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5 Simple Ways To Skyrocket Your Concentration For Success At Work

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concentration at work

Before you go on to read this, I want to ask you one thing. Are you giving me your full attention? Unfortunately, the answer is probably no.

In fact, studies at the University of California suggest that our ability to focus has dropped dramatically over the last decade, particularly at work.  And it looks like technology is the main culprit.

But do we really need studies to tell us that we’re struggling to concentrate? I definitely don’t. I struggled with focus for a long time. As a freelancer and a millenial, there seemed to be all the time in the day to get things done, and all the entertainment in the world to make sure that they weren’t done immediately.

Improving my concentration has been a product of two things; structuring my routine to minimize sensory distractions and strengthening my ability to focus to reduce emotional distractions.

These two factors; sensory distractions – such as if your Facebook tab is flashing while you are trying to write a report,  and emotional distractions – such as anxiety, fear, worry or anger – are the biggest obstacles that prevent you from concentrating.

What I’ve composed here are 5 ways you skyrocket your ability to concentrate at work, simply by working on these two barriers:

1. Emphasize your why

Going back to the basics of motivation and thinking about rewards and punishments is actually very beneficial. Most of us forget why we are doing things on a day to day basis, and that leaves our attention open to other avenues.

If you have your mind focused on why you are doing the work, whether it be to reach a larger goal, to feed your family, to move up in a company, or to travel at the end of the year – you will keep your motivation high enough to stop you from being swayed too easily by simple distractions.

Likewise, negative reinforcement can often be even more effective. What will happen if you don’t finish the job on time; will you miss spending time with your family? Will it stop you from any chance of promotion? Will it mean you’ll have to skip out on going out with friends?

Try writing a list of both the rewards and consequences down on two separate post-it notes, and keep them on either side of your desk.

“Finding WHY is a process of discovery, not invention.” – Simon Sinek

2. Set email, text and social media windows

These three are the biggest time killers in your life. And unfortunately, you can access all of them right from your computer.

What you need to do if you are to be productive at work, is to set specific windows for when you can and can’t use them. Email is best reserved for the morning, say between 9:30am and 10:00am, and in the afternoon, say between 4pm and 4:30pm.  

Text and Social Media should be used very sparingly, no more than 20 minutes a work day. Give yourself 2 x 10 minute blocks, or 4 x 5 minute blocks. But outside of that have your phone on airplane mode and your social media accounts off (or blocked).

 

3. Use web apps to keep you on track

When it comes to web apps to boost productivity, there are dozens to consider. These can make a huge difference to your habits. I generally look for three.

  • One to block websites for a pre-specified time, such as Self-Control or Focus
  • One to time my work with the Pomodoro method, such as the Marinara Timer
  • One to sync my documents, I find Evernote works well for me.

 

4Strengthen your focus muscle with exercises

Meditation is the quickest way to strengthen your ability to focus, and research suggests that it takes as little as 8 weeks to see measurable improvements. However, there are other ways to increase your attention span.

Here are some practical ways to improve your concentration:

  • Practice mindfulness throughout the day
  • Memorize facts or quotes
  • Exercise your body
  • Take cold showers
  • Read difficult books

Remember that in the same way you’d build your body for the gym over time, you don’t want to overexert yourself – but you also want to increase the mental weight over time.

 

5. Listen to the right type of music

Music has been found to be a very powerful tool for workplace productivity. And that’s great, because there has never been an easier time to listen to music while you work. It’s important to know however that not just any type of music works. Some types of music are better for energy, some for focus and others for creativity.

For repetitive tasks that require little cognition, you want positive, up beat tunes – think Pharrell Williams Happy. If you want to boost your creativity, you want to leave out any songs with lyrics, as your brain will instinctively try to comprehend them (unless they are in a foreign language), and this takes an extra level of energy. For focus you want something repetitive, without many peaks or troughs.

As technology makes it easier to become distracted, your ability to concentrate will be an increasingly valuable professional asset.

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato

Improving your concentration doesn’t take a genius, it just takes someone who’s willing to focus on routine and consistent practice. Work on the tactics above and you’ll start to see your concentration at work skyrocket in no time.

How do you stay focused at work? Let us know in the comments!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Benjamin Fishel is co-creator of Project Monkey Mind – where he helps young professionals and solopreneuers channel their passions, improve their mindset, and lead a world-changing life. Do you want to get more out of your morning in less time? You can download our FREE eBook: Morning Mastery: the simple 20 minute routine for long-lasting energy, laser-sharp focus, and stress free living.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tim Denning

    May 3, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Ben I stay focused at work my not letting my phone distract me every five seconds and giving my undivided attention to my customers. I also spend one day a week in a quiet space so I can smash out any presentations or written proposals that I need to do. Thanks for your article.

  2. Dennis

    May 2, 2016 at 4:43 am

    I will emphasize my whys. This will give me the driving energy and I will incorporate all the others factors as I have found all to be relevant. I like you.

