March 19, 2015

How intermittent Fasting can Give you More Confidence (and other helpful tips)

"Wondering how to build your self-confidence?
Week in, week out we have guys arrive here in Los Angeles for residential boot camps.
And while we teach a lot of hard skills, we also emphasize one rather softer skill: practical confidence, the engine that drives everything we teach at The Art of Charm.
One fascinating thing I’ve come to know about confidence is that it’s mostly a set of learned skills and beliefs.
What’s more, while you’re learning these skills you can imitate the behaviors that demonstrate confidence externally and overtime you will develop the internal confidence to match..

What Science Says About Confidence

We’ve done a ton of research on confidence. Here are some things we learned:
  • Single-gender education increases confidence; 75% of students feel they learn better this way. This is probably why guys in our boot camps have such transformational experiences and easy time assimilating what we teach.
  • Confidence is a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, children who think of themselves as the smartest in the room get the best grades.
  • The same study found confidence had more to do with lifetime earnings than IQ. In short, it’s better to be confident than smart.
  • Not only can overconfidence make you successful even when you know you’re bluffing, it might eventually become just regular old confidence.
  • Spending three minutes checking your Facebook can boost your confidence … unless people are ignoring you.
  • Good news for gamers: Playing games with an idealized avatar of yourself can boost self-confidence.
  • Learning a new skill provides a similar confidence boost to getting a $1,500 a year raise.
  • Likewise, sitting up straight in your chair will increase your overall confidence. This applies to posture overall. What’s more, behaving confidently will make you feel more confident over time.
I’ve actually experienced almost all of these running the The Art of Charm boot camps for so many years. It’s nice to see third party science validating all the cool stuff we’ve been doing. So how do you start translating this into confidence in your own life?
I’ve created this handy daily checklist to keep your confidence up and growing.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

You may know that you need to get a good night’s sleep for proper muscle growth; But did you know that it also helps you to grow confidence? It’s important to be able to think clearly to have confidence, so you’re going to need sleep.
In fact, a study on doctors found that getting good, uninterrupted sleep not only meant higher energy levels; it also meant more confidence.
In any event, the important thing is to get a good amount of sleep every night. What’s more, I know that I always feel better about my day when it’s not rushed. That’s why I get up early — so I can start getting things done while other guys are still hitting the snooze button.
Elmore Leonard, crime novelist who created Raylan Givens, the protagonist of television’s "Justified" gave “wake up an hour earlier” as his central piece of writing advice to neophytes.
What’s more, you’ll want to lay off the snooze button. In the words of Tori Deetz, creative director of Visual Magnetics: “If you snooze even once after you initially wake up, you will waste that magical burst of energy you would have had all day if you just forced yourself to get out of bed right away.”
So start your day early with a good night’s sleep. Consider it the foundation on which your confident daily practice rests.

