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How to Become Successful 10 Times Easier: Don’t Focus on Improving Your Faults

How to Become Successful 10 Times Easier: Don’t Focus on Improving Your Faults

Watch enough nature documentaries, and you're bound to witness an apex predator singling out the sickest and the weakest prey. People seem to have a subconscious fascination with homing in on weaknesses in ourselves and others. Just like how we watch a lion attacks the slowest antelope, we sometimes watch as our self-doubt and negativity rip our dreams apart. We truly are our worst critics.

To be successful, you must resist the urge to focus on deficits and start capitalizing on your strengths.

Constructive feedback and a critical eye are great, but many of us spend too much time beating ourselves up over our faults. We need a paradigm shift. Concerning ourselves only with weaknesses breeds more weakness. Compulsive fault-finding is not an efficient self-improvement strategy.

Instead of spending time criticizing yourself, try to take an objective approach to understanding your personal journey. Performing a SWOT Analysis is a great way to retrain the way you think about yourself.[1]

  • S – Strengths. List areas in which you excel. What types of work do you find most rewarding, and what training do you have? If you are not sure about this, think about the types of things that others often ask you to do.
  • W – Weaknesses. What types of work do you dread doing? Are there things that you consistently avoid or put off until the last minute? Take note of training and skill deficiencies that you may have.
  • O – Opportunities. Name specific ways that you can work to grow. Do you have access to professional help? Can you take courses or get training to make your strengths stand out and overcome your weaknesses?
  • T – Threats. Insecurities, physical and mental health, and external forces such as cash flow can threaten your ability to focus and become the best version of yourself.

We all need to take stock of where we are in order to achieve success. Personal SWOT analysis can help us do that without becoming so bogged down in our weaknesses that we forget about all the great things we can do. Below is an example of how a personal SWOT analysis might look for an individual trying to land freelance marketing jobs.

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    By identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, our imaginary marketer can apply this knowledge to self-improvement and focus on his or her assets while maintaining realistic expectations. Notice that this person's opportunities didn't only include possible solutions to weaknesses, but also capitalized on strengths.

    Become an asset-based thinker to maximize your strengths.

    Develop a growth mindset and recognize that successful people are always striving for improvement.[2] You do have to consider weaknesses, but in some cases, you might be able to delegate tasks that aren't your strong suit to other people. For example, our freelance marketer who is a whiz at design but awful with social media could learn to navigate various social media platforms. He or she could also outsource the social media work to another person and focus solely on design.

    If you take a myopic approach to your life and focus only on weakness, you will only grow in the areas where you have identified a problem. When too much of your focus goes toward problems, you cripple your ability to fully make use of your strengths.

    For example, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has delighted fans from many countries around the world. J.K. Rowling, while brilliant, doesn't speak all 68 languages into which her work has been translated.[3] It wouldn't be a good use of her time to try to learn all those languages either. It is much more efficient for her to focus on the craft of writing and outsource the translations to many different translators.

    Of course, being multi-lingual is an excellent skill, and you shouldn't be afraid to learn new things. It's just that sometimes that cost of the skill you need to learn is too high to make it beneficial for you to learn it. Let someone else use their strengths in concert with your own so that you can both be happier and more productive.

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    Being successful is about working smarter and remembering these 5 things:

    1. Identify the things that you want to achieve.

    Set goals to define a path for yourself.[4]

    You have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. You decide that you would like to run your own business and break away from your 9 to 5 job in the next year.

    2. Figure out how your strengths can help you reach your goals.

    Those strengths that you defined with your SWOT analysis can serve as a road map for your future.

    Perhaps you are a gifted metalworker. You do some research and decide that you should go into business making art from metal. You decide that in the next six months you'd like to pull together the resources to leave your job and be a blacksmith full-time.

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    3. Focus on the skills that you need grow to develop your strengths.

    Instead of stressing out about the things you don't do well, put most of your energy into refining your unique talents.[5]

    Starting your own metalworking business is going to require you to learn some new things. You'll have to figure out where you can get materials to do this sort of work, and you'll need to learn how to build up a client base. In addition to practicing your metalworking, you'll have to spend some time networking. You have to do all of these things so that can afford to grow your metalworking skills.

    4. You may encounter obstacles along the way, and that's when you know which weaknesses to work on first.

    Weaknesses that interfere with your ability to achieve your goals need to be tackled head-on. You might do this through acquiring new skill sets or finding a colleague with strengths in areas that challenge you.[6]

    Imagine that your business is doing so well that you have to file quarterly taxes. You balk at this because you don't understand the tax code. Rather than waste time on taxes that you could spend crafting beautiful sculptures with your specialized skills, you hire a CPA. The CPA has a different set of specialized skills and knows how to make sure you comply with tax laws and get the maximum number of deductions.

    5. Always focus on enhancing your strengths.

    There are things that you can do better than anyone else. If you can find out what those things are, you can spend time working to make your best even better.[7]

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    You are already excellent at working with one kind of metal. To enhance your strengths, you might practice with different materials or find a mentor who can teach you new techniques. In this case, not knowing how to work with certain types of metal isn't really a weakness – it's just untapped potential.

    Don't let yourself drown in deficiencies.

    When you dwell on the negative, you don't give yourself a chance to shine. By becoming an asset-based thinker and appreciating your strengths, you can find success more easily. Instead of going down rabbit-holes to take on work that requires a specialist or beating yourself up over unchangeable aspects of your character, focus on maximizing your talents. Not only will you be more successful, but you'll be a lot happier too.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

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    Angelina Phebus

    Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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    Last Updated on March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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