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Last Updated on February 25, 2018

Being a Leader Is Overrated: Find Your Unique Superpower

Being a Leader Is Overrated: Find Your Unique Superpower

Having interviewed hundreds of candidates, I heard similar patterns when it came to career goals. Many people talked about wanting to be leaders or managers when talking about future aspirations, yet when asked why, the answers were pretty disappointing.

Most people responded with a general view that they’d just like to be some kind of leader or even that they should become a leader because that is seen as the epitome of success in some way.

Leadership roles are mistakenly seen as superior to others

Leadership doesn’t automatically mean you’re successful. Leadership roles are mistakenly seen as superior to others, yet a leader is primarily someone who coordinates, directs projects and allocates resources. Yes, this is an important role but just being in this role doesn’t equate success, rather it’s what you achieve in this role.

Becoming a leader doesn’t necessarily make you successful

Think of Adolf Hitler. You may consider him a skilled politician who psychologically succeeded at spurring and manipulating the emotions of an entire country, but he wasn’t a great leader as he essentially led people to make the world a worse place.

Being a leader isn’t always the easiest path to success as we believe it is

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    With leadership comes pressure and sometimes unrealistic expectations from others. Therefore it isn’t always the easiest path to success as we believe it is. When we recall past and current world leaders, most are considered bad, incompetent or manipulative.

    Think of highly successful people like the author JK Rowling or basketball player Stephen Curry. Both are highly skilled in their profession (in fact, both have become the top 1% in their field) but they don’t necessarily know anything about leadership showing that leadership shouldn’t be automatically considered ‘success’.

    Without followers, this world would essentially be doomed

    In society, leaders are important. They are needed to create efficiency and organisation within a structure. But still, even without leaders, as humans, we are able to still survive without them albeit less efficiently.

    But without followers, this world would essentially be doomed. The success and sustentation of our world come from the hard work of experts who do the real work. These are the ones creating, expanding and improving our society. If everyone was a leader, we’d end up creating nothing.

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      Using our strengths to create success: the 16 Personalities model

      We all have our own unique talents and it’s using these to our advantage that will truly make us successful.

      Looking at the 16 personalities model [1], we can see that each personality type is represented by a certain role and set of strengths that can be applied in the right way to create success. In other words, anyone can flourish and be successful if they apply their traits well and, more often than not, this doesn’t include any type of leadership.

      Take the personality type INFP or ‘mediator’ – these people tend to be creative, compassionate and charitable. While these attributes don’t immediately spring to mind as obvious skills for success, both Shakespeare and J.R.R Tolkien fall into this personality type and we all know how successful they ultimately became.

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      Take the 16 Personalities Test to identify your own strengths

      For some of us, our strengths or weaknesses aren’t always obvious and when it comes to our careers, knowing what these are can help figure out what path would suit us best. Taking the 16 Personalities Test can help you do this by answering a set of questions that best sums up the type of person you are and where your strengths lie.

          The SWOT Analysis Technique

          Another technique you can use to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are, and use them to your advantage in your career, is the SWOT analysis.

          SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

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            A crossover strategy is used to analyze where your strengths and weaknesses can help maximize or minimize opportunities and threats. In other words, how your strengths can maximize opportunities and minimize threats, while finding out how your weaknesses can be minimized using opportunities and how you can minimize your weaknesses to avoid threats.

            This process helps you identify opportunities and threats early so you can thrive in your career.

            Analyzing yourself is the key to becoming successful. The general consensus tends to point towards leadership as the ultimate way of succeeding in any given career but this isn’t the case. Everyone has different personality traits that don’t necessarily make good leaders, yet utilizing your strengths correctly can bring you the success you deserve.

              Photo credit: Source

              Reference

              [1]16 personalities: Personality Types

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              Leon Ho

              Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

              You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

              Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

              When you train your brain, you will:

              • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
              • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
              • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

              So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

              1. Work your memory

              Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

              When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

              If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

              The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

              Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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              Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

              What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

              For example, say you just met someone new:

              “Hi, my name is George”

              Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

              Got it? Good.

              2. Do something different repeatedly

              By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

              Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

              It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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              And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

              But how does this apply to your life right now?

              Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

              Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

              Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

              So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

              You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

              That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

              3. Learn something new

              It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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              For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

              Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

              You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

              4. Follow a brain training program

              The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

              5. Work your body

              You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

              Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

              Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

              Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

              6. Spend time with your loved ones

              If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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              If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

              I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

              7. Avoid crossword puzzles

              Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

              Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

              Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

              8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

              Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

              When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

              So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

              The bottom line

              Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

              Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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