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Published on December 18, 2020

Getting Ahead in Life: Top 7 Secrets of High Achievers

Getting Ahead in Life: Top 7 Secrets of High Achievers

The year 2021 is almost here. The new year will be a chance to start over after a tumultuous 2020 and reach new heights. Starting the year on the right foot will set the tone for your personal growth and great achievements and getting ahead in life.

To help you on your personal journey in 2021, look at those who have gone before you. These 7 secrets from high achievers lay out a blueprint you can follow to chase your own goals and start getting ahead come January.

1. Organize Your Efforts

The first step to great achievement is organizing your efforts. Every high achiever has their methods to concentrate their efforts, lay out goals, and execute plans. Poor organization, on the other hand, won’t get you nearly as far.

Getting organized in the first place is typically the most challenging part. Here are a couple of organizational methods you can try to help you get started:

Time Boxing

Organizing your time is incredibly important in your quest for success. By laying out your daily schedule, you ensure that you’re dedicating enough time to tasks and responsibilities that keep your life in order and help you reach your goals.

To implement time boxing, you need a calendar or planner. Digital options are quicker to update and adjust, but using paper will also work if that’s what you prefer. For each day, lay out the tasks and assignments you have. Dedicate a box of time for each one.

For example, you can start your day with some exercise. Create a time box from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. During this time, you focus on nothing but the task at hand until the box is over. In this case, you would focus completely on exercise without giving in to distractions until the clock strikes 8.

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Do this for your entire day and you’ll be able to create an efficient schedule that’s perfectly organized for your needs, responsibilities, and personal goals. Tweak it as you go along until you find the perfect personalized formula.

Pomodoro Technique

This time management technique puts a spin on time boxing. It focuses more on how you expend your energy while still being effective. It was developed by a man named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and is still used frequently today.

The Pomodoro technique works similarly to time boxing, but the time slots are smaller. You take a task that needs to be completed, like a term paper for your college English course. Set a time for 25 minutes (this is the recommended time, but you can change it how you’d like). Once the timer goes off, take a five-minute break, and then start again. After four cycles or Pomodoros, take a longer (10 minutes) break.

Adding breaks in intervals helps you focus on the task in front of you for those 25 minutes without distractions or interruptions. The extra focus helps you to work more effectively while still allowing for rest that prevents you from getting burnt out.

Daily Routines

Getting into your groove each morning sets the tone for a successful day. A proper morning routine followed by a nightly routine to wind down promotes steadiness and consistency, which aid you in your achievement efforts.

For example, a morning routine can consist of a regularly set alarm, workout regimen, and structured breakfast. Your nightly routine can include a personal activity to help you relax after the day’s labor and goals to promote productivity, such as staying off your phone right before bed.

As you settle into routines, you’ll improve your productivity habits in between. Your routines act like two strong bookends that keep the rest of the day in place. Getting ahead begins as soon as your alarm goes off.

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2. Know When to Give Up

You can’t win them all, and you shouldn’t expect to. You can learn a lot from missing the mark, but the important skill here is knowing when to throw in the towel. You can exert a lot of time and energy that would be better spent doing something else.

An example can be found in the form of musicians. Songwriters go through dozens of song ideas trying to find the perfect tune. Not all of them will make the cut. If they focus for too long on a project that’s going nowhere, their productivity will hit a wall and they won’t be able to release any new music.

By knowing when to give up, you open yourself to new opportunities to move forward. You prevent yourself from falling into a rut that stops you from becoming a high achiever.

3. Focus on Strengths

Even the most successful people aren’t good at everything. Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses to take into account. Maximizing your strengths while overcoming your weaknesses is a balancing act required for high achievers.[1]

Too many people get hung up on their weaknesses that they fail to capitalize on their strengths. Stick with what you’re good at and allow those skills and talents to lift you and help you get ahead.

Take professional athletes for example. Not every athlete can perform each facet of their sport at the highest level. Many of them became professionals because they focused on their strengths for the benefit of the team. Their teammates in turn cover their weaknesses with their own strengths, which is also what happens in families, work teams, and other organizations you’ll be a part of in life.

4. Ask for Help

You don’t have to do it all alone. You can still be labeled a high achiever even when you ask for help from others. This isn’t a sign of weakness. Asking for help is simply you recognizing that you can do more and go further with the help of others than you could on your own.

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You can ask for help in a variety of ways from a myriad of people. You can network with business professionals who can give you career advice or ask your family and friends to support you with a new business.[2] Getting ahead by yourself is unnecessarily difficult when there are people who can help you.

5. Learn the Importance of Hard Work

You can’t reach world fame simply by having a great idea or possessing incredible raw talent. Behind every genius, top-charting musician, and professional athlete is a person who spends hours each day perfecting their craft and putting in the work to succeed.

