Your Step-By-Step Plan To Achieving Greatness Using The Power of Gratitude

 

Author, William Arthur Ward, once said, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Gratitude is the unique quality of being entirely thankful for what you have, as well as always being ready to appreciate and help others. Gratitude is one of the primary keys to living a happy and prosperous life. For when you show gratitude for what you have, you are content with your life and positive about all that it has to offer.

Your Step-By-Step Plan To Achieving Greatness Using The Power of Gratitude

If you feel a lack of gratitude in your life and are afraid that it may be creating a void, it is time for you to take action and learn how you can develop gratitude to live a happier life. If you are currently in a difficult situation in your life and think that it is impossible for you to be thankful, then it’s time you learned how to cultivate gratitude and achieve greatness. With your determination and effort, you can quickly develop a sense of gratitude and become content with yourself and your life.

You can learn about what gratitude is and all the benefits it can bring you in your life. If you’re ready to improve your overall wellbeing and live a happier life, then you can learn to cultivate gratitude and achieve greatness. Gratitude, like any skill, can be learned and you can develop habits of gratitude. With practice, gratitude can become a choice. You can learn how to bring gratitude into your life and improve your relationships.

 

Defining Gratitude

Almost every day, we say thanks. We absentmindedly tell it to the grocery store checkout clerk and to the barista at our local coffee shop but are these sincere expressions of gratitude, or merely a response we’ve been conditioned to give?

What exactly is gratitude?
Is it something different than saying “thanks,” or is the “thanks” a component of gratitude?

As you will discover as you read through this guide, a simple “thanks” can have a powerful impact on both the person communicating their appreciation and the person receiving that appreciation. This is especially true when the genuine emotion of gratitude backs the word. The question then becomes, what exactly is gratitude?

 

The Roman philosopher, Cicero, described gratitude as the greatest of virtues and the parent of all others. It is the key that opens all doors and is the quality that makes us and keeps us young. This statement, spoken more than two thousand years ago, is quite compelling. It speaks of gratitude as a virtue or quality of being. Gratitude is just this and so much more. Gratitude is also an emotion. It is something that we feel deep in our hearts. We can feel it toward others, when people are grateful to us, or when we see a person express gratitude toward another. As a sentiment or as an exchange between people, there is simplicity to being grateful. And yet, when trying to understand this simplicity, we can find a more complex meaning. Gratitude is an emotion, it is an experience, and it is a conscious choice for awareness. Connections in your relationships are both strengthened and fostered with gratitude.

 

At its core, gratitude holds an experience of universal belonging. We can experience a real sense of overall well-being when you practice the intentional cultivation of gratitude in our lives.

 

Gratitude as a State of Being

Take a moment and shut your eyes and try to recall a time when you felt appreciated. Remember this event as if it were happening at this very moment.

What words did you hear?
What did your body feel like at that moment?
What triggered the experience?
What were you thinking at the moment?

What did you enjoy most about being appreciated?
What about this particular moment brought you to remember it today?

Write down your answers to these questions in a notebook that you can refer back to later.

There isn’t a single definition of gratitude. Gratitude has been conceptualized and defined in the context of attitudes, emotions, morals, traits, habits, and even coping techniques. Gratitude is without a doubt, an incredibly complex and dynamic emotion. It is a skill that contributes to the satisfaction in relationships and human excellence.

 

Gratitude as an Emotion

In this context, we need to be sure to distinguish emotion from the mood. Emotion is about something or someone. It is about a personally significant circumstance or experience. A mood, on the other hand, is not connected to any object and is not dependent on any one thing. By exploring gratitude in this way, we can see that it occurs in response to an action within the framework of a relationship. Something has been given by someone and received by someone else. This exchange helps to foster the emotion of gratitude.

 

Gratitude is an empathic emotion, which means that in order to experience the emotion in exchange, the receiver needs to place himself in the position of the giver. A feeling of gratitude in response to the gift requires the recipient of the gift to sense the giver’s positive intention. It is this recognition and empathic connection that provides the foundation for the emotional experience of gratitude in the interaction.
We can express gratitude for any number of reasons. We can be grateful for receiving personal benefits, such as advice from a mentor, or we can be grateful for material items, like a gift, our home, or a car. Gratitude can also be fostered through interpersonal fulfillment, such as getting a hug from a friend. Or, we can experience gratitude for a monetary gain, like getting a raise at work.

 

Finding Gratitude in Society

When we look at the United States today, many see a rich and powerful nation that is admired. It is not respected so much for its military might and technological advancements, but for the freedoms that its citizens enjoy, which enable them to strive to achieve their dreams.
The founding values of the nation are what laid the template for everyone who came after the bloody war for independence. The United States and what it is today was shaped by wave after wave of immigrants who adopted our values, putting the country on its path of progress.

 

While the initial years were tough for these new immigrants, they learned to adapt, and survived the first few bleak winters.

Realizing that hard work was the only way to forge ahead and succeed in their new lives, the learned to express gratitude for what they had been given in their new home of opportunity.
It was this gratitude for the simple gifts they received, like a roof over their heads and food on the table, which allowed them to progress in the best possible way.

 

As proven by those that came before us, gratitude can play a seminal role in shaping your destiny and your life.

 

Gratitude in Today’s Time

In today’s highly consumerist society, where quarterly growth figures have become a measure of a nation’s standing or where possessing a killer instinct is considered a great asset, the question then becomes whether or not gratitude has a place in our society.

While we are all still pursuing happiness, our ways of finding it varies. For some, we try to obtain it through service and charity, while others try to find it in esoteric books and at the feet of gurus. Unfortunately, for the majority of us, we try to find happiness through material acquisition. This has turned the society into one that feels it is entitled to all it receives and obtains, and shuns the idea of expressing gratitude for all that we have. Things are now viewed, by many, through the prism of sales and purchase, and some even view both relationships and possessions from a useand-discard perspective.

Thankfully, gratitude is just as contagious as materialism. As soon as you realize that gratitude can help you reach the happiness and greatness you’ve been chasing.

 

Using Gratitude in Your Relationships

It is easy to get caught up in the hectic routine of everyday living and forget to express our appreciation to those that matter to us the most. Take a moment to think about the relationships in your life and consider a time when you felt gratitude for that person. One of the most common mistakes we can make in our relationships is the assumption error. This occurs when we assume that someone in our life knows what we are thinking or feeling, or when we believe that someone else should know what we are thinking or feeling. The problem with this is that if we don’t let those people in our lives that are important to us know that they matter, they don’t know that they matter.

 

For most of us, we have stopped being consciously aware in our lives. We have turned on the autopilot and are merely drifting through life. Our brains and body have become so familiar with our routine that we put little thought or attention into our daily lives. Our minds are usually busy making lists, recalling events of the day, or thinking ahead, that we’ve stopped being consciously aware. We tend to go through the emotions that we know so well and miss out on all the nuances of the experience in the process.

 

Communicating Gratitude

 

Having an increasing awareness of gratitude can have a ripple effect throughout your relationships. There is evidence that when we share our gratitude, whether, in kindness, words, or gifts, we nurture our relationships, helping them to grow stronger and closer. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that we need to explore how we can convey our appreciation to those that matter the most to us.

 

While there is nothing wrong with expressing your gratitude by saying, “thanks a lot,” or “nice work,” these expressions of gratitude are often taken for granted and seldom convey the message as powerfully as we want. One way you can verbally to express your appreciation in a manner that will foster connection in your relationships is by including three things in your expression: (1) observation, (2) feeling, and (3) need.
In sharing your observation, you just state what you observe, like holding the door open, washing the dishes, or taking out the trash. These everyday actions do make a difference, but they often go unacknowledged. Sometimes just letting someone know that you noticed can make a world of difference to that person. Next, you need to let that person know that what they did have a positive impact on you.

 

The final aspect of communicating gratitude is often times the trickiest. It can be difficult to acknowledge that we need others, but we do. It is important to remember that we don’t exist in little bubbles and that we are consistently affected by those around us. Letting someone know that they were there when you needed them is an open doorway to establishing a connection with others.

When it comes to thinking about your own relationships and opportunities for gratitude, don’t limit your expressions of gratitude to the things that people give you or do for you. Sometimes it is just as valuable to share your appreciation for who they are as a person. Let the people in your life know that you not only appreciate what they do for you by who they are as well. Take the time to comment on someone’s generosity, thoughtfulness, compassion, or just being who they are, and see how much happier you become in your relationships.

 

The Power of Positive Emotions and Gratitude

Wanting to be happy isn’t an unrealistic desire. However, we seem to be misinformed about what happiness is. At times, we may think that we can find happiness in a new computer, a new shirt, or a new car. Other times, we may believe that indulging our impulses will make us happy. While these things in and of themselves aren’t bad, you need to consider if any of these things have brought you true, lasting happiness.

 

A study of twins has demonstrated that approximately 50 percent of happiness levels are based on genetics. This means that there is some predisposition to happiness, but that also means that half of our happiness isn’t wired into our DNA. Another study determined that 10 percent of our happiness is determined by our life circumstances like wealth, relationship status, health, etc. This means that if 50 percent of our happiness can be attributed to genetic makeup and 10 percent to circumstances, that leaves 40 percent of our happiness up to us and our behavior.
This 40 percent means that we have a significant say in how happy we are in our lives. It’s not all up to chance, or someone else’s whims or intentions. We have a choice. So what does this have to do with gratitude? Well, it turns out that research has shown that grateful people are indeed happier people. Gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of depressive episodes, which makes a lot of sense because it is hard to feel bitterness, anger, envy, hostility, and resentment when you are feeling grateful. By its nature gratitude has the capability to block more negative and unpleasant emotions. When it comes to gratitude, it is essential for you to realize that the feelings you experience are valuable and that they all serve a purpose.

 

When you feel afraid, you may become anxious. This emotion puts your body in a state of alertness, so you’re ready for anything and can grow in tune with our surroundings. Feeling anxious when you are walking down a poorly lit street at night, is an appropriate emotion and can help keep you safe. That same feeling of anxiety prior to speaking publicly can prompt you to prepare for the event, and help you to have an excellent presentation ready to go.

 

Emotions that are typically referred to as negative are merely more unpleasant to experience. Bitterness, sadness, guilt, regret, shame, envy, resentment, and anxiety are not necessarily bad, but they can be uncomfortable to experience, especially if they feel that you often have. Your mind is somewhat programmed to focus on these emotions and give them more of your attention. This is because these are essential emotions in that they give you valuable information about yourself and how you are responding to your environment. Without these emotions, you wouldn’t know if there was danger lurking around the corner, or if you are viewing something that is opposed to your moral and ethical views. These particular emotions can prompt you into taking action. The downside to these specific emotions is that you can quickly get stuck there, and you can begin to find yourself living in uncomfortable places.

 

Gratitude and other positive emotions don’t discount the negative experience but can help you keep things in perspective and keep you from getting stuck in those negative emotions. Practicing gratitude is one way to transform your experiences toward more positive emotions and improving your relationships. If you work with appreciation, you will begin to shift your experience toward the positive.

 

Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude has also been proven to increase our capacity for experiencing other positive emotions. Often, gratitude is described with the same feelings connected to it, like love, compassion, humility, comfort, passion, and confidence. Cultivating gratitude can be a direct way to enhance these other emotions in your life.

Another benefit of gratitude that has been supported by several studies is that grateful people are more resilient and resistant to stress. When you can find the ability to be thankful for the things you have in your life, you find yourself able to move through challenges and difficulties in your lifetime and time again. Gratitude helps us see our strength, open our hearts, and experience the fullness in our lives.

 

The good news is, you don’t have to go through a crisis in order to find gratitude. Gratitude is an opportunity that is there waiting for you every day.
Gratitude can be learned. With practice, gratitude can be a choice, an intentional way of viewing the world. This is not to say that you should discount or make light of difficulties or painful experiences in your life, but you should choose not to let yourself become overwhelmed in these times, and find a way to see beyond them.
You can look with gratitude at what you learn about others and yourself when you’re moving through hardships.

 

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Gratitude

It’s amazing how often we adopt someone else’s emotional story as our own. When we hear it and witness it often enough, we will begin to fall into those exact same patterns. Whether it’s a habit and pattern of complaining, or of doing things a specific way, to some degree we all pick up on the habits and behaviors of those closest to us. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is something that we can benefit from being more aware of. If we don’t know that we’re doing something, or why we are doing it, it can be difficult to tell if it is effective for us or how it may affect our relationships and experiences.

 

How can we recognize these patterns and “borrowed” patterns? How do we move from the less effective patterns and move to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? There are many ways that you can progress toward this, but to build awareness, the best path is through mindfulness practice. The simplest and the clearest definition of mindfulness is nothing more than “paying attention on purpose.” Intentionally bringing your attention and your focus to the details and the experience of one chosen thing. You can be mindful of anything, your breath, the food you eat, or even vacuuming the floor. Being mindful merely is, noticing the experience of something as it is happening at the moment.

Practicing mindfulness can help to treat and prevent depression. Taking the time to focus your attention intentionally can change the imbalance of the chemical circuitry in your brain and help you to shift out of your negative thought patterns. Other research has discovered that mindful awareness practices can enhance the body’s general functioning and promote healing, immune response, stress reactivity, and provide you with a general sense of physical well-being. You will also be able to improve your relationship with others when you practice mindfulness because it allows you to be better able to recognize nonverbal signals from others, but also acknowledge our part in the interaction.

Because our lives can get quite busy and hectic, we tend to go on autopilot and miss opportunities for connection and gratitude. Sometimes, we even miss what we are experiencing at the moment. Taking a few minutes every day to stop, slow down, settle our bodies, and actually pay attention to the moments can have a profound impact on how we feel about the day and what we did to fill it.

 

Mindful Living Day-to-Day

Our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are all connected. Each one feeds into the others and shapes our experiences with others and the world in which we live. Practicing mindfulness helps us notice our experiences, our relationships, and our environment in a different context. With mindfulness practice, we can pay attention to our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions without judgment. When we are mindful, we begin to see our world and notice all the opportunities for gratitude that exist. Any daily routine, task, or errand can become an opportunity to practice mindfulness and gratitude. You can practice mindful gratitude anywhere at any time.

 

Mindfulness Practice Through Meditation

If you are struggling to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life, you can use meditation to train your brain to do it automatically. Mindfulness can be cultivated through mindfulness meditation, which is a systematic method for focusing your attention. You can learn to meditate on your own, following instructions in books or through the help of videos and tapes.
Some types of meditation involve, primarily, concentration, like repeating a phrase or focusing on the sensation of breathing. This concentration allows the constant flow of thoughts that inevitably arise to come and go. Concentration meditation techniques, as well as other activities, can induce a relaxation response, which can help to reduce your body’s response to stress.

 

Getting Started with Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation builds upon concentration practices. Once you establish concentration, you begin to observe the flow of your inner thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judging them as either good or bad.

Then you start to open your mind and notice the external sensations around you such as sights, sounds, and touch that make up your moment-to-moment experience. The challenge in mindfulness meditation is to not latch onto any one particular idea, sensation, or emotion, or get caught up in thinking about the past or future. Instead, you should be watching what comes and goes in your mind to discover which mental habits produce a feeling of well-being or ones of suffering.
There are going to be times when you don’t feel as though this process is at all relaxing. However, over time it will provide you a greater key to happiness and self-awareness as you become more and more comfortable with a broader range of experiences.

 

Practicing Gratitude Mediation

Gratitude meditation is one of the most influential and rewarding exercises you can do. When you’re able to develop an attitude of gratitude you can start feeling more contented with your life and accomplish true happiness. Gratitude can make you feel good, and meditation will help you to achieve a deep state of relaxation and contemplation.

