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11 Things To Let Go Of And You’ll Be More Productive

11 Things To Let Go Of And You’ll Be More Productive

1. Let go of believing you’re not doing your best

It’s not easy to be proud of yourself every day, especially when you are aware you can do better. In order to change your performance, you should change your viewpoint.

Try to celebrate the small achievements daily and make it a habit to acknowledge every battle you fight in personal life and work. That way not much time and effort will be left for negative attitude towards yourself.

“Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”
Nathaniel Branden

2. Let go of anger when you make mistakes

Whoever respects their work would be not satisfied when mistakes are made, especially when they could have been avoided. But turning to anger and other negative emotions not only brings you down, but also interrupts your workflow, damaging your productivity.

You can demand a perfect outcome, but can’t expect a perfect process, unless you consider yourself an automated machine. The more you work on treating mistakes as a natural part of the process, the easier it will be to recover from them and not harm the final result.

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire

3. Let go of fearing the unknown

Everything unknown can bring mystery and excitement, but it mostly terrifies you. Getting out of your comfort zone and what you know requires a lot of courage and risk taking. Often though, it’s the unknown that takes us to somewhere we never knew would enjoy so much.

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Unless you try something, you can’t decide if it was worth it. At the very worst scenario, you’ll know what to avoid in the future. Be open and appear more confident than you really are. There’s always a way to make it work, as long as you really want to.

“The only doors that open are the ones you knock on.” – Scott Marquart

4. Let go of believing you have to finish everything you start

Be it a dish you’re cooking or the university degree you are enrolled in, it seems counter intuitive not to finish it. Even when you have found something not to be a good match for your current needs and likes, you may feel guilty and insecure to drop it off and continue with a new choice.

However, it’s easier and faster to start over than to fix something that is not working. Consider it a success that you can actually determine what is not a good fit and use your experience and judgment to pick the right one.

“ Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.” – Donald Trump

5. Let go of brainstorming at the wrong times

Tight deadlines and busy schedules leave no other choice than to brainstorm whenever you have a clear block of time in your agenda. That is fine unless you really can’t get anything out of it.

It’s better to let yourself just be for a while and when the time is right for brainstorming, you will go through it much quicker, gaining the time you “lost” by refusing to force it.

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“Being lazy does not mean that you do not create. In fact, lying around doing nothing is an important, nay crucial, part of the creative process. It is meaningless bustle that actually gets in the way of productivity. All we are really saying is, give peace a chance.” – Tom Hodgkinson

6. Let go of waiting for inspiration

Sometimes inspiration seems to be far away, no matter how much you wait for it. When you can’t afford to wait longer, start working anyway. It could be that you’re too distant with the work you need to do and don’t have a clear panorama of the project.

Avoiding getting into the technical details might be the cause of the inspiration delay too. Going into the technical side of the things, you will get prepared for what is demanded and what should and shouldn’t be done. You will most probably get inspiration when things are clear enough in your head and you know exactly what to do.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King

7. Let go of the weight of comparison

It’s impossible not to put yourself on the scale every now and then. Be it when others are doing better than you, or when you’re not doing the best you can, it’s understandable to turn your head elsewhere for comparison.

An easy way to avoid this is making sure you use every second of your time becoming the best version of yourself.

When you’re busy working on your own matters, there’s usually not enough time to deal with others. And when comparison tests come to you, knowing you’re becoming better every day will prevent you from feeling bad.

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“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” – Shannon L. Alder

8. Let go of avoiding reality

Too be honest, some things are so dreadful that we secretly wish for a miracle to happen, so we won’t have to go through them eventually. It might be your lucky day once in a blue moon, but for in reality, responsibilities are for the adults and there’s no way to hide from them.

Instead of spending your energy coming up with imaginary escape plans, use the time you have in the best possible way. If you don’t want to do something, make up your mind as early as possible. Let the right people know about that, along with a couple of strong reasons backing up your decision and a plan B for them to proceed further with.

“When we truly need to do is often what we most feel like avoiding.” – David Allen

9. Let go of underestimating others

The moment you assume something is too easy or others you’re competing with are not going to be great, you have set yourself up for failure. When you underestimate others, you underestimate their work. As a result, you assume you won’t have to work hard, so you automatically underestimate your own potential.

Make it a rule to always work and prepare as if you’re competing with the best of the field and you’ll see how it pays off to the outcome of your efforts.

“I never underestimate my opponent, but I never underestimate my talents.” – Hale Irwin

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10. Let go of waiting for the right moment

You want the circumstances to be perfect for executing your project so the chances for something to go wrong are minimal. You believe that if you have the right tools, money and time to do what you want, everything will go as planned. Otherwise, you believe the slightest problem will cause failure.

However, things never go as planned in life and there will always be a detail that is not right for the moment. Don’t let your passion “cool down” by waiting forever. If you want it badly enough, you will tailor your whole life to fit your project.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” – Bruce Lee

11. Let go of spending time figuring out shortcuts

There could be occasions when you spend so much time trying to come up with an easier way of doing things or imagining how your life would be if everything didn’t require so much effort. But no matter how much we wish for things to be easier or faster, doing all the hard work is often the only way.

Everyone can do anything, to a certain degree. Make sure you go the extra mile, distancing yourself from the competition and eventually being proud of your project when you file it away in your portfolio folder.

“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett

 

Featured photo credit: http://deathtothestockphoto.com/ via deathtothestockphoto.com

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Last Updated on October 29, 2020

How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success, while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

The good news is that no matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

If you’re going to increase your mental toughness and manage stress, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset in everyday life.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

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“I’m not smart enough to…”

“I don’t have enough experience to…”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively.

When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true, and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

  • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
  • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
  • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was great or awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

But this isn’t true!

If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often.

When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

Ditch the Dwelling

Self-limiting beliefs and all-or-nothing thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative, which is bad news for mental health. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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That doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

If you struggle with this, you can try the following:

  1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
  2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
  3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
  4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

2. Connect With Your Purpose

One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong “why” for all of your short and long-term goals.

If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a “why” for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution, and things weren’t going well. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower or discipline.

It’s more likely that you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

“Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a why for. Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

You can learn more on identifying your purpose in this video:

Find Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something, and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers[3].

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Develop mental toughness with intrinsic motivation

    Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

    However, if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that “why” is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

    If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things.

    3. Find Strength in Unity

    The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone.

    Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

    Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

    If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

    Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

    The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success, discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

    If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

    Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

    Recruit Some Cheerleaders

    If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders to help you successfully complete your goals. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

    Even if you have a strong why and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

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    As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. When they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs.

    Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

    Form an Accountability Group

    Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong why for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

    Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

    Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

    4. Learn to Pick Yourself up After Setbacks

    Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

    As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

    When you find yourself in a low spot, instead of giving up right away, ask yourself these questions:

    • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
    • “Are negative thoughts distorting my view?”
    • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
    • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
    • “Is this goal still important to me?”
    • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or hold me accountable?”

    Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged.

    This article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

    Tying It All Together

    A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize negative tendencies and taking action to correct them early on with healthy habits. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

    No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

    More on Developing Mental Strength

    Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

    Reference

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