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Last Updated on August 29, 2018

15 Ways Successful People Think Differently

15 Ways Successful People Think Differently

What determines if one is successful or not? It is all in how one thinks and approaches situations. Are you one to actively go all in or do you wade in the water, testing it first?

If you want to become more successful, then first learn about the way successful people think and change your mindset. Here’s how successful people think differently from others:

1. Focus on what matters

There are only 24 hours in a day, but of those hours, where are you spending your time?

Successful people know what has to happen day in and day out. It’s getting the necessary work done before watching viral YouTube videos.

2. No endless to-do lists

To-do lists exist but they include only the top projects that need worked on today. Usually completing three key items a day will mean that the day has been productive. If you complete those, then you can continue on to the other projects.

Looking at an infinite to-do list is not how people think. Make the tasks at hand manageable and they will get completed.

3. Bounce off ideas with other people

Have a great idea that you want to launch? Well, do not keep it a secret.

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Start sharing that idea with others in your industry, friends, strangers, people at the coffee shop. See what their feedback to the idea is. Maybe they will point out something that you have never thought of before and help make your idea soar.

4. Use the 80/20 rule

The Pareto Principle is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Identify that 20% and focus on it. Tim Ferriss explained it with Lifehack here:

Interview with Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Workweek – Part 1

5. Learn to quiet the mind

Meditation is key for successful people. It’s taking time out whether it be 5 minutes or 30 minutes to clear your mind and set the day off on the right foot.

We are inundated with information and your mind must have a way to cut through all of the noise.

6. Have an optimistic outlook

Stop thinking of all the ways that your project or idea will not work and believe in the one that will work.

When you think positively, the project will have a better possibility of being successful.

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Negative thoughts just destroy your mind and everything that you work on.

7. Not afraid to be unconventional

Popular thinking does not always lead to the expected result. It takes being unconventional and risks to get the result that you want.

If the conventional thought does not lead to your intended result, maybe it is time to start doing things differently.

8. Follow through

Successful people always follow through. If you say that you are going to do something, do it. The other person or organization will recognize this, and you will rise above the crowd.

9. Collaborate with others

Have a great project that you want to launch? Perhaps partnering with someone to make it even better and have a greater reach will make a world of difference.

Many successful people realize that their project can use an added creative spark from others. Maybe you are a photographer who ends up partnering with a graffiti artist and a writer to create an amazing project.

10. Know you can do it

If you think you can, then it is possible. It all starts with believing in yourself.

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If you want to be a NY Times Best Selling Author, you first have to believe that you are a writer.

Believing is key to your success.

11. Develop your thoughts

That great idea may not happen overnight. It takes willingness and time to let it develop.

It’s not a one day project that leads to that successful launch, but it takes patience in making sure that the idea is fully developed and that you have put in 150% effort to make it your best.

12. Be different

Doing the same things as the top person will not get you where you want to be. As Chase Jarvis says,

“Be different not better.”

Don’t be an exact replica of someone. Be yourself and be unique.

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13. Sand for what you believe in no matter what

Successful people are willing to make a stand for what they believe in.

You’re not always going to have an army of people supporting you, but it takes a willingness to stand up for your ideas and beliefs no matter what the situation.

14. Go all in

No, we are not playing a game of poker here but instead, the game of life. You must be willing to risk it all at times to do what you believe in.

Will it work every time? No. However, you must be willing to learn from what happened. You never know if it will work or not unless you try it.

15. Learn from failures

Whether something worked or not, you must analyze the situation afterwards. What went well? What did not? What can be improved?

Successful people always step back from projects after it is said and done, look at the results and learn from their failures so it does not happen again.

Final thoughts

Being different may seem against the “norm”, but the norm is what people make. When you start to think and be differently, you’ll see a wider horizon and you get closer to success.

