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The 4 Step Process to Make More Effective Decisions Every Day

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decision making

How many times have you been invited to a meeting without any clear purpose or direction? Maybe there’s a theme or a general topic of conversation, but there’s no specific agenda and no definitive deadline for making a decision. These types of meetings are the worst, not only because they take valuable time away from productive tasks, but also because they make decision making harder.

Similarly, how many times have you been tasked with a project or asked to do something but were given little instruction on how to accomplish that task? You may have some idea of where to start to look for advice, but you are definitely not the most skilled person for the job, and you will lose a lot of time in the research and planning phase.

What if I told you that there was a straightforward process you could follow on a daily basis to help make more effective decisions more quickly and with less mental anguish? Well, there is. Thankfully, the skills required to plan effective meetings or develop project plans with little stress are very similar.

Here are four steps for streamlining the decision-making process in your own personal and working life:

1. Talk to the right people

Too often, people set up regular meetings for no other reason than to “touch base” or “catch up”. To cut out these unnecessary meetings, make sure you talk to the right people that will be the driving the decisions. If you speak with the right people and there still isn’t a clear reason for the meeting or event, cancel it or politely decline the invitation.

Similarly, if you are working on a project on your own or in a small team and you aren’t sure about the best course of action, make sure you speak with the right people that can help you with the process. This may mean pulling in an expert from outside, or someone from another department to lend a hand. Make sure that for every decision that is made there is one person that is ultimately responsible for the outcome of that decision.

“It is your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins

2. Outline the key internal challenges, opportunities, risks, and rewards

Once you’ve spoken with the right people and identified a need for making a certain decision, take the time to review key challenges, opportunities, risks, and rewards associated with the decision. What are the biggest challenges to success and the largest opportunities for growth? If it is the wrong decision, what would be the potential fallout? If it is ultimately the right decision, what could be the reward?

3. Do your homework

Assess every angle of the situation. Not only do you have to identify key internal challenges, you must now think about how this decision could be affected by outside factors. What challenges might you face from competitors, from customers, from others in different departments within your company? Try to develop contingency plans and build those into your decision making so that nothing comes as a surprise.

Homework doesn’t have to take a long time, but it should be rigorous enough to allow you to understand what might happen if everything starts to go wrong. This will allow you to remain persistent despite the challenges you will undoubtedly face.

“A good decision is based on knowledge not in numbers.” – Plato

4. Own your decisions

Once you’ve had a chance to talk to the right people, outline key challenges, and do your homework, it’s decision making time. At this point, it’s imperative that you own the decisions you make and back them up with resolve and determination. The persistence you must follow through on your decisions will come from a deep understanding of the business problem that you have built during the Outline and Homework phase.

These two phases help you visualize the potential challenges you will face and understand the current context and environment you are now in. While this understanding is key to making effective decisions, this final stage, what is often referred to by U.S. Navy SEALS as “Extreme Ownership” is key to making tough decisions more easily and effectively. So, own your decisions wholeheartedly, and be willing to face the result (either good or bad) no matter what.

An easy way to remember this process is to think of the acronym “To Do”.

  • Talk to the right people.
  • Outline the key challenges.
  • Do your homework.
  • Own your decisions.

Human beings make thousands of conscious decisions a day. On top of that, we make just as many unconscious decisions about what we choose to do in the form of habits that have been built up and strengthened over time. Integrate these four steps to more effective decision making, and you will be well positioned to make better, smarter decisions on a regular basis.

What are some things you do to make better decisions? Comment below!

McVal is the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Wise Manza

    Feb 12, 2018 at 3:16 am

    and also remember, take advice but don’t take orders. Make your decision be the product of your own conclusion.Therefore, you can also borrow advice from the right people before you make a decision, but its not a must for you to take their advice. Just analyse their advice and only take it only if after analysing it, you see that the advice is valuable…however, most of the time you must always make your decisions to be the product of your own conclusion. Also, if you cant find an effective decision, take any decision and make it the right one.

  2. Daniel

    Feb 12, 2018 at 2:27 am

    I am all about the right person/right place idea, but how are you finding the right people? Is this part of “Doing Your Homework,” of is this tied to something else? I am working on getting to the right place but find myself wasting time sometimes on insignificant issues.

