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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 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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