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Six Great Tips For Success In Any Business

Six Great Tips For Success In Any Business

Everyone who works does business, whether they are employees or employers, blue or white collar workers, entrepreneurs or investors. That is why it should come as no surprise that the principles of business success can be translated to your own success–whatever your profession may be. Here are six ingredients for success that anybody can use for their advancement.

1. People before profit

Compare the conniving salesman who pressures you to buy that pricey item you clearly don’t need with a salesman who seeks your interests in picking a more relevant and economical product. It’s obvious which one you will keep going back to! It goes without saying that any real business must be profitable (i.e. the bottom line). However, many businesses and individuals make a huge mistake when they fail to value every relationship in their line of work–clients and company personnel alike. When you or your business decide to do this, you will be noticed, promoted and become even more profitable!

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2. Quality isn’t expensive

The flip side of “people before profit” also means you care about the service or product you are supplying and, if you’re employed, your boss too! It means you aim for excellence, which might often be overlooked but is crucial for the success of any business or career. You can’t beat the reputation you build because of high quality work you produce. Indeed, neglecting quality is the expensive option.

3. Lead your people

Leadership is in extremely short supply everywhere you go. When you decide to be a good leader, whether you are leading a team of 500, your family or just the cat at home, things change for good–always. Leading is the very opposite of reacting. When you decide to lead, you will stand out as being different. That initiative you show is what will take your company,and your career, forward.

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4. Embrace failure

Nothing great is ever achieved by those who fear failure. That is true of any area in life, whether it’s about the courage to ask the love of your life to marry you or taking your company to completely uncharted territory. Failure is perhaps one of the greatest teachers we can learn from, especially when we make sure to bring along perseverance to the party. This has got to be one of the most seemingly counter-intuitive secrets of success out there; befriending failure gets you on the fast-lane to success!

5. Make everything better

Ever heard this one, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? That right there is the ingredient for mediocrity and losing out big time, especially when competition is the name of the game in your business (and which business isn’t competitive, really?). You need to always improve your domain, your work, your job even if it’s working out fine the way it’s been done for years. You will need to watch out; people generally hate change–especially when it seems like they will have to work more–so you will have to employ a lot of tact, diplomacy, persuasion and sensitivity in such situations. But if it’s just you in the picture, what are you waiting for?

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6. Enjoy life; enjoy success

Many people think success is about being profitable. As we have seen, it clearly isn’t. If you want success in your job or business, then strive for success outside of work. You may know someone who seems to have it all but is never happy or satisfied. Stress and sadness can really kill. So never lose sight of the most fundamental aspects of life: love, health, and joy. There is not a single cent out there that is worth sacrificing those things for.

Featured photo credit: Negative Space via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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