Leave a Reply

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

Success Advice

One Thing I Can Teach You About Life That Will Help You Forever.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

I used to be a very anxious person.

I was embarrassed by what I couldn’t do and every day was a struggle. From the moment I would wake up to the moment I’d go to bed, everything felt impossibly overwhelming. It’s a battle I’ve dealt with most of my life.

This daily struggle with mental illness taught me that the satisfaction didn’t lie in beating it; the satisfaction was in helping other people beat mental illness through my success in fighting it.


Recently, I was at work. It was a pretty standard day — nothing too exciting. I then had a catch up with one of the leaders I worked with.

She said something that got my attention: “One of our colleagues is battling a mental illness.”

I really wanted to help. My eyes lit up. There was no need to uncover my plan with anyone else. I knew that staying discrete was fundamental.

I approached the person in question and asked for a few minutes of their time.

I didn’t ask them to admit their mental illness struggle; I just shared my story.

I talked about the anxiety stopping me from having a normal life, eating the right foods, going on dates with girls, having the career I wanted and traveling the world.

I wasn’t sure if any of it was sinking in or even helping. I felt compelled to go on. One thing I knew was that he was paying attention. I could see it in his eyes.

I then went on to talk about how I beat mental illness. Strategies such as:

  • Creating fear lists
  • Seeking professional help
  • Working on myself
  • Books I read
  • Events I attended

Out of nowhere, he started opening up about his own struggle. I was shocked.
It wasn’t pretty. He had an extreme case of mental illness that I certainly couldn’t diagnose or give professional advice on.

All I could do was show him through my own story that there was hope

I offered him access to all the resources I had. I told him that he had my full support and I’d be happy to help in any way I could. He then said:

“What was your psychologist’s name?”

I told him I’d look it up and send it to him. I didn’t have the answer in front of me, but I was determined when I got home to find it.

At the end of the catch-up, he smiled. I don’t think he’d smiled like that in a very long time.

That smile gave me so much satisfaction. It made my own struggle with mental illness worth it. All those sleepless nights, times spent vomiting into the toilet and dark days where I didn’t want to go on made sense.


“It took more than seven years for me to understand that my own battle with mental illness actually had a benefit”

That benefit was the satisfaction in seeing someone beat their mental illness because I was able to defeat mine.

It’s probably the greatest satisfaction of my entire life.

That’s one thing I can teach you about life that will help you forever.

Continue Reading

Success Advice

5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet

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productivity

Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.  

Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.

Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2019:

1. Ditch your to do list

Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar!  To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.  

If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Give up on motivation

Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.

If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.

3. Master your mornings

Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.

We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.

4. Schedule according to energy

Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.

“Productivity is never an accident it’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Working backwards

Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.

Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.

Create the right habits to achieve your goals, work on adopting easy tips and techniques so you can manage your time and yourself better to get things done.

Continue Reading

Success Advice

You Need to Grow Your Memory in Order to Grow Your Life

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how to improve your memory
Image Credit: Unsplash

We all have access to the most powerful computer ever created in the universe…our brain. Unfortunately, few of us have ever been taught how to use our minds efficiently, and even fewer have learned how to develop a fabulous memory. Thankfully, like any skill, memorising can be learned and using the correct strategies, your memory can be improved in only days.

One of the best coaches on memory is Dominic O’Brien the eight-time world memory champion. Self-taught after watching Creighton Carvello memorise a pack of cards on the BBC’s Record Breakers programme. Dominic, through his work on memory, has given us many tools and techniques for improving memory.

Below are 5 rules that will help you develop a better memory:

1. The Rule of Five

Probably seen as one of the most significant contributions to the body of knowledge on memory is O’Brien’s Rule of Five. This rule details how to remember things using a strategy of regular staged repetition.

These stages are as follows:

  • First Review:Immediately
  • Second Review:Twenty-four hours later
  • Third Review:One week later
  • Fourth Review:One month later
  • Fifth Review:Three months later

Utilising stage repetition at these intervals ingrains the memory for the long term.

2. The Dominic System

The Dominic System is a system for remembering numbers. The system is a Person Action system where the association between two sets of paired numbers is the person with the action of the next person.

