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20 Things You Have To Know If You Want To Be Successful In Life

20 Things You Have To Know If You Want To Be Successful In Life

I know plenty of very successful people, but they all have different definitions of what success means to them. For some, success is money. For others, it means just being happy. No matter what your definition of success is, here are 20 things you need to know before you can live a fulfilling and successful life.

1. Money doesn’t buy everything.

“There are people who have money and people who are rich.”

Coco Chanel

Sure, you can purchase fast cars, large TVs and all of the amenities you could want in life, from shoes to gold watches; however, you can’t buy friendship, love, trust and faith. Trying to arrange your life around money won’t bring you happiness.

Instead of centering your life on how much you owe, how much you’ll make, and how much you’ll give, be rich and full in the world around you. If you don’t, life will pass by too quickly and all you’ll have to show for it is wasted time and energy.

2. Honor the code of responsibility.

“You will ever remember that all the end of study is to make you a good man and a useful citizen.”

John Adams

In life, we are always striving to be the best. We want to be better than our competition. We want to know it all and have it all. On the contrary, we have the principle that you have a responsibility to everyone and a responsibility for only yourself. Your life is multi-faceted.

Prioritize your life and see how you can contribute to your community. In return, gain insight, wisdom and skills that can help foster you as a person. Join a volunteer group, participate in a charity, or help someone in need.

3. Expect the unexpected.

“To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect.”

Oscar Wilde

Be proactive and always think ahead. Like in any good game of chess, you want to anticipate any variation or move that may occur. With life, prepare for the unexpected. If you are waiting to hear whether or not you got the job, don’t set yourself up for failure and place it in an out-of-reach box. Also, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

Life is all about curveballs, twists and turns. Let’s be honest: if everything was expected, we’d be bored. Stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for any outcome.

4. Never let others define you.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Bernard M. Baruch

Why would we ever want to live in a world where we are like everyone else? Could you imagine never getting the choice of the clothes you wear, the music you listen to or the hobbies you love? We are all unique.

Yes, we all have our quirks, but at the end of the day, you can’t let others define you. Never let anyone tell you who to be or what to do. They can dictate their own life, not yours. If they try to, they are not worth your time. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are.

5. Go big or go home.

“I live by ‘Go big or go home.’ That’s with everything. It’s like either commit and go for it or don’t do it at all. I apply that to everything. I apply that to relationships, I apply that to like sports, I apply that to everything. That’s what I live by. That’s how I like it.”

Paul Walker

Embrace your talents and strengths, and go beyond what is required. If you need to turn in a paper for your boss by Friday, have it edited, reviewed, and submitted on Thursday. If you want to bake for a picnic, try a new recipe and commit. If you want to land that big promotion, work hard and prove that you deserve it.

Aspire to be successful, and you will not fail. Maybe you won’t meet your goal or win, but at least you tried. You showed gumption, and that is a great feeling that cannot be duplicated.

6. Be present at all times.

“The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now.”

Bill Cosby

When we live in the present, we will keep our focus. We cannot change what has happened, and we cannot control everything that will happen. Therefore, enjoy the time you have and don’t fixate on what may be, what could be, or what could have been.

Live in the moment and love every minute of it. Capture memories with cameras, whether it’s your first skydive, first love, or first job.

7. Take risks.

“A ship is always safe at the shore—but that is NOT what it is built for.”

Albert Einstein

Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet and try new things. Think to yourself, “what is the worst that can happen?” For example, maybe you are not a fan of seafood. Your friend offers you sushi, but you are afraid to try it. Maybe this sushi is covered with fresh strawberries and lemon poppy seed glaze over white tuna. You love strawberries.

How would you know you hated sushi if you didn’t try it? What’s the worst that can happen? You spit it out. Life is about risks. You’ll never know until you try.

8. Don’t worry; be happy.

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

Anne Frank

Find the good things around you even in tough situations. Anne Frank, the young girl who chronicled her experiences while hiding from Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, saw beauty in little things. She never dwelled on the negatives, about dying, about being captured.

She endured so much at a young age. She focused her thoughts on her first crush, her first kiss, herself changing into a woman. Focus all of your attention on the things you have and the experiences you take with you. Cherish the good and leave your dark storm cloud behind.

