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|Career / Re: 4 Actionable Life Changes To Reach Your Potential by BetterYou(m): 8:58pm On Sep 06, 2017|
|Career / 6 Simple Secrets To A Stress-free Life by BetterYou(m): 6:26pm On Sep 06, 2017|
Life is hectic. Work deadlines, home maintenance, family drama, financial problems and health issues can take their toll on the body, physically and mentally. In the past, the amount of stress I felt on a daily basis was paralyzing. Until I had an epiphany.
I can’t always control the stressful situations around me, but I can control how I react to them and do my best to prepare. Now, I follow several habits that have minimized my stress.
Read through my simple secrets below and commit to trying at least one right now.
1. What I want isn’t what I need.
Reducing my life to simpler terms meant clearing out the junk and not bringing new stuff into my home. I had trouble distinguishing between my wants and needs and this created unwanted stress in the form of clutter, credit card interest and large payments. My needs consisted of the mortgage, utilities, transportation, insurance payments, clothing and food. It was easy to allocate too much of my expenses to entertainment, excess shopping trips and luxury items.
Now, if I want to purchase an item outside of my immediate needs, I give it 24-hour consideration. I spend more time with the decision for big-ticket items, weighing the cost with the lifetime of the purchase. I would rather invest in fewer higher-quality items that will serve me for several years than quick purchases from a fleeting moment.
2. Decrease debt.
In the past, one of my biggest stressors came in the form of financial debt. Receiving a call at work from a creditor would increase my anxiety tenfold and reduce my productivity. Whether your debt is from student loans, medical bills, credit cards or a mortgage, owing money can be overwhelming.
Sometimes all you need to do is make a plan, and then get started. Feeling stunned by dollar signs, I gathered up all of my bills and wrote out a financial plan to clear my debt. I started by making larger payments on my smaller debt, like my credit cards and loans. After I paid these things off, I felt more in control of my finances and able to tackle larger debt, like my mortgage.
3. Save for a rainy day.
Life is full of highs and lows. Sometimes money seems readily available, and other times it’s scarce. The old saying “saving for a rainy day” refers to the financial valleys almost everyone eventually faces: the car needs a new alternator, the washing machine breaks or the hot water tank springs a leak. All things that raise stress levels.
By saving a little out of every paycheck, I built an emergency fund to handle the financial blows that come my way. Some experts recommend an emergency fund of $1,000 to get started, and in the event of a job loss, they say you should also work toward a savings of three to six months of income.
4. Go clutter-free.
Clutter creates stress. When my home was messy, I didn’t want to invite anyone over. It was embarrassing when people stopped by, and those marathon cleaning sessions were taxing. But the problem wasn’t that my home was dirty; it was that it housed too much stuff.
So I started ridding my home of clutter in 15- to 30-minute sessions. Now, it is much easier to clean, and I feel better knowing I gave away unwanted items to people who need them more.
5. Focus on one thing.
Multitasking is my enemy. It sounds noble, but when I tried balancing all of my responsibilities at once, everything came crashing down, leaving me disappointed and discouraged. Now, I focus on one task at a time.
When I cook, I focus solely on the recipe and ingredients and ignore the siren’s call of the internet or the need to rearrange the spice cabinet. At work, I focus on each project and give it my all, 100 percent. I shut out all distractions and work on one item at a time, resulting in fewer mistakes.
6. Embrace the real world.
Technology advances make our lives easier, but I’ve noticed that too many devices leave me feeling drained from the constant 24/7 communication. Like Pavlov’s dog, the ding of a notification can stop me in my tracks. This bombardment from the virtual world negatively impacts my mindset, and I lose focus on the task at hand.
To embrace the real world and spend more time with my family and friends, I simplify my life by totally unplugging from my devices. It’s freeing to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee in solitude, without the constant demand of email, Facebook and Twitter.
I’m still adopting new habits all the time to maintain my simpler lifestyle. Sometimes implementing a new practice can take a few weeks, so I allow myself one month to focus on adding the new habit into my routine. Choose a few things from this list and welcome your new stress-free life.
|Career / 4 Actionable Life Changes To Reach Your Potential by BetterYou(m): 5:17pm On Sep 04, 2017|
The very fact that you’re reading this article makes me feel like you’ve run into the following problem…. You always feel like you could be doing more.
I’ll bet that you’re constantly asking questions like:
Am I being too lazy with my job?
Should I be spending more time with my friends and family?
Are the books I’m reading good enough?
Am I progressing with my life fast enough?
Should I be spending more time relaxing?
These questions used to surge through my mind on an hourly basis. Why? Because I felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential. I was so obsessed with the idea that I had to be reaching my potential that I was forcing myself to relax when I didn’t want to. I was forcing myself to work harder. I was forcing myself to be stressed out about finding the answer to all these questions.
Then I started making some changes. And suddenly everything started getting incredible.
Here, we’re going to look at a few of the changes I made and explore the science behind why they are so potent.
1. Spend 15 minutes meditating daily.
Before I started meditating, I figured it was all a waste of time. Just sitting there, thinking. I figured, “I think all the time, why do I need to do it with my eyes closed and sitting down?”
I was an idiot.
The most incredible change in my life thanks to meditation has been my newfound ability to focus. Not just concentrating on something, but truly being focused on a task. Allowing that task to consume my very being, all thanks to meditation.
Whenever my mind starts to wander, instead of getting lost in a daydream, I can “catch” my brain and bring it back to the task at hand. Interestingly, Giuseppe Pagnoni, Ph.D., conducted an experiment with 12 Zen meditators and found that meditators had more stability in the ventral posteromedial cortex (vPMC) compared to non-meditators.
