The Real Secret To How To Start Doing Things

Get ready, you will now learn the secret of the Universe.

Well, just let me make a beautiful introduction first.
The whole story starts from the day I went to a * bookstore. I was walking around randomly looking through books that caught my eye when – BAM – it happened; and then I knew the answer to all my prayers.

It was a famous book on how to quit smoking, that one everyone knows of. I’ve never read it before, but I always wondered what could possibly be written there that would make you cooler than Mark Twain and give you the guts to break the habit.

Anyway, have you ever done this as a teenager: “I am stuck, I need answers, I’ll open the book and it will tell me everything, just say any page and line number ASAP!!!1”) ? Turns out, sometimes this unexpectedly works.

Whoa, it’s been there all the time.

I opened the book out of curiosity, with no particular aim, and the first phrase I saw said something like (I’m translating from Russian): “In order to stop smoking, you have to stop smoking”.

As plain as that. It struck me like thunder, because THERE IT WAS – and this piece of advice applies to anything, I would think, to all sorts of things that prevent us from succeeding .

Because these are not things that stop us. It’s us who stop us by finding this things, and that is why this advice is so hard to apply – because you have to admit it first.

To do something, you just have to do it. Nike is all over the place saying that, and we are pokerfacing and putting this phrase here and there without realizing what it actually means.

However, it’s the ultimate solution:

To do something, just do it.

To stop quarrelling with your wife, just do it.

To overcome the fear of driving – just goddamn drive, there is no other way.

Now that you know you already knew all that, how do you make use of the knowledge?

(+ funny life experience)

All of that talk brings you to the most important question – MKAY, SO WHAT?

Translated into the civilized language of motivational blog posts, it’s:
So how do I use that precious knowledge? If  I knew it was that simple, I would have changed my life already.

Naah. You wouldn’t.

That’s what makes us human: stepping out of the Comfort Zone is a challenge. If you are not Chuck Norris, you take one step at a time. If the gap between the steps is too big, you stumble and fall.

Posing the right questions is 80% of the success.

There is an example from my own experience (as promised) that still makes me laugh (and cry) and, when told to other people, also kinda makes me look badass.

While I was teaching at university, my students (on  numerous occasions) asked me if they would be able to speak 3 languages after they graduate (it was a linguistic university and there was an opportunity to learn 3 foreign languages at once).

I then asked them if they were going to get thinner by the time they graduate.

They stared at me in astonishment, puzzled and angry, but then I explained:

– I don’t know. And no one knows, because it all depends on you. BUT, as a teacher, I can show you how, if you ask me. (learn a foreign language, that is, but if you need tips on weightloss, I’ll be there for you)

If you look at the question from this perspective, the whole situation starts to look  hilarious and ridiculously clear. The approach can be applied anywhere:

“How do I get rid of the fear of speaking a foreign language? How do I re-learn English, because I had forgotten it?” The answer is: you just do it. There is never a magical way, a luckier neighbour or a short path to success. It takes time to learn who you are and what works for you, but it’s the only way.
However, you can always get help by asking the right questions. No one must help you (unless they get paid for it), but they can if they… can. That is, if they are able to. And if you find the right way to ask. Just compare:
“My life sucks. I don’t know what to do. Help me.”
“I feel I’m out of shape, and it bothers me. Why don’t you come over for a cup of tea and home-made granola, and tell me how you manage to work out 5 times a week and not to lose motivation?”

 What if someone hinders you?

If someone hinders you, get rid of that someone (said Captain Obvious).
I know it can get tough if that person is someone from your family, like, as in the example above, your wife.

Truth is, if your wife doesn’t want compromise, get another wife  think of the fact that you have (most likely) chosen her yourself, and she (most likely) only reflects the person you are/used to be. If you respect your choice, and if you feel an urge to change, you will try and find a way to let her know and give her a chance to grow, too. Otherwise you’re an arrogant prick  you will lose a person that most likely could transform into your biggest support.

It’s always a matter of choice. No one is responsible for your life, your boss shouldn’t be, even your parents shouldn’t (unless you are 8). And by the way, are you responsible for theirs? Wouldn’t it seem weird if they asked you to be? Just think about it.


