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12 Hard Truths About Success That Anyone Who Aims For the Stars Should Know

12 Hard Truths About Success That Anyone Who Aims For the Stars Should Know
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Most of us felt like a little child lost in the big world when we were starting out with our careers. The way we define success is based on the people we look up to. Yet truth be told, there are so many other things in between that most of us do not know exists in the workplace until we experience it firsthand. For those starting out in the work field, the following list will let you have a glimpse of what to expect on your way to success. Here is the list:

  1. People who complain the most at work usually get the most. This possibly is the biggest irony among lists like these but this is true most of the time. People who complain a lot tend to have the raise or even get the promotion. Does that sound like life is fair?
  2. Bosses play favorites. Whether it is a sycophant colleague or your boss simply being too gullible to care, one colleague will be your boss’s favorite. You have to learn to deal with this and plan accordingly by attracting the attention of your boss right away.
  3. You’ll hit at least one but most likely two big tragedies in your life while working. Whether it is a loss of a family or you were diagnosed with a chronic disease, it can most likely happen while you are working for the same company in 20+ years.
  4. Some of the most successful people have the worst personal lives. This may ring true to some extent due to too much time spent at work. Most people will neglect family and everything else and have their time and energy all to their career.
  5. There will be days when you think of work first, before your children. Life can be overwhelming especially if you have a problem at work that has not yet been resolved and so it gets the best of you. Most of the time, your concern for work equates that of someone you love dearly –your children.
  6. Everyone uses their children as an excuse to get out of work at least three times a year. “I’m taking my kid to the doctor” or “I need to be at my child’s school play” are probably two of the most used excuses to get a break from work. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you don’t take it too far — like by saying your child is ill when they are not.
  7. The older you get, the more you’ll understand what discrimination means. When there are new employees in the company, expect that you will be an outcast. Talk about the generation gap, eh?
  8. About 5 percent of the people in your office are tough to understand. These people are everywhere. They are the ones that want to be alone in the corner. You can never ask them to accompany you to get a cup of coffee during the break or get to eat outside after work. You know their answer; it will always be a “No, thank you. I’m fine.”
  9. People rarely do anything for you, whether it’s investing in your company or promoting you, because of the reason you think. With age comes wisdom. The longer you are with people, the easier for you to read them. Sometimes you get that promotion for a reason other than what you think is fair — but you still got it right?
  10. People often reject the things you want for precisely the reason you think. They’ll just never tell you. When you have been working in the same company and with the same people for a long time, you know everyone’s ins and outs, the good and the bad. Your hunch doesn’t work here subconsciously but you can already read your colleagues’ minds.
  11. The most important factor to whether your company will be successful or not is access to capital. A company that has a sure access to capital can take calculated risk thus can result in your company’s success. On the other hand, without the means to a capital, it will never take any risks leaving it at the platform it used to be when you were starting.
  12. You will have to draw a line with coworkers when it comes to socializing. When you socialize with coworkers, you will have to draw a line because you never know if you current ‘friend’ will turn into your new boss. Every company is different but you never know when someone you socialize with will become your boss.

Featured photo credit: Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape.jpg By FlashBuddy via morguefile.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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