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7 Invaluable Lessons From World-Class Achievers

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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 October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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