1139 would become Andre Agassi doing a roundhouse kick which is the action of Chuck Norris. This system combined with the journey method allows for long random numbers to be easily recalled without error. The fantastic thing about this system is that you get to customise for yourself with memorable people and unique actions which when combined really make it easy for you to recall numbers. The table below associates each number to a letter.

Number     0     1    2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
Letter     O     A     B     C     D    E     S     G     H     N

Creating a simple document with pairs of numbers in one column, the letter pairs in the next and an action column will help you learn this system quickly.

“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.” – Andre Agassi

3. The Link Method

This method relies on two essential elements of memory, association and exaggeration. Utilising these two elements, it is possible to link together unrelated objects to allow you to remember them.

Trying to remember a list of five separate words such as: balloon, papaya, gold, football and hat, might go something like this. You imagine seeing a giant balloon and inside the balloon you can see a small papaya, in bursting the balloon the papaya falls out and as it hits the floor a gold football bounces into a large sombrero.

4. The Journey Method

Using location has been a fundamental part of mnemonics almost since time began. Before humans, writing elders would pass knowledge to others using stories of journeys, with each piece of knowledge being associated with a location on the journey.

O’Brien’s system utilises journeys that you would undertake on a daily basis, like your commute to work or train stations on well-known line. Items are then associated and exaggerated along the journey, so for instance if you were trying to remember a list of ten random things you would associate each piece along with a unique ten stop journey and utilise exaggeration to make the items more memorable.

“You are well equipped with an incredible potential for absorbing knowledge…Anything’s possible.” – Dominic O’Brien

5. The Story Method

To remember groups of information, create a story that links them together. Remembering the planets of the solar system and their position relative to the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Imagine that Mercury was hitting the nineties as Venus tossed the tennis ball into the air, striking the ball it soared over the net striking the earth and bouncing high into the air, knocking the mars bar out of Jupiter’s hand, and so on.

Developing a good memory will assist markedly in all of your personal development goals as well as assisting greatly in your daily life. The methods above are tried and tested by one of the leading memory champions. Whether you want to become the next World Memory Champion or just improve your recall, the techniques outlined above will assist greatly.

Combining the various elements will create an exponential improvement in your memory that you will find hard to believe, and you will be kicking yourself for not applying them sooner. The best part about using these methods is that they are fun, so enjoy using them.

Which one of these memorizing methods sounds most interesting to you? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Compassion Is the Cornerstone of Inner and Outer Success

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compassion
Image Credit: Unsplash

Tapping into this emotional state of being can make the difference between thriving or surviving in business and life. In today’s journey towards success, people are more apt to respond to a compassionate and caring individual than one too full of themselves.

Just do what I call the “holy scroll of social media” and you will have men and women seeking your attention. They have the magic pill, formula, or mixture that will lead you out of despair and into the promised land of prosperity.

Here’s one way to see if they are legit: Is there a tone of compassion in their written and verbal words? Do they really care about you as a person or simply give off the vibe of “ah, got another sucker to get my stuff?”

If you want to truly know how much a person can deeply care about people, then watch their actions. Many people run around, screaming from the tops of buildings and church steeples that “I am the one to follow.”

Stop chasing those people. They really don’t have their act together and lack compassion. People are drawn to those who are successful, prosperous, and abundant. It’s a natural drawing card. Those people have something that you want, so you follow them and take up their mannerisms like it’s some kind of gospel message.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

You have the ability to be an amazing success in business through using the power of compassion. So, why don’t more people do it? Well, it simply takes time and effort to become compassionate if your whole success model has been toward the profit margin. Anyone who owns or runs a business has to watch their finances, so it’s understandable. Yet, are you going to do so without thinking of others in a heartfelt way? That will come back to haunt you.

Compassion is the one thing that makes truly all-around successful people stand above the noise. People of great financial wealth like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have come to understand that philanthropy is a way of supporting advancements around the world. Anthony Robbins has taken portions of his own wealth and helped feed other people who don’t have the means to get their own groceries. In turn, look at the many community centers and religious and spiritual institutions that have been established for the sole purpose of being a light of compassion and care for those in their own darkness.

