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If You Want A Successful Life, Be Determined About What You Want First

If You Want A Successful Life, Be Determined About What You Want First

Being ambitious is all well and good, but without a clear idea of what it is you’re going for, you can end up lost and working non-stop without focus. Or maybe you know what you want to do, but you’re stuck on how to get there.

Here’s some ideas that will help you to hone in on what it is you really want, and how to get it. Because life is worth living when we’re psyched to be chasing our dreams. As Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss“; you will discover a life full of passion, drive, and most importantly, joy.

Become who you want to be, instead of just doing what you think you ought to do

The only way you will be able to truly follow your desires is by living them. If we are simply going through the motions, at work or when building that dream of ours, rather than living and practicing our values, we will find it very hard to be successful. This can be the difference between doing what you ‘should’, and doing what you actually want to do.

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For example, if you only went to university because you’re ‘meant’ to, success is unlikely. You might even find a job that makes you a lot of money after your course, but this probably wouldn’t feel like a complete success. Success is living with meaning, being present in your life. All of the most successful people live fully in their lives and are unapologetic for who they are. They are sure of who they are because of the way they live.

Try writing down all of the things that you want to do that are fun to you, that are really going with ‘the flow’, where you feel alive doing them. These are the things to focus upon and grow. Make time for these things. Even just ten minutes a day can improve a skill dramatically.

Have a vision of your future, so you know where you’re going

When we don’t have a vision we can easily be swayed. Life and society has many directions it would like us to go in, and without a vision steering us towards where WE would want to go, it can be easy to get steered off with the crowd.

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It’s not about being rigid in what we do next, or not taking opportunities when they appear. It’s about knowing yourself well enough to know whether any opportunities contribute to you and what you really want to do with your life, or if you’re just going along with the crowd.

One great thing you can do to create a vision of your own is to draw it. Drawing a future we like the look of improves the probability we will commit to moving towards it. And feeling we have a meaning in the now not only makes us happier, it gives us meaning, and that means we are already more successful than we were before.

If something isn’t worth the effort, you never really cared about it in the first place

As Elizabeth Gilbert says, you have to work out whether something is worth all the bother. -If you love doing something, you will love it enough to go through any difficulties that come along with it. Each time we are challenged, we ask ourselves ‘is it worth all this pain?’ and if the answer is ‘yes’, then you know you’re on the right track.

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Often in life we find the answer is ‘no’, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, that’s just a part of the process of working out what is really important to you, and what you can let go of.

With this in mind, you can focus on what really matters to you. The more your focus becomes attuned, the better you become at doing what you love. The more time you dedicate to these things that really matter to you, the more you will get back from them at the end of the day.

Try changing something today so that you become just that little bit more invested in it. Perhaps that is beginning to play guitar for ten minutes a day, or finding a new way to surprise your wife, or finding a little time to practice self-care. Whatever it is, finding a way of practicing it, rather than complaining about what is holding you back, could be the way to make your dream a reality.

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So, I challenge you today to see where your curiosity lies. Find what feels good to you in the moment. See where you want to be and what you want to be doing, this can help carve out not only your future, but who you want to be today and how you will spend your time. And that’s the most freeing thing of all, there is always now. What dreams will you start living today?

Featured photo credit: Psychologies via psychologies.co.uk

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Daniel Owen van Dommelen

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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