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Why You Should Stop Planning and Embrace Uncertainty

Why You Should Stop Planning and Embrace Uncertainty

Let’s face the inevitable: life comes at us fast. In the blink of an eye, change happens and opportunities come and go. We look back and reflect on where all of our time went and how well we spent it. In actuality, it seems like a lot of calloused and brush-burned hands. How can we really control everything that happens?

Reality check: we can’t. Too much stress and energy are placed on our futures, on the ideas and events that we cannot even begin to anticipate or change. Yet, we continue to try to micromanage our experience, without actually living in the moment. In essence, we are slaves to our own devices.

How can we break this vicious cycle? Put that ridiculous color-coded schedule and pencil down so you can begin with yourself.

Start as a “clean slate” and work on how you can shift your perspective and embrace uncertainty with these seven reasons. You’ll start to feel a release of pressure and stress in no time.

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1. It’s Out of Your Control

out of your control

    Easier said than done, right? Just remember, that if you have an idea about how your future will play out, think again. Life never goes according to plan. There are too many factors and elements that can positive or negatively affect our anticipated future. So, why dwell on what we can’t control? Honestly, we can do everything in our power to land a promotion and someone else may just be a better fit. You cannot force that change to happen in your favor.

    2. Now’s the Time to Shift Your Focus

    shift your focus

      Shift your focus from what you can’t control to what you can. Let it go and do whatever you can in the present. If you want a promotion, work hard, learn new skills, take a class, seek advice and do your personal best. Then, the future is out of your hands. Make use of your time wisely, because stressing over what may happen will only give you a headache and a little paranoia.

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      3. You Should Be Comfortable With Discomfort

      discomfort 2

        While that sounds like a lofty contradiction, there is some merit in this idea. Since the future is out of our control, so is everything along the way and you need to be prepared to get a little uncomfortable. Maroon 5 said it so well: “Life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, it’s compromise that moves us along.” We can’t always have things turn out in our favor. So, how do we deal with this stress? Baby steps.

        Life isn’t easy, so try to train yourself to learn to handle being uncomfortable. Think of what it’s like to exercise. It is hard, but in order to get better, you have to deal with a little pain or discomfort. Over time, things get more manageable. Adopt that idea into your life and your body and mind will start to endure as well.

        4. Accepting Change and Being Flexible Are Soft Skills

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        soft skills

          You want to be successful in your future? Let go of the past and live in the present. Once you let go of control, you’ll be able to understand that change is a part of life and you need to be flexible to have some grasp of what happens in your future. Believe it or not, but these skills are essential for working alongside others and having the best possible outcome for your future.

          5. Life Shouldn’t Be Put on Hold

          life on hold

            Fixating on your future is time consuming and, honestly, a waste of time. Yet, we all fall into this trap. Instead of living in the moment, we are trying our hardest to anticipate the next moment. Let go of the reins and let life take its course. Think of how much you miss when you aren’t really looking.

            For example, say you are vacationing in St. Thomas. You’ve got one day on land before your cruise sets sail again. But instead of smelling the ocean breeze and taking in the glorious sights, you’re running boarding times through your head and what you need in order to leave. You’ve now missed a day of relaxation and luxury.

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            6. You Need to Know Yourself

            know yourself

              Don’t let fear run your life. Be aware of when you begin to lose focus on living in the moment and when you get caught up in something you can’t control. Take a deep breath and think of what you can do to keep your life moving forward. Experience. You’ll be less stressed and able to tackle anything.

              7. When Opportunities Knock, You Need to Answer

              opportunity

                By letting go, you’ll be able to seize the day. With your newfound skills of flexibility and acceptance, you’ll be able to consider more options and paths to take. Don’t let yourself become trapped into one option. Keep an open mind and live in the moment!

                No matter your current career or personal status, these seven tips can apply to your life. Stop stressing and start doing!

                Featured photo credit: Diogo Tavares via unsplash.com

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                Kayla Matthews

                Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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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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