13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do
Oust the weak links in your thinking and behavior patterns.
For more than a decade in my work as a psychotherapist, I helped clients identify their existing talents, skills and support systems. Then we’d figure out how to address their struggles by expanding on their existing strengths. For much of my career, I felt like this positive plan of attack was an effective way to help people overcome adversity.
But when I experienced tragedy firsthand, I began to rethink this optimistic method. In 2003 my mother died unexpectedly. Then two days before the third anniversary of her death, my 26-year-old husband suffered a fatal heart attack. Seven years later, I lost my father-in-law.
Throughout my grief, I realized that focusing on my strengths—and ignoring my weaknesses—had serious limitations. If I wanted to emerge from that painful period stronger than before, I needed to pay close attention to the bad habits that held me back. Letting myself feel like a victim, complaining about my circumstances and distracting myself from the pain might help me feel better in the short term but would only cause more problems over the long term.
My hardships taught me that it only takes one or two bad habits—no matter how minor they might seem—to stall progress.
Reaching your greatest potential doesn’t require you to work harder by adding desirable habits to your already busy life. Instead you can work smarter by eliminating the routines that erode effectiveness and siphon off mental strength. Here are the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do:
1. Waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
It’s futile to wallow in your problems, exaggerate your misfortune and keep score of how many hardships you’ve endured. Whether you’re struggling to pay your bills or experiencing a serious health problem, throwing a pity party only makes things worse. Self-pity keeps you focused on the problem and prevents you from developing a solution.
Hardship and sorrow are inevitable, but feeling sorry for yourself is a choice. Even when you can’t solve the problem, you can choose to control your attitude. Find three things to be grateful for every day to keep self-pity at bay.
2. Give away their power.
You can’t feel like a victim and be mentally strong; that’s impossible. If your thoughts send you into victim mode—My sister-in-law drives me crazy or My boss makes me feel bad about myself—you give others power over you. No one has power over the way you think, feel or behave.
Changing your daily vocabulary is one way to recognize that the choices you make are yours. Rather than saying, “I have to work late today,” edit that sentiment to “I’m choosing to stay late.” There may be consequences if you don’t work late, but it’s still a choice. Empowering yourself is an essential component to creating the kind of life you want.
3. Shy away from change.
If you worry that change will make things worse, you’ll stay stuck in your old ways. The world is changing, and your success depends on your ability to adapt. The more you practice tolerating distress from various sources—perhaps taking a new job or leaving an unhealthy relationship—the more confident you’ll become in your ability to adapt and create positive change in yourself.
4. Squander energy on things they can’t control.
Complaining, worrying and wishful thinking don’t solve problems; they only waste your energy. But if you invest that same energy in the things you can control, you’ll be much better prepared for whatever life throws your way.
Pay attention to the times when you’re tempted to worry about things you can’t control—such as the choices other people make or how your competitor behaves—and devote that energy to something more productive, such as finishing a project at work or home or helping a friend with hers. Accept situations that are beyond your control and focus on influencing, rather than controlling, people around you.
5. Worry about pleasing everyone.
Whether you’re nervous that your father-in-law will criticize your latest endeavor or you attend an event you’d rather skip to avoid a guilt trip from your mother, trying to make other people happy drains your mental strength and causes you to lose sight of your goals.
Making choices that disappoint or upset others takes courage, but living an authentic life requires you to act according to your values. Write down your top five values and focus your energy on staying true to them, even when your choices aren’t met with favor.
6. Fear taking risks.
If something seems scary, you might not take the risk, even a small one. On the contrary, if you’re excited about a new opportunity, you may overlook a giant risk and forge ahead. Emotions cloud your judgment and interfere with your ability to accurately calculate risk. You can’t become extraordinary without taking chances, but a successful outcome depends on your ability to take the right risks. Acknowledge how you’re feeling about a certain risk and recognize how your emotions influence your thoughts. Create a list of the pros and cons of taking the risk to help you make a decision based on a balance of emotion and logic.
7. Dwell on the past.
While learning from the past helps you build mental strength, ruminating is harmful. Constantly questioning your past choices or romanticizing about the good ol’ days keeps you from both enjoying the present and making the future as good as it can be.
Make peace with the past. Sometimes doing so will involve forgiving someone who hurt you, and other times, moving forward means letting go of regret. Rather than reliving your past, work through the painful emotions that keep you stuck.
8. Repeat their mistakes.
Whether you felt embarrassed when you gave the wrong answer in class or you were scolded for messing up, you may have learned from a young age that mistakes are bad. So you may hide or excuse your mistakes to bury the shame associated with them, and doing so will prevent you from learning from them.
Whether you gained back the weight that you worked hard to lose or you forgot an important deadline, view each misstep as an opportunity for growth. Set aside your pride and humbly evaluate why you goofed up. Use that knowledge to move forward better than before.
9. Resent other people’s successes.
Watching a co-worker receive a promotion, hearing a friend talk about her latest achievement or seeing a family member buy a car you can’t afford can stir up feelings of envy. But jealousy shifts the focus from your efforts and interferes with your ability to reach your goals.
Write down your definition of success. When you’re secure in that definition, you’ll stop resenting others for attaining their goals, and you’ll stay committed to reaching yours. Recognize that when other people reach their goals, their accomplishments don’t minimize your achievements.
