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10 Things You Need to Tell Yourself If You Want to Be Highly Successful

10 Things You Need to Tell Yourself If You Want to Be Highly Successful

Do you want to be more successful? Highly successful people often have similar attitudes and mindsets that help them to achieve their great success.

From having goals to being flexible, here are 10 things you need to consider if you want to become highly successful.

1. They don’t make excuses for themselves.

Almost everyone has dreams, but many people have excuses for why their dreams are impossible. Highly successful people don’t think this way; instead they focus on overcoming obstacles and being proactive.

Ask yourself: What makes my dreams impossible? If I put in all 100% effort, would it still be unachievable?

2. They are flexible if they need to be.

Highly successful people know that if something is not working, they need to switch up their method. Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting new results is a waste of your own time; instead, see your plan as a rough guide and make adjustments as you go along.

Ask yourself: Why is my plan not working currently? How could I improve my plan?

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3. They don’t quit.

Anybody can quit when things become difficult, but that is not the way to become highly successful. Even when times are hard, successful people stick at it and keep working. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs once said: “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”

Try to think of your end goal, and how every day you get closer to achieving it.

Ask yourself: Do you have to quit or do you want to quit? If you quit now, is there a chance you will one day regret it?

4. They are a business.

Successful people often think of themselves as a business. They have the right people around them, they work whenever inspiration hits and they have a strong, strategic focus. Try to make sure your goals are clear and you are working towards your plan in every aspect of your life.

Ask yourself: Could I be more productive during the day? What do I want to achieve this week? What do I want to achieve this month?

5. They have clear goals.

A big part of succeeding is setting yourself goals, both big and small, and committing to them. This will help to keep you feeling motivated, and it often helps you to progress faster. To be successful, it is important to be focused on your goals; Steve Jobs said:

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“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”

Ask yourself: What are my goals? How can I achieve them? How long will it take? Can I put all of my effort into this?

6. They understand that sacrifice is important.

Often successful people have to make sacrifices to achieve their goals. For instance, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, dropped out of Harvard so he could focus on his goal to build a software empire. Make sure you set yourself realistic goals to make sure your sacrifices pay off.

Ask yourself: Will this sacrifice help me to achieve my goals? Is it worth the risk? Am I willing to make this sacrifice?

7. They are willing to jump in at the deep end.

Mark Zuckerberg said on success:

“Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”

While it may feel frightening initially, there can be huge rewards. Failure is a method of learning, and means you will have a better shot if you try again with your newfound knowledge.

Ask yourself: Do I think it is worth it? Do I want better results? Can I overcome my fears?

8. They live in the moment and don’t hold grudges.

Many successful people understand that the past has already happened and can no longer be changed. Dwelling on the past means you are thinking less about the present and the future—and you could be missing out. Be aware that you are here today despite hard times in the past, and that it does not define who you are or your future.

Ask yourself: Am I still affected by this? Can I stop thinking about this? Does it affect my future?

9. They embrace change.

Many people fear change, but often highly successful people understand it is simply an unavoidable part of life. When you have to change your plans and strategies, simply shift paths and keep moving towards your goal. It may feel frustrating and difficult, but when you achieve your goal, it is likely you will feel glad you did.

10. They are thankful.

Being thankful is an important part of success. Founder of eBay Pierre Omidya believes that:

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“Ebay’s success as a company depends on the success of the community of sellers.”

Highly successful people are thankful for both the big and the little things in their lives, and are often very aware that others around them assist them on a daily basis.

Ask yourself: Who has helped me today? Have I thanked them?

Can you think of any other things to tell yourself if you want to be highly successful? Comment your ideas below!

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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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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