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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 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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