Experiental Avoidance: Is it holding you back?

I wanted to share this really nifty little concept with all of you.

You know how we tend to have some goals or visuals in our mind of things that would make us REALLY HAPPY if we only did them? Those things that excite and simultaneously scare us that we would LOVE to do, ONE DAY? So exciting, but doing them just seem so daunting

For example, maybe you dream of doing a triathlon one day. You know you’ve been training, but your mind could be saying: “Am I good enough? I think I am okay, but I need to be REALLY AMAZING to do it!”

Maybe you want to quit your job and create your own consultancy. Instead of figuring out how to take the leap, your mind could be saying:
“I dont have enough knowledge to do it yet! Maybe after another 5 years I’ll be good enough.”

Maybe you want to write a book! Instead of starting on it already, your mind could be saying:
“Oh one day when I have enough time I will do it! I want to do it so BAD but thinking about it right now is making me anxious!”

All this going on up there is a concept called ‘Experiential Avoidance’, where you subconsciously attach fear-based thoughts to your goals. With this, you end up creating a negative energy around your otherwise positive goals, thus hindering the process of actually moving towards them.

I came across a fantastic blog called The Career Psychologist where they explain this concept with a brilliant little video. Take a look.

Now tell me, what mental blocks do YOU have that are keeping you from moving towards your goals?

Thanks for reading UnPsychology!

Do you feel like you are not living your life’s purpose? Know that you have a lot more to offer and want to make a real difference in your life as well as the lives of others.. but just have not yet figured out HOW?

Enter your email address below and I will personally send you a FREE copy of my 12 Questions to kickstart your internal purposefinder right away.

While you’re at it, feel free to check out some of my other posts on Unpsychology.



Got ‘laid off’? How this can be a FANTASTIC time

One week everything is normal at work, and the next week you get the grave news that your company is cutting a few jobs and you happen to be one of the unfortunate ones. Perhaps you saw it coming, or maybe you were completely blindsided.

Either way, a lay-off is an EXCELLENT time to really achieve things you simply did not have time for when you were working full-time. Let us assume you have been responsible with your finances and regularly put a chunk of your income away for a ‘rainy day’. Instead of wallowing in misery and throwing yourself into panicked job-search frenzy, consider taking this time for the following areas in your life:

  1. Travel. This is my number one suggestion for anyone who gets laid off. Travelling is something everyone wants to do, but work commitments seem to be one of the first things that get in the way for professionals. But a lay-off is the PERFECT time to lets say, go explore Bali and spend a couple of weeks living your travel dream. Or how about visiting a family member who lives in Australia? Just find a good cheap flight, and GO!
  2. Bucket list items. This goes hand in hand with point 1. Always wanted to hike the Machu Pichu? Though about spending a week holed up in a cabin to work on that novel? Now is the time.
  3. Pursue your passions. Did you come home every evening after work, looking forward to working on your hobby, and wished you had more time? Well, now you do. Whether it is training for a triathlon, writing that book, or working on your bicycle, you can now give it your 100%.
  4. Time for family. If you were a hard working professional, your family probably did not see much of you. Take this opportunity to spend time with them and really connect with every family member. They will truly appreciate it. You will be glad you got to do when you had the chance.
  5. Re-assess. Step back and re-assess your career, industry and if that is truly where you belong. Maybe you want to change industries completely, or maybe you are happy where you are and you want to pursue some courses to further your credentials. Take this time to do it.
  6. Launch your own business. Finally, if you wanted to venture out into entrepreneurship or freelancing, there has never been a better time. You have absolutely nothing to lose pursuing something independent at a time such as this.

So make good use of your time now, before launching yourself back into the job-hunt. Because as they say.. don’t forget to make a memorable life, as you are busy trying to make a living.

Thanks for reading UnPsychology!

Do you feel like you are not living your life’s purpose? Know that you have a lot more to offer and want to make a real difference in your life as well as the lives of others.. but just have not yet figured out HOW?