9. Always seek a greater purpose.

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

Dalai Lama

Along the lines of responsibility, always seek a greater purpose in life. Know that you are one person and that there is a world full of people who can relate to you and feel compassion. Help others and see that we are all connected in some way to bring out the good in each other.

10. Keep your fire burning.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

G.K. Chesterton

No matter where your life takes you—your career path, your interests, the people in your life—always be passionate about what you do. Avoid exhausting yourself over complaining about what is going wrong with life, and always do what makes you happy.

Keep your fire burning and ignite your inner spark to see what makes you feel and fall in love with what you do. If you’re a teacher, maybe seeing your students succeed is your reason for teaching. If you are a firefighter, maybe you’re saving lives. Find your passion and harness it.

11. Smell the roses.

“Rest and be thankful.”

William Wordsworth

Take a break every once in a while and stop to appreciate the world around you. You’ll be surprised at how the little things, like budding flowers, cracks in a sidewalk, and even the smell of rain, can inspire, encourage, and uplift. Never take these moments for granted and enjoy solace every once in a while. You will exercise your mind and body.

12. Exercise your mind.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”

Anthony J. D’Angelo

Become a life-long learner and expand your mind. Pick up a book, read a newspaper, or go to a library. Watch the news and talk about what you’ve learned. Expanding your mind can open yourself up to not only gained wisdom, but new skills and opportunities.

If you want to change your career path, you can find something that peaks your interest. Just don’t be afraid to learn about something that normally wouldn’t interest you.

13. Cherish your body.

“Growing into your future requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is.”

Victoria Moran

You have one life to live, so you should treat your body with respect. As the old saying goes, “your body is a temple, cherish it.” Eat healthy, sleep well, and exercise your mind and body. Take care of yourself first. Find your priorities and make them count.

14. Say “hello.”

“Sometimes just when I say hello the right way, I’m like, ‘Whoa, I’m so cool.'”

Robert Pattinson

Kindness is contagious and guess what? It feels good too. Be the first person to say “hello.” Greet your neighbors, a stranger on the street, your co-worker three cubicles down to the right. Spread happiness and make someone’s day. Believe it or not, it will make your day as well.

15. Be alone.

“The best part about being alone is that you really don’t have to answer to anybody. You do what you want.”

Justin Timberlake

Make time for yourself. Turn off the TV, step away from the computer, put down the phone. Embrace your “me time” and think about what  made you happy today. Or, do not think at all. That’s the beauty of being alone. The choice is yours.

Savor the moments where you don’t have an obligation or a place to go. Put a blanket outside on a sunny day and lay down and bask in the healthy glow. Remember that each moment is precious.

16.Establish a routine.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

Mike Murdock

Try waking up at the same time each morning. Enjoy breakfast and plan your day. Instead of feeling stressed or frazzled, find comfort in knowing you can control some things in your life. When you have your bearings, it’s easier to take on new challenges and kinks in the system.

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17. Put you and your family first.

“The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.”

Charles Kuralt

Sure, we all have deadlines and pressures at work and in our daily lives. However, they should never be put in front of your own health and your family’s wellness. You only have one family and they should always be a top priority.

Make a phone call and catch up. Have dinner or invite family over for a game night. If someone you love is in the hospital, go visit them. Cherish every moment you have with them.

18. Keep dreaming.

“Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart.”

Eli Young Band

Dream big. This means always strive for what you want out of life. Create a bucket list and organize your ideas so you know where to start. Maybe you’ve always wanted to run a 5k. Start out with the end in mind and work hard to reach your goal. If you fail, try again.

19. Reflect and react.

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”

Yvonne Woon

Think of yourself as moldable. Your past experiences shape who you are. Take some time to think through your trials and errors, your successes. Then, see how they can propel you forward. Strive to improve and be the best version of yourself.

20. Be motivated.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Never give up. Keep your drive, your passion and faith in yourself. Know you can accomplish your goals and reach for them. Ask a friend to help encourage you along the way. Whether it’s losing weight, finding a new job, or reconnecting with an old friend, a support system is priceless.

What does it all mean?

By adopting all or even some of these philosophies, you can have a positive outlook on life and a greater sense of where you fit in. Success is not monetary gain. It’s not pleasing others. It’s about making yourself happy in your life. So, go out there and really live it up!

 

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Featured photo credit: Namphuong Van via unsplash.com

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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

Reference

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