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This Is The Surest Way To Lead An Unsuccessful Life

This Is The Surest Way To Lead An Unsuccessful Life

It is the annual reunion with your friends from the Class of 2014. Over a few cocktails, some started to trash-talking their bosses and whining about how much work sucks. You sensed that they were regret landing their stable-yet-unexciting nine-to-five right after graduation—even though it seemed like the best thing that had ever happened to them before…

Maybe this sounds like one of your friends, or maybe this sounds like what you’re struggling about. It’s okay to struggle because it’s still not too late for a change.

Refusing to make changes NOW means delaying success.

Hungarian psychologist Laszlo Polgar thought he had found the major factor contributing to the success of hundreds of intellectuals, and decided to test his hypothesis on the three daughters of his own.[1]

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Polgar believed that “early and intensive specialisation” was the key to being successful at what a person chose to do. He and his wife therefore made practicing chess the focus of life for his daughters since they were young, aiming to produce child prodigies. As expected, all three girls became very successful chess players. On top of that, the youngest, Judit, became the youngest Grandmaster at the age of 15, and remains the most celebrated chess player today.

You may not have dedicated parents like the Polgars, but you can create your own success now if you want to. Keep in mind what you start doing today will make a difference tomorrow.

The routines we have and the smallest things we do every day either make us mediocre or highly successful.

The first step is to look at what you do without thinking on a daily basis. If you think you are a normal human being because you get through your day just like everyone else, it’s a sign you need to change. While being mediocre may not be a failure, it will never mean successful.

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And you want to be successful, which is why you should have the courage to become different from others.

Having the same routine as others will only make you an average person, a normal, mediocre person. Forget about having to blend in, and aim to stand out instead. Focus on what helps you improve as a person.

Following the rules like everybody does prevents you from achieving what you could have.[2] Rather, try to understand the rules, think about what these rules aim for and create your own rules that will do a lot better. Don’t be afraid to do what others aren’t doing. Be critical for the sake of becoming a better you.

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If you want to ditch mediocrity and become successful, break some routines and start something new today.

Changes don’t have to be big ones, especially if we’re talking about changes in your daily routine.

For instance, you can try ordering something different from your usual morning Cappuccino, or take a different route to work/school. Breaking a small habit teaches you to look at things from a new perspective.[3]

Also, you can start trusting your instincts a little bit more and stop second-guessing yourself.[4] If you know what it is that you want to do, do it at once. Sometimes, a little craziness is all you need to get started on something that would lead to future success.

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Finally, it is also important to be careful what you feed your mind. Your goal for reading shouldn’t be to gain talking points with your friends or co-workers, but to learn different insights that allow you to develop your own way of thinking.[5]

In order to be successful—to stand out and be different, you have to know what others don’t do. You want to be unique. So don’t just read what’s “hot” right now because it probably isn’t going to contribute to your future success.

Reference

More by this author

Wen Shan

Proud Philosophy grad. Based in HK.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Do you think of yourself as a creative person? Do you play the drums or do watercolor paintings? Perhaps compose songs or direct plays? Can you even relate to any of these so called ‘creative’ experiences? Growing up, did you ever have that ‘artistic’ sibling or friend who excelled in drawing, playing instruments or literature? And you maybe wondered why you can’t even compose a birthday card greeting–or that drawing stick figures is the furthest you’ll ever get to drawing a family portrait. Many people have this common assumption that creativity is an inborn talent; only a special group of people are inherently creative, and everyone else just unfortunately does not have that special ability. You either have that creative flair or instinct, or you don’t. But, this is far from the truth! So what is creativity?

Can I Be Creative?

The fact is, that everyone has an innate creative ability. Despite what most people may think, creativity is a skill that everyone can learn and hone on. It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input. How is that so? You’ll have to start by expanding your definition of creativity. Ironically, you have to be creative and ‘think out of the box’ with the definition! Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems. So, if you encounter different challenges and problems that need solving on a regular basis, then creativity is an invaluable skill to have.Let’s say, for example, that you work in sales. Having creativity will help you to look for new ways to approach and reach out to potential customers. Or perhaps you’re a teacher. In this role you have to constantly look for new ways to deliver your message and educate your students.

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How Creativity Works

Let me break another misconception about creativity, which is that it’s only used to create completely “new” or “original” things. Again, this is far from the truth. Because nothing is ever completely new or original. Everything, including works of art, doesn’t come from nothing. Everything derives from some sort of inspiration. That means that creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.From this perspective, you can see a lot of creativity in action. In technology, Apple combines traditional computers with design and aesthetics to create new ways to use digital products. In music, a musician may be inspired by various styles of music, instruments and rhythms to create an entirely new type of song. All of these examples are about connecting different ideas, finding common ground amongst the differences, and creating a completely new idea out of them.

What Really Is Creativity?

Creativity Needs an Intention

Another misconception about the creative process is that you can just be in a general “creative” state. Real creativity isn’t about coming up with “eureka!” moments for random ideas. Instead, to be truly creative, you need to have a direction. You have to ask yourself this question: “What problem am I trying to solve?” Only by knowing the answer to this question can you start flexing your creativity muscles. Often times, the idea of creativity is associated with the ‘Right’ brain, with intuition and imagination. Hence a lot of focus is placed on the ‘Right’ brain when it comes to creativity. But, to get the most out of creativity, you need to utilize both sides of your brain–Right and Left–which means using the analytical and logical part of your brain, too. This may sound surprising to you, but creativity has a lot to do with problem solving. And, problem solving inherently involves logic and analysis. So instead of throwing out the ‘Left’ brain, full creativity needs them to work in unison. For example, when you’re looking for new ideas, your ‘Left’ brain will guide you to a place of focus, which is based on your objective behind the ideas you’re searching for. The ‘Right’ brain then guides you to gather and explore based on your current focus. And when you decide to try out these new ideas, your ‘Right’ brain will give you novel solutions outside of the ones you already know. Your ‘Left’ brain then helps you evaluate and tune the solutions to work better in practice. So, logic and creativity actually work hand in hand, and not one at the expense of the other.

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Creativity Is a Skill

At the end of the day, creativity is a skill. It’s not some innate or natural born talent that some have over others. What this means is that creativity and innovation can be practiced and improved upon systematically.A skill can be learned and practiced by applying your strongest learning styles. Want to know what your learning style is? Try this test. A skill can be measured and improved through a Feedback Loop, and can be continuously upgraded over time by regular practice. Through regular practice, your creativity goes through different stages of proficiency. This means that you can become more and more creative! If you never thought that creativity was relevant to you, or that you don’t have a knack for being creative… think again! You can use creativity in any aspect of your life. In fact you should use it, as it will allow you to to break through your usual loop, get you out of your comfort zone, and inspire you to grow and try new things. Creativity will definitely give you an edge when you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with new solutions.

Start Connecting the Dots

Excited to start honing your creativity? Here at Lifehack, we’ve got a wealth of knowledge to help you get started. We understand that creativity is a matter of connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value. So, if you want to learn how to start connecting the dots, check out these tips:

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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