The vPMC is the part of the brain responsible for spontaneous thoughts (and therefore wandering minds). The meditators had more stability, which meant that they could more easily prevent their minds from disappearing into flights of fancy.
2. Keep a gratitude journal.
One of the most frustrating things about living up to your potential is how unaware we are of any progress that we’re making. Emotionally, we want our lives to change fast (more on this later), and when we don’t get the results quickly, we get frustrated and fall back into old habits.
For example, I’m trying to push myself to be the best I can be, and I’m very critical of myself. I brush off my achievements as “How can I do this better next time?” and don’t celebrate the victory, killing my motivation.
To combat this, I started writing down things that I was grateful for each day. Every morning, I would write down a thing and a brief explanation of why I was grateful for it. For example, on April 4, I wrote, “Having a car gives me a lot of mobility options that would otherwise be very expensive.”
Focusing on what I’ve done well or what I’m grateful for keeps that motivation up and provides a record of great things in my life for when I’m feeling down. Gratitude has been proven to improve self-esteem, help you sleep better, feel better emotionally and make better friends, and even improve your overall well-being.
3. Start exercising first thing in the morning.
As a regular gym-goer for two years now, I can categorically say, exercising three times a week will change your life! Now I’ve realized that when you exercise is almost as important as how you exercise.
I used to exercise after work, and it was a great way to unwind. But my evenings were taken up by repeatedly lifting heavy things, and I didn’t have time to go to extracurricular activities, networking or social events.
So, I made a tiny change. Instead of going to the gym in the evenings, I went in the mornings. Here’s what I found:
I completed my workout faster, as I didn’t need to wait for equipment.
It was easier to concentrate.
And I had more energy for the rest of the day.
The first point is anecdotal and may differ depending on where you like to work out. However, for the second two, Dr. Cedric Bryant, Chief Science Officer of the American Council on Exercise, told The Huffington Post, “Morning workouts result in better energy levels throughout the day and give you more mental alertness and sharpness.”
4. Live life slower.
I’ve spoken before about the anxiety of being an entrepreneur, and I realized that a huge part of my being so anxious was because I was living in the future. Not in a science fiction, flying cars and robots, kind of way, but in my headspace.
I was always mentally rushing to complete things and constantly thinking about things that I needed to do that day, week and month. My head was so cluttered with tasks that I couldn’t function properly. I was working 8 to 10 hours a day and rushing everywhere to make sure I could fit in everything (gym, social life, work). It was horrible.
So I slowed down.
Now, before I go to bed, I write down the tasks that I need to do the next day and focus only on completing those tasks. If I have any thoughts about what I need “future me” to do, I write them down on a piece of paper (or text file on my laptop) and push it out of my mind.
Once I’ve completed the tasks I’ve written down, I don’t write down more tasks for me to do; I allow myself to focus on other things. If something doesn’t get finished, then it becomes something that needs to be done the next day. Simple as that.
When you’re working toward a big goal, respect the fact that it’ll take a while. If you take a step closer to reaching whatever you’re working toward each day, then you’re reaching your potential.
Here’s how I made these changes in my life.
It’s fantastic that you’re feeding your mind with articles like this and spending time learning how to reach your potential. Here are four things that you can start doing today to start moving closer to your goal.
Download “Calm” or “Headspace” for your phone and learn how to meditate (both come with a free beginner’s course on meditation).
Buy a nice notebook and a fancy pen that you enjoy using, and write down three things that you’re grateful for each day. Use the formula of what you’re grateful for, then why you’re grateful for it.
Train yourself to wake up earlier and do at least 15 minutes of exercise (even if it’s just a brisk walk).
Make a list of three tasks that you have to do that day. Once they’re done, give yourself the freedom to do anything else (socializing, sitting in the sun, your hobby or even more work).
What are some changes you’ve made to your life that have completely changed the way you live?
|Career / Rohn: The One Thing That Determines How Successful You Can Be by BetterYou(m): 6:42am On Aug 27, 2017|
The one thing that determines the level of our potential, produces the intensity of our activity and predicts the quality of the result we receive—our attitude.
Attitude determines how much of the future we are allowed to see. It decides the size of our dreams and influences our determination when we are faced with new challenges.
No other person on earth has dominion over our attitude. People can affect our attitude by teaching us poor thinking habits or unintentionally misinforming us, or providing us with negative sources of influence, but no one can control our attitude unless we voluntarily surrender that control.
No one else “makes us angry.” We make ourselves angry when we surrender control of our attitude. What someone else may have done is irrelevant. We choose; not they. They merely put our attitude to a test. If we select a volatile attitude by becoming hostile, angry, jealous or suspicious, then we have failed the test. If we condemn ourselves by believing that we are unworthy, then again, we have failed the test.
If we care at all about ourselves, then we must accept full responsibility for our own feelings. We must learn to guard against those feelings that have the capacity to lead our attitude down the wrong path, and to strengthen those feelings that can lead us confidently into a better future.
If we want to receive the rewards the future holds in trust for us, then we must exercise the most important choice given to us as members of the human race by maintaining total dominion over our attitude. Our attitude is an asset, a treasure of great value that must be protected accordingly.
When you have the right attitude, you can do the remarkable.
Having the right attitude is an essential prerequisite for success and happiness. The right attitude is one of the fundamentals of the good life. That is why we must constantly examine our feelings about our role in the world and about our possibilities for achieving our dreams.