Best of the Best (a.k.a. Introductory Post)

I dared to choose the cheesiest title for my first post, BECAUSE WHY NOT.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Allie (that is my imaginary short for Alexandra). I live in Minsk, Belarus, and I work for Toronto, Canada (by that I mean my GMT+3 and their EST, which is an 8 hours’ difference, #ifyouknowwhatImean).

That also implies that English is not my native language, as you may have guessed (which leads to accidental ‘ahahahaha’s in Russian letters on Skype).

My job is a super-serious, super-secret mission. No one knows what it is about (no, not even me).

At my super-cool job at Easy Projects I scan through loads of content every day. And by ‘loads’ I means LOADS of articles, case studies and infographics on various different topics. I read about everything I can – marketing, Google and SEO, project management, self-improvement and time-management, writing, lifehacking, education, fashion and design, and oh, the list continues. This is a lot of information to digest, but as I fight off the signs of exhaustion my brain sends to me, I try to categorize and systematize what I read in search of true uniqueness and utility.

That is why I’ve decided to make a series of posts where I share what I thought was the best, most useful info on various topics. The structure is the following: there is a main topic representing some major sphere like Social Media Marketing, and then a short explanation of what’s inside.

I am sure you will be able to find something valuable for you in all this variety.

So let’s go.

Google, SEO

If you have never seen this post by Brian aka Backlinko, then it’s time you did 🙂

If you deal with SEO, you probably know who Brian is.

You may be sure Brian is not paying me, because he definitely doesn’t know who I am (yet).

So here is a super cool, brilliantly genius example of his Skyscraper technique: http://backlinko.com/skyscraper-technique. If you are constantly struggling with finding new approaches and ideas, this is quite a pleasant shift from the usual ‘write good content’ (or, better, just a new angle).

ALSO, there is this post: http://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors# where Brian actually used this technique. It’s pretty straightforward – there are ALL the 200 ranking factors that Google uses when shifting your site to page 5 (I will now pretend I don’t know this feeling). USE THIS KNOWLEDGE WISELY. Just kidding, hope it helps.

Project Management

I wish this was a minute of promotion I was paid for, but this is a minute of sheer appreciation. I am a great fan of our Project Management blog here on Easy Projects (http://www.easyprojects.net/blog/). As I’ve started to deal with project management (which for us, normal people, is kinda not too exciting), it was nearly the only blog about PM I didn’t feel stupid reading. For some reason unknown the blog doesn’t promote itself and is highly underestimated, so it’s time to put an end to all this dishonour (notice how British I sound with this spelling). What you will find there is an abyss of wisdom and wit concerning project management methodologies and strategies, countless brilliant examples of real project management experiences, solutions for SOS situations, productivity hacks and a lot more, i.e. no matter how deeply (or lightly) involved you are with project management, you will find the info truly comprehensive and useful (as you see, that is 100% truth, I’ve tested it on myself). The blog is written by my dear writing buddy, Patrick, who used to work as a project manager for 4 years and is still dealing with project management every day.

Life Inspiration, Education

The two links that will follow are a distillation of awesomeness and a quintessence of smart.

Numéro un (yes, I can actually count in French):

  • If you don’t know who Seth Godin is yet, then you want to figure it out ASAP. Because… Well, you’ll just see.
    There are no words to explain it.


Numéro deux (yes, I did it again):

  • This is something curious I’ve found today, and it made me feel that the world sometimes IS a better place:


f you are too lazy to press on the link, SHAME ON YOU, but here’s what it’s about: Professor Kenneth Goldsmith from the University of Pennsylvania has introduced a peculiar course to UPenn’s curricula. It is called ‘Wasting Time on the Internet’. While we all may think we already have a degree in that, it goes deeper: at the end of the semester each student is to

create a work of literature out of the content they find online.

Who’s laughing now? Definitely not me, because the more I read, the more brilliant the idea appeared. There is no way to deny that the future is now, and I am bowing to the people who are smart enough to keep up and take others on board. So just follow the bloody link (Ron Weasley now speaking), if you still haven’t, because you can never be too full to ignore some good ol’ food for thought: http://bit.ly/1og2tFS .

And by the way, don’t you ever forget to check Hubspot for great content.

(Some cliché could be here (like Stay tuned for more) to designate that this will be continued, and a series of similar posts is to follow).
Anyway, stay tuned for more.