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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

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          Kayiba Mpoyi

          Writer by birth

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

          7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

          The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

          Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

          However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

          The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

          Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

          1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

          According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

          From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

          This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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          Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

          2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

          We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

          Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

          When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

          Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

          Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

          You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

          What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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          3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

          This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

          First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

          Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

          Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

          4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

          One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

          “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

          If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

          Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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          Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

          When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

          5. Learn to Say “No”

          I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

          Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

          Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

          Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

          By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

          6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

          This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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          Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

          The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

          Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

          7. Be Intentional

          The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

          There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

          It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

          The Bottom Line

          The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

          Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

          More About Staying Focused

          Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

          Reference

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