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5 Important Elements Of Success People Seldom Mention

5 Important Elements Of Success People Seldom Mention
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You might be expecting me to write something basic about patience, integrity, humility, honesty, discipline, and other qualities that might make up a successful person. If you’re looking for an article like that, you’ll find them everywhere. This article is different. It’s not meant to talk about one word or one quality of successful people in a generic sense and re-define what those things mean for you. This articles purpose is to help you re-define what your personal success is and how you define yourself.

There are elements of success people seldom mention, and sometimes those things have nothing to do with the present or the individual. Below, feel free to read about those five elements.

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1. Your job isn’t your success.

You are your success, and what you’re successful in will vary. It doesn’t have to be your job. It could be your family, it could be your volunteer work, or your community service.  Success is multi-faceted.  In addition, your job may not be a direct reflection of you, your greatest strengths, or the best use of your time. Your job might not enable you to contribute to the world in a way you would like, yet so many people define themselves by their jobs, or their next big promotion. Success is a lifestyle and an attitude.

2. Failure is going to happen to you. Just because you fail at something, doesn’t mean you are a failure.

I’ve only failed one class in my life: geometry. I did my best, and I tried hard, enrolling in tutoring and after school classes to help boost my grade. Failing, I thought, would be unacceptable and earth-shattering. I thought I’d be too embarrassed to ever be able to discuss it, l and yet here I am. Do you know what I learned? I learned it wasn’t the end of the world. I learned what I wasn’t good at. I learned where I was weak and I used those insights to make myself stronger and better educated about myself.

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Failure is nothing more than useful feedback. You don’t have to be the best at everything to be the best at something. Sometimes we learn from the things we do poorly or the things we fail to do moreso than the things we excel in.

3. People will always see your successes. They may never know about your sacrifices.

There will always be people who think you had it easy. There were always be people who identify with you and think you had it rough. They are both wrong, and the answer is usually somewhere in the middle and defined by the individual. The truth of the matter is, no one else is going to really know how much you had to give up or overcome to get to where you are. It’s easy to think being successful is easy when the version of you people are seeing is the person who made it through the storm.

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When push comes to shove, their opinions don’t matter. What matters is what you think and feel about yourself. When you feel good about yourself and your own unique purpose in life, everything falls into place.

4. There are people who aren’t going to think you’re successful, no matter what you think of yourself or how you feel.

Ignore people like this. They are usually miserable themselves. There will always be people who like to gossip or speak poorly of someone else trying to get by and follow their dreams. People will tell you your goals are stupid, your dreams are unrealistic, and the money won’t follow. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong. The only thing that matters is that you don’t base your final choices off of them.

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5. Sometimes it’s about who you know.

In some respects, certain types of success have to do more with who you know as opposed to how hard you work, hustle, or study. Many people will tell you so long as you work hard, anything is possible, and while anything being possible is true, it isn’t always probable. Sometimes people have a better time, or easier time because they have good mentors or they knew the right people or joined the right clubs or had the right connections. Sometimes success is a collaborative effort, not just something we become on our own.

Featured photo credit: The Auditorium at the Educational Center of Hallmark Institute of Photography, located at 27 Industrial Blvd, Turners Falls, Massachusetts/Tfman13 via commons.wikimedia.org

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Emina Dedic

TEFL Instructor, Traveler, Professional Writer, Model

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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