How to Build Your Self-Confidence with Your Morning Routine

Confidence is a practice. Sorry if I’m belaboring the point, but it bears repeating. So you’re up an hour or so earlier than you’re used to after a good night of rest. What do you do with yourself now?
You start your morning routine. What’s your morning routine? It can vary from one man to another. But here’s a basic outline for men looking to get started. Tweak it as you see fit
  1. Exercise
I know, right? We’re nuts. But the science agrees with us. Morning exercise is going to help you lose weight and burn fat better than doing it later in the day. Other benefits include improved cardiovascular impact and more energy throughout the rest of your day. And let’s not discount the fact that while everyone at work is complaining about going to the gym later, you've already done it.
An accomplishment, first thing in the day. For the first twenty minutes for the first couple of weeks, you’re going to hate it. But once you bust through that wall you’re going to walk around with your head held high. You’re a man who gets things done.
  1. Eat or Don’t Eat
You might want to skip breakfast: A process known as intermittent fasting works for some guys looking to boost energy levels and burn fat. In fact, there are a lot of ways to do it. Really, whether or not you want to get into that is up to you. I’m neither a doctor nor a nutritionist nor a personal trainer. Definitely talk to at least one of them before you start an intermittent fast.
Otherwise, you’re going to want to eat something at the beginning of your day. My advice is to not eat anything that goes into a microwave or comes out of a box. Start your day right with a healthy breakfast. Your body will love you for it after a hard, early morning workout. Here are some great options for a good breakfast from the people over at the Mayo Clinic.
Another cool thing about making a healthy breakfast is that it gives you time to collect yourself. Making your own breakfast can be a sort of working meditation. After that hard workout, take some time to focus your brain on the task at hand.
  1. Make Yourself Look Your Best
Hop in the shower. Not only are you going to need it after that workout, but it’s going to make you feel great. Some guys like to go for the cold shower that’s all the rage among men on the Internet these days. Me, I like mine hot. Some guys, including professional athletes, alternate hot and cold to activate their nervous system. After my shower, I shave, comb my hair and put on threads for the day.
Starting your day with a shower and a grooming routine is a serious investment in yourself. What you’re saying to the world is “I’m worth the time it takes to look good.” Best of all, it really doesn't take all that much time to get yourself looking spic and span. It’s not just other people who will pick up on the subtle signal that you think you’re worth it; You’ll know, too.
  1. Brief Meditation or Reading
Even if you only have ten minutes or so, I highly recommend taking ten minutes to sit quietly or read something inspiring. For some guys it’s the Bible, for other guys it’s "7 Habits of Highly Effective People."
At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that you’re trying to call back to what your core values and aspirations are. You’re starting your day by orienting yourself toward them. Which provides an excellent basis for the final part of your morning routine.
  1. Setting Goals for the Day
If you plan to do nothing you’re going to hit that goal every time. So before you head out into the world, come up with goals for the day. These might be work-related or they might be personal. The important part is that they be actionable, measurable goals you can complete throughout the course of a single day. Write these down, because you’re going to want to revisit them at the end of your day.
If you’re an app guy, here are seven goal tracking apps that can help you to keep your eyes on the prize.

Affirmations Will Keep You Going Throughout the Day

Flickr/Daniel Zedda
The affirmations I teach through The Art of Charm aren’t woo-woo, New Age wishful thinking. On the contrary, affirmations from The Art of Charm are designed to remind you to stay on target. They’re not a magic formula that’s going to make everything OK. They will, however, help you to keep your eyes on the prize when times get tough.
So how do you craft an affirmation like The Art of Charm?
  1. Identify the problem. For example, let’s say that you’ve been spending the last 45 minutes messing around on social media when you promised yourself you’d be a workplace superstar. It’s clear you’re procrastinating.
  2. Specify your goal in general terms. Using the example cited above, the problem isn’t social media per se. Rather, it’s that you want to be more productive than you’re currently being.
  3. Ask yourself a simple question: Why? In this case, the “why” is “Why do I want to be more productive at work?”
  4. Answer the question. For the example we’re using, the answer might be “because I want the promotion I’ve been working so hard on,” “because I’m passionate about this project” or “because I have a review coming up.” What you’re trying to do here is say — in total honesty — why you want to accomplish whatever your goal is.
  5. Say it to yourself. For example, your final affirmation in this case might be “I need to stay on task because I’ve worked too hard for this promotion to fail now.” Take a few minutes to really let it sink in.
The point here is neither to give yourself some kind of bogus pep talk or to berate yourself like a drill instructor. Rather, what we’re doing here is gentling reminding ourselves of why we want — need — to accomplish a goal we’ve set for ourselves.

Confidence Is a Look

Remember what we talked about above? Confidence is largely a set of behaviors. Even if you don’t feel confident, you can fake these behaviors. There are two easy ones I always bang on about in our articles and in boot camps:
  • Posture: Stand up straight. Sit up straight. Practice it in the mirror until it’s second nature to you. You’ll feel more confident as well as look more confident. In no time, people will start treating you like you’re a confident man. And that, my friend, makes it way easier to act in a confident manner.
  • Smile: Smiling makes you look more confident and approachable. You should practice this in the mirror, especially if you’re not a super smiley guy by nature. Remember that you want to smile with your whole face, not just with your mouth.
Try those two consistently for a couple weeks. Then take note how it has impacted how people around you perceive you and behave towards you.