What does this have to do with having an attitude bent towards success? Everything. Right now, you have a powerful wellspring of compassion inside waiting to be shared. It is a way of life that transcends what you know from data and numbers.

Truly successful individuals dial within regularly and get in tune with the times. Compassion might feel like it is a lost art, but it is not. Compassion leaves people not only feeling better but having more of a get-to-it attitude instead of just going along and saying “whatever” to obstacles in their path.

You might be someone who just doesn’t know how to be compassionate. The concept feels and sounds foreign to you because all you have been fed is a bunch of “suck it up, buttercup” mentalities. At times, we all need a good kick in the behind to take action.

If you are a lost sheep who doesn’t even know where to start on the compassionate way of life, then here are three simple suggestions:

1. Be humble

Humility and humiliation are two different things so don’t get them mixed up here. Being humble is a state of being where you remember where you came from and feel a deep sense of gratitude for where you were and where you are now. People in businesses and corporations all over the world know that humility is a game-changing path toward success.

2. Be grateful

If you have two eyes and a heartbeat and are reading this article, then you have three reasons right there to be and feel grateful. One technique that I have found helpful in recent months is to simply say “thank you” upon waking up. Giving thanks for all the things in my life is a way of expressing inner gratitude in an outward way. You can do this in your very own business by saying “thank you” for more clients, more business, more income streams, more freedom, and so on.

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” – Prince

3. Be a good listener

Do you wonder how in the world you can ever hear another person’s heart when they always seem to be talking? Stop talking so much and listen more. Look, a core strength of compassionate people is they tend to listen more and bark less. Success is what you make it up to be in your business and life. Notice, though, the action takers and their ability to truly listen, take in what they need, and let go of the rest. Listening to others with a compassionate and empathetic ear will lead you to the road of success.

Compassion is not just another silly marketing trend. It’s been around as long as humans have had a pulse. The measure of compassion that you give to others will be given back to you. This is seen over and over again in business and other places.

It’s a reciprocal circle of life. Compassion can open doors for you that you’d never thought of walking through at all. Tap into your own compassionate side and make a successful difference in other people’s lives.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Pillars to Creating an Unfair Advantage in Your Business

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business success
Image Credit: Unsplash

All of us want to create unfair advantages in our business that separate us from our competition. Nonetheless, doing this is easier said than done as everyday your competition is innovating and getting better. With today’s technology, overachievers are reaching higher levels of success than ever before. Naturally, if you are here reading Addicted2Success, then this means you too are an overachiever who is addicted to success. (more…)

Rob Fajardo is 23 year old Thought Leader from NJ. He founded a brand called Leave Normal Behind, a content, community, and events hub for purpose driven people. The mission of LNB is to bring together purpose driven people and inspire them to become the best versions of themselves by creating things that matter and encouraging others to do the same. He is also the viral marketing mastermind behind fidget spinners (check @fidget360 on IG) and helped Gerard Adams, Co-Founder of Elite Daily, establish the executive team at Fownders responsible for building the Seed-2-Scale program there. If you want to get connect with Rob you can email him rob@leavenormalbehind.com.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Wise Manza

    Feb 12, 2018 at 3:16 am

    and also remember, take advice but don’t take orders. Make your decision be the product of your own conclusion.Therefore, you can also borrow advice from the right people before you make a decision, but its not a must for you to take their advice. Just analyse their advice and only take it only if after analysing it, you see that the advice is valuable…however, most of the time you must always make your decisions to be the product of your own conclusion. Also, if you cant find an effective decision, take any decision and make it the right one.

  2. Daniel

    Feb 12, 2018 at 2:27 am

    I am all about the right person/right place idea, but how are you finding the right people? Is this part of “Doing Your Homework,” of is this tied to something else? I am working on getting to the right place but find myself wasting time sometimes on insignificant issues.

Leave a Reply

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

Success Advice

One Thing I Can Teach You About Life That Will Help You Forever.

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

I used to be a very anxious person.

I was embarrassed by what I couldn’t do and every day was a struggle. From the moment I would wake up to the moment I’d go to bed, everything felt impossibly overwhelming. It’s a battle I’ve dealt with most of my life.

This daily struggle with mental illness taught me that the satisfaction didn’t lie in beating it; the satisfaction was in helping other people beat mental illness through my success in fighting it.


