Hi, I’m Stephen, the author of Mini Habits and the founder of Deep Existence (the prior name of this website). For more about my story, you might find this post interesting—it goes into the unique path of rejection (ouch!) that brought me here (where I’m happy to be).

Strategy > Motivation

12% Motivation
88% Strategy

This blog is about 12% motivation and 88% strategy. If you’re looking for your motivational fix, goooo away! I mean, you can stay if you want, but just be aware that I don’t believe in the “get motivated” philosophy. I’m serious about this. It literally ruins lives because it keeps people from real solutions that can sustain change. That’s gross.

But I’m not saying you won’t ever be motivated after reading the content here. In fact, many people find these substantive solutions—ones that lead to results, not temporary hype—to be very motivating. Something I like to say is that nothing is more motivating than taking action (which is most reliably done with a willpower-based strategy like Mini Habits, not motivation).

I tend to lean heavily toward logic because that’s where the solution breadcrumbs lead. But I’m interested in the emotional side of things too, and not just as a topic to analyze, but as a human who enjoys and experiences them. I’ve got heart. I cry at movies. I…robot. No. Not that one.

Emotions are the lifeblood of our existence—they are what make us feel alive. But if you let your emotions (and subconscious mind) control your behavior, it will bring you into deteriorating life circumstances which result in horrible emotions. When you live smart and strategically, you will put yourself in a position to have good relationships, an enjoyable career, interesting hobbies, and good health, all of which improve your emotional health and well-being.

Getting Science-y, But Keeping It Interesting??

I’ve been experimenting with personal development strategies for ten years.

To supplement my own experience and theories, I research scientific studies, with particular interest in understanding neuroscience, behavioral psychology, and cognitive psychology (so interesting!). This approach has allowed me to find more efficient ways to grow.

So yes, I like to get science-y. Studies are a great way to find out human traits. It’s great that that one guy changed his life by eating Doritos on a mountain that one time, but that’s not going to work for everyone. Studies show what’s likely to be the case for most people.

The downside to science is that once the research is documented, some guy has been stealing the interesting information and rewriting it to be dry, boring, and full of big words nobody but academics can appreciate. They still haven’t caught the guy! He’s prolific!

I know the importance of not putting people to sleep. After all, it was me who always fell asleep in school, so I know what it’s like. That’s why I inject my articles with 250ccs of fun. I love to experiment, too. For example, I have a “live like animals” series in which I analyze the strengths and behaviors of different animals and relate them to self improvement. Yeah, I’m weird, but it’s fun! The most popular ones right now are how to attack your goals like a shark and how to live and fly like an eagle.

Useful Content Applicable to Your Daily Life

I guess it’s possible that what you read here won’t work for you (miracles happen, right?), but it’s helped so many others! Take Reza for example, who took The One Push-up Challenge and transformed his fitness habits:

“I started One-Push-Up challenge about 2 months ago following the steps. It was a while that I didn’t do regular exercise. Now I’m doing 125 situps and 58 push ups daily, reaching my goal by end of August which is 140 situps and 70 push ups daily. The challenge was amazing, my 3 year old son loves it when I do exercise. He imitates me as well as jumping on my back, making me continue the push ups. I also extended this challenge to other areas of my life, like de-cluttering my office, garage and improving my relationship with my wife doing one small bit here and there for her but continuously.

It’s been invaluable so far and moving forward. Big Thanks.



Just like you, I want to live a life in line with my desires; really, that’s what all of us want, isn’t it? In my experience and in accordance with research, I’ve found some wonderful winning strategies and some lousy losing strategies. Mini Habits, which is based on The One Push-up Challenge, has been one of the big winners for me and others.

Now I’m leveraging the power of small steps to transform the rest of my life with great success. Since I’ve applied the following winning strategies, I go to the gym about 4x a week, read a book every week or two, write 1-3 thousand words a day, and waste less time.

Some winning personal development strategies:

Surprisingly, it appears that the winning strategies aren’t as popular as they should be, but the losing ones sure seem to be popular. Last year, I exercised sporadically, wrote when I felt like it, never read anything, and was a slave to distractions. The reason? I was following the two losing strategies you see below.

Shaka Kayak

This is me, kayaking in the beautiful island of Kauai. What am I doing with my hand, you ask? This is the shaka sign, a Hawaiian gesture that roughly means “hang loose.” It is used as a greeting and shows the laid back “Aloha spirit” of Hawaii.

Some losing personal development strategies:


Neuroscience is fascinating, and I’m always looking for logical ways to apply the research to personal development. I’ve found it immensely helpful to understand what my brain is doing when I’m trying to change something in my life. Knowing how the brain works allows you to change with your brain, rather than struggle against it!

I’ll share some of my personal successes and failures here, though the primary purpose of this blog is to help you live smarter through better strategies. The email newsletter I send out every Tuesday tends to be more personal. If you’re interested, I give every subscriber four awesome bonuses for free when they sign up. Click here to learn more about that.

Guest Posts

I’m not currently accepting guest posts.

Other Projects

I’m passionate about storytelling, especially the interactive kind. Visit my other website, interactive stories online to see how I’m innovating in this field. 🙂

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Please contact me if you have any questions, statements, or any sort of business proposal. Here’s my Google+ Profile.


Hey Stephen,

Great story so far, and just starting:)
I’ve been on a trike (2-seater hang glider with a motor) and have been wanting to take lessons ever since. That is on the list. I’d like to try the hang glider by itself.
I love your approach to life my friend. It is obvious you are heading somewhere!

By the way, where were you eating salsa on a kayak? Must know…

Live it LOUD!


Followed you here from ProBlogger. Because I love Deep Thinkers.

I do it all the time…about everything.

Fun to meet you.

Stephen Guise

You should stick around then, because this is THE thinking blog. Thanks for your message. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Stephen McCoy

I have a saying I use (probably not original) when someone who works for me makes a mistake. “If you are not making mistakes, you are probably not doing anything important”. I am not sure that everyone gets my point, but it is a change from “You are always breaking things”.

Marya | Writing Happiness

Hey Stephen,

I followed you all the way from ProBlogger. Look over your shoulder, see me waving? Hiii 🙂

I am subscribing to your blog for a few reasons. 1, we have a lot in common. Enough said. (maybe this will entice you to look? heheh) Actually, and I never ever say this , but I have written a post that I am pretty sure you will enjoy. And I am saying this after spending *some* time on your blog – some, in the sense of lot, too much. 🙂

Hope its ok for me to follow you on twitter as well. I love your insights …


Hi , i followed you from probloger website too, added you in my facebook and find i would consider writing a guest post as i’m also papa joe website. 🙂

Stephen Guise

Hey Ganesh! Nice to see another Papa Joe, haha. 🙂 I encourage you to write guest posts – that’s the very best way to inform people of your presence in my experience. I don’t accept guest post articles yet, because I feel my blog is still developing into a grown-up. 😀

Thefirst Thelast

Hi Stephen, I was not redirected to your site from another site, nor was I recommended it by a friend. I found your website specifically because I was searching for one like it, and I just want to say thank you. Of all the sites I visited yours was the best. I’ve been a subscriber since late November of last year and all I can say is wow. You give practical advice void of anything that makes me say “yeah right…sure”. I especially liked the one titled “Are You Giving Yourself a Chance?”. Well done and keep it up. -Neisha


Day one: One push up. One sit up. I’m in.

Stephen Guise

Thanks so much, Neisha! That means a lot to me.

Stephen Guise

Excellent. I think you’ll love it.

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