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Want to Make Yourself a Gazillion Times More Interesting — and Successful?

Want to Make Yourself a Gazillion Times More Interesting — and Successful?

Something amazing happened in American politics in 1992. A young man, nearly unknown on the national political scene, beat out the entire establishment to become president. One reason voters rallied behind the unproven Bill Clinton: he seemed cool. Commenting on candidate Clinton’s saxophone performance on The Arsenio Hall Show just before the election, comedian Dennis Miller made a brilliant observation: “I think the American people found it refreshing that we finally had a politician who could f#@*ing do something.”

Miller was joking. But he was onto something.

What do you think of when I say “politician?” Let me guess: someone older, probably a man, probably a lawyer, wearing a suit and tie, speaking a string of clichés most likely in a monotone voice. Am I close?

Most politicians don’t do anything besides politics. They make speeches. They campaign. They look the same, sound the same and walk the same. Before running for this office, they held that office. They’re one-dimensional. But not Bill Clinton. That guy plays the sax!

Most of us spend most of our time devoted largely to one pursuit—our career, our business, our art. And that’s great. But what about all of the interests we don’t pursue—adventurous hobbies, intellectual endeavors—because they have little or nothing to do with our primary focus in life? Would these pursuits distract us from our big goals? Or might they actually enhance them?

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Bill Clinton made himself a gazillion times more interesting—and successful—than most politicians in part because showed us he had pursuits outside of politics, pursuits that gave him a fresh perspective, a different way to look at things from the typical political lifer. It worked for Clinton, and it can work for you.

Here are three huge benefits of adding new pursuits to your life.

1. Broadening your interests makes you more interesting.

Have you ever had the experience of working with someone for a while—say, a sales rep at your company—and then later learning about a whole new side to that person? A whole other life they’re living? It makes the person much more interesting, doesn’t it?

Maybe you find out your sales rep is a former state tennis champion, or that he writes songs or studies astronomy in his spare time. The details don’t matter. What matters is, you used to see the rep as a one-dimensional figure. But now he’s a full-fledged person, three-dimensional, interesting.

2. Broadening your interests can make you more successful.

For a while I worked as a writer (first full-time, then as a remote freelancer) for a wonderful software training company called lynda.com. This is one of the most successful startup businesses I’ve ever seen. And I can’t say for sure that hiring well-rounded talent had any direct effect on the company’s success (or even that they were aware they were doing it), but consider these facts about lynda.com when I was working there:

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  • One of the co-founders was also a Hollywood animator, author and teacher. She wasn’t just an entrepreneur.
  • Their CFO held a PhD in Astrophysics. Oh, and she was also the CTO!
  • One of the company’s product managers was a highly accomplished marine biologist.
  • The president was a former professional musician.

And the company’s head of design was also an underwater photographer who traveled the world on diving expeditions, taking photos of real shipwrecks on the ocean floor.

These guys were living the well-rounded-life philosophy. When I was there, just about every employee was able to draw on some unique perspective, some rich experience that I’m sure made them more effective at their jobs than if they did nothing but work and watch TV.

3. Broadening your interests also gives you new insights, new ideas—and opens you up to new opportunities

A good friend of mine, Ben Cardinale, has enjoyed a successful career writing television in Hollywood. He wrote for Family Ties, The Single Guy, Champs and other shows, and he was a story editor on the critics’ favorite Brooklyn Bridge. He’s also sold scripts to DreamWorks and other elite Hollywood players. Ben has succeeded in Hollywood because he’s a damn great writer. His humor and observations relating to family and relationships are spot-on perfect. But why? What’s Ben’s secret?

It should be obvious by now: Ben isn’t only a writer.

Before Hollywood, Ben had a successful accounting practice, specializing in general contractors. Then Ben began to sense that the construction businesses he represented were doing the “real” work, while he was just accounting for it. So he jumped out from behind his desk and started his own construction firm. That’s two—count ‘em, two— careers under his belt before Ben became a writer. That’s a three-dimensional guy.

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Today’s typical wannabe screenwriter most likely graduated from an Ivy League school, where he probably wrote a satire column for the school’s paper, and it was probably pretty funny. He almost certainly hung out in an isolated little clique of other smart, over-achieving writers. All his friends had the same take on life. All had the same experiences and made the same observations. Then they all headed to Hollywood or New York to become writers.

That’s why so many sitcoms look and sound the same. These writers aren’t out there living life; they’re mastering the technique of sitcom writing.

Meanwhile, my friend Ben spent the first part of his professional life working the other side of his brain, crunching numbers as an accountant, gaining all sorts of different experiences from those of the typical would-be writer. After that, Ben built houses. The guy built freakin’ houses!

In other words, Ben lived life. And those experiences meant that when he came to Hollywood, Ben brought with him an authentic eye and ear for human nature. Most writers bring only smug sarcasm and a master’s degree in joke-telling mechanics.

Leonardo da Vinci might be the greatest artist in history. But he was also a great mathematician, who studied human faces obsessively—cataloging the distances between mouth and nose, eyes and chin. He was also a botanist. A geologist. An engineer. Think any of those intellectual pursuits gave him a fresh artistic perspective that helped make his paintings more beautiful and profound?

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Leonardo da Vinci, Ben Cardinale and my former colleagues at lynda.com all found that the more pursuits they added to their lives, the richer they were able to make each pursuit—and the richer life itself became.

I’ll sum up my advice with a quote from the great columnist (and singer… and radio talk-show host…) Mark Steyn. He’s speaking here to journalists, authors and bloggers, but his sentiment could be applied to any endeavor:

“Don’t just write there. Do something!”

