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Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists

Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists

It’s really easy to get bogged down in pointless decision-making.

Nowadays, we’re faced with a barrage of pointless decisions merely by turning on our computers. They cause us stress and they only serve to waste our time.

Have you ever been late to meet someone because you were stressing at home about things that, on the surface, are actually pretty superficial? Or ever stopped working on an important project because you were distracted by something that wasn’t worth your time?

Well, there are some pretty successful people out there who serve as an example for the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism Reduces Decision Fatigue

As Charles Chu of Marketmeditations.com puts it, “The Zuckerbergs, Bransons, hedge fund managers of the world are wearing the same few things, eating the same few things and trying to work in the same few places.”[1]

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Look at old videos of Steve Jobs and he was always wearing the same black turtleneck. Minimalism seems to be a trait of many tech leaders. Famous singers and artists have the time to look flash, CEO’s of massive companies often don’t.

It’s not simply a matter of not having time, though; a minimalist lifestyle allows more time to be spent on the important decisions. Want some proof? Have a look at Mark Zuckerberg’s wardrobe, posted on his Facebook page:

    Facebook/ Mark Zuckerberg

    Slightly crazy, yes, but effective nonetheless.

    Zuckerberg has actually elaborated on his gray t-shirt wearing, which on the surface might simply come across as an unhealthy proclivity for mundane colors. There’s more to it, though. In a 2014 interview[2] Zuckerberg said,

    “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.

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    I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”

    As Chu emphasizes, we should be saving energy on choices about material things and using that energy to do great work instead.

    Caring About Less Will Give You More

    It may sound counterintuitive but again it comes down to how much energy you’re wasting on things that aren’t important.

    Mark Manson wrote a bestseller on this very subject, called, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

    “The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.”

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    Manson writes in an acerbic, and frankly profane, style. But hey, recent research has shown that there is a correlation between profanity and honesty[3] so we’ll take him at his word!

    An excerpt from his book, available on his website[4], contains the following advice:

    “[When] we feel as though we are perpetually entitled to feel comfortable and happy at all times, that’s when life fucks us.”

    As Manson makes sure to emphasize, it’s the “fucks not given” that make the real difference. Again it comes down to taking a minimalistic approach that will save us from caring too much about things that simply aren’t worth our time and energy.

    Caring about things less makes failure a less terrifying prospect, rejection less painful and unpleasant necessities more pleasant.

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    This doesn’t mean that one should simply not care about anything, though. Manson isn’t preaching indifference or nihilism. As he puts it, “not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.”

    So don’t care so much what people think, don’t stress about things that simply aren’t important, but are just a huge waste of time. Only good things will come of it.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr/ Alessio Jacona via flickr.com

    Reference

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    Christopher Young

    Freelance Blogger, Writer and Journalist

    To Be More Productive, Never Do This To Start Your Morning If You Play Any Musical Instruments, Your Brain Is Very Different From Others’ Workout Your Brain By Learning A New Word Every Day, You Will Get Smarter Why Most Highly Productive And Successful People Are Minimalists This Amazing Animated Film Reminds Us To Stop Wanting To Have Everything In Control, But Be Present

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    Last Updated on August 21, 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. Hello promotion, here I come!
    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

    So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

    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.

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

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    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.

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

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    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.

    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.

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    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!

    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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