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Stop Blaming Yourself For External Factors- Invest In Yourself

Stop Blaming Yourself For External Factors- Invest In Yourself

It is easy to blame others for our failures.

We could target our resentment at a bad government, callous parents, an awful spouse, or not enough formal education. Many drain themselves with such negative energy and assume they are ill-equipped for success. But according to motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy, eighty percent of our failures are caused by factors that stem from within ourselves.

We can learn from the story of CEO Jan Koum who sold his company, WhatsApp, for a staggering 19 billion dollars to Facebook. Jan Koum emigrated to the U.S from Ukraine two decades ago. He and his family lived on food stamps. Yet, today he’s worth over 6 billion dollars. Success is never determined by the external, but rather what happens when you start looking inwards to develop yourself to meet the demands of the external world.

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“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

So, there’s no need to whine and complain. Start investing in yourself in these simple ways:

Read

“Watch, listen, and learn. You can’t know it all yourself. Anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.” – Donald Trump.

They say every leader is a reader. It is not just about consuming junk material. Rather find topics that will influence you positively towards reaching your goals. Whether your reading material is found in the form of eBooks, hard back, paper back, or audiobooks, there are more than enough reasons for you to pick up a book today.

Safeguard your time

“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.” – Yvon Chouinard, founder Patagonia

You may not have wealth, but when you are at rock bottom, time is synonymous with wealth. How you use it will determine how far you go. Investing in yourself means that you use your time to gain connections, knowledge, and engage in activities that will propel you towards meeting your goals. You can be generous with every other thing- but not your time.

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Engage in a healthy lifestyle

“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” – Dean Wormer

There is nothing as destructive as engaging in activities that take a toll on your physical and mental health. Your body is the vehicle that you will use to reach success. How you use it will determine how far you will go. Exercise, sleep, eat well, relax, socialize, and ponder deeply. Even if you have to meditate or do something spiritual, remember to always engage in the basic activities that will stimulate your body and mind.

Take calculated risks

“If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” – Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s.

Learning is not just about getting everything correct all the time. The way we are taught in formal institutions is that we have to be accurate in everything we do. However learning should involve gaining experience, making mistakes, and learning from them. Successful people take risks- although they are calculated ones- and try to follow an unorthodox approach to reaching their goals. Finding new ground and gaining interesting experiences can only be achieved through taking actions that some might consider risky. Without risks there can be no rewards.

Understand your strengths

“Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.” – Donald Trump

There is no point in chasing too many goals all at once. We all have limitations. That is why successful people invest in their strengths, rather than in their weaknesses. Successful people discover the things that they are very good at, and they build their careers around those strengths.

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Investing in yourself is the best way to attain success. Not only does your approach to achieving goals become consistent when you go through this process, it also allows you to deal well with success when you achieve it.

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

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Casey Imafidon

Founder of Caseyimafidon.com which provides actionable articles to make readers fulfilled and spurred on to achieve all that they desire in life.

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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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