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Published on October 2, 2018

11 Secrets to Becoming Successful at Anything You Can Imagine

11 Secrets to Becoming Successful at Anything You Can Imagine

You’re here because you want to be successful. But why aren’t you there yet? What is stopping you?

I’m here to tell you. Success is not by accident, far from it. But there are some proven ways to achieve it.

In this article, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you of finding out the 11 actionable steps you can take to become successful.

Once you follow these, you’ll not only become more successful, but be able to apply them to any goal you set for yourself.

So here are 11 secrets to becoming successful at anything you can imagine:

1. The Math Formula That Explains Success

There’s a really smart psychologist called Kurt Lewin who summarized why we act the way we do, through a simple formula.

I’m simplifying his theory, but the basic equation he came up with was:

P = F(P,E)

Translated, what he surmized was:

“Behaviour is a function of the person and his or her environment.”

Now academic theories are great but how does this equation help you?

Think of it this way. When you have a really important deadline, where are you more likely to be productive?

In a quiet room at your local library or sitting on the couch with the TV on?

Quite clearly, the former.

Where we are, affects the way we behave. Some places more so than others, but you get the idea.

What you should do now:

If you want to be successful, put yourself in environments that are likely to create the behaviours you want. Here’s some ideas:

  • If you want to get more in touch with religious or spiritual practices, go to a temple/place of worship once per week for 30 minutes and meditate there.
  • If you want to improve your strength and stamina, go to a gym class everyday instead of trying to workout at home on your own.

2. Create Your Own Success Formula

Have you ever started on a big goal or path, been really motivated but somewhere along the line – fallen off track?

One big mistake many people make that leads to falling off track is a lack of measuring their progress.

I used to do this a lot in the gym.

I’d spend hours and hours each week making the effort to get there and workout. I’d share the classic photo of me at the gym doing my workout – but you know the truth?

I wasn’t really feeling all that good about it!

Every time I stepped on the scales, I’d dread seeing the result. My progress was up and down and I didn’t understand why.

The fact was, I was leaving too many variables on the table. I failed to appreciate the importance of tracking.

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After working with a coach, I realized I needed to pay closer attention to my diet, workouts and sleep. I started tracking each one carefully and quickly noticed when I was eating too much, not lifting properly or getting enough sleep.

Previously, I would just walk into the gym, pick whichever weight I thought I’d bench pressed the week before or felt I could manage. It was completely random.

By tracking, I learned to ensure I was progressing 1% on the last time.

Can you guess what happened?

I progressed.

What you measure, you manage.

What you should do now:

Whatever it is you’re working towards, ask yourself – how can I track and measure my progress?

For example:

  • If you want to save money, track how much you are spending each week and how much you are saving. Aim to improve it by 5% each month.
  • If you want to learn an instrument, record a video each week of you playing the same song. Each week watch it back to see how you have progressed. Track how many hours you practice in a log.

3. The Key Habit That Multiplies Success

Measuring and managing your progress is important, but as one of my coaching clients once said: “In the absence of reflection, nothing changes”.

For example, let’s say you want to eat healthily and you start tracking your diet. You soon notice that you tend to overeat on weekends.

It’s great to track this but what are you going to do about it? What is the deeper underlying reason that you keep behaving this way?

When studying for my diploma in Neuro Linguistic Programming, one of the first things we learned was that every behaviour has a positive intention behind it.

We do things because they give us something in return. Uncover what those are.

What you should do now:

A powerful way to change unhelpful behaviours is to explore the intentions behind them. To look back and understand what is happening and what to do.

  • Each week, reflect and write down what you learned, what you avoided, and what you are going to change the next week.
  • Read books on self improvement, particularly in areas you wish to improve. For example, Brene Brown has great content on vulnerability.

4. A Simple Question That Doubles Your Commitment

This might surprise you. But are you trying to fail instead of succeed?

Often we fear committing fully to our success because we fear what it means to commit 100%.

One powerful idea I picked up (from Derek Sivers) was the concept of being a very clear absolute yes or an absolute no to things.

It’s a simple concept but one which creates immense clarity and saves you so much time and effort.

This creates space for two things to happen in your life:

The first is to avoid anything which is heavy and a chore. The second is to leave space and time for you to give everything to the things you are an absolute yes to.

Sometimes we do things half heartedly and this leads to stagnation and mediocrity.

But to succeed, you really do have to remain 100% committed in your intentions and actions.

What you should do now:

Ask yourself honestly:

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What are you an absolute yes to right now? And what things are an absolute no?

