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The DNA of Success: 4 Attributes We All Need

The DNA of Success: 4 Attributes We All Need

What do you need to be successful? Do you need a degree from a top school, some seed money to kick start your business, a big break, good connections? No one would dispute that these factors would give you a big boost; however, after 25 years of research on the topic of performing your best, I’d say your success ticket has to be punched with confidence, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm.

In fact, hundreds of empirical studies strongly suggest the aforementioned attributes are the DNA of success. Without these attributes, you will be hard-pressed to achieve success, let alone leading a thriving life. Consider why.

Confidence is the degree to which you believe and feel your actions will achieve desirable results. Why would you try if you don’t believe you can influence the outcome? You wouldn’t. Confidence promotes feelings of control, until you feel you are in charge of your destiny.

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Optimism allows you to start out your day with positive expectations that good things will happen. Positive expectations motivate you to try harder and thus, you achieve more success, which in turn makes you more confident. Studies tell us that optimistic people enjoy better physical and mental health, as well as experiencing more positive relationships.

Tenacity allows you to stay focused. This is essential if you are going to achieve long-term goals. It is your tenacity that allows you to persist through adversity.

Enthusiasm energizes you and promotes positive feelings that allow you to approach life with zest and perform better under pressure.

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Taken together, these attributes help you do your best every day, in all aspects of your life. Here are some evidence based methods of how you can instill them in yourself.

Walk Like A Champ

Drill Sargents have been telling Marines to “stand at attention” for over a hundred years. You probably have fond memories of your mother telling you to “stand up straight.” Neither needed their recommendations validated by current neuroscience research attesting to the fact that when you stand up straight and expand your chest, your brain increases testosterone. This hormone makes you feel confident and often increases your ability to perform under pressure. Frequently remind yourself to walk like a champ, especially before you have to perform under pressure. Studies show that just a few minutes of “confident posturing” will stimulate feelings of confidence and lead to better perform

Positive Visuals

Confident people have a long history of visualizing themselves experiencing all types of success, even if the visuals are fantasy (winning a beauty patent, scoring a Super Bowl touchdown, or being a movie star). Positive visuals help you internalize feelings of confidence. You will be wise to frequently visualize yourself experiencing success.

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Optimistic Vocabulary

The words you use reflect your outlook on life. Start to build optimistic phrases into your daily vocabulary. For example, “It is going to be a wonderful day…it’s a beautiful day.” This might seem silly, but using an optimistic vocabulary will make you feel more optimistic.

Belief In A Just World

Individuals who accept the fact that while we all get bad breaks and the world is basically just, end up being more optimistic. Since they believe hard work pays off, they try harder and doing so (more often than not) brings positive results which fuels their tendency to be positive about their future.

Increase Your “Pathways”

Think of “pathways” as different avenues that take you to your goal. Create as many as you can. If one route is blocked, take another. Take some time to brainstorm different pathways that can help you move toward our goal. The more pathways you can create, the more hopeful you will become. The result is you become tenacious because you believe you will achieve success.

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LOL

You can give yourself a burst of enthusiasm simply by laughing out loud. Laughing stimulates endorphins and creates (in contrast to anxiety) positive physical arousal. Enthusiasm transforms into energy, making it easier for you to approach your tasks with a positive attitude, especially in pressure moments.

Use Your Happy Face

It’s hard to feel down and drained when you have a smile on your face. Get in the habit of keeping a smile on your face and you’ll feel more and more enthusiasm throughout your days. You will also find that your smiles are returned – even by a passing stranger on the street.

Conclusion

Together, these proven strategies will help blend confidence, optimism, tenacity, and enthusiasm into your Coat of Arms. Wearing it everyday will help you not only become more successful, but also enjoy your life to its fullest.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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