There’s a common fallacy among the mainstream that success happens quickly.
One reason why it looks this way is because success seems to happen almost instantly – like an explosion. Gangnam Style gaining a billion views on YouTube, What Does the Fox Say going viral, 13 things mentally strong people avoid being covered on Forbes, and so on.
These are recent online examples where success did happen almost instantly.
But what most people don’t think about is that these occurrences are not the rule – they are the exception. These examples are extremely rare. It’s just that they’re the ones you notice – just as you notice the big time lottery winner being shown on TV, but not the thousands of people who bought lottery tickets and drew blank.
This occurrence is explained by the availability heuristic.
We see a disproportionate amount of winners, while not seeing how many losers there are. This distorts our view and makes it seem like it’s easier to become successful that it really is.
Another example of the availability heuristic is that most people are more afraid of flying than they are of driving a car, because they think flying is riskier. But it’s not –it’s just that whenever a plane crashes or explodes, it’s newsworthy, which means that you’re much more likely to hear about it.
A little car accident on the other hand is not newsworthy. Car crashes happen every day, but you’re still a lot less likely to hear about them.
The Greatness of Julius Caesar?
By the exact same logic – because of the availability heuristic – many people get a distorted view of historic men, such as Julius Caesar.
They think: “Well, of course it was easy for Caesar – C’mon he was Caesar! He crossed the Rubicon, he came, he saw, and he conquered!”
Then they think: “But I’m no Caesar, I’m just little old me… How could I possibly do something remarkable like that?”
If they had studied Caesar more closely they would understand that it wasn’t necessarily easy for him. They would also understand that he spent years practicing public speaking, years networking with the right people, and years studying politics.
Caesar also borrowed enormous sums of money. He borrowed more money than he was statistically likely to ever make. He needed the money to pursue his political ambitions.
While Caesar did make that money back, many of his political peers did the same thing and were unable to repay their creditors. Some of these men resorted to suicide. But you don’t hear about that because history is written by winners.
Many things had to go right for Caesar to become the man he is now believed to have been. A lot of things could’ve gone wrong along the way – it’s just that they didn’t.
Caesar – just as Napoleon, Churchill, JFK, Mandela, and many others – has become an icon for something much greater. It’s easy to think that these men were chosen by destiny to succeed – heck, many of them even believed it themselves.
This is why you need to study great historic men – so that you to get a less distorted view about what really happened.
So that you can:
- Understand that before these men became iconized they were human beings just as you are. Figure out what they did that made them brilliant.
- Understand just how many things had to fall in place for them to become the icons they are now regarded as. See how many losers there are for each historic winner.
- Understand that they too went through many hardships, just as you do now. But they overcame these hardships by being creative and putting in a ton of effort.
Going Through Hardships
When Caesar was sixteen years old his father died, making him the new man of the family. At eighteen, Caesar was forced to divorce his wife Cornelia by the Roman dictator Sulla.
Caesar refused to obey the most powerful man in the Roman Empire and as a result had to go on the run with a bounty on his head equivalent to 100 yearly wages of a Legionnaire.
Before Napoleon Bonaparte was acknowledged as a military genius at around age 20, he spent a considerable amount of time walking the streets aimlessly, dressed in shabby clothes. He even wrote a pathetic copy of the book The Sorrows of The Young Werther. In Napoleon’s book the protagonist was a version of himself instead of Werther. The book ended with the young male protagonist – a French soldier – killing himself because he was unlucky in love.
Vincent van Gogh
For as long as he lived, Vincent van Gogh never achieved the recognition that he so desperately craved as an artist. His life story is one of the most tragic in history. He was so poor that he couldn’t even afford his own brushes and canvases, but repeatedly had to write letters asking his brother for money. The same paintings that van Gogh then traded for a warm meal and a place to stay for the night are now traded for millions of dollars.
Van Gogh never saw much success during his short life, but he never stopped believing in his own abilities. He is the perfect example of a man whose life has become iconized and distorted after his death.
The young Winston Churchill sought out as many war zones as possible in pursuit of adventure. He risked his life over and over and survived only through coincidence and freakish luck. Thousands of other people died where he survived time and again.
Did Churchill learn his lesson, pack up, and go back home to safety?
No. He kept it up until he was eventually captured as a POW and imprisoned in Pretoria. When the rest of the British inmates chickened out, Churchill escaped by himself and nearly died from starvation in the process.
What’s the Point?
Do you see how strongly these men must have wanted to become successful?
Strong enough for them to risk their lives repeatedly.
What price are you willing to pay for being able to do what you want to do and become successful at it?
The Reason You Should Study Highly Successful People
Why should you take time out of your busy life to read about these remarkable men?
1. To learn more about them and understand how they overcame their shortcomings.
–Churchill lisped and was unable to spontaneously retort to political opponents. He had to write and practice every little thing he was going to say. Do you see what a huge impediment this constitutes to a politician?
Yet Churchill overcame this by spending hours preparing in advance the things he would say to his opponents in parliament.
If an opponent unexpectedly said something clever Churchill knew that he was screwed, so he had to try to anticipate everything that would come up – and practice a counter argument until he had it memorized. He described this process as preparing ammunition, where some of the things he had prepared would work, and some wouldn’t.
2. To become inspired as result of teaching your mind that it is possible for one man to have a profound impact on the world.
