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10 Powerful Success Strategies

10 Powerful Success Strategies

20090714-success

    If you’re serious about creating lasting and significant change in your world – as opposed to merely thinking and talking about it for another year – there are a few things you might want to do in order to help make those intentions a reality…

    1. Know what success is. If you don’t know what success is (for you), how can you possibly create it? Success is different things for different people and one person’s success (a pregnancy for example) might be another person’s catastrophe. That’s because success (or failure) is not so much about the situation, circumstance, event or outcome as it is about what that “thing” means to the person in the middle of it. In order to create success, you must first define it – and far too many people haven’t. Be very clear about what you want and don’t want for your life. Clarity produces excitement. Excitement produces momentum. Momentum produces behavioural change. Behavioural change produces different results and eventually, the internal vision becomes an external reality. Giddy-up.

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    2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Some people will live a life of second-best, of compromise and of under-achievement simply because they are (1) controlled by fear (2) always looking for the magic pill or shortcut and (3) not prepared to do the tough stuff. People who always take the easy option are destined for mediocrity. At best. Constantly avoiding the discomfort means constantly avoiding the lessons and the personal growth. Pain is a great teacher. Not always what we want, but sometimes what we need.

    3. Seek to be righteous, not right. The need to be “right” speaks of arrogance, insecurity, ego and stupidity. It’s also synonymous with failure. The person who constantly needs to be right will miss out on much of what life has to teach him and alienate himself from others. Arrogance repels, humility attracts.

    4. Seek respect, not popularity. It’s been said that our nature is “who we are” and our reputation is who people think we are. When the two are synonymous, we’re usually on the right path.

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    5. Embrace mess. To embrace mess is to embrace life because life is messy, unpredictable, unfair, uncertain, lumpy and bumpy. So get used to a little chaos. Embrace it even. While others succumb to the messiness and unpredictability of the human experience, make a conscious choice to be the calm in the chaos.

    6. Don’t become your parents. Or your boss. Or anyone but you. The enormity of conformity is a problem for the wanna-be success story. Sure, your parents are great and by all means respect them, love them and learn from them, but please don’t become them; that’s just plain ugly and a little bit tragic. Listen to, and learn from other people, but think, act and decide for yourself. And no, you don’t need anyone’s approval or permission; you’re big now. It’s okay.

    7. Use more of what you already have. Imagine what you could achieve if you took all the knowledge, intelligence, opportunities, time, skill and talent that you currently have and absolutely milked it. What if you already have more than enough talent to become wildly successful? Well, you do. There go the excuses. And that voice that’s telling (some of) you right now that you don’t have what it takes to become successful, that’s called fear. Not logic, fear. Not reality, fear. Unless of course, you allow that to become your reality. Be mindful that the voice in your head (the very loud, annoying and persistent one) is rarely a reflection of your potential and mostly a manifestation of your insecurity.  And no, you’re not alone in your self-doubt; it’s a universal condition. Many people fail, not because they don’t have what it takes, but because they don’t use what they already have. Successful people typically don’t have more innate potential, luck, time or opportunity than the next person, but they consistently find a way to use much more of what they have at their disposal. While the majority are rationalising their lack of decision making and action taking, these guys are finding a way to get the job done. The question is not “how much ability do you have, but how much will you use?”.

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    8. Be an innovator, not an imitator. Not too many sheep succeed. Baaah. Sometimes it’s a good idea to build your own team rather than join someone else’s. Don’t let your fear stand in the way of your potential to create, innovate or lead. When I set up Australia’s first commercial personal training centre, most people told me it wouldn’t work. Glad I didn’t listen.

    9. Do what most won’t. If you want to achieve what most people won’t (happiness, joy, calm, wealth, optimal health, balance) then don’t do what they do. If you want to be like the majority, then do what they do. Producing different results comes from doing different things. Simple really. And effective. Most people won’t persevere, won’t finish what they start, won’t find the good, won’t do what it takes, won’t question their long-held beliefs, won’t be solution-focused, won’t do what scares them and won’t “be the change” they want to see in their world. Choose to be different.

    10. Be like water. Powerful. Gentle. Adaptable. Ever-changing. Being static in a dynamic world – like the one you and I inhabit – is a recipe for disaster. If you can’t adapt, you can’t succeed. Our practical, three dimensional reality, and everything in it, is in a constant state of transition, while some of us are in a constant state of “same”. Statues don’t succeed, they just get crapped on.

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    Watch out for the pigeons.

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    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

    Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life? Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2019

    How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

    How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

    Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes.

    I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

    One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

    Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

    The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

    And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

    What to Write Down

    Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

    Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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    Dates of Events

    Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

    For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

    Names of People

    Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

    Theories or Frameworks

    Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

    Definitions

    Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

    Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

    Arguments and Debates

    Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

    This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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    Images

    Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

    Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

    Other Stuff

    Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

    Your Own Questions

    Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

    3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

    You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

    1. Outlining

    Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

    Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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    For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

    2. Mind-Mapping

    For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

    Here’s the idea:

    In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

    The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

    If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

    You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

    3. The Cornell System

    The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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    About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

    You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

    In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

    You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

    The Bottom Line

    I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

    I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

    More About Note-Taking

    Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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