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The Algorithm that Will Help You Program a Successful Life

The Algorithm that Will Help You Program a Successful Life

Aren’t you tired of the same old personal success advice?

You know, advice such as:

  • You need a clearly defined goal.
  • Be fearless.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people.
  • Follow your passion.

Yes, they’re tried and tested, but chances are that you’ve either taken all of these on board already – or you’ve given them a go and found they simply don’t work for you.

And that’s why you need to try something different – a new approach to jolt your life out of its rut and catapult it in a promising new direction.

There is a way to be successful and revolutionize your world even if you’ve tried before with limited success.

It’s a game changer, one that can take your life from mediocrity to achieving the success you dream of.

But first…

The Amazing Power of Algorithms

Algorithms are normally found in the computer programming world. But in a more general way, algorithms are everywhere.

Algorithms determine what search results you see with Google or what shared items pop-up in your Facebook feed. A recipe for making food is an algorithm. The method you use to solve addition or long division problems is an algorithm. The process of folding a shirt or a pair of pants is an algorithm. Even your morning routine could be considered an algorithm.

Specifically, algorithms are a step-by-step process to solve a problem. These set of rules can be created for solving complicated issues as well as basic ones.

Sometimes, you might come up with a solution that works on some things but not on others – which means you need to come up with a better algorithm.

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You may also find that some solutions are more efficient than others – that is, they can be done in fewer steps, and thus, less time.

Algorithmic thinking, or the ability to define clear steps to solve a problem, is crucial. It allows us to break down problems and conceptualize solutions in terms of discrete steps in a procedure.

For an algorithm to be considered valid it must contain these three characteristics:

  • It should be restricted: an algorithm that never solves a problem is completely useless. It must be designed with limited rules.
  • It should have clear instructions: each step of the algorithm has to be clearly defined. The instructions should be obvious for each case.
  • It must be effective: the algorithm should be designed with the objective to solve your specific problem.

But the beauty of a carefully designed algorithm is once you find the right rules the outcome you desire will always be automatic.

The Algorithm that Will Program Success in Your Life

Now that you have an idea of how to create an algorithm, it’s time to set some rules in place that will automatically give the solution you’re looking for – success.

Rule #1: Confidence before Competence

Your personal success depends on the confidence you have in your own abilities. This confidence must exist prior to any endeavors you undertake.

Many people assume that in order to be successful you must first have a treasure trove of knowledge followed by confidence. And that’s somewhat true.

However, when you face challenges and obstacles, it can be difficult to rise up and accomplish any goals if you don’t have existing confidence in your own abilities.

When you believe in yourself you are more likely to take action. Without confidence in your own abilities, you cannot perform to your fullest potential.

A person with self-efficacy (a fancy word for confidence) is more likely to try new things. They also tends to rebound better after failure and are more persistent in the face of obstacles.

People with higher self-efficacy also have a greater sense of motivation and persistence, are not controlled by circumstances and are able to channel failure into success.

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If you care so much about your success, then knowledge isn’t as important as a belief in your capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce a result.

I’ve always believed this: knowledge is potential power, but execution is invincible. In order to execute the steps to reach your planned success you must believe in your abilities, first. Knowing that there is room for development and growth.

So, whatever your algorithm, confidence must always be rule number one.

How to Create Confidence

The creation of confidence is dependent on the following factors:

  • Admire someone else’s success. Somebody out in this vast universe has already done the things you want to accomplish. Seeing people succeed by sustained effort raises your beliefs that you too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities to succeed. When you see someone else’s success, especially someone who you identify with, you are more apt to believe that you can achieve too. Hence, having one or two good role models can vicariously bolster your sense of self-efficacy.
  • Successful experiences. Past successes are powerful confidence-boosters. They influence your perspective on your abilities and make further success easier to attain, even when your efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months. So, start accumulating examples of past success to increase your confidence in a given area.
  • Visualization. Everything you can imagine is real. The true magnificence of your mind lies in the imagination. Visualization is a powerful tool because it creates a reality that is as real as it can be before becoming manifested in physical form. When you visualize an act, the brain primes your body to act in a way consistent to what you imagined. You begin to “see” the possibility of achieving your desired outcome. If you are able to focus on one single event that you wish for yourself and you focus on it intensely, you begin to feel emotions as if the event were to actually transpire. In a way, visualization helps you live in that moment without it being a reality.

Remember – confidence before competence. You create your success by having confidence in your abilities and seeing your desired outcome before you take initial action.

Rule #2: Love to Learn

The only way to have a successful life is to have the necessary knowledge and thinking skills.

However, most people hate learning because of the way they are accustomed to learning. To most people, learning is a chore, something that is forced upon them, and that is why they stray from it once their formal education ends.