Recently, I was at work. It was a pretty standard day — nothing too exciting. I then had a catch up with one of the leaders I worked with.

She said something that got my attention: “One of our colleagues is battling a mental illness.”

I really wanted to help. My eyes lit up. There was no need to uncover my plan with anyone else. I knew that staying discrete was fundamental.

I approached the person in question and asked for a few minutes of their time.

I didn’t ask them to admit their mental illness struggle; I just shared my story.

I talked about the anxiety stopping me from having a normal life, eating the right foods, going on dates with girls, having the career I wanted and traveling the world.

I wasn’t sure if any of it was sinking in or even helping. I felt compelled to go on. One thing I knew was that he was paying attention. I could see it in his eyes.

I then went on to talk about how I beat mental illness. Strategies such as:

  • Creating fear lists
  • Seeking professional help
  • Working on myself
  • Books I read
  • Events I attended

Out of nowhere, he started opening up about his own struggle. I was shocked.
It wasn’t pretty. He had an extreme case of mental illness that I certainly couldn’t diagnose or give professional advice on.

All I could do was show him through my own story that there was hope

I offered him access to all the resources I had. I told him that he had my full support and I’d be happy to help in any way I could. He then said:

“What was your psychologist’s name?”

I told him I’d look it up and send it to him. I didn’t have the answer in front of me, but I was determined when I got home to find it.

At the end of the catch-up, he smiled. I don’t think he’d smiled like that in a very long time.

That smile gave me so much satisfaction. It made my own struggle with mental illness worth it. All those sleepless nights, times spent vomiting into the toilet and dark days where I didn’t want to go on made sense.


“It took more than seven years for me to understand that my own battle with mental illness actually had a benefit”

That benefit was the satisfaction in seeing someone beat their mental illness because I was able to defeat mine.

It’s probably the greatest satisfaction of my entire life.

That’s one thing I can teach you about life that will help you forever.

Continue Reading

Success Advice

5 Productivity Shifts You Need to Make to Make 2019 Your Best Year Yet

Published

on

productivity

Everyone wants more time, that is something almost all of us share. Time is the most valuable resource and when you learn how to make your time work for you and how to get the most out of it – you experience life differently.  

Improving how you manage your time is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself – it’s a real game changer in your business and personal life. There are many ways that you can get more productive and get the right things done sooner; but not all of them are obvious or bring the same results.

Here are 5 productivity shifts you want to make if you are trying to make the most out of 2019:

1. Ditch your to do list

Productive people don’t keep to-do lists, they schedule everything they need to do in their calendar and work directly from their calendar!  To-Do lists are just ineffective and they are impeding your productivity. A never ending list of items only leaves you overwhelmed and with a false sense of ‘productivity’.  

If you schedule your To Do’s directly into your calendar at a time to get them done, you commit to it and you are more likely to get it done. Less is more – you don’t need a separate list to remind you what you need to do.

“Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind.” – Robin Sharma

2. Give up on motivation

Productive people don’t always have to be motivated before starting something. They balance discipline with motivation and do what they need to do, regardless of motivation. When we come up with resistance to take action on what we have planned, we might tell ourselves that we are not motivated and we believe that we need to be motivated to complete any task.

If you want to increase your productivity, you need to challenge yourself more in the moment to take action and give up on motivation sometimes. Do what you need to in order to get the results you want in the future. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel now, make them based on what result you are really after.

3. Master your mornings

Wake up early and get yourself into the productive mindset with your routine and diet! Productive people start the day with some sort of routine, whether it’s meditation, exercise or visualization, etc. AND they have a healthy breakfast to fuel them for the day. Your health is everything when it comes to productivity, what you eat directly affects your productivity.

We can just no longer ignore the direct connection any more. Get in the right mindset to start your day and fuel your mind and body to get the most out of it. Starting your day off in any other way undermines your success – there is no doubt.

4. Schedule according to energy

Productive people know their energy cycles and they plan tasks around their energy levels. Why plan something at a time when you know it will be hard to rise to the challenge? Schedule tasks that require focus and concentration for those times of day that you feel the best and you will find it’s easier to follow through and you will be at your best to perform. Identify your filler tasks and complete those when your energy drops. Be more realistic when scheduling your tasks and set yourself up for wins.