  • If you’re reading a book you don’t like, put it down and start reading something more useful or interesting to you. It’s okay to not finish a mediocre book!
  • If you’re in a job that you really dislike, stop trying to force it and accept that it’s an absolute no. Think through what an absolute yes might be and start adjusting to make it happen

5. Drastically Increase Your Brain Power

The hidden secret behind many successful people is that they are not successful on their own. They have advisors, coaches, family members, mentors all helping them along the way.

An unfortunate characteristic of our time is that we try to do things on our own too often. A much faster way however is to seek the counsel of wise people.

Who knows more than you? Who knows what works and doesn’t?

Find those people and ask them to share those fundamentals with you.

What you should do now:

For each area of your life that you wish to be successful in, come up with some ideas of who can help you along the way.

  • The first thing I would recommend is to hire an accredited and professional life coach. They can help you strategise better and achieve your goals faster than you would on your own.
  • If you want to learn a language faster, find a native speaker to tutor you once per week for 1 hour. It shouldn’t cost a lot and will speed up your progress a lot.
  • Subscribe to YouTube channels that share useful ideas and information. I’d also recommend others like TED talks, the SciShow, and Crash Course.

6. Pick Up the Right Mindset That Shapes Our Lives

What do the world’s top psychologists recommend when it comes to being successful?

Is there a way of thinking you could download that makes you 10x more likely to win?

The short answer, yes!

It’s called a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck, in her seminal work ‘Mindset’, shares countless examples of the two mindsets people generally have – a fixed or a growth mindset.

Individuals with a fixed mindset have a generally rigid perspective on their talents and abilities. They believe that their intelligence and talent is fixed. Genetic. Unchangeable.

Individuals with a growth mindset have an open, more hope filled perspective on their talents and capabilities. They believe that they can learn new things and improve at the areas they are weak on if they put the time in.

I’m sure you can guess which of the two is a marker of success.

The growth mindset.

By always seeking to learn, no matter the position, emotion or outcome you have in life – you are constantly gaining insights and experience.

Even if things don’t go as you wish, and you fail miserably, the individual with a growth mindset seeks to learn first, rather than succeed or fail.

Do you see how valuable this is? How do you stop someone who always learns and grows from any experience or setback?

What you should do now:

Focus your goals more on learning and development than simple success or failure.

For example:

  • If you’re fearful of public speaking, focus on how you can improve, rather than be perfect at it. What can you learn? Who from?
  • If you feel you are not a very confident person, focus on how you can model those who are. Every master was once a beginner. What could make you a bit more confident today?

7. Learn How Successful People Plan

I’m part of a private invite only mastermind group. Each week we share our insights, reflections and milestones with each other for accountability.

Instead of setting a vague goal far off in the horizon, we challenge each other to make them time bound and manageable.

Want to be a successful entrepreneur? OK, what is 10% of that goal being achieved? How do you know when you are at 50%? What are the steps to get there?

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A vague goal leads to procrastination and overwhelm.

By breaking your success down into clear steps and milestones, you allow yourself to celebrate the small wins along the way and feel more motivated.

Success takes longer than we think and this allows you stay focused along the way.

What you should do now:

Write your goals down and check if they are vague and general, or specific and time bound. Bring them closer to reality by setting them on a gradient. What is a clear sign of 10% progress being made?

  • If you want to be a successful YouTuber with 1 million subscribers – break it down. What does 5% look like? What do you need to do to achieve that? When?
  • Schedule these milestones into your diary so you don’t forget. Set up reminders everywhere so it’s not left to chance.

8. Understand the Benefits of Benevolence

I’ve broken down the 6 fundamental pillars of a meaningful life in one of my courses. One of them is contribution. It’s very easy to get stuck in the grind of our day to day.

And we all know that our existence is very fragile and limited. Who knows how much more time we have left?

So what are you leaving behind?

The money you’re making right now, what purpose does it serve beyond paying the bills?

What matters to you?

What you should do now:

Make a clear list on paper of causes you are interested in or care about. Research them and find some organisations or people to support.

This could be by:

  • Becoming an advisor and sharing your skills and expertise. In my company, we equip young people from low income backgrounds for life beyond the classroom. We have a group of experts on our advisory board who critique, challenge and support us. It helps us in a very meaningful way, and allows them to contribute too.
  • Making a monthly donation. Even something as small as $3/month, does make a difference.

#9. Don’t Work Hard (But Do This Instead)

The fact is you do have to work hard to achieve things in life. It takes long hours of work, over long periods of time.

But wouldn’t you much rather have fun and play, like you did as a kid?

One huge, secret hack I stumbled on early on in my career (with the help of a life coach I worked with) was playing over hustling.

I mistakenly believed I needed to work really really hard all the time to achieve success.

Don’t get me wrong. This is obviously true.

But in the back of mind it created a bit of resistance.

