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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 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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