Learn from successful people and start to think the way they do!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Easily Distracted? Here’s Your Solution

Easily Distracted? Here’s Your Solution

Are you reading this article because you’re currently searching for a solution or method to help improve your focus? Trying to find a way to concentrate better so that you can get more done in your day? Or, do you feel like you spend a lot of time easily distracted on things other than what you’re meant to really be focusing on?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! As our society becomes more and more advanced, there is much more information for us to digest and more opportunities to experience. This can definitely be overwhelming and distracting! Whether it’s a work proposal that you’re trying to focus on writing, or a goal in life that you’re striving for, distractions do get in the way of your focus towards those important things in your life. And, the distractions come in a wide variety!

For example, many of us are easily distracted by our mobile phones. Whether it’s the constant notifications popping up, or the need to scroll through your social media news feeds, these are all distractions that cost us time. There are also bigger distractions like wanting to go to a game on a beautiful day, or taking a weekend holiday even though you have a deadline due on Monday.

What are Distractions?

Let’s go deeper to break down and understand how distractions happen in the first place. Distractions are things that divert away your attention from the action that you’re trying to do. They make you lose focus and put you off track. The problem with distractions is that they not only cost time, they dilute your energy, too. Repeated interruptions of this sort can lead to demotivation, because you’ll feel like you’re overwhelmed… yet not getting anything done!

Contrary to popular belief, our brains perform best when we’re focused on one objective at a time. We’re generally not good at constantly switching our attention between different tasks. Multiple studies have shown that when we do this, the performance of each task suffers compared to if we focused on them one by one. So multitasking isn’t the best option when it comes to wanting to get more done quickly.

How Much Do Distractions Cost?

As I mentioned previously, in today’s society, we’re faced with so much information that it’s easy to be bombarded by distractions.

If you’re a typical working American, you’ll be distracted every 11 minutes; and, it will take you 25 minutes to settle down again to your task. Additionally, the more complicated your project, the longer it will take to regain your focus. This happens because your brain has to put in considerable effort when switching between complex objectives.

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Distractions have a huge cost on our focus and productivity. If you want to improve or increase your focus, you need to learn to deal with the distractions in your life.

What are Internal Distractions?

When it comes to distractions, we tend to think of them as external occurrences: your phone starts ringing, someone talks to you and interrupts your train of thought when you were immersed in something important, or the sudden onset of construction noise when you’re in an important meeting.

It’s very easy to blame external distractions as the cause when you can’t focus. But, there’s actually a hidden type of distraction beneath the surface that is just as, if not more, responsible for taking away your focus. These are Internal Distractions.

The problem with internal distractions is, if you’re not acutely aware of them, you can be wasting both time and energy without even knowing it. So, before tackling external distractions effectively, you first have to take care of your internal distractions.

Priority Chaos

There are a few types of internal distractions, but let’s start with probably the most common one: the concept of Priority Chaos.

One of the most common distractions we encounter is that we have too many options on hand. This can cause priority chaos.

For example, some people may find it hard to focus at home because there are too many options to choose from. You can choose to feed your dog, read a book, watch TV, have a snack or take a nap.

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Besides the costs of distraction mentioned before, priority chaos is a big demotivator. When there are too many potentially attractive options, it’s hard to focus your energy and choose one of them – ideally the one you should be doing.

Priority chaos is also a demotivator because it makes you feel guilty. When you let your internal distractions overtake your focus, you’re the one who chooses to divert your own attention and energy away from your task. So when the task you wanted to complete doesn’t get done, you can’t blame an external factor. Whether you do it consciously or not, you’ll end up blaming yourself!

Why Does Priority Chaos Happen?

Your brain subconsciously prioritizes tasks based on three factors.

  1. To fulfil an existing need. For example, you need to go to the bathroom urgently, so your brain is guaranteed to prioritize it.
  2. To achieve a certain feeling of satisfaction, such as the satisfaction of eating a delicious chocolate fudge cake.
  3. The perceived cost of achieving the benefit. What is the effort, energy or time required to complete this action?

