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22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

How many successful people do you personally know in the world? Most people can’t list more than a handful. Why is achieving success so hard and what is it that sets the successful apart from the less successful?

If you study the biographies of successful people, you will find that it is not where they came from or started out that influenced their success, but rather their habits and ways of thinking. Success has a lot to do with doing what you probably don’t want to do now, so that later on you can do what you really do want to.

If you only do the easy things in life, life will be hard, but if you do the hard things in life, life will be easy. Here are 22 of the hardest, but most important things you must do to achieve success and reach all your goals.

1. Taking big risks

“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick Wilcox

Taking risks is scary for almost everybody, but you don’t reach success by playing it safe. You have to go after what you want; it isn’t going to miraculously appear on a silver plate in front of you. The bigger the risk, often the bigger the success!

2. Trusting your gut and following your intuition

“I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.” – Sir Richard Branson

Don’t always overthink everything and try to be as logical as possible, sometimes your intuition is far more accurate in making the best decision for you, according to most successful people. It isn’t easy to do when all logic is telling you otherwise, but learning to trust your gut feeling more could be the best thing you do; it somehow already knows what you already want.

3. Fighting your fears 

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

If you want to succeed, you have to learn how to overcome your fears and deal with them so they don’t undermine your success. If you don’t master your fears, they will certainly master you and rob you of success.

4. Setting and sticking to goals

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

Most people don’t set and stick to goals because it takes discipline and that extra effort. Did you know that the majority of the most successful people in this world regularly set goals? Goals are your roadmap to success. Don’t overlook this important success habit.

5. Taking responsibility for your results

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

You cannot be a victim and blame others for the results you have in your life. You create the results you want, you can’t expect somebody else to achieve your goals and get you what you want. If you want success, you have to take responsibility for you achieving it or not, you can’t blame others.

6. Waking up early

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” – Richard Whately

This is on top of most people’s list, it is often just so hard! It is true though, that by waking up just one hour earlier every day, you’ll have an extra five hours a week to work on achieving your goal. Statistics don’t lie and most successful people don’t sleep in, they rise early.

7. Getting up after getting knocked down

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

You don’t have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you deal with it. To be successful, you have to keep going when you feel like giving up. You can’t give up on your goal because one thing didn’t work out, that is like slashing your other three tires when one goes flat.

8. Stop procrastinating

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso

Procrastinating can seriously sabotage your chances of success. You lose opportunities, money, damage your reputation and confidence. Deal with your procrastination if you know it is holding you back, don’t let procrastination steal your dreams and success, it happens too often to too many people.

9. Putting results before comfort

“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.” – Vince Lombardi

You need to work harder if you want more success in life: the extent of your efforts is the extent of your rewards. It’s not about working long hours and getting as much done as possible, it is about working smarter. At the beginning you need to put in that little bit extra and work harder to give you that boost you need starting off. What you put in, you will get out.

10. Getting it going

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

It is easy to come up with a million reasons why you should put off taking ‘certain’ actions that you should be taking. How often do you say, “The time isn’t right,” or “I’m not ready”? You just have to get it going, it doesn’t have to be right or perfect, but you need to keep taking continuous steps closer towards your goal. There is always something you can do to take you closer to your goal.

11. Dealing with change

“Change is vital; improvement is the logical form of change.” – James Cash Penny 

It is hard to change and accept it at times, but it is necessary to reach certain goals and be more successful. Strive to embrace change and find ways to adapt to it easier. You need change if you want more success, otherwise, you would be successful now. Don’t resist it, welcome it!

12. Avoiding mindless gossip

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

You and your success are largely influenced by your environment and your circle of friends. The conversations you have with them are the seeds of thoughts, and you want successful thoughts. Talk about ideas and have inspiring conversations and don’t resort to mindless conversations with nothing positive to them that only pollute your mind.

13. Reaching out to others

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being.” – Pearl S. Buck

Nobody becomes successful alone, it is not possible. Reach out to others and build relationships on the way. Ask others for guidance when you need help and help others too. It isn’t easy to find and build strong relationships, it takes effort and commitment, but they are super important for success.

14. Not worrying about what other people think

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is hard to not let other people’s comments and opinions get you down at times, you are human after all. However, it clearly doesn’t help you when it comes to reaching your goals; with no confidence it becomes twice as challenging. It is up to you whether you will allow others to make you feel less, it is your choice. Simply smile at the people who doubt and put you down and keep moving forward.You can’t strive to have everybody like you in this world.

15. Doing what you truly love

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

One of the biggest keys to success is to love what you do. You already have the motivation, inspiration and commitment to support you from the outset and along the way. It is challenging to actually do what you love in life and make a great living from it at the same time, but don’t put limits on your life. You decide what is possible in your life; get creative and find ways to make it work if that is what you really want.

16. Planning effectively

“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget

You need to have a plan and you need to plan effectively as well. If you don’t plan, how do you know where you are going? You need to set goals, plan how you will reach them and execute your plan. Learning to plan effectively is important as well, it is easy to undermine your efforts with bad planning and therefore undermine your chances of success.

17. Staying enthusiastic

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Staying enthusiastic when things don’t look good is much easier said than done. In the face of adversity, keeping that spirit of enthusiasm will give you the strength you need to keep going. What you focus on expands, so don’t focus on what isn’t working, put your focus on what you can do to make it work and be enthusiastic about the next possibility.

18. Finding the courage to follow your dreams

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

You need to look fear straight in the eye and move past it. You can reach all your goals and have all the success, if you have the courage to take all the action required with a courageous mindset to back it up. Have the courage to follow your dreams and don’t give up until you reach them.

19. Taking on all challenges

“To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like.” – Mike Gafka

You attract the exact challenges that you need to overcome in order to reach your goals and be successful. You can’t pick and choose which ones you get to have, you have to take them all on. They are there to support you in growth and in reaching your goals, they are all equally important to your success.

20. Always taking continuous action

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

When you go to gym, you have to go regularly to really see new results and the same goes for success. You have to take a lot of regular and continuous action if you want to have more than ordinary results. Dreaming, willing and planning alone will not get you there, continuous action will.

21. Always believe in yourself

“Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.” – Lydia M. Child

If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect somebody else to either. You have to be your own cheerleader and toot your own horn. Having confidence in yourself is what makes you successful. Don’t doubt yourself, believe in yourself and you will succeed.

22. Going that extra mile

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – Jim Rohn

The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit more effort you put in. It is hard and takes much more energy, but how badly do you want success?

 

Success is possible if you are willing to do the things you need to do to get you where you want to be. Don’t give up on your goals and dreams of success; know that they are truly possible if you really want them to be. We all have the same chances of success, whether we take those chances when they come is our first choice.

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Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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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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