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3 Essential Things to Achieve Success (Hard Work Is Not One of Them)

3 Essential Things to Achieve Success (Hard Work Is Not One of Them)

A common adage is that you need to work harder and suffer more than anyone else if you want to achieve success.

At the most, that’s a half-truth.

From what I have learned from people who have accomplished big things in both their lives and careers, one of their most common “a-ha moments” was when they realized that working hard was not enough to succeed, and that often it was even a waste of time and energy.

Thinking from this perspective, I have collected 3 things that just are as important, or even more important, than hard work when it comes to achieving success.

1. Purpose

things achieve success

    You’ve been working down in the boiler room for so long that you may not even remember WHY.

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    If you examined every single person in the world who is considered a failure (especially by themselves), you would see that all their lives lack the same ingredient: purpose.

    They don’t know where they are going. They don’t know why they do the things they do and don’t think there can be a reason. They chase only short-term satisfactions like food or sex, and those are the only things that keep them moving.

    They are operating only out of the animal side of themselves. Thus, they are not able to practice long-term thinking or personal analysis as human beings can.

    There is no need to look at very clear cases of failure to find the disease of lack of purpose. If you are not constantly aware, you will find yourself in the middle of doing something and won’t know why you are doing it.

    Momentum can be a good friend, but is also one of those friends that will make you waste a ton of time if you don’t keep an eye on it.

    Every time you start an action, keep in mind that you are going to keep on doing it for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, something internal or external reminds you to start doing something else.

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    When you start working on something without clearly knowing the expected results, it may take you hours or days of hard work to realize that it isn’t what you should be doing, if you ever want to achieve your goals.

    Don’t be a busy, hard-working person. Be a hard-planning person who takes purposeful actions instead.

    2. Self-work

    Work on yourself 10 times as hard as you work on external elements, and you will feel that you are moving 10 times faster towards what you want.

    Almost all the hard work you have to do to succeed is focused on replacing your routines and habits with the ones a successful person would have. By deliberately changing your procedures, you change the results you achieve, the value you provide, and the way you are seen by yourself and the rest of the world.

    If you could perform the same training and habits as Bruce Lee, day after day, there is no doubt that you would sooner or later become a remarkable martial artist, right?

    And what about performing like a person whose success in business has been outstanding? What if you integrated the same routines and habits that have allowed others to unlock the power and creativity they needed to succeed in their career or life?

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    You could, literally, start performing like that today and get astounding results immediately.

    The only requirement is that you put your old habits and self-limiting beliefs aside, making space for new ones.

    You must look at them before you can let them go; if you don’t recognize the weeds amongst the flowers, you won’t be able to take them out.

    Success is not attained by fighting the old, but by letting it go and building the new in its place.

    3. Belief

    If you don’t believe it’s possible for you to achieve what you want, you can work day and night, but you will never succeed.

    Sometimes, all the distance that seems to be separating you from your goals is in your mind. If you removed those mental barriers, you would see that you could just reach out and grab what you’ve been pursuing for so long.

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    As long as you don’t believe that it’s possible for you to have it, you are going to keep creating excuses and distractions. That’s simply because it feels uncomfortable or scary to have something you don’t think you are ready to have, or become someone you don’t believe you can be.

    If you removed the negative beliefs about what YOU can have and become, your reality would change instantly.

    Conclusion

    I know that these three things also require hard work and focus, but the stress, frustration and hours of pushing and shoveling they may save you are priceless.

    Featured photo credit: Businessman looking at city through window via shutterstock.com

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

    2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

    Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

    Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

    Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

    Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

    Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

    By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

    The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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    1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

    Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

    Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

    Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

    When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

    The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

    Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

    To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

    Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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    We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

    It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

    After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

    Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

    Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

    To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

    Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

    Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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    When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

    Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

    We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

    When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

    Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

    2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

    If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

    The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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    To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

    With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

    So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

    • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
    • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
    • Say no to all else.
    • Say no again.
    • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
    • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
    • Meditate.
    • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
    • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
    • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
    • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
    • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
    • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

    Final Thoughts

    These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

    Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

    More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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