Your Evening Routine

Flickr/Cody Long
Your evening routine caps your day. It’s not as extensive as your morning routine. What you’re really doing here is twofold: First, you’re reflecting upon your day. Second, you’re setting yourself up for a good night of sleep. 
Bedtime routines help you to fall asleep faster and get more restful sleep; Some guys include evening meditation here as well. That’s going to help tomorrow’s morning routine go down a lot smoother.
  1. Clean Up and Brush Your Teeth
It’s good to spend a couple minutes washing your face and brushing your teeth before bed. I know a lot of guys think acne is something for kids, but let me tell you — it can come back with a vengeance when you get older. So take care of your skin. Multiple studies show that men’s skin is one of the most attractive qualities he can have.
  1. Change Into Your Pajamas
That might be some shorts and a t-shirt, but it should be something designed for sleep. I personally love legit pajamas. What you’re doing here is sending a subtle signal to your brain: “The day is over. You can start relaxing. See? I even have my sleep clothes on.”
  1. Recap Your Day
Go over your goals for the day. Did you accomplish them? Why or why not? Be honest. When you’re done doing that, write in your journal.
  1. Read
Put the devices away: The light from your smartphone or tablet is no good for your sleep hygiene. Read a book until you’re ready for sleep. Then start all over again at alarm time.
For more tips on how to boost your self confidence, be sure to subscribe to our podcast and explore all of the resources on our website.


  1. Sleep well.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Eat (or don’t).
  4. Wash and Groom.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Read.
  7. Set goals for the day.
  8. Craft affirmations as needed.
  9. Stand up straight.
  10. Smile.
  11. Clean up.
  12. Get into your pajamas.
  13. Recap your day.
  14. Read.
  15. Repeat.


March 18, 2015

How saving 1% of your income can make you a one percenter

Gotta love it! Source: MarketWatch

"When it comes to saving for retirement, what difference can another 1% of your pay make?Plenty.
Thanks to the magic of compounding, “a little bit (of extra savings) today can go a long way tomorrow” in terms of the retirement income it’ll generate, says Fidelity Investments, which crunched the numbers for a report released this week."
If you'll remember, I spent a lot of time explaining how compounding interest works, I even have a youtube video out on it, somewhere!

According to Fidelity’s calculations, a 25-year-old with a $40,000 salary must set aside an additional $33 a month to save an extra 1% annually. But that little bit of extra savings will translate into an additional $320 of monthly income (in today’s dollars) over a 25-year retirement. (This assumes our 25-year-old earns a 1.5% annual raise, net of inflation, works until he is 67, and invests his savings in assets that earn a 7% annual return.)
This actually scary, because at the time of writing, I am 25 years old! An additional $320 of monthly Income, compounded back into my investment, would earn me $973,986.33 by the time I am age 67. That number is definitely nothing to balk at, but exactly how many 25 year-olds' do we know socking away an additional $320 a month instead of investing it for the long term?

Of course, the benefits are less dramatic for those with shorter time horizons. But that doesn’t mean the strategy isn’t worthwhile.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you need to pay yourself in retirement, you need to build your retirement account like the house from the fairy-tale regarding the 3 little pigs.

Let's look at the numbers if I were to wait 10, 20, or 30 years to start saving:

According to Fidelity:
  • A 35-year-old with a $60,000 salary who saves an extra 1% annually must save $50 more a month now, but will receive an additional $270 of monthly retirement income in today’s dollars.
  • A 45-year-old with a $70,000 salary who saves an extra 1% annually must save $58 more a month now, but will receive an additional $160 of monthly retirement income in today’s dollars.
  • A 55-year-old with an $80,000 salary who saves an extra 1% annually must save $67 more a month now, but will receive an additional $70 of monthly retirement income in today’s dollars.
So, after I run some calculations:

  • A 35-year-old re-investing 1% of savings will have $385,670.98 by the time age 67 is reached.
  • A 45-year-old? Assuming the exact same parameters will have $99,943.30 by the age of 67.
  • Finally, a 55-year-old using the numbers provided by Fidelity will gain $15,728.65 by retirement (age 67)

The message: Small steps can have big consequences when it comes to retirement.
“When you ask people, ‘Can you save more?’ many people think, ‘I can’t,’” says Jeanne Thompson, a vice president at Fidelity. That’s because they “assume that they have to save so much more and a little bit isn’t going to make a difference.” But the key insight, she adds, is that “little incremental differences can make a huge difference over time.”
Which, even if my calculations are wrong, the power of compounding interest by starting sooner means a difference of $588,315 in earnings for that nest egg of yours. Which is money working for you while you sleep.