10. Give up after their first failure.
Some people avoid failure at all costs because it unravels their sense of self-worth. Not trying at all or giving up after your first attempt will prevent you from reaching your potential. Almost every story about a wildly successful person starts with tales of repeated failure (consider Thomas Edison’s thousands of failures before he invented a viable lightbulb, for instance).
Face your fear of defeat head-on by stretching yourself to your limits. Even when you feel embarrassed, rejected or ashamed, hold your head high and refuse to let lack of success define you as a person. Focus on improving your skills and be willing to try again after you fail.
11. Fear “alone time.”
Solitude can sometimes feel unproductive; for some people, the thought of being alone with their thoughts is downright scary. Most people avoid silence by filling their days with a flurry of activity and background noise.
Alone time, however, is an essential component to building mental strength. Carve out at least 10 minutes each day to gather your thoughts without the distractions of the world. Use the time to reflect on your progress and create goals for the future.
12. Feel the world owes them something.
We like to think that if we put in enough hard work or tough it out through bad times, then we deserve success. But waiting for the world to give you what you think you’re owed isn’t a productive life strategy.
Take notice of times when you feel as though you deserve something better. Intentionally focus on all that you have to give rather than what you think you deserve. Regardless of whether you think you’ve been dealt a fair hand in life, you have gifts to share with others
13. Expect immediate results.
Self-growth develops slowly. Whether you’re trying to shed your procrastination tendencies or improve your marriage, expecting instant results will lead to disappointment. Think of your efforts as a marathon, not a sprint. View bumps in the road as minor setbacks rather than as total roadblocks.
You’ll need all the mental strength you can muster at some point in your life, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a financial hardship or a major health problem. Mental strength will give you the resilience to push through the challenges.
And the great news is that everyone can strengthen his or her mental muscle. Practice being your own mental strength coach. Pay attention to areas in which you’re doing well and figure out where you need improvement. Create opportunities for growth and then challenge yourself to become a little better today than you were yesterday.
July 12, 2017
To be a Winner … Be unselfish
Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors was asked the reason his team defeated LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2017 NBA championship. He answered in one word: “Unselfish.”
The NBA Finals were a feast for basketball junkies like me. The excitement extended far beyond the games themselves. The players put on an exhibition that demonstrated the importance of sharing the glory.
When you have a championship-caliber team and then you add another superstar like Kevin Durant to the mix, you can either implode or you can win a championship. With all those NBA All-Stars on the court, there aren’t enough basketballs to go around.
There are, if you are the Warriors. The team embraced their star newcomer with no jealousy. The team’s sole goal was to win a championship, which they did by sharing the ball.
It doesn’t hurt to have a winner like Steve Kerr leading you. Kerr took his college basketball team, the University of Arizona, to the NCAA Final Four. He won five NBA championships as a player, three with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs. Now he’s won two more as a coach.
As President Harry Truman said so well: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
Being unselfish is also important in business. It’s one of the cornerstones of leadership – the willingness to sacrifice for others. It’s putting the interests of the team ahead of your own personal needs and desires. Whether your business is basketball or ball bearings, the organizations that want to stay in business recognize that everyone has a role to play.
Steve Kerr is a master of this. He stood in the background as his players celebrated. He put his team first.
How many of us have worked with people who do a little of the work and want all the credit? But then when there is a problem, they are the first to blame others.
Being unselfish runs counter to what many people think is important to getting ahead in business. You want to be noticed for your successes, even if others contributed to them. You don’t want your superstar image to be diminished by sharing the glory. But that is not a winning strategy. We much prefer to work with and for team players.
Charles William Eliot, who served as Harvard University President for 40 years, offered this wisdom: “Be unselfish. That is the first and final commandment for those who would be useful and happy in their usefulness. If you think of yourself only, you cannot develop because you are choking the source of development, which is spiritual expansion through thought for others.”
If you want to follow his advice, consider these traits of truly unselfish people:
They share the credit.
In giving others recognition, they acknowledge the contributions made by co-workers and set the stage for future cooperation. They realize that setting a good example encourages others to appreciate the importance of teamwork.
They truly help others.
When there are problems or setbacks, they look for ways to solve them rather than assessing blame. They are willing to share knowledge that will be useful down the road.
They have others’ best interests in mind.
They see the benefits of making everyone on their team successful, and then do their best to help their co-workers improve. They understand that everyone is trying to get ahead and support their efforts.
They are trusted.
They keep their word. They do what they say they will do. People working with them know they can depend that they won’t get thrown under the bus when a project goes awry. They know they will be treated respectfully even when they disagree. They are resilient. They can accept setbacks gracefully, and understand that sometimes the biggest failures can lead to the biggest successes. They don’t point fingers, instead pointing their colleagues back on track.
They welcome ideas and input from others.
They realize that there is often more than one way to solve a problem, and that they do not always have all the answers. They aren’t threatened by other viewpoints. They keep their focus on achieving the goal, not being right all the time.
Give these ideas some serious thought – and you will be a champion in your own right.
May your Wisdom Guide You,
Until the next one,
They exist for weeks during business crunch time on a diet of vending machine snacks and caffeine. They forgo sleep, food and personal hygiene in favor of a company goal. They maintain single-minded focus and spend hours discussing the finer points of a red border versus blue border on the home page. They love to work, and it shows, particularly in the sacrifices they’re willing to make to ensure their ventures succeed.