  3. Alex

    Apr 24, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks for the tips; will try those apps this week!

  4. Kristen

    Apr 24, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Listening to instrumental music is a big way for me to focus on pounding out a lot of work … anything with a lot of emotional lyrics usually distract me too much.

  5. Chris Targett

    Apr 23, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Emails and social media are my biggest downfall at my day job, but I seem to block them out when I am working on ym own projects outside of my day job. This goes to show that my why is stronger when working on projects that get me going, as I am more focused on the work.

    I do like the idea of listening to songs with lyrics, or how about a thought provoking podcast, I could see that working?

    Thanks for the article, all the way from the UK

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Success Advice

5 B.S. Facts About High Performers Everyone Thinks Is True

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high performers
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High performers are often seen in the world as people who set their mind on something and make it happen regardless of what it takes to get it accomplished. Much of the time that may be true. However, the way high performers are seen in the world is often in direct conflict with the way they behave when people aren’t watching. Even though they are seen as amazing experts and masters to others, they often see themselves as in need of improvement and can feel dissatisfied with the results they have achieved.

Despite how they appear, they are not much different than you or me with one exception. High performers are totally committed to what it is that they are doing. They function within the uncertainty of daily life just as you do but they conquer their limitations differently. Whether the odds are stacked with them or against them, a high performer will be totally committed to reaching their goals.

You may even be a high performer yourself and don’t realize it because some of your habits would not be considered high level ones. It is common for individuals to compare their accomplishments to others based on what we observe as their results.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

In fact, you may have lowered your personal bar of excellence because you thought you didn’t measure up to those that always seem to land at the top no matter what. I think you’d be surprised to learn that many very successful high performers don’t function the way you think they do.

Here are 5 B.S. facts about high performers that everyone thinks is true:

B.S. Fact #1 – Perfection is the way they play their game

You would think that in order to appear perfect you would probably need to do everything perfectly. It’s so not true! High performers actually pursue excellence as a goal and not perfection. It allows them to get more done with a higher level of consistency and sets them up for success rather than failure.

B.S. Fact #2 – Organization is their secret weapon

Just take a look at the desk of a genius. You probably wouldn’t be able to see the surface beneath the stacks of books, papers and whatever else may be on top of it. High performers typically have a formula as to where they put things and why. To the observer, it’s usually just a big mess with no identifiable system. However, I assure you, a high performer will still know where everything is regardless of the chaos that surrounds their personal space and schedule.

B.S. Fact #3 – They’ve all walked Ivy League hallways

Though it is true that many well educated people reach great success, statistically, some of the most influential success stories are about people who lacked resources and education. High performers will always seek out whatever or whoever is available so that they can learn what they need to and create their vision despite whatever odds happen to be stacked against them.

B.S. Fact #4 – They don’t have squirrel brain

Focus. It seems like this would be the number one rule to follow on the road to results.  However, there are many high performers who get distracted by people and ideas that totally derail them from what they were doing. Often times, it is not their focus but their agenda that keeps them on track. They know what they need to do even if it doesn’t always get accomplished in the way they thought they would get it done. However, it always gets done.

“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller

B.S. Fact #5 – They see themselves as the king of the jungle

Confidence seems to pour out of those who always seem to succeed. When, in reality, so many high performers struggle with it. Questioning whether or not they’re doing the right things or whether what they’re doing is good enough can be a constant personal dialogue. Fear of being negatively judged is the biggest reason why most people don’t take chances or take action on their big dreams but high performers move forward anyway. Their insecurity doesn’t stop them from what they want.

So, why should it matter to you what is fact or fiction about high performers? The answer; because you will compare yourself to others at times and it would be a tragedy if you stopped yourself from achieving big goals due to a belief that you’re not as good as someone else.

High performers achieve results. They know what they want, they plan it and they achieve it. Just because you have a few habits that won’t get applauded if people actually knew about them doesn’t mean that you can’t be one of the experts or podium finishers too.

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Success Advice

Do You Want to Become a Leader? Read This First

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Image Credit: Unsplash

How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage? The test of leadership isn’t done on the couch, discussing things with internet trolls and commentators. Leadership, like philosophy, is action-based and can’t be separated from that into a purely theoretical field.

To become a leader, it isn’t enough to read about it, you need to live through it. That leads us to the first point.

1. Experience trumps theory

Theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. For you to become a leader, you need to put yourself in situations which demand leadership. If you are at home trying really hard to think about situations where leadership is required and can’t find a place where that can happen, you are not thinking about the problems in your life and community.

Leadership is about going through uncertainty while showing people a better way. So any area of life where there is uncertainty is an area where there is a possibility for leadership to emerge.

You don’t have to lead a company of 10,000 employees to experience leadership, you can do it in a local community of 5 people or as I did in a leadership organization with 200 people. But leadership doesn’t start with leading other people, it starts with leading yourself.