Unfortunately, you won’t wake up one day as a high achiever. Behind every success story, you’ll find countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears that led high achievers to where they stand today. To reach their level, you must be willing to put in that same effort.

Take a look at the Olympics held every four years. During these events is probably the first time you’ve seen or heard of any of the athletes competing. However, each one spent years practicing their sport to be able to perform on the largest stage of the competition.[3]

6. Take Care of Your Body

Another key to getting ahead in life is taking care of your body. You might look at high achievers and notice their net worth, brilliant minds, or trophy cases. What you might not notice immediately is that most, if not all of them, also take the time to care for their bodies.

As important as it is to pursue education, master skills, and attempt new things, none of that will matter as much if your body is falling apart. Proper diet, exercise, and sleep are all crucial for a well-maintained body.

Look at some of the greatest CEOs, and you’ll notice that many of them make sure they set aside time for daily exercise and do their best to get a good night’s sleep. Given how busy they are all the time, it should make quite a statement that they deem these things to be of utmost importance.

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Some people are born with or develop physical limitations that make it more difficult to maintain their bodies, needing medication, physical therapy, or other extra assistance than others. Don’t let this slow you down.

Look at some of these high achievers for inspiration:

  • Stephen Hawking – one of history’s most brilliant minds and world-class physicist who was confined to a wheelchair with limited mobility for most of his life
  • Stevie Wonder – a brilliant musician and performer without sight
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt – served as President of the United States despite difficulties with polio

These are just some of many motivating examples you can find of humankind becoming high achievers regardless of their limitations.

7. Make Sacrifices

You can’t reach the top without making sacrifices along the way. You have to give up those guilty pleasures every once in a while, like fast food, sleeping in, and those extra episodes of late-night binge-watching. High achievers drop these conveniences to accomplish their lofty goals.

While sacrifices will need to be made, don’t neglect yourself of life’s joys entirely. You should still maintain happiness and mental well-being on your journey to becoming a high achiever. So while you may need to cut back on some things, a few TV shows and large fries here and there can be justified.

Final Thoughts

There you have it—the 7 secrets of high-achievers. You can use these tips so you can start getting ahead in your life. Ready to achieve your highest potential? The secrets are out. Now it’s up to you to put in the effort and make your dreams a reality.

More Tips on Getting Ahead in Life

Featured photo credit: Emma Simpson via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Kimberly Zhang

Kimberly Zhang is the Chief Editor of Under30CEO and has a passion for educating the next generation of leaders to be successful.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2021

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

How to Overcome Fear and Find Success (The Ultimate Guide)

Take a moment and imagine what your life would be like if you had no fear. What would you do if you knew how to overcome fear? It’s not difficult to imagine that it would alter your life significantly.

I believe that fear is the single biggest obstacle that holds people back from fulfilling their potential and becoming the best version of themselves. Fear of failure, fear of abandonment, fear of success, fear of not being good enough

The question is, where does it come from?

Neuroscientists claim that humans are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of our ability to learn, think, and create fear in our minds. We scare ourselves by imagining the worst possible outcomes, assuming that we are protecting ourselves from imminent danger.

You make the choice to be a victim of your fear and anxiety or to push them aside and be courageous.

In this article, we’ll look into the root cause of fear and how to conquer fear to realize our potential.

What Is Fear, Really?

This acronym best reflects what fear is[1]:

Learn how to overcome fear with the fear acronym

    Fear is an emotion created by your mind based on real or imagined threats. Fear may be completely founded in reality, or not. It may also manifest as anxiety disorders in some cases, as anxiety is based on worries or fears about the future.

    These imagined scenarios of perceived threats end up feeding your fear to the point where it becomes all-consuming. Often, these scenarios never happen.

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    The real issue is not the fear itself, but rather how we hold it in our minds.

    How to Overcome Fear

    Overcoming fear may sound easier said than done. When you are in the thick of fear, it’s hard to see a way out. The good news is that, because you are the root cause of your fears, you are also the solution to them.

    1. Identify Your Fears Through Writing

    There are times when I’ve felt afraid but couldn’t identify why. If you keep your fears inside, you allow your mind to control how you feel.

    In order to prevent this confusion from happening in the first place, identify what your fears are before moving on to learning how to deal with fear.

    What makes you feel afraid?

    Instead of just thinking about these things, write them down. When you write down your fears on paper and actually question them, it forces you to analyze why you are afraid. Questions are designed to trigger your fears and bring them to the surface.

    This isn’t a comfortable process, but deep inner work never is. However, if you continue to keep your feelings in the dark, the scarier they will be, and the more disempowered you will become.

