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Last Updated on July 4, 2017

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

    More by this author

    Angelina Phebus

    Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

    Foods That Can Suppress Appetite And Help With Weight Loss Quality or Quantity? Why Don’t You Sleep On It What it Feels Like To Be The Child of Your Children? Pick Your Job Based On What You Love To Do, Not How Much You Have Invested In. How to Become Successful 10 Times Easier: Don’t Focus on Improving Your Faults

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    How to Fight Information Overload

    How to Fight Information Overload

    Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

    This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

    As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

    What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

    1. Set your goals.
    2. Decide whether you really need the information.
    3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

    But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

    The Nature of the Problem

    The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

    When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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    No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

    That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

    Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

    Why information overload is bad

    It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

    Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

    The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

    You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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    So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

    1. Set your goals

    If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

    Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

    Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

    Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

    2. What to do when facing new information

    Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

    First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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    If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

    And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

    You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

    3. Minimal Effective Dose

    There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

    Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

    4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

    Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

    This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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    Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

    In Closing

    As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

    Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

    (Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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