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8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

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8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

It happens to all of us, whether we bring it on our selves or it just shows up. That pit in your stomach. The butterflies. The times when our palms start to sweat. I’m talking about when we are thinking about things we don’t want to do — the things that we know we should do in order to get to where we want to go. I know you know what I’m talking about and I guarantee you have at least one thing in your mind you are thinking about right now.

You might be thinking of that dream or big goal that you want to accomplish one day. The book you want to write. The business you want to start. The big audacious goal that scares the daylights out of you but keeps you dreaming because you know you can do it. The problem is that there are a lot of steps along the way that are uncomfortable. It can be as small as that email you don’t want to send or that person you don’t want to call, even though you know at the end of the day it will make you better and that much closer to your goal.

Here is a list of eight of those uncomfortable things, though the list could go on and on. Let’s be honest: we all procrastinate. How do you overcome procrastination? You make things easier to do.

It’s not rocket science. When you do uncomfortable things more often, they become more comfortable. Maybe after doing these things more often, you’ll lose that pit in your stomach the next time it’s your turn to show up.

1. Waking Up Early

We know we should do it and that it will make us feel great for the rest of the day. We feel energized and ready for the day the one time a month we finally do it. So, why do we not do this every day? I’ll tell you why I don’t: because my bed is so warm and comfy! When my alarm wakes me up early and I know I can either a) Get up and spend some time for myself before the day gets started, or b) Spend another hour or two getting some more Z’s, I’ll pick the snooze button almost every time.

We’ve all heard the interviews with the most successful people telling us about their early morning routines. How they read, work out, make a healthy and organic breakfast, and then still have time to journal all before work. It’s pretty hard to believe they’ve ever heard of a snooze button.

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One thing that I started recently to help me wake up a little earlier is the Five Minute Journal. It has been a great first step in waking up earlier than normal. The best part is, it’s only five minutes earlier than I would usually get up!

2. Public Speaking

Talk about a pit in your stomach! The only people you meet that love public speaking are public speakers! They do it all the time and likely get paid to do it. You can’t be successful without someone giving you a stage to tell your story. You can try to avoid it all you want, but it comes with the territory.

People striving for success (like you and me) want to know how successful people got to where they are. How do you think they tell their story to us?

Public speaking, like everything else on this list, is something we need to start doing to make it more comfortable. Whether it’s volunteering for a toast, starting a video blog, or chiming in when the speaker says “does anyone have any questions?”. That’s our turn to push through the discomfort!

3. Exercising

You might be saying “Hey, I exercise all the time and I’m still not successful.” Maybe you’re not, but you are one step ahead of most of us! For those of you, like me, who break a sweat twice a week every 30 days (aka 2 times a month), exercising isn’t on the list of top to-dos. Maybe you just can’t seem to find the time. It’s time to make the time.

I wish they would come out with a study that shows that getting that extra hour of sleep before work or the extra episode on Netflix before bed gives you more energy and is better for your body than exercising, but I still haven’t seen it. Instead, I keep seeing studies like this one from Harvard that reads “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills,” and just hoping they misplaced “exercise” when it should’ve said “doughnuts.” Still waiting on that study.

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4. Networking

You just received an email in your inbox that reads, “The local business professional networking group will be at the office from 5:00 to 5:30 today, please stay late to network with them.” This just makes you jump for joy, right? Not even close! You know you should, and you might meet an awesome connection to help you with your next goal or job, but your soft, warm couch is calling your name in a calming, late-night radio voice that you can’t resist.

I give the excuse of “I am terrible at small talk and I could care less about meaningless conversation.” It’s a valid excuse and my go-to every time. It doesn’t get me anymore connections and I never meet anyone exciting or new because of it. Let’s start small and start asking questions.

The people that are the most charismatic and outgoing ask the most questions. Have you ever noticed that? You don’t need to make small talk. Ask questions and let the other person talk. The truth is that the more people talk, the more they like you. Strange, but true.

5. Taking The Blame

This point does not read “taking the blame for someone else.” This is about admitting your own mistakes when you mess up. It’s so easy and comfortable to quickly make excuses for when you mess up. When a mistake is made and no one takes the blame, it’s hard to move forward and get it fixed because no one wants to fix someone else’s mistake if they won’t fess up.

This one is so simple, but it’s not our first reaction. Leaders take responsibility. When they or their team mess up, they take it on the cheek. The best part about this very uncomfortable action is that it helps everyone quickly move on. You can’t move forward unless you start to look in that direction. Take the blame and take the next step forward.

6. Continuously Learning

You know your dream and your goals. Are you reading the right books to reach those goals? Are you attending seminars and conferences in that genre?

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I was very guilty of this for a long time. I was reading books that I wanted to read, books that were comfortable. Of course, reading is a great hobby. If you are a reader, don’t stop. If you are not, start!

The uncomfortable part is reading books that you know will get you closer to your dream or goal, but are not on the top of your reading list. Don’t just read for joy, read to build your knowledge.

 7. Unplugging

If the leader of the smartphone revolution didn’t let his kids use his own inventions, there must be a benefit. There are more smartphones than humans on this planet now. We are even starting to wear these devices on our wrists because it’s too difficult to reach into our pockets to read texts! We are all guilty of the smartphone and other technologies ruling our lives.

If you want to be successful, do as the successful do. Who doesn’t want to have the success Steve Jobs had? He limited the time his kids spent with technology because he knew it would slow them down in the long run. As much as we like to think our iPhones keep us more connected and more efficient, they don’t. We could get a lot more done in a day if we weren’t checking out what our friends are eating, where they are in the world, or perfecting our next post to make them just as jealous.

You know exactly what I’m talking about — we are all guilty. Let’s get uncomfortable and start unplugging at the times we want to plug in the most!

8. Meeting Adversity On Purpose

Who is ready to face the most difficult and most uncomfortable thing they can think of and jump headfirst in? Adversity is more simply defined as “Difficulty.” I’m not talking about feeling good when you start off your day with a spilled latte. That stinks, but I’m talking about getting in over your head, taking on something that you know you can’t accomplish right away, but that you believe in yourself enough to try and make it happen.

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The great philosopher John Wayne said it best, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

There is a quick story in the Bible that I love about a man named Benaiah:

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day.

He went face to face with a lion and killed it. Not with a gun in perfect weather, but on a snowy day with some sort of ancient weapon— he faced a deadly predator and conquered it.

What gives you a pit in your stomach that you know will make you a better person, a better parent, a better boss, a better employee, or will help you reach your big audacious goals? If it’s uncomfortable, it’s probably something we know we should start doing.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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