The brain automatically take these 3 factors into account even when you’re not thinking about it.  

Unfortunately, unless you’re consciously making an effort, your brain is not always the best at making accurate judgement calls. It tends to have a bias towards short term benefits and short term costs.

As there are often many more options our brains link to short term benefits, when you’re trying to focus on a task that gives you a long term benefit, that task usually becomes low priority. This is the essence of Priority Chaos.

How to Overcome Priority Chaos?

The good news is that it’s not so difficult to overcome this common internal distraction.

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The first step that you can take is to identify what task needs the most focus to get accomplished. Once you have that figured out, simply break down the that task into smaller, bite-sized tasks. Each bite-sized task should have a very clear short term benefit (something that you can easily describe in one sentence), and a very clear short term cost (something that you can quantify, such as time spent).

For example, let’s say you have a grant proposal to write for an upcoming project at work. The first bite-sized task that you can accomplish is to outline the grant proposal and split it into 4 different categories. This will ensure that you cover everything that is needed, and allows you to focus on each section one at a time.

Also, set a time limit or duration for each bite sized task. The time limit should be short enough so that it’s a no-brainer to want to check it off. Remember, the brain has a bias towards short term benefits, so it’s likely you’ll find it hard to resist checking off a bite-sized task!

The next step would be to evaluate your other options. Besides focusing on your grant proposal, what are all the possible things that you could be doing that would divert your attention away? Be realistic about what they are! Write them all down, and list out the benefits and the costs associated. You don’t have to write them down in detail, just a general description will do.

For instance, instead of writing your proposal, you could spend 20 minutes watching a comedy series on Netflix. The benefit is that you get entertained and have a good laugh. The cost is that you’ve just lost 20 minutes of your time, and that comedy series did nothing to help you with the grant proposal.

Once you have your list completed, start prioritizing them. You have a time limit, so you need to order your tasks by priority, starting with the focus task as your top priority. Then fit the others around it.

For any remaining tasks on the list that won’t fit within your allocated time, don’t worry. You don’t have to give them up. Just schedule them for another time.

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Long and Short Term Benefits

As explained earlier, our brains are not good at evaluating and comparing short term and long term benefits.

Short term benefits usually have a relatively low cost and are concrete, allowing our brains to easily grasp them. We usually associate long term benefits with high cost, and these perceived costs are usually not as clear cut. The longer term it is, the more effort it takes to imagine the benefits. This automatically creates a mental barrier and resistance in our brains. As a result, we tend to trade long term gain for short term gains.

This is the reason why you might know that something is good for you in the long term, such as losing weight and exercising, but for some reason, you can’t force yourself to feel excited about it. On the other hand, you might know that something is bad for you, such as binge eating junk food. But, the anticipation of short term satisfaction overwhelms your conscious ability to resist it.

This is the next type of internal distraction that we face, and it is called Short & Long Term Mismatch. Thankfully, this can be tackled, too.

If you’d like to learn more about this internal distraction and how to overcome it, subscribe to our newsletter today, where you will automatically receive more of this knowledge that will allow you to be in greater control of your situation and actions.

There is More Than Focus alone!

Whether it’s wanting to increase your focus to be more productive, or wanting to manage your time better, here at Lifehack, we’re committed to helping you find and become a better you. If you’d like to truly transform your life around, you shouldn’t be focusing only on one area of your life–such as changing a career or learning to manage your time better, and expect life-changing results. Instead, you must focus on changing yourself in several areas at once–which are what I call the 7 Cornerstone Skills.

These 7 Cornerstone Skills will help you to build a long term foundation. It’s not teaching a set of independent skills — it’s one system with different aspects. Here at Lifehack, we’ve created the perfect course that will enable you to learn all 7 skills, and as you go through the course, we’ll connect the dots into a single cohesive whole. You’ll progress on a journey of personal growth and transformation with each module that you complete. So if you’re feeling stuck in any area of your life today, why not start this journey with us?

Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com

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