My to-do lists seemed endless. Just thinking about work drained my energy, let alone doing it.

So I did what so many of us do. Avoid, procrastinate, and delay.

Until I learned this little secret.

What if I replace the word ‘work’, and focused on ‘play’?

I wouldn’t see it as hard, face crunching work. I’d see what I do as a fun game I was trying to win at.

There would be no hustle. Just a curious kid (with a beard) on an adventure.

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What you should do now:

Where in your life are you making things mentally tiring and complex? How could you approach your work in a more playful and curious way?

For example:

  • If you want to build productive habits like journalling everyday. How could you make it more fun? Could you use glitter and crayons? Could you treat it like an art class in school?
  • One of my goals to be more active is to do 10,000 steps everyday. Sometimes, it seems like a chore. So I took my 5 year old niece with me and it immediately became a fun game of hide & seek.

10. Work Less But Do and Succeed More

Sorry to be cliche and quote Tony Robbins in my success article, but he said something powerful in a clip I saw recently:

Average people, major in minor things.

The moment I heard this, a surge of insight whizzed through my brain. Like all great ideas, it made total sense to me.

I kicked myself. If only I’d seen this sooner!

Which actions that I take, give me the biggest impact on my goal? What is easy to do, and achieves the most success?

What you should do now:

Not all action is created equal. Reviewing what you are doing, and where you spend most of your time in trying to achieve your goals.

For example:

  • If you’re trying to get lean and toned, what is the number one habit that has the biggest impact on your success?
  • If you’re trying to build a positive culture in your workplace, what simple thing can you do that has the greatest success?

11. Focus On Process, Not End Results

And finally, what if I told you success actually isn’t what you should aim for but something else instead?

I know, you’d be surprised right. Why would I dissuade you from trying to succeed?

Hear me out:

We focus on the success we want, and these are important – building a business, becoming healthier, more fulfilled, more positive etc.

However, these end outcomes will only keep us happy for so long. These things are not where your real value and growth lies.

By focusing on these end results, we dampen our efforts and become trapped in a fixed mindset of succeeding or failing. It sets you up for a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs.

Instead, what the world’s top performers realize is that it’s much better to focus on the quantity and repetitions – not the outcomes.

Writing 1 book every year is more important than the perfect bestselling book. Making 100 cold calls every day to your target customers is more important than the perfect pitch.

What you should next:

Instead of trying to craft the perfect habit or result. Focus on improving the process that creates those outcomes.

For example:

  • If you want to become a great midfielder in soccer, focus on improving your skills and technique everyday. Instead of dreaming about the perfect high paid contract.
  • If you want to launch an acclaimed business, focus on creating the small viable product and selling to 1,000 customers first. Instead of trying to craft the perfect product no one really wants.

Conclusion

If you want to become successful at anything you can imagine, follow these 11 steps:

  1. Be in the best environments possible.
  2. Track and measure your progress along the way.
  3. Reflect regularly on what is going well and what needs to change.
  4. Ensure you have done all you can to stay 100% committed. Be hell yes or no.
  5. Have experts and advisors around you to help.
  6. Cultivate a curious and open growth mindset where you are passionate about learning.
  7. Create clear milestones of progress so you stay motivated and focused.
  8. Give back and contribute to causes you care about to create a strong sense of purpose to your life.
  9. Focus on enjoying the journey and having fun along the way. Not just when you achieve “success”.
  10. Spend your time and energy on the fundamental things which bring the biggest rewards.
  11. Let go of perfect outcomes and pay attention to improving your process to success.

Follow these steps, practice them every day and measure your progress. Gradually you’ll get closer to success in anything you want.

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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Keshav Bhatt

Writer, Social Entrepreneur, Accredited Life Coach & NLP Practitioner

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Published on October 18, 2018

Why Am I so Depressed Lately? 4 Things That Are Secretly Baffling You

Why Am I so Depressed Lately? 4 Things That Are Secretly Baffling You

You can be feeling depressed without even knowing why. There’re different types of depressions and not all of them have an obvious cause that you can easily identify.

Our hectic life makes things go so fast that we don’t even realize we’re doing things that leave us feeling depressed. Or maybe we’ve gotten so used to our everyday life that we can’t notice what we’re doing doesn’t make us happy.

If you wonder why you’re feeling so depressed but can’t quite put your finger on why, then take a look at the list we’ve made over things that are secretly baffling you.

1. Isolation

Research shows that a lack of social connection can lead to a depression.[1] There are different types of isolation. If you’re not spending much time around people, but never had any problem with being alone before, this can still lead to a depression.

Even if you used to be happy with spending time on your own, this might change over time and could lead to you being depressed without knowing why.