What some people might call “obsessive” looks a lot like entrepreneurial success. And, indeed, there’s a thin line between healthy and overboard.
If you’ve ever thought (or been told) that your commitment to your work was a bit—ahem—outside the norm, you’re not alone.
According to a paper published by Michael A. Freeman, M.D., and his fellow researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University, almost three out of four entrepreneurs report suffering from some form of mental health concern, much higher than the national average.
Just as many successful businesspeople—Daymond John, Sir Richard Branson, Anita Roddick, for example—credit their dyslexia with helping them succeed in business, many entrepreneurs likewise say that their tendencies toward OCD, ADD, depression and other mental health issues have helped, not harmed, their businesses.
Alex Charfen, CEO of CHARFEN, a training and business consulting organization for entrepreneurs and small businesses, prefers to see the elements that make entrepreneurs unique as positives, when they’re used to their best and highest purpose. “Any one of the attributes that make us magical can also be what holds us back,” he explains. “Every successful entrepreneur has that period of their lives they’d rather not tell their kids about.” But once you channel those tendencies, it can be like lighting the fuse on a rocket.
If you are someone who trends toward going a bit overboard, how can you make sure you’re taking care of yourself, your business and your relationships without sacrificing that “entrepreneurial edge” or becoming a cautionary tale? Here are five tips.
Within the entrepreneurial world, those dealing with issues, such as depression, ADD or OCD are the rule, rather than the exception. “I have seen this over and over again in my millionaires,” says author and coach Jaime Masters, who has interviewed more than 350 millionaires for her Eventual Millionaire podcast.
“I was very surprised in the interviews I’ve done how many said they have dyslexia, how many said they have ADD,” she says. It is more common than not at the higher levels of the business world—and you can use these tendencies to your advantage.
All entrepreneurs need to watch their health, but it’s even more critical for those who might tend toward neglecting their nutrition, sleep and other basics in favor of a 100-hour workweek. Charfen encourages his clients to move regularly, hydrate sufficiently, meditate consistently and eat well, all in an effort to combat the stress they’re dealing with from building, running and growing a business.
If you’re prone to the highest of highs and lowest of lows, know your cycles and triggers. Seek help when you need it. Maybe you know you’re more susceptible to depression in the dark winter months, or that you experience an energy crash after a period of sustained effort and long work hours. Be ready with your remedies—self-care, therapy, vacation, sleep, etc.—when those downtimes come.
Jokes about “entrepreneurial ADD” abound for good reason. Masters says, “Because we’re so creative, it can feel a little jagged, like our brain is running us instead of us running our brain.” One solution: Keep as many elements of your life as simple as possible so you can focus on the areas that really need it or will benefit from your attention and creativity (Steve Jobs’ daily uniform of jeans, sneakers and black turtlenecks, for example). “Far too many entrepreneurs try to overcomplicate things,” Charfen adds.
Many high performers are more big-picture visionaries than detail-oriented sticklers. Couple that with an entrepreneurial ADD, and you might struggle with starting new things before finishing old things. Don’t try to tame yourself, though. Instead, Masters suggests hiring for the skills you lack. Find someone to take care of the details so you can stay in your center of genius. “Focus on your strengths,” she advises.
In sum, work with your natural flow and tendencies rather than against them. Not everyone will understand why you stay up until 5 a.m. and then sleep until 3 p.m.—and they don’t need to. Your uniqueness is what will bring you to the top—and that’s when the naysayers will back down. Know yourself, know your goal and do what it takes to keep yourself moving in the right direction.
They exist for weeks during business crunch time on a diet of vending machine snacks and caffeine. They forgo sleep, food and personal hygiene in favor of a company goal. They maintain single-minded focus and spend hours discussing the finer points of a red border versus blue border on the home page. They love to work, and it shows, particularly in the sacrifices they’re willing to make to ensure their ventures succeed. What some people might call “obsessive” looks a lot like entrepreneurial success. And, indeed, there’s a thin line between healthy and overboard. If you’ve ever thought (or been told) that your commitment to your work was a bit—ahem—outside the norm, you’re not alone. According to a paper published by Michael A. Freeman, M.D., and his fellow researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University, almost three out of four entrepreneurs report suffering from some form of mental health concern, much higher than the national average. Just as many successful businesspeople—Daymond John, Sir Richard Branson, Anita Roddick, for example—credit their dyslexia with helping them succeed in business, many entrepreneurs likewise say that their tendencies toward OCD, ADD, depression and other mental health issues have helped, not harmed, their businesses. Related: How to Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths Alex Charfen, CEO of CHARFEN, a training and business consulting organization for entrepreneurs and small businesses, prefers to see the elements that make entrepreneurs unique as positives, when they’re used to their best and highest purpose. “Any one of the attributes that make us magical can also be what holds us back,” he explains. “Every successful entrepreneur has that period of their lives they’d rather not tell their kids about.” But once you channel those tendencies, it can be like lighting the fuse on a rocket. If you are someone who trends toward going a bit overboard, how can you make sure you’re taking care of yourself, your business and your relationships without sacrificing that “entrepreneurial edge” or becoming a cautionary tale? Here are five tips. 1. Stop feeling like there’s something wrong with you. Within the entrepreneurial world, those dealing with issues, such as depression, ADD or OCD are the rule, rather than the exception. “I have seen this over and over again in my millionaires,” says author and coach Jaime Masters, who has interviewed more than 350 millionaires for her Eventual Millionaire podcast. “I was very surprised in the interviews I’ve done how many said they have dyslexia, how many said they have ADD,” she says. It is more common than not at the higher levels of the business world—and you can use these tendencies to your advantage. 