It is our emotional nature that governs most of our daily conduct in our personal and business world. It is the emotional aspect of our experiences that determines our behavior. How we feel about life’s events is a powerful force that can either freeze us in our tracks or inspire us to take immediate action on any given day. With the right attitude, human beings can move mountains. With the wrong attitude, they can be crushed by the smallest grain of sand.
|Business / The Secret To Maintaining Meaningful Relationships by BetterYou(m): 6:35pm On Aug 24, 2017|
On the right side of the Pyramid of Success, below patience, there are four additional pieces of mortar: sincerity, honesty, reliability and integrity. These are qualities that, together, encompass the genuineness, strength and impact of human character.
In his book Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, with Jay Carty, Coach Wooden defined sincerity and its importance in the following manner:
“Friendship, loyalty, cooperation and team spirit each occupy building blocks in the Pyramid of Success. What do these blocks say about success? They tell us that we cannot become successful unless we interact with others. Sincerity is the mortar that binds together the blocks of friendship, loyalty, cooperation and team spirit. Therefore, sincerity is also necessary to reach the apex.
“Sincerity may not make a friend, but it will keep one. It often takes a while to be validated, but once a person knows that our word, character and steadfastness have withstood the test of life, a firm friendship can be established and maintained.
“When we realize that a friend can be counted on during times of need, when we see that his or her values don’t blow around in the breeze, and when he or she stands up for us, we are far more apt to stand up for him or her—and vice versa.”
Under each piece of mortar on the Pyramid, in parentheses, there is some brief application advice for that mortar. In the original version of the Pyramid, Coach had suggested that sincerity was a trait that “makes friends.” After revising the Pyramid years later, Coach changed the application advice for sincerity to instead read, “keeps friends.” Coach had an important motivation for this change. He wanted to make certain that we understand that sincerity will help us do something more important than simply winning over new friends—that it will, in fact, allow us to earn their trust and loyalty in such a way that we are able to maintain and grow those friendships into lasting and mutually edifying relationships.
Coach’s aim in promoting sincerity was to challenge us to speak and act in truth about our beliefs, goals, loyalty and team spirit. Whether it is a military leader or an office manager or a basketball coach, people who are following a sincere and honest leader will do more for him or her than they will for an insincere one—especially when the pressure is on.
The Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word “sincerity” stems from the Latin word “sincerus,” which means “clean, pure, sound.”
The Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word “sincerity” stems from the Latin word “sincerus,” which means “clean, pure, sound.” The root word itself, “sincerus,” might have actually originally been a compound of “sin” (one) and “crescere” (to grow)—referring to something that grows and develops untainted by anything else. That’s a wonderful picture of what sincerity really is: a striving to grow toward a goal unsullied or uncorrupted by anything less than pure motives. That’s the kind of growth that inspires confidence and a willingness to follow.
But beyond that, the definition also reminds us that when we are sincere with each other, we can grow together as one toward our shared purpose.
|Career / Re: The 5 Non-negotiable Disciplines Of A High Achiever by BetterYou(m): 8:44pm On Aug 14, 2017|
|Career / The 5 Non-negotiable Disciplines Of A High Achiever by BetterYou(m): 5:25pm On Aug 14, 2017|
Daily interruptions are inevitable. Acting on a fear of missing out, we allow the beeps, dings and vibrations to interject, to assure us that we’re connected, and subconsciously we tell ourselves that that constant connection has no impact on the amount of work we can accomplish. But, in reality, we’re so bombarded with outside noise, it becomes almost impossible to avoid—and our productivity suffers because of it.
It takes a real effort—a conscious choice—to separate ourselves from that mindset. But when you adopt and practice the disciplines of high achievers, you will be better equipped to set goals and go get them, without losing focus or direction.
1. The Discipline of Believing
Most of us think about doing great things. The difference between the average person and the high achiever is a commitment to belief—because possessing the unqualified belief that you are capable of doing something is the first step to achieving it.
I like the way Will Smith put it: “There’s a redemptive power that making a choice has. Decide what you’re going to be, who you are going to be and then how you are going to do it. From that point on, the universe is going to get out of your way.”
When you commit, really commit to a choice, then everything else will fall into place to make it happen for you. Your decisions will be guided by your mindset.
2. The Discipline of Eliminating Interruptions
The world around you is structured to interrupt you. If you already struggle with focus, you are fighting a losing battle from the moment you wake. If you are normally a focused person but don’t control your environment, your day will become a series of interruptions. To combat this, you need to turn off everything that could attract your attention. Everything.
My phone never makes an audible noise, I keep it face down most of the time so I can’t see the screen light up, and when I install new applications, I disable notifications. And that is exactly the way I want it. I lived a great life before text messages, and life will go on if I miss one now.
Learn to be comfortable with silence and focus. The quality of your work will drastically increase and you will be more productive, and the depth of your thinking will increase because you will have long periods to dedicate to your thoughts.
3. The Discipline of Time Management
Some might say time management is a myth because we have no control over time—it marches on with or without you. I don’t buy into that. But you should consider the limited amount of time you have to get things done. I know when you are sitting at a desk staring at a project all day, the eight hours ahead of you can feel like 100.
Most people build their lives around getting everything else done before getting to the fun stuff. I’m going to propose something crazy to you: Start with the fun stuff. Schedule them on a recurring basis and work the mundane around it.
I lay out my high priority items as recurring weekly appointments. The appointments are with nobody but me, and nobody will know if I miss them. My exercise time is scheduled three days a week at 6 p.m. Because health is a priority to me, I’ve made these nonnegotiable in my mind. When that time of the day hits, I stop everything, change and go to the gym. Any work or other tasks will be there when I return.
