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10,000 Bitcoins Could Buy Two Pizzas in 2010: You Can Never Taste the True Value If You Give up Too Early

10,000 Bitcoins Could Buy Two Pizzas in 2010: You Can Never Taste the True Value If You Give up Too Early

Sir Thomas Allen, the performer who inspired the Billy Elliot story, is an opera singer who is famous for his outstanding vocal and acting prowess on the operatic stage. He was born in a working-class mining town in north-east England, where most people grew up to become a miner or involve in heavy industry at that time. Growing up in a community where a career in the arts was not looked upon, he had to deal with peer pressure and criticisms from neighbors. He could have just given up and led the same career like others did, but he worked even harder to become a great opera singer.[1]

All successful people have to overcome numerous disappointments and failures in life – yet it’s usually only their successes that are celebrated and remembered by the public. Seeing only the positive sides of successful people is an illusion.  It causes expectations of success in an unrealistically short time, and creates a negative bias towards our own results in life.

The Want for Instant Results Is Inborn

The desire for instant results began when we were just babies. By simply crying loud enough, babies could get attention, food – or someone to play with. As babies got older, the expectation of having their needs instantly fulfilled never really went away. In truth, even adults seek instant rewards, but the methods have just changed from crying to be fed to heading to the nearest fast food outlet.

It’s the same with information. Years ago, to properly research a subject, you would have spent hours or days perusing the reference section at your local library. Nowadays, due to the power of the internet, you expect online search results to instantly display on your device.

Sure, fast food outlets and the internet have some positive benefits. But if you’re not careful, they can also lead you into a mental trap — always wanting to see results appear as rapidly as possible.

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Sadly, not everything can be as instant as eating fast food. Some things in life take time.

For example, instead of persevering with a challenging job, you might decide to quit it, and take something easier to handle. You may tell yourself that the new job will offer some decent opportunities for growth, but in reality, you’ve most likely just taken the easy way out.

As you’ll see next, expecting instant results is likely to cause you to skid off the road that leads to big success.

Things Never Get Easier When You Switch to Others

Now, don’t get me wrong. I realize that it’s tough to spend all your time and effort on something, and not to see any immediate results. It can be disheartening. And when this occurs, it’s easy to just switch to doing other things (especially with so many options being available in today’s world).

But in fact, the idea that things will get easier and better because of switching to other things is a fantasy. Sure, the instant pleasure of giving up for another option might feel good at first, but unless it’s moving you forward to a bigger goal, then it may actually be hindering you. By taking a short-term benefit, most people end up sacrificing their long-term goals and happiness.

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Bottlenecks and problems are everywhere. Even if you switch from one goal to another, you’ll still be constantly faced with challenges and difficulties. They never go away. So it’s better to stick to your guns – rather than throwing them away every time you hit a bad patch.

Right after I founded Lifehack, things were not so smooth. I did my very best to ensure a stable web server and a reader-friendly website layout. I also spent a lot of effort on high quality productivity articles. But I didn’t see a lot of rewarding results. There were only a few readers and some even left comments criticising my work. I was frustrated, and there were people telling my to quit, offering me job opportunities as a senior engineer or a manager. There were so many options available to me, and giving up seemed so easy. But if I gave up right there based on the results at that time, Lifehack wouldn’t be what it is today.

How to Resist Giving Up

It’s not easy to resist the desire for instant results making us want to give up, but here’s what I’ve been doing to stay motivated – and it always works.

1. Widen your perspective and draw out the big picture in your head

Realize that we only see a big fluctuation at the moment issues arise – but we’re probably missing the big picture.  Journeys to major successes are likely to be long and time-consuming. If we reach a disappointment during the journey, it’s most likely to only be a small dip on an upward-trending pathway.

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    Accept that you’ll constantly be presented with examples of people around you getting awards, receiving applause, looking successful, etc. This is really tough, but try to celebrate their success, rather than letting it remind you of your failures.

