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10 Questions Happy and Successful People Always Ask Themselves (That Make A Huge Difference)

10 Questions Happy and Successful People Always Ask Themselves (That Make A Huge Difference)

It is easy to look at people who succeed in life and think they must be super lucky. But, more often than not, success has nothing to do with luck. Success is about taking little, deliberate actions-steps day by day, over and over for as long as it takes to reach your goals. If you want to succeed in life and become the A+ student of life you ought to be, you need to start asking yourself enough of the right questions.

Asking the right questions helps you determine if you are headed in the right direction and shaping your life for true happiness. Successful people do it all the time and it helps them make the right decisions and take the right actions that bring desired outcomes. Here are some thought provoking questions you should start asking yourself more often to better understand and adjust your life for a bright and happy life.

1. What’s going well in my life today? Any wins (major or minor) this week?

This is a great place to start because it allows you to be grateful for the positives in your life. A positive energy means you are optimistic and optimism fuels your hunger for more positivity and success in life. Be grateful everyday for everything, including the small things that get overlooked because they seem not related to your ultimate goal in life. At the very least be grateful for good health and good friends.

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2. What challenges am I currently facing? Where am I stuck?

Life is not smooth sailing all the time. You will face challenges and get stuck somewhere along the way. Ask yourself where you are stuck and what you have to overcome daily to define the problem and start the process of getting unstuck. The first step for getting a solution to most things in life is often as simple as admitting you have a problem and then thinking about the best approach to overcome the problem.

3. What am I doing right now to improve things? Truly, Am I doing the best I can?

It is critical that you do your best to succeed and improve your life situation. Nothing is quite as satisfying as merited success. If success is not merited, it is not as sweet. Ask yourself if you are really putting in the effort to merit success. This includes investing your time, energy and resources to realize your dreams and visions for the future.

4. Am I further along on my goal(s) and dream(s) today than yesterday?

Only when you make small, steady steps forward day by day can you make progress and reach your dream. If you don’t take stock of your day to day activities, you are likely to lose sight of your ultimate goal and fall by the wayside. Ask yourself this question often and it will help keep you focused and edging closer and closer to your dream.

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5. Am I adding value in other people’s lives?

Our happiness and success is usually tied to that of the people around us, including our family, friends, clients, neighbors and community as a whole. When you add value in another person’s life, you achieve a deep sense of satisfaction and pride in yourself and it always brings good fortune. Ask this question in your daily life and find ways to genuinely add value in other people’s lives and you will never regret it. You will only set yourself up for success and true happiness in life.

6. Where should I break the rules?

Rules can stifle creativity and chock innovation. Sometimes you need to break free from the shackles of rules and regulations, stretch your wings and fly with the wind. Ask yourself which rules you should break on a regular basis to stay in sync with your inner creativity and moral compass. That can make the difference between perpetuating the status quo and charting the way to new, big and wonderful accomplishments in life.

7. Based on my daily routines, where can I expect to be in five years?

Your daily routine determines how fast you can reach your goals and dreams. It is a secret ingredient for success. If you find you are stuck in the same place for too long, then it’s time to evaluate you daily routines and change a few things to achieve better results. Experiment different ways of doing things until you find what works for you and stick with it.

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8. What is the worst that can happen?

Fear can paralyze even the best of us. That includes fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of achieving more than you thought possible. However, in every situation, ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen and prepare for it. Remain hopeful always knowing that while it is important to plan and prepare for the worst, the worst that can happen rarely does.

9. How have past failures and or rejections affected my self-confidence?

You will inevitably face knock-backs, failures and rejections in life. While some people doubt themselves and break under the weight of failure and rejection, others thrive on it. You must be the latter. Failure is only an opportunity to do things better next time. Ask yourself this question routinely to learn from your mistakes and develop character and courage to face your detractors with boldness; and also, to recover from bruised confidences. That is how to get ahead in life.

10. Are the people around me helping or hurting me?

You’ve heard it said many times before that you are the average of the five people you keep around you. That is a true assessment. Ask yourself if the people around you encourage and support you to be the best you can be or put you down. If they discourage and bring you down, remove them from your life immediately. You are better off alone than surrounded by people who hurt and bring you down.

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Featured photo credit: I .. C .. U via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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