Start doing the same on your calendar. It could be writing a book, spending time with a loved one, practicing piano or learning a new programming language. Nobody is going to knock on your door and push you to do it. It has to come from you. Be stingy with your time. Protect it.
4. The Discipline of Being Healthy
If your body is not capable of handling your goals, you will become physically and mentally exhausted.
To keep yourself healthy and ready to achieve your goals, you need to allocate regular, recurring time in your calendar to take care of your body—like I do with my gym time. Ideally this should be multiple times a week and it should be nonnegotiable. Exercise, done correctly, trains your muscles, heart and lungs to withstand larger levels of stress. So if your body is used to the stress from regular exercise, it will have an easier time managing the stress in other areas of your life.
The better you are at managing your stress and energy, the better you will be at accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself.
5. The Discipline of Ignorance
Ignorance is the epitome of focusing. You can’t possibly know everything, and you don’t need to. Once you are willing to live with not knowing everything, the things you choose to pay attention to will get more of your attention and you will produce better results.
If you want to achieve a higher level of skill at any venture in life, use this list to help you get started on your journey of being disciplined.
|Career / Re: 13 Undeniable Ways To Get Sh*t Done by BetterYou(m): 6:22am On Aug 11, 2017|
|Career / Competitive Greatness Isn’t About Winning by BetterYou(m): 6:20am On Aug 11, 2017|
The top block on Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, Competitive Greatness, is defined as, “Be at your best when your best is needed. Enjoyment of a difficult challenge.”
Coach never mentioned being competitive in association with winning or being a great competitor in association with being a winner. For John Wooden, being a great competitor was not about winning or losing.
He had a much higher standard.
Coach described competitive greatness this way: “The next and last block in the structure just above poise and confidence is competitive greatness. This is the ability to be at your very best when your very best is needed.... What a wonderful thing competitive greatness is, enjoying it when things are difficult.
“Grantland Rice in his poem Great Competitor said in part:
Beyond the winning and the goal,
Beyond the glory and the fame,
He feels the flame within his soul,
Born of the spirit of the game,
And where the barriers may wait,
Built up by the opposing Gods,
He finds a thrill in bucking fate,
And riding down the endless odds.
Where others wither in the fire
Or fall below some raw mishap,
Where others lag behind or tire
And break beneath the handicap,
He finds a new and deeper thrill
To take him on the uphill spin,
Because the test is greater still,
And something he can revel in.
“Yes, the true competitor revels in it when it’s difficult. That is the greatest fun.”
Coach viewed difficult situations as opportunities for fun that don’t often occur. He described it this way: “There’s more pleasure in being involved in something that’s difficult than there is in being involved in something that anybody else could do. Most of our daily tasks that you and I do, anybody else could do most of them. They’re easy, but there is no joy in those. But there is joy in being involved in something that is more difficult.”
Coach described his attitude toward competition in basketball games as an example: “Our alumni at UCLA when I was there felt there was joy in beating some team by 50 points. There was no joy in that. There’s real joy in playing against somebody about your own level of competency. That’s the joy, the joy in the competition.”
Coach often referenced the quote, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” to describe how a competitor reacts to a difficult situation.
Being competitively great has two simple parts: “real love of a hard battle” and “being at your best when your best is needed.” Coach felt that “being at your best when your best is needed” is a result of being prepared: having the other blocks of the Pyramid in place.
Sometimes when great competitors rise to the occasion, they are described as lucky. I would add Coach Wooden’s favorite definition of luck: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”
|Career / 13 Undeniable Ways To Get Sh*t Done by BetterYou(m): 9:09am On Aug 09, 2017|
1. Get motivated.
How you spend your time could be the difference between dreaming about the life you want and actually getting it. Big or small, you should push yourself to do the things that bring you one step closer to greatness—even when you don’t feel like doing anything at all.
The big picture of success, the glamorous snapshot that everyone sees from the outside looking in, is actually made up of small daily actions. That’s why getting things done is so important.
So don’t wait for inspiration to get started—do it now! If you need a push, these 19 motivating quotes should have you raring to go.
2. Start Sunday.
We’ve all had that Monday: the one when you sleep past your alarm and leave the house wearing two different shoes. When even if you’d had time for breakfast, your only option would be milk with a questionable expiration date. When you left your bus pass on the kitchen counter and hold up the line frantically looking for spare change. It’s the Monday when you’re greeted by a dozen Olivia Pope-level fires to put out at work, and find yourself counting down the hours to the weekend.
A few months ago, I noticed I was having a lot of those Mondays. And although I thoroughly enjoy my job, a nagging feeling of impending doom began to creep up on Sunday afternoons like clockwork. I would tense up, muscle by muscle, readying myself for the potential irritations of the week ahead rather than enjoying the remaining few precious hours of my weekend.
One particularly angst-ridden morning, I realized I was in need of a privilege check. I reminded myself that I’m beyond lucky to have a job I enjoy, a job that allows me to pay for things like rent, food and shoes, and have enough spare change for the bus—and I was taking it for granted.
From that day forward, I resolved to never let Monday kick my ass again. This depended largely on adjusting my Sunday routine, making habits of all the good advice I’d received over the years from family, teachers and bosses (plus the lessons I’d learned the hard way on my own).
3. Wake up early.
I’ve never been one to wake up early. Even on Christmas morning, I was the child who dragged her feet to the tree, rubbing her eyes as we opened presents. However, it has become an undisputable fact that waking up early makes you a happier, more successful person. According to Harvard Business Review, “a higher percentage of the morning people agreed with statements that indicate proactivity, such as ‘I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself’ and ‘I feel in charge of making things happen.’ ”
Like most night owls, I’ve always dismissed these findings, because they challenge my comfortable routine. But as a young adult trying to build better habits, I figured I would try to transform myself into an early bird.
