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There Are No Shortcuts To Real Success

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There Are No Shortcuts To Real Success

    So many people are in such a hurry to success that they eagerly take any shortcuts that come across their way. In reality, shortcuts usually lead to disappointments rather than quicker success. The key to any long-term success is to take the necessary steps to steadily progress rather than skip any of them. This would be true whether the goals are financial or health or relationship related.

    I’ve seen gullible people buy into the many ‘get rich quick’ or ‘lose weight fast’ schemes out there only to find out that none of them work except in relieving you of the money paid for such products or programs. A friend of mine even bought one of those home devices that electronically stimulate belly muscle contractions thinking that weight lost is possible while watching TV. This friend, who did not want to put in the work of exercising in a gym, is still overweight today.

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    Shortcuts can result in loss of success

    As a certified ski instructor, I’ve seen many beginners who try to come down slopes that they are clearly not ready for. Such folks have not reached a level where they can consistently stop and turn on their skis while even on the bunny hill yet. For some reason, these same people ventured onto steeper slopes serviced by chairlifts and they end up frozen stiff with fear at the top.

    I’ve had to physically climb back up a slope to rescue such novice skiers by holding them all the way safely back down the hill. Imagine how embarrassing this must be for an adult as this is how we usually start little three or four year-olds on the bunny hill.

    If they do manage to start coming down on their own, they will usually panic, lose their focus and end up going straight down the hill with increasing speed. Of course a ‘yard sale’ (a ski phrase which describes a fallen skier with skis and poles ending up all over the slope) will be the result.

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    We always tell beginners that they must be completely comfortable in making solid turns and stops on a bunny hill before going onto slopes serviced by chairlifts. This is achieved only by extra practice outside of lesson time. But some are just impatient and decide to go on the chairlifts anyway before they are proficient on the easier slopes.

    They thought that they could take shortcuts and bypass the steps required. Imagine the shock when they realize that even the easier slopes serviced by the chairlifts are way beyond their abilities and comfort levels when they are looking down these larger hills compared to the relatively flat bunny slopes.

    Unfortunately, some of these beginners may never put on skis again because of their terrifying experiences. This is a real shame since they did make the initial efforts to come out to try skiing as a way to embrace winter. If they do come back to try again, sometimes it is the following winter when they have already loss the momentum of any progress as they have forgotten the basic skills.

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    The shortcuts they thought they could get away with resulted in a loss of success. These poor folks usually have to start all over again from scratch in terms of learning how to ski even the bunny hills. Their initial fears will take twice as much work to get over compared to those who did not take shortcuts in their learning.

    Take the same steps as other successful people have done

    Although it is wise to get proper coaching, instruction and mentoring for your goals, these are not considered shortcuts. They are just more efficient ways to learn the skills required for success. However, time with a coach or instructor does not replace the steps one must take in order to be successful.

    You still have to do your part of the work whether it’s working out at the gym, building wealth, starting a new relationship or practicing your ski turns on the bunny hill. The bottom line is that there are no true shortcuts to real success.

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    Many of the goals we want to achieve have already been achieved by countless numbers of other people. Follow their examples and take the same type of steps they had to take in order to be successful. Each step is very much like a little success on its own and little successes do add up. Pay your dues to steadily develop towards success rather than take detours on shortcuts that can actually set you back.

    (Photo credit: Ski, snow, sun and fun – skiers on winter vacation via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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