I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Daniel Midson-Short in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, late summer 2014. We were both competing in the semifinals of the World Championship of Public Speaking, in different semifinal groupings. I saw him speak in his contest, but didn’t get a chance to say hello at first. As luck and fate had it, I serendipitously saw him by chance in the lunchroom on the final day of the Toastmasters conference. We ate together and had a fantastic conversation. This chance encounter has developed into a lifelong friendship, as we both continue mastering our craft and becoming better speakers. We encourage and collaborate with one another to this day.
Daniel is filled with gems of wisdom and he’s one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. The purpose of this post is to share with you how to double your peace of mind in three months or less, based on Daniel’s insights. The following are four actionable ideas to significantly increase your quality of life. Applying any one of these tips can change your life for the better:
We live in a distracted world. Without exaggeration, the majority of people spend their days (and lives) glued to their smartphones. With the advancement of technology, one of the side effects is people’s attention becoming increasingly scattered. In a remarkable and well-received TEDx talk, Daniel was vulnerable and authentic enough to share how his wife divorced him because he never paid attention to her. In the five years they were married, Daniel’s attention was always scattered and on other things.
The truth is we pay attention to that which we value. Actions speak louder than words — if you say you value your kids and/or significant other but never spend any time with them, you need to re-evaluate your priorities. This may seem like a simple tip, but it has dramatic and far-reaching consequences. Daniel lost a marriage because he didn’t pay attention. It’s not uncommon for parents to miss out on their kids growing up because of scattered priorities.
Fortunately, focusing your attention is a skill that can be practiced and learned. The more we learn to be present, the happier our lives become. Daniel is not a luddite, and sees many positive uses from technology and social media. What he’s saying is to keep your use of technology in balance, and to know when to put it down.
“At the end of the day, life is made up of moments and memories,” Daniel said.
If you are never paying attention to the moment, you won’t have great memories. This tip was a wake-up call for me; hopefully it adds value to you as well.
Beware of the remote control.
Daniel discussed in another one of his TEDx talks three types of “remote controls”: the need to be liked, entertainment, and fear. These external sources can quickly control us if we let them. People who love you may be coddling you and stopping you from going after you dreams. Distractions occupy your time and attention, taking away valuable time that could be used to focus on what matters most. And your own fear inside yourself often stops you from being who you really want to be.
The solution is to break free from these remote controls. Instead of letting society control you, choose to not conform. Don’t let other people, external sources, and internal roadblocks stop you from being who you really are. “I dare you to be who you are,” Daniel said.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” — Helen Keller
Do what works for you.
In a powerful blog post called “Your System Only Works for You”, Daniel says, “If you want to grow your success in any area, you need a system that works for you. It must be designed by you, and work with your life.”
What Daniel is saying is that what works for others may not work for you. You need to discover what to do and what not to do in a way that best serves your unique goals, interests, and talents. In my award-winning book Reach Your Mountaintop, I discuss the incredible importance of doing what works for you regardless of what other people say you should do. Daniel really hits the nail on the head with this tip.
Applying this tip is the difference between feeling fulfilled and feeling miserable at the end of your life. One of the top regrets of the dying is wishing they lived a life true to themselves, instead of the life others wanted them to live. Don’t let this regret happen to you.
You don’t need as much as you think you do to be happy.
In a recent Skype conversation, I told Daniel and our mutual friend Sebastian that I find myself feeling like I’m nowhere close to where I want to be. I all-too-quickly forget about my achievements as I look ahead to the next goal. I also find myself comparing myself to others and feeling like I’m not good enough. I know it’s not good to do this, but I still do it sometimes. My mistake here is that I’m putting off my happiness until I achieve greater success and recognition. The truth is that it’s the other way around: being happy is the way to success.
“It took me a long time to get to the understanding that I didn’t need to have a huge successful business, or be some sort of guru speaker to be happy,” Daniel said to me.
You don’t need lots of money and fame to be happy, and you don’t need to be better than anyone else. What you need is to live a life that’s authentically your own, doing your best each day.
Apply these tips in your life.
As you can see, Daniel is a tremendous role model. Implementing the value from these four tips will increase your peace of mind and lead you to authentic success. I wish someone would have shared these tips with me earlier in my life, so feel free to share this article with others for their benefit. See you at the Mountaintop!
Daniel Midson-Short is a professional speaker, two-time TEDx speaker, and blogger. To learn more about him, check out his awesome website midsonshort.com.