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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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    Last Updated on May 23, 2019

    Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

    Ditch Work Life Balance and Embrace Work Life Harmony

    How do you usually go about your day?

    Do you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, and then spend the whole day looking forward to being at home and unwinding?

    We often hear about work life balance – having a good balance between work and personal time. Whilst this may sound like a smart idea, it can also imply that we should dedicate at least half of our time to work–and sacrifice time for our “personal life”.

    To me, that seems…off balance. Because, the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to split your time equally between the two. And, you may end up stressing out if you’re not able to meet that expectation of balance.

    Instead, why not think of having work life harmony instead?

    With this mindset, you can actually integrate work into your life in a way that feels more complete. This way, you don’t need to view work and having personal time as separate.

    So, how do you achieve work life harmony?

    Work Life Harmony Explained

    The difference between work life balance and work life harmony is pretty simple. With the former, there is an implication that you have to sacrifice your “life” for work. But, this is the worst way to go about things! How can you truly be at peace in life if you dread 8 hours of your day?

    Work life harmony on the other hand, allows your work to be a part of your life. This means that you can choose to be happy both at home, and at work! Work no longer needs to be seen as the ‘bad’ or un-fun activity.

    Having work life harmony also ensures you’re truly present in whatever place you find yourself.

    Just take a look at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon for example.

    He uses a non traditional approach to work by making time for breakfast every morning with his family, doesn’t set his alarm before going to bed, schedules surprisingly few meetings, and still puts aside a few minutes every day to wash his own dishes.

    He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.

    As the world’s richest man, he must be doing something right!

    Rethink Time Management

    Now, when we think of striking a balance, we usually associate it with time, don’t we? How much time are we spending at work versus how much time are we spending in our personal lives?Are we taking enough time to be with our loved ones, to do meaningful activities with others or even for ourselves, or are we just dedicating all our time to work?

    This is the so-called-balance that many struggle with.

    With work life harmony, we learn to rethink time management. By re-assessing how you manage your time, you’ll have a lot more of it. It’s incredible how much time can get wasted over the period of a day–especially when you’re not accurately tracking it.

    Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls when it comes to prioritizing. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

    As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefit; when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is otherwise known as Priority Chaos.

    In order to overcome this and be in better control of your time, identify the tasks that need the most focus to get accomplished. If it’s a big task, then it’s good to break it down into smaller bite-sized actions that will provide you with a clearer short term benefit.

    When setting up tasks, give yourself a time limit. The brain has a bias towards short term benefits, and your attention span is limited, so if your tasks are going to take ages to complete, you’ll end up losing focus… and wasting time.

    Once you have all your tasks written down, it’s time to prioritize them. Since you have a time limit, your focus should be on the top priority tasks. By doing this, you will already be able to get more done in less time at work!

    Have Passion for What You Do

    Managing your time is important in achieving that work life harmony. But, perhaps of greater importance, is loving what you do in life. One of the most effective ways to achieve a work life harmony is to really enjoy, or find a purpose, in what you do for a living. Even though everyone isn’t always lucky enough to find a position that pays them for pursuing their passion, you can strive to find meaning in what you are already doing, or pursue something new entirely!

    For example, say you work at an office that sells paper. While many people wouldn’t consider this a world changing pursuit, I beg to differ. Think of all the individuals in the world that rely on paper. From creative types to quantum physics experts, your role at your workplace brings incredible value to many many people all over the world. You will have, without a doubt, helped bring a new idea into existence. Several new ideas to be precise.

    So have a think about what you’re doing now. Is it something that allows you to embrace your passion?

    Or perhaps you might not even know what it is that you love or enjoy doing. Why not explore and reflect on what gives you joy and contentment? Is there an area or industry that you could see yourself exploring to experience that fulfillment?

    Can you find a deeper purpose in what you’re already doing?

    When you’re able to find meaning in your work, you’re that much closer to achieving work life harmony.

    Don’t Be Intimidated By Obstacles and Limitations

    Creating work life harmony is also about understanding yourself–which includes your limitations and past obstacles–as this allows you to become more resilient.

    If you never had to experience struggles, challenges or setbacks, then you would never be forced to adapt and mature. So in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually quite necessary.

    Most of us think of setbacks and obstacles as negative. Though, if you’re able to maintain an optimistic attitude, you’ll almost always have a higher chance of success of overcoming those obstacles to reach your eventual goal.

    Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge or remain stuck in it. So, in order to achieve work life harmony, it’s important to have a resilient attitude as challenges will always come your way–especially when you strive to integrate work into your life, and not a separate or dominant part of life.

    Delegate When You Need To

    Of course, when you want to increase productivity and minimize the time or effort spent, a great way to do so is to delegate!

    If you spend a lot of time doing tasks on your own that could be delegated to others (whether at work or at home) you’re losing a lot of precious free time that could otherwise be spent elsewhere.

    At the end of the day, we all have a limited amount of time. So we should all be striving to create a harmonious work and living situation where we can find meaning in all that we do.

    While an overall goal may be meaningful, not all of the milestones or tasks needed to get there may be meaningful. That’s because we have our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Not every task is going to be enjoyable or easy to complete. That’s where delegation comes in.

    Delegation simply allows you to leverage time from an external source, thus giving you opportunities to increase your own quality of time. Keep in mind that delegation should be done with deliberate attention, otherwise you may end up over relying on others.

    If you find that you’re running into the problem of over delegating, then it may be time to re-evaluate your motivation for doing whatever it is that you’re doing.

    Embrace the Circle and Become Happier and More Productive

    Living in harmony is about feeling good about the ways in which you spend your time, despite how busy you may be.Your switch from work mode to a more personal mode should be effortless. It’s about integrating your personal life and the things you love into your busy work life!

    It all begins with the shift in perspective. Understanding what your passions are, and learning to be resilient, before taking a different approach to the way you manage your time and everyday tasks.

    These are steps that you can start taking to move away from balance to harmony. 

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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