According to Fidelity, many people underestimate the impact saving 1% more can make. When asked how much an extra $50 a month would amount to over a 25-year period, the median response was $17,000—or less than half the $44,000 value Fidelity projects.
Fidelity recommends putting away 10% to 15% of annual pretax pay for retirement, including matching contributions from an employer. “But if you don’t save this much from the get-go,” don’t despair, the company says. “Start by saving up to the company match,” says Thompson and then increase your savings rate by 1% every year until you hit the 10% to 15% target.
More potentially good news: When told the benefit of saving 1% more, almost 90% of the 1,039 people who responded to a poll Fidelity conducted said it would either be an “extremely easy” or “easy” thing to accomplish.
As the economy improved, 22% of Fidelity’s 401(k) investors actually increased their savings rate over the past year—by an average of 4 percentage points (that is, 4% of their pay)."

While I would always recommend to fund your retirement with after-tax dollars, so that your bucks grow tax-free and can be accessed, at retirement, without taxation, Fidelity argues some great points here. Start saving now. Increase your savings each year. Compounding interest is one of the greatest wonders of the [mathematical] world. Now you know how the 1% became the one percent, they just invested 1%!

The Four Pillars of Building Wealth

         The concept of building wealth is one that appeals to mostly everyone, even you. Growing up, I always saw my family struggling with paying the bills because when mom would get angry she would make me well aware that raising me and my younger brother was not affordable! When did you start realizing it was time to concentrate on building wealth??
         Depending on your personality (spender vs saver) the journey forth looks different, but you are all climbing the same mountain. So, if you've decided that the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step, these four starting points are the only available for everyone.


Pillar One

 Saving more or spending less (doing both is like getting a 10 second head start) is the easiest step because you have immediate control over. The way this feels though is psychological, you have to exert self-control. Have you been to another country? We live in the lap of luxury compared to almost all other first-world countries. Don't give in to peer pressure by feeling the need to keep up with the Joneses. Imagine you are 10 years older than you are now, ask yourself "How will this purchase make me wealthy 10 years from now?"

There's a common pillar of people who have succeeded financially and it's that they have lived within their means. It's time to start budgeting.

Pillar Two

Simple in concept, difficult in practice, you must earn more or start earning what you are worth. Everyone can earn more, but earning more isn't as controllable as your spending/saving habits... The best way I can get across to you is: if you are hourly or salaried you can earn more by having a side income. Flipping things, like houses or cars, starting a website, eBay, etc. It's time to earn what you're worth. If you are commissioned, you either need to work harder or sell something else because if you are commissioned and doing great, you probably wouldn't be reading this. Time to work harder and smarter!

Pillar Three

Don't go into debt. It's hard to pay off. If you have debt, pay it off.

If you need advice ask me in the contact me form above. I'll help you get in touch with someone who can give you a plan of attack to pay it off.

Pillar Four

Whether or not you like it, inflation exists. The only way to beat inflation is to invest money in an interest bearing account whether that be stocks, bonds, ETFs, a mix of all these, mutual funds, REITs, indexed variable annuity funds, indexed universal plans, etc. etc. etc. the list is long and comprehensive. The point is, you can bury money in your backyard, but it's not doing you any good.

Start with the basics and learn as you grow (go) like weightlifting and losing weight, unless you are being really risky the best thing to do is just start. Like Nike says "Just Do It"

That wraps it up really, just get started, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and before you know it, you'll be looking back and seeing things you could've done differently, but ultimately you're glad you're ahead of the game.

What are you waiting for?