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How to Lead a Better Life and Do What You Want

How to Lead a Better Life and Do What You Want

It can be a long lesson if you want to know how to lead a better life and do what you want, but I’ve found a nice short post on Quora by Oliver Emberton who shows us the idea to lead a good life with some interesting graphics:

You can do anything if you stop trying to do everything

    ALL THAT PORN ISN’T HELPING YOU. 

    Productivity porn, that is. How to get more hours from your day. What to-do app to use. What cute quotes to share on Facebook. Waste. Of. Time.

    It’s actually quite simple. The most accomplished people are simply experts at what they choose to do, not how they do it. Spend most of your time on the right things and the rest takes care of itself.

    Let’s break it into three:

    1. Focus on your flairs

    What does it mean to have a flair for something? It means time you invest yields higher returns: 

      Say you’re Tiger Woods, aged 10. Playing golf is a pretty good use of your time, right? Bill Gates probably wasn’t wasting his evenings on the computer.

      Yet equally we all have areas where we struggle – our anti-flair, if you will. It took me 18 months and four attempts to pass my driving test. I hated every squirming, soul-sucking minute, but still – if you throw enough time at something you’ll get results eventually.

      The problem is, too many of us lead lives like those driving lessons: ceaselessly doing something we hate, solely to get through it. You can’t avoid every chore of course, but know that how you spend your time compounds itself, so you’d best be putting most of it where it matters:

        DO NOT FOR A SECOND believe it is enough to ‘work hard’. Hard work is not inherently a good thing. Hard work is a disgusting waste of your life when it’s thrown at the wrong things.

        2. Defy permission

        “But wait! No-one will pay me to follow my dreams!”

        Well of course. The problem here is you’re looking for a convenient, readymade route to prosperity that exists for your particular passion. Most of the time, we call that a “job”.

        Take a hard look at almost anyone who is really successful, and consider: did they apply for an existing position by winning an interview? Or did they bypass the system and start something entirely by themselves?

          If you’re a wannabe musician, you don’t necessarily need to be discovered by a label anymore. You need to be discovered by the public. Yearn to be a writer? Blog or self-publish. An entrepreneur? Build a company in your garage. If you’re good enough at something, there’s a way to make it work by yourself. But don’t expect anyone to tell you what to do or give you permission.

          One caveat: you have to be good enough, and you have to persist. The best way to do that, of course, is to focus relentlessly on your flairs (see #1).

          Good jobs are disappearing in today’s world, but there’s never been so many great ones.

          3. Embrace your sociopathic shield

          Getting something done can be like surviving a meteor storm of distractions. We surrender much of our life to the most vapid crap imaginable, simply because someone else asks us to.

            To survive, you need a shield. A slightly sociopathic one, in fact:

              The default response of your shield to anything that requires time is “no”. Automatic no. The trick is not to think of the new thing being proposed (“ooh – a squirrel”), but to think of the existing priority you’re defending (“oh – my dreams”). And if your brain thinks you can do both, treat that thought with the skepticism of Richard Dawkins being shown some holy toast.

              This isn’t easy, so it’s best to avoid relying on your shield in the first place. Flat out ignore as many potential distractions as possible – at least for long enough for you to focus on meaningful work. Seal yourself in a bubble when you can. If your emails go unanswered – well – tough. The payoff is you get done what matters.

              It demands a certain courage or naivety to accomplish all this, which is probably why so few do. Being young helps. Being hungry helps. Being a bit of an arse helps. One of the great advantages of the young is they’re blissfully ignorant or dismissive of the stupid rules they’re not supposed to break.

              Spend most of your time on the right things. Don’t wait for permission. And get comfortable with declining everything by default.

              It’s harder than posting a cute quote on Facebook, but it works.

              More by this author

              Anna Chui

              Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

              7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck 53 Relationship Questions That Will Make Your Love Life Better 27 Ways to Instantly Feel Better When You’re Down 35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

              Trending in Productivity

              1 8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More 2 How Exercising Makes You More Productive 3 10 Practical Ways to Drastically Improve Your Time Management Skills 4 15 Highly Successful People Who Failed On Their Way To Success 5 How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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              Last Updated on September 20, 2018

              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

              8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

              You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

              Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

              When you train your brain, you will:

              • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
              • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
              • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

              So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

              1. Work your memory

              Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

              When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

              If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

              The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

              Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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              Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

              What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

              For example, say you just met someone new:

              “Hi, my name is George”

              Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

              Got it? Good.

              2. Do something different repeatedly

              By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

              Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

              It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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              And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

              But how does this apply to your life right now?

              Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

              Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

              Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

              So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

              You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

              That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

              3. Learn something new

              It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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              For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

              Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

              You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

              4. Follow a brain training program

              The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

              5. Work your body

              You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

              Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

              Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

              Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

              6. Spend time with your loved ones

              If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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              If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

              I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

              7. Avoid crossword puzzles

              Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

              Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

              Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

              8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

              Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

              When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

              So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

              The bottom line

              Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

              Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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