When asked for his #1 productivity tip, Richard Branson paused for a moment, leaned back and said, “Work out.” By his estimate, it added about four hours of productivity to his day.
As entrepreneurs, we often have the burning desire to make our venture succeed, no matter the cost. We’ll stay up later, work longer, go further and push ourselves more than anyone else. We know we need to spend a few years living like most people won’t so that we can ultimately spend the rest of our life living like most people can’t. We’ve read all the “Create Your Own Success” books and have seen all of the motivational quotes, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes. Unfortunately all too often, “whatever it takes” means sacrificing our personal relationships, our happiness, and our health in order to succeed. What we sometimes forget is that it’s easy to earn more money, no matter what our age.
However, when our health is neglected, it can be difficult – sometimes even impossible – to reverse the ill effects. Neglecting our health in order to be successful in our careers leads to infinitely more downside than upside – like having a massive heart attack before the age of forty. But what many of us may not know is that being healthy and staying fit infinitely improves our ability to earn money: it boosts productivity and energy; it accelerates how fast the brain can think and make decisions; it lets us rest and sleep better; and, most importantly, it prevents us from dying from self-inflicted illnesses of neglect. Here’s how eating healthier and exercising more will make you richer and more successful, all while being one of the fittest people at the office.Advertising
#1 It Increases Productivity And Energy – A Lot
Entrepreneurs are obsessed with getting more done in less time. Picture this: let’s say you need to consume around 2,200 calories a day to maintain your body weight. The brain uses up approximately 20% of your caloric intake, which in this scenario means your brain is actually using around 450 of those daily calories to function. That’s 20% of your entire caloric intake fueling the super computer that we call your brain. As an entrepreneur or business owner, your brain is your most priceless asset. So why neglect it?
Picture the day of the average stressed-out CEO: We wake up early, usually after a poor night of sleep. We grab a breakfast to go, along with a coffee or a double shot of espresso. The morning is spent working or in meetings, and lunch might be a quick meal out (or we might skip it due to stress or looming deadlines). The afternoon is spent with more meetings, working, drinking coffee, and the evenings are often more of the same. Skipping meals or eating nutrient-poor meals is depriving our brain of glucose, the energy it needs to function and work optimally. Sticking with the right foods that contain lean proteins and low GI carbs gives us a steady release of energy and glucose, which in turn benefits the brain and ensures it’s firing on all cylinders without getting fatigued.
Of course, watching our diets isn’t the only thing we can do to keep our minds sharp: Exercising also improves brain function. If you’re an older entrepreneur worried about losing your edge, getting your body in motion has been shown to slow down the loss of neurons and brain power. Exercise has also been shown to boost your productivity (alertness, mood) in the hours immediately after it. What’s more, people that regularly exercise show a permanent increases in their baseline level of energy that sticks over time, even after as little as a ten minute walk done regularly.Advertising
#2 It Punches Stress In the Face
One of the biggest, most detrimental side effects of entrepreneurship is the near-constant stress and anxiety we sometimes feel when we’re building something for the first time, wondering where our next dollar might be coming from. Once the lizard brain takes over, it’s game over. Poor decisions are made as soon as emotions begin to enter the picture, leaving us no time to meditate on the decision or consider logical consequences. The irony is that when we resort to drinking stimulants like coffee in excess, it increases the stress hormone cortisol. Obviously this increases our stress levels, but there are serious health consequences ranging from increased belly fat, decreased immune function, poor quality sleep, full-on burnout, adrenal fatigue, and even hospitalization.
We’ve all heard the story of a burnt-out entrepreneur that landed themselves in the hospital with a serious health complication (typically GI-related) due to untreated stress. Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty, wrote in a Huffington Post article that after several weeks of hitting deadlines while trying to prove himself as “the rookie,” – which involved drinking way too many double espressos and sleeping under his desk a couple hours a night – his immune system collapsed, and he had a perforated intestine with a baseball-sized mass that required immediate surgery. Here’s the kicker: It all apparently occurred in less than a month.
