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The 5 Things That Are Holding You Back From Achieving Success

The 5 Things That Are Holding You Back From Achieving Success

Do you ever wonder what drives successful people? Are you a part of the growing congregation of the complacent and seemingly disenfranchised? Does failure seem imminent? Do you allow it to prevent you from ever attempting anything, to begin with? If you find yourself barraged with these types of questions, rest assured that you are not alone.

The matter at hand is not to focus on your own minds – hypothetical pandering to doubt or fear – the matter is success. The first step in achieving or even overachieving is to understand that strict focus on your goal should be maintained. If we readjust our perspective and how we view success – we may very well find that all the pieces to make it happen, have been with us all along.

More often than not, we are the orchestrators of our own obstacles. This isn’t to say that uncontrollable (financial, familial, medical, social, educational, etc ) antagonizing factors don’t exist. Rather the opposite. If we put aside the obvious outliers, most of us can apply the following five ideas to our lives – and be closer to success with each adjustment.

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1. Space

Your surroundings have an enormous effect on physical and mental well-being. Though this may go unnoticed, if you truly ask yourself -“Am I happy in my surroundings? Am I on the path to succeed?” – you’ll find that these questions usually have correlating answers.

By placing ourselves in an enjoyable environment where we can be free, feel loved, and be at ease –  we activate the pleasure center of our brain. Once your brain releases dopamine, (which also stimulates positive emotion) we become chemically more willing and capable of chasing our goals. If you’re unhappy with your living situation, as well as find yourself in a rut – you may benefit from a vacation or a full relocation.

2. People

Similar to the effect that your surroundings have on you, the people that you come into frequent contact with (co-workers, social circles, family.), have an effect on you as well. Even the most strong-willed of us – have felt the perilous emptiness that comes with negativity. It may seem like an old trope, but it is true that we become what we surround ourselves with.

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If you’re consistently around negative, doubtful, or otherwise unhappy people – soon enough you will become them. With that transformation, you’ll begin to absorb their poor habits and failing attitude into your own personality. This isn’t to say that you must cut them off, simply inform them – that if they persist in their ways – that you must cease to be around them. Success is a door that remains closed to disbelievers and their following.

3. Attitude

Your own attitude toward success may be one of the major deciding factors of whether or not you fail. Ironically enough, it is also one of the few things involved that’s completely under your control. Our attitude toward success is vital. If we view it with disdain -for its’ apparent elusiveness- we will never have it.

Just as you must separate yourself from the negative people and places – you must also purge yourself of any negative feelings. This isn’t to imply that you should be delusional. But at the end of each day, you should be excited about the opportunities that may present themselves in the day to come. You should be enthusiastic in every endeavor that brings you one step closer to achievement. Not only will your enthusiasm shine through any negativity, but it will attract like-minded positive people.

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4. Conviction

As with anything worth having in life, the proper mental state, space, and social circles – mean nothing without action. Chasing your goals can be a trite if you allow it to be. However, a sure way to never achieve it- is by ruminating in defeat and failure instead of taking steps to make the most of the situation, and continue forward. Those fleeting moments of helplessness that you feel are no more than barriers that hold you back from taking the action that is required – for the task that you must achieve. The reason that most people fail is because they lack the conviction to see their goals through. Regardless of where this lack of commitment derives from – those in that particular group are doomed to the same fate as all other inactive persons and pessimists.

In Napoleon Hill’s revered book The Law of Success, he wraps this point up thusly so – “As a matter of facts imaginations and purposes cannot yield anything unless action is taken to realize the purpose. Actions prove the practicability of our imaginations.”

5. Fear

Quite possibly the most familiar and common preventer of success. We’ve all struggled with it at one point or another. We fear failure, criticism, judgment, rejection, etc. These are all valid fears, but none of them should stand between you and your goals, and it’s a gamble to attempt to harness them as a way to achieve success. If you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, you’ll find that those irrational fears melt away. The best way to combat fear is by taking action in the face of it. Soon enough you will see how ridiculous that fear was and will be one step closer to what you want.

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The Conclusion:

If we apply these principles to ourselves, our lives, and our surroundings – we will open the door to opportunity, and be will on our way to achieving goals one day at a time. If we don’t slip on the way up the mountain, and we never waiver in our belief – success will become inevitable. If you start now it will happen sooner than if you start tomorrow.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Antwan Crump

Novelist, blogger, essayist, podcaster.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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