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This Is Why You Shouldn’t Focus On Success

This Is Why You Shouldn’t Focus On Success

We all want to be successful, yet many of us focus on the prize of reaching the ‘success finish line’, rather than on the race itself. We consider success a destination and blind ourselves to the fact that success is more of a structure, a system, and a practice. Check out the many successful people in our society who stick to a stringent set of practices daily to be at the top. They do not limit their ideology to the notion that success is an endgame. No. Rather they see it as something that requires consistency and ongoing effort. And here is why:

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” – Robert Collier

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Read on to find out why success shouldn’t be your main focus in life:

You won’t be happy

Everyone deserves to be happy. But the journey towards success shouldn’t be dependent on the notion that you will only get to be happy if you reach your destination. For example if you aim to lose 300 pounds in three months, your happiness should not depend on whether you lose it or not. Rather your happiness should be in the daily effort of working out and going to the gym. Your daily life will only become full of worries and fatigue if you aim at success and don’t reach it. However when you find joy in the process of constant daily practices leading to you reaching your goals, you will become unstoppable.

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You won’t grow

Success doesn’t happen suddenly. Neither will yearning for particular results lead them to occur overnight. Rather we have to put in the work and sustain our efforts over the long haul: growing resilience and strength in the process. Focusing on success as an end goal doesn’t make us cherish the process of making mistakes, learning from them, adapting to new ways of working, and improving on our existing strengths. If we want to be successful some personal development is involved. This sometimes challenging process means that we are willing to commit ourselves to the task, the moment, and the process at hand.

You won’t make discoveries

Why do we want to be successful? Is it for the money, the fame, or the acknowledgement from others that it can bring? Solely focusing on success can keep us from discovering new opportunities, life less lessons, and experiences. Aiming for success also does not test us on what is really motivating us to want to be successful. At the end of the day what success should mean to us is that we are making an impact or a contribution, not simply taking from our world. Focusing on our values and what we discover along our journey towards success helps us to attain meaningful rewards in life. Throughout this process we also learn to  embrace challenges and own up to the responsibility of making needed differences to our world.

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You’ll miss out on opportunities to be thankful

Viewing success as a journey offers you moments you will always cherish. You will thankful for those people you meet along the way, the vulnerable times, and those periods when it all seemed so daunting that you never thought there would be a way out. If success was your sole aim, you would not have gained an appreciation for the tests and trials you endured. Rather, you would likely fixate on them as merely failures. You appreciate success more deeply when you take it one step at a time. This process also offers you  a fuller perspective of where you are coming from, and where you are heading to. Thankfully, opportunities to be thankful occur often when you are able to attain what you may never have thought possible through daily, consistent efforts.

We live in a world where the media puts it spotlight on seemingly instantaneous success. But you would not benefit from this kind of success in the same way that you would if you had worked for it over time. Learn to grow with every passing moment and enjoy the thrill of the journey rather than the overwhelming allure of the destination. Your daily efforts will become your legacy.

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Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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