    You’ll know that you’re making headway once you’ve learned to experience every day as just part of a longer journey.

    2. Put the incremental progress before your eyes

    You may not have been taught this at school, but lasting progress is typically only made through incremental steps.  American author Robert Collier described this principle well: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

    To keep yourself on track for long-term success, adopt this formula: Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = Radical Difference [2]

    • Small, Smart Choices. Take big tasks and break them into smaller components. This is a great technique to use when you feel that you’re not making any progress. Take painting a room, for example. Just the thought of doing it might be enough to prevent you from starting. However, if you make an effort to paint one of the walls, you’ll likely find the motivation and desire to finish painting the whole room.
    • Consistency. Make everyday’s small choices count. For example, are you using your mornings to be productive? Many successful people work on their health and fitness before breakfast. Whether they choose to run around a local park, or exercise at a gym, they have made a habit of putting their physical strength and stamina to the top of their daily to-do list.
    • Time. Progress takes time. The small and smart choices you make every day will be accumulated into something great in a month, and a year. For example, if you run for 4km every day, it’ll become 120km every month, and 1460km every year — that’s a lot of running in a year.

    If you only focus on the outcome you want, you may have difficulty visualizing the progress you’ve made so far. To overcome this, always keep a record of what you’ve done and celebrate small wins.

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    Take running as an example again.  Say you can only run for 2km in your first week.  By the end of it, you can barely catch your breath, and 4k seems like 40km.  But Time and Consistency accumulates results.  After a week, your steps become lighter and your breath comes easier and there you go, you can run for 3km after the second week.  That extra 1km is a small win that you should celebrate.

    By doing this, you give yourself feedback and recognition that can help you to stay driven and on track. As already mentioned, difficulties will appear on your journey towards success. However, by recognizing your small wins, this will keep you from falling into the ‘no results now’ trap.

    It’s a Continuous Battle

    It may look like it’s easier to switch to something else at that moment, but in fact it only makes the future path even more difficult.

    All successful people have gone through a lot of tough times to become what they are today. If you want to become successful, put my advice into action and you will be resistant to giving up.

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Secrets to Organizing Thoughts and Ideas (So You’ll Never Lose Ideas!)

    Secrets to Organizing Thoughts and Ideas (So You’ll Never Lose Ideas!)

    Have you ever become aware of your thoughts? I mean truly aware. If so, you’ll probably have noticed that they’re disordered, disorganized and racing rapidly around your mind. Imagine if you could harness this and control it for your benefit!

    This article aims to give you advice on organizing thoughts and ideas, providing you seven tools to help you decrease the chances of losing your ideas and make the most of them.

    It’s helpful to think of each point as successive steps along the way. Here’re 7 simple steps you should start trying on how to organize your thoughts:

    1. Keep a notebook in your car

    Ideas seem to be able to come at any time. You need to be ready for this. As such it can be a great idea to keep notebooks in places where inspiration may appear.

    It’s as the film maker Noah Baumbach once said

    “I find a lot of writing happens when you’re not actually at the computer. So I carry a notebook”

    Your car is a prime location to keep one.

    Suddenly grabbing a notebook when driving can be extremely dangerous however. So if you have a method to record your voice while driving this is a great and safe substitute.

    Alternatively, just keep driving until you find a safe place to pull over and write your idea down.

    2. Keep a pen and paper on your bedside table

    You probably know that your dreams aren’t just randomly occurring, each dream we have can tell us something about our subconsciousness, the meanings behind our thoughts and feelings.

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    Therefore it can be a good idea to be aware of your dreams, and with it, write down anything significant about them that springs to mind.

    Our dreams are easily forgot, therefore keeping a notebook can be a great way to harness your mind when it’s at this extremely creative period.

    Even when you’re not dreaming, lying down trying to sleep can often let your mind wander freely bringing your ideas to focus.[1] This can be quite annoying if you’re actually trying to sleep.