 

Gratitude meditation can be incorporated together, or you can spend a few minutes at the beginning of your meditation session taking deep breaths while you think of all the things that you are grateful for in your life.
You can start your gratitude mediation practice by taking a few moments to do some deep breathing relaxation techniques. Start by breathing in through your nose. This will extend your abdomen and cause your diaphragm to pull air into the bottom of your lungs, which will provide your body with a healthy dose of oxygen, and helping you to become more relaxed.

 

When you’re ready, sit in a comfortable chair, one that is suitable for meditation, and close your eyes. Allow your muscles to begin to relax. Let go of your thoughts. When you feel relaxed and comfortable start to think about everything that you are grateful for in your life. The more that you are grateful for, the more you’ll receive in your life. Whether you choose to practice gratitude meditation or gratitude relaxation and breathing on a regular basis the happier and healthier, you’ll be.

 

Unbalanced Gratitude

So far, you’ve discovered that gratitude has a number of positive attributes and benefits. You’ve learned that people who are grateful tend to be happier, healthier, and are more satisfied in and with their relationships. Gratitude opens us up to being able to connect with others and can help us through stressful situations and experiences. However, it is essential to understand that every light casts a shadow, and gratitude is no exception. It is entirely possible to experience, or at least express, something similar to gratitude without the benefits.

 

In order for gratitude to occur in your relationships, there has to be an exchange from one to another. There has to be a giver and a receiver, and there has to be an awareness of that exchange. When the awareness of the gift is not present, the exchange becomes unbalanced. This can result in either a missed opportunity for gratitude or even a false expression of gratitude.
Unbalanced gratitude, or unhealthy appreciation, occurs when there is a sense that one should be grateful, but the feeling isn’t there. It’s the thought of, “I know I should be grateful, but I can’t help but feel (guilty, awkward, suspicious, resentful) or some other variation of a feeling of unease.

 

Superficial Gratitude

 

Superficial gratitude is one that is not genuine or from the heart. It occurs most frequently when there is public expectation or demand for acknowledgment. The best example of this is the yearly award shows that are aired on television. The words of gratitude are present, but the sentiment behind those words is non-existent.

The challenge with this kind of gratitude is that it seldom makes you feel good. It doesn’t come with the added benefits of the other emotions that are so often associated with gratitude; emotions of joy, happiness, love, connection, and even hope. Instead, superficial expressions of gratitude are often associated with a feeling of anxiety and resentment.
You can also end up with superficial gratitude when there are too many people to thank, more for the reason of not wanting to exclude anyone. When there is a long list of thanks being recited without the connection to what is being acknowledged, the sense of appreciation becomes diluted and has less meaning. There are many situations where you may feel pressured to offer thanks, even when you aren’t feeling the emotion, which can lead you to another form of false gratitude.

 

Obligatory Gratitude

 

Obligatory gratitude shares some similarities with superficial gratitude. There ends up being an overwhelming sense of “should” behind the expression of thanks, rather than a genuine feeling of appreciation. This kind of gratitude often occurs when you feel a need to say “thanks” for a kindness that was received, but one that wasn’t wanted or needed. You may feel obligatory gratitude when you feel obligated to thank someone for a gift that you neither wanted or like, or when someone is doing something for you that you want to do on your own.

 

Reestablishing Balance

Everyone, at one time or another, has experienced unbalanced gratitude. The critical thing to understand is that it is not true gratitude. Whether the false gratitude is stemming from cultural expectations or an intention to be perceived as better than another, it is missing the essential elements of the components that are necessary for gratitude to blossom in your life. If you find yourself engaged in an exchange of unbalanced gratitude, it is up to you to look for ways to restore the balance.

 

How Gratitude Empowers

On a psychological level, practicing gratitude allows us to become happier, more positive, and more amenable to finding joy and pleasure in everything that we do. Showing gratitude for the things we have and those around us also has social advantages as well because we become more generous and compassionate in our dealing with the world.

Studies have shown that gratitude helps us on both psychological and physical levels. Physically, when we practice gratitude in our lives, it can help to boost our immunity levels, which in turn can lead to us living a more healthy and energetic life. This can help to reduce the likeliness that we will fall ill and allow us to live a more active life.
Gratitude can empower you to understand better that life is all about the moments lived rather than continually looking out for the good or bad moments. Gratitude teaches us to be grateful for all the moments that make up our lives.

 

For example, take the case of someone who has just been in a car accident that resulted in them being hospitalized with their leg in a cast. Now instead of moping about how they would have to say in the hospital for a couple of weeks, the person is grateful that their life was saved and could look forward to catching up on some reading and the latest TV shows.

 

Become More Optimistic

Gratitude can help you develop an optimistic and positive perspective about life, even with all of its ups and downs. Living life with gratitude will enable you to understand and appreciate that taking the rough with the unruffled patience is the key to your happiness, contentment, and peace. Instilling an attitude of gratitude in children from an early age will help them value the blessings they have, leading them away from the current plague of the sense of entitlement that affects so many today. It has become far too easy for children today to take what they have for granted.

 

This ingratitude ends up putting them on a path that is difficult for them to find peace and contentment, which could impact their ability to having meaningful relationships in their lives, both at work and at home.

 

Become More Thankful

The best thing about the empowering nature of gratitude is the fact that it makes you view your own self in a new light. The more thankful you are for everything that is good in your life, the less you will dwell on those aspects of your personal life that falls short. Gratitude will also make you a more empathetic person who can appreciate the achievements of others without feeling envious. This can free you up to focus on doing the things in your life that work for you.

 

Become More Energized

Among the many beautiful ways that gratitude can empower your life is the way that it ends up energizing your being. The very act of embracing the positive and letting go of the negative can make you view your life with hope and optimism, which provides you with enthusiasm to give your best in everything that you do.
Gratitude is like the sunshine that breaks through the window and illuminates the room when you open the curtains in the morning.

Anybody and everybody has a need for this vital catalyst that can bring exciting wonder into your life.

 

Find Meaning in Life

Life is more than the relentless pursuit of material possessions and achieving goals. Having a sense of gratitude for what we have and wishing the best for everyone else puts us on the path of selfrealization, allowing you to have contentment as a constant part of your life, as well as enables you to reach out to those who may need your help.

 

Become More Sociable

People who practice gratitude have more positive energy and tend to be more popular because of their more pleasant and affable personality. This can help you make more friends and have a deeper, more meaningful connection within your relationships. In general, grateful people are more helpful, more social, more trusting, and more appreciative.

 

How to Learn Gratitude

Thankfully, gratitude can be learned. With the right application of practice and discipline, you can master an attitude of gratitude in your life. The thing about gratitude is that it may not be all that challenging for most people to express when things are going well. However, the moment a crisis occurs or an unhappy situation arises, people don’t see much reason to be grateful. Many would rather complain about their life. The thing about gratitude, however, is that it is nothing more than a state of mind. You can, if you want, find a reason to feel grateful even in the darkest of hours.

No matter how terrible things may seem to be, there is always something for you to be grateful for. The thing to remember is that we are all on this planet for a short period, and as long as we live and breathe, we have something to celebrate. If things have gone wrong, you have to remember that they can also get better.
When you take some time to observe the way grateful people conduct themselves, you will start to notice some commonalities in their behavior.

 

They Have Realistic Expectations of Life

Life rarely happens in the way you expect. The best students in school don’t necessarily do better in life. There are numerous instances where somebody less talented than you is able to land the job that you wanted, or who find more success than you. No one knows what sort of cards we will be dealt with in life. When you are prepared for the surprises that life will inevitably throw at you, you will always be able to find a silver lining and be grateful.

 

They Are Unconditionally Happy

When you put a prior condition on being happy you will likely never reach that happiness. If you covet a particular sports car, that’s okay, but if you decide that you are going to be depressed until you get it, what would happen if it suddenly goes out of production?
People who readily show gratitude for whatever good they see in their lives, no matter how small it is, are those who find it rather easy to be happy. Unconditional gratitude is definitely one of the prerequisites for living a happy life.

 

They Accept That the Good Comes With the Bad

 

People that can appreciate that the good comes with the bad will find that their hearts are grateful for the good in life while realizing and understanding the fact that there will likely be a corresponding downside. They know that as they bask in the warm glow of the summer sun, that the bleak cold of winter is just around the corner. Conversely, if it is raining heavily, they know that it is just a matter of time before the sun will shine.

 

They Are Optimistic

People who find it easy to express gratitude for the smallest bit of happiness don’t get fazed by the changes in life. They are eternal optimists who just need the slightest glimmer of hope to be happy and content. For them, tomorrow is another day.

 

Developing Gratitude Habits

Gratitude is something that we have endless opportunities to feel each day. The challenge becomes not getting caught in the negativity bias of our brain. The negativity bias is our tendency to focus our attention on the more uncomfortable emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, and sorrow. While these emotions are essential for us to because they prompt us to pay attention to things that may be threatening or dangerous, we shouldn’t live in them or let them be the ones that inform our entire life experiences.
With practice, you can develop new patterns of thinking and new ways to experience your life. Just like with a new diet or exercise, engaging in a new behavior for one hour, one day, or one week, will not create a long-term change, but regular practice can create a change that is sustainable. It can quickly become a habit. Something that you do automatically.

 

No matter what your situation, there is always an opportunity for gratitude. Even the most frustrating experiences can offer you a chance to practice gratitude, but can also allow you to observe it and be influenced by its presence.

 

Developing Habits

Any new behavior or routine will take time to develop into a new habit. The first time you drive a car, everything is new and requires your full attention. When you begin a new fitness plan, it takes some effort and commitment. Over time, the newness becomes something that you just do. The process is seldom simple and often requires some support or encouragement.

Developing a habit of gratitude will require some attention and effort on your part. While shifting gratitude into a consistent practice does take effort, it is a worthwhile investment of your energy. Research has shown that in addition to increasing your awareness of the abundance already present in your life, practicing gratitude gives you a wide range of benefits including:

 

• Improved ability to manage daily stress

• Increased optimism about the future

• A heightened sense of community

• Increased resiliency to traumatic events

• A heightened sense of emotional well-being

• Increased physical activity

• Improved sleep

• Improved physical health

• Reduction in feelings of depression

• Reduction in feelings of anxiety

• Positive impact on both cardiovascular and immune functions

 

It is critical to remember that habits take time to develop. There may be days where you forget about gratitude altogether. That’s alright. You can pick up the practice again the following day. Over time, the practice of gratitude will become more automatic. Just like learning anything new, you have to give yourself patience and time to develop gratitude habits. With continued practice, you will notice the rewards in your own life unfold.

 

Practicing Giving

Entitled is a word that is used to describe many children and adolescents today. Entitlement is one of the most significant obstacles to gratitude. When you believe that everything is owed to you, how can you feel grateful or genuinely appreciative? This belief of deserving creates a wall that blocks gratitude.
So, the question becomes how you can shift from an attitude of entitlement to one of gratitude? There are several of ways that you can accomplish this. First, you can start by adjusting your own attitude and model a grateful attitude in your home. You can also teach your children about gratitude and giving rather than about deserving and owing. The key to teaching gratitude is to engage in activities and interactions that are focused on sharing, giving, and connecting rather than doing something in order to get something back.

 

As much as we live in a world where we are conditioned to give thanks, often without awareness, we also live in an age of entitlement, where more and more, people are finding themselves disappointed because they are not receiving what they believe they deserve. Believing that the world owes you anything is a false premise and will only lead you to experience disappointment, strains in your relationships, and further resentment and frustration.

 

Writing Gratitude

As you look for ways to combat entitlement and foster gratitude in your life, you can look to the simple act of writing thank-you notes. Often, when people talk about writing thank you notes, they are taken back to when they were required to write obligatory thank you notes for graduations, birthdays, weddings. In these situations, the writing of thank you notes can feel a bit daunting and can quickly become overwhelming. With many of these situations, the gifts that are purchased are out of a social obligation, and the thank you notes are also written from a place of social responsibility. While this may not be representative of sincere gratitude, it is a positive step in moving toward developing gratitude habits, because it is a way to acknowledge gifts received.

 

With that, you can go a step further and move past obligatory gratitude and into reflective gratitude. Reflective gratitude happens when you are able to step back from a situation, recall the event, and re-experience the emotions that occurred during that moment or span of time. Often, we don’t realize the benefit that we’re receiving from someone until after we have had time to reflect.

Thank you notes have a positive effect on those who receive them. Taking the time to reflect on the relationships you have developed, and the gifts that those relationships offer you can move you from a place of resentment or victimization into feeling appreciative of the gifts that you have received. It can also provide you with the opportunity to reflect on how you have affected those around you.

 

Cultivating Gratitude in Your Life

Now is your chance to practice cultivating gratitude in your life. This can be done by yourself or with others. The trick is to practice. As with any new skill that you are learning, developing an attitude of gratitude is going to take time. By incorporating the following practices into your every day life, you will find that, over time, you will experience the world a little bit differently. You will begin to see opportunities hiding in the most obvious places. You will notice richness in your relationships, and you will start to feel more connected to those around you.

 

Not all of these practices will be comfortable for you, and some might even make you feel a bit silly doing them. That’s alright. Keep trying them. Some of these exercises will resonate with you, while others may not. The key to cultivating gratitude and achieving greatness is to keep practicing until it becomes intuitive.
The first few practices are meditations. As discussed in Chapter 5, meditation and mindfulness are essential aspects to finding gratitude in your daily life. If you aren’t familiar with the practice of meditation, these exercises may be a bit challenging. If your thoughts begin to wander, or your mind goes into judgment and questioning mode, that’s alright, merely redirect your attention to the practice at hand. It is essential that you be gentle with yourself. There is no right or wrong way to do these exercises.

 

Gratitude Meditation Practice

You need to begin this practice by sitting quietly in a comfortable chair. If you are comfortable with shutting your eyes, do it. If not, you can merely soften your gaze to the floor approximately three feet in front of you.
Quiet your mind and gently bring your attention and focus to your breathing. Take a deep breath through your nose and breathe into your heart. Try to visualize your heart filled with a soft, radiating, violet light.

 

As you breathe in, visualize a soft, pink light filling your heart, gently combining with the violet light that fills the space in your chest cavity.
As you exhale through your mouth, visualize a soft blue light moving from the violet light, and up through your body as you gently expel your breath through your mouth.

With each in-breath, say gently to yourself, “I am filled with gratitude.” With each out breath, say to yourself, “I offer gratitude to the universe.”
Continue this cycle for four minutes. When you have completed the time, gently open your eyes, or raise them from the floor.

 

Gratitude Meditation Journal Practice

 

For this exercise, you’ll need to purchase a notebook or journal to keep by your bedside.
Each evening, prior to going to sleep, sit quietly and bring your attention to your breath, keeping your head relaxed.
If you are comfortable, close your eyes or soften your gaze at a fixed point on the ground about four feet in front of you.

Take a few deep breaths, paying attention to the inhale and exhale.
Think through the events of your day. Visualize those events as they occurred, be sure to pay close attention to moments that contained acts of kindness, laughter, or beauty. As you notice these occurrences, pay attention to how your body feels. Pay attention to the sensations that you are feeling. What kind of thoughts arise in your mind?

When you’ve completed reviewing your day, gently bring your attention back to your breath. Open your eyes and write down the observations in the journal.

 

Gratitude Journal Practice

Start noticing the things that occur each day for which you are grateful. These things can be big or small; it doesn’t matter. The magnitude of what you are identifying isn’t essential, but instead that you are noticing things that you can appreciate about the day. You may be grateful for a person, for opportunities that were presented to you, for a good cup of coffee or tea, or perhaps that the day has come to a close and you are now preparing to lie in your bed and rest your head on your favorite pillow.

 

Every night, before you go to sleep, write down the things that you were grateful for throughout your day. Again, these can be big or small; it doesn’t matter. Write down at least three things every day and once a week, sit down and review your journal entries.

