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7 Things You Must Do If You Want To Accomplish Anything In Life

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how to accomplish things in life

The journey towards success is wrought with enough challenges and obstacles as it is already; anyone who has ever managed to accomplish anything great would be wise in telling you that they had to ignore countless internal and external factors to get to where they are today that would have otherwise jeopardized their efforts or been detrimental to their overall success had they chosen to direct their attention towards them.

One of the things you will discover on your own journey towards making anything happen is just how extremely easy it is to lose focus and get derailed if we take our eyes off our pursuits or give audience to negative things or people.

In order for us to make our way to the finish line as far as our goals and dreams are concerned, we must be prepared to do the following:

1. Stop comparing ourselves to others

One of the most detrimental things we can ever do that would jeopardize our chances for success in anything, is to compare ourselves with others. In order for us to accomplish our goals and dreams, we will need to take our eyes and focus off others, direct all our attention towards our pursuits and embrace the fact that we are all on separate journeys — leading to different destinations. We all have different strengths and limitations, gifts and talents, skills and abilities that enable us to do what we were born and have been called to do in life.

Don’t waste time comparing yourself with others, being envious of or attempting to keep up with those around you that are living the life you aspire to live someday as you don’t know what sacrifices they had to make to get to where they are or what means some of them used to attain their success. Stick to your lane and focus on the things you need to focus on to move your own life in the direction you want it to go.

2. Don’t focus on what our competition is doing

We shouldn’t waste time worrying about what our competition is doing or trying to gauge our progress against theirs’ but should instead direct our focus towards our own vision, and become our own competition by setting bigger goals and benchmarks for ourselves each time we check one off our list.

Although we live in a dog-eat-dog world where most people feel the need to protect their “turf” or believe that they have to step on others in order to get ahead, truly successful people understand that the universe is limitless and that there is enough for everyone. They also don’t concern themselves much with what their competitors are doing but instead focus on the things they can do to set themselves apart.

“Double down on what you’re good at.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

3. Be a doer, not a talker

Actions definitely speak louder than words; we need to learn how to DO more and SPEAK less. If we want people to take us and our goals and dreams seriously, we have to demonstrate through our actions what we’re all about rather than explain with mere words as talking about our aspirations benefits us in absolutely no way if we can’t translate our words into action and often results in inertia.

4. Let results speak for themselves

People recognize quality products, service or work when they encounter them or see it. If we want to be successful in our endeavors, we have to demonstrate to others what you can do for them and the kind of value we can add to their lives via the results they can expect to receive based on our services, products and work as opposed to just merely trying to convince them through our words.

5. Don’t over-share your aspirations

If there’s one thing you will most likely discover rather early on in your journey towards success is that not everyone will support you or be on board with you as far as your goals and dreams are concerned. Reasons for their lack of support might include them not understanding your vision or believing that you have what it takes to bring it to pass. You will really need to exercise your discretion to determine who to share your aspirations with and who to keep in the dark to avoid opening yourself up to other people’s negative influence and limiting beliefs.

“It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. they went out and happened to things.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

6. Pay attention to what and who you listen to

The things and people we listen to on a regular basis directly and indirectly influence how we perceive ourselves as well as some of our choices and actions. We need to pay particular attention to our inner dialogue. The things we say about ourselves and how we talk to ourselves as it greatly impacts how we view ourselves and in turn influences our ability or disability to make things happen.

We also need to be careful who we allow into our lives and should choose to only surround ourselves with people who speak positively about us, celebrate us and empower us with their words and support because we often become like those with whom we closely associate, open ourselves up to their influence and at times, unknowingly begin to view ourselves through their eyes.

7. Don’t indulge naysayers, critics or detractors

You better believe you will encounter plenty of them when you attempt to do something significant with your life. In fact, you should be worried if you don’t as that most likely means that you aren’t making as big of an impact as you would like.

Plug your ears and refuse to give audience to people that try to undermine you and your abilities, discredit you or dissuade you from following your goals and dreams because of their own limiting beliefs or past failures.

The journey towards making things happen can at times be lonely. Don’t allow anyone or anything to distract you and cause you give up on your goals and dreams. Keep your eyes closed, your lips zipped and ears plugged as you focus on making your way to the finish line.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Wendy Merron

    Jan 17, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Great post! I agree that focusing on your competition isn’t a good idea. It can take you down a rabbit hole…although…if you focus on your competition and learn from good marketing, that’s a good thing!
    Another great thing to do is to find ways to STOP BEING AFRAID.
    That’s a big one.
    Great stuff,
    Wendy

  2. garaba

    Jan 15, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Really nice article, love it.

  3. Mark

    Jan 6, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Great Post! I’d also like to add

    “One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.” – Stephen Hawking

  4. Manoj

    Dec 27, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Hi, Nice post
    I really like the post,I liked your first line stop comparing ourselves to others

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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