“Productivity is never an accident it’s the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning & focused effort.” – Paul Meyer

5. Working backwards

Productive people always focus on those activities that will take them to the next level. They plan backwards, they look at their goals, then identify the tasks they need to do to support those goals. Those tasks get broken down into weekly actions. That’s how they plan.

Don’t only plan on tasks that come in or those which you ‘feel’ or ‘think’ you should be doing. Your day needs to consist of at least one activity that directly supports your longer term objectives, your big project. What sounds like common sense is definitely not common practice.

Create the right habits to achieve your goals, work on adopting easy tips and techniques so you can manage your time and yourself better to get things done.

Continue Reading

Success Advice

You Need to Grow Your Memory in Order to Grow Your Life

Published

on

how to improve your memory
Image Credit: Unsplash

We all have access to the most powerful computer ever created in the universe…our brain. Unfortunately, few of us have ever been taught how to use our minds efficiently, and even fewer have learned how to develop a fabulous memory. Thankfully, like any skill, memorising can be learned and using the correct strategies, your memory can be improved in only days.

One of the best coaches on memory is Dominic O’Brien the eight-time world memory champion. Self-taught after watching Creighton Carvello memorise a pack of cards on the BBC’s Record Breakers programme. Dominic, through his work on memory, has given us many tools and techniques for improving memory.

Below are 5 rules that will help you develop a better memory:

1. The Rule of Five

Probably seen as one of the most significant contributions to the body of knowledge on memory is O’Brien’s Rule of Five. This rule details how to remember things using a strategy of regular staged repetition.

These stages are as follows:

  • First Review:Immediately
  • Second Review:Twenty-four hours later
  • Third Review:One week later
  • Fourth Review:One month later
  • Fifth Review:Three months later

Utilising stage repetition at these intervals ingrains the memory for the long term.

2. The Dominic System

The Dominic System is a system for remembering numbers. The system is a Person Action system where the association between two sets of paired numbers is the person with the action of the next person.

1139 would become Andre Agassi doing a roundhouse kick which is the action of Chuck Norris. This system combined with the journey method allows for long random numbers to be easily recalled without error. The fantastic thing about this system is that you get to customise for yourself with memorable people and unique actions which when combined really make it easy for you to recall numbers. The table below associates each number to a letter.

Number     0     1    2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
Letter     O     A     B     C     D    E     S     G     H     N

Creating a simple document with pairs of numbers in one column, the letter pairs in the next and an action column will help you learn this system quickly.

“Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work. I had to put in the time to get back. And it was a grind. It meant training and sweating every day. But I was completely committed to working out to prove to myself that I still could do it.” – Andre Agassi

3. The Link Method

This method relies on two essential elements of memory, association and exaggeration. Utilising these two elements, it is possible to link together unrelated objects to allow you to remember them.

Trying to remember a list of five separate words such as: balloon, papaya, gold, football and hat, might go something like this. You imagine seeing a giant balloon and inside the balloon you can see a small papaya, in bursting the balloon the papaya falls out and as it hits the floor a gold football bounces into a large sombrero.

4. The Journey Method

Using location has been a fundamental part of mnemonics almost since time began. Before humans, writing elders would pass knowledge to others using stories of journeys, with each piece of knowledge being associated with a location on the journey.

O’Brien’s system utilises journeys that you would undertake on a daily basis, like your commute to work or train stations on well-known line. Items are then associated and exaggerated along the journey, so for instance if you were trying to remember a list of ten random things you would associate each piece along with a unique ten stop journey and utilise exaggeration to make the items more memorable.

“You are well equipped with an incredible potential for absorbing knowledge…Anything’s possible.” – Dominic O’Brien

5. The Story Method

To remember groups of information, create a story that links them together. Remembering the planets of the solar system and their position relative to the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Imagine that Mercury was hitting the nineties as Venus tossed the tennis ball into the air, striking the ball it soared over the net striking the earth and bouncing high into the air, knocking the mars bar out of Jupiter’s hand, and so on.