 

Gratitude Breathing

Even in the busiest of days, there are small moments where you can practice gratitude. Take a moment, two or three times a day, to slow down and bring your full attention to your breathing.
Notice each breath. Observe every inhale and exhale, noticing that at that moment you don’t have to do anything but breathe. Once your breath has your full attention, silently say the words “thank you” on each of the next five to eight exhalations as a gentle reminder that right now, at this moment, you’re okay. These silent “thank yous” can serve as a quick reminder of the gift of your breath and how lucky you are to be alive.

Do this practice at least three times per week.

 

Gratitude Reminders

It is extremely easy to forget something, especially when you are trying to form a new habit. Placing visual reminders around your home or workspace can help you stay on track with your goals.

 

Create reminders that will prompt you throughout the day to think about gratitude, or merely to pause and reflect. Here are some ideas for your gratitude reminders.
Carry a small stone in your pocket. When you notice the rock, pause for a moment and reflect on gratitude.
Place a note on your office wall, refrigerator at home, or bathroom mirror that says, “I am grateful.”
Set the alarm on your phone to go off one or more times a day as a cue to pause and reflect on gratitude.
Schedule a five-minute “gratitude break” in your office calendar two or three times each week. Use the calendar reminder feature to help keep you on track.
Have a “gratitude partner,” someone with whom you check in daily to help identify aspects of gratitude in the day.

 

Family Gratitude Practice

You don’t need to practice gratitude alone. Gratitude is, after all, about relationships and exchange. You can create an attitude of gratitude within your home as a family activity.

Keep a gratitude list for your family.
Place a whiteboard or sheet of paper on the refrigerator or some other easy-to-find location and have everyone in the family add to it daily. Things on the list can be big or small; it doesn’t matter.

Choose one day a week to share the list together at a shared meal.
Create a new list each week.

 

Gratitude Letter

There is always an opportunity for you to express your appreciation and gratitude, even if years have passed. Reflecting on those who have helped you in the past or present, and writing this down, can be a powerful means of cultivating gratitude.
Think of someone in your life for whom you feel grateful, but haven’t yet thanked. Write a letter to this person expressing your appreciation for them. Let them know how they have affected your life. If possible, deliver the letter in person and read it to them before giving it to them.

 

Thank-you Notes

Like the gratitude letter, the thank-you note is a compelling expression of gratitude. It allows you, as the recipient, an opportunity to savor the gift/benefit, and allows the person who gave you something the opportunity to feel recognized and appreciated.
Keep a box of thank you notes around and get in the habit of writing thank you notes. Write them for the unexpected, for someone who said something kind to you or helped you out when you needed it.

 

Conclusion

Gratitude has the power to dramatically transform your life dramatically and is something that can be quickly learned. As you begin to notice the good that is surrounding your life and start to show gratitude for everything you have, you will begin to become happier and more content with your life. Gratitude will allow you to become more hopeful for the future and excited to see what life has in store for you.

 

Start practicing an attitude of gratitude and start a fresh life, making it an integral part of your every day and start benefiting both physically and mentally from the mighty act of gratitude.

The post Your Step-By-Step Plan To Achieving Greatness Using The Power of Gratitude appeared first on Viral Rang.

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Reclaim Your Time Focusing On What Truly Matters

 

If you are reading this guide, you are undoubtedly trying to become more productive by managing your time better. That’s a great goal. But you can’t really manage time. An hour will always consist of 60 minutes, and a day will have 24 hours. That can’t be changed. So, if you are lamenting, “I never have enough time!” keep in mind you have the exact amount of time as everyone else.

You can’t manage time, but you can manage yourself by making better choices every day. With each choice you make, you can improve your life or make it more difficult.

Proper goal setting is a major part of managing your time. However, it’s critical not to confuse your end goal (the final result) with the steps designed to get you there.

For example, let’s say your boss has placed you in charge of finding new office space. That’s the end goal. But the steps you take to go about achieving that goal will make a huge difference.

Reclaim Your Time Focusing On What Truly Matters

You can do research and prepare a list of all available commercial space to present to the boss. This will probably take a few days. And you’re not even close to the end goal, which is finding a new office for your particular company. You’ve started the project, but you’ve wasted time, as well.

If you were to handle the assignment with an eye on better time management, you would start with a list of needed information. What neighborhood would be best? What is the monthly rent and utility budget? This information can be gathered in minutes (hopefully, from the boss himself) and it will narrow down your project and save you days of needless searching.

 

Keeping the end goal in mind always saves you time. Have the necessary information at hand before you begin the actual work. It will eliminate a lot of steps along the way.

 

Get to Know Yourself

 

Everyone Has Strengths and Weaknesses

 

No one is equally good or bad at everything. But if you don’t know what your weaknesses and strengths are, you could be blindsiding yourself. Becoming more self-aware is the first step to being more productive.

For example, you may be very analytical, which means you are good at thinking through a problem to the end and seeing solutions. But that same strength could turn you into a perfectionist. If you are a decisive person, you are great at making decisions, but you may not think a problem through entirely before taking action.

 

When you get to know yourself better, you can amplify your talents and minimize weaknesses. This will help you work at maximum efficiency without wasting time.

 

They say that we have three selves: how the world sees us, how we see ourselves, and how we really are. To work with and enhance your strengths, make an honest list of what you consider your strengths and weaknesses. Keep an open mind and remain honest. We are all familiar with the favorite interview question, “What are your weaknesses?” The beaming interviewee, of course, answers, “Oh, I always seem to take on too much. I feel like I want to do everything.” Can you identify the weakness? Our interviewee is, in effect, stating that she is disorganized and unable to focus on one thing. She cannot manage her time (or, perhaps, her life), properly.

 

After creating your list of strengths and weaknesses, ask yourself about your general mindset. A mindset is how we view the world. This usually involves pessimism vs. optimism. These attitudes eventually shape our goals and determine how much we get done.

 

Optimistic people are open to learning and trying new things. That’s a critical element to better self-management. You need to believe that being more productive is possible. Optimism, the attitude that things can get done, will help increase your productivity in many ways. Think of it as a secret weapon or a powerful tool in managing your time. It really is true that if you think you can, you will.

That same optimism can help you get the best performance out of those who work for you. Instead of maintaining the mindset of “This is how we’ve always done it,” you can change people’s thinking to, “This is how we could do things better.”

 

To help you gain greater self-awareness, it can be helpful to ask people whom you trust for honest feedback. With so many demands on our precious time, becoming more self-aware is an essential tool for managing your life and your time better.

 

Determine What You Really Want

 

It’s hard to be productive if you don’t know what you want to achieve. What really matters to you? The answer is critical if you want to manage your time better. It’s viewing the broad picture that is your life to get the most out of it. For example, if you determine your family is what matters most, then you will find ways to increase the time you spend with them. If, on the other hand, all you truly want is to be the head of your company, you will know where to devote your time most effectively.

 

The following exercise can be very helpful. Get a notebook and write down the question:

 

“If there were no obstacles, what would I be doing right now?” Ask that questions several times during a week. Don’t think or analyze. Just let your pen flow. Or fingers move across the keyboard. This is meant to get the blood flowing and provide you with an insight or two.

Once you’ve determined what is important, you can start planning your time accordingly. No more wasting the day on small tasks when the important ones are left behind, neglected and forgotten.

 

What Are Your Daily Habits?

 

We don’t mean to get you nervous, but you may be living with a killer. But not to worry, you can take control of the situation.

Nothing kills productivity and wastes time like bad habits. Bad habits can sabotage your life in the most spectacular way. Habits are the things we do every day routinely, without thinking. It’s when we function on autopilot, such as brushing our teeth, driving to work, preparing dinner. Habits are the small things you do every day, and they can add up to the sum of your life. Let’s look at some time-killing bad habits:

 

1. Not planning each day. If you don’t schedule your important tasks, you have no idea what you will be doing on any given day. Your day will be running you instead of the other way around.

Would you drive across country without a map? You might get somewhere, eventually. But you will likely be taking the long, scenic route. Schedule your day the night before. Unexpected interruptions do happen, but a schedule will help keep you on track and help you manage your time more effectively.

2. It goes without saying that being disorganized wastes time. Spend a good portion of each hour hunting down the things you need is a major time killer. There is a time management rule that says handle a piece of paper only once. When you check the mail, answer immediately or toss. Don’t let paperwork accumulate all over the place like some paper blizzard. Have one specific spot or folder for items to be dealt with at another time.

3. Procrastination steals time from your day the way Billy the Kidd stole money from banks. Brutally and relentlessly. Understand that procrastination is a choice. It’s a bad habit, but you have the power to change it.

4. Many of us waste time resisting change. Whether it’s preparing a meal in a new way or implementing a new policy at work, change makes us uncomfortable. There is great comfort in the known and predictable. But we will never reach our full productive capability if we don’t keep an open mind and remain open to new ideas. Candle makers were resistant to electricity. That didn’t work out well, did it?

5. Are you in the habit of seeing the glass as half-empty? Negativity doesn’t only set the tone for the day, but it can truly determine your life. It’s been proven that positive salespeople make more sales. A positive mindset helps people perform at a much higher level. Both negativity and positivity begin in the mind. Whether you realize it or not, your thoughts are within your control. The next time you waste time fretting that the boss will hate your report, stop and change your thinking. A positive attitude would be, “I put my best effort into this. It’s a good report, even if the boss makes some changes.” The less you worry, the less time you waste.

6. When you carry the past into the present, you’re toting a heavy load. We all have made mistakes. If you continue to dwell on them, you are slowing yourself down. You can’t change the past. You can, however, change your reaction. Simply accept that everyone makes mistakes. There is no need to waste time going over the same memory.

7. Distractions are an obvious time-killer. Modern technology was meant to save us time, however, checking email, social media and other favorite sites can add up to hours of wasted time. The best way to stop being controlled by technology and start to be in control of your time is to have a schedule. Have a set time to return phone calls. Check email twice a day, and simply turn off any social media functions.

 

Of course, there are other distractions. Chatting with coworkers, having the boss re-prioritize your work, etc. The best way to handle these is to become aware of who and what it is nipping away at your time. Spend a few days accounting for every interruption. Yes, that will be a bit time-consuming, but the effort will be well worth it. Once you have a clear picture of what or who is draining your time, you can be prepared. If coffee room chats are mounting, bring a thermos from home and avoid the area. If the boss keeps cutting into your to-do list, add extra “spare” time to accommodate his or her interruptions without being thrown off-schedule.

 

Let’s consider your smartphone. Most of us couldn’t imagine life without one, and they can be very useful. They can frequently save us time. If misused, however, they can eat up a considerable portion our day. Smartphones can be so addictive, some people seem to have been permanently glued to the virtual space.

 

Without a doubt, you have encountered the following scene hundreds of times: a busy mother is dragging a toddler through the market while talking on her smartphone. Sure, she is undoubtedly busy, but how is she managing her time. She is trying to do three things at once, namely minding the child, shopping for dinner, and chatting on the phone. You may admire her for “doing it all,” but what exactly is she doing? She’s not paying the necessary attention to the toddler; she’s shopping while being distracted and will very likely forget something; and, she is only able to pay partial attention to her phone call and will miss important parts of it.

 

Sadly, this busy woman is not managing her time well. If possible, she should leave the child with a trusted sitter. If that is not feasible, at the very least she can avoid the distraction of the phone call and pay attention to what she is doing. It’s virtually impossible to manage your time well with a cell phone at your ear.

Learning to say no enables you to manage your time more effectively. Productive people are usually eager to do things, but you must know where to draw the line. If you agree to every task someone else demands from you, you will soon become overwhelmed and get less done. Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m too busy to handle this right now.”

 

Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down with inconsequential details. An estate planning attorney spends at least 15 minutes before each and every will and trust signing contemplating whether to provide a blue or black pen. Others can stew over the best color for labels. Ask yourself, “Does this really matter.

Most of us are so used to our own behavior, it’s easy to remain unaware of the bad habits that keep us from optimal performance. That’s why self-awareness is such a critical time management tool. Awareness is the first step to changing a bad habit into a good, rewarding habit.

 

Define Your Goals

 

Many people enjoy being busy. A day filled with random activity gives it a purpose. They become bogged down with trivial minutiae, losing sight of their priorities and totally mismanaging their productivity. Stop and think about why you begin each task before you start. Have a purpose for everything you do. That ensures that every minute of your day will be well-spent. Being busy is not the same as being productive.

 

Define and prioritize your goals

 

Start by creating a list. Note down everything you need to do to be effective and productive at your job on a daily basis. That includes anything as mundane as filing away reports.

One of the things this list will tell you is how much time you spend in “crisis management” mode dealing with the problems of others rather than time management mode. While managing a crisis may be necessary at times, this does nothing to advance your own productivity.

On a second piece of paper, create a list of long-term goals. If your goal is to be the head of your department within the next three to four years, what are the steps along the way?

 

This list may include:

1. Increase profits by 15 percent by end of year.

2. Meet more people in the industry.

3. Meet and interact with more high-level management.

4. Develop a productivity strategy with your boss.

 

Don’t put limitations on your goals. If you’re dreaming of running the whole company someday, write it down. You can always adjust, and it’s easier to subtract than to add.

Prioritize your list into long-term (president of company) mid-term (meet high level-management) and short-term (finish a report in two days).

 

Now, determine any and all actions necessary to reach each goal and move up the next step of the ladder. For example, what sub steps are necessary to increase profits? A different advertising approach? Change in price schedule? A larger staff?

 

Think about what you enjoy doing and prioritize your likes and dislikes. Go back to Chapter 1 and review your strengths and weaknesses. Are you a numbers whiz? Then that should be your top priority and get the most of your time. Better advertising may be an intricate part of your goal, but perhaps that can be allocated to someone else, freeing up more time for you. Once you have an idea of how much time you need to spend on each step, make sure it falls in line with your priorities.

If increasing profits is your top priority, one of your steps may be to meet weekly with each salesperson for a review session. But is that a good allocation of your time, or should you institute written reports? Which way will be more productive? Most executives don’t have a clear idea of how they spend their time, which means much of it is probably wasted.

 

Here are some tips for effective goal setting that will help you become more productive:

 

1. Be sure that your goals are important to you. This may sound obvious, but it needs to be stated. We’ve already mentioned the need to get to know yourself in order to manage yourself. You may be at a job and have the normal desire to advance, but if there is no passion, you will never be fully and joyfully productive. If you aren’t passionate about your goals, that may indicate you are striving for the wrong goals. That’s a waste not only of time, but of your life.

2. Make sure your goals fit into your life. If you have too many goals, you will have difficulty managing the time for all of them. Time management and goals require a deep commitment. If you cannot totally commit yourself to your goals, you need to start over with your list. Ask yourself, “Why am I devoting time to this activity? What will be the end result?” Chances are, you won’t be heading for the presidency of your company, becoming your local tennis champion, and winning the bake-off at the fair at the same time. As we have stated, time management meant making the right choices for you.

3. Make sure all your goals, and the steps to achieve them, have a firm deadline. It’s ok to readjust to accommodate changing circumstances, but a firm plan will help keep you on track timewise.

 

Make Each Day More Productive

Having goals is a necessary part of managing your time. But you need to take it to the next level and make sure each day is managed to the best of your ability. Don’t wait until you’re facing a crisis to begin managing your time. Proper time management is a lifestyle and the result of your daily habits. The most productive day is a day without a crisis.

 

Here are some things you can do to get the most out of your twenty four hours.

 

1. Develop a productive morning routine. That means getting up early enough for a good, healthy breakfast and some exercise. You are preparing yourself and your body for a productive day, so give yourself needed fuel. This might also be a good time to check your inbox (instead of throughout the day) to see want urgencies await you. Adjust your schedule (you did review your daily schedule the night before, right?) accordingly.

2. If you’re unsure of where to start, prioritize your tasks into the most important (top of the list) to the least important (bottom of the list). Getting urgent work out of the way will bring you a huge sense of accomplishment and relief without overwhelming yourself with unnecessary to-do’s. We have already discussed how multitasking wastes time and reduces productivity, so complete one task at a time.