Some people spend a lot of time around people at work or during social gatherings, but they can still feel alone and depressed. It’s possible to be around people, but still lack a social connection with them.

If you’re feeling depressed, then take a look at your social connections and consider how many people you really have around you. If you picked up the phone now and would call to ask for some help or just a normal honest conversation – how many could you call?

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It’s never too late to change things. If you’ve isolated yourself from good friends or family, try to reach out and see if things can be rebuilt. You can also try to engage yourself in a new activity where you’ll be able to meet some new people.

2. You can’t find meaning or purpose

It’s not only philosophers that spend time thinking about life and the meaning of it. When you were younger, you probably spent some time trying to figure out what you wanted out of life and what would give your life meaning. But as you’ve grown older, you’re just too busy with life that you forget all about it.

It can be hard to pin point your depression to a lack of meaning in your life. You can have a good family and a good job, but still walk around feeling depressed every day because deep down you have lost that connection with your original purpose and what you wanted in life.

Everyone finds meaning in different things. Some find it through work, relationships, helping others, learning or through creativity.

Take a step back and look at your life. What makes you happy? Do you remember what you originally felt was your purpose in life and are you living according to that still?

Maybe ten years ago, you thought you would find meaning in having a specific job, but now you realize that it’s not really what you want. Or maybe you went in another direction than you intended to, but you don’t feel fulfilled now.

It’s never too late to change things. Here’s the proof. Take some times to really look at your life and see if you can figure out some things that might look great on the surface, but is secretly suffocation you every day and ultimately making you unhappy and depressed.

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Ask a close friend or your family if they can help you see something you can’t, or just discuss it with a life coach.

3. Suppressed emotions

Everyone has primary and secondary feelings. The primary ones are feelings like sadness, anger or anxiety. The secondary feelings are the self-reflecting feelings we have about the primary feelings.

We may get sad about something, and then our secondary feeling will react to that sadness with a response. Maybe it will tell you that you shouldn’t feel sad, because it’s not a big deal. Or maybe you should feel something else because that emotion isn’t appropriate for that situation.

If we feel like our emotions aren’t right, then we’ll suppress them and that can lead to depression. Humans are the only ones that are able to get upset about being upset. We have another dimension to our brain that allows self-reflection.

Depending on how you grow up, we might be taught different values and were told that you shouldn’t be feeling certain emotions. It could be a teacher who told you only girls cry. It could come from some family values that you shouldn’t show others your anxiety or inner struggles.

These values have a way of sticking to us. If you get some primary feelings that don’t align with what you believe in, your secondary feelings will start to tear you apart from the inside and tell you that you shouldn’t allow yourself those emotions.

It can be hard to deal with suppressed emotions because you’re fighting against yourself; but it can be done.

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Start by figuring out why you’re upset about different stuff. Are you beating yourself up over stuff that aren’t even bad? Are you depressed but then tell yourself that you’re weak and you should just stop feeling so?

These suppressed emotions need to be dealt with out in the open. Try to take a look at yourself and see what you’re feeling and give yourself permission to feel these things. This might be enough for some and you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. But if you need help with this, seek out a therapist.

4. A critical inner voice

If you’ve ever been bullied or seen anyone be bullied on a daily basis, then you know how much this can take a toll on you and destroy your mood.

Now imagine this voice isn’t coming from the outside but is actually coming from yourself every day…

No one intentionally tries to pick on themselves, but a lot of us do it unconsciously. Maybe it started after a few mistakes or failures, or maybe you’re putting too much pressure on yourself.

It probably feels nothing at the very beginning, but if you slowly develop a critical inner voice and verbally attack yourself from the inside every single day, you’ll certainly end up feeling depressed.

It can be hard to recognize and diagnose this kind of depression because you can’t see how hard you are on yourself, and in this particular case – neither can the people around you.

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Start noticing your thoughts and how you view yourself closely. Are you putting a lot of pressure on yourself and feel really bad if you don’t live up to the expectations? Are you being over-critical all the time but have gotten so used to it that you don’t see it?

A critical inner voice can easily lead to depression. If you’re feeling depressed but can’t figure out why – then this might be the reason.

If you’re struggling with this, you can start out by writing down everything that runs in your head for one day, and then take a look at what you’ve written. Would you speak like that to someone else?

But sometimes, you do need another pair of eyes to help you. If your depression goes on and you can’t get rid of yourself, you should consider finding a therapist.

The bottom line

Depression is a mental sickness, so it’s important to take it serious and handle it. If you were really sick with the flu or had some back pain, you wouldn’t just ignore it and hope it went away. The same applies to depression. It won’t just go away unless you decide to deal with it.

Featured photo credit: Zohre Nemati via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: Connect To Thrive

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