Enter your email address below and I will personally send you a FREE copy of my 12 Questions to kickstart your internal purposefinder right away.

While you’re at it, feel free to check out some of my other posts on Unpsychology.

FINAL day of ‘7 to Unstoppable’!


Welcome to the final day of this challenge: Day 7 of ‘7 to Unstoppable’! If you have made it so far and have done all the challenges, give yourself a HUGE pat on the back! You are much stronger today than you were when you started this last Monday.

For this last challenge, we will be looking at long-term success. We will be committing to strengthening our minds for the long term so this challenge has its highest chances of success.

For today’s challenge,

1. Recognise one thing you do that could be sabotaging your success.

Think long and hard about your habits, your thoughts, and see what it is that is lacking, or you are doing that is sabotaging your chances of success. There are a few ways of doing this. Maybe you already know. Maybe you need to work on following through on every shiny new endeavour you jump into. That could be sabotaging your success. Maybe your time management really needs some work.
Or maybe you are just not sure. If that is the case, call a close friend and have a conversation with them. Candidly ask them their opinion of what they think could be hindering your success. If they are not sure how to respond, lead them on with questions like this:
“You have known me for a while and I would value your insight. What do you think could be my blocks when it comes to getting my business off the ground?”

“I think my self confidence (for example) really needs some work because of that time [give example]. Do you think it is my self confidence that could be an issue? Or do you think it is something else?”

“How do you think I could fix my inherent laziness so I can go find a more awesome job?”

If your friend still is not giving you anything, hang up and call someone else more insightful.

2. Once you have some valuable data from your friend, or you have already figured out what it is that is holding you back, create a mitigation plan.

3. Commit to holding yourself accountable to your mitigation plan for the next three weeks. Put reminders on your phone for this.

4. After three weeks, revisit this exercise. Have you built yourself up and started letting go of what was holding you back? If not, repeat from Step 1.

The purpose of this final challenge is to be mindful of what sort of habits you harbour or what sort of mentality you subscribe to. On Unpsychology, we are big fans of growing ourselves constantly and letting go of anything that does not serve our growth or success.

Once you recognize what holds you back from being more successful in your job, your business, your life, – and you actively work on acknowledging it – your road to success becomes MUCH shorter.

CONGRATULATIONS, this is the LAST challenge of ‘7 to Unstoppable’, and you have completed it! You have persevered, stuck with the challenge and shown incredible consistency. Consistency is SO IMPORTANT! Jeff Olson, author of The Slight Edge outlines and gives tons of examples in his book about how small consistent, directed action DAILY is the secret of massive success in life. I highly recommend this book.

(As a gift to you, here is a list of books I recommend if you are looking to achieve better results in several areas of your life)

Feel free to brag about completing this challenge to your friends: I guarantee you they WILL be impressed.

Leave a comment below with how you did, or send me an email! I look forward to hearing from you!

Day 6: ‘7 to Unstoppable’


Welcome to Day 6 of the ‘7 to Unstoppable’ challenge!

Today we are going to move beyond serving our own needs by focusing on how we can serve others. Giving back is a habit you should cultivate because it puts you in an expansive mindset. Expansive mindset is always better than narrow mindset. Speaking in very broad terms, to be able to receive well, you should be able to give well too.

Let’s dive in.

For today’s challenge,

You have to go out of your way for someone, in the spirit of giving back.

For this, you have a few options:
– Sign up to volunteer at a local shelter/charity, etc within the next week. No later.
– If you cannot spare the time, find a cause and donate DOUBLE the amount of what you would usually donate.
– When you eat out today, leave the server a 50% tip.

This exercise might be harder for some people than others. Remember, this is SUPPOSED to be uncomfortable. The entire ‘7 to Unstoppable’ challenge is. But it is also highly rewarding.

How did you do on this challenge? Leave a comment and let me know below!