3. Schedule your breaks. Breaks are not time wasters. They will give you an added boost to get more done. Taking a five-minute break every 30 to 45 minutes is perfectly reasonable. You gain back the time by being able to focus better.

4. Develop a reward system for having a productive day or a productive week. Studies indicate that 78 percent of people would be more productive if they were rewarded. Be your own rewarder. Plan treats (dinner out, time with friends, a movie) contingent on sticking to your schedule. Something as simple as a gooey dessert can be a great motivator. You need to play fair and not indulge in the treat if you didn’t produce according to plan.

 

When Goals Change

 

Even the best goals can change because ultimately, we can change with time. What seemed like a perfect plan two years ago may no longer be the best use of our time in the present.

The journey of getting to know yourself we discussed in Chapter 1 is ongoing. To maximize your use of time, it should be reviewed each year. Changes are a part of growing as individuals and should be welcomed.

 

You should start your career with a plan; otherwise, you’ll be going nowhere very quickly. However, what happens when the plan no longer suits you? For example, many young law school graduates consider it a dream to start working for a large, prestigious firm. After a few years, reality can hit like a sledge hammer.

Most of them end up working 12 to 16-hour days without ever seeing sunlight for at least 5 years. That’s the norm with large companies that work on a 24-hour basis. They are competing with perhaps 25 other people in the same position for that single promotion.

 

Hard work is always necessary, and managing your time is the best way to get things done. But regardless of how productive you are, maybe the end result starts to look a little less attractive. You work 12-hour days without seeing your family. And you start to wonder if it is worth it. You no longer manage your work; you’re simply putting in the time.

This is the point where it may become necessary to reassess and readjust your goals. While you still want your career, perhaps such a mega-environment is not the place to achieve it. Consider different paths to achieving your goal. Going out on your own and opening your own office may still involve a lot of time, but it’s time that you’ll be able to manage yourself. You get to decide what is important. This path could also provide you with more family time as your spouse spends some time at your side to help you grow.

 

Don’t be afraid to periodically take a good look at where you are going, and, if necessary, take a detour that in the final analysis may have more to offer. You can’t manage your time and life well unless you really enjoy the return for your efforts.

 

How Productive Is Your Environment?

 

Eliminate Distractions

 

Distractions are the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. They rob of needed time. It’s impossible to be productive when you allow yourself to be surrounded by distraction – and, yes, it is a choice. While there is little you can do when the boss appears at your office door (we’ve already discussed scheduling that into your routine), spend a day making a list of the things that eat away your time. Then, eliminate them.

 

The head of the gang of thieves is, of course, social media. It can creep up on you before you even realize it. Let’s say you’ve rolled up your sleeves and are preparing to work on that major report. Before you begin, you’re going to quickly check your emails. That’s when you see a notification that your friend has posted on Facebook. No harm in quickly taking a look, is there? On Facebook, you chuckle at your friend’s post, then notice a few links to some interesting-looking YouTube postings. Well… since you’re here anyway … An hour later, your report is still untouched as you click your way through YouTube.

This happens to everyone. Social media is addictive. People waste hours every day on mindless clicks. You’re being robbed, and no guns are involved! Just think of how you could use that extra time in a productive way.

 

You need to be proactive to keep this from happening. Delete social media apps from your phone. If you need those apps for business purposes, at least disable them when you are working.

 

It’s a natural response to want to respond to texts and messages immediately. Quick responses even rank high in terms of modern etiquette. It’s allegedly rude not to respond as soon as possible. The fact is, Emily Post never had an iPhone. Let’s consider it rude for someone to expect you to stop whatever you’re doing immediately and focus your valuable time on them.

Just a single response can ensnare you into a half-hour conversation. Don’t fall into the trap. When working, either turn off your phone or engage airplane mode. Return any message when you are at lunch or on break.

 

Some messages may be work-related and possibly urgent, at least to the sender. Get into the habit of checking your inbox at designated times, perhaps mid-morning and mid-afternoon, but don’t let anyone else manage your time.

Distractions don’t only happen on social media, they appear in person. Coworkers who are eager for a friendly chat or a distraction in their own routine can appear at your desk unannounced. These can turn into long personal chats from gossiping about a new employee to discussing the weekend’s ballgames.

These coworkers are trying to be friendly, but they are interfering with your agenda. Politely, but firmly, tell them, “I’m in the middle of something crucial. How about we talk at lunch?” When managing your time, you need to set unapologetic and firm boundaries and remain in control of your action. Many of us feel that the more we do, the more we accomplish. We even brag about our ability to multitask.

 

It’s time to take a step back. Our brain isn’t geared to concentrate on several things at once. When we try, our attention gets diluted, and we end up concentrating half-heartedly on several things without focusing on one in particular. This is anything but efficient.

Aim for ultimate management of your time by concentrating on one task at a time.

 

Set a time limit for each task you need to complete, and work within that time frame. One step, or task, at a time will get you to your goal in the best, more efficient way possible.

You might not have thought of junk food as time robbers, but processed foods and sugars can deplete you of energy very quickly and make you less productive. Ignore the convenient snack machine in the lunchroom and pack some fruit or other healthy snacks for work.

We face distractions everywhere, and few of us make the effort to control them. Once you become master of your own time, you will be less stressed and accomplish more. It’s that simple.

 

Learn How to Focus

 

Focus is related to avoiding distractions, but it takes it several steps further. It’s easy for our mind to wander, even if we aren’t being continuously interrupted. We have a lot to do and developing a razor-sharp focus for the important tasks isn’t always easy.

 

Our brain is like any other muscle in our body. If we don’t keep it in shape, it becomes sluggish. It can also go in different directions at once. Have you ever tried to focus on a work project while your mind is ruminating about overdue bills, in-law problems, and where to go for dinner this coming weekend? We’ve all been there. Our mind can turn into a crowded subway train, with no room to act. You feel like you’re on a speeding train going nowhere fast.

 

Focus means control. Control of your thoughts and actions. Proper focusing is a skill that can be learned and developed. Here are some proven methods to hone your focus, manage your time more efficiently, and become more productive.

 

1. Meditation calms an out-of-control mind. The best and easiest form of meditation is simply to find a comfortable spot, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing as you slowly inhale and exhale. When your mind starts to wander (and it will), return your focus to your breathing. Meditating is one of the best habits to develop when you are trying to achieve self-control. Fifteen minutes to half an hour a day is all it takes, and it is time well spent. When you are particularly stressed, you can take a “time out” and meditate just about anywhere.

 

2. While the effect of music on our subconscious is still being studied, there is reason to believe that music does affect our brain, especially the unconscious part. The type of music is probably a personal choice, but it shouldn’t be too raucous. Music is abstract, and it is thought that the very abstraction helps the mind stay in focus. It engages us on an emotional level, so our mind isn’t racing like an out-of-control horse when we listen. Instead, it is subconsciously processing information and keeping us focused.

Imagine yourself sitting at home when you hear an unexpected noise. Whatever it is, it has your immediate attention as all your focus is immediately directed to the sound you hear. Music works very much like that. It gathers your attention.

You can use music to improve your focus in two ways. The first is to really listen to the exclusion of everything else. The second method is to use earphones and listen to your chosen music while commuting or engaged in some other task. Doing so can help rid your mind of needless clutter.

 

3. If you are worried about time management, you probably have big goals. And big goals can be intimidating. How do you start that book, that company, or that project? It’s easy to become so paralyzed, you don’t even start. That’s not being productive.

The trick to managing those huge goals is to break each one down into steps, or “chunks.” It means understanding what smaller tasks need to be accomplished for you to attain your ultimate end goal. Writing a book may not seem achievable. But writing five pages each day is.

Develop a timeline for each step leading to your goal. Running your own business can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to do. Start by identifying smaller, more manageable goals. How will you develop and promote your product or your service? What is your financial plan?

Create a reasonable, chronological timeline for each step that will move you ahead. With each step, you are moving your timeline forward. Have a specific period of time in mind for each step, and work on that step until it is completed. There is a reason for the term, “climbing the ladder of success.” It’s the steps that complete the journey.

 

4. Take a break. It may seem contradictory to become more productive by doing less, but our bodies have a finite amount of energy, like a car. We need time to refuel. To get more done in the time you have, take the occasional 15-minute break to regenerate the brain cells.

Have you ever struggled with a problem, just to give up and go to sleep? In the morning, the answer came to you clear as a bell. Some people believe we find answers in dreams. The fact is, the brain can become overloaded. Rest can clear the haze in your mind and allow you to have full clarity.

 

Develop Your Skills

 

There are skills you need for your particular profession, and there are personal skills that will help you manage your time and productivity for any career or task.

The skills you use every day are reading, writing, and speaking. You learned all that in school, and you probably don’t even think about how you approach these skills. However, by applying the right techniques, you can make the best use of your time.

 

Reading

Reading is easy, right? It is, but you need to read a specific way if you are managing your time.

 

Start with the purpose of your reading. Are you reading for enjoyment, or are you trying to garner information? You probably have different mediums for different needs. You might have one paper for sports, another for editorials, and a magazine for industry/professional information. If that is the case, don’t waste time perusing through the rest, unless you are looking for more information.

While reading, skip over certain words that aren’t immediately relevant. You want the gist of what is being said. Read the headings to determine whether the information is pertinent. If not, move on to the next article.

 

Read the beginning and conclusion of any article first. This will tell you whether the midsection is worth reading. Don’t waste your time if it isn’t.

Remember that the first sentences of paragraphs are usually leadins and can safely be skipped for the full information that follows. The opposite will apply if you are unsure if the article has any relevant information that you might need. Skim the first sentences for a quick overview first.

 

When reading a long article, make a few notes on pertinent important points. This will help organize the information in your mind.

Does this sound like sloppy information-gathering? It isn’t. You are trying to determine how much time you should spend on a particular article or book. Once you have a clear idea, you can gather all the information you need and read as much as is necessary. This will save you much wasted reading time as opposed to “properly” reading every word and then picking out the salient points. For better time management, do it the other way around.

 

Writing

Writing is another skill you learned in school. Unfortunately, few of us are taught to write clearly and concisely. In addition, the use of emails and text have largely eroded what little writing skills are left.

 

Before writing your report, stop and think about the information you need to convey. Brainstorm and jot down ideas as they come. This will be the beginning of a roadmap that will tell you where you are going and where you need to go to get there. Starting any report without a clear idea will waste time and effort.

After you have jotted down your notes, categorize the information into specific groups. For example, you may wish to categorize a company report into financial information, product information, sales data, departmental responsibility, etc.

Now, you are ready to begin an outline of your report. Before beginning your outline, consider your audience. What information requires the most persuasion? For example, a group of investors will likely be most interested in bottom line financials. A meeting with new employees might need more product information and company structure data.

 

You are now finally ready to begin writing a clear and concise report. Start with an introduction, move on to the main theme, and wrap it up with a conclusion.

Using headings and lead-in sentences can help clarify the information, as has been indicated in the “Reading” section. It can also help keep you organized. Try to keep industry jargon at a minimal. Have you ever read a manual, only to wonder whether you are reading Latin? Using clear language and short sentences saves everyone time.

Take the time to edit and review your work, but don’t belabor each word. Such perfectionist tendencies will force you to take twice the time necessary to complete your work.

 

Speaking

Public speaking is a bit more complicated. Like writing, speaking starts with knowing your audience. Who will be there, and what is their purpose? With what information do your listeners hope to walk away?

Once you know your audience, it will be much easier to gear your speech toward their interests.

 

A speech is different from writing in that you don’t get to edit. Your first try is your only chance. But don’t be overly concerned about perfection. It’s a real time waster.

You should write an outline of the facts you want to hit during your speech. After your introduction, whet your audience’s appetite by explaining why your information is relevant to them. How can it help them? Then, tell give them a few verbal “headings” by telling them what you will be talking about, as in, “here is a problem,” “here are my thoughts on the problem,” and “here’s how we can solve the problem.”

 

Prior to actually giving your talk, have several rehearsals, preferably in front of critical family members. You want to be speaking out loud to help you get the tempo and inflections.

No one wants to listen to someone reading a speech, so work from your outline. That’s why practicing beforehand is so important.

Reading, writing and public speaking will more than likely become a part of your professional life. When done properly, you can manage your time more efficiently and be more productive.

 

The People Around You Matter

 

Remember when Mom told you to hang out with the right crowd? She wasn’t just trying to be annoying. She knew some serious facts.

The people around you can make a huge difference in how productive you are. As a matter of fact, the decision of who we spend time with is so important, it should be included in goal setting (feel free to do that).

 

It’s hard not to take on the habits of those around us – whether those habits are good or bad. For the ultimate productive life, choose the ultimate productive people. That will help you manage both your time and your life. Let’s take a look at the people who may rob of us of time and productivity. Be aware that this will probably result in you having to make some hard choices. Not everyone currently in your life may be adding to it.

 

1. Do you know someone who is a complaint marathoner? This person is filled with negativity and will see the glass totally lacking in water every time. According to this person, no one can do anything right. This person can be especially poisonous at the office. Listening to people complain about how bad the boss and job are will drag you down and interfere with your productivity. It will benefit you to drop them by the wayside.

 

2. Are many of the people in your circle consistently broke? Unless they are still in school or are starting a career plan at the bottom of a long ladder, they are not likely candidates for productivity and good life management. This is not to say you need to drop old friends, but you should probably spend less of your valuable time with them. Seek out people who are already productive and learn their secrets.

 

3. Some people simply drain you of much-needed energy. They appear to be living in constant drama of Shakespearean proportions. And they expect you to be there to offer a kind shoulder. They will drop by unannounced and call at 3:00 a.m., usually drunk. They expect you to spend your time solving their problems.

 

Anyone can have a crisis. Being there for a friend in need makes you a good person. Being used by a drama queen can trap you into wasting time. Remove yourself from these people for your own sake, even if they are family members.

 

People Who Can Add to Your Life and Productivity

Productive people should be your role model. Collect as many as you can. Make it a habit to get to know people who manage their time successfully.

 

Before we discuss how much productive people can add to your success, let’s cover an important point. Every office is a place of competition. Employees want to be noticed by the boss, get a raise and the best assignments. And in most workplaces, there is invariably one person who qualifies for all the above. The person who seems to be getting ahead the fastest.

 

It’s easy to resent that coworker. It’s even easier to badmouth him or her, try to make him look bad, and assume he is simply lucky.

It’s normal to feel resentment and jealousy toward someone who has what you want.

 

Before you attribute bad qualities to this person, think for a moment. Consider that he or she just might know things about productivity that you don’t. If so, this is someone you want as a friend. This does not mean you are using this person. But if you are able to set aside your understandable resentment, you might see that it’s hard work and better management skills that is getting this person noticed. This is someone who knows how to manage his or her time and be productive enough to please the boss. This is the type of coworkers that you should be befriending and spending time with more often.

 

Surround Yourself with Success

 

When you are with productive people, you will automatically increase your own productivity. There is also a good chance that you’ll be more productive while working less. Remember, it’s all about better time management.

Productive people have learned how to be organized. If this is something with which you are struggling, what better way to learn than to observe an organized person in action?

 

Since productive people tend to be more focused, such a person frequently will recognize a problem before it becomes obvious. Fixing a potential problem is a lot less time consuming than trying to repair a huge office disaster. This saves everyone a lot of time.

Find the people in your office who seem to be the most focused, the ones who aren’t filling their day with irrelevant tasks. These are the workers that plan ahead and remain in control of their time.

 

Keep an eye out for people who look busy. Frequently, they are the multi taskers. They appear to be busy, but in reality, they waste time and don’t get as much done as they should. Sometimes, people chose to work with such a person because they think they’ll look better in comparison. The opposite is true. That person will slow you down to his or her level. You may not always be able to choose with whom you work, but when you do, opt for the productive person. Then watch how he or she works and learn. Productive people tend to make sure those around them are more organized for their own benefit.