“Leadership is practice not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” – Harold S. Geneen

2. To lead others, you must learn to lead yourself

Telling other people what they need to do is “easy.” Showing the way yourself is a hundred times harder. Because what you do speaks so loud that people can’t hear what you’re saying. In other words, leadership is about having personal integrity and practicing what you preach. You would never follow the advice of a fat personal trainer, a broke accountant, or a real estate agent who doesn’t even own a dog house.

You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. But the thing is that this is easier said than done. I remember when we had a crisis in our team back in 2013. Every single person from the team quit, leaving the president and me alone to fight the battle. My integrity of not quitting didn’t let me walk away and we kept pushing together.

That’s what leadership is about – you need to walk the talk. Because to lead yourself and to lead others, you need to make decisions which follow up your integrity. That leads us to the third point.

3. Leadership is about making the right, painful decisions

If you choose easy decisions, your life will be hard. If you choose hard decisions, your life will be easy. And there are numerous decisions which leaders did in the past which have been hard at the moment. But when you’re a leader, you don’t make decisions on a scale of easy-hard, you make them on a scale of right-wrong.

Firing the VP of sales is always hard. But doing it because he violated the principles of the company makes it right. It’s a trade-off 90% of people are not willing to make and I see it day in, day out. As soon as a decision becomes hard, people start doubting their values, morals, and integrity. They let the fear of uncertainty cloud their judgments and they make an easy call.

They let the VP stay because it’s the easy thing to do and with that, they seal their fate. Leadership is painful and it always was. I remember when I had to let 20 people go or fire two of my VPs. Was it hard? Of course it was. But it was the right thing to do. This doesn’t make the decision any easier, but it makes it bearable.

You know where you need to lead people and even though there is massive uncertainty, you need to be certain that you will figure out any problem that comes in front of you. Which brings us to the last point.

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy

4. You need to have unyielding faith that you will prevail in the end

You don’t need to know every step of the way, but you need to know how you will react to problems. You need to be sure, absolutely, that you will deal, manage, and handle every single problem that comes your way and that your team and people who you lead are unstoppable on their way to achieving the vision.

This is unquestionable. You have no idea what will attack you, but you are certain that you will handle it. This is how you lead people through everything in life. This is how Shackleton led his expedition for 2 years on the Antarctic and how every single one of his people survived the hardships that attacked them.

Because people turn to the leader in face of trouble and that’s when you show your true face. Do you show your weak side, flounder, and run? Or do you stand strong like a supporting rock on which people can lean on?

When you deal with fire, you will learn how to defeat it without having your people get burned. You will sacrifice yourself and gain scars which don’t serve as a sign of victimhood but as a proof of courage. Are you gonna be courageous or are you gonna run away? There is only one way to find out.

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Success Advice

This Is Why Most People Give Up On Their Dreams — I Plead With You Not To Become One Of Them.

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We all have a dream even if we haven’t realized it yet. It could be something as simple as raising a family, or it might be more extreme like winning an Olympic gold medal.

No matter the dream, most people give up on their dream.

I’m pleading with you not to be one of those people. You can achieve your dream when you understand why people give up in the first place.

Here’s why most people give up on their dreams:


They failed once before.

Many people try something once and when they fail, they give up. That’s because nobody tells you that achieving your dream doesn’t happen the first time around.

You have to try and try again until you reach your goal.
The problem is it’s easy to try once, fail, and then say “I already tried and I didn’t win.”

We give in so easily because the upside is a life of excuses.

We give in because we can live through the heroes of our favorite Netflix show.

We give in because in some ways there is a reward. Giving up gives you permission to sit on the couch, eat junk food, be angry at the world on social media and sleep in your nice warm bed

The problem is that this life sucks. You’ll get tired of it. One day you’ll want to chase your dream again, but you might be old, frail and full of regrets.

I’m pleading with you not to choose this option.


They got told no.

You don’t need permission — remember that. You are going to get told no hundreds of times in your life. With every dream you have, there’s going to be some fat, lazy slob that’s going to be standing in your way.”

Push through these people — flubber and all. Don’t let someone else’s laziness or issues with your dream stop you.

Ignore the no and get right back to it. Ask them again. Ask someone else.

Ideally, don’t ask them at all. I never asked to be a blogger I just did it. Certain publications turned me down and I kept writing.

Not everyone understands your gifts or potential and that’s fine. The main point here is that you understand.

I’m pleading with you to not give up because of a no. Make the no your motivation instead.


They don’t see failure for what it is.

Failure is nothing more than the inevitable education that any person who achieves their dream goes through.

Failure is so important that I personally like to pay money for it. I wish there was a shop or course I could do that would guarantee me failure instead of success. I want you to want the failure because that’s where all the answers are.

Once you know what doesn’t work, you’ll have a path forward. Change the word failure into education.

I’m pleading with you to fall in love with failure and not to give up on your dream.