    Keeping a notebook beside your bed can both help you note down your ideas ensuring you won’t forget them. As you’ve written you idea down, you don’t need to waste your energy trying to ensure you remember them. This might help you get to sleep faster.

    3. Don’t organize the ideas as you jot them down at first

    When you’re writing down your ideas, it can be tempting to ensure they’re written in an organized, ordered fashion. Fight this urge.

    When you’re noting your ideas, you might find more and more ideas come at you. Taking time to ensure they’re immediately well organized can slow you down.

    Look at the following picture:

      It’s a mess of hastily written thoughts and crossed out ideas. The notebook above belonged to Mark Twain, one of the most important American writers of all time.

      Take a look at the following too:

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        This one seems to have no control or order at all. It belonged to Kurt Cobain.

        Both of the above messy notebooks belonged to some truly visionary and brilliant creatives. Looking at their notebooks, it is clear that their focus was on the ideas themselves and not how they appeared on the page.

        I’m not saying that they should always be disorganized. You might find this will be unhelpful in the long run.

        By all means, come back to your notes and organize them. But this shouldn’t be your priority at first.

        4. Compile your ideas in one place (e.g. use apps like Evernote)

        All of the points above are about the vital moments to catch and keep an idea before it goes. However, that isn’t enough. Your ideas need to be easily accessible.

        As such, it is a great idea to keep your notes and ideas in a single place.

        It’s great having all of your ideas down. But having them written in different places or formats can become a hindrance.

        Copy your notes and have them in a single location. This can be a separate notebook but there are a number of great Apps which allow you to keep and store your notes right on your computer or smartphone. I recommend Evernote.

        You might find ideas written in one place relate to another one written. Plus revisiting your notes can be a great way to bring them back to your mind, perhaps inspiring more and better ideas.

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        5. Organize your ideas

        Now that your ideas are compiled, it’s time to organize them in a way that is helpful and easy to understand.

        One quick and easy way to organize your ideas is to categorize them.

        You might have noticed some of your ideas are linked or related thematically. Consider what links them them note them under this idea. If you have many ideas, you could even make subcategories.

        For example, if you’re a fiction writer, you could group some of your ideas under “Stories” and the form you think the story should be told: a drama script, a novel, or short story etc. Then with separate subgroups for genre such as historical fiction or sci-fi.

        With this, you can develop on ideas in a way that is quick and efficient.

        6. Kill your darlings

        Once you’ve got all your ideas written down and organized. It’s time for the real work to begin — to figure out what ideas to keep and what ideas to get rid of.

        “Kill your darlings” is an important advice for writers. It means that you have to get rid of your most “precious” ideas and words.

        Not all ideas are equal. In your notes, there could be a truly brilliant original idea but the chances of them all being like this are unfortunately slim. There is no point wasting your time on an idea that will never work.

        Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell which of your ideas are great and which are not. Trusting your gut can be a good way, talking to people about your ideas and seeing how they react can also be a good idea.

        If you aren’t sure how to decide if an idea is good enough, take a look at this guide:

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        5 Ways To Find Out If Your Idea Is Worth Pursuing

        Remember to get rid of your emotions surrounding your ideas and approach them in an honest and objective way.

        Once you’ve trimmed your ideas down to the very best, you can work on making them a reality.

        7. Make your ideas actionable

        You could have an amazing idea for something but if you don’t work on your ideas, nothing happens.

        You need to start making your ideas a reality. Make them actionable.

        A great way to do this is to approach each idea in turn and ask yourself the following questions:

        • How can I make this relevant to my everyday life?
        • Which ideas would be most beneficial to act on today and why?
        • Is there a common theme emerging here? If so, how could I combine these ideas together to make them more powerful?

        These questions enable you to work out which idea is most actionable and what idea you should first start working on.

        With the above seven steps in mind, you’ll be able to master your ideas making potential.

        With them, your thoughts and feelings can be utilized to boost your productivity.

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

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