Exercise and eating nutrient-dense foods also helps lower the anxiety, depression and stress levels that we can feel due to constant time crunches, deadlines and board meetings. Another bonus: If you’re dealing with failures or wildly fluctuating moods, regular exercise has been shown to be more effective at perking you up than the antidepressant Zoloft.Advertising
#3 It Improves Your Memory
An unfortunate side effect of always been frazzled is that it kills your memory. In one study, aerobic exercise was shown to actually increase the volume of the hippocampus – the part of the brain dealing with memory and learning skills. Regular exercise will not only decrease inflammation throughout the body and your brain, but it also will stimulate the release of growth factors that help protect the brain and keep it young. This doesn’t mean spending hours in the gym: Just taking a ten minute walk in between projects or before lunch has actually been shown to boost mood, energy, productivity and more. The above study done that actually increased certain parts of the brain was done on people walking 120 minutes a week – about 15 minutes per day.
#4 It Helps You Make Smarter, Faster Decisions
Picture this: You’re grinding it out one Tuesday morning, and you’re getting a bit foggy so you decide to take a break. You hop on over to Hacker News, look back up at the clock and realize it’s been an hour. “I need to be more focused and disciplined,” we tell ourselves. Well, being healthy and exercising can help with that too.
One study done on adolescents and young adults found that physical exercise dramatically improved executive functions (self control, memory, decision making, learning, etc.). Why and how it works is simple: Moving more increases the heart rate and blood flow, which increases oxygenation of the brain. Sitting fourteen hours a day at your desk staring at a computer doesn’t help.Advertising
Multiple studies have found that after 30 minutes of doing an easy half hour bike ride, subjects performed much better (and faster) on a series of cognitive tests. Maybe the fact that working out (along with meditation) is one of the two most common daily health habits of millionaires says something?
#5 It Prevents You From Dying Young (Seriously)
Consider the life of the average start-up founder, solo-preneur or new business owner. Lack of sleep? Check. Constant reliance on stimulants (either legal or illegal?) Check. An ever-present feeling of stress and anxiety? Check. Skipping meals or eating quick meals that aren’t exactly calorie-dense? Check. All four of these are serious risk factors for metabolic syndrome, the precursor to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. In other words, when you get fat and out of shape, your risk of developing pretty much every disease and negative health condition increases – that doesn’t exactly make your life as an entrepreneur easier. And if the other four reasons weren’t a compelling reason to eat healthier and move more, hopefully death is.
Even the symptoms leading up to metabolic syndrome impair your ability to perform at your absolute best. As your weight increases, energy decreases. Men will have higher levels of female hormones, women will have very high levels of female hormones. Productivity decreases, sleep worsens, stress levels elevate.
Fighting the cult of productivity isn’t easy though. Thinking that we should cut corners to save an hour here and there to devote to building our empire can seem like a logical decision, but unfortunately it’s a shortsighted one. Not only will being healthy actually boost your productivity, energy, happiness, mood and more, you’ll also look and feel much better and avoid an early grave. What’s more? It’ll make you a lot more money – with your sanity intact.
Featured photo credit: Happy President’s Day / Bart via flickr.com
Last Updated on October 15, 2019
How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People
What is success to you? How to be successful in life?
To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.
All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.
There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.
With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.
What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:
1. Think Big
From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.
Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?
Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
Instead be ambitious.
2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It
From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:
“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”
This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.
Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.
If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?
Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.
Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.
Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.
3. Learn How to Balance Life
From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:
“There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”
All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.
If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.
However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.
If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.
In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.
To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.
4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure
From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:
Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”
His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”
He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.
Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.
Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.
If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)
5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed
From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:
“I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”
This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.
If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.
Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.
6. Be a Person of Action
From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.
Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:
When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.
You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.
All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.
Applying this to you?
Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.
7. Cultivate Positive Relationships
From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “
The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”
The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.
People liked them. They wanted them to do well.
This is key to good leadership.
It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.
But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.
What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.
As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.
8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas
From Mark Twain, Famed Author:
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.
Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.
If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.
9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed
From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.
It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.
10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude
From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.
Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.
If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.
However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.
11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On
From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:
“Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”
It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.
When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.
Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.
If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.
12. Be Willing to Work Hard
From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:
“Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”
You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.
Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:
True success comes from work.
You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.
Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.
13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition
From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.
If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.
It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.
Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.
What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.
Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late
More to Help You Succeed in Life
- How to Live up to Your Full Potential and Succeed in Life
- 19 Definitions Of Success You Should Never Ignore
- How to Create Your Road Map to Success (A Step-By-Step Guide)
Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com