Boredom strikes like thunder.

Everyone gets bored. I watched a documentary where Usain Bolt was training for the Olympics and even he admitted that he got bored after he won a few gold medals.

Boredom is normal, but it’s why a lot of people give up on their dreams.

It’s in the moments of boredom that you give your mind a chance to rest. Doing nothing and being lazy for a few hours can often bring a spark of creativity. No one is motivated 100% of the time — not even me.

It’s up to you to add some variety into your day, so you don’t get stuck in boredom forever.

Boredom can also be a good sign as well. It can be a sign that you need to change your approach or do things in a new way.

I’m pleading with you not to be afraid of boredom. Use boredom to your advantage.


They stop believing in themselves.

Your dreams are not easy (obviously). The rejection, failure and setbacks you’ll achieve can bring you down. What messes people’s dreams up is they stop believing in themselves.

Everything starts to fall over when you don’t believe in yourselfYou have to believe you can do it before anyone else will buy into that idea. The challenge is that you’re going to need help to achieve your dreams. You can’t do it alone.

You’ll never get that help unless you can get people to believe what you believe.

I’m pleading with you to believe in yourself no matter what. You have this dream for a reason and you can do it.


They are stuck on one strategy.

Many people live their entire life based on one strategy or one arbitrage. They refuse to change and so eventually the environment around them changes which affects their ability to reach their dream.

If you’re set in your ways and won’t change your approach, you’ll probably fail. We all imagine how our dream should look yet sometimes the reality is different.

You have to be open to change. In my experience, my original dream looked much different and I’m glad it’s changed. Changes to your dream are for the better.

I’m pleading with you to be open-minded.


They are surrounded by an army of morons.

If everyone around you is telling you you’re an idiot and they don’t respect your dream for what it is, this will have a negative impact on you whether you like it or not.

Run away from the dream killers who are making up for their own broken dreams and surround yourself with people who support you

The best people are the ones that support you but don’t always agree with you. Even better are the ones that support you and challenge your thinking. 
I’m pleading with you to reassess the people around you.


They want security.

No dream comes with an insurance policy or a set path. People are afraid to take risks and want reassurances when they pursue their dream.

There are none. Dreams are made off the back of taking calculated and clever risks most of the time. If you want someone to guarantee your dream, then it ain’t going to happen.

It’s the unpredictability that makes dreams addictive, delicious and worth the effort. Not knowing is what our mind craves — we just don’t know it. If we knew how our dream turned out, we wouldn’t be as excited.

I’m pleading with you to take a risk or two.


They refuse to be disciplined.

Nothing worth achieving can be done without discipline. There’s work involved and that has to be scheduled and executed upon.

I’ve written every single week since 2014. That takes bloody discipline.

My discipline reflects my results in the blogging world. The same applies to your own dream.

Block out chunks of your calendar and get to work. If you’re not doing at least one small thing towards your dream every day, then you’re heading in the wrong direction.

I’m pleading you to put in regular work towards your dream.


The greener grass syndrome.

Another reason we give up is not because we’re lazy necessarily but because we failed and there is a better option. That’s what our mind tells us.

I didn’t fail; I just found something better,” you say to yourself.

Well, that’s the sad truth.

“Changing your idea of success consistently is not the answer. At some point, you need to decide to chase one dream and quit the ADHD dream chasing the average person chases. You’re better than that”

Worrying about what everybody else is doing and then chasing their dreams is ridiculous.

I’m pleading with you not to fall for this lie. The grass is not greener it just requires more work than you anticipated.


Final thought.

Please, please, please don’t give up on your dream. You’re closer than you think. You just need to stand back and think about a few of the points I’ve mentioned.

Broken dreams have birthed so many broken people.

It doesn’t have to be that way. See your dream for what it is: Something special that you can achieve if you put your mind to it, focus and be excited by the possibilities.

Don’t give up on your dream.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

The Number One Question All Leaders Should Be Asking

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Questions are the greatest way to express curiosity, and to actually get to know somebody. As an educator, a father, neurolinguistic programmer, and media specialist, I know how powerful communication can be.

Communications power is the ability to get to know someone. To build rapport and to work out if we are in the same tribe, speaking the same language. We only understand 7% of verbal communication. 38% is our voice and tone. 55% is body language. So when we message or email someone, we are barely communicating. If we are not careful face to face communication can be just as ineffective.

In our work and everyday life we will often be called upon to conduct an interview. This might be in a formal way, such as a manager with a potential new employee, or informally as a parent meeting a son or daughter’s new partner. Sometimes this might be free style, to see where the conversation takes us, and other times we might use our organisations set list of questions.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

Ineffective communication and questioning

The problem is, the questions are often boring, ineffective, or not relevant. Or they have been asked so many times before, the interviewee reels off a pre-prepared answer, which blurs in the mind of the interviewer with every other candidate she/he has spoken to that day.

