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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 July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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