2. Take care of your basic needs. All entrepreneurs need to watch their health, but it’s even more critical for those who might tend toward neglecting their nutrition, sleep and other basics in favor of a 100-hour workweek. Charfen encourages his clients to move regularly, hydrate sufficiently, meditate consistently and eat well, all in an effort to combat the stress they’re dealing with from building, running and growing a business. 3. Create an early warning system. If you’re prone to the highest of highs and lowest of lows, know your cycles and triggers. Seek help when you need it. Maybe you know you’re more susceptible to depression in the dark winter months, or that you experience an energy crash after a period of sustained effort and long work hours. Be ready with your remedies—self-care, therapy, vacation, sleep, etc.—when those downtimes come. 4. Keep it simple. Jokes about “entrepreneurial ADD” abound for good reason. Masters says, “Because we’re so creative, it can feel a little jagged, like our brain is running us instead of us running our brain.” One solution: Keep as many elements of your life as simple as possible so you can focus on the areas that really need it or will benefit from your attention and creativity (Steve Jobs’ daily uniform of jeans, sneakers and black turtlenecks, for example). “Far too many entrepreneurs try to overcomplicate things,” Charfen adds. 5. Outsource your weak spots. Many high performers are more big-picture visionaries than detail-oriented sticklers. Couple that with an entrepreneurial ADD, and you might struggle with starting new things before finishing old things. Don’t try to tame yourself, though. Instead, Masters suggests hiring for the skills you lack. Find someone to take care of the details so you can stay in your center of genius. “Focus on your strengths,” she advises. In sum, work with your natural flow and tendencies rather than against them. Not everyone will understand why you stay up until 5 a.m. and then sleep until 3 p.m.—and they don’t need to. Your uniqueness is what will bring you to the top—and that’s when the naysayers will back down. Know yourself, know your goal and do what it takes to keep yourself moving in the right direction.
June 20, 2017
Don’t give up on your dreams
J.C. Penney, founder of the retail giant that bears his name, once evaluated one of his young clerks, stating he “wasn’t thorough and wouldn’t have much of a future in the retail business.” The employee? Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.
Despite Penney’s hopeless prediction, Sam Walton built the largest retail empire in the world. The opinions of honest, well-intentioned people can sometimes be off the mark. Don’t let misguided judgments keep you from pursuing your dreams.
I love to read about people throughout history who were told they couldn’t do something, or wouldn’t amount to anything and then achieved great success. Never give up your dreams just because someone said something negative about you. It doesn’t matter what anyone says; the only thing that matters is what you say and do and think about your ability.
Throughout my life I’ve taken it to heart when someone doubts me or says I can’t really do something. First I examine myself and evaluate if I think they are right or wrong. And if I think they are wrong, just stand back and watch my determination grow.
If you have a dream that is reachable, and you really want something and are willing to work to achieve it, the sky is the limit. History has shown us this many times.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He was later named the greatest athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN.
Barbra Streisand’s Broadway debut opened and closed on the same night.
One of Mark Cuban’s first jobs out of college was as a salesman at a computer store. However, he was more interested in cultivating new business than running a cash register. After he failed to open the store one day because he was busy with a potential client, his managers cut him loose. That was the last time he ever worked for someone else. Shortly after his termination, Cuban started his first company, MicroSolutions. Since then, he’s made billions of dollars.
Lucille Ball was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, “Try another profession. Any other.”
John F. Kennedy lost the election to be President of his freshman class at Harvard. He failed to win a post on the student council as a sophomore and later dropped out of Stanford Business School.
Steven Spielberg’s mediocre grades prevented him from getting accepted to UCLA film school.
Barbara Walters was told to “stay out of television” in 1957 by a prominent producer.
Bob Dylan was booed off the stage at his high school talent show.
Randy Travis was rejected by every major record label twice.
Michael Bloomberg was fired as a partner at Salomon Brothers, which eventually became Citigroup, and used his hefty severance check to start Bloomberg Communications, one of the country’s greatest companies. He is one of the richest people in the world and, of course, became the mayor of New York City.
Julia Child and two collaborators signed a publishing contract in 1953 to produce a book tentatively titled French Cooking for the American Kitchen. They worked on the book for five years. The publisher rejected the 850-page manuscript. Child and her partners worked for another year totally revising the manuscript, only to be rejected again. She and her collaborators went back to work, found a new publisher, and in 1961 they published “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which has sold more than 1 million copies.
Social media has provided seemingly unlimited opportunities for testing your dreams. Musicians and performers credit YouTube for launching careers. Writers self-publish and promote their works through a variety of platforms. Start-up companies have Facebook connections that broadcast their messages to audiences they could never have imagined reaching.
In short, technology has become a productive partner in dreaming.