Questions like: What is your greatest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? Or perhaps the worst of all, “tell me about yourself?” Why is that last one so toxic? Well what do you think they will answer?

Not only will they be reciting a familiar response, but it will also be a mix of what they think you want to hear, and their own made up story of themselves. It is natural to do this, as it is our own perception of ourselves, and mind-reading of what others think of us. Left to our own devices we can be influenced by ego, humility, self-limiting beliefs, and imposter syndrome.

Effective communication and questioning

If we want to really uncover more about the person we are speaking to, we should try this: “Tell me about the world?”Why is that so powerful? Well, to quote the Marvel film Dr Strange, “you’re a man looking at the world, through a keyhole.”

How we view the world is a reflection of ourselves. It may include what we perceive as opportunities and threats, perhaps biases and our overall outlook on life. Is the person we are speaking to open-minded, have an insight on where the world is heading, are they success-minded optimists, or negative and ignorant, with a tendency to blame others?

Are they literal, “it’s a planet orbiting the sun”, or romantic, “it’s a wonderful place full of inspirational people with the capacity to create amazing things, but too often negativity and hate clouds our potential.” Did they focus on the country they live in? A particular subject? Their own family?

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.” – Nat Turner

It is a much more interesting question, and one that few people are asked. They may request clarity, because it is so open and you may be guiding them in to uncharted waters. Every person will answer in a different way, and it will usually provide a much deeper insight as to who they really are.

Not only is this great for interviews, but it can also be a way to break out of small talk. When two people meet it can be visualized as a Venn diagram. Sure, we will probably have some overlap whether that is sports, where we work, parents, gaming, or religion. And the tendency will be to stick to those topics.

But isn’t the real fun in the areas we don’t overlap on? The problem is we often don’t know what questions to ask about it, because we don’t know what you don’t know. This question is a great way of exploring new territory. So, tell me about the world?

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35 Quotes to Inspire You to Live a Life of Contribution

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Contribution is defined as something that you contribute or do to help produce or achieve something together with other people or to help make something successful. May these quotes inspire you to make a positive contribution to the world so that you may help advance humanity to a greater level. (more…)

Asad Meah is the CEO & Founder of AwakenTheGreatnessWithin. He is a dreamchaser who has gained a wealth of knowledge in entrepreneurship and personal development over the past five years through self-education. His mission is to inspire millions of people to become entrepreneurs by awakening their minds to their greatness that resides within them. Check out his book on Amazon that will help you Awaken so that you may live your dreams!

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tim Denning

    May 3, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Ben I stay focused at work my not letting my phone distract me every five seconds and giving my undivided attention to my customers. I also spend one day a week in a quiet space so I can smash out any presentations or written proposals that I need to do. Thanks for your article.

  2. Dennis

    May 2, 2016 at 4:43 am

    I will emphasize my whys. This will give me the driving energy and I will incorporate all the others factors as I have found all to be relevant. I like you.

  3. Alex

    Apr 24, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks for the tips; will try those apps this week!

  4. Kristen

    Apr 24, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Listening to instrumental music is a big way for me to focus on pounding out a lot of work … anything with a lot of emotional lyrics usually distract me too much.

  5. Chris Targett

    Apr 23, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Emails and social media are my biggest downfall at my day job, but I seem to block them out when I am working on ym own projects outside of my day job. This goes to show that my why is stronger when working on projects that get me going, as I am more focused on the work.

    I do like the idea of listening to songs with lyrics, or how about a thought provoking podcast, I could see that working?

    Thanks for the article, all the way from the UK

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

5 B.S. Facts About High Performers Everyone Thinks Is True

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high performers
Image Credit: Unsplash

High performers are often seen in the world as people who set their mind on something and make it happen regardless of what it takes to get it accomplished. Much of the time that may be true. However, the way high performers are seen in the world is often in direct conflict with the way they behave when people aren’t watching. Even though they are seen as amazing experts and masters to others, they often see themselves as in need of improvement and can feel dissatisfied with the results they have achieved.

Despite how they appear, they are not much different than you or me with one exception. High performers are totally committed to what it is that they are doing. They function within the uncertainty of daily life just as you do but they conquer their limitations differently. Whether the odds are stacked with them or against them, a high performer will be totally committed to reaching their goals.

You may even be a high performer yourself and don’t realize it because some of your habits would not be considered high level ones. It is common for individuals to compare their accomplishments to others based on what we observe as their results.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” – Nelson Mandela

In fact, you may have lowered your personal bar of excellence because you thought you didn’t measure up to those that always seem to land at the top no matter what. I think you’d be surprised to learn that many very successful high performers don’t function the way you think they do.

Here are 5 B.S. facts about high performers that everyone thinks is true:

B.S. Fact #1 – Perfection is the way they play their game

You would think that in order to appear perfect you would probably need to do everything perfectly. It’s so not true! High performers actually pursue excellence as a goal and not perfection. It allows them to get more done with a higher level of consistency and sets them up for success rather than failure.

