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5 Ways To Expand Your Network Like A High Achiever

5 Ways To Expand Your Network Like A High Achiever

You’ve probably heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” While I don’t advocate using personal relationships as leverage to get ahead in your career, especially over actually having the talent necessary to succeed. There’s nothing wrong with creating a network of qualified individuals to help you get where you want to be. But it’s not always easy to create these networks. You have to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself “out there” for the world to see. You could have all the talent in the world, but if you fail to get yourself noticed, it could end up going completely to waste.

1. Write for a variety of audiences

When I started writing for Lifehack, I was pretty excited when one of my first articles got shared over 1,000 times in one week. After about six months of creating content for Lifehack, I have had almost 200 articles published, and have over 130,000 shares under my belt. My articles have been reprinted by blogs ranging in focus from parenting and education to relationship and career advice. What started as a way for me to earn a few extra bucks here and there has turned into a full-time passion. I’ve reached more people than I ever thought possible, all because I’ve been able to write for many different purposes.

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2. Be a middleman

I’ve not only made connections for myself, but I’ve also helped connect others to each other as well. Knowing a guy who knows a guy can be an important asset for your career. It shows that you’re not just looking out for yourself; you want things to get done. It might be as simple as putting a friend with a specific talent in touch with a company who has placed an ad that you yourself aren’t qualified to answer. Doing so will also put you on the receiving company’s radar in case an opening pops up that you are qualified for.

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3. Look for a middleman

Like I said in the intro, it never hurts to have an “in.” But don’t just assume that you’re a shoe-in for a job just because you know someone that can put in a good word for you. By all means, use your connections to get your foot in the door, but once you get there, let your talents speak for themselves. If you think you can simply walk into a gig because your uncle works for the company, you’re not only going to look bad yourself, but you’re going to make your uncle look terrible, as well.

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4. Follow up when meeting someone new

When you meet someone new who piques your interest or is in a position to help you further your career, it’s incredibly important to remember them on a personal level. Take note of everything they mention upon your first meeting, such as their interests or hobbies. These little tidbits might seem inconsequential, but if you bring them up during subsequent meetings it will show that you truly pay attention to people when they speak. It will also validate you in the eyes of the person you’re trying (ever so subtly) to impress.

5. Use social networks

You know Facebook isn’t just to post pictures of your cat, and Instagram isn’t just to show off your home-cooked meals, right? Social networks are a vital tool if you want to find new opportunities to advance your career. One article or post has the potential to go viral, increasing your chances of being noticed by someone who can help you skyrocket to success. The next time you’re scrolling through your Twitter feed, think about how you could produce something on the feed that could benefit others; it will end up benefiting you in the long run.

Featured photo credit: 3D Social Networking / Chris Potter via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on August 21, 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. Hello promotion, here I come!
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

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.

And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

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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.

For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

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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.

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.

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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!

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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