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10 Ways to Cultivate the Alpha Personality for Success

10 Ways to Cultivate the Alpha Personality for Success

The only thing standing between you and your dreams is yourself. Specifically, it is your personality. A common dictionary definition explains a personality as: “The pattern of collective character, behavioral, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person.” Or in more simple terms, your personality is the expression of the way you think and act. An alpha personality has its roots in ethological studies; in hierarchical social animals, the alpha male or female would enjoy preferential access to food and other desirable activities. Alphas would lead and be followed by the pack in any resettling journeys. In human society and culture, the role of the alpha male or female is very much similar. The alpha personality not only embodies the collective values and virtues for success, but spearheads through unchartered waters and acts as a pioneer for not only their own personal success, but that of everyone else.

You are probably sitting there reading and thinking, “Oh, that sounds great. I wish I was born with an alpha personality.” The game-changing point for you and many others is that while 2% of people may just be born with such a personality, the other 98% have learned to develop an alpha personality.

Here are ten ways you can begin to cultivate an alpha personality:

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1. It All Starts With A Vision

The revolutionary, Mahatma Gandhi, makes the profound statement:

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

There are no words that can fully convey the power that lies in creating a clear vision in your mind for the future reality that you desire. Successful people of various backgrounds, such as professional athletes, use visualization—replaying the successful outcome that they desire before they step out to engage in the specific activity. See yourself as embodiment of the alpha personality—the successful, confident, charismatic person who naturally captures the attention of everyone in the room.

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2. Work on Your Posture

Amy Cuddy gives an incredible Ted Talk with almost ten million views on this subject. In the talk, she describes evidence which supports the idea that your body language shapes who you are. If you go about your daily life with your head down and a hunched back, these are subordinate postures that will result in a subordinate attitude. Begin to stand tall, look people in the eye, and walk like you mean business.

3. Embrace Enterprise

Do not simply step outside of your comfort zone; make your lifestyle completely outside of the comfort zone. The alpha personality lives in the uncomfortable zone. Enterprise has been defined as: “An undertaking, especially one of some scope, complication, and risk.” Strive to be described by others as a “risk-taker.” There are very few worthwhile rewards that come without risk.

4. Stop Following; Start Leading

How do you jump that fence? If you have started doing the first three points, then you are already over the fence. People will follow those who have a clear vision and audacity to step out toward an new venture. The fascinating thing about becoming a leader is that the moment you decide to take control of your own life, you have become a leader—a leader for yourself. This is the first act in ceasing to be a follower. The alpha personality leads him or herself first and foremost. Beginning to lead yourself will inevitably begin to lead others.

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5. Delete “No” From Your Vocabulary

See the possibility in everything. Develop the determination and grit to never leave a problem without a resolution. The alpha personality is a problem solver. Problem solvers are sought after and continually looked to for help. Regardless of what field you are in, never resign to thinking something cannot be done.

6. Smile

Convey charm and charisma. Humans have a fascinating mechanism called “mirror-neurons.” We naturally reflect and take on the vibes and actions of the person we are engaged with. If you are able to make others feel great, you will be the kind of person that others want to spend more time with, and subsequently be more influential.

7. Bounce the Bystander Effect

There was a tragic event in New York in 1964 that spawned the name for this syndrome. A woman was murdered and though her screams were heard, nobody called the police. Everyone assumed that someone else would do it! The alpha personality does not wait for anyone else to get the job done. If you see any situation that needs to be resolved, step in and do it without hesitation.

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8. Dress to Impress

We have all heard the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Impossible. Unless you just happen to have the ability to jump inside someone’s mind and read their personality, your cover and the way you dress is going to be exactly what people judge you by, whether you like it or not. In fact, the way you dress is very much an expression of your personality. The alpha personality is sharp and slick with no room for any fluff. You should be very comfortable with a photo of you being put on the front cover of Success magazine.

9. Find a Mentor

“You are the average of the five people you spend most time with.”

– Jim Rohn

Indeed the apple does not fall far from the tree. Every great athlete has a coach. Every successful businessman has a mentor. Seek out the person who embodies the alpha personality that you desire and begin to learn from them. Do not be afraid to reach out; give them a call or send them an email.

10. It Is Confidence, Not Arrogance

There is a fine line, but if it is crossed, your alpha personality can go from being admired to being despised. Your success is very much dependent upon your rapport with people. Be direct, but not demeaning. Be bold, but not brash.

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Thai Nguyen

Thai's a Mindfulness-Meditation Coach, a 5-Star Chef and an International Kickboxer.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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