So for the past 30 days, I’ve been waking up earlier and incorporating some self-care habits into my routine. Although I can’t say that I’ve reached complete early bird status, I can say that my mornings are much more productive and enjoyable.
4. Hack your morning routine.
It’s Monday and you’re scrambling. You had a really fun weekend and it feels like it went too fast (per usual), which made it that much harder to get up when you’d wanted to. So because you pressed the snooze button one time too many, you’re rushing around trying not to forget anything before you run out the door. You want to kick yourself for not preparing for the week last night, but it’s too late now. The week already feels stressful.
If this is you, it doesn’t have to be. You can take control of your days—make them happier, less stressful and more productive—just by hacking your morning routine.
5. Get organized.
I set aside an hour or so every Sunday night to map out my week ahead. What will I focus on first thing Monday? Then on to Tuesday, and so on. Whom do I contact and why? What are my top priorities—no more than three—for the week, and what activities could distract me? The more detailed my calendar, the more prepared and focused I am. Committing my priorities to words focuses me mentally.
Despite that, distractions can still derail you. I often find myself pulled in too many directions—reacting to phone calls, email and other stuff that pops up. This triage method—touching things only once and then moving on—keeps me from being overwhelmed.
Priorities are things that are important—I know that, you know that. But a lot of us are guilty of the habit of reacting to the urgent things on—and off—our to-do list, rather than responding to the important ones.
Think about this: Important activities should be of high priority because they are the things that contribute most significantly to our objectives. They have more long-term impact, and they should help us the most in reaching our goals. Urgent activities are usually more short-term in nature and may or may not relate to our big-picture objectives, and they do not usually make significant contributions. Instead, by pressuring us daily, they make endless demands on our time.
There is a constant tension between the urgent and the important. And because the important things seldom need to be done today—and the urgent almost always do—there is a critical need to learn how to set proper priorities so that our visions, goals and desires can be met more effectively.
Focus doesn’t come naturally for most people. It’s a skill that must be learned, polished and practiced. There is a process you can follow to acquire it as a skill:
Become aware of the need to improve your focusing skills.
Make a conscious decision to invest the time and energy needed to improve.
Practice and train your mind to concentrate.
Implement your new skills and make them routine.
8. Develop discipline.
Discipline is the difference between being in control of your future and letting your environment dictate your destiny. Discipline means freedom and happiness. It gives you the ability to do what you want because you know you can learn how to achieve any dream you set your mind to. Discipline teaches you how to control your thoughts—and how to be happy in any situation, to visualize positive emotions and trigger an optimistic mood. Discipline builds self-confidence, mental and physical strength, and inspires you to grow as a human being. With growth comes the ability to enjoy life in deeper, more meaningful ways.
Anyone can develop discipline. It’s a skill and it’s not complicated—you just have to train yourself for it.
9. Stop procrastinating.
Before I started studying productivity and goal setting, I thought all procrastination was created equal—that it was simply what you did when you were avoiding something else. But as I picked apart my own procrastination techniques and spoke with dozens of my clients about what was getting them off track, I realized that all procrastination is not created equal. And before you can eradicate or circumvent your delaying tactics, you must understand where it’s coming from.
This is how you can identify the three main reasons for procrastination, as well as simple ways to overcome it.
10. Work smarter, not harder.
You can accomplish anything with hard work, they say. You can make your business a success, earn a promotion, master virtually any skill… if you just work hard.
Except working your butt off is not always enough. Need proof? You can’t inflate a flat car tire by blowing into it as hard as you can, the same way you can’t effectively mow a lawn with a pair of household scissors. No, you need the right tools, the right strategies, for the right tasks. You need to work smarter, not harder.
How though? By finding shortcuts.
11. Maximize the day.
Successful people make the most of every moment throughout the day—even those moments they feel they have nothing left to give. The good news is that doesn’t mean you have to run yourself into the ground or work at full pelt until you collapse. Instead, it means recognizing the flow of your energy and making the best use of what you have when you have it.
This particularly comes into play around the end of the workday. You owe it to yourself to maximize the day. But it’s no use trying to sprout new ideas or hold important meetings when your best energy is spent and your mind is numb. Instead, there are a number of more useful ways to spend these moments, such as tidying up loose ends of the day gone by, and preparing a stellar plan for tomorrow.
12. Keep your energy high.
People are more overworked than ever. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, our parents and grandparents worked around 1,600 hours a year in 1979, compared to 1,800 a year in 2007.
It can be easy and convenient to grab an energy drink or large soda when you’re feeling tired. But cheap-and-quick energy sources will leave you feeling even more fatigued than you initially were once they wear off.
Try these natural, clean and easy methods for increasing your energy.
13. Don’t lose hope.
Do you ever feel like you have nothing left to give to a project or task? Maybe you’ve been working on a book, a new business or even a relationship, but the motivation to keep pushing through the struggle seems to have disappeared.
We’ve all been there. It’s part of the process. Often, it’s what creatives and makers feel just before finding greatness.
A tried-and-true method for rediscovering motivation is repeating a mantra designed to inspire and rejuvenate you when you need it most.
|Career / 3 Tips To Tame Your Ego When It Threatens Success by BetterYou(m): 7:05am On Aug 07, 2017|
When I was about 8 years old, I had this awesome wooden eagle statue in my room that was 2 ½ feet tall. My mom bought it for me, and it was one of my favorite things in the world.
Then one day, I got mad at my parents for some reason I can’t even remember now, stormed into my room, slammed that beautiful thing to the ground and broke it. I remember realizing how lashing out in anger didn’t soothe me; it only made things worse.
