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The Key to All Success: Action

The Key to All Success: Action
Newton's Cradle
    Newton's Cradle by Carole Jeffery

    The artist Pablo Picasso once said,

    “Action is the foundational key to all success.”

    It’s one of those quotations that when you ponder it, you will have to agree with its blatant truth. But if so many of us are of the same mind as Picasso, why do we regularly forget to take his advice?

    About 10 years ago I was very frustrated with my life. I had many ideas and goals, but I had not achieved a fraction of the things that I wanted to achieve.

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    I would look around and see success all around me. I saw people I went to school with, with big businesses and flashy cars. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t been as successful as them. I had acted on a few business ideas — I was definitely an expert at business plans — but somehow, nobody else got to see those plans and my business ideas never moved forward. How could I get things done?

    Missing ingredient

    I cannot remember the exact occasion or at what stage I realized what was missing. But when I did, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized that sitting dreaming about life wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go UPWARDS!

    Still today I can be guilty of not acting on many different ideas, but now it is through choice; now I choose what I act on and what I put on the back-burner. This is what I now do.

    Movement

    I take action, I realize that the first step is the most important, Newton’s first law of Motion states:

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    “A body in motion remains in motion unless it is acted on by an external force. If the body is at rest it remains at rest”.

    Once you get started it is easier to stay in motion, but the most difficult part is that first movement — the first action. Little by little your actions will gather momentum, and before you know it you will have achieved your goals. A wise friend once said,

    “It’s only by starting to walk on the path that you can know for sure if you have taken the correct path.”

    Make a start.

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    Choice

    I remind myself that being successful is not necessity but choice. Most of the things that frustrate us and irritate us are completely self-inflicted. They are standards and goals we set for ourselves and if we don’t achieve them we are disappointed, upset and annoyed!

    So, instead of saying things like “I have to finish this work” or “I need to write one chapter of my book before I can go have fun” change it to “I want.” When you empower yourself to make your own choices these jobs and tasks become easier. Here are some examples:

    “I want to finish this work before I relax with the family because I know I can then devote my time and attention to them afterwards.”

    “I want to write one chapter of my book because I enjoy writing and I will be happy if I achieve this.”

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    Remind yourself of the things that you want to achieve and the reasons why. The choice is yours.

    Accountability

    Statistics say that you are much more likely to achieve something if you tell other people about it. The New Year’s resolutions you promise yourself rarely work. Even if you promise your spouse or partner your likelihood increases slightly but not usually enough to make it happen. But, if you commit to a stranger, a coach or a counselor your chances shoot up.

    Why is it we value other people’s opinion of us more than we value our own?

    We let ourselves down regularly but are reluctant to let others down. If you want to take action tell somebody about it, tell someone you respect what you are going to do and ask them to check up on you. At the same time it can do no harm to try to respect yourself more and deliver on your personal commitments.

    As Picasso says we cannot reach success without action; there needs to be movement towards the goal for things to start to happen.

    What are your tips for getting started and taking action to become successful?

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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