 

Personal Time Management

 

Everyone is concerned, and rightfully so, with managing work time. But, we all have a personal life. Personal time is a luxury, and the more organized we become, the richer we are.

Even when we aren’t at work, time is precious. We spend around 8 hours sleeping, 2 to 3 hours on chores, and if we have a family, we spend several hours caring for others.

Where do we fit into this 24-hour picture? Is there any time left than belongs to just us?

 

We need our sleep to remain healthy, so that 8 hours is taken. After spending 8 hours at the office or at work, we are left with another 8 hours, which sounds like a lot. But as we’d seen, most of that time is spent the on chores and obligations. When is there ever time to relax or work on personal goals?

A lot of us may consider time management outside the bounds of personal time. After all, managing our time is work! At the same time, however, we want to get the most out of the time we have for ourselves. That means we need to actively control how we spend those precious hours.

 

When we are struggling with a career, it is easy to let our personal life take second place. But with the right balance, you can have both. More importantly, you need both.

Having a worthwhile personal life takes the same type of commitment as a career. Get your job done and make it a habit to leave the office on time whenever possible. Sometimes, overtime and weekend work are necessary. But most of the time, putting in late and off-hour times is a means to be seen and noticed by the boss. What the boss really cares about is the quality of your work. When you manage your workday effectively, you work less and can leave when you have finished. Forget about strutting around the office at eight o’clock at night in an effort to impress your boss. He or she will be more impressed if the work is done correctly and on time.

 

Make a schedule of your personal time, the way you would schedule your work routine.

1. Determine your priorities. Do you want to jog, take a class, read a book, watch a movie? Time doesn’t simply arbitrarily happen. You need to make the time for those things that are important to you and add to the quality of your life.

2. Once you have a schedule, think about how to free up that time. Do you need a sitter? Will you have to give up some of your favorite TV shows or social media activities? Sometimes, compromise is necessary.

3. Work on your personal schedule before going to sleep, as you would on your business schedule. Make a list of personal things you want to accomplish the following day.

4. Running errands is considered one of the greatest personal time thieves. Make it a habit never to run the same errand twice in the same week. When shopping for food, have a list handy that has everything you need for the week. No more forgotten items that require a second trip. Place all of your dry cleaning in one pile to avoid forgetting an important item.

5. Time is money, and sometimes, it is worth more than money. Consider hiring someone to run some of the errands, such as a neighborhood teen. Having someone come in once a week to do the heavy chores can free up a weekend and be worth the expense.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family. Provide the kids with a list of chores. Have your spouse pick up items from the store. You have more time for yourself when you forget about the idea that you are responsible for everyone else.

7. Spread out needed chores over a few days. Clean the kitchen on Monday and leave the bathroom for Tuesday. That gives you time to relax, catch a movie, or read that book.

8. Planning ahead can give you the gift of time. How often to do run out of batteries, important cards, wrapping paper, stamps, etc.? These items are difficult to schedule because we don’t use them every day. But when we need them, it can absolutely throw us off schedule. Make sure you always have these necessities at hand. Pick them up on your next shopping trip, store them, and simply reach out for them when needed.

9. Make the most of your time. Don’t just jump in the shower; relax in a hot, scented tub.

 

Remember – People Matter

Much of our personal time is spent with people we are used to being around. Be painfully honest with yourself and ask who is draining you of energy and time. Does your mother call every evening? Do you have a friend with whom you’ve gone shopping every weekend for years, but this person adds nothing to your life? Does your neighbor feel free to drop in at any time?

For more fulfilling personal time, we may need to rid our lives of a few toxic people. Gradually remove these people from your life, or limit the time you allocate to them. Making the most of your personal time can mean making difficult choices, but it may be necessary.

 

Re-Evaluate Your Personal Goals

 

Much of this guide deals with how to manage your time to achieve your career goals. We know that to succeed in a career, we need to establish smaller goals and slowly but surely move up each rung of the career ladder.

How often, however, have you thought in terms of moving up in your personal life? It is easy to take our personal routine for granted. You may run and exercise, read, prepare nutritious meals, etc. But why settle for good when your personal life can get even better?

 

1. Let’s say you run several times a week. Establish an even greater personal goal by training for a marathon. Block out a certain amount of time each time to achieve that goal. Taking the time to elevate personal goals can be life enhancing.

2. If you are already preparing good meals for yourself and your family, go a step further and invest in a gourmet cooking class. The time spent will enhance your enjoyment of food tremendously. Make the time to treat your personal goals seriously.

 

3. If you read, make your reading material count. Spend your reading time on quality classics that challenge your mind. When we get lost in the desire for a successful career, it’s easy to lose sight of becoming a better, more effective person. Take the time to expand your personal goals for a more enjoyable personal life.

 

Managing People Around You

 

Congratulations. You’re the boss. It’s an important career step, but the reality is, you are now responsible not only for managing your own time, but that of those people reporting to you. Regardless of how well you do your job, if your team isn’t supportive, you are wasting time and manpower.

It’s not surprising that studies have found that the most important thing to employees is job satisfaction. They need to know that what they do matters. If they feel unappreciated, they will not work at their full potential, which means they are just wasting time.

 

Employees who are satisfied with their jobs will remain loyal, which means there will be less turnover and less wasted time spent training replacements. Retaining talented workers is one of best ways to manage your own time.

It is the satisfied employees who will go the extra mile in getting work done on time and solving problems, thus freeing you up to do your own tasks. They are also the least likely to be negative complainers. As we have discussed, negativity sucks needed time out of the workplace.

 

Office Politics

As the boss, you need to stem politics at the office. This means avoid having “favorites” and creating jealousy among the ranks. Be alert to staff members who continuously feel the need to feed you negative information about others, such as, “The report would have gotten done on time if Mary hadn’t been late.” The problem here is probably less Mary and more the person who is badmouthing her. When you remain aware of employees trying to undercut each other, you can more easily put an end to the problem.

 

Not All Employees Are Created Equal

Hopefully, each employee will have his or her own strengths and weaknesses. When handing out assignments, giving the right job to the right person can save a lot time. If you aren’t sure of their area of expertise, either make it a point of asking during the job interview or during private meetings. You want your staff to remain motivated. Employees who are able to fully utilize their talents work in a more time-effective way than those who are struggling with the task at hand.

 

Be Aware of the Workload

People should work hard, but it’s counterproductive to overburden them. This is especially true if a selected few (perhaps your better workers) get the lion’s share of work while the rest are allowed to work at an easier pace. Assignments should be distributed equally. If someone has problems handling the task, they need to know that they can come to you for help and clarification. This will keep them from procrastinating and doing something poorly at the last minute or making excuses for not doing the job at all.

 

Create a Positive Environment

Your office is a workplace and should be professional, but a congenial atmosphere helps us to be more productive. It also creates a more open environment for better communication. For example, a Friday pizza-delivery lunch for everyone in the conference room can help people relax. You may find out who is having problems outside the office (a sick spouse or child) and make things easier for him or her by not expecting too much overtime at such a point in time. Such an informal staff get-together also makes it easier for people to mention problems, if only in a joking way.

 

Create New Challenges

People can easily get bored with the same routine and simply lose interest. That translates into getting less done and more wasted time. Provide new challenges and opportunities for people to grow. An excellent way to open up ideas for new opportunities is to use the informal Friday lunch get-together. Toss out the question, “Anyone have any bright idea of how we can improve things around here?” You might be surprised at the responses.

 

Compensate Your Employees

Employees who are poorly paid will not work at their full potential, thus wasting the company’s time and resources. While there is a need for fair financial compensation, there are other ways to keep employees satisfied. Give credit where it’s due and watch that person become twice as productive. If you are unable to manage a bonus, a half-day off once a month is another way to reward your staff for excellent productivity. Think about it. Why would someone work to their full capacity if they have no incentive?

 

Find Out How Employees Spend Their Time

Even your most diligent workers may be inadvertently wasting time without being aware they are doing so. Have your employees track their time for two weeks and review their schedule. They may be spending too much time on the wrong task.

 

Don’t be Afraid to Delegate

If you need to micromanage everything, you are not being productive. Much of your valuable time will be spent looking over people’s shoulders and performing tasks that someone else could and should be doing. That is very bad time management. If you have surrounded yourself with loyal employees, it’s smart to use them. Many managers feel that no one can do certain jobs as good as they can. That is limited thinking. If you offer your staff new challenges and train them correctly, it can free up a large chunk of your time that can be put to better use.

Effective time management means knowing when to let go. Start delegating small tasks. As you become more comfortable, increase the responsibility. If you have been following the advice in this chapter, you should be more aware of your staff’s strengths. Use that to your advantage and assign new tasks that fall within the range of their capability.

Provide clear directions and let them do the work. Trust them to do the job but do periodically check in and confirm their progress.

 

Communicate Your Expectations

We’ve discussed delegating work to your staff, but be sure you communicate your expectations clearly. “I need a financial report on XYZ Company” is far too vague to be effective, and you will likely find yourself disappointed. When assigning a task, be very clear on what you need and when you need it. Confirm that the person is able to handle the task in the time frame provided. Then, ask to be notified a day ahead of time in the event there are any problems.

This should ensure that you will be provided with the necessary information when you expect it.

 

Easy Tricks to Greater Time Management

 

We hope this guide has been helpful to you in managing your time. However, there is still more. There are little tricks you can use every day to get more done in your allotted 24 hours than you’ve ever imagined.

 

1. Everyone has the experience of losing papers and spending hours trying to hunt them down. To avoid this, use a folder with a clasp and use a hole puncher for all your notes. Secure them in the folder, where you will always have easy access. Don’t leave loose pages laying around. How often has important data mistakenly ended up in the trash?

2. While we’re on the subject of notes, if you must go to meetings (most of them are a tremendous time-waster), at least take diligent notes. That means you won’t forget details and can easily ask questions later, if needed.

3. Many people pride themselves on a messy desk as a sign of high productivity. Actually, looking for files and other information wastes a lot of time. Instead, get a small portable file cabinet and place files in there after each use. They will still be at hand, but they won’t create needless clutter.

4. If you’re in business, the chances are you collect business cards. These cards usually end up in some dark void where you cannot locate them when needed, especially if it’s months down the road. Either save business cards in a type of scrapbook, or better, invest in a business card scanner. That way, the information will always be available without you wasting your time looking for it.

5. Consider an alternative to driving to work. Commuting takes time, sometimes an hour each way. A time-saving option would be carpooling or a train. You can discuss business in a carpool, or at least get the daily chat out of the way. Taking a train will allow you to read and make notes and get ahead of your daily schedule.

6. We’ve advised checking voicemail and email only during scheduled times each day, but we’ll make an exception for the following very useful trick. If you are out and discussing business with someone, don’t jot names and phone numbers and other vital data on pieces of paper. Call the information into your own voicemail and retrieve the data at a more convenient time. You’ll never need to worry about scrambling for names and phone numbers again.

7. When making appointments, always, without fail, read back the time and place of the meeting – “That’s Monday, the fifth, at 10:00 a.m. at your offices on 123 Main Street, correct?” You want to be punctual and at the right place at the right time. If necessary, get directions, as in, “Your building is across the street from the shopping mall, right?” No need to waste time in searching for an address.

8. Many people who travel on business absolutely hate doing expense reports. They are a necessary hassle, however. The next time you’re on a plane, organize your expenses, receipts, etc. while returning home instead of wasting time on an in-flight movie.

9. Program frequently-called numbers into your speed dial. That saves you time from repeatedly having the punch in the same number. Do it once, and you’re done.

10. Improve your time management by asking the boss for feedback. Most bosses are busy themselves and usually don’t offer a great deal of feedback. However, it’s worth a try, and your boss will appreciate your desire to improve. Ask, “Do you think I could have done the Smith job a better way? Could I have handled in more productively?” The answer will be helpful the next time you’re assigned a task, so don’t hesitate to ask that question.

11. If you must have meetings, breakfast meetings are the most time-efficient. It ensures you get a good meal and get a headstart on the day. People are usually freshest and at their best in the morning. If you can’t go to a restaurant, set up bagels and coffee in the conference room.

12. Avoid scheduling meetings toward the end of the day, when people are tired and itching to get home. You won’t have their full attention and may waste time by having to field phone calls the following day to clarify certain points.

13. This may sound like a minor point, but anyone who has ever spilled a cup of coffee over the keyboard or an important report minutes before a meeting knows the panic that can ensue. Work is lost and needs to be redone. If a client is waiting, that could be disastrous. Invest in a spill-proof container and use it, this tip could be a life-saver.

14. A messy computer can waste as much time as a messy desk. Archive old files or save them unto the cloud. You should do a “spring cleaning” of old files at least once a year to remain organized and productive.

 

Using Time Management Apps

Below are some time management apps that you might find useful. While technology can sometimes be a time robber, these apps are an excellent way to stay on top of your task – a type of electronic nagger.

 

1. FocusBooster: This app, available for $2.99 per month, helps divide your work into timed session. Set the alarm for half an hour and focus that time entirely on the task at hand. When the alarm sounds, take a five-minute break. You can track your sessions and determine how your time was spent.

2. SaneBox: Your email inbox can be your best friend or your worst enemy. For $7.00 a month, SaneBox sorts your email into folders and separates the important ones from the rest. It also provides a daily summary for your review.

3. 30/30: This is another app, a free one, that lets you divide your tasks into specific periods requiring your full concentration. Then it lets you take a break. Then you can return for another session.

4. Trello is a virtual to-do list that is broken into sections which shift into active, in progress, and finished as you work on a task. An excellent way for an entire team to keep track of any assignment. The cost is $12.50 annually.

5. Wunderlist is an app that creates to-do lists for your team, with reminders and completion dates. It costs $4.99 per month.

6. Todoist is a to-do list app that allows you to schedule and prioritize your tasks, along with dates of completion.

 

Conclusion

 

Since there are never enough hours in a day, the better you manage yours, the more time you will have. It takes clear goals and good habits to make the most of your available time. With everything going on around us, wasting time is easy. But with a little bit of effort, you can manage your time like a pro. Review the action steps listed below:

 

• Know what you really want. It may seem obvious, but frequently, there can be a large gap between what we actually want and what we think we want. Spend time introspecting about your ultimate goals. It will be time well-spent.

• Create goals. That means lifetime goals, five-year goals, yearly goals, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Each goal should have the necessary steps to achieve it. The fact is, without clear goals, you will waste a great deal of time. At the same time, remain flexible to making changes when circumstances call for adjustments.

• Review your working environment. Is it geared to saving you time, or wasting it? Make whatever changes you can to optimize your working day.

• We can always improve our professional skills to maximize productivity.

• The people you associate with on a daily basis will have a large impact on how you manage your time. Choose wisely and in your best interest. In some instances, you may need to choose selfishly.

• If you are managing other people, you are managing their time as well as your own. Don’t micromanage but understand their work flow.

 

This guide has dealt primarily with managing your business time. However, you have a personal life, as well, and you want to get the most out of it.

You are more productive when you manage your working hours, and the same is true for the rest of your time. You may never have considered “managing” your personal time, but you have much to gain by doing so.

 

The techniques are much the same. You start with your longterm, mid-term, and short-term goals. These could be a second house, a car, new furniture, or picking up groceries for the evening.

Let’s say you want to buy a house. What are the steps necessary that will allow you to do that? First, you need a budget. What items in your life can you eliminate to meet that budget? Are you able to forego weekly dinners out in order to put more money aside?

Then you need to decide what type of house and in what neighborhood. Consider commuting, schools, and other interests. Outlining these steps will help you achieve your goal quicker than you may have thought possible.

 

The same is true for short-term goals. If you go to the market without a clear idea of what you will be buying, you will be wasting a great deal of time. More than likely, you will also not arrive home with all the needed items, which may mean a return trip. This is wasting a good part of your day.

Start with a list instead. Know what you want and focus on your shopping (that means, no cell phones). By being prepared and focusing on the task at hand, which is picking up things for dinner, you will be done faster and more efficiently.

