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8 Reasons You Don’t Have To Learn From Successful People

8 Reasons You Don’t Have To Learn From Successful People

As a general role, those who are deemed as being ‘successful’ in society are held up as examples and role models for us all to follow. While this is understandable, it does not take into account the unique characteristics that define us as individuals or the fact that the core definition of success is open to interpretation. This means that we can draw inspiration and learn from a diverse range of people and events, so long as they resonate with us and provide something tangible that we can identify with.

With this in mind, here are eight reasons why you do not necessary need to draw life lessons from successful people: –

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1. Success is Relative

You cannot escape from the fact that success is relative, depending on our upbringing, outlook and philosophy as individuals. It also depends on the nature of our individual goals, as the primary definition of success refers to the ‘accomplishment of an aim or purpose’. Therefore, by its very definition, success is relative and can be interpreted differently by each individual. This is why learning from those who are categorised as being successful may not be suitable for everyone, as one mans’ definition of success will be alien to another.

2. We can learn a great deal from Failure

While it is certainly possible to learn from successful individuals or business case studies, failure is also a great teacher that can provide invaluable and practical life lessons. It also provides a cryptic learning process, however, and one which requires a great deal of time, reflection and effort to decipher accurately. The key is to analyse your failures in a constructive and emotionally detached manner, taking the time to understand why you struggled to achieve your goals and determining what can be changed in the future.

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3. Successful People make Sacrifices that can Impact on their Life

Regardless of how you define success, it is not always easy to achieve as an individual. Certainly those who achieve their goals in competitive fields such as finance or sport must sacrifice a great deal in the pursuit of success, both in terms of time and their quality of living. While these sacrifices may be necessary in some instances, as an individual you may be unwilling to give up time with your family and loved ones or compromise on their standard of living in order to achieve a specific goal. If this is the case, you will need to reconsider your priorities and have a clear understanding of how success will impact on your life.

4. Creative People fall outside the Generic Definition of Success

In theory, creative people should hold the key to the world and serve as living embodiments of success. This is not always the case, however, as those with a creative bent tend to be judged in a way that confounds the generic definition of success. The primary reason for this is the core difference that exists between creativity and innovation, as these are in fact entirely separate elements that comprise a process for bringing ideas to life and changing the world around us. Innovation is simply focused creativity, as it harnesses energy and ideas to create practical solutions to existing problems. This means that creative people can rarely be judged by the traditional metrics of success or draw direct inspiration from those who are perceived as being successful.

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5. There are Unsung Heroes who are the Main Drivers of Innovation

This leads us neatly onto our next point, as the combination of creativity and innovation has helped to drive technological advancement in recent years. This has translated into simple and practical solutions for everyday problems, ranging from effective time management tools to advanced parental controls for restricting children’s access to technology. While we may associate many of these innovations with the major technology firms that have packaged them, a great deal will have been initially developed and patented by unknown individuals before being licensed to a brand. These unsung heroes are therefore pivotal drivers of innovation, and although we can all learn from their brilliance they remain anonymous in a world of large and faceless organizations.

6. Successful People may Set a Good Behavioral Example

While people who attain the traditional trappings of success (such as wealth, adulation and power) are often held up as examples in society, in reality they may set a less than positive example. The ability to develop a lucrative career or thrive in a competitive industry requires many of qualities, some of these may also lend themselves to a single-minded, selfish and ego-driven persona. These characteristics can cause successful individuals to act in a less than desirable way outside of their professional environment, and this is the kind of example that young and impressionable people would do well to avoid.

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7. It can be hard to identify with extreme case studies of success

While we are often presented with case studies of successful individuals and businesses, some of these are extreme in their nature and extremely hard to identify with. Take the example of a close family friend of mine, who worked tirelessly and saved 75% of his income for 10 years to become an investor and ultimately retire at the age of 32. This required a considerable personal sacrifice, while he was also fortunate enough to benefit from a supportive network of friends and family. For anyone without such a close-knit support network this is particularly hard to identify with, meaning that there is a need to source inspiration from less extreme example of success.

8. Success Relies on External Factors that are beyond your Control

There are a number of popular success metrics, including high income and status within a business or social demographic. While you may have the personal characteristics to achieve success in your chosen field, however, this also relies on external factors that are beyond your control. You can only perform in a high-paying job if you are employed by someone, for example, while status is built on a reputation that can be easily undermined by those around you. Oscar Wilde once said that ‘Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result,’ which reinforces the need for luck and the right surroundings to succeed. There are therefore plenty of inspiration individuals who we can learn from, even though they have yet to attain the modern definition of success.

Featured photo credit: Flash Buddy – Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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