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How Geniuses Live Their Lives Every Day

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How Geniuses Live Their Lives Every Day

People often think of geniuses as unique thinkers that stand out from the crowd. Displaying exceptional intellectual ability, creativity, or originality, they are known to lead movements or discoveries.

As a society molded upon the work of geniuses such as Einstein, Jobs, Plato, and Freud, we gain inspiration from them to achieve our own creative feats. Although studies prove that geniuses and gifted people display some similar traits and have high IQs, what we forget is how much focus and hard work they put into delivering their achievements—which is something we can all choose to do!

In my early elementary school days, I was a few years ahead of my peers in Math and English and had difficulty relating to them. I therefore spent a lot of time in solitude and taught myself how to read music and play the piano. Although the academic side came naturally to me, I put in a lot of work to developing my creative talents.

Although some child prodigies who master chess, math, or musical instruments at a young age do exist, studies show that not all geniuses are born that way. Einstein was slow to speak as a child and Steve Jobs dropped out of college.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Alfred Barrious, who studied geniuses such as Edison, Socrates, Da Vinci, and Shakespeare, discovered that all had 24 personality characteristics in common—which all of us can develop at any time.

Here are some everyday genius traits and habits you can master to maximize your creative abilities and live an exceptional life.

They are independent thinkers.

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    Geniuses don’t see the world through the same lens as the rest of society. They are not always accepting of the way things are. They question rules and challenge authority in order to explore all sides of a situation. It was only in challenging one of Newton’s theories that Einstein stumbled upon the theory of relativity.

    By looking beyond the status quo, you can discover and create beyond your wildest imagination. By acting like the rest of society, you won’t succeed or innovative past society. To achieve big, you need to think big. If greatness doesn’t already exist in an area you’re passionate about, discover it!

    Steve Jobs said he never performed market research before launching the Macintosh because the public had no idea what it wanted. Now, Apple is one of the most valuable companies on the planet. Innovation requires combining problem solving with logic and creativity. When you are presented with a so-called fact, start asking why and see if you can pull apart the reasoning.

    They take risks!

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      Vast success and growth comes from taking risks, whereas staying in your comfort zone causes you to stay stagnant. No great success or innovation came from not taking action or a risk to create something, go somewhere, or speak up. If Christopher Columbus didn’t take the risk to navigate across the Atlantic Ocean, he never would have began the colonization of the Americas.

      Hone in on your values and passions to determine what is worth taking a risk for. Then use logic, reason, and creativity to evaluate the level of risk and determine how to proceed.

      Part of being an independent thinker and taking risks requires you to speak up for what you truly believe in, even if it may cause some friction. The Greek philosopher Aristotle argued in his writings that the Earth was spherical, because of the circular shadow it cast on the Moon during a lunar eclipse, even when everyone believed the earth was flat.

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      They set high standards for themselves.

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        Successful people and geniuses don’t believe in just trying their best, they set deliberate goals and are determined to achieve their best, then continue to go beyond that. Average results are not acceptable! This mindset has led to some of the greatest discoveries in history, such as Isaac Newtown’s law of gravity and Alexander Bell’s invention of the telephone.

        Mimicking what others around you do does not lead to innovation. Pave your own path by deciding that average is not an option. Come up with a realistic plan to achieve your exceptional goals. Combining your passions with your talents, then deciding what areas you want to excel in, enables you to achieve whatever you set your mind to.

        When I first started competing in triathlons, I had a few months to train for my first Olympic-distance race. Although everyone around me said the average person does it in around 3 hours, I knew I excelled at the sport and decided I didn’t want to be average. So I calculated my pace in each leg and came up with realistic training goals to achieve a time that was appropriate and challenging for me. When race day came, I achieved my above-average time goal.

        By setting high standards for yourself in different areas of your life, you really can achieve excellence and lead a life you are proud of.

        They strive for perfection.

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          Geniuses create their own definition of perfection and don’t accept anything less than that. They take society’s definition of perfect to the next level by adding their own creative stamp to it. When others stop and are satisfied enough with what they have created, a genius will continue on to the next level. This leads to innovation and advancements beyond what has previously been achieved.

