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7 Thoughts to Kill If You Want to Be Successful

7 Thoughts to Kill If You Want to Be Successful

OK! So you aren’t a bold visionary like Buffett or Branson, but that doesn’t mean you can’t aim to be successful. For every individual out there, success is defined differently: some people crave glory, power and money; others simply crave friendships, connections, and romance; and for some, success may be doing mundane chores of their house.

Just because you aren’t a big shot among your peers, doesn’t mean you can’t aim to be one. You will see plenty of tips and techniques that will take you down the road of success; however, you will not be able to travel on that road unless you believe in success for yourself. To be successful you need to avoid all those negative thoughts that are killing your drive. All such thoughts are generated by negative memories of previous failures, disappointment, humiliation, embarrassment and so on that remain alive and well in your unconscious mind.

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To believe in success for yourself, you need to let go of these deadly thoughts.

1. “I have not been provided with plenty of opportunities.”

It’s a cruel selfish world out there, and you aren’t given opportunities. But here’s the deal: wake up! Opportunities are meant to be taken NOT given. You don’t need to wait for someone to give you an opportunity; you have to step out and take opportunities. The only thing that is holding you back is yourself. There are several tools, like social media, that will connect you directly with people to whom you can pitch in your ideas.

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2. “I would pay the price if I knew it would be worth it.”

Success is earned; you do not set the reward prior to hard work. It will blur your motivation, and dampen your determination. All successful people have earned their success; they have worked at it and pursued it regardless of the pay-offs they will get. This is the reason that hard working successful people are getting more pay and frequent promotions.

3. “I am always held back by other people.”

Other people have gotten away with the opportunity you deserved; your parents don’t want you going into a certain field; your co-worker wasn’t as invested in the pitch as you. You have had little or no success because people have a habit of screwing you over. But here’s the thing: you can’t control other people and their actions; you can only control yourself and the way you think. Own up to mistakes that may have been caused by other people, and learn from them. Successful people are successful because they have learned from their mistakes.

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4. “I don’t have the time.”

If you don’t have the time, make time for your efforts. Do your tasks quickly and efficiently. For success, remember that time is money; you should be in control of time rather than time taking control of you.

5. “I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted”

Thinking among these lines will give you self esteem issues. Don’t compare yourself to others; they will possess talents you have, but you will also possess talents that they don’t have. You should, however, be determined to learn new skills, and believe in being persistent.

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6. “I am going to fail. Why bother?”

Already proclaiming yourself a failure will kill your motivation and leave no room for the hard work. You should instead be your own motivation that fuels your drive for success.

7. “I am a genius.”

There is a thin line between being confident and over-confident. If you think you are a game changer, and people are to bow down in front of your magnificence, it’s time to give yourself a wake-up call. Thinking that you are a genius and being one are two different things. The former being an opinion, whereas the latter is result of hard work.

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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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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

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