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8 Questions Powerful People Ask Themselves Every Day

8 Questions Powerful People Ask Themselves Every Day

Life is full of questions. What will I wear today? What will I have for lunch? Whether it’s the small questions we face on a daily basis, or the larger, life-changing ones, they cannot be avoided.

Powerful and successful people ask themselves certain questions every day in order to meet their goals. These people understand that nothing in life is constant, and to make it to the top they have to regularly re-assess their lives and tactics. It is only through asking questions, like the ones listed below, every day that they are able to reflect on how far they have gone, who they have become, and what they want to achieve. And if their actions don’t line up with their goals? They make the necessary adjustments so they will be successful.

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Take the time every day to ask yourself these 8 questions, and you can achieve the success you are looking for.

1. What do I want to accomplish today?

Most of us wake up in the morning and go through the day without any focus or objective for that particular day. It’s the “wake up, survive, go back to bed” kind of lifestyle. Their main motivation for the day is just to run through their daily routines, avoiding much thinking and simply getting through the day. Half of their brain wishes to still be asleep.

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Successful people differ greatly from these people. They value their mornings, and they use them to set the mood and motivation for that day. They wake up in the morning, reassess themselves, look into their lives, remind themselves what their main focus is and set their objectives for that day. They focus on the things they want to achieve before the sun sets. That’s why they see great improvements ultimately.

2. How much time should each task take me?

Time management strategies are paramount in the road to success and, unfortunately, many of us are poor at this basic skill. We all have got 24 hours each day, no more no less for anyone. The difference between successful people and those who are not is as a result of what we do with the 24 hours and how we spread that time out over all daily tasks. Winners identify the priorities in their life or businesses and allocate them earlier and more time.

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3. Are my actions with my end goals in mind?

Actions indeed speak louder than words. Things you do are what determine if you will achieve the goals you have set. Successful people will stop once in a while and ask themselves if the things they are doing are aimed at meeting their bigger picture. In fact, they will put everything else away except the things that will help them achieve their goals.

4. What bad habits can I avoid?

Let us agree on one thing: everyone has his or her bad habits. Habits make us who we are. We know these habits are not pleasant, but because they make us feel good, we end up continually doing them. Powerful people, however, understand that bad habits are exactly that–bad, and they should be avoided. They will keep reminding themselves that they have these habits and regularly ask which of those, if not all, can they avoid long enough so they are no longer habits.

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5. What mistakes should I learn from?

We all make mistakes. They are part of our lives, a part of our learning experience. The biggest problem is repeating the same mistakes again and again, and expecting different results. Powerful people will learn from not only their mistakes, but the mistakes of others. They will keep reminding themselves of these mistakes and the lessons they learnt from them. They never make assumptions.

6. Am I still on the right track?

Evaluation is important in our lives. Sometimes we get so entrenched in so many things that are happening in our lives that we lose sight of the road we are following. If we do not evaluate ourselves, we might find ourselves far from the road we ought to be. To be successful, we should keep re-evaluating ourselves and asking if we still are on the right track and if we are heading in the right direction.

7. What sacrifices am I willing to make in pursuit of excellence?

Success is all about sacrifices and not so much about finding happiness. On our journey to success, we will be faced with decisions we need to make. Most of these decisions will put us in situations that we will be forced to choose one of two, or more, options. Most people will choose the easy option. Successful and powerful people understand that to move on to the next level, they have to forget something. These are the sacrifices that they have to make and they make the right decision.

8. What risks will I take to achieve my goal?

Life is all about taking calculated risks. Powerful people will tell you the risks they have taken to reach the position where they are at now. They will evaluate the opportunities in taking those risks and weigh them against what they could lose. Depending on which outweighs the other, they are able to make a calculated decision. That’s what makes them successful.

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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 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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