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7 Ways Successful People Deal With Stress and Stay Productive

7 Ways Successful People Deal With Stress and Stay Productive

Dealing with stress and facing your failures are a regular part of any career, especially if you’re a young entrepreneur. It’s perfectly normal to fail and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s an obstacle all successful people such as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson have had to face. On your journey to success, you’ll need to learn how to stay productive in spite of stress. Lacking focus means you could easily make the wrong decisions and sacrifice your efficiency.

1. They always ask for help

In his book “The Virgin Way”, Richard Branson says that you should ask numerous people about your idea before saying “We’ll give this one a miss,” or “Let’s do it.”

Many new entrepreneurs and business people make a big mistake when it comes to asking for help, because they think that they should do certain projects on their own. You simply cannot do everything on your own, however. You’re not an expert in every field – leave certain tasks to professionals. If you only rely on yourself, you’ll end up stressed out and won’t finish every task properly. All successful people hire experts in various fields in order to get certain jobs done right. This will help you stay productive and focused on your job, while guaranteeing that everything else will go according to plan.

Whether or not you are sure of something, always seek a second opinion (and even a third). However, make sure you ask the opinion of a professional and not a random person. That way, you won’t waste your time over-analyzing it and wondering if it’s a good decision or not.

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2. They share their experience with other professionals and reflect on their past steps

“This is the key to life: the ability to reflect, the ability to know yourself, the ability to pause for a second before reacting automatically. If you can truly know yourself, you will begin the journey of transformation.” – Deepak Chopra

You’re probably asking yourself why you should share your experiences with others. The main reason is to get feedback from other experts, who will certainly share their stories with you as well. You’d be surprised how many of them went through the exact same things you did at the beginning of your career. This is a great way to learn something new, and to avoid making mistakes that someone before you already made.

Successful people tend to write blogs in order to vent their constant stress and pressure. By sharing your thoughts and even failures, you’ll not only get needed feedback, but also relieve some of the stress that has been piling up.

Likewise, when you document your story as an entrepreneur, it will be a lot easier to reflect on your previous experiences and learn something from it. Before you go to bed, evaluate your day and make sure you write everything down. At the end of the month, write a blog post to help you evaluate your month and assist other new entrepreneurs in their careers. This will also make you more productive, as you’ll be better able to reflect on your entire business journey.

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3. They learn all the time

No matter how old you are or what job you are doing, learning is a lifelong process. Knowledge is a precious and powerful tool in business world. If you want to be successful, then follow this timeless advice from experts, and don’t forget to keep building your knowledge.

When you strive to keep learning new things, challenges will seem easier and decisions will come more quickly. If having a blog isn’t important for your business but is for you, then you’ll need to learn how to install WordPress and start your journey on this simple and elegant platform. Staying interested in new subjects will only help you stay on track in life, because there is no such thing as unnecessary knowledge. But remember: Don’t do someone else’s job! Always stay on top of your duties and know what results are expected of you.

4. They make their gadgets work for them

Gadgets are there to work for you and help you perform everyday tasks. You need to learn how to make the best of them and use them properly. Having a quality smartphone enables you to do much more than just tweeting, posting, and taking photos. Use your phone to make a detailed schedule and organize yourself.

Moreover, instead of going to the bank or using a laptop, you can download your bank app and manage your transactions easily and quickly. There are many applications for both smartphones and computers that save you a lot of time, so learn to use them to your an advantage.

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You can even receive your phone notifications on a computer. If you’re in an office or working on a laptop, it is a lot easier to manage your bank account, schedule, and e-mails if your notifications are sent directly to your PC.

5. They know what motivates them and keeps them going

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz

In order to stay stress-free and stay productive, you definitely need to find out what keeps you motivated. Some are driven by the end goal, whereas some people just cannot cope with huge problems and find their motivation in simple things.

No one can tell you what will motivate you to keep going, but you need to find out by yourself by not giving up. Walt Disney was told that he had lacked imagination and was fired over it, but that did not stop him. Later he started many other businesses that ended in bankruptcy. However, he eventually found the right way. Most importantly, he didn’t give up; he was motivated during the whole journey to keep on going and didn’t stop.

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Motivation plays a huge role in everything you do, so whatever you feel will motivate you and make you happy at that moment – do it.

6. They clearly separate their work and personal life

Many people dedicate their whole life to their career and success. However, there has to be a clear distinction between personal and business life. The fact is that you cannot be productive the entire day, and you won’t finish all of your tasks successfully if you work on them all the time. You need to establish clear working hours and not needlessly work overtime.

When you set clear working hours, you invest most your energy during that time on your projects. Working all day long, on the other hand, won’t get you anywhere. You will only be tired, stressed out, and unprepared for the next day. In order to be productive, you also need to be happy, and there is no better way to be happy than spending the other half of your day with your family and friends.

Moreover, the best ideas come to mind at a time when you aren’t thinking about them. Don’t let your personal life suffer – have fun with your family, travel, and enjoy your hobbies.

7. They relax and stay calm

“The idea is that one’s temperament improves with age; that you learn to deal better with people and become more benevolent and loving. That’s not necessarily true. I try to stay loose, but sometimes the best thing to do is get yourself away and take a good nap.” – Robert Duvall

It’s extremely important to learn how to relax and dispel negative thoughts. Some people need a physical activity such as jogging or the gym in order to blow off some steam. On the other hand, some people enjoy doing yoga in order to achieve their desired state of mind. However, all of us need to learn how to relax and take a deep breath while at work. If you’re stressed out, it’s less likely that you’ll be productive, so you need to learn how to cope with stressful situations in order to stay focused.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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