Developing a good memory will assist markedly in all of your personal development goals as well as assisting greatly in your daily life. The methods above are tried and tested by one of the leading memory champions. Whether you want to become the next World Memory Champion or just improve your recall, the techniques outlined above will assist greatly.

Combining the various elements will create an exponential improvement in your memory that you will find hard to believe, and you will be kicking yourself for not applying them sooner. The best part about using these methods is that they are fun, so enjoy using them.

Which one of these memorizing methods sounds most interesting to you? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

Compassion Is the Cornerstone of Inner and Outer Success

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Tapping into this emotional state of being can make the difference between thriving or surviving in business and life. In today’s journey towards success, people are more apt to respond to a compassionate and caring individual than one too full of themselves.

Just do what I call the “holy scroll of social media” and you will have men and women seeking your attention. They have the magic pill, formula, or mixture that will lead you out of despair and into the promised land of prosperity.

Here’s one way to see if they are legit: Is there a tone of compassion in their written and verbal words? Do they really care about you as a person or simply give off the vibe of “ah, got another sucker to get my stuff?”

If you want to truly know how much a person can deeply care about people, then watch their actions. Many people run around, screaming from the tops of buildings and church steeples that “I am the one to follow.”

Stop chasing those people. They really don’t have their act together and lack compassion. People are drawn to those who are successful, prosperous, and abundant. It’s a natural drawing card. Those people have something that you want, so you follow them and take up their mannerisms like it’s some kind of gospel message.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

You have the ability to be an amazing success in business through using the power of compassion. So, why don’t more people do it? Well, it simply takes time and effort to become compassionate if your whole success model has been toward the profit margin. Anyone who owns or runs a business has to watch their finances, so it’s understandable. Yet, are you going to do so without thinking of others in a heartfelt way? That will come back to haunt you.

Compassion is the one thing that makes truly all-around successful people stand above the noise. People of great financial wealth like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have come to understand that philanthropy is a way of supporting advancements around the world. Anthony Robbins has taken portions of his own wealth and helped feed other people who don’t have the means to get their own groceries. In turn, look at the many community centers and religious and spiritual institutions that have been established for the sole purpose of being a light of compassion and care for those in their own darkness.

What does this have to do with having an attitude bent towards success? Everything. Right now, you have a powerful wellspring of compassion inside waiting to be shared. It is a way of life that transcends what you know from data and numbers.

Truly successful individuals dial within regularly and get in tune with the times. Compassion might feel like it is a lost art, but it is not. Compassion leaves people not only feeling better but having more of a get-to-it attitude instead of just going along and saying “whatever” to obstacles in their path.

You might be someone who just doesn’t know how to be compassionate. The concept feels and sounds foreign to you because all you have been fed is a bunch of “suck it up, buttercup” mentalities. At times, we all need a good kick in the behind to take action.

If you are a lost sheep who doesn’t even know where to start on the compassionate way of life, then here are three simple suggestions:

1. Be humble

Humility and humiliation are two different things so don’t get them mixed up here. Being humble is a state of being where you remember where you came from and feel a deep sense of gratitude for where you were and where you are now. People in businesses and corporations all over the world know that humility is a game-changing path toward success.

2. Be grateful

If you have two eyes and a heartbeat and are reading this article, then you have three reasons right there to be and feel grateful. One technique that I have found helpful in recent months is to simply say “thank you” upon waking up. Giving thanks for all the things in my life is a way of expressing inner gratitude in an outward way. You can do this in your very own business by saying “thank you” for more clients, more business, more income streams, more freedom, and so on.

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries.” – Prince

3. Be a good listener

Do you wonder how in the world you can ever hear another person’s heart when they always seem to be talking? Stop talking so much and listen more. Look, a core strength of compassionate people is they tend to listen more and bark less. Success is what you make it up to be in your business and life. Notice, though, the action takers and their ability to truly listen, take in what they need, and let go of the rest. Listening to others with a compassionate and empathetic ear will lead you to the road of success.

Compassion is not just another silly marketing trend. It’s been around as long as humans have had a pulse. The measure of compassion that you give to others will be given back to you. This is seen over and over again in business and other places.

It’s a reciprocal circle of life. Compassion can open doors for you that you’d never thought of walking through at all. Tap into your own compassionate side and make a successful difference in other people’s lives.

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