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7 Ways To Be One of the Supersmart People Who Always Succeed

7 Ways To Be One of the Supersmart People Who Always Succeed

Do you ever feel like supersmart people are in their own private club? One that you could never penetrate. That doesn’t have to be the case. What you need is the secret sauce that they use to succeed. You can emulate what smart and successful do by implementing the following seven things that they swear by.

1. They know the power of networking.

Teaming up with other smart people is a key to their success. They attract, seek out and network with people who will add to their brand, knowledge and lifestyle. The success of World Domination Summit, founded by Chris Guillebeau and held every July in Portland, Oregon, highlights how important networking is. Each year up to 3,000 people gather to create new and meaningful connections.

2. They aren’t afraid to ask for help.

A successful person knows that there is always someone more knowledgeable or with a different perspective they can go to for help. They check their egos at the door and aren’t afraid to ask. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, is quoted as saying:

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“Sometimes you may simply need help from someone who knows you best. Some of the best business lessons I’ve learned have come from my mother. She always encouraged me to pursue my entrepreneurial interests when I was young, and when I got into trouble, she was the first person I turned to for help.” 

3. They schedule and take downtime.

A Harvard Business Review blog a few years ago stated how hard it was for workers to take downtime. Research showed that to be more productive you must take regular downtime. Even brief periods of downtime, like an afternoon nap, can make a big difference to your focus and energy. One of the most famous people in world history, Winston Churchill, protected his nap time and is quoted as saying:

“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”

Taking a break with a nap was so important to Churchill that he kept a bed in the Houses of Parliament!

4. They are always learning.

Supersmart people are avid book readers who never stop learning. They listen to podcasts, audiobooks or have a stack of physical books to read next to their bed. Derek Halpern of the hugely popular, 100,000+ readers, Social Triggers site is a voracious reader. He has stated that he reads at least a book a week and has been known to prepare for an interview by reading two books, nine academic papers and seventeen articles! Successful people know the power in educating their brain every day for new content. 

5. They regularly practice gratitude.

One thing that has had the biggest impact on people’s lives is realizing how powerful gratitude is and the importance of giving thanks. Oprah Winfrey told us this in the top 20 things she knows for sure. She quoted Meister Eckhart, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough.” Oprah tells us to:

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“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Schedule time into your day to be grateful.

6. They know when to pivot.

Do you quit or make a shift? Successful people are not afraid to make the tough decisions. Recently Danielle LaPorte, author of The Fire Starter Sessions and The Desire Map, shared the decision she made when she decided not to start a print magazine. She knew that continuing on with her dream would affect her focus and what was essential to how she runs her successful business. Knowing when to start, stop or deviate is key to being one of the supersmart people. 

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7. They do their homework.

People often say they listened to their gut, but to reduce guessing before making a big decision supersmart people do their homework. They read, research, ask for advice and get really clear on what they need to know before they make a decision.

 

Remember these seven ways to be supersmart. Start implementing them into your life and before you know it you will one of these supersmart people too!

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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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