The only thing stopping you from living out your dreams is you. It takes determination, motivation, confidence, desire, patience, perseverance and hard work. If you can muster all those elements, you will be unstoppable.
The best gift you and I have, its the gift of DREAMING, think about it, no-one can take it away, you get to choose and design what you dream about, anytime, anywhere, no-one sees it, judges it or controls it, ONLY YOU HAVE FULL CONTROL OF YOUR DREAMS, and you know what’s the best part?? its FREE AND DREAMS DO COME TRUE!!! Start dreaming NOW!!!!!!
May your wisdom guide you,
Until we meet again
Visit : http://www.amasssing.com/academy
Two friends were walking through a dense jungle. Knowing the dangers, they promised to stick together whatever happened.
Suddenly a tiger appeared in the bushes. One friend immediately turned and ran, climbing up a tree and leaving his companion behind. He watched as his friend dropped to the ground and played dead.
The tiger approached, sniffed around, and leaned down, seemingly whispering something in the man’s ear. It roared once, then stalked away.
Feeling ashamed, the other man climbed back down the tree. “What did the tiger say to you?”
The man looked up. “He said, ‘Never trust a false friend.'”
Some days, you just need to know you have got a friend.
The point is you need to feel that someone “gets” you and is in your corner. With all the push, pull and tug that can go on in the workplace (and it happens everywhere, folks, even at the good places), you have to develop your own support systems – and friends can be invaluable. Good ones are like rocks; they keep us anchored during our personal storms.
You probably spend most of your waking hours at work, so friendships are natural. Working together can easily turn co-workers into best friends, making jobs more enjoyable and the workplace a home away from home instead of just a way to make a living.
But friendships need to be managed appropriately just like every other workplace relationship. Follow these simple guidelines so neither your friendships nor your job is at risk.
Limit social chatter.
Everyone chats a little at work, but don’t let your friendly conversations overshadow your responsibilities. Stay focused on your job.
Keep private issues private.
When you have problems to discuss, do it over lunch or after work.
Most of us love to talk about other people, but keep your natural inclination to share rumors about co-workers or managers in check. If colleagues realize you’re gossiping about them, the backlash could be unpleasant.
Don’t do each other’s jobs.
Pitching in to help a friend in a crunch is admirable, but keep it to a reasonable limit. Your manager is in charge of assignments and responsibilities, not you. Don’t spend so much time helping a friend do his or her job that you neglect your own.
Include, don’t exclude.
You may prefer the company of your friend, but don’t ignore the rest of your co-workers. Invite other co-workers to lunch, and include them in your conversations so they don’t feel left out. You may even make new friends by expanding your circle at work.
Being there for another person can offer you huge rewards psychologically as well. After all, part of the joy of a good friendship is being there for the other person when life gets rough – and it does get rough at times for everyone.
Keep in mind the words of Abraham Lincoln – someone who often needed friends along the difficult path of his presidency: “The better part of one’s life consists of one’s friendships.”
What is a friend? The following description of friendship was discovered on the wall of a doctor’s office. It was attributed to C. Raymond Beran.
Friends are people with whom you care to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with them. They ask you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. They do not want you to be better or worse. When you are with them, you feel like a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, as long as it is genuinely you.
Friends understand those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With them you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities, and in opening them up to friends, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of their loyalty.
They understand. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse them, neglect them, tolerate them. Best of all, you can keep still with them. It does not matter. They like you. They understand. You can weep with them, sing with them, laugh with them, pray with them.Through it all – and underneath – they see, know, and love you.
What is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.
May your wisdom guide you,
Until we meet again
Benefit from clearing your head.
Do you find yourself having trouble focusing when you really need to get something done? Chances are, life has happened to you, making it hard to concentrate on the productivity at hand, and it might be hampering your work or personal life.
Here are three powerful tips that will help you capitalize on the benefits of having a clear head.
1. Write your thoughts on paper.
Sometimes you can’t express yourself the way you want to or should. Perhaps you are worried about hurting someone close to you or you’re afraid your words will create more trouble than they’re worth. The fact of the matter is, keeping emotions bottled up isn’t healthy for your mind or your body.
To remedy those occasions, go purchase a special notebook to be your outlet for expressing yourself, without causing hurt feelings. Whenever Abraham Lincoln wanted to really tell someone how he felt about them, he would write a nasty letter to that person and not send it. Therapeutically, it allows you to get everything out, all the while making you feel better and more productive.
Not really concerned about a certain person? That’s OK, too. The notebook is a catchall for your emotional distresses and anything you’re worried about. Keeping these thoughts together gives you an outlet, and when you release emotional distress from your mind, it allows you to make better decisions, think clearer and, therefore, be more productive.
2. Find your meditation practice.
While you might go for crossing your legs, closing your eyes and chanting om as to quiet your mind, there many other meditation practices you can try.
Meditation can be any place or practice you enjoy. My mother goes into the kitchen to cook. My father goes fishing. I run. It’s an exercise I can enjoy in solitude. It’s a place I can go to be alone and clear my head.
Whatever the scenario, make it yours. Find a place you can go to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday living. This daily practice of getting alone and thinking about the events ahead of you will give you peace of mind. And if you choose some sort of physical exercise, that is doubly good for you mentally and physically.