B.S. Fact #2 – Organization is their secret weapon

Just take a look at the desk of a genius. You probably wouldn’t be able to see the surface beneath the stacks of books, papers and whatever else may be on top of it. High performers typically have a formula as to where they put things and why. To the observer, it’s usually just a big mess with no identifiable system. However, I assure you, a high performer will still know where everything is regardless of the chaos that surrounds their personal space and schedule.

B.S. Fact #3 – They’ve all walked Ivy League hallways

Though it is true that many well educated people reach great success, statistically, some of the most influential success stories are about people who lacked resources and education. High performers will always seek out whatever or whoever is available so that they can learn what they need to and create their vision despite whatever odds happen to be stacked against them.

B.S. Fact #4 – They don’t have squirrel brain

Focus. It seems like this would be the number one rule to follow on the road to results.  However, there are many high performers who get distracted by people and ideas that totally derail them from what they were doing. Often times, it is not their focus but their agenda that keeps them on track. They know what they need to do even if it doesn’t always get accomplished in the way they thought they would get it done. However, it always gets done.

“High achievers spot rich opportunities swiftly, make big decisions quickly and move into action immediately. Follow these principles and you can make your dreams come true.” – Robert H. Schuller

B.S. Fact #5 – They see themselves as the king of the jungle

Confidence seems to pour out of those who always seem to succeed. When, in reality, so many high performers struggle with it. Questioning whether or not they’re doing the right things or whether what they’re doing is good enough can be a constant personal dialogue. Fear of being negatively judged is the biggest reason why most people don’t take chances or take action on their big dreams but high performers move forward anyway. Their insecurity doesn’t stop them from what they want.

So, why should it matter to you what is fact or fiction about high performers? The answer; because you will compare yourself to others at times and it would be a tragedy if you stopped yourself from achieving big goals due to a belief that you’re not as good as someone else.

High performers achieve results. They know what they want, they plan it and they achieve it. Just because you have a few habits that won’t get applauded if people actually knew about them doesn’t mean that you can’t be one of the experts or podium finishers too.

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Success Advice

Do You Want to Become a Leader? Read This First

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How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage? The test of leadership isn’t done on the couch, discussing things with internet trolls and commentators. Leadership, like philosophy, is action-based and can’t be separated from that into a purely theoretical field.

To become a leader, it isn’t enough to read about it, you need to live through it. That leads us to the first point.

1. Experience trumps theory

Theory and practice are the same in theory, but they are not the same in practice. For you to become a leader, you need to put yourself in situations which demand leadership. If you are at home trying really hard to think about situations where leadership is required and can’t find a place where that can happen, you are not thinking about the problems in your life and community.

Leadership is about going through uncertainty while showing people a better way. So any area of life where there is uncertainty is an area where there is a possibility for leadership to emerge.

You don’t have to lead a company of 10,000 employees to experience leadership, you can do it in a local community of 5 people or as I did in a leadership organization with 200 people. But leadership doesn’t start with leading other people, it starts with leading yourself.

“Leadership is practice not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” – Harold S. Geneen

2. To lead others, you must learn to lead yourself

Telling other people what they need to do is “easy.” Showing the way yourself is a hundred times harder. Because what you do speaks so loud that people can’t hear what you’re saying. In other words, leadership is about having personal integrity and practicing what you preach. You would never follow the advice of a fat personal trainer, a broke accountant, or a real estate agent who doesn’t even own a dog house.

You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. But the thing is that this is easier said than done. I remember when we had a crisis in our team back in 2013. Every single person from the team quit, leaving the president and me alone to fight the battle. My integrity of not quitting didn’t let me walk away and we kept pushing together.

That’s what leadership is about – you need to walk the talk. Because to lead yourself and to lead others, you need to make decisions which follow up your integrity. That leads us to the third point.

3. Leadership is about making the right, painful decisions

If you choose easy decisions, your life will be hard. If you choose hard decisions, your life will be easy. And there are numerous decisions which leaders did in the past which have been hard at the moment. But when you’re a leader, you don’t make decisions on a scale of easy-hard, you make them on a scale of right-wrong.

Firing the VP of sales is always hard. But doing it because he violated the principles of the company makes it right. It’s a trade-off 90% of people are not willing to make and I see it day in, day out. As soon as a decision becomes hard, people start doubting their values, morals, and integrity. They let the fear of uncertainty cloud their judgments and they make an easy call.

They let the VP stay because it’s the easy thing to do and with that, they seal their fate. Leadership is painful and it always was. I remember when I had to let 20 people go or fire two of my VPs. Was it hard? Of course it was. But it was the right thing to do. This doesn’t make the decision any easier, but it makes it bearable.

You know where you need to lead people and even though there is massive uncertainty, you need to be certain that you will figure out any problem that comes in front of you. Which brings us to the last point.

