Nate

LeafOut is an iPhone app that helps you easily track your experiences, fill your days with more gratitude, and look back on your life -- even if you rarely have the time to sit down and write about it.

4 Ways That Your Brain’s Love of Listicles is Bad News for Taking Action

list catLists…

Why do we love them so much?

The truth is, our brains seem to be wired in a way that inherently loves lists.

This isn’t a bad thing, unless you’re looking to make a lifestyle change or improve yourself in some way, like lose weight or get in shape. In that case, the usual kind of list posts (listicles) we see can actually do you more harm than good – unless you read them a little differently.

I’ll give you a 4 step method for turning any list into an action plan below, but first, let’s look at why lists are so inherently popular and why this negatively affects our ability to take action to improve our lifestyle.

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Time Perception is Everything

seneca not that we have so little timeThinking about time and how we perceive it usually results in little more than a pretty terrible migraine.

(That, and a strong desire to watch Back to the Future.)

Regardless, I still find myself thinking about it quite a bit though.

I mean, how many times do you say, think, or hear someone else say, “Time flies,” in a given week?

And then, sometimes we have long weeks.

What is our time perception, really, and how is it affected?

In this post, I’ll mainly just ask questions that have come up during my reading of our perception of time, some things that make it slow down or speed up, and then share an infographic that will practically blow your mind.
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Ultimate Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating

get-startedResearchers tell us chronic procrastination is on the rise.

But I didn’t need to tell you that, right?

Hold on… my phone just buzzed with something super important.

OK. I’m back. Where was I? Right…

In 1978, 5% of Americans reported struggling with procrastination. Today, that number is 26% (Steele, 2007).

What is procrastination and how can we stop procrastinating?

I’ve taken about 8 hours to curate some of the best information online to find out.

This guide will shed some light on what procrastination is, help you understand why we struggle with it, and offer you solutions to beat procrastination to start getting more done.

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maya angelou quote liver of life

“I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it.”

I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences. They may not all be that pleasant, but nobody promised you a rose garden. But more than likely if you do dare, what you get are the marvelous returns. Courage is probably the most important of the virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any of the other virtues, you can’t say against a murderous society, I oppose your murdering. You got to have courage to do so. I seem to have known that a long time and found great joy in it.

– Maya Angelou

Coming to Our Senses So We Can Live a Wealthy Life

Coming to our senses must, above all, be the experience of our own existence as living organisms rather than “personalities,” like characters in a play or a novel acting out some artificial plot in which the persons are simply masks for a conflict of abstract ideas or principles. Man as an organism is to the world outside like a whirlpool is to a river: man and world are a single natural process, but we are behaving as if we were invaders and plunderers in a foreign territory. For when the individual is defined and felt as the separate personality or ego, he remains unaware that his actual body is a dancing pattern of energy that simply does not happen by itself. It happens only in concert with myriads of other patterns — called animals, plants, insects, bacteria, minerals, liquids, and gases. The definition of a person and the normal feeling of “I” do not effectively include these relationships. You say, “I came into this world.” You didn’t; you came out of it, as a branch from a tree.

– Alan Watts

I came across the above excerpt on Brain Pickings. It’s from Alan Watts’s book,  Does It Matter? Essays on Man’s Relation to Materiality where he talks a lot about what he believes wealth is. Continue Reading

Meet the New Icon! Thanks for Voting.

The other day, I sent an email out to everyone asking for help with a decision I was struggling with.

When I started working on LeafOut, I went with this icon:

iTunesArtwork

While I really like this icon, it just seemed to be missing something. Mainly, I felt like I wanted there to be some kind of visual element tying back to ‘leaf.’

So we went back to the drawing board. Continue Reading

How to Transform Your Complaints Into Problem Solving Fuel in 21 Days

complaining and solving problemsIt’s easy to do.

I do it.

You do it.

Your kids really do it…

Everyone complains, but have you ever stopped to think what a complaint is?

What a Complaint Shouldn’t Be

Complaining is not venting.

Venting feels great because it releases the steam. But is it even to the right person?

Studies show that when we’re dissatisfied with certain products, 95% of us fail to complain to the company because we fear doing so will be annoying and time consuming, and we’re unlikely to get the response we want. We are equally avoidant when it comes to complaints to our loved ones. We fear voicing them will only lead to an argument and resolve nothing. Instead, we reach for the phone, call our friends and vent to them instead.

Psychology Today

After a while, we start to feel helpless because we don’t believe we can really change anything.

What a Complaint Is

A complaint is basically when you recognize a problem — when something doesn’t go just right for you.

The problems above arise because we simply stop at venting. People always say it’s good to vent, but even better than venting is thinking of ways to solve or avoid your problems we encounter from negative situations.

21 Days to Turn Your Complaints into Fuel for Problem Solving

I came across a simple, yet extremely effective way to eliminate action-less, negative thoughts out of your day, and become a problem solving machine.

By solving problems, you actively eliminate chances of the recurrent negative situations in our lives that turn us into broken records broadcasting the same complaints to our friends and loved ones day by day.

I recommend you read the whole article, but here it is in a nutshell:

Step 1

Define what a complaint is. The author uses one that I really like:

describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem.

So basically, acknowledging a negative situation is completely fine, but only if you also think about a solution that prevents the same problem in the future. There are some good example in the original article.

Step 2

Put a bracelet or rubber band on one wrist. When you think or say something that doesn’t match the description of a complaint, move the bracelet to the other wrist and restart at Day 0.

That’s pretty much it.

Here’s a quick, funny story.

When I first heard of this, it was in the podcast. I was cycling around and heard him say, “You put a rubber band on your wrist, and when you complain, you just switch your wrist.”

Maybe it was because I was a little distracted with my cycling, but I thought he was talking about using the rubber band to pop your wrist if you complained… I guess that could be a pretty hardcore way to go about it, but I was glad to realize a few seconds later that he meant only changing wrists!

What do you think? Going to try a 21 day challenge for turning your complaints into fuel for solving problems in your day to day?

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Abstract sunflower

In Case You’ve Forgotten, Here’s What it Means to Live a Good Life

Jonathan Fields shared a reminder from Brene Brown about what it means to live a good life.

She said this:

 A good life happens when you stop and are grateful for the ordinary moments that so many of us just steamroll over to try to find those extraordinary moments. To me, my good life is soccer practice, and carpool line. And tuck-ins. And date night. That’s the good life for me. And knowing that it’s good. Acknowledging and stopping and saying that it’s good.

Gratitude in the Ordinary Moments

I think that’s such a perfect way to say what led me to start making LeafOut.

The big moments in life are there, and they aren’t easy to forget.

But the ordinary moments that we so easily “steamroll over” are so easy to forget — but we can’t — because it’s those kinds of moments where the good life lives.

It’s so easy for us to want more. But the easiest way to have more is by focusing on more of what you already have.

That’s where stopping to feel grateful is so important. That’s how we acknowledge those little parts of our days that make up most of our lives.

I wanted a way to look back on these ordinary moments and to be grateful for them every day.

If you’re like me and want an easy way to do that, please join me in making LeafOut an amazing tool to help us focus on remembering the good life.

How to Increase Serendipity by Living a Value Adding Life

serendipityAsk yourself quickly.

Why do we as a society dismiss the success of others as luck, or because they knew the right people, or that they were just in the right place at the right time?

Too many of us seem to accept those reasons as if there’s nothing we could do about them in our own lives.

Since having started working on LeafOut, it’s reminded me how new projects always put me in touch with new and different people.

And that always makes me think a lot about serendipity. Continue Reading