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10 False Beliefs High Achievers Put Aside To Get To Their Destinations

10 False Beliefs High Achievers Put Aside To Get To Their Destinations

Successful people work hard and are driven to achieve their goals based on their own personal values.

But high achievers also avoid getting caught up in the false beliefs that cripple the progress of so many. In particular, the most successful among us put aside the idea that …

1. The Crowd Is Always Right.

Want a sure path to mediocrity and resentment? All you have to do is follow the crowd.

While doing the same thing that everyone else does is usually safe and can help you get started on a journey towards success, by definition it also limits your potential for truly great achievements. Albert Einstein did not advance physics by thinking about the world the same way scientists before him had done, just as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did not revolutionize business and computers by making superficial tweaks to existing tools.

Most really successful people look for ways that the crowd is wrong and then proceed down the opposite road.

2. Words Don’t Matter.

Email, texting, instant messaging, and every other form of quick communication have served to connect us like never before, but they have also made us lazy about HOW we talk to each other. Proofreading has fallen out of favor with most in the business world, and we generally hand each other a blank check when it comes to the quality of our verbal interactions.

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High achievers are crystal clear in their intent when speaking or writing, and they are fanatical about presenting a professional image with their words.

3. Appearance Does Not Matter.

On the whole, the world is becoming a much more accepting place as we move deeper into the 21st century. That’s a great thing for the most part because we should all be free to be who we are.

But along with that acceptance has come a general attitude of “anything goes,” even if it means showing up to work in yoga pants and sandals. You never know when you’ll be pulled into a meeting with an important VP or external client, and you need to let them know that you take their business seriously.

Successful people are always prepared for any social interaction. After all, if you can’t be trusted to comb your hair in the morning, how can you be trusted with anything important?

4. It’s OK to Be Late.

Everyone wants to feel important, but even the most successful people understand that it’s vital to respect the time and opinion of their associates, too.

When you blow off meetings or show up late without any acknowledgement, you project an air of carelessness and superiority that can be off-putting at best. At worst, you will irreparably damage important relationships and jeopardize the trust of people whose respect and help you need to attain the ultimate success you’re after.

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High achievers realize that their lofty perch does not entitle them to trample over those around them, and that includes being late for anything.

5. They Can’t Do Multiple Things at Once.

Multitasking has been taken to task in recent years because many people fail to understand the basic concept. While it’s true that you usually can’t do multiple things well in the same moment, that does not mean you need to limit yourself to a single project at any one time.

Some of our greatest minds were almost notorious for juggling several huge undertakings simultaneously. Ben Franklin, for example, found plenty of time for his experiments while in the throes of helping to carve out the new American nation — not to mention his romantic exploits.

6. The Past Limits The Future.

Just because you have failed in the past does not mean that you are doomed to an unhappy future. It may sound trite, but most of us get to choose, at least in some part, how we live each day.

Every morning you wake up is another opportunity to set your life on the course you want it to take, whether you’re 18, 38, 58, or 78. Even if you have big bombs in your past, your future CAN be different.

Need proof?

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Julia Child didn’t take up cooking seriously until she was 36, Harland Sanders franchised KFC when he was 62, and Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until the age of 76.

7. You Can Do It Alone.

We all want credit for our concepts and hard work, but not many revolutionary achievements happen as the result of just one person’s efforts. That’s especially true today when the world is connected like never before and your next bright idea is just a mouse-click away.

It’s healthy and necessary to dig in deep and work through roadblocks you encounter, but you have to know when to ask for help if you want to make the leaps that will lead you to great achievements.

Even visionaries like Henry Ford and Sam Walton surrounded themselves with a close circle of confidants who helped them refine and carry out their greatest successes, and the rest of us would do well to follow their examples.

8. Success Is the Result of Luck.

It’s tempting to look at star athletes like LeBron James or masterful businessmen like Warren Buffett and attribute their success to natural gifts or the luck of birth. Not only does that mindset degrade the real accomplishments of these high achievers, but it’s also disastrous for your own self esteem.

Sure, LeBron has a body made for basketball and the skills to match, but the wizardry he displays on the court would not be possible without the thousands of hours of training and practice he has logged throughout his career. And while Buffett benefited from growing up as a Congressman’s son, he has spent six decades developing and perfecting the techniques that have made him perhaps the world’s greatest investment mind.

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Luck is important in almost any successful career, but it only matters if you work hard to take full advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to you.

9. You Can Wait for the Right Time.

Timing can be an important factor in the ultimate success of any endeavor, but waiting for just the right moment to act can cripple your progress and leave you feeling unfulfilled. High achievers know that great ideas, hard work, and tireless execution are usually much more important than WHEN you get moving toward your goals.

10. Hard Work Is Overrated.

We hear about “overnight” successes all the time, but that’s a label that rankles most high achievers.

While there are occasional exceptions, achieving anything truly worthwhile is almost always the result of thousands of hours of intense effort. And, more often than not, achievers spend years toiling away at their craft before they ever attain the riches and acclaim they seek.

Shortcuts may bring you a quick dose of success, but true and meaningful achievement over the long haul always requires a dedication to hard work.

Featured photo credit: Sebastiaan ter Burg via imcreator.com

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Adam Hughes

IT Director

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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