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          When Jobs was first working on the iPod, his idea of perfection was that that it would only take three clicks to get to any song in the iPod library. He told his engineering team, “Don’t show it to me until you can get it in three clicks.”

          Create your own definition of perfection and strive to achieve it, even if the solution is not apparent in the beginning. Perfectionism is constantly evolving. Master an area in your life that is important to you and continue to grow and create updated versions of perfection.

          They inspire others to also reach their greatness.

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            Geniuses often have teams around them to support them when achieving their feats and discoveries. Their team members believe in their vision and are inspired to bring out their own greatness to support this mission.

            Job’s didn’t build all of Apple’s products alone—he had engineering and product teams that believed in and supported his vision. When employees or colleagues claimed that a task was impossible, Jobs would just stare at them and say, “Don’t be afraid. You can do it.”

            The best way to teach and inspire others is by your behavior and achievements. Going after what is important to you in your life in a consistent and determined way will encourage your peers around you to do the same. Focus on reaching your greatness by directing dynamic energy and optimism towards your goals. Then, get others to believe in your vision and achieve their own greatness by communicating your ideas to them in a persuasive way.

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            They foster focus and drive.

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              Geniuses focus on one problem at a time without many distractions. Goal-driven individuals know the more intensely you concentrate your thoughts and attention and are emotionally involved with a problem or goal, the more likely it is that your mind will respond with the kind of creative ideas that you need.

              To successfully foster focus, a lot of geniuses choose to spend more time in solitude than the average person. A study lead by PhD candidate Darya Zabelina showed that people who were less able to ignore distractions and had to spend more time in solitude were more likely to do great creative work. Sensitivity to noise and stimuli, so the argument goes, drives creative achievement. So don’t ignore the urge to spend time working in solitude to achieve your goals.

              With their fast-thinking minds, curiosity, and desire to know, most geniuses have a lot of energy and drive. They dedicate this energy towards the projects they are passionate about achieving success in.

              You are born with your own unique set of gifts and talents. You are also born with a certain amount of energy. By combining your gifts with your passions and focusing your drive and energy in this area, you can achieve phenomenal results. Try it!

              They are persistent.

              Geniuses and successful people don’t believe in the word impossible or that something can’t be done. In fact, they come up with creative ways to prove naysayers wrong. If you can dream it, you can create it. This attitude leaves no room for limitations, fear, or accepting failure. A lot of great success stories began with many failures. Henry Ford’s first two car businesses folded before he achieved success with the Ford Motor Company. Geniuses look at failures as ways to grow, learn, and move forward.

              By continuing to work towards what you believe in and want to achieve, even if you have to pick yourself back up after falling, is what will lead to long-term success. To keep up the momentum, stay devoted to your goals and take control of your life and schedule. Start by planning something specific to accomplish each day. Remember a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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              Featured photo credit: Barn Images via flickr.com

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              Kelly Weiss

              Purpose-driven business + lifestyle coach

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              Last Updated on October 7, 2021

              Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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              Are You Addicted to Productivity?

              “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

              Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

              “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

              Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

              Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

              “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

              This is my mantra:

              I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

              But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

              Addiction to Productivity is Real

              Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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              “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

              Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

              “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

              Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

              “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

              “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

              “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

              There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

              Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

              By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

              Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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              Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

              Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

              Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

              The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

              Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

              • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
              • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
              • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
              • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
              • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
              • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
              • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

              The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

              Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

              Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

              1. Set Limits

              Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

              For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

              2. Create a Not-to-Do List

              Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

              3. Be Vulnerable

              By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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              4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

              Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

              Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

              There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

              5. Don’t Be a Copycat

              Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

              That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

              6. Say Yes to Less

              Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

              That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

              Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

              7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

              “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

              “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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              • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
              • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
              • Establish realistic goals.
              • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
              • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
              • Hold yourself accountable.
              • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
              • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

              8. Simplify

              Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

              The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

              9. Learn How to Relax

              “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

              “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

              “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

              But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

              • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
              • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
              • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
              • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
              • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
              • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
              • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
              • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
              • Visit a massage therapist.
              • Just breathe.

              “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

              It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

              Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

              Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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