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy

4. You need to have unyielding faith that you will prevail in the end

You don’t need to know every step of the way, but you need to know how you will react to problems. You need to be sure, absolutely, that you will deal, manage, and handle every single problem that comes your way and that your team and people who you lead are unstoppable on their way to achieving the vision.

This is unquestionable. You have no idea what will attack you, but you are certain that you will handle it. This is how you lead people through everything in life. This is how Shackleton led his expedition for 2 years on the Antarctic and how every single one of his people survived the hardships that attacked them.

Because people turn to the leader in face of trouble and that’s when you show your true face. Do you show your weak side, flounder, and run? Or do you stand strong like a supporting rock on which people can lean on?

When you deal with fire, you will learn how to defeat it without having your people get burned. You will sacrifice yourself and gain scars which don’t serve as a sign of victimhood but as a proof of courage. Are you gonna be courageous or are you gonna run away? There is only one way to find out.

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Success Advice

This Is Why Most People Give Up On Their Dreams — I Plead With You Not To Become One Of Them.

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We all have a dream even if we haven’t realized it yet. It could be something as simple as raising a family, or it might be more extreme like winning an Olympic gold medal.

No matter the dream, most people give up on their dream.

I’m pleading with you not to be one of those people. You can achieve your dream when you understand why people give up in the first place.

Here’s why most people give up on their dreams:


They failed once before.

Many people try something once and when they fail, they give up. That’s because nobody tells you that achieving your dream doesn’t happen the first time around.

You have to try and try again until you reach your goal.
The problem is it’s easy to try once, fail, and then say “I already tried and I didn’t win.”

We give in so easily because the upside is a life of excuses.

We give in because we can live through the heroes of our favorite Netflix show.

We give in because in some ways there is a reward. Giving up gives you permission to sit on the couch, eat junk food, be angry at the world on social media and sleep in your nice warm bed

The problem is that this life sucks. You’ll get tired of it. One day you’ll want to chase your dream again, but you might be old, frail and full of regrets.

I’m pleading with you not to choose this option.


They got told no.

You don’t need permission — remember that. You are going to get told no hundreds of times in your life. With every dream you have, there’s going to be some fat, lazy slob that’s going to be standing in your way.”

Push through these people — flubber and all. Don’t let someone else’s laziness or issues with your dream stop you.

Ignore the no and get right back to it. Ask them again. Ask someone else.

Ideally, don’t ask them at all. I never asked to be a blogger I just did it. Certain publications turned me down and I kept writing.

Not everyone understands your gifts or potential and that’s fine. The main point here is that you understand.

I’m pleading with you to not give up because of a no. Make the no your motivation instead.


They don’t see failure for what it is.

Failure is nothing more than the inevitable education that any person who achieves their dream goes through.

Failure is so important that I personally like to pay money for it. I wish there was a shop or course I could do that would guarantee me failure instead of success. I want you to want the failure because that’s where all the answers are.

Once you know what doesn’t work, you’ll have a path forward. Change the word failure into education.

I’m pleading with you to fall in love with failure and not to give up on your dream.


Boredom strikes like thunder.

Everyone gets bored. I watched a documentary where Usain Bolt was training for the Olympics and even he admitted that he got bored after he won a few gold medals.

Boredom is normal, but it’s why a lot of people give up on their dreams.

It’s in the moments of boredom that you give your mind a chance to rest. Doing nothing and being lazy for a few hours can often bring a spark of creativity. No one is motivated 100% of the time — not even me.

It’s up to you to add some variety into your day, so you don’t get stuck in boredom forever.

Boredom can also be a good sign as well. It can be a sign that you need to change your approach or do things in a new way.

I’m pleading with you not to be afraid of boredom. Use boredom to your advantage.


They stop believing in themselves.

Your dreams are not easy (obviously). The rejection, failure and setbacks you’ll achieve can bring you down. What messes people’s dreams up is they stop believing in themselves.

Everything starts to fall over when you don’t believe in yourselfYou have to believe you can do it before anyone else will buy into that idea. The challenge is that you’re going to need help to achieve your dreams. You can’t do it alone.

You’ll never get that help unless you can get people to believe what you believe.

I’m pleading with you to believe in yourself no matter what. You have this dream for a reason and you can do it.


They are stuck on one strategy.

Many people live their entire life based on one strategy or one arbitrage. They refuse to change and so eventually the environment around them changes which affects their ability to reach their dream.

If you’re set in your ways and won’t change your approach, you’ll probably fail. We all imagine how our dream should look yet sometimes the reality is different.

You have to be open to change. In my experience, my original dream looked much different and I’m glad it’s changed. Changes to your dream are for the better.

I’m pleading with you to be open-minded.


They are surrounded by an army of morons.

If everyone around you is telling you you’re an idiot and they don’t respect your dream for what it is, this will have a negative impact on you whether you like it or not.

