apps To Develop a Growth Mindset.

7 Free apps to develop a growth mindset.jpg

It’s projected that the total amount of smartphone users will blow past the 5 billion mark by 2019. Depending on how you use your device that sits in your pocket, it can either be used as a major distraction or a resourceful tool. With the majority of users leaning towards the former, this article will hopefully give you more information to push you to the latter.

What is a growth mindset?

The phrase ‘growth mindset’ made famous by Dr. Carol Dweck, focuses on the attitude towards developing your learning and intelligence. Walking away from challenges, effort and criticism all fall under a fixed-mindset and as a result lead you to achieve less than your full potential. A growth mindset doesn’t shy away from a challenge and understands that effort is the key to mastery, failures are seen as learning opportunities and criticism is seen as a chance to improve. Developing a growth mindset is one of the main keys that’ll help unlock the door to a successful life.

Recommended book: Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential by Carol Dweck

Consistency is key

With the convenience of a smartphone sitting in our pockets for the majority of the day, we all have an endless amount of resource sitting at the end of our fingertips. Below are 7 apps that I use on a consistent basis. I stress the word ‘consistent’ because it’s the daily use of an app that is important to the development of a growth mindset.

Recommended reading: How to be consistent

Kindle

A growth mindset is all about purposeful learning. Looking for some advice to help further your business? Perhaps some relationship advice? Or even information on how to be read faster? Whatever you decide, there’s always a learning opportunity with every book you open.

Even though the app is free not every book in the Kindle store is just as cheap, fortunately, digital books are a fraction of the price of the paperback equivalent. If you aren’t willing to invest the price of a cup of coffee on your development then you’ve got your priorities all wrong. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

Recommended books:

  1. Mastery - Robert Greene

  2. The Rise of Superman - Steven Kotler

  3. The Talent Code - Daniel Coyle

Pocket

Can’t commit to reading a few hours from a book? How about something a little bit more bite size? With the slogan, “Put knowledge in your pocket”, Pocket is a useful app that allows you to save articles for future consumption. I’ve found this app really useful when dealing with new articles that I come across. When I see a headline that catches my eye, I’ll save it to my Pocket account for future reading. In addition, Pocket formats the text, images and embedded videos to fit perfectly on your device or computer screen, meaning you won’t be bothered by those annoying pop-ups anymore.

Recommended articles:

  1. How To Improve Your Memory

  2. How I Pay For My Education

  3. How to Learn Any Skill: 10 Steps and Why They Will Change Your Life

Any Podcast App

If reading, in general, isn’t your thing, I would then recommend listening to a good podcast. I like to listen to a good podcast whilst I’m working out at the gym or commuting to work. Unlike reading a book, you have the freedom to do something else whilst listening to an interview. However, don’t get too distracted, otherwise, you won’t learn anything from the podcast! A good podcast app allows you to play around with the playback speed, I’ve now grown accustomed to listening to interviews at double the speed, allowing me to learn more in less time.

Recommended listening:

  1. The Tim Ferriss Show

  2. The School of Greatness

  3. The Mission Daily

Any Habit Tracking App

Seeing effort as the path to mastery is a key trait to a growth mindset, putting in the work on a consistent basis enables you to grow at an exponential rate. Rome wasn’t built in a day, it’s important to be patient and consistently put in the reps. Building good habits that promote a growth mindset (reading, journaling, meditating) will set you up for success. What helps me stay consistent and committed to my habits is by tracking it on a daily basis. Any habit tracking app will do, consistent use of the app is important.

Recommended apps:

  1. Habitbull

  2. Streaks

  3. Coach.me

Wim Hof Method

A growth mindset embraces a challenge. What better way to push yourself than by taking cold showers every morning? If you’ve never heard of Wim Hoffman and his methods, then you’re missing out on a whole load of benefits to both your physical and mental well-being. His methods consist of a series of controlled breathing, breath-holding, and cold therapy.

There is also an element of mindfulness with the Wim Hof Method, the breathing exercise allows you to focus on the breath which promote the beneficial practice. Mindfulness goes hand in hand with the development of a growth mindset, allowing you to become more aware of yourself and the thoughts that are going on in your head. The more you self-reflect, the more you are able to find solutions to any challenges that come your way, enabling you to come up with new ways to overcome any barriers and ultimately reach your goal.

Recommended reading: What is the Wim Hof Method?

Evernote

In addition to the practice of mindfulness, I use Evernote to allow me to journal and document my thoughts. Being able to learn from past mistakes is crucial to a growth mindset. I like to use Evernote to document my mistakes allowing me to never forget and hopefully learn from it.

On top of that, whenever I come across information that I find interesting, I like to document it in a dedicated notebook and treat it as a commonplace book, this is essentially a scrapbook filled with information that I can refer to whenever it’s needed.

Recommended reading: How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book.”

YouTube

Almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day. I would love to say that 90% of those videos are educational but sadly it’s not. Rather than treating YouTube as a form of entertainment, why not see it as a tool for education? The amount of practical information available is endless and on top of that, it’s completely free. From learning new programs like Photoshop to solving a Rubix cube in under 90 seconds, I’ve learned an endless amount of skills all from YouTube. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of the app and not spending the majority of your time watching viral videos.

Recommended watching:

  1. Learning Swedish in three months

  2. Accelerated Learning

  3. Any video from TED

The right toolkit

It’s said that a bad technician blames his tools and that’s what these apps are, just tools. Don’t think that once you’ve downloaded them into your phone you’re now set for success. You need to take responsibility with integrating each app into your everyday life. There are hundred more tools out there that can make a difference, everything I mentioned above are my go-to apps. I have found that this combination works for me, but it may not for you. I encourage you to try them out first and if they don’t gel well, experiment until you can find the right combination.

Related article: Life Designer’s Toolkit

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Do you want to learn new skills to improve the quality of your life? Download the free 13 page e-book that teaches you the methods to approach every new skill you plan to learn. These same methods is what I've been using and it has helped me learn skills effectively in half the time. Click here to download the free e-book.