I wish I had learned to control my emotions after that one experience, but I didn’t.
Many years later, I was working with a client company that made an expensive mistake and couldn’t pay us immediately. No problem; we gave the brand three months. The company stopped responding to my messages and then informed me that it would not be able to pay the bill.
It was the story of the wooden eagle all over again. I was rude to the person who delivered the message, and my emotional outburst prompted heated texts and emails from the CEO. Eventually, we worked out the issues, but we also ended up losing the company’s business when it was back on its feet again—all thanks to my temper.
When Ego Wins
Although we might have needed to end the relationship with that client, my emotional reactions and ego caused more damage than a rational approach.
To me, ego and emotion are closely related. Ego is your idea about yourself, and emotions arise when that identity is challenged. With that client, my image of myself as a winner who doesn’t take any crap was at risk, so I lashed out.
Being logical doesn’t have to kill your identity or self-worth. Swallowing your pride and behaving rationally doesn’t mean bruising your ego or losing all sense of pride. It means looking at the situation from all angles and then taking the action that’s in everyone’s best interest.
Letting ego control your decisions leads to poor decision-making in business. As an outsourced chief marketing officer, for example, my company usually works with businesses that have internal marketing departments. Although we never make decisions without data to back them up, these marketers often carry biases and believe they know best. They try to fight logic because it hurts their egos to find out they’re wrong. Unfortunately, fighting data and logic also hurts their bottom line.
I know from experience that it’s a lot easier said than done, but it is possible to tame your ego and base your decisions on logic with consistent practice and focus.
Here are three ways I’ve learned to rein in my own ego when it threatens to derail negotiations, solid decision-making and important partnerships.
1. Focus on Empathy.
Empathy is a buzzy word right now, and for good reason. Leading with empathy will ensure that all your partnerships are win-win. According to the 2016 Strategic Partner Index Survey conducted by the CIO Executive Council and International Data Corporation, more than 70 percent of IT companies spend up to half their budget on outside vendors and service providers. These relationships aren’t merely transactional; they’re partnerships.
Start by putting yourself in your partner’s position.
Remember that success doesn’t look the same for every person or every business. The key is to understand what is needed to ensure every partnership benefits all involved parties. Start by putting yourself in your partner’s position.
For example, after designing an ad campaign for a client, the company wanted to go with ads it had designed. We gave the brand all the data that showed our ads would perform better, but it still didn’t want to use them.
My ego nearly exploded. My first (and worst) instinct was to point out how ridiculous the client was being. The data proved it! But my ego would render the data useless if I lost my temper. Instead, as we calmly started asking questions, it became clear the company wanted us to make a slight tweak to the graphic we had used. By letting go of my frustration and being empathetic to the client’s needs, we opened a dialogue that allowed the client’s representatives to say, “We understand your ad performs better, but that element of the design is off-brand. We need to protect the brand, so it has to be fixed.”
Achieving that logical clarity allowed everyone to keep their heads and we were able to create ads that benefited both parties.
2. Don’t overinflate the ups (or downs).
Being named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 was a huge win that made me feel like I had made it. But 10 seconds later, I had to get back to work. I knew I couldn’t ride those high emotions if I wanted to continue finding success.
It works the other way, too. Although it might be tough to receive constructive feedback, the discomfort is actually your ego wincing. Recognize and accept that you’re feeling irritated, pull yourself out of that fog and begin thinking logically. If your ego is so big that it won’t let you hear criticism, you’ll never improve.
I always check in with myself when making business decisions to ensure I’m not overinflating positive or negative feelings. For instance, do I spend time writing articles like this one because of the egotistical appeal of being published? Or am I doing it because it actually benefits my business and my clients to be a thought leader producing content in my space?
Every once in a while, do things that just feel good and get you excited. But also train yourself to recognize when your response is emotional versus rational.
3. Know what matters (and what doesn’t).
If something goes wrong, ask how you can fix it. We’ve had our fair share of unhappy clients—everyone does. Sometimes it’s due to a bad culture fit, but it’s still important to try to make it right. When it comes to client services, we know one bad experience will reach more people than two good experiences, so we always try to work things out with our clients.
That said, when someone is being completely unreasonable, there’s nothing more we can do. By now, I can tell when it’s my ego talking. Likewise, when I ask leading questions that clients can’t answer, I understand that their egos might have gotten in the way. At that point, it’s often more rational to let a client go than to harm our company further.
Internally, we talk a lot about mean, berating or demeaning clients. It happens, but as I remind my team, it shouldn’t really affect us. We do good work and the proof is in the results. If one client says we suck, why let that get to us when we know it’s untrue?
In both business and in life, the only power circumstances have over you is the power you give them. The key to success lies in taming your ego when those circumstances arise. Reacting rationally from a place of calm and staying humble in your approach to others will get you closer to achieving your goals than any temper tantrum will.
|Career / 7 Ways To Bounce Back After A Mistake by BetterYou(m): 2:28pm On Aug 05, 2017|
Mistakes—especially the ones that make us cringe long after they’ve happened—can make us feel as if we’ve taken one step forward only to take 20 steps backward. We can cripple ourselves analyzing why we made the mistake, our mind tricking us into thinking it’s irreversible, that we can’t move past this.
But good news: You can. So many mistakes are never as bad as they seem.
We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council how they deal with mistakes and how they learn to move past them to do better in the future. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Think about why you made the mistake.