3. Find your distraction.
This may seem counterproductive, but neuroscientists at Brown University have concluded that the key to some productivity lies at the root of distraction. Your mind can only house one idea at a time, and when you are not being productive, then you are harboring other thoughts that keep you from your goals.
So in order to create a clear mind, you need a distraction. For example, at work, get some of your co-workers together and have a night out. Don’t talk about work at the lunch table, either; rather, find something everyone is interested in, like that basketball game last night. It allows your mind to recharge and reassemble for the rest of the day.
Distractions, while they are not the perfect solution for someone who is supposed to be focused, can be a great way to charge up the old brain cells to have them ready for round two.
If you’re having a little trouble being productive, these suggestions are powerful enough to restart everything.
I’m a sucker for list articles. Especially ones providing tips for fostering personal growth. The more I’ve clicked on these stories, the more I’ve noticed a recurring suggestion: meditation.
I’ve been intrigued by meditation for a while now. I’ve even tried it out a couple of times, always without direction, and I never found success.
In my experiments, I’d sit for a few minutes, attempting to think about one thing explicitly, or nothing at all. The goal varied on the technique I was trying, often something I’d read online or my mom had seen on Oprah’s channel.
And inevitably, I’d go insane. I couldn’t get it right. When my timer went off, I was more tangled than when I started.
The problem was clearly me, not meditation, which is why I decided to sign up for a class. I figured the structure and guidance would give me a chance to get out of my own way. I was right.
For more than a year now, I have been meditating daily. The results have been so positive that I’ve come to view meditation like any foundational health block, such as quality sleep or a nutritious diet. It impacts everything. It makes it a little easier to be me.
Although it helped to find a technique that fit, the difference has come from my commitment to show up consistently and remain open to whatever happens.
Because once you do that, the benefits are boundless. Here are three.
1. Meditation has helped me be myself.
I admit it: I have road rage. Which is uncharacteristic, because when I’m anywhere else, (I like to believe) I’m easy going. It’s not the kind of rage where I confront fellow commuters, but it’s arguably as hazardous.
Every day I navigate two rush hours, and every day I’m faced with offenses that drive me to exasperation: people not letting me merge, people driving below the speed limit, people cutting in at the lip of a freeway exit so they don’t have to wait in line (as if the rest of us want to either).
I sit there seething, banging my steering wheel, as the tension inside simmers. My only recourse is pulling along the offending vehicle to give its driver the turn-and-look treatment (which is never as satisfying as it should be).
But since I’ve started meditating, I’m not pushed beyond my boiling point as easily or as often. Don’t get me wrong—the aforementioned misdeeds are just as unacceptable; I’m just not as affected.
As handy as this composure has been on my commutes, it has also permeated other areas of my life. I still feel impatience, anxiety and fear; they’ve just been dulled to a more manageable level.
It’s as if the daily meditations have doubled as dress rehearsals, allowing me to practice being calm and even-keeled, reminding me that the extra four seconds I have to wait for that guy to go when the light turns green aren’t worth being a jerk about.
For the first time in a long time, I’m more capable of behaving like the person my parents raised me to be.
2. Meditation has given me new perspective.
In the Seinfeld episode “The Pick,” George doesn’t know how to handle a particular situation, so he asks Kramer for advice.
“What does the Little Man inside you say?” Kramer says. “The Little Man knows all.”
“My Little Man’s an idiot,” George replies.
Like Costanza, I struggle with my Little Man—that inner narrator who critiques everything I do, say and think. At different times, he’s instilled fear, shattered confidence and sabotaged attempts I’ve made to move forward.
So naturally, my meditation was ripe for invasion.
When I first started practicing, the Little Man would grade each effort, not just after I was done, but as I was doing it. Going full backseat-meditator on me, he’d judge how well I was connecting with my mantra or impatiently whine, How much longer?
Finally, the teaching kicked in. My class taught me that there’s no such thing as a good or bad meditation session, because each one gives you what you need: Sometimes that’s the chance to learn or process stresses; other times it’s the chance to relax or gain critical insights.
And really, the same can be said of any experience I have. Too often, I’ve gotten hung up on what I could’ve or should’ve done differently, or how I was victimized by an unfortunate fate.
Now, no matter what comes my way, I’m much quicker to accept it. I recognize that whatever happens, for better or worse, is what was supposed to happen. And it’s up to me to acknowledge it, learn from it and trust that it provides the building blocks I need to progress.
With an outlook like that, the Little Man has no retort.
3. Meditation has made me tougher.
My family and King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls aside, my two passions are writing and golf.
As a writer, I often like having written something more than I liked actually writing it. The destination can be more enjoyable than the journey.
Staring at my computer, the screen is as blank as my brain feels. I either have no words and no direction, or a million words I can take in a million directions. The net result is the same.
There’s also that blinking cursor, like a tapping finger, taunting me with its I’m waiting! impatience. It doesn’t matter how many times I fight through this inertia; there’s at least a part of me convinced that this time I’ll be exposed as a fraud.
In golf, every shot you face can be as intimidating as that blank screen. On the first tee, your round is unwritten, and though there are outside forces like wind and water, the story that unfolds is ultimately up to you.
The ball is just sitting there, waiting for you to tell it where to go. And when you give it bad directions, there’s nobody to blame but yourself. Do that enough during a round, and it’s not long before you’re overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy.
