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9 Strong Mental Habits That Successful People Never Give Up

9 Strong Mental Habits That Successful People Never Give Up

For most people, success in any endeavor is not an overnight phenomenon but is achieved through years of consistent effort and the development of strong mental practices. Along the way, we (hopefully) pick up good habits and drop the bad. Sometimes, though, knowing when to hold onto a habit that others might see as a negative can lead to success. For instance, the most accomplished among us almost always strive to adhere to the following mental habits.

1. Please Others

Successful people know that in order to get where they want to be, they need to get things done for others. In fact, you could make a good argument that wanting to help people is a requirement for true success, but it’s also a dangerous personality quality. If you try to please everyone all the time, you will become completely overwhelmed and unable to get accomplish anything. The most successful people know that saying “no” all the time is not the answer, though. Instead, they look for ways to get to “yes” that benefit all parties and help prioritize their work.

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2. Keep Their Options Open

While successful people are decisive and move steadfastly toward their goals, most of them avoid choices which limit future options. Modern life continues to move faster by the day, and new possibilities, opportunities, and even social standards arise all the time. None of us can afford to create boundaries that are so stiff we can’t adapt when necessary.

3. Listen Before Speaking Their Minds

Successful people are bold, but they know railroading every conversation is a quick way to end cooperation. We all need the help of other people in order to be truly successful, and one of the best ways to form alliances is to listen to what those around you are saying. Show them you understand their point of view with your responses, and they will be much more likely to hear out your opinion, too.

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4. Target Small Successes

Failure is a necessary part of ultimate success for most people, but bombing at regular intervals can kill your motivation and encourage you to abandon your dreams. Successful people set themselves up for victory by establishing many ambitious short-term goals on their path to whatever they see as their big prize. By consistently challenging themselves and achieving tougher and tougher objectives, they build confidence and move closer to their ideals.

5. Exercise Caution When Necessary

Fear of failure or embarrassment can paralyze even the most ambitious among us, but a healthy respect for the unknown and potential danger can save us from disaster. Successful people are not afraid of taking risks, but only after they have weighed possible pitfalls.

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6. Dwell on the Negative

Negative thoughts don’t make anyone feel good, but successful people realize that the shadow of potential failure lurks behind every new opportunity. By spending at least as much time and energy working through what might go wrong as what is likely to go right, they are able to dramatically improve their chances of long-term victory.

7. Have Multiple Projects Going

Multitasking has developed a bad reputation over the last few years, and for good reason since it’s really hard to do two things well at the exact same time. But that really only applies to what’s happening right now — can you read this article AND count to 100 at the same time without either one suffering, for example?

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Most of us are capable of working on multiple undertakings during the course of a day or week with no ill effects, and it’s a tactic that successful people use to become even more accomplished. They focus all their efforts on reaching the top of their field, but they line up numerous projects all aimed at that ultimate target. The variety keeps them fresh, and the multi-pronged attack keeps them moving forward.

8. Seek Ideas from Others

When we were in school, asking for input from other kids was a natural way to make decisions and get things done. Group thinking usually dictated what games we played and how we approached class projects. As we get older and assume more responsibility, though, most of us close off this avenue of fresh ideas in order to protect our turf and guard against credit for good work going to someone else. Successful people, however, know that collaboration is a key to really big accomplishments, and they never stop looking for external inspiration and help.

9. Stay Stressed

Stress is the “silent killer” that can wreak havoc on your health, but successful people have learned how to use it to their advantage. They realize that hardly anything worthwhile ever gets done at a leisurely pace, and the pressure to perform is a powerful motivator. The most accomplished among us thrive on deadlines and outdoing their previous best efforts, over and over again. By applying stress from the inside out and latching onto these other “negative” habits, they leave 99% of us in their dust.

Featured photo credit: Eneas via flickr.com

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Adam Hughes

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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