 

Managing your personal time allows you to spend more time with family and friends, and that is the ultimate goal of a successful personal life, isn’t it? It lets you define your purpose and enjoy the rewards you deserve. If you enjoy hobbies and other forms of entertainment, you will have more time if you plan ahead and actually set a schedule creating the time you need. Many of us go through our personal life hoping haphazardly to fit in some gym time or personal reading time without planning ahead. Invariably, something unavoidable might happen abruptly to ruin our day. With a schedule, you can be better prepared to handle all your personal tasks and still indulge in some luxury time.

 

Managing your time for greater productivity takes a little effort, but it can bring tremendous rewards. We hope this guide will set you on the right path.

The post Reclaim Your Time Focusing On What Truly Matters appeared first on Viral Rang.

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Reprogram Your Mind For Success

 

Success is a habit, sure. But to pick up this habit, you have to have the right mindset. You can force things and hang on to your old mindset while adopting new habits, but these eventually wear off.

Reprogram Your Mind For Success

Successful people do certain things consistently, and that’s why they achieve a higher degree of success than most other people. But there’s more to it than that. It’s not just a matter of doing certain things over and over again given certain circumstances.

When you adopt these success habits without changing your mindset, you eventually end up where you began. How come? You built your new habits on a faulty mental foundation.
You had the wrong mindset. Your success habits eventually fall apart. You have to make sure that you adopt the right mental foundation from the onset. Your mindset is a combination of your assumptions, expectations and definitions.

 

Most successful people share a range of mindsets that enable them to maintain their success habits. In fact, they scale these up over time.
Don’t for a second think that these people were somehow born with these mindsets. They weren’t. In fact, many did not even have a clue when they began. Through trial and error and the hard knocks of life, many arrived at their winning mindset.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go through those heartbreaks and frustrations. You don’t have to go through trial and error. You can get a head start by identifying and adopting the mindsets that can lead you to consistent victory.

This training teaches you to reprogram yourself for success by adopting 8 key mindsets. Each of these mindsets have their own subset of beliefs. You need to go through these and incorporate them into your life for them to change your results.

 

How Does This All Work?

Mindset changes your beliefs. If you don’t have the right mindset, you’re going to have certain beliefs that are not going to help you all that much on your road to success. In fact, in many cases, certain limiting beliefs can hold you back and drag you down from the success that you could have otherwise achieved.
Your mindset has to lead to the right belief. These beliefs shape your emotional response to the things that are happening around you, your priorities, your values, and your life’s direction. That’s how important they are. Be mindful of what you choose to believe.
The good news? Belief is always a choice.

It may seem like people were just born believers in the right things. It may appear that some people just have the right belief system as far as success is concerned. These have to come from somewhere. They were chosen.

 

In this training, I’m going to step you through the process of clearing your mind of toxic beliefs and helping you identify and adopt the right mindsets which can lead you to greater personal success.
These mindsets lay the foundation for the success habits you’re going to have to adopt to achieve consistent victory in all areas of your life.

 

Do a Mental Detox Before You Seek to Adopt a Success Mindset

I know you’re excited. If you’re going through this training, you are looking to achieve greater success in at least one part of your life. You can’t wait to adopt the right mindset, so you can get better results. I understand that.
The problem is, you’re having a tough time achieving the kind of success you want because you are probably hanging on to a few “toxic” mindsets that undermine you.
You have to clear these out first before you adopt positive mindsets. Otherwise, these toxic mindsets will degrade, impede, or otherwise negatively affect the new mindset that you’re trying to adopt, and you end up nowhere.

Get rid of these toxic mindsets so you can be in a better position to reprogram yourself for better success. I call these mental roadblocks.

 

Mental Roadblock #1: Others are to Blame for Your Failure

One of the most common games people play with themselves is to think that the reason why they’re facing setbacks is because others have it in for them.
Maybe these other people were sabotaging them, maybe they were just negligent. Whatever the case may be, the reason why you’re failing is because of other people. This also applies to situations beyond your control.

 

This is very comforting for many people. After all, this thinking reduces people into victims. Victims are sympathetic. People have a natural tendency to favor the underdog. Who doesn’t want to be the underdog? Who doesn’t want to have the natural sympathy of the crowd? The problem is that playing the victim comes at a very high price.

 

You have to get rid of this mental roadblock because the moment you blame other people for your failure, you’re giving them the power to fix your situation.
If somebody or a situation is to blame, then it necessarily follows that they have to fix your situation because they caused the problem in the first place. They broke your life, so they must contain the solution to whatever it is you’re suffering from. Do you see how this leaves you powerless?

You can’t control those people or situations. Since you can’t control these people and your past, you aren’t going to be handed the solution to your situation. That’s just not going to happen. Everybody’s got enough problems of their own. They can’t be bothered with yours.
This is why you have to let go of blaming others for your disappointments. Otherwise, you’ll continue to fight battles of the past. You’ll continue to reenact certain situations in your mind and engaging in all sorts of ‘could have, would have, should have’ games with yourself.

 

You end up feeling stuck. Sure, you want to move on. You understand that it’s important. But the more you dwell on the past, moving on becomes nearly impossible.

 

Mental Roadblock #2: Real Change is Impossible

This toxic mindset is not as absolute as you think. People who suffer from this mindset actually phrase it in many different ways depending on the circumstances, but it still all leads to the same disappointing result.

 

Either you say that something is flat out impossible, or things are not right. You’re just waiting for the right set of circumstances, and then maybe you’ll take action.
At other times, you say to yourself, “This is not the right time to take the opportunity.” Alternatively, you convince yourself that you don’t have enough resources right now.
Whatever the case may be, they all lead to the same place: you do not change. You have all the justification you need to continue to do things the exact same way you’ve always done them. You understand that change can truly improve your life. That’s not the problem. Willingness is not the issue. Instead, you just feel that you can’t change because of so many things going on in your life as well as how the past played out.

 

You have to get rid of this idea.

Please understand that real change is possible, but it is chosen. It is something that you decide on. It is something that you commit to.
You’re not waiting for the right circumstances, the right time, the right resources or the right people to come about. They don’t have to. You just have to believe that real change is possible, and things will present themselves because your mind is open to change.
But the more you wait for the proper factors to appear; the less likely change will happen. You just doomed change because you believed, at some level or another, that it’s impossible. If you think something is simply not going to happen you subconsciously won’t put much effort into it.

 

Mental Roadblock #3: Your Past Mistakes Define You

A lot of people striving for success end up sabotaging themselves because they feel that they really can’t achieve any great success in the future because of their past. They think that they have screwed up enough so often and so severely in the past that future victories are really not going to happen.
They’re shooting for second or third prize. In fact, in many cases, they’re just going through the motions. They’ve given up on the race before they even started.
An alternate version of this is the ridiculous idea that you have to somehow start with a completely clean slate to make real changes in your life. In other words, you’re going to have to be perfect.

 

Because you’ve already made mistakes, you’ve already screwed up, either way, both versions lead you to the same place: you don’t even bother making a change. You discourage yourself from even trying. In your mind, it’s a foregone conclusion before you even start.
Well, the good news is that the past does not define you. You may have failed an infinite number of times before, but that does not prevent you from getting it right this time.

The only way you will fail is when you read your long record of failures as something so discouraging and so debilitating that you don’t even try. That’s how you fail. You fail when you quit.

 

Mental Roadblock #4: I Can’t Be Helped

This mindset assumes that you have to figure things out on your own. You get this idea in your head that for you to achieve success, things have to be revealed to you. You have to dig deep within. You’re the only one that can fix things in your life. Well, at least this is what you believe. You feel that for whatever reason, the only person you can truly rely on is yourself.

Thankfully, this isn’t true. Thankfully, a lot of the challenges that you are facing, believe it or not, have been faced by other people. Maybe they handled these at a different time, at a different place, under different circumstances. Regardless, these people can help you if you asked. They can help you personally on a one to one or some sort of mentorship arrangement. On the other hand, they can also help you through books they may have written or video courses they recorded. You can even be helped by simply reading blog posts or articles they have written.

 

No matter how you get the help, get it!

Your situation is not unique, nor is it special. Whatever challenge you’re facing, others have faced it before and overcame it. You just need to find their experience. Either you reach out to them or you read stuff that they wrote.
A variation of this toxic mindset is the assumption that others won’t help. Maybe they don’t want their secret sauce coming out. Maybe they don’t want new competitors. Well, those are just excuses you’re giving yourself.

You really won’t know for sure until you ask. And just because one person is stingy with information, it doesn’t give you an excuse to stop. You can ask another person, and then another, and then another. Surely, not everybody will turn you down.

 

Mental Roadblock #5: I Don’t Deserve Success

This is a very common toxic mindset. People, of course, would not admit to it, but deep down inside, they’re thinking it.

Maybe they have failed a lot in the past. In fact, they think that they’ve screwed up so badly that they really do not deserve a break. They really do not deserve success. They end up defining themselves through the prism of their frustrations. They personalized their failures and setbacks in the rawest emotional terms.
For people with this mindset, failure is not just something that happens when people strive for greatness or goals, instead failure is some sort of cosmic punishment. It comes at the end of some sort of moral judgment and it burns deep. It cuts to the bones and cannot be escaped. Permanent. Final. Relentless in condemnation. Talk about stifling. Talk about paralyzing.

 

Others come from traumatic backgrounds. Their self-esteem is so low that they feel that they are not worth changing. They feel that others’ needs come before theirs. They look at themselves as some sort of emotional doormat.
Please understand that the only person who can decide whether you deserve success or not is you. You call the shots. Nobody can judge you and say, “You don’t deserve success. Somebody else does.”

You have to claim that success and say that you deserve it because ultimately, this is self-judgment. You’ve been declaring yourself guilty all this time. Isn’t it time to decide otherwise? You know how harsh it feels. You know the kind of lousy results you get when you do this. Why not change things up? Start today.

 

Mental Roadblock #6: I’m Perfect the Way I Am

Just as toxic is the mindset that you’re perfect. You’re the smartest person in the room, you’re definitely the best looking, the whole nine yards.
While it’s great to have a positive self-image and a healthy self-esteem, you should not let this trick you into thinking that you don’t need help or that you don’t need to make changes.

Make no mistake, on the road to success, you need to change. You’re obviously not as successful as you would like now. You’re not as capable as you think. It’s hard to believe but it turns out that you haven’t quite figured everything out like you believe.
Change is required. This means having to let go of whatever inflated impressions of yourself you may have.
The antidote to this is very simple: admit that there is always room for improvement. This doesn’t make you a lesser person. This doesn’t have to mean some sort of defeat.

 

Mental Roadblock #7: I Need to Change… Tomorrow

Don’t play this game with yourself. Don’t, on the one hand, say to yourself that you need to change, and you are ready to do it and you’re willing to do it, but you’re going to wait until tomorrow.

 

You have to understand that if you’re waiting to have time, you’ll never have time. There will always be some sort of duty or responsibility or obligation that will pop up out of nowhere and you never get to making the changes that you need to make.
Similarly, tomorrow will never come. The moment you say that, “I’m going to do something, but I’ll do it tomorrow,” you set yourself up to lose because there will always be something of higher priority. There will be certain unexpected things that will show up that will knock you off track.

So, stop playing this game. Do it now. Make the changes now. Commit today. Take action in the here and now.
The great thing about starting now is pretty soon you get used to the challenges. By starting as soon as possible, you learn the lessons you need to learn and go through the hoops you need to go through sooner. If you’re going to go through this process anyway at some point in the future, why not get it over with now?

 

Mental Roadblock #8: Success and Money Aren’t Everything

Isn’t it interesting that the people who say that money isn’t everything are usually people who want a lot of money? The same apply for people who tried and failed to achieve great success in their lives.

When you say these things to yourself, you’re basically just engaging in sour graping. That’s what you’re doing.
You’re saying, “Oh, it wasn’t worth the hassle anyway. I’ll focus on something else. There are higher values in life.”
Well, if they were so valuable, why weren’t you pursuing them in the first place? Why are you treating them now as some sort of consolation prize?
Stop playing this game with yourself. You’re basically just giving yourself an excuse not to improve or shoot for greatness.

 

Mental Roadblock #9: Success is Just Not Worth It

This is a very tricky toxic mindset because it actually has many moving parts. Some people end with this conclusion because they feel that they don’t want to sell
out their real values.

Others would say, “I just want to preserve my soul, and I feel like I’m going to lose my soul in this wild dash for success.” Others say that they don’t want to lose their identity. “I just want to remain true to myself.” “I want to remain myself.” How common are these sayings to you? Chances are, you’ve heard these many times. In fact, you might be saying this to yourself at some level or other or in some form or other.

 

Regardless of how you phrase it or how often you say these things, just because you repeat this thinking, it doesn’t make it go away. The bottom line? These are all excuses!
These are all excuses because success can be part of your identity. It can be part of your soul. It can be part of your core intrinsic values that you would never give up for anything. You’re just giving yourself an excuse for not trying or for not trying again.
Maybe you got burned in the past. Maybe you got disappointed badly. Whatever the case may be, you can’t use the past as an excuse to keep you from doing something about your situation in the here and now.

 

Success is worth it because it improves you. It pushes you to be a more excellent person. It teaches you the value of sacrifice. It enables you to gain a sense of meaning in your day to day life. Living a life of purpose is one of the most important gifts you can ever give yourself.
When you take action every day, it is very empowering to realize that it leads somewhere big.

 

Mental Roadblock #10: I Don’t Want to Turn Into Someone I Will Hate

This mindset is really rooted in a zero-sum mindset. What you’re saying is, “I don’t want to turn into someone I hate because when I achieve success, I necessarily rob it from somebody else.” There are many ways to phrase this thinking but it all goes back to that same zero-sum game.
Let me tell you, there is no giant pie of success anywhere in the world. Just because your slice of the pie gets bigger, it doesn’t necessarily mean that somebody else’s slice gets smaller.

 

There are tremendous amounts of opportunities out there. Opportunities come and go at the blink of an eye, moment by moment. They are created and destroyed all the time.

 

Indeed, by striving for success and excellence, you can inspire others to do the same. Don’t think that they will just envy you.
Because people who envy have a zero-sum game mindset. They envy others because they feel that the slice of the success pie that was otherwise due them is shrinking.
There’s no such thing. That’s nonsense.
Understand that when you choose to inspire others, you spread success because they can be motivated to achieve success. This is the precise opposite of the shrinking pie analogy.

 

If anything, you increase the size of the pie and ensure more slices for others if they want to. You do this because you inspire them.

 

Assume That You Can Change

The first step that you need to take is to pay attention to your assumptions. Assumptions are crucial. You may not be aware of your assumptions, but they have a tremendous impact on your life.
An assumption is a belief regarding the reality of your life, your capabilities, your identity, where you are in the world, and what your rightful place is. These assumptions are choices. Seriously.

You choose to interpret reality. They are not hardwired into you. They don’t dictate that you have to interpret reality only in one certain way. You always have control over your assumptions. They might not be top of mind, they may not be obvious, but you can control them.

 

Another thing you have going for you is the fact that change is the only constant in life. In fact, as you take this training, you’re already changing.
You’re definitely getting older. There might be ideas that you run into that change certain things that you believe about yourself. It may change some of the things that you do. Regardless, understand that change is part of who you are.
Change happens on two key levels: you can change from within, and/or you change from outside. You have to believe that your ability to change is the key to your mindset transformation.

 

This is foundational. If you cannot bring yourself to this, then it’s almost impossible for you to adopt the right success mindset. You’re just not making it happen.
This is crucial. It is not an option. It is non-negotiable. Here’s an exercise to help you strengthen your belief muscles. First, think about three examples from your past where you needed to change, and you did.
Maybe one day you did not really feel excited about jogging in the morning, but you know you’re gaining weight and you need to run every morning. After a couple of weeks, you finally got to the point where you are jogging every morning.

