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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 September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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