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Breaking Free from Mediocrity

Breaking Free from Mediocrity

So tell me, how mediocre are you today? Sorry, let me rephrase that, who are you hanging with today?

If the people you hang with all very successful, daring to be different,  and doing things you want to accomplish, I bet it inspires you to be the best you can be. If everybody around you is looking up to you as their hero in every aspect of life, however, you’d better wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe it’s time for some changes?

Social Creatures

People are social creatures—even if you are a loner or prefer to work alone, I bet you have some form of social network around you, in real life and online. If you examine your network you will most likely find that the people you interact with most have similar drive, similar levels of success, and similar ambitions. What does that mean? Simply put, you are becoming an average of each other. Does that scare you or inspire you?

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You may know somebody who has made some bad choices in life and ended up in bad places. With effort, they may have come out of those bad places and started making positive changes: during this period, they might have great support from counselors or similar, but what happens afterward? Well, some may go on to become successful to some degree, but there are always some who fall back into their old habits. The difference? My money is on the changes they have made in their social network: if they make no changes to their network at the same time as they were going through their other positive changes, all their efforts may very well be for nothing. Why? Because their old network is supporting their old way of life and will make them gravitate towards their old habits.

The same goes for very successful people—who do they have in their network? The answer is: very successful people!

Putting it Together

So what does that mean to you? Well by making some adjustments in who you surround yourself with, you can accelerate the changes you are implementing. People can help each other by teaming up with others of complementary strengths, for example, so together they can catapult each other into greatness. Sounds good, right?

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So then, where do you get these complementary boosts? Well, there are a number of ways to choose from and it depends on what you want to accomplish. Want to become fit? Ask a fit friend to work out with you and spend more time with that person, or join a running class or a gym with team training to get inspired, and find friends that pull you forward instead of weighing you down. Want to start a business? Join an entrepreneurs’ club, visit online forums, network online and off-line, and get advisors or mentors.

Remember, understanding this and recognising this means nothing unless you make changes where you see the need for them. Action!

So here is what you do:

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  1. Take a long, hard look at who you interact with most: list them and quantify their level of success in relevance to where you want to be.
  2. Quantify the time you spend with these people.
  3. Identify the energy thieves—that’s anyone you feel is giving you more negative energy than positive. Look for clues like people who complain a lot, never give you encouragement or try to put you down.
  4. Now take action to break free from these energy thieves, and with that, kiss some of your mediocrity goodbye.
  5. Identify people in your circle whom you admire or who have a lot of success in an area you are interested in.
  6. Take initiative to spend more time with these people, and be inspired to be the best you can be!

Does it sound scary? It can be, but remember: sometimes you have to put yourself first, so make yourself a priority!

Conclusion

In closing, I want to stress that a you don’t ditch friends because they are going through a rough stretch in life and need your energy to stay afloat—we all have to roll with life’s punches and that’s when friendships are tested, so cherish those friendships that stand strong during difficult times. This post refers to the fake friends and acquaintances who give a false feeling of friendship—flush them out and invest your precious time with those who can lift you to new heights.

Have you considered how your network affects you?

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Featured photo credit:  Full length of muscular guy via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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