When I make a mistake, I assess the mental and emotional state that led up to the decision. In some cases, I realize that I made the decision out of fear. If that’s the case, I dive into what generated that fear and build a mental model around the emotion. I take the time to reflect on it with the hope that I’ll recognize that emotion in the future and prevent it from affecting my day.
Mistakes are inevitable. They happen to everyone. When I make a mistake, I use it as a time to reflect and regroup. Depending on what’s going on, it might mean stepping away from my desk for lunch, taking a day off or scheduling a vacation. The time away gives me an opportunity to let go of my initial emotion and start thinking about what I can do differently next time to achieve different results.
3. Don’t let emotions get in the way.
I believe the key is not letting emotion get in the way. Problems are often much bigger in our minds than they are in reality. Instead of wallowing on the mistake you’ve made, focus on what you can do to correct the issue. You will begin to feel better when you start doing things to address the issue and feel like you are back in control.
4. Move on.
Unless the mistake is catastrophic, I’m normally just focused on the next task in the queue (which might be fixing the mistake). After a lot of catastrophic-seeming mistakes, I’ve come to realize that few mistakes are irreversible.
5. Look for a positive outcome.
Mistakes are going to happen and we cannot live life in fear of mistakes. When mistakes do happen, it’s important to think about why that mistake happened and learn how to avoid making it again. It’s also important to find a positive outcome that came from making that mistake. Bouncing back is hard, but you bounce back with more experience than before.
6. Make it right.
I cannot “bounce back” without righting the wrong—at least as much as possible. This means going to the person who was affected by my mistake and owning it. It also means, where appropriate, owning the mistake publicly as well.
7. Make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The worst mistake in business (and in life) is one that you’re repeating. Don’t repeat the same mistake twice; make sure to not only learn from your mistakes but implement processes and have discussions with your team to ensure they don’t happen again. Also, don’t dwell on it; we all make mistakes. Positive thinking goes a long way.
|Career / 5 Toxic Personalities Successful People Avoid by BetterYou(m): 6:44am On Aug 03, 2017|
One of my favorite quotes is by Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” These words opened my eyes to the fact that the people we hang out with, the people we call friends, they all have an influence on the decisions we make in life, and therefore the success we have (or don’t have).
Unfortunately, not everyone pushes us to be better. Some people stop us from following our dreams or talk us out of taking a risk, and we don’t always realize that it’s happening. So it’s important to be aware and consciously choose who we spend time with, to limit spending time with toxic people—like these five personalities you should avoid when chasing goals.
1. The Complainers
Complainers are people who are always complaining about how bad their life or job or whatever is. They constantly whine about everything but never do anything about it.
Being around a complainer can take a toll on you—maybe you begin to join in on the complaints, and before you know it, you adopt their same way of negative thinking. That pessimism is contagious. Which is why you should think twice before sitting down with a complainer.
2. The Entitled
These are the people who feel like they are entitled to certain things in life, like they do not have to work for anything, that the people around them owe them something. They are also the ones who will try to talk you out of following your dreams.
This mindset can be deadly to a person trying to be successful. It blocks your determination and can kill your motivation in a heartbeat. Know this: You, or anyone else, are not entitled to anything. If you want the good life, you have to create it.
3. The Conformers
Conformers are the most popular of all. They are the ones who conform to the limits set on them. They do not have any dreams they are chasing after, and they are not doing something that goes against the status quo. They are simply living like robots—waking up, working 40 hours a week at a job they hate, going home, sleeping and doing it all over again.
There are many people who are content with this, and that is perfectly fine. But a person who is following their dreams simply cannot conform to the average life. So while working your full-time job, put in the extra effort on the side to start building toward something that’s more in line with your dreams. And eventually you will be able to leave your day job to pursue your passion full time.
4. The Party Animals
They’re the one who’s planning happy hours five days a week, the one who lives to go out every night. Sure, the party animal might be fun, but beware—they can distract you from your dreams.
Don’t get me wrong, you should take time to relax and clear your head on occasion, but bar hopping is not the solution and it’s not going to get you the life you’re after. By making partying a priority, you’re distracting yourself and breaking focus on your goals—things bigger than dollar beers and half-price apps. In order to grow as a person, you have to grow up first.
5. The Doubters
Doubters can be downers—they will listen to your big dreams, but they will be the first ones to tell you they don’t think it is a good idea or not to get your hopes up. They are the ones who believe you have to “be somebody” in order to do something extravagant.
As somebody who is chasing their dreams, this can be very discouraging, so identifying the doubters in your group will be beneficial to you and your success in the future. Likewise, it is extremely important to keep supportive people around you, people who encourage you and lift your spirits when you are losing motivation.
So, surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you to chase your dreams, through the good and the bad. Your success depends on it.
To A Better You,
|Career / 7 Ways To Start Your Morning Off Right by BetterYou(m): 8:12am On Aug 02, 2017|
If you are anything like me, your morning starts off waking up tangled in your sheets, phone in one hand scrolling through emails and tweets. The way you start your morning can dictate how thr rest of your day will go, so here are a few things you can do to have a tangle-free morning.
Meditate or pray
The world is so fast paced nowadays that it’s hard to be still. However, it’s very important to rest your mind, body and spirit every day. The best way to practice being still is meditating and praying. It is found that doing these practices increases dopamine, the happy chemical.
Set An Intention
When you wake up, set an intention for your day. Do you want to be productive? Connect with people? Dedicate this day to self-love? Whatever the case, speaking your purpose helps you set the tone for the day. Shine is a free resource you can use to help you set your intentions.
Too tired to hit the gym after work? Try working out in the morning instead. Putting exercise first on your to-do list can energize you, boost your metabolism, and help you stay focused throughout the day.
