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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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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

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Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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