Featured photo credit: Dynamic Movement, Free Runners, Waterloo Bridge/Andrew Moreton via flickr.com

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robbie hyman

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Last Updated on June 2, 2020

9 Ways to Reach Your Full Potential Every Day

9 Ways to Reach Your Full Potential Every Day

Why does it seem like time goes by so quickly? We start a week and before we know it, it’s already the weekend. How can you make the best out of each and every day?

I want you to be able to reach your fullest potential every single day. Even during the days where you relax and recharge, I want you to enjoy every moment.

When it comes to reaching your full potential every day, it’s all about planning. If you’re not a good planner, you’ll have to start learning! Those who are good with time management and are organized usually experience a more productive day.

So, how to reach your full potential? Here’re 9 ways you can start trying.

1.  Focus on the Big Picture

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” — Mahatma Gandhi

We live in a society filled with so many distractions, so we can easily get caught up with the stress and frustrations of life. Focus on the big picture. With so many distractions, it’s so important for you to focus on what you want.

What does the big picture look like to you? What are the goals that you want to accomplish? When it comes to reaching your potential every day, it’s important that you know what the big picture looks like.

Why do you do what you do? What is the reason that you go to work or come home and provide dinner for your family? When you have purpose and reason in your life, you’re more able to live out each day to your fullest potential.

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If you are able to see the big picture in your life, you don’t have to just live day-to-day. When you know your purpose, you will be motivated to live each day to your fullest potential: How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

2. Plan!

Planning how you want to spend each day is key to reaching your fullest potential each day. Without any planning, you will just get pushed around and have no direction in life. Reaching your potential every day is about planning your day in alignment with what matters to you.

Focus on what is important in your life. Maybe it’s providing for your family or spending quality time with your spouse. When you are able to live in alignment with that matters to you, you will be able to reach your fullest potential every day.

Plan your week every Sunday evening. That way, you’ll be able to see your week’s schedule before starting your week (6 steps to plan your week). Make sure to add when you plan to start working and end working into your schedule.

It will be important for you to know when it’s time to turn off work-mode and start spending quality time with your family. It’s also important that when you plan your week, you are realistic with what you want to accomplish.

Set yourself up for success, not for failure. Create a to-do list for each day of the week on Sunday evening. Have about 4-5 tasks that you want to accomplish each day. If you have a big project, you should only include 2-3 tasks for that day.

An action that has helped me reach my potential each day is to check off each task once I complete it. It feels good knowing that at the end of the day, I was able to complete my To-do list. Remember, set yourself up for success! Make sure you reward yourself after a long day of being productive.

3. Time Management

Planning and having good time management is a combination that leads to reaching your fullest potential every day. When you’re able to plan out your day and how you want to spend your time, you not only get more done but you also have extra time to spend on what you enjoy.

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Having good time management is important for you to learn because when you value yourself, you will value how you spend your time. Try these 7 Effective Time Management Tips To Maximize Your Productivity.

4. Positive Attitude

When it comes to reaching your fullest potential every day, it’s important to have a positive attitude. When you have a negative attitude, you start viewing yourself and your life as being negative. How can you possibly reach your fullest potential when you have a negative attitude about yourself?

It’s all about your perspective and how you view yourself and your life. In order to have a productive day, you must have a positive attitude. With a positive attitude, you’ll be able to stay focused on what you want to accomplish every day.

Here’re 11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude.

5. Stay Focused on the Task at Han

Staying focused takes discipline and commitment. With so many distractions, it’s easy to get off track and not get anything done. That’s why staying focused on what you need to get done is key in reaching your fullest potential.

If you get distracted by your phone, make sure you put it on silent when you’re trying to finish a task. Not only will you be more disciplined, but you’ll also get a lot more done! Anything that distracts you from completing a task needs to be put away.

Learn How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide).

6. Have Goals

If you want to reach your fullest potential each and every day, you need to have short and long term goals.

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Take a piece of paper and write down what you want to accomplish now and in the future. This goes back to planning. Have your goals and have deadlines.

Then plan each and every day taking the necessary steps to accomplish your goals. It’s all about setting goals and then following through.

Find out How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully.

7. Embrace Simplicity

When you want to reach your fullest potential, simplify what needs to get done before the day starts.

One routine that has helped me save time is picking out my outfit the night before. This way, I don’t feel rushed in the morning.

Simplify your morning routine. If you can find different ways to save time and make your life simpler, you’ll be able to focus on reaching your fullest potential every day. When you are constantly all over the place and your life is far from being simple, you’ll experience stress and frustration on a daily basis. Simplify your life!

8. Recharge

You can only reach your fullest potential if you take the time to recharge. When you are constantly working without any rest, you will eventually burn out.

Taking the time to rest and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul will allow you to become re-energized for the next day. Use different strategies that help you relax. Try meditating or yoga.

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It is not only important for you to recharge your mind– your body needs time to recharge too. Reaching your fullest potential every day can become stressful if you don’t manage your time well and take the time to recharge.

Take a moment and think about what recharges you. Maybe it’s spending some quality time with your spouse or taking a nice walk in the park. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you enjoy the process. It’s easy for our minds to wonder, so when you’re recharging, focus on recharging!

9. Enjoy Each Moment

“To get all there is out of living, we must employ our time wisely, never being in too much of a hurry to stop and sip life, but never losing our sense of the enormous value of a minute.” –Robert Updefraff

With so much going on, it’s easy to just go, go, go and not take the time to smell the flowers. Enjoy the moments that you experience throughout each day. This will help you feel grateful and appreciative with what you have in your life. Enjoy the simple things like having a roof over your head and being able to afford food for your family.

Although being productive is important, taking the time to enjoy each moment is important too. This article can help you: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying

Featured photo credit: Melody Jacob via unsplash.com

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