Run away from the dream killers who are making up for their own broken dreams and surround yourself with people who support you

The best people are the ones that support you but don’t always agree with you. Even better are the ones that support you and challenge your thinking. 
I’m pleading with you to reassess the people around you.


They want security.

No dream comes with an insurance policy or a set path. People are afraid to take risks and want reassurances when they pursue their dream.

There are none. Dreams are made off the back of taking calculated and clever risks most of the time. If you want someone to guarantee your dream, then it ain’t going to happen.

It’s the unpredictability that makes dreams addictive, delicious and worth the effort. Not knowing is what our mind craves — we just don’t know it. If we knew how our dream turned out, we wouldn’t be as excited.

I’m pleading with you to take a risk or two.


They refuse to be disciplined.

Nothing worth achieving can be done without discipline. There’s work involved and that has to be scheduled and executed upon.

I’ve written every single week since 2014. That takes bloody discipline.

My discipline reflects my results in the blogging world. The same applies to your own dream.

Block out chunks of your calendar and get to work. If you’re not doing at least one small thing towards your dream every day, then you’re heading in the wrong direction.

I’m pleading you to put in regular work towards your dream.


The greener grass syndrome.

Another reason we give up is not because we’re lazy necessarily but because we failed and there is a better option. That’s what our mind tells us.

I didn’t fail; I just found something better,” you say to yourself.

Well, that’s the sad truth.

“Changing your idea of success consistently is not the answer. At some point, you need to decide to chase one dream and quit the ADHD dream chasing the average person chases. You’re better than that”

Worrying about what everybody else is doing and then chasing their dreams is ridiculous.

I’m pleading with you not to fall for this lie. The grass is not greener it just requires more work than you anticipated.


Final thought.

Please, please, please don’t give up on your dream. You’re closer than you think. You just need to stand back and think about a few of the points I’ve mentioned.

Broken dreams have birthed so many broken people.

It doesn’t have to be that way. See your dream for what it is: Something special that you can achieve if you put your mind to it, focus and be excited by the possibilities.

Don’t give up on your dream.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Success Advice

The Number One Question All Leaders Should Be Asking

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Questions are the greatest way to express curiosity, and to actually get to know somebody. As an educator, a father, neurolinguistic programmer, and media specialist, I know how powerful communication can be.

Communications power is the ability to get to know someone. To build rapport and to work out if we are in the same tribe, speaking the same language. We only understand 7% of verbal communication. 38% is our voice and tone. 55% is body language. So when we message or email someone, we are barely communicating. If we are not careful face to face communication can be just as ineffective.

In our work and everyday life we will often be called upon to conduct an interview. This might be in a formal way, such as a manager with a potential new employee, or informally as a parent meeting a son or daughter’s new partner. Sometimes this might be free style, to see where the conversation takes us, and other times we might use our organisations set list of questions.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

Ineffective communication and questioning

The problem is, the questions are often boring, ineffective, or not relevant. Or they have been asked so many times before, the interviewee reels off a pre-prepared answer, which blurs in the mind of the interviewer with every other candidate she/he has spoken to that day.

Questions like: What is your greatest weakness? Where do you see yourself in five years? Or perhaps the worst of all, “tell me about yourself?” Why is that last one so toxic? Well what do you think they will answer?

Not only will they be reciting a familiar response, but it will also be a mix of what they think you want to hear, and their own made up story of themselves. It is natural to do this, as it is our own perception of ourselves, and mind-reading of what others think of us. Left to our own devices we can be influenced by ego, humility, self-limiting beliefs, and imposter syndrome.

Effective communication and questioning

If we want to really uncover more about the person we are speaking to, we should try this: “Tell me about the world?”Why is that so powerful? Well, to quote the Marvel film Dr Strange, “you’re a man looking at the world, through a keyhole.”

How we view the world is a reflection of ourselves. It may include what we perceive as opportunities and threats, perhaps biases and our overall outlook on life. Is the person we are speaking to open-minded, have an insight on where the world is heading, are they success-minded optimists, or negative and ignorant, with a tendency to blame others?

Are they literal, “it’s a planet orbiting the sun”, or romantic, “it’s a wonderful place full of inspirational people with the capacity to create amazing things, but too often negativity and hate clouds our potential.” Did they focus on the country they live in? A particular subject? Their own family?

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.” – Nat Turner

It is a much more interesting question, and one that few people are asked. They may request clarity, because it is so open and you may be guiding them in to uncharted waters. Every person will answer in a different way, and it will usually provide a much deeper insight as to who they really are.

Not only is this great for interviews, but it can also be a way to break out of small talk. When two people meet it can be visualized as a Venn diagram. Sure, we will probably have some overlap whether that is sports, where we work, parents, gaming, or religion. And the tendency will be to stick to those topics.

But isn’t the real fun in the areas we don’t overlap on? The problem is we often don’t know what questions to ask about it, because we don’t know what you don’t know. This question is a great way of exploring new territory. So, tell me about the world?

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