Day 5: ‘7 to Unstoppable’


Welcome to Day 5 of ‘7 to Unstoppable’! Look at you – almost at the home stretch!

For the last four days, we focused on strengthening our mind, our emotions, our bodies. They are all interrelated, and the best part is, the benefits of strengthening one of these spills on to the others too.

Today we will work on our minds some more. We will be making our minds quiet and contemplative, and then condition it to how we want. We are after strength and clarity.

Ready? Here we go.

Today’s challenge is:

  1. Find a quiet, interrupted place in your house. Sit in a comfortable position and slowly rid yourself of all the trivial thoughts in your mind. If the room is bright, turn off the lights – it will help you focus better. Or if it is daytime, just close your eyes. Now back to your thoughts. The phone call you had to return, your plans for the weekend, all those non-essential thoughts – eject them from your mind, one by one. This is NOT easy – we are used to crowding our minds to the point of chaos nowadays. So this may take some time. Don’t stress out too much though – go at it slowly. One by one, push trivial thoughts from your mind.
  2. Once your mind is sufficiently empty, we will go into ‘conditioning’ mode. Think how you want to feel this week. To make this easier, you can imagine how you want to be that is going to make you feel the best, most awesome version of yourself. For example: “I want to feel in control of everything happening around me” OR “I want to feel badass and powerful” or something else. Think of just one sentence. NOW, switch the “I want to feel” to “I am”.  Example: “I AM in control of everything happening around me” OR “I AM badass and powerful!” This is your affirmative thought for the day.

  3. With your eyes still closed, or the lights still turned off, repeat your affirmative thought to yourself over and over for a few minutes. You can do it in your head or out loud – depending on how you feel. I personally like to do it in my head.
    (Steps 1 to 3 should take about 15 minutes in total)
  4. Once your 15 minutes are up, open your eyes and leave the room. Now commit to spending at least one hour in silence without the use of technology, social media, etc. You can still go about your day i.e. do the dishes, get ready for work, etc. But for ONE HOUR, try to refrain from speaking to anyone or grabbing your phone to check Facebook.
    The reason for this is to keep you MINDFUL and FOCUSED on your affirmative thoughts, and not let the outside work detract you from the ‘zone’ your brain is in.
  5. After your hour is up, go about your day as you normally would, but try to repeat your affirmative thought to yourself every few hours.

BONUS: Try to do this at least once a week, starting from now. You will be amazed at the mental clarity you start to gain once you make a habit of it.

Day 4: ‘7 to Unstoppable’


Welcome to Day 4 of ‘7 to Unstoppable’! Congrats on completing the first three days – consistency is so important if you want to build unshakeable mental strength.

Today, we will step outside our comfort zones a bit more. We are going to do that by diving into our FEARS.

The challenge today:

Identify TWO fears that you have. These could be fear of heights, fear of dogs, fear of crowded places, fear of public speaking, anything.

Now, do TWO things that will look that fear in the eye. 

For example, if you have a fear of crowded spaces, go to a flea market or an airport or a very packed bar and spend some time there. If you have a fear of dogs, go on a walk, and go up to the first dog you come across to pet it. If you have a fear of public speaking, ask your boss if you can give a 3-minute presentation at the beginning of the next meeting.

Everything you have ever wanted is on the other side of fear.


FACE your fears. PUT yourself in the place of discomfort. Stepping into discomfort is when growth happens.



How did that feel? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Day 3: ‘7 to Unstoppable’

Welcome to Day 3 of ‘7 to Unstoppable’! How are you feeling so far?

Today we are going to tackle emotion and vulnerability. Mental toughness does not mean removing oneself from emotion. In fact, true mental strength means being aware of one’s vulnerabilities, and striving to keep oneself in balance.

For today’s challenge:

Think of someone you have a difficult relationship with. Perhaps someone you feel a great deal of resentment towards. Call them today. Have a conversation with them and address why the relationship feels difficult for you. Be vulnerable. And then, propose to move on in good spirits. If they have done you wrong, forgive them. If you have done them wrong, acknowledge it. If the relationship is difficult due to other reasons, acknowledge the reasons and let go of the resentment.

