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Unconventional Habits of Really Successful People

Unconventional Habits of Really Successful People

We all want to find success. However, we don’t just want to find success, we want to really make it big.

Children and adults today want to grow up to be Steve Jobs… or the actor that stars as Steve Jobs in one of three biopics. But, as any successful person will tell you, it is not enough just to want to be successful. There are certain traits that successful people have that help them get to where they are and where they want to be.

These traits are often very subtle. They don’t usually include getting up early or getting enough exercise. Neither do they include being practical — like making sure your devices are fully charged and starting the day with a killer to-do list. These things are a given when you are successful. If your life is taking off, you don’t have time to sleep until noon. You probably don’t have time to sleep until seven in the morning!

Here are five unconventional, yet subtle, habits of the most successful people:

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They Are Modest On The Outside

A really successful person is often proud of what they do. But, they will not be the ones who are showing off their success by bragging.

In many cases, people who show off their wealth and success are overcompensating for other failures. The truly successful people do not need to do this. Not only do they not need to do this, they often do not have time to seek other people’s approval.

With this in mind, Steve Jobs’ wardrobe choices become much more understandable.

They Don’t Just Say “Yes”

Any motivational speaker will tell you that you need to start saying “yes” if you want to really take advantage of all the opportunities in life. However, that is not universally true.

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You need to learn the difference between saying “yes” and saying “yes” to the right opportunities. If successful people said yes to every great opportunity that presented itself to them, they would run themselves into the ground.

You also need to learn that not every great opportunity will get you where you want to be. When you find something that will help you get to where you want to go, you should almost always say yes. If it is not in line with your pathway to success, you need to learn how to say no.

They Consider The Return On Investment

Many of the most successful people in the world are more worried about return on investment than anyone else. In particular, they worry a lot about how and where they spend their time.

Time is a construct that you use to organize your days. But as they say, time is money. Successful people choose to spend and invest their time wisely.

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For example, a successful person would consider what would most benefit their goals before making decisions about what they will do that day.

This is how CEOs and other executives choose which meetings to attend. For many CEOs, it makes little sense to invest time in some things. The reason your CEO is not at the company conference is because their time is not well invested in the travel, preparation, and time spent at the conference. That time could be better spent doing things that will show a real return on their goals.

At the same time, you should think about how you spend your leisure time. If you can spend five hours a day on Netflix, you are likely not investing your time in something productive and worthwhile.

They Work Anywhere

Most people think that you work at the office. If you’re busy, you might take your work home with you. But successful people know how to get work done wherever they are.

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This is not just about going into a coffee shop and plugging into a task. A successful person sees every connection as a possible opportunity. They can remained switched on for incredible amounts of time. Hence, they do not miss the small things that other people might.

They Dedicate Time To Answering Emails

Emails are one of the most cumbersome parts of business. Most people receive dozens of unnecessary emails every day. If you are a successful person, you could see hundreds of emails daily.

Emails are necessary, but like other office infrastructure, they are distracting.

Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, manages his emails by send them into a safe box. He then answers all of them at the same time the next day.

This is a smart strategy because it allows you to complete one task and then move on. Emails can serve as huge points of distraction. When you find basic hacks like this for keeping up with busy, but important, work, you can consider yourself to be in the realm of the successful.

Successful people are not successful because they get up early. They are not successful because they are former athletes. Successful people become very successful when they actively find ways to make both their time and money work for them in the best way possible.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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