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How to Piggyback Geniuses (Without Lugging Around a Backpack Full of Books)

How to Piggyback Geniuses (Without Lugging Around a Backpack Full of Books)

Many from Napoleon Hill to Eben Pagan have talked about the power of participating in Mastermind groups. In fact, Napoleon Hill, author of the famous Think & Grow Rich has been attributed with inventing the concept back in the 1930s.

Hill’s Mastermind groups are based on the “two or more heads are better than one” principle. His idea was that when you put two or more minds together, a collective mind emerges that serves the interests of the entire group.

But you can’t just have any old heads. They’ve got to be heads with something valuable to contribute. The people in your Mastermind need to offer critical feedback, inspiration and above all, keep you accountable. You don’t want any non-hackers in your group, no whiners, complainers, or underachievers. You want people who will ensure that your success is inevitable.

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It makes sense. Imagine what the world would be like if Shakespeare had surrounded himself with self-pitying actors who couldn’t be bothered with memorizing his plays. Imagine the music Frank Zappa would have made if he had hung around with half-interested high school band teachers instead of world-class musicians. The examples go on and on, but the fact remains that most successful people surround themselves with other successful people.

But What If I Don’t Know Any Successful People?

This is where Napoleon Hill was an absolute genius. He knew that not everyone has access to the best people operating in their field. And let’s face it. Not everyone feels social enough to go to meetups or even show up at a cafe for brainstorming over bran muffins. Being communal and capable of greatness do not always go together.

What Napoleon Hill suggested is that if you can’t do the real thing, you can always compile the perfect Mastermind group in your head. No matter who you are or what you do, you can probably think of the top ten people working in your field. The next step is to simply gather them together, offer them a creative problem, and ask them to tell you what they would do.

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Love him or hate him, if you’re in business, then you know that you cannot trump Donald Trump when it comes to skill, experience and confidence.

If you’re a writer, why shouldn’t Stephen King sit at your table? If reading one of his novels doesn’t start a fire under your career, his book On Writing certainly will.

If you’re a musician, you have the best of all worlds, because the best of the lot tend to be both writers and business professionals (like Frank Zappa).

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No matter whether you are an auto-mechanic or a dentist, you will be aware of powerhouses who can counsel you. The best part is that, once you’ve established your ideal group, you can take them with you wherever you go.

No whiners, Complainers or Underachievers

The best part about compiling a Mastermind group in your head is that every member will always show up on time. Each member will be as active or as passive as you need him or her to be. There will be no squabbles over management or leadership. No one needs to be appointed president.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t organizational work that needs to be done, however. As the sole organizer of your mastermind group, you will need to choose when and how to leverage the group. It may seem a little silly, but if you were a writer, you would definitely want to create an agenda for the questions you want to ask Stephen King, Cormac McCarthy, and Margaret Atwood at your next meeting. The more prepared you are, the better they’ll be able to respond. Yes, even if their responses are imaginary.

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The fact of the matter is that when you know enough about a successful person, you can make an educated guess about how they would respond to difficult, creative, or strategic problems. The trick is to go beyond the NLP idea of modeling just one person and gather an entire crew around you. Go beyond modeling and enjoy the multiple angles you’ll receive from Masterminding with geniuses.

The downfall here is that you cannot directly contribute back to the members of your mental Mastermind group. However, when you start to achieve success with the help of their insights, you’ll find yourself contributing not just to a small group, but also to the world.

Featured photo credit:  boy playing chess close up 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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