Fortunately, meditation has made writing and golf more manageable, even more enjoyable.
I once heard someone describe meditation as a shower for your brain. That’s a good characterization. My daily practice helps cleanse the filth—fear, anxiety and self-doubt—that derails me. This keeps me calmer while also making me tougher and more resilient.
When I can’t think of what to write or when I’ve banana’d my Titleist into somebody’s swimming pool, instead of my mind turning in on itself, I now have the energy and clarity to absorb the hit, put the past in the past and get back into the present.
The results prove it. Since I began meditating, I have lowered my golf handicap by salvaging numerous disaster-destined rounds, and I have been more productive as a writer.
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Two hikers were camped out overnight in the mountains. A thunderous voice roused them from their sleep. The voice said, “This will be the saddest day or the happiest day of your lives,” then instructed them to pack up their belongings, make their way to the river, gather stones in their backpacks that they couldn’t look at until morning, and continue on their journey never to return to the river or the mountain again.
The hikers did as they were instructed and stumbled through the darkness to the river. They stuffed their packs with cold, wet stones and carefully trekked down the rocky trails that would lead them away from the mountain.
Shortly after sunrise they reached a valley and decided to set up camp to rest for a while. But first, they pulled out their packs to examine the stones they’d collected from the river. To their surprise, what they’d thought were river rocks were actually diamonds and rare gems. Both hikers sat in silence, overwhelmed by the bounty before them.
The first hiker said, “Now I know why this is the saddest day of our lives. We should’ve gathered more stones.”
“You must be kidding!” the second hiker said. “This is the happiest day of my life. Look at the wealth we attained by simply taking advantage of an opportunity that was offered to us.”
Therein lies the perfect example of what Winston Churchill meant when he said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Positive thinking alone may not ensure success, but it’s an important start. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll have a hard time persevering against the obstacles and setbacks you’re likely to encounter.
How you look at life can drastically affect how much you enjoy your life. Optimists expect the best out of life. Good news: It’s an attitude that can be learned.
Optimism is based on these tenets:
- Bad things happen in life, but they are temporary.
- Bad things in life are limited in scope.
- People have control over their environments.
Pessimism is based on these tenets:
- Good things in life are temporary.
- Good things in life are limited in scope.
- People have no control over their environments.
According to conventional wisdom, optimists and pessimists are both right about the same number of times, but optimists get to enjoy their lives more. Optimists help create some of the good they come to expect, so they are probably right more than not. And they don’t waste time worrying about what they’re not right about.
If you want to maintain the right attitude in the face of adversity, start by telling yourself you can change. Think of how you’ve changed throughout your life emotionally. You’re probably a different person today than you were five years ago, so don’t assume you can’t evolve further.
Use positive language. Replace words and phrases like “impossible” and “I can’t” with words that emphasize strength and success: “challenging” and “I must.”
Create the right environment. Listen to music that uplifts you. Watch inspirational movies and shows. Read motivational books. Don’t spend too much time on downbeat material. Mix it up, with a leaning toward the positive.
Appreciate your life. Take some time to enjoy what you’ve already achieved with your life. Think about what you did to get where you are, and use that as a reminder of your capabilities.
Let go of mistakes. You’re bound to fail at some things. Learn what you can and move on instead of beating yourself up over and over.
In the autumn of 1994, animated film studio Pixar was in trouble. According to “Likeonomics” by Rohit Bhargava, Pixar was deep in the red, due in part because its upcoming movie “Toy Story” was way over budget. Microsoft had expressed interest in buying the company to gain access to some of its 3D graphic design software. The deal fell through, and Pixar’s prospects were shaky in advance of the movie’s release.
That didn’t deter the team, though. As they were putting the finishing touches on “Toy Story,” the filmmakers met for lunch to discuss possible new projects.
The three ideas they came up with? “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters Inc.,” and “WALL-E,” all of which became blockbuster hits. Despite their financial uncertainty, the “creative types” retained their optimism about the future.
Do you suppose they ordered their food “sunny-side up”?
Mackay’s Moral: It’s just as easy to look for the good things in life as the bad.
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Be the kind of person you want to add to your own business and social circles.
1.- Be a good listener.
At the top of the list is being a good listener. Our success in networking depends on how well we can listen and learn. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship.
A good networker has two ears and one mouth — and should use them proportionately. When you’re engaged in conversation, listen to the other person’s needs and concerns so you can find opportunities to help him or her. In many ways, networking is about connecting the dots. Listening will enable you to help people make the connections they seek.
2.- Develop a positive attitude.
Your attitude, or how you take things in general, is the first thing people see from you. A consistently negative attitude makes people dislike you and drives away referrals. By contrast, a positive attitude makes people want to cooperate and associate with you. This is why positive business professionals are like magnets. Others want to be around them and will send their friends and family to them, too.
3.- Collaborate to serve others.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Helping people puts that care into action so others can see it at work. One survey respondent said “people want to network with individuals who have a collaborative attitude.” You can help others in a variety of ways, from e-mailing a relevant article to putting them in touch with someone who has the knowledge or access to assist them with a specific challenge.
Several respondents commented they didn’t want to network with people who are “in it for themselves.” A willingness to collaborate is essential to building trust and establishing strong relationships.
