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10 Hard Things You Need To Do For Success (While Many People Are Unaware)

10 Hard Things You Need To Do For Success (While Many People Are Unaware)
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The road to success is a long and winding one, with plenty of obstacles just waiting to trip up a careless traveler. Apart from the privileged few who are given everything on a silver platter, most of the people who make their dreams come true put in a lot of hard work and make sacrifices behind the scenes, constantly improving themselves. Shaping yourself into a smarter, faster, stronger and better version takes time, and there are a number of things that you need to do for success, even though you may not realize it yet.

1. Stay calm and composed during conflict situations

One of the first things to look for in a good leader is the ability to keep his or her composure during a high pressure situation. We can look at lions for a good example of effective leadership – the male lion is the leader of the group, even though the females do most of the hunting while he just lies around, but as soon as a large animal threatens the group the lion remains calm and deals with the threat, even if it means sacrificing his life to keep everyone safe.

Now, you shouldn’t just sit there and wait for an opportunity to show off your conflict management skills, but you have learn to stay calm during arguments and crisis situations.

2. Practice good manners and always be polite

You never know when a great opportunity will present itself – you might be at a party, at a parking lot or buying groceries when you meet someone who may have a job opportunity or an interesting business proposition for you. Practicing good manners will significantly improve the way other people perceive you, and by constantly reinforcing a polite and composed demeanor in your daily life, you will actually prepare yourself for professional and courteous behavior during business meetings and negotiations.

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It’s easy to allow yourself to explode at every little thing that irks you or resort to sarcasm and rudeness, but the true greats will never let their frustration or insecurities show. If everyone sees you as a reasonable, trustworthy and polite individual, many doors will open for you.

3. Be incredibly punctual and consistently productive

The main thing that separates successful people from the rest of the crowd is their ability to organize their life down to the last second and always be on time, clocking in a number of highly productive hours each day. Unfortunately, consistency is not something many people are good at.

This is why companies go to great lengths to ensure that their employees stay punctual, but if you want to build a successful career, you’ll have to find a way to develop these positive habits on your own. Even if the company has a strict attendance policy and the right software in place, you still need to go to bed on time, wake up early and stay focused throughout the day. Learning to motivate yourself to get things done when you really don’t feel like it and have a number of obstacles in your way is the most important career lesson you can learn.

4. Acknowledge your mistakes

Refusing to accept that you’ve made a mistake is not only counter-productive, but quite childish. A grown man or woman should have a firm grasp of reality and be aware of their own imperfections. Even though we can never be completely objective, we can at least admit that we have made a mistake and try not make similar mistakes next time. Accepting that you are flawed and trying to improve things about yourself that have become major character traits over time is incredibly difficult, which is why most people keep shifting blame and never grow.

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5. Work hard on improving yourself in all aspects of life

While focusing on a single aspect of your life and even a single skill can help you master it faster before moving on to the next issue that needs improvement, being good at a couple of things is not going to be enough to attain true success. Communication and negotiation skills are important in practically any line of work, while dressing with style and confident body language can help you take your career to the next level regardless of skill and experience.

Taking care of your body and getting all the nutrients you need, as well as exercising, is going to boost focus, give you more energy and make you feel very confident. As you can see, reading, exercising, dieting, people skills and many other good habits all come together to create a winning mentality, and successful people strive to improve in different ways.

6. Push through failure with supreme confidence

A lot of people mistakenly assume that those rare few who achieve excellence simply have a unique combination of incredible talent and luck, which helps them get to the top without ever making any mistakes. However, while talent plays a big role, it’s actually the courage to try new things, tons of hard work and supreme confidence in yourself that are going to catapult you out of mediocrity. You have to believe that what you are doing is the best possible option if you want to be able to shrug off failures and keep moving forward.

A smart man once said: “We either win or we learn” – there is no “fail” in the vocabulary of a winner, all those minor setbacks are just lessons in the school of hard knocks. This confidence doesn’t come easy – it must be nurtured daily, by positive phrases repeated in front of the mirror and by truly believing that all the goals you have set can and will be accomplished sooner or later.

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7. Come up with your own answers through tons of research and practice

Information is often served to us on a silver platter, but practical experience has shown that the easier it is to attain information, the more you should question its validity. There are tons of myths and misinformation out there, and a quick 3 minute Google search is not going to help you master any topic. You can never just take someone’s word for it, it’s important to read, read, and read some more.

Read from several different sources, find experts who most people in the field respect, and always try and see if the theory works in practice – your unique set of circumstances may require a slightly modified approach, and some tips might not apply to you.

8. Force yourself to take on as much work as you can handle, and then some

Making it big is not something you can do from your couch. Well, I guess you can if you spend countless hours working on your laptop on a cozy couch, but it’s still work. Entrepreneurs have it worst, but even if you work for a company, climbing the corporate ladder is no easy task.

You have to bring in lots of money or improve the efficiency at the office, become a brand ambassador on social media, work on impressing the bosses, navigate the murky waters of office politics, convince the higher-ups that promoting you will benefit them personally in some way, and find any way you can to stand out. This takes a lot of work, and a good chunk of it is not directly related to your field of expertise, so most people either crumble under the pressure or just give up and stay in the same place for years.

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9. Cover all the minute details when making a plan

A regular Joe will ask a few questions about a project and create a plan of action in a few broad strokes, but a smart businessman will want to cover all the bases. Jumping head first into the deep end isn’t going to yield the greatest of results, and even if you manage to handle a situation, chances are there was a better way of doing things that you’ve missed because you failed to prepare.

10. Invest your time, effort and money into a great opportunity, even if there is no guarantee it will pay off

This is the ultimate test of willpower and passion – the willingness to go with your gut feeling and jump on opportunities, even if there is no guarantee that you will succeed. There will be plenty of high-risk, high-reward opportunities along the way, and you need to learn how to distinguish diamonds in the rough from plain old rubble, so to speak. In the beginning you’ll be playing the numbers game, and for every 2-4 misses you’ll hit one big project, but as you become wiser and more successful you’ll be able to make calculated risks. Believing in yourself and taking chances is what will help you advance in your career.

We admire powerful and successful people, but we often fail to realize just how much work goes into making it big. All of the things in this article need to come together to pave the road to success, and it’s hard to manage it all, but no one said that it was going to be easy.

Featured photo credit: rangizzz via shutterstock.com

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Aleksandar Ilic

Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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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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