I’ve been journaling since the time I was able to write. Have I been consistent? Nope. But whenever I needed to vent or had an idea, journaling has helped me out. The practice helps relieve physical and mental stress, which in turn can remove mental blockages or decrease the symptoms of arthritis and asthma.
Drink Tea or Warm Lemon-infused Water
Sleep can dehydrate you. Wake up your system by pouring a nice cup of tea or warm lemon water. The benefits are endless, such as helping you maintain a healthy weight and boosting your immune system.
Make A Green Juice or Smoothie
Another way to wake your system up is to drink something green! Green juices and smoothies have many benefits, such as boosting energy and promoting healthy hair, skin and nails. Don’t know whether to choose between making a juice or a smoothie? Well, your body absorbs nutrients faster when you drink a green juice, while green smoothies are more filling due to high fiber content. Here’s a dope green juice recipe to get you started.
Listen To Motivational Videos or Audio
Sometimes you need an extra boost of inspiration. Why not listen to your favorite podcast or motivational YouTube while you're getting ready to start the day? My personal favorites right now are The Friends Zone, and Brittspiration by Brittany Josephina.
|Career / Why You Need People In Your Life Who Push You To Be Your Best by BetterYou(m): 7:31am On Aug 01, 2017|
Your friends and family make up the people that surround you. While we can’t pick our family, we can pick our friends—friends we want to be more like, friends whose power and positivity can help amplify our own.
An aspirational friend is someone who influences and enhances my decisions to better my life. This is a healthy friend who provides energy and inspiration. I always admire how they treat other people, their integrity, drive, and how they prioritize their life. Do you have friends like this? If you think about your friends now, you probably have some you lean on, and some that lean on you. Are the feelings mutual or are there some one-sided friendships? It’s important to have balance in your friendships and feel like you’re learning from each other.
Keep in mind that money should be no factor. Please don’t find someone aspirational because they have more money than you do. Instead look for people that will help keep you on track and want what’s best for you. Aspirational friends should see your potential and lift you up, not make you competitive. People are much more than their bank accounts and in order to live a well-rounded life you need to focus on character qualities first and keep finances out of it.
Sometimes we don’t realize that our friends are more convenience friends than true friendships, but we have stop to think in order to make adjustments for the future. Do you only hang out with certain friends in specific situations, or cringe when you have to spend time with them? Those are convenience friends who aren’t expanding your experience.
Changing our friends can be difficult but remember you’re trying to better your life and only friends with more to give can lift you up and help you grow.
|Career / 3 Things You Must Tell Yourself Today And Every Day by BetterYou(m): 9:27pm On Jul 31, 2017|
As the sole architect of your destiny, you need to make sure you’re utilizing one of your greatest tools: your own voice. That inner voice will help you formulate a plan and drown out the external voices of critics and naysayers. Your voice holds the power to boost your confidence and help you both navigate and learn from setbacks when they occur.
Be very honest with yourself. Is your own voice joining the negative chorus of doubters? If the answer is yes, you’ll need to reprogram your thought process by telling yourself these three things today—and every day—for the rest of your life.
1. DO IT NOW.
Procrastination is like quicksand. If left unchecked, it will pull you into a quagmire of crippling indecision. You’ll make excuse after excuse that will eventually foreclose on your dream. If you’re continually telling yourself it’s OK to do nothing, then nothing will be what you achieve. Instead, allow your inner voice to motivate you from morning until night, and fiercely commit to your dream with a sense of urgency.
Remember, the difference between could and did lies in planning and action, so become your own greatest coach and advocate for change. Don’t take no for an answer, especially from yourself.
2. I DESERVE THIS
Whenever I meet someone who’s allowed their dream to derail, or who appears to be passing up opportunities for personal growth or improvement, I always ask why they don’t deserve their absolute best.
If you’re among the folks who are settling for anything less than the success you dream about, you simply must get out of your own way by escaping your dangerous comfort zone. Whatever your dream might be. Whether it’s pursuing a career change you’ve always wanted or finishing your degree, begin by reminding yourself that you deserve a brighter future, and then invest in yourself by giving your all to you. Never cut corners on what’s most important: your happiness.
3. I KNOW I CAN
Fear of failure, including the inability to reclaim your forward momentum after a setback, is one of the greatest obstacles to success, and one that can often be effectively addressed by empowering your inner voice.
We all have fears, but we can’t habitually make fear-based decisions or we’ll never reach our full potential. If we allow fear to paralyze our progress, we’ll create a blueprint for mediocrity and miss the priceless lessons only trial and error can reveal. Make sure your self-talk is stronger than your fear, and relentlessly affirm. I understand overcoming fear is not an overnight process. It might require that you take advantage of additional resources at your disposal, such as individual therapy. I know that it can be extremely uncomfortable to walk out onto your personal ledge, but the feeling of freedom is incomparable, and I assure you the view will be spectacular.
Start listening to your voice today. What are you saying? Do you believe you can succeed?
As I look back at the journey I’ve traveled to achieving success, I can attest to the power of my own self-talk. There have been fears and setbacks to be sure, but I resolved the first time I met the wake-up call of ground-shaking disappointment to never consider myself a failure. I win or I learn. There are times when the road will be steep, challenging and tiring. It is during those especially trying days that you must be able to rely upon your inner voice to drive you on. It will mean the difference between giving up and persevering. The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.
Start listening to your voice today. What are you saying? Do you believe you can succeed? It’s true that whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re going to be right. When you do find yourself achieving success, make sure your self-talk remains positive and motivating. You don’t want to start telling yourself you’ve arrived and become complacent. Success is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day.
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