For example, if you have a difficult relationship with an old friend, speak to them gently but openly. Acknowledge how you feel, and then propose to move on in good spirits. Point out that you are working on bettering yourself and would love for him/her to join you in your journey towards letting go of this resentment.

This conversation is meant to be difficult. Vulnerability, especially with someone you have a difficult history with – is incredibly hard. But you will come out of the conversation feeling lighter, and you will feel in much better control of your emotions.

You commanded your emotions, your emotions did not command you today. Give yourself a pat on the back. 

How was this Day 3 for you? Shout out below!

DAY 2: ‘7 to Unstoppable’

Day 2: The Mental

Welcome to Day 2 of the ‘7 to Unstoppable’ challenge! (Did you complete Day 1? How was it? Leave a comment below and let me know).

Yesterday you told your mind to focus so you could finish your physical feat. Today, we will be getting inside our own heads to master our emotions.

Today’s challenge:

Think of one of the wildest goals/visions you have had that you never pursued because you thought it wouldn’t work. The key here is to think of a big/crazy goal that you have had that you talked yourself out of in the past, because it was so crazy that you got discouraged (i.e. “that will never happen” / “I could never do that”). For example, it could be to start a crazy importing business, or compete in a fitness competition, or to publish a book.

As part of today’s challenge, think about this specific goal in depth.

Then take a pen+paper and make two columns. One the left column, write down all the reasons you told yourself why it will not work. One by one, make a list on the left column. Write down the details. For example, “that will never happen because I have no idea how to even start a business. I have never done it.” These are your FEARS you are writing down.

Once you are done, take a step back. We are now going to shift your thinking. Imagine that you are your own personal cheerleader or coach. This cheerleader and coach wants you to win. They are there to encourage you, show you why it IS possible, and they believe in you 100%. So step outside your own head and into the head of your cheerleader or coach. They want to see you succeed. They want you to win – to overcome your fears and make your goals happen. Take at least a few minutes to stay there mentally, and really step into the headspace of someone who really BELIEVES you can WIN and wants you to.

Now, go back to your list. Remember, you are still in that head space. So go to the right column, and beside each FEAR, write down your rebuttal. Beside each “I don’t think this will work because of X logistic”, write down why it WILL work, because you will do Y. One by one, work through your list, still being in personal cheerleader or coach mode. They have a insightful rebuttal / smart solution for everything.

Once you are done, sit back and go through the list again. Watch how your fears have vanished, or been turned into an obstacle that can easily be tackled with the right attitude. All you needed was someone to believe in you and show you HOW and WHY you can do it.

YOU are that ‘someone’ for yourself. Once you start to fully develop an inner voice that can act as your personal coach or cheerleader, you can always count on it to eradicate your fears. You will look intrinsically for strength or support instead of outwards. Extrinsic support in friends, family – no matter how reliable – is not always fully under your control. But your inner voice is there for you WHENEVER you call upon it.

Today’s challenge is the first one of a few where we will be strengthening your inner voice to call upon in times of fear and discouragement.

Done with this challenge? How do you feel? Any insights? Comment below.

Feeling social media inclined? Tweet it out!

DAY 1: ‘7 to Unstoppable’ Mental Toughness Challenge

DAY 1: The Physical

Welcome to Day 1 of ‘7 to Unstoppable’!

The first challenge for ‘7 to Unstoppable’ will be a physical one. There are two reasons for this: First of all, physical challenges are MEASURABLE. Finishing through on a measurable first challenge will instill confidence in your abilities from the very start. Secondly, the most important part about this physical challenge will be conquering your mind that will say it is ‘impossible’ or ‘too hard’ or ‘not for me’. 99% of the people will be able to complete this challenge if you silence your mental nay-sayers and tell yourself you can. (And no, you are not that special 1%). Overcoming this challenge will prep your mind for the rest of the week.