    Once you identify the type of fear and the experience that you associate with your fears, you become armed with the power to take action to change them. Eventually, your fears become smaller and smaller, and your strength gets bigger and bigger.

    As you’re identifying what your fears are, you can try Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment. It will help you identify which areas may be causing you more fear and which you can fall back on as strengths.

    2. Practice Gratitude

    If you want to learn how to overcome fear, gratitude is key. From personal experience, I have learned that it’s difficult to experience fear and gratitude at the same time. They are literally on opposite ends of the continuum of the human experience.

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    When you are experiencing difficult times in life, it’s easy to drop into fear and overwhelm. In that energetic space, it can be hard to stay grounded.

    Developing a gratitude practice allows you to not drown in fear. It doesn’t mean that you won’t still feel it, but the blow will be lessened, thereby allowing you to see the brighter side of struggle.

    In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their physical and mental health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships[2].

    Anyone who experiences fear knows that there is almost always a story attached to whatever it is that you’re fearful of.  Fear loves to hang out with your inner critic and come up with worst-case scenarios about what could happen.

    Gratitude helps keep these limiting stories at bay when you’re learning how to overcome fear. When you practice gratitude, your brain shifts to what is currently working instead of what isn’t working.

    The act of being fearful is a future-oriented process, while gratitude is a present-oriented one. The next time that fear tries to creep its way into your head, replace that disempowering thought with an empowering one.

    You can learn more about how to replace fear based practices with more positive ones in this video:

    3. Release Control

    Being a control freak is how a lot of people manage their fears, or so they think. Unfortunately, control has no place on the path to learning how to overcome fear.

    In actuality, all that they are doing is masking their fears by trying to control everything. If you can relate, it’s time to release control. Trust me when I say that this is a losing battle.

    Fear results in controlling behavior, and when this behavior doesn’t give us the results we’re seeking, it further intensifies our fears.

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    In your attempt to control fear, you actually become a victim of it. This fear and control cycle leaves a lot of people feeling defeated. The reality is that there will always be things that are far beyond your control.

    The only way that we can move past needing to be in control is to accept that it is not always up to us. While you may be in control of your decisions, you don’t always have control over situations that you are pushed into, nor can you control how others react.

    The only thing that you have control over is your inner world and how you choose to respond to your external environment. The next time you catch yourself trying to control everything, step back and ask yourself what you are afraid of.

    Start to get curious about what thoughts are generating your fear. Curiosity and fear don’t like to co-exist. Once you let go of one, you invite the other in, which will help as you learn how to get rid of fear.

    True freedom comes from fully releasing control. When you are able to do this, you begin the process of releasing your fears as well.

    4. Recite Positive Affirmations

    Positive affirmations can be used to combat almost any negative thought pattern, which can be very helpful when you want to learn how to overcome fear. Using them to help challenge your fears can help retrain your brain and have your fears reframed as powerful statements.

    Research shows that you can actually train your subconscious mind such that it will help you to attract exactly what you desire in life[3].

    Instead of saying “I am afraid of doing this because I might fail,” look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am prepared for this, I am ready, and I will not fail.”

    The more you use positive affirmations, the stronger they become. The best way to cancel a negative belief is to develop its positive counterpart.

    Commit to making positive affirmations a key component of your morning ritual. It literally takes one thought, repeated over and over again, to set you on the path to transforming your entire life.

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    Here are more positive affirmations you can try: 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life

    5. Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

    Living in your comfort zone will get you nowhere in life, and it certainly won’t help you learn how to overcome fear. In my experience, not doing the things that scare you will only increase the likelihood that your fears will grow and inevitably take over every decision that you make.

    I want to encourage you to do one thing every day that scares you. It can be something small. All that matters is that you take action. Make it a habit to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

    Putting yourself in new and uncomfortable situations triggers a unique part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s make-you-happy chemical. Here’s the mind-blower: that unique region of the brain is only activated when you see or experience completely new things[4].

    When you condition yourself to do something every day that scares you, your fear fades away, and your courage grows. Think about it…when you face your fears, how can you fear them again? Soon enough, your confidence will skyrocket.

    Final Thoughts

    The next time that you feel threatened by fear, I encourage you to pull upon one or more of the above strategies. Change your relationship with fear. Instead of letting it knock you down, use it as motivation to grow and achieve more.

    Once you recognize that fear is not real, the obstacles that appear to stand in your way will be removed, and you will feel empowered to take action.

    Your potential in life is limited by only one factor: you. Are you ready to transform fear into action?

    More on How to Overcome Fear

    Featured photo credit: Jonathan Klok via unsplash.com

    Reference

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