That is why many people are stuck in mediocre circumstances simply because they have no idea of what to do to get out them. But expanding your knowledge base can help you explore new and challenging paths in life, and can help you avoid becoming stagnant.

Learning provides you with the skills you need to succeed. It’s fun. Keeps you youthful. Makes you more interesting. Helps rid you of your ignorance and misery.

Learning is an eye-opening experience, and it can help you see life for what it really is, instead of what you “think” it should be. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to make connections between pieces of knowledge – and the more successful you’ll become.

How to Start Your Learning Journey

Learning requires action. Here are three factors that will boost your knowledge:

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  • Read. (Duh! Captain Obvious) When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article? If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly you might be missing out on a number of benefits. Benefits such as mental stimulation, stress reduction, knowledge, vocabulary expansion, memory improvement, stronger analytical thinking skills, improved focus and concentration, better writing skills, and success are part of the package deal with reading. A good genre to start reading are self-help books. This knowledge will put you on the path to success by helping you create a “person” for success. Success starts from the inside out. Change yourself, change your circumstances.
  • Listen to podcasts. Podcasts are incredibly convenient learning tools. They’re no substitutes for books, but they provide a very different learning experience. They cover an astounding range of topics and tone. Plus, podcasts put you in control of your influences. Choose to be influenced by people who are already at the level of success you want to be. One of the greatest advantages of podcasts is the portability and convenience they offer. They can be downloaded to almost any kind of mobile device, allowing you to access learning resources anytime, anywhere without too much effort. Podcasts will help you learn new ideas and perspectives. You’ll always leave a podcast thinking differently about a topic than when it started. A few podcast recommendations are: anything from NPR, TED Talks, This American Life, How Stuff Works, Tony Robbins Podcast.
  • Take up a hobby. Hobbies offer an opportunity to take a break – but a break with a purpose. In addition, the great thing about picking up a hobby is that it provides an excellent outlet for challenging yourself. The new challenge can open your mind to new ways of seeing the world. In short, having a hobby will bring you an overall better life. A hobby will help keep your mind sharp for success.

Learning is in your genes.

You are at the helm of the most powerful machine in the universe – the brain. So, use it. Use it often, and use it for the purpose of enriching your life, the lives of others, and for making this world a better place.

Rule #3: Start Your Journey by Taking Small Steps

Most great achievements did not start out with a master plan or moment of inspiration. They began as small steps. Each step was ordinary, but they accumulated into something more.

The media, and our instant-gratification society, tend to sensationalize experts and celebrities as overnight successes. In reality, these overnight successes are the sum of thousands of nights in the making, and they got there by taking countless small steps instead of giant leaps.

The problem with setting big goals and taking large leaps is they can be very intimidating and actually discourage us from ever getting started.

Big goals and giant leaps can erode your confidence and hold you back. This can greatly discourage you and cause you to quit chasing your personal success.

However, setting small goals and taking small steps makes it easier to get going and keep going. This is important for you to do because your confidence will either be lifted up or dragged down depending on your ability to make progress.

The single most powerful motivator is small, daily progress. Progress drives motivation, which in turn drives greater future progress. If you can facilitate progress you can facilitate better results.

To a large extent, we control our success and motivation through incremental small steps. Small steps produce long-term changes that lead to long-term results. They are easy to manage and monitor. This builds self-confidence and self-esteem that helps support your efforts.

Success is the product of small steps.

How to Reach Your Success by Taking Small Steps

The formula for taking small steps is simple and needs no explanation:

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  • Narrow down a specific goal
  • Break the goal into small, manageable steps
  • Perform each step everyday (in other words, be consistent)
  • Celebrate your daily success (no matter how small)
  • Focus on progress, not perfection

The bottom line is you can accomplish big things with small goals and small steps. Think about what you can accomplish in a year. A month. A week. Today.

So go ahead. Take the first step. What are you waiting for?

Let This Algorithm Program Your Success

If you’re sick of feeling stuck in life, use the set of rules above to help you make changes.

It’s an exceptional algorithm, and will help you create the successful person you desire to become.

And believe me, the results can be impressive. This algorithm has helped me make reading a habit which has allowed me to gain a ton of valuable knowledge I’m sharing with others. It’s helped me reach my fitness and nutrition goals and it has given me a huge boost of confidence.

If you follow the rules above, you’ll be well on your way to your own success.

Begin by developing confidence in yourself. Then scale your efforts as you see results.

Why not start right now and think of goals you’d like to reach?

The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll taste the success you deserve.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2019

How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes.

I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

What to Write Down

Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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Dates of Events

Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

Names of People

Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

Theories or Frameworks

Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

Definitions

Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

Arguments and Debates

Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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Images

Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

Other Stuff

Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

Your Own Questions

Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

1. Outlining

Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

2. Mind-Mapping

For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

Here’s the idea:

In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

3. The Cornell System

The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

The Bottom Line

I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

More About Note-Taking

Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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