4.- Be sincere and authentic.
You can offer the help, the thanks and the listening ear, but if you aren’t sincerely interested in another person, she or he will know it! People who’ve developed successful networking skills convey sincerity at every turn. One respondent said “it’s all about the authenticity” that someone shows you. We’ve all seen people who are seemingly good at networking but lack sincerity. Faking it isn’t sustainable.
5.- Follow up.
If you offer opportunities to someone who consistently fails to follow up, you’ll soon stop wasting your time with this person. It doesn’t matter if your call to action is a simple piece of information, a special contact or a qualified business referral. One respondent said that when it comes to networking, “the fortune lies in the follow up” and many people just “don’t follow up anymore.”
6.- Prove your trustworthiness.
One respondent said it best: “It doesn’t matter how successful the person is, if I don’t trust them, I don’t work with them.” When you give a personal reference, you’re putting your reputation on the line. You must be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return. Neither you nor anyone else will refer a contact to someone who can’t be trusted to handle it well.
7.- Be approachable.
One respondent said people “will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Effective networking starts with approachability — and while this characteristic appears last on the list, everything flows from this manner of thought and action.
Each of the characteristics in this article ties into the notion of “farming,” not “hunting.” It’s about building mutually beneficial business relationships.
Know what you are good at and work to enhance those skills. Know what you’re not good at and surround yourself with people who can help you improve those skills.
Working to better your skills and learning how to use them effectively is what really counts.
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Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI
The most important benefit of setting goals isn’t achieving your goal; it’s what you do and the person you become in order to achieve your goal that’s the real benefit.
Goal setting is powerful because it provides focus. It shapes our dreams. It gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve everything we desire in life. Goals are great because they cause us to stretch and grow in ways that we never have before. In order to reach our goals, we must become better.
Make a decision to go all the way to the top. Up to now, you’ve thought about it. Up to now, it’s passed your mind. But now make up your mind to go all the way to the top, and your life will take off. It’s the most extraordinary thing.
Your life is like a shadow going up the dark side of a hill—until the moment you decide that I’m going to be the best at what I do. And suddenly you rise into the sunshine, and your life is forever after different—wonderful.
Get serious. Don’t fool around anymore.
We all know inspiration when we feel it. Vladimir Nabokov described it as first, “a prefatory glow,” followed by a “feeling of tickly well-being.” After a few days, a lightning bolt hits you.
The idea grips you and furious napkin writing ensues. You forget to eat. You build a prototype. This kernel starts a nuclear chain reaction that fuels a lifelong undertaking.
OK, OK, it’s not always that profound. Sometimes inspiration takes you only as far as, I think I’ll have another coffee.
Like its cousin, motivation, inspiration seldom bowls you over. In its more common form, it’s a gentle hand on your shoulder, but it always moves you forward.
If we don’t learn good habits, life becomes more difficult. We have a choice: Get hard on ourselves so life becomes easier, or get easy on ourselves resulting in life getting harder.
Successful people choose good habits over a stagnant life. At first it might not seem like you are accomplishing much, but don’t be fooled. “Small hinges open big doors.”
Not all good habits are created equal. Some are more powerful than others. See the ones that will strengthen your confidence, help you get what you want and result in a satisfying journey.
You’re never too busy for 10 minutes, which is all it takes to improve yourself just a little each day. You can de-stress using meditation, yoga or reading. Track your unhealthy spending habits. Learn a new language. The possibilities are endless. Stop prioritizing the busy parts of your life and make time for the important things, such as the constant development of your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
We compiled a list of 43 easy ways you can improve yourself in 10 minutes or less. Ready, set, go!
Have you ever held back from making a change or taking a chance, afraid of what might happen if you did? Have you ever stayed silent when there was something you really wanted to say, scared of ruffling feathers or being rejected? Have you ever thought to yourself, I wish I just had the guts?
If you have, you’re not alone.
As human beings, we’re wired for caution. We steer away from situations that expose us to the possibility of failing, losing face or feeling foolish. Our desire for safety and certainty pulls hard against our desire for growth and adventure.
If only I had the courage, we often say to ourselves, as though courage is something only a lucky few are endowed with. But that’s not true. Within you lies all of the courage you will ever need—to make that change or take that chance—in your work, relationships and life.
You just haven’t learned how to access it. Yet.
If you’re afraid, count down, 5- 4- 3- 2- 1, then act brave. At the heart of everyday courage is a choice. Five seconds at a time you make a decision to do, say or pursue what’s truly important to you. That’s why there’s such a tight bond between courage and confidence. Every time you face doubt and 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 right past it, you prove to yourself that you are capable. Every time that you beat fear and 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 to do it anyway, you display inner strength. Every time you 5- 4- 3- 2- 1 and smash your excuses, you honor the greatness inside of you that wants to be heard.
A full-fledged restart is scary. But it’s those full-stop second chances in life end up being monumental breakthroughs in people’s lives.
When that fear strikes you, don’t expect it to go away. Dramatic restarts will always cause doubt, worry, uncertainty and fear. Anticipate that reality, and then honor the struggle. Expect there to be hardship, and decide that you will meet it as an opportunity to grow and show the world what you’ve got. Honor those big steps outside of your comfort zone because they will make you better.
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May 9, 2017
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