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7 Invaluable Lessons From World-Class Achievers

7 Invaluable Lessons From World-Class Achievers

Becoming hugely successful isn’t easy. It requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. While some people are gifted with specific abilities that give them an advantage over the rest of us, they wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if not for their drive and commitment to excellence. Think of the people you idolize; it’s more than likely they exhibit many of the same traits. They all live by certain maxims which guide them to use every moment they have as a chance to do better. Follow these words of advice, and forge your own path to success:

1. Stay disciplined

Among many other achievements, Benjamin Franklin is well-known for crafting, and adhering to, a strict schedule every day of his life. Successful people understand how important each moment they have on Earth is, and never take a second of their time for granted. They wake up early, and hit the ground running. They rarely take time off, and even if they’re vacationing, they still find time to exercise, read, or partake in an activity that will further their skills in some way. World-class achievers treat their bodies as finely-tuned machines, programmed to strive for success at all times.

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2. Set daily goals

Swami Vivekananda said it best: “Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached.” Successful people know there is no time to lose if they want to be the best they can be. But they don’t go about bettering themselves haphazardly. They set goals on a daily basis in order to focus their attention on increasing their abilities. They also focus on addressing their weaknesses.

3. Keep moving

Thomas Edison believed that “Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait.” In other words, though patience is a necessary virtue, it’s not necessary to sit around doing nothing while you wait for your efforts to pay off. Instead, you should focus your energy elsewhere after putting a plan into motion. For example, if you apply for a job it will certainly take a few days to hear back from the company, but that doesn’t mean you should kick your feet back and relax. Instead, use this time to research the company to the best of your ability, and apply to other jobs. Don’t stop moving forward, or someone else will surely pass you.

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4. Be different

Steve Jobs famously said, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” The second part of that quote represents everything he stood for in his career. Jobs was an innovator who was never afraid to think outside the box, even when it cost him his job at Apple. (He sure showed them, am I right?) Through the use of the word “foolish”, Jobs is referring to being the one who believes in an idea even when others have dismissed it. It’s having faith in yourself, and the courage to push forward even when everyone else around you tries to dissuade you. If we all were the same, there’d be no innovation in the world.

5. Scare yourself

Author and speaker Brian Tracy believes the secret to success is to “move out of your comfort zone.” He says, “You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Unfortunately, too many of us fail to realize this, and instead choose to stay in our comfort zones our entire lives. What ends up happening is we wake up one day and realize we’re past our prime, and have lived a mediocre existence because we were too scared to take a chance. The worst thing that can happen is we fall short of our goals. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of, because…

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6. Failing isn’t failure

Like I said, so many of us are afraid of falling short of our goals that we never even try to attain them. Bill Gates once said, “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Even if you fall short, you can still learn something by taking a chance. However, you’ll never achieve anything if you quit forging ahead. The greatest innovations of our time weren’t magically pieced together perfectly the first time someone sat down to invent them. The process of innovation is a series of trials, most of which don’t pan out as hoped. But if Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs hadn’t kept working on their respective inventions, you wouldn’t be able to be reading this article right now.

7. Always strive for more

Author Maureen Dowd has said, “The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” The reason successful people achieve so much is because they’re never happy with what they have. This isn’t to be confused with greed. High achievers simply don’t become complacent. After accomplishing something incredible, they immediately look to what else they can do to push themselves even further. Michael Jordan could have been the best basketball player of all time even if he only gave 95% every game. Instead, he pushed himself to give 100%, every second he was on the court. He wasn’t satisfied with just being the best player on the court; he wanted to be the best player he could possibly be. That’s why he achieved the things he did.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm5.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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