“You can achieve whatever you want, as long as you are willing to pay the price.”~Elvin Semrad
If you could do or be anything in the world, what would it be? For some people, it would be to be a famous singer, musician, film or television star, writer, or a high profile professional athlete. Others desire simpler things such as to get out of debt, retire early or own and operate a business. Whatever your lifelong dream is, it IS possible–no matter how remote that possibility is. How do I know? Because others have done it.Advertising
So what makes some people successful and others mediocre? Is it innate talent, education or just plain ole good luck? Is there some secret formula that some discover and others don’t? Could it be as simple as being in the right place, at the right time and knowing the right people? The answer to all of those questions is–yes. All of those elements are factors in determining your level of success. However, the two most important characteristics that ultimately determine success are a relentless abundance of ambition and a dogmatic, never quit, supercharged work ethic.
Ambition, simply defined is a strong desire to achieve a goal requiring determination and hard work. That’s it. So, the question isn’t what do you want? The true fundamental question pivotal to your success is: how bad do you want it? The latter question requires an answer, because ambition has a price…Advertising
We all understand work ethic. If you have ever accomplished anything worthwhile, you know what hard work is. Our work ethic is developed in our early experiences and interaction with work. There are several questions worth pondering that will highlight where you value system concerning work was derived. Were your efforts productive? Were they rewarded? Was laziness and laissez faire-ness rewarded? Were you pushed or coddled? Were you allowed to quit? Did you quit often?
The equation is simple: Ambition + Hard work = SuccessAdvertising
Ambition – Hard work = A Dream
Many people say they are ambitious–but are they really? Simply wanting something is not enough. True ambition is always coupled with hard work. They are conjoined twins that cannot be separated. Putting in the minimum amount of effort to achieve a satisfactory result is a behavior associated with people that have little or no ambition. Successful individuals take nothing for granted. They realize that it takes hard work and dogmatic commitment to their goals and they may have to put in extra hours or do things that may feel punishing to either their mind or body – quite often both.
We romanticize the dreamer who fantasizes about what could be. If you are not willing to work hard to achieve what you want, you are a dreamer; stay stay in bed.Advertising
Hard work – Ambition = Hamster in a wheel
Truth be told, most people fall into this category. They work hard, put in long hours, go the extra mile but continuously come up empty. Ambition (a strong desire for a specific thing) is the focus that allows you to aim your hard work at a specific target. We’ve all seen the hamster in the wheel. The tiny creature runs and runs, striving to reach an imaginary destination but the culmination of all of that expended energy and effort is exhaustion and being in the exact same place where it all began. Do you see yourself here?
Ambition + Hard work = Success
Find your passion and make it your life’s mission to achieve it. Truly successful people cultivate ambitious habits.
- They are goal oriented. Once they accomplish one goal, they immediately set another. They are always reaching. They do not, however, broadcast their goals. They are internally focused.
- They are relentless. They are laser focused and when they do get side-tracked they regroup and recommit to their path. Set backs are not failure to them–they are opportunities to grow. The are dissatisfied with mediocrity and avoid becoming complacent. They commit to the process and always follow through.
- They take risks. Chasing a dream is risky business. Ambition requires risks and involves a certain amount of failure. The risk of failure will cultivate courage if you continue to take those calculated leaps of faith.
- They believe in themselves. …even when know one else does. They are confident that they can accomplish their goal and know how to use their own unique gifts and talents to their advantage.
- They are positive. Success is a state of mind. In order to remain focused and keep driving toward your goal, your mind must be disciplined to remain optimistic in the face of disappointment, failures and the drudgery that accompanies ambition.
- The are strategic. Focusing on what is important, the ability to prioritize, the ability to conserve and expend the right amounts of energy and effort–in short, the ability to be strategic about your ambitions is extraordinarily important. This minimizes set backs and wasted time. Being strategic means that you squarely face where you are visualize, where you want to be and then draw a map connecting the two points.
There is a difference between a dreamer and a dream chaser. One stays in bed fantasizing about what could be and the other wakes up every morning and fills their ambition mug to the brim with focused hard work and diligence.
Last Updated on June 18, 2019
The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)
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.”
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.
Table of Contents
From Making 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!
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.
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.
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.
More About Habits
- 16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People
- How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You
- How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
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