 

Look for examples like this. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be dramatic. Regardless, all of us have at least three examples from our past where we needed to change, and we did.

 

Next, analyze what happened. Pay attention to what prompted the change.

 

Why do you feel like you had to do it? What circumstances were present? What was your situation like? What was the trigger or the straw that broke the camel’s back?
Next, focus on how you were before and how you were doing after the change. Look at the contrast. Again, most people should be able to find situations like this in their life. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be grandiose. It just has to be real.
Look at the contrast. Now, ask yourself, “What do these experiences teach me about myself? Am I the person who waits until the last minute and disaster is only around the corner for me to make a bold move?”

 

Maybe you stopped being lazy and got a job because you’re about to get kicked out of your parents’ house. Maybe your company announced a layoff program, but they gave people a test that they should take if they want to be retained. Whatever the specific experience may be, pay attention to how you responded to those challenges.

Did you wait until your back was against the wall before fear pushed you to make a decision? Or did you want certain changes all along and situations just pushed you? This is the difference between being a reactive and a proactive person.
There is no right or wrong answer. Either you’re born reactive, which means you are motivated primarily by fear or loss, or you are a proactive person, one who is motivated generally by gain.

 

Regardless, if you are a reactive person, dwell on what you can lose in your life if you don’t push yourself to change. If you are proactive, focus on how much better your life would be and how awesome it would be to experience your dreams if only you allowed yourself to change.

 

Failure is Not to Be Feared, But Prepared For

It’s really important to make sure that you understand that setbacks happen. People fail all the time.
If you think about it, it’s not that big of a deal. It may seem like a crushing setback, it might even appear like some sort of humiliation, but in the big scheme of things, failure is part of the human condition because it happens all the time.
Believe that setbacks happen. Instead of fearing it or wishing it away or constantly asking yourself, “why me?” expect it and prepare for it.
According to Thomas Stanley’s book “The Millionaire Next Door,” the average American millionaire has gone bankrupt at least three and a half times.

 

Let that sink in for a second. You know how crushing bankruptcy is? You know how humiliating it is at a personal level? Sure, a lot of the stigma has worn off bankruptcy, but it’s still a severe personal setback.
Still, it didn’t hold these millionaires back. They peaked, they crashed, then they rose back up. Stop fearing failure. Instead, focus on what comes next. Failure does not have to be the final point of your journey. It does not have to end there.
Please don’t get the idea in your head that if you’re expecting failure, you want it to happen or you’re wishing for it. No. These are two totally different things.
When you expect failure, you understand that the probability of failure is always there. By expecting that the worst can happen, you then allow yourself to respond in such a way that you can bounce back up.

 

Measure Your Success the Right Way

Often times, we think that we fail. Often times, we think that we just crashed and burned. But what happened actually was that we measured our success the wrong way.
For example, if you are starting a business and you know that normally the return on capital in your industry happens after five years, it would be ridiculous of you to assume that you will get all your money back after one year. You’re just going to be beating yourself up needlessly if you did that.
Measure your success the right way. It may well turn out that you did not fail. You’re just waiting.

 

Fail Quickly

In addition to measuring your success the right way, another way to prepare for failure is to resolve to fail quickly. I know this sounds kind of crazy, but a lot of successful people do this.
They know that achieving success involves a lot of trial and error, so they experiment a lot. It’s like throwing spaghetti on the wall. Eventually, one piece sticks.
But before that happens, you have to be as quick as possible in throwing spaghetti at the wall and getting that pasta to bounce off. When you do this, you’re figuring out a map to get to success, and you’re doing it quickly and cheaply.
The secret to this, of course, is to fail quickly and cheaply. It must not leave any scars. It must not bankrupt you.

 

Learn to Let Go Emotionally

Do not let your setbacks define you. This is the number one reason why a lot of people fail.
You see, just because your business venture did not produce the intended result, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop. It may mean that you’d have to experiment or do certain things.

If you can’t get through the front door, try the back, try the roof, try the basement, try the side. If you can’t get in today, try tomorrow, then the week after that, then the week after that. You get the point.
But if you somehow think that this is the end of the world and this means that you are just a loser, you have allowed this setback to define you.
It burns emotionally. It’s very hard to move on. So when the next opportunity presents itself, you hesitate or you simply ignore it.
Learn to let go of setbacks emotionally. They don’t have to define you. They don’t necessarily mean that you are a screw up and can’t ever get it together.

 

Document Everything

When you keep a journal of your efforts, you’re doing yourself a big favor as far as achieving ultimate success is concerned. You will figure out why things didn’t pan out in a very focused way. You will get to clearly identify what you did before, during and after the disappointment.
Now that you know this information, you can choose to do things differently. You can connect the dots. You can see patterns and conduct experiments to see if you get better results. Throughout all of this, you focus on your end goal.

Just how important is documentation or keeping a journal? Well, people who are looking to lose weight report better results if they only recorded what they ate. Even if they continued to eat the same kinds of food before and in the same amounts, these test participants still enjoyed weight loss.
That’s right, by simply logging what you eat, you trigger a chain reaction in your mind that leads to you eating less. The same process plays out when it comes to success.

 

The Key to Success Despite Failure

Failure is a part of life. Get used to it. Prepare for it. But the good news is that if you only built grit, you will eventually make it.
According to a research study published by Professor Angela Duckworth, grit is the secret of success.
It’s not being the smartest person in the room. It’s not being the most dedicated and motivated person. Instead, it’s all about the ability to get knocked down, but still keep on pushing forward.

Regardless of how many times you get knocked down, get rerouted or get postponed, you still keep pushing forward until you go all the way to the end.

 

Grit is a choice. This is the ultimate coping mechanism to setback.

 

Goals Reveal Your Objectives and Empower You to Achieve Theme

A lot of people striving for success look at goals as afterthoughts. They think that they are just things that they need to set up on their way to ultimate success. They kind of look at them as necessary evils.

 

If given a choice, they’d rather not set goals. They would just rather follow their passion or just do what excites them and eventually achieve success. At least this is what they think. Talk about getting it wrong.
Goals are crucial for success. In fact, they’re so crucial that even unsuccessful people know this. How come? Goals provide you with a map. At the very least, you can see what happens before, during, and after you achieve your goal.

For you to achieve an ultimate goal, there are sub-goals that you need to achieve. You get to see the process that you have to go through, the decisions that you have to make, the results that you have to produce along the way.

 

You can also see potential dead ends and potential detours.

Goals can also be broken down into small parts which provide milestones. And once you have everything broken down, you can then apply a timeline. This pushes you to take action so that you get to a certain part of your success journey by a certain time.

 

The Big Problem with Goals

Goals are fairly easy to explain. They’re fairly easy to understand. But the problem is, most people still don’t manage to achieve them.

Why? Well, setting up goals is one thing, achieving them is another.

This is due to the fact that most people view goals as something that they should work for. They are optional. We can pursue them only when the time is right or when we feel we have the right resources.
Most of the time, people have no sense of urgency when it comes to their goals. They don’t put themselves in a position where they feel they have to do or die.

 

In fact, given most people’s attitudes towards goals, it would be safe to say that they essentially function like some sort of large scale “to do list.” This is a far cry from how successful people deal with goals.

 

Successful People Let Their Goals Define Them

Successful people look at goals in a completely different way. First of all, they first start with their passions, and then they craft goals around them.
For example, you are passionate about writing for a living, so your goal is to become a professional freelance writer. You start with a passion, and then you transform it into a goal that is tightly linked to your core passions.
When you work towards these goals, you validate your personal values. You feel that you are expressing your true personal character.
Best of all, you end up tapping your core competencies when you let your goals motivate you. There’s actually an upward spiral that forms the more you work towards your goals: the more you achieve, the more competent you feel, the more motivated you become, the more you try, and the more you achieve. This spiral can go up. Or it can go down.

 

Also, when you achieve your goals, you get a tremendous amount of pride. Plus, you get the tremendous satisfaction that your goals are what you are about.
So when you achieve them, you get an enhanced sense of personal meaning. You get the impression that this is what you’re supposed to be doing. This is what you’re about. This is your destiny.

When you operate from this core of passion, goals are no longer things that you should be doing. Instead, they’re the things that you were born to do. They’re things that you must do. See the difference?

 

Recast Your Goals Until They Push You Up and Out

If your goals don’t give you the energy you need to push yourself and expect more from yourself, you need to change your goals. You really do. Don’t think that you have to stick to your goals just the way they are.
Your goals are not set in stone. They are simply tools. Treat them like tools.
First, you need to redefine your goals. What truly is at stake? Is this just a simple matter of getting certain things done by a certain date, or is this a matter of you living up to your highest potential? Is this goal all about you pursuing your life’s destiny?

 

Recast the goal by asking yourself, “What would success mean to me as a person? How does achieving this goal relate to my highest values and my value as a person?”
When you redefine and recast, you can then refocus. Because if you look at your goal as essentially linked to the values that mean so much to you on a personal level, you can get a lot more energy.
This is not just one set of things that you do on a day to day basis. This is what actually gives your life meaning. This is what actually gives you purpose to get up day after day.

 

Recap

Goals must do the following, otherwise, you need to redefine, recast and refocus them. First, they must energize you. To do this, your goals must give you a sense of why.
When you go about your goals, you gain a sense of purpose. Your life is no longer random. You’re no longer doing things by accident. You’re no longer doing things based on how you feel.

Instead, you’re doing something because this gives you meaning. This gives you purpose.
Next, goals must direct you to action. They give you something to aim for. They give you something to focus on.

 

Goals must, at the very least, instruct you. This means that you are focused on how to do things and what to do.

 

Finally, your goals must be capable of being broken down. This is crucial. Because if your goal is something that is amorphous and distant or symbolic, they’re not going to help you make changes. You’re not going to achieve success because it’s too theoretical.
At the very least, your goals must be capable of being broken down into the following: you can turn them into sub goals and daily to-do lists. That’s the bare minimum.
Also, make sure that when you look at your sub goals and daily to-do lists that there are repeatable parts, so you can do them day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

 

Look at each of these sub goals and to-do lists and ask yourself if they’re scalable. You must be able to scale them up so that improvements on one level leads to easier improvements or greater improvements at other levels.
Another dimension of the right goals is the fact that they are measurable. You have to know whether you have actually achieved a goal. There has to be certain quality standards.

 

And finally, when you’re crafting your goals, you must be able to associate them with emotional states. You must be able to associate them with a sense of victory, a sense of purpose, and a sense of destiny.
If that’s not possible or if that’s not happening, then you’re doing something wrong. You’re not really setting up goals. Instead, you’re giving yourself a list of advisory things that you should be doing.
Remember, people feel that they don’t have the time, energy or attention for things they should be doing. Instead, they focus on the things they must be doing.
So your goals must be at that level. It must be one that you have to do day after day. It’s as if you have no choice in the matter.

 

The Good News

The good news is that the more you achieve sub goals, the more they become habits. Success is a habit, but for you to keep doing these things over and over, make sure all the elements I described above are present.

 

Actively Take Control

Did you know that success is an act of faith? It really is.

When you believe in certain things, you take action. You don’t wait around for random chance to deliver results. You don’t wait for things to ‘feel right.’ You don’t stick around for ‘everything to fall into place.’ They almost never do. Last time I checked, most people don’t plan on getting lucky.
They have to have some sort of plan. For this plan to come to life and to actively change their lives, they have to take action on these plans.

 

The key here is to believe in your goals and take control. This means commitment.
You take control because you don’t just want to act once and hope for the best. Instead, when you commit, you take control because this means you keep taking action, day after day, week after week.
You take action regardless of what you’re feeling, regardless of whether things seem right, regardless of what other people are doing or saying. None of that other stuff matters. Instead, you commit. You take action.

 

Ultimately, this takes faith. Real active faith takes action again and again and again.

This is the kind of belief that you need because otherwise, it’s not going to pan out. There are many challenges out there. It’s easy to get hit with one setback after another.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, if you cannot get through the front door, try the side. If that doesn’t work, try the roof. If that’s blocked, go to the back. If that’s walled off, try the basement.
If it’s not happening today, try tomorrow, next week, the week after that. If you can’t do this alone, get the help of others.

 

When You Take Action, Celebrate the Fact that You Are Taking Action

One commonly overlooked fact about successful people is that most of them celebrate the fact that they’re taking action. They actually take a step back and they realize what they are doing at that point in time. They allow themselves to become fully aware that they are taking action, and this is leading to a particular goal.
You have to do the same. Because when you do this, you realize that you’re not hoping, wishing and fantasizing. In other words, you’re not doing the usual stuff that you do, which robs you of victory.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many people spend their days fantasizing about the kind of lives they would be living. They’re hoping and wishing that somehow, some way, the best things in life will happen to them. But they don’t have a plan. They don’t put in the work.
Still, a lot of people end up wasting a tremendous amount of time daydreaming. They know whatever they are fantasizing about won’t pan out. Forget about it. Still, they keep on daydreaming. They keep on hoping and wishing for things to be better.

 

Why do it? Well, people daydream because they get an emotional release. Regardless of how frustrating their current situation may be, when they imagine themselves at some point in the future, a future where they are free of their current problems, they get a nice emotional rush. It’s very easy to get addicted to this emotional rush.
Sadly, the more people daydream, the worse they make things for themselves. They aren’t taking the real action they need to improve their lives.
The good news? You can shift your attention to the action you are taking in certain areas of your life.

When you take a step back and realize that you are taking action, you remind yourself that you’re not just waiting for things to fall into place. Instead, you celebrate your ability to actively shape your reality and establish your destiny.

 

The More You Practice Your Ability to Take Action, the More Effective You Become

I know at first it seems kind of weird. You’re basically saying to yourself that you’re taking some sort of mental snapshot of what you’re doing at a particular point in time. It’s off, it’s unusual, it’s abnormal, it’s awkward.

Regardless, the more you become aware that you’re practicing your ability to take action, you get to start a chain reaction. You become more proactive. You get used to working towards your goals. Significantly, you learn how to fail faster, which leads to faster learning.
All this activity then increases the chances that you encounter new opportunities, which lead, of course, to the possibility of greater success.
All these are bound up together, and all it takes is the commitment to take action. Success is an act of faith.

 

Decide After Enough Deliberation and Stick to It

You cannot be wishy washy and become truly successful. That’s just not going to happen. Why? Well, opportunities flash into existence all the time, but they disappear just as quickly.
You can’t waste a tremendous amount of time analyzing what could be, what could possibly happen, and other contingencies. You have to study your options, figure out what’s at stake, but you have to decide. You have to make a decision.

 

The Toxic Effect of Analysis Paralysis

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re looking for more data to decide on a problem or an opportunity? You think that if you get enough information, your decision will be the right one.
What you’re doing is you’re just giving yourself an excuse to hold off on making a call.
There will never be a point where knowing “everything” will make all the risks disappear. Forget it. That’s just not going to happen. You have to decide. Now.

 

Similarly, you will not stumble upon that ‘magic bullet’ piece of data that will clarify everything for you. There’s no data that will make sure your next move will be a slam dunk. It would be great if such information existed but there isn’t.
The key here is to not freak yourself out when deciding. Set a deadline, but make sure that it’s not too close so that you end up intimidating yourself.
On the other extreme, make sure that it’s not too distant. Because if you hold off on deciding by setting up a date too far into the future, you’re probably going to be as unprepared when that day comes as you are now. You end up attending to all sorts of things. Pick the right date.

 

Decision Means Action

When you decide, you’re not just going through some sort of mental exercise. When you decide, you commit to taking action. That’s the bottom line.
You haven’t really decided if you do not take action or take on risk. You know you’ve decided when you are ready to make a move and face the consequences.
It also means that you’re prepared to say no to things that throw you off or distract you from your new goal.

 

In other words, making a decision means making a commitment. This is not an easy thing.

