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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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