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8 Things No One Should Overlook When Becoming Successful

8 Things No One Should Overlook When Becoming Successful

Excellence is something we are all taught to pursue to our utmost. Many media platforms have categorized levels of success for modern society — e.g. Forbes 30 under 30, Time’s most powerful/influential person, richest man in (insert industry). And while these are all notable and worthy reasons to pursue success, it is very easy to get wrapped up in the end goal and neglect the things that matter most.

The new age philosophy is to be obsessed and insane about becoming successful. Today success is measured more by financial gain than anything else. Many Fortune 500 company CEO’s are self- proclaimed workaholics and YAHOO! CEO Marissa Mayer claims to work over 90 hours a week on 3-4 hours of sleep. Mayer’s success as a female engineer is notable and every bit worth aspiring to. Below are eight things we should never neglect when doing so.

1. Your Health

This cannot be overstated enough. A famous saying goes, “we spend the first half of our lives using our health to acquire wealth and last half using our wealth to maintain health.”

Whether you want to be on the cover of Times magazine or run your own successful business you need to be able to do so. Neglecting your health while in the pursuit of success or the next promotion at work is only detrimental to your own life. Adopting a lifestyle where you work on 2-3 hours of sleep, eat take-away and drink energy drinks is a medium paced path to stroke, heart attacks and future health problems.

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    Organizing our lives and trying to find better ways to treat our bodies should be a priority for all.

    2. Your Origins

    Too often people tend to forget where they came from in search of where they are going. No matter how badly you want to forget your childhood or past experiences/failures and mistakes, understanding where you have come from and how that has contributed directly or indirectly to the person that you have become today is crucial.

    Past failures, mistakes and bad judgement are not things to be ashamed of nor overly regretted. If you can take the time and understand the lessons that life is teaching you, perception changes and it brings light to events that occur. Not all perceived bad things are actually bad; they may take us out of our comfort zone but they are also a blessing in disguise. Think of where you are today and try to imagine where you’d be if not for the struggles that made you stronger.

    3. Your self- worth

    They say there has never been a generation more self-absorbed and vain as Gen-Y and words like selfie have become one of the most used in the English language. Maybe we are more self-serving than the people before us, but do we really value who we are?

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    self worth

      It’s very common to idolize someone successful and aspire to be like them. The media makes a point to remind us daily who we should aspire to be more like, but the problem with putting someone on a pedestal is that we automatically compromise ourselves. We belittle our abilities and wonder if we can ever be as good as the next person. Maybe it’s the top salesman in your office or Oprah Winfrey, but too often in the midst of the greats we tend to hold back for fear of being laughed at, public failure or due to a lack of trust in our capacity to perform certain tasks.

      It’s common to feel inferior among people more qualified, smarter or even better looking. But life requires one thing from you: to always strive for the best with whatever cards you have been dealt. You were not called here on earth to put people on pedestals, any more than you were called to belittle others. Remember what makes you who you are.

      4. Your appearance

      This is not just physical appearance (but that helps too). It’s more about the type of person you portray yourself to be. What perception do people have of you? I never preach being a people pleaser because we all know you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Now naturally some people will simply just hate. That’s their personal life mission and it’s who they are. The chances of being struck by lighting twice are higher than the chances of them changing, and that’s okay.

      We’ve all got jobs to do. The moral isn’t to be liked but to be pleasant. Sometimes, overachievers and intelligent people tend to have the least bit of patience when it comes to other people because they perceive them as slow and lazy.

      You may fall into one of two categories. Are you the person no one comes to for help because they’re scared that you will point them as idiots, or are you the type of person no one trusts with tasks because you always under deliver and produce mediocre work?

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      Sometimes, the perception people have of you is wrong, but where there is smoke there is possibly fire. Try not to be a person of drama and scandals. Be pleasant to people, even those who you do not always agree with. That’s what true class acts are made of. The more pleasant you are, the more pleasant people and situations become.

      5. Your self-assurance

      Self- assurance, as defined by Merriam Webster: great faith in oneself or one’s abilities. Often confused with this word.

      confidence

        There is this misconception that confident people are people who are miracle workers and possess innate abilities beyond human comprehension. In reality, confidence comes from trust in your abilities no matter who in the room is more qualified. Some of the world’s most memorable leaders were in no way exceptional. They just managed to keep a sense of equanimity in the midst of crisis and bring the people to the promise land, leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehemiah, Joshua and Martin Luther King to name a few.

        6. Your values

        These are the things you believe in and they have made you who you are. Have you ever wondered about the fact that one man will steal because he lacks and that another will pursue an honest living despite being under similar circumstances? It’s our core values that shape us. Do you think someone who stays up all night for work is being committed or could they use better time management?

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        Opinions we form of others and decisions we make are due to our values. Don’t compromise yourself or betray your beliefs in order to get ahead. Success isn’t so much about how much wealth you can accumulate, but more to do with becoming a person of character in spite of your achievements and material wealth. Growth and development are an essential part of life, but that process is only as meaningful as the foundations they are built on.

        7. Your family

        Family is so important. It cannot be overstated. As cliché and overrated as it may sound, they are important.

        family

          Think of all the choices you have in life, where to live, where to work, where to study, what food to eat, who to marry, to have kids or not, to apply for that promotion or not, what insurance company to go with. But you did not choose your family. Now you’re stuck with that annoying sibling who grates your cheese every chance they get or maybe your best friend is your brother/sister. Either way, if ever someone tells you they do not believe in fate, tell them family is fate. So do not neglect them in the pursuit of accumulating worldly wealth and status.

          8. Don’t be too hard on yourself

          Maybe you are not where you planned on being at 25 or 30 or 40 or even 50. So what if you didn’t do everything on your bucket list? There is this amazing God-given gift called life, and it goes on and on; so until you drop dead, you are not finished.

          When you embark on a journey to be successful and achieve your wildest dreams, it can be the scariest and sometimes loneliest journey. Learn to drown out all the noise and focus on why you are doing what you are doing. Remember to never doubt yourself and have the utmost faith that Heaven is on your side.

          Featured photo credit: Businessman in Silhouette Walking in a dark tunnel. With room for your Text via shutterstock.com

          More by this author

          Kayiba Mpoyi

          Writer by birth

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          Last Updated on July 13, 2020

          How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

          How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

          Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

          If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

          1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

          The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

          Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

          For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

          The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

          2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

          Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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          As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

          Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

          3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

          Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

            This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

            We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

            Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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            When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

            Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

            4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

            Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

            For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

            Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

            5. Make Decisions

            For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

            If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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            If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

            Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

            I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

            This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

            The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

            6. Take Some Form of Action

            Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

            The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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            It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

            Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

            The Bottom Line

            Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

            When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

            More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

            Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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