 

When you commit, you prepare for setbacks. You know that things can and do fall apart, so you’re going to go into this situation prepared for all sorts of contingencies. At the very least, you’re going to come in prepared to improvise, innovate or negotiate.
Regardless of what you do, please understand that deciding or making a decision doesn’t mean expecting things to be smooth sailing. That’s not commitment.

 

Making a Decision also Means Knowing When to Stop

While deciding means you’re going to be taking action and you’re committing to the long haul, it also means that you are committing to know when to stop.
There has to be a limit to your actions if things are not panning out. This prevents you from sticking to an impossible situation that robs you of opportunity costs.
Opportunity costs are real. You can’t continue to do something that has an eventual payoff of $2 when you could have stopped and chose to do something else that pays $100.

Understand that when you decide, this includes committing to knowing when to stop.

 

Key Points to Remember

When you commit, please understand that your commitment speaks volumes about your character. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of person do you imagine yourself to be?

 

Understand that this image that you would like for yourself is in danger if you do not know how to commit. If you keep changing your mind or if you quit too easily, you’re never going to establish this character that you would like for yourself. It’s personal.

People might think you’re great, they might compliment you, but deep down inside, you know that you suck because you can’t commit. You know there’s something wrong with you because you can’t go all the way.
Make it personal. There has to be some sort of personal “sting” from within to make you stick to what you committed to.

 

Believe that You Don’t Know Everything About Your Goals and Must Learn More

Even if you’ve done extensive research about your goal, please understand that you cannot know everything. There will always be a blind spot. There will always be room for improvement.
Most people are able to handle this. But the problem is, the older you get, the more you assume.
It’s very easy to think that you know everything about your goals, so you assume that you’ve got it figured out. You admit that you don’t fully see the whole picture, but you assume that if you see enough of the pieces of the puzzle that you’ll be okay.

 

This is a problem because assumptions short circuit and undermine learning. You’re not looking at your problem set with a fully open mind.
Instead, you think that if you see certain patterns, you will just use solutions that you did in the past because this is familiar enough to you. You can’t do that.

 

Assume a Growth Mindset

When you assume a growth mindset, you know that you begin from the initial proposition that you don’t know everything. You may have done this at some level before, but you haven’t done this exact project before.
When you assume that there are limitations to your knowledge, you are more likely to grow. You’re more likely to ask for help. You’re more likely to access resources to give you the information you need to make progress.

 

How does this work? When you operate with a growth mindset, you first focus on your core competency.
We’re not jacks of all trades. We all have certain core competencies. Find yours. Once you’ve identified these, work outward from it.

 

Here’s how I do it. I look at my goal and I break it down based on my core competency. I list down the things that I know like the back of my hand, and then everything else. These are called non-core elements.
What do you do with these? You can delegate, outsource, postpone, ignore or forget them. It all depends on how important they are, what their effects are on your ultimate goal, and how pressing they are.

Regardless, if they fall outside of your core competency, do not hesitate to delegate, outsource, postpone, ignore or forget.
By doing so, you increase your mastery over your project. You focus on what’s important and you leave less important stuff to the hands of experienced specialists, people you work with, people you respect, or you just postpone, ignore or forget. This leads you to become a more effective goal manager.

 

Believe and Act Like There is Always a Way Through Any Problem

People are overcome by problems not because they are dumb or unlucky. This is not a simple matter of IQ.
Most of the time, they’re just not prepared. They did not have a system coming in. It comes as no surprise that when the unexpected happens or a setback appears, they have a tough time.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to know exactly what will happen in the future. This doesn’t mean that you have to look at your goal and anticipate each and every potential setback in minute detail.
You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to go that far. Instead, you just need to employ the following system.

 

Identify

The first thing that you need to do when you come across a problem or setback is to identify the opportunity in that situation. Often times, opportunities come disguised as challenges.
So ask yourself, where’s the opportunity in this situation? What can I learn from this situation? How can this situation make me better?
Use the fact that there’s an opportunity there, regardless of how small, as motivation or inspiration to come up with a solution.
If anything, it’s a learning experience. It’s yet another opportunity to solve a problem and come out on top instead of letting it defeat you or frustrate you.

 

Optimize

Now that you have come up with a solution, try it out again and again. See if you can make it more efficient.
Figure out ways to get faster results. Look into making it more comprehensive. Run test after test. Come up with the very best solution you can come up with for your particular situation.

 

Dominate 

Once you’ve optimized your solution, master the problem. Not just right here, right now, but into the future.
Do you see your solution applying to different types of challenges? Do you see it leading to more solutions in the future?
Whatever the case may be, crush the problem. Don’t just feel relief that you dodged the bullet this time. You have to stare the challenge right in the eyes and dominate.
This is not just a simple matter of coming up with a hack or a quick solution. No. You’re looking to dominate the problem.

 

Scale Up

Now that you have dominated the problem by using an optimized solution, use it extensively. Try to use it as often as possible or come up with a bigger version of this solution.

For example, if you’ve always had a tough time meeting deadlines, you can optimize the solution that helps you meet deadlines. You then dominate the situation by setting up a system where your on-time delivery always produces the very best quality.
You can then apply this solution to other areas of your life like your relationship. This means that you’re never late for a date or you never forget anniversaries or other important events.

 

Know When to Cut Your Losses

While learning how to identify, optimize, dominate and scale are important, there are certain problems that are just insurmountable. If that’s your situation, know when to cut your losses.
You hit a wall, and it’s impossible, at least at this point in time, so cut your losses and backtrack.

 

Successful People Relish Calculated Risks

One of the most interesting finance shows I watch features interviews with financial managers. These people manage multibillion dollar hedge funds, mutual funds, and other financial instruments.
One particular fund manager blew my mind. The interviewer asked him, “What do you do to avoid risk?”
The fund manager said, “I don’t run away from risk. Instead, I run to the risk that meets the reward that I’m looking for.”
This floored the interviewer. “You actually assume risk?”

 

Well, it was kind of an ironic moment because I assumed that if this financial advice show host really knew his stuff, he would not have been surprised at all.

 

One of the long-standing rules of the finance world is: no risk means no reward. Put in another way, if you are looking for a high reward, you have to take on a lot of risk.
Risk is always part of the package. Successful people know this. Accordingly, they take calculated risks because they know that the greater the risk, the greater the reward.
Unfortunately, people trying to copy successful people often times get it wrong. They end up gambling. They end up taking shots in the dark, hoping to get lucky.
There is a big difference between risk taking and gambling. Risktaking only happens when you’re properly educated about what you stand to gain and what you stand to lose, and the probability of that loss.

 

When gambling, you’re just focusing on odds, and that’s all you pay attention to. When you take calculated risks, you look at what’s currently happening, what could possibly happen, and make strategic decisions.
The good news is that the more educated you are about the move that you are about to make, the lower your risk. You can’t entirely make it go away, but you can manage your risk.

Successful people always find ways to assume more risk while managing it. They actively seek risk. They run to it. They don’t run away from it.
Eventually, they keep repeating this over and over to achieve impressive results and they begin to control risk.
They always have a Plan B. Maybe this takes the form of insurance, maybe they hedged their bets buying different types of companies in different industries, or they buy different asset classes.

 

For example, you can be buying risky stocks, but offsetting it by buying government bonds or investing in local real estate. In the same portfolio, if they’re buying stocks, they would buy blue chip, fairly stable stocks, and balance it out with more aggressive tech stocks.
Regardless, successful people relish calculated risks. Risks do not stop them in their tracks. Instead, they seek calculated risks.

 

Best Practices When Adopting a Success Mindset

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of this training.
Please note that as empowering as the information shared in this training may seem to you, its not going to change your life or lead you to success if you don’t take action.
You can’t just treat it like mental candy. That’s not going to work.

 

You have to carry it out. You have to implement them. You have to tweak them. You have to customize them to your set of circumstances.
In other words, you have to take action. Once you’ve carried these out, here are some best practices that will help boost your results.

 

Mindsets are Like Muscles

When you adopt these mindsets, please understand that you have to test them. You have to use them and challenge them. In other words, they’re like muscles.
Remember the first time you went to the gym and you tried on some weights at the bench press? It probably was not a pretty sight. It probably wasn’t that positive of an experience.

 

But the more you did it, the more you got used to it. You were able to lift heavier and heavier weights.
What you’re doing is you’re challenging your muscles. Plus, you’re also getting them used to repetitive patterns.
The same applies to mindsets. It’s not enough for you to use these mindsets once or even twice. You have to use them over and over. They have to become part of you.
Also, you have to grow them by challenging them. Use them in different situations. Scale up the challenge. Whatever the case, you have to apply pressure on them for them to get stronger and for them to produce better results.

 

There is No Better Time than Now to Start

Don’t trick yourself into thinking that there is always tomorrow. You have to start now. You don’t have to do much, but you have to take action now.
Stop waiting for tomorrow. Stop waiting for things to be just right for things to feel right. You’re just giving yourself excuses when you do that. Instead, you have to commit.

 

Every Setback is an Opportunity to Learn

Make no mistake, you’re going to run into problems adopting the success mindsets I have described in this training. For whatever reason, there will be an obstacle or two.
Instead of crumpling like a paper bag the next time you are challenged or experience a setback, look at them as opportunities.
Don’t get all emotionally worked up. Instead, focus on the sense that you’ve seen this before. Focus on the sense that this is not all that unexpected.

Because when you’re in that emotional state or frame of mind, you’re more likely to look at the setback as an opportunity to learn. What could you have done differently?

 

What could your attitude have been? How can you anticipate this issue and prevent it from happening again? Regardless, be ready to learn.
One of the best attitudes you can assume when trying to adopt these mindsets is to assume the attitude of a student. When you’re a student, mistakes are not the end of the world. They’re definitely not a source of humiliation or embarrassment. Instead, you often chuckle or laugh, and then you figure it out, then you try again and again, and things get smoother.

 

If You Have a System, You Will Not Fail

Finally, you should get a system going. I’ve already discussed one possible way to deal with setbacks, which is to identify, optimize, dominate and scale.
Come up with your own variation. Come up with something that better fits your particular set of circumstances. Whatever the case may be, come up with a system that is truly yours.

Please note that the information that I shared with you here are just starting points. That’s all they are. They lay out a basic foundation. But it’s up to you to tweak, adapt and configure them so they produce the best results in your life.

 

That is your responsibility. That’s how you take control over this whole process. 

 

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this training.

This training can change your life.
You have to understand that the results that you get in life flow directly from your mindset.
If you change your mindset, you change your results.

 

Everything flows from your mindset because your mindset dictates how you interpret the world. It also influences your emotional response. Change your mindset and you will change the results you get.

 

Whatever frustrations you have right now, whatever setbacks you’re dealing with, are due to your current mindset. If you’re not happy with your situation, then the most powerful and effective and permanent way to deal with frustrations is to change your mindset.

I wish you nothing but the greatest success.

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Successful People Know Failure Is Their Friend

Did you know failure is your friend? You’re probably either laughing out loud or cringing. You probably have this almost irresistible urge to close the window of this article.

Successful People Know Failure Is Their Friend

Well, hear me out. Most people are afraid of failure. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure that out. This is part of the human condition. They draw us to pleasure and we recoil from pain.

We would love the big mansions, the swimming pools, the global vacations every two months, and the tons of money in the bank, but we hate or we try to avoid putting in day-after-day at the office doing seemingly meaningless work.

Try to avoid meeting the very difficult people that can lead to great deals but it’s murder time to deal with them. We would like to get the reward without going through the painful process. I understand that since that’s part of human nature.

This is why we’re afraid of failure because we know it guarantees nothing. We can put in the work, the time, the effort and make all the sacrifices and at the end of that process, there’s nothing there.

You’re left holding an empty bag but you’re already failing right now if you’re not shooting for your goals and dreams. You really are failing because every day you spend being paralyzed by failure is a day not spent working towards success.

Fear of failure can paralyze you and make you do things the wrong way. The worst thing you can do is to put things off and wait for the ‘right time’ to happen but that right time never comes.

Stop waiting for tomorrow because tomorrow will never come. There will be many duties, responsibilities, and obligations that will pop up all over the place that will distract you. They will throw you off track. You can bet on that.

Fear of failure can also make you hesitate and doubt yourself. Doubt is an emotional cancer in certain contexts. In the spiritual context, it’s positive. In relationship contexts, it can be positive but for your capabilities, it is a cancer. It can burn away at you.

The worst part is it builds slowly until it explodes at the moment you least expect and you end up crashing and burning. Don’t doubt your capabilities. Challenge yourself but don’t doubt.

The ultimate truth about you is that you can do it if you put in the time, effort, and sacrifice and choose the right goals. Unfortunately, if you’re so deathly afraid of failure, you don’t go through the learning process.

You don’t go through that. It’s painful. That’s why you’re avoiding failure but it will not happen. You don’t even give yourself the chance to make it.

Successful People Think Differently

Successful people don’t fear failure. Believe it or not, successful people know failure is always a possibility but what do they do? They make it work for them. They view failure as the price they pay to learn.

If you want a good example of this, pay attention to that quote from Thomas Edison. He said, “I didn’t fail to invent the light bulb. I discovered 101 ways of not inventing light bulbs.” Do you see the logic in that? Failure is the price you pay as you learn.

You can use it as a steppingstone to the ultimate success or you can use it as a gravestone to all your hopes, wishes, dreams, and ambitions. The truth is successful people view failure as a necessity.

Belief Is Your Key to Success

 

If you’re reading this, you’re looking for a way out of the mediocrity or flat out failure you are experiencing in your life. It’s okay to admit it. There’s no shame in trying to find a solution. What is shameful is to hide the problem and pretend that everything is okay?

Belief Is Your Key to Success

Now we’re on the same page, I need you to pay attention to the chair you are sitting on as you read this article. It seems sturdy. Obviously, it’s able to hold your weight. It’s doing its job just fine but did you know right before you sat down to read this article, you had to make a quick snap decision.

In fact, it went by so quickly that you probably were not even aware of it. Still, you need to make that decision. What am I talking about? I’m talking about your assessment of the fitness of the chair. That’s a big deal because if you sat on the chair without thinking and without even considering whether it’s sturdy enough to hold your weight or whether it’s positioned right, you probably will fall flat on your butt.

 

You might even hurt yourself. Belief is the reason you quickly went through the emotion of sitting before you can read this article. You believe the chair would hold your weight. You believe it’s in good enough shape to take care of you and prevent harm from happening to you.

I’ll walk you through this exercise to bring home the point that belief is crucial to your daily existence. You do it all the time. You operate out of belief. You live in belief. Belief is the glue that ties your life together. It informs your decisions that make your life possible.

 

If you can believe this chair can hold you up why do you continue to believe in things that hold you down? If you’re struggling in any shape or form it’s because you believed in the wrong things. I know it hurts; I know it stinks.

Nobody wants to hear this because it leads to the ultimate conclusion we all need to wake up. We are the authors of our life. We make that call. We make that decision and nothing stings more than coming face to face with the reality you made bad choices.

 

If you’re struggling in your relationships, at your job, with your health, how much you weigh, and what you look like, it’s because you made the wrong call. Nobody likes to be wrong. But the good news is that you don’t have to rely on your feelings.

You don’t have to remain trapped or at least you feel trapped. Instead, you can tap into the power of belief so you can make better decisions. You understand that the world doesn’t care about your feelings. It really doesn’t give a hoot about what your emotional state is.

 

Do you know what it pays attention to? It is your actions. Get your belief house in order and you will make better decisions. This means taking better action which puts your life in a better position.

 

Belief impacts your expectations and assumptions. Start there. What do you assume to be true about you? It is your life, your place in the world, and your capabilities. What do you expect out of life? This is a belief too.

 

The good news here is that just as you can accept certain beliefs. You can drop them like a hot potato. Seriously, belief affects how you roll with the blows; it affects your coping mechanisms. Understand how belief works and understand that belief is a choice. Choose better beliefs and you get better results. It’s that simple.

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