The challenge below have been inspired by the rigorous training the US Navy SEALs go through.. during their very first week of training.


You have THREE options. Pick any ONE:

Option 1:   500 push-ups

Option 2:   200 burpees

Option 3: BOTH (for the real go-getters)

If you are thinking “No way, I can’t even do 5 pushups!” or “I cant even do 10 burpees!”.. take a deep breath and quiet your mind. Kick your mental nay-sayers to the curb. Yes, these are SUPPOSED to be tough. Discomfort equals growth, remember? Here are a few suggestions that may help you do the challenge today:

  • Break up the push-ups / burpees into multiple small blocks (20 at a time, for example), and spread it out throughout the day. Much more manageable that way.
  • Put some loud upbeat music on and get at it!
  • TELL yourself “I will do this today” and that’s that. Commit. Don’t overthink it. Do what you have committed.
The biggest hurdle is conquering your mind. Do that, and the body will undoubtedly follow.

Get to work!

Leave your comments BELOW! I want to hear how you did!

Completed 500 push-ups? Tweet it out!
Completed 200 burpees? Tweet it out!

‘7 to Unstoppable’ – Mental Toughness Challenge starts March 30

Strength – any kind of strength – starts with the mind. If you master your mind, you can literally be unstoppable. Ask any Olympian, Ironman, Buddhist monk, or anyone accomplishing feats that seem near-impossible to the rest of us. Their response will be ‘Prepare your mind, and the rest will follow.’

At UnPsychology, we are all about bettering ourselves. We do this through continued education, reading, personal challenges, conscious self-improvement and pushing us ourselves outside our comfort zones.

Right outside your comfort zone is when growth happens.

On March 30th, I will be putting up a 7-day mental toughness challenge. It will feature one mind/body challenge every day that will push you outside your comfort zone. Not only will the challenges make you stronger day by day, it will also fill you with growing confidence regarding your abilities.

Remember: No discomfort, no growth.


If you are interested in the ‘7 to Unstoppable’ challenge, sign up below. You will get an email reminder the day before so you can mentally prepare.


Podcast alert: Passion, creativity and trusting yourself to go after what you want

I was recently interviewed by Dave Cuda on his Journey of Ambition podcast. We had a really great chat about personal development, creativity, being multi-passionate and trusting yourself to go after what you want.

Click here to listen!

Leave any comments or questions about the podcast below!

You should be reading these books

Some self-development books I highly recommend:


StrengthsFinder 2.0: By the New York Times Bestselling Author of Wellbeing
One of my favourite books. It helps you find your five strongest talents (what you were born with), and then suggests ways to hone your talent and make it into a highly coveted skill.


The Desire Map – Danielle LaPorte
This book outlines the Desire Map process. In short, it doesn’t matter what you want in life. What matters is how you are going to feel when you get there. Identify your core desired feelings, and all decision-making will be easy and clear after that.


The 48 Laws of Power
Robert Greene breaks down the ‘game’ being played around you every day with these 48 cunning ‘rules’ that almost feel ruthless. Excellent read!


The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
Excellence is not an act, but a habit. Jeff Olsen explains how to become successful, you will have to regularly practice excellence and chip away at it every day.


The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything
Stephen Covey explains why trust is so critical in organizations nowadays. If you are trying to build your own business or create a reputation, trust is one thing you must master.


The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future
Chris Guillebeau writes about how it is possible to start a money with little to no capital, and entertains the reader with various case studies that prove this.


Playing Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message
 Tara Mohr asks women to stop playing small in their life and in their workplaces. She devises a methodology for women to put their inner critic away and play BIG.


Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, And Live Happily Ever After
Miki Agrawal is a serial social entrepreneur who went against her family’s well-meaning expectations and launched a series of startups including restaurants, women’s products, etc. She tells you how she did so you can do it too.


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