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Ditch The “5 Easy Steps” and Conquer The One Trait You Need To Succeed

Ditch The “5 Easy Steps” and Conquer The One Trait You Need To Succeed

“Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill

The idea of success is talked about time and time again.

People everywhere preach that they’ve figured out the formula for success.

They say stuff like “5 Easy Step To Ultimate Mastery!” and “7 Steps To One Million Dollars!”

They complicate success and make it seem like you can go from zero to hero in two days tied in with a cheap sales pitch like, “Only available for a limited time so act now!”

Their intentions are probably good, but there promises are false.

Success is defined differently for each person. I can’t define success for you. But I can show you the one trait you need to reach your own definition of success.

It’s something that took me a long time to figure out, but now that I have it–I can’t be stopped.

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What am I talking about?

Persistence

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated failures.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge

For most of my life, I have missed the mark on persistence. I have an addictive personality and have always gone full-fledged into whatever I’m interested in.

I did magic professionally when I was 13 years old. I competed with top level grapplers and future MMA fighters when I was 15 years old. I played poker professionally when I was 17 years old.

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I’ve done a lot of things, but have always quit or burnt out after a year’s time. It wasn’t until I understood the power of persistence that I figured out how to truly achieve success.

Ways To Boost Your Persistence

Persistence is just like will power–it can be strengthened.

Persistence is not something that you are born with.

You have to grow it by pushing your own limits.

There’s a reason why Mixed Martial Arts Fighters are the most persistent human beings on the planet. They take beatings each and every day so they can train their body for the true beating when they step into the cage. With each training session they are boosting their levels of persistence to unimaginable heights.

You can do the same without getting punched in the face.

All you have to do is push forward and push hard. Each and every day you must do what makes you come alive. Whatever that is, do it to the point where you usually stop.

Feel the fatigue and then push past it just a little bit. Spend an extra fifteen minutes this time. Then next time push it to 30 minutes extra.

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With time, you are going to boost your levels of persistence to the levels of top athletes and entrepreneurs.

Let’s do a simple visualization exercise to maximize your persistence. You can complete this exercise without pen and paper, but it’s much better to do it with pen and paper, as it will solidify the visualization.

1. Imagine yourself five years from now if you have persisted with your current goals. How old will you be? What will your life be like? Are you happy and fulfilled?

2. Imagine yourself ten years from now if you have persisted with your current goals. How old will you be? What will your life be like? How much more progress have you made? Are you happy and fulfilled?

3. Imagine yourself twenty years from now if you have persisted with your current goals. How old will you be? What will your life be like? How great does it feel to have stuck it out this far? How happy and fulfilled are you?

Now it’s time to do the exact opposite.

1. Imagine yourself five years from now if you have not persisted with your current goals. How old will you be? What will your life be like? What job will you be working? Are you happy and fulfilled?

2. Imagine yourself ten years from now if you have not persisted with your current goals. How old will you be? What will your life be like? Are you starting to feel regret? How happy and fulfilled are you?

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3. Imagine yourself twenty years from now if you have not persisted with your current goals. How old will you be? What will your life be like? Take yourself through an average day. How much regret do you have? How poorly do you feel?

This exercise works wonders to give you a greater perspective on life.

Personally I imagine myself five years from now having a drink with one of my other entrepreneur friends in a foreign city like Bangkok, Berlin, Madrid, or Paris. We are having a great time and talking about the early days and how glad we are that we stuck with it. That’s my fuel to the fire.

Reaching your goals can take a long time, and the path is definitely not linear.

You will hit plenty of bumps in the road. You may even find that you are looking down the wrong road.

But by using persistence, you change the game. No longer does success become a question of what or how, it becomes a question of when.

You keep moving forward, you keep putting in the hours and success becomes inevitable.

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Ditch The “5 Easy Steps” and Conquer The One Trait You Need To Succeed

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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