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10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

10 Habits Successful People Give Up to Increase Their Productivity

What are you willing to do in order to reach success? It is common among people these days to be average and not stand out too much. But those who are successful do not fall under this category.

In order to stay on top of your game and reach the level of success you want, you need to follow a certain set of self-induced rules. Success is not something that happens by accident; if you want it bad enough, you will get it. Learn the habits that successful people have given up in order to reach their own success.

1. They don’t work in their comfort zone.

What is your comfort zone? Your comfort zone is defined as “A psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control, and experiences low anxiety.” When you get outside of your comfort zone, it doesn’t mean that you should strive for a constant state of anxiety and stress. It simply means that, in order to grow, you should try new things and expand your horizons.

The reason we are comfortable in our comfort zone is because we are not taking risks when we are in this state. When we live in our comfort zones, we are living life like hamsters on a wheel, going around and around in a constant cycle, but going nowhere in our lives.

Famous motivational speaker, Les Brown, said it best with, “If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.”

2. They don’t do without first learning.

Learning is what we do best. The greatest thing about learning is the benefit that we receive in all aspects of our lives. Successful people strive to continue learning new things and expanding on things that they already know.

If we stop learning, then the only thing we can do is settle with what we already know; if we settle for that, then there is no way to expand our minds. Expansion is essential on the path to success. Since our minds require learning for expansion, we must never stop seeking new knowledge.

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Imagine what would have happened if Bill Gates stopped learning and growing. The internet would be much more primitive than it is today. But because he followed his dreams and continued growing, he founded one of the biggest companies in the world and it is still flourishing and growing today.

3. They don’t fear asking for advice.

Richard Branson, a famous entrepreneur, stated, “When you need to make hard decisions, being able to discuss your ideas with entrepreneurs and business leaders who have solved similar problems can make all the difference.”

Asking for advice is not always easy. We think that we have the same opportunity as everyone else and sometimes feel insecure and dependent, so we decide not to ask for advice, and try to figure it out ourselves. But this could be greatly limiting us from reaching our full potential, because the advice we might be seeking could be something that somebody knows very well.

4. They don’t get lost in the small details.

When life gives us seemingly endless opportunities, it is very easy to get lost in the small details. The small details are very easy for us to become focused on, thus causing us to miss out on the overall vision, also known as the “big picture”.

Focusing too much on the smaller details constricts your ability to see how everything ties together. Much of our lives hinge upon the connections that we make with others and with ourselves. If we get lost in the small detail, it is like having missing pieces to a puzzle. How are we supposed to solve that?

Imagine what would have happened if Henry Ford only saw the small details. When building the company that Ford is today, he knew that he must do something different if his company was to succeed. After many people told him it couldn’t be done, his company continued improving upon the smaller details until they got it right.

Henry Ford didn’t focus too much on the small details, which were the hundreds of times he failed; he saw the overall goal and knew that it could be accomplished. It required seeing the bigger picture to make it happen.

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5. They don’t multitask.

Multitasking is typically viewed as a skill that only certain people possess. But truth be told, nobody actually has the ability to multitask. Multitasking is known to actually decrease productivity. Those who are successful focus on one specific task and do that task to the best of their ability without interruption.

When you multitask, you limit your ability to fully focus on one specific task at a time. Successful people utilize the talents and abilities that they have by focusing it on one task and one task only.

Emma Watson said, “I just dropped my iPhone in my soup. I think it might be time to tone down the multitasking..” This demonstrates how destructive multitasking is highlighting the fact that when we multitask, we are greatly limiting ourselves.

6. They don’t lie to themselves.

Lying to yourself is one of the easiest things for you to do. It is much more difficult to accept the problems that we have without make excuses for them. Successful people understand that we will encounter problems, both internally and externally.

But it is important to accept the problems that reside in our lives, rather than not dealing with them and lying to ourselves about them.

As Steve Maraboli said, “Stop lying to yourself. When we deny our own truth, we deny our own potential.”

7. They don’t procrastinate in asking for feedback.

Feedback is important, because it gives you a different perspective on your current situation. Sometimes you are not able to see the answer that is right in front of you. But when someone gives you feedback, it allows you to see something from the perspective of someone else.

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If you procrastinate asking someone for feedback, you are missing out on time that could be put towards accomplishing your dreams. The longer you wait, the harder it is to utilize advice that others can give you.

“I think It’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you´re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better,” entrepreneur Elon Musk once said.

8. They don’t follow, they lead.

You have probably heard the phrase “lead, follow or get out of the way.” There are two types of people in this world: leaders and followers. The ones who are successful are the ones who are leading the pack.

Successful people are not successful because they got there by chance. They did not follow somebody to the finish line. They paved their own path in life to get where they needed to be.

Just as the great Robert Frost stated, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

9. They don’t let the past dictate their future.

The past is something that we will never change, nor should we want to change it; because without it, we would not have learned the lessons we needed to learn. Therefore, we would wind up making the same mistakes over and over again until we learned the lesson that life is trying to teach us.

At one time, businessman Shahid Khan washed dishes for $1.20 an hour. His humble background did not prevent him from thinking bigger though. With a net worth of $3.8 billion dollars, he now owns Flex-N-Gate, one of the largest private companies in the U.S., the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, and Premier League soccer club Fulham.

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10. They don’t hang around negative people.

Negative people are very destructive to be around when it comes to achieving success, because there are so many situations that life throws at us and causes us to get down on ourselves or our situation. But some people like to focus on this aspect of life the majority of the time.

When you are around negative people enough, you start to see things negatively and you begin to lose sight of your dream. Success is more about mindset than anything, and if you always have a negative mindset, life will reward you with negative outcomes to deal with.

Joel Olsteen once said, “You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” So if you wish you be successful, don’t focus on the negativity that others bring.

To be successful requires focus and determination. It seems that every successful person follows similar patterns. Therefore, it’s easy to see why they are where they are. They knew what they had to do in order to achieve their dreams and they didn’t let anyone or anything stop them from getting there.

You have the power in yourself to become one of those successful people you admire and look up to.

Featured photo credit: http://media4.s-nbcnews.com via media4.s-nbcnews.com

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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