By getting a clearer view of the lives of these historical men you get a much better understanding of what success means – and what it takes to accomplish it.
Studying these men teaches you that someone who aims his life at a very specific purpose – a man who fine-tunes his actions by consistently putting in that tiny bit of extra effort every day –is likely to become successful.
But here’s the thing:
Most people don’t even believe that they can do the things they’d like to do. So they’re rarely motivated to remain completely consistent.
The difference between these historically great men and average people lies in consistency and luck. They were fiercely consistent in practicing their skills, meeting influential people, and reading books every day for many years.
You can do nothing about luck, but consistency can be mastered.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca
The next time you struggle with willpower or consistency – remind yourself of the following:
1. The availability heuristic is making it seem like success is easier, and happens more quickly, than it really does.
2. Some of the greatest men in history had it far worse than you do and they still managed to turn it around.
3. These men overcame their shortcomings by being more creative and more consistent than their peers. They stuck to their crafts day in and day out for many years.
And if that doesn’t help you there one more trick that you can use:
— View your current situation as if you were reading a biography written about yourself hundreds of years from now on.
Ask yourself many times daily:
What would that biography say?
5 Ways You Can Utilize Information Properly and Think More Efficiently
The mind is a complex system of facets, of which some have yet to be discovered. Still, in spite of all this, there has been enough information to help us gain a rudimentary understanding of it. Thinking is what we all do, although what differs is the efficiency and levels at which we do it.
A lot of things influence the way you think, and most of these factors vary from person to person. However, there are some foundations and basic laws that can help you move from just filtering information and utilizing it to think efficiently.
Below are a few ways you can utilize information properly and think more efficiently:
1. Be quiet and listen
We’re constantly bombarded with information, and the nature of this information determines how we respond. Are you the type of person who doesn’t handle bad or even good news well? If so, learn to take a step back, evaluate things, and look for the way forward. It’s something that stock market traders do all the time, and it works like a charm with practice.
2. Never neglect what your emotions tell you
While a lot of people might not know this, it is true that the conscious thoughts we have only represent a small fraction of the events going on in our heads. At any given point in time, you have the unconscious aspect taking in massive amounts of information, most of which we don’t even know are being processed.
Your brain makes conclusions, good or bad, and starts to generate feelings that rule our emotions in the long-run. So, whenever you have a subtle feeling that points you to a certain course of action or thought, don’t ignore it. At the end of the day, that feeling gets its way somehow, and it’s better you come face-to-face with it and understand its nudges better.
“When you react, you let others control you. When you respond, you are in control.” – Bohdi Sanders
3. Never think while under pressure
Pressure can be good, but a lot of the time, it tends to yield counter-productive results. Regardless of what you’re doing, there are times when you feel pressure. What this pressure does is force you to rely less on the part of your unconsciousness that functions like a trained autopilot system (from all of the training and experiences that you’ve had in the past). Essentially, it forces you to overthink things.
You begin to analyze every aspect of what you’re doing, and you end up using parts of your brain that have no business with the specific activity. So, whenever you take the time out to develop a certain skill, make sure you learn to have faith in your instincts as well.
4. Never focus on one viewpoint
Bluffing is something that professional poker players do almost every time. It’s become an art. However, instead of just bluffing on a whim (which also works at times, by the way), most of them employ a simple trick while playing; they think about how the opposing players would act if they weren’t actually bluffing.
In most cases, the brain tends to search the world for filters in order to confirm the beliefs that it holds. However, the problem with this is that it tends to limit you. At the end of the day, you could be dealing with facts that are just not wrong.
“What’s true of the poker game is true of life. Most people are suckers and don’t realise it.” – Michael Faust
According to studies, a lot of people tend to have moments of insight and solutions to problems when they’re not even aware of the fact that the problem is being analyzed by the brain. These are usually moments when you take a stroll, listen to your favorite track, brew your favorite coffee, take showers, and read blogs; when you feel relaxed and comfortable.
This is because insightful thoughts are usually generated by an influx of neural activities that occur in the right hemisphere of the brain. The best time to plug into the mind is when you’re stress-free, so make sure that you engage in activities that relax you more often.
How do you go about maneuvering around and making decisions in a world constantly bombarding you with information? Let us know your thoughts and advice below!
10 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Bring Out the Successful YouTuber in You
YouTube is a social media platform that has turned many a normal person into a celebrity. With over 1.9 billion logged-in users visiting YouTube every month, it is a hugely popular platform that is being actively used by people who are leveraging its reach and popularity for reputation building, increasing visibility, creating and driving brand reach and last but not the least, earning money.
We keep hearing success stories of YouTube influencers who were nobodies when they started out and today run some of the most popular channels on YouTube and are considered reputed influencers in their niche.
There is absolutely no doubt that if done right, a presence on YouTube can be a massive boost for your brand (if you are a business) and ensure visibility of stratospheric proportions (if you are an individual).
But, at the end of it all, most people want to get onboard YouTube for the money. If your channel is popular enough, it can be a regular source of income for you. So, how do you become a successful YouTuber and establish a popular YouTube channel?
Here are ten great tips to help you on your way:
1. Identify your YouTube Goals
What do you want to achieve out of YouTube? Straight off the block, this is the question you must answer. YouTube can help build your brand, both business and personal, if that’s your goal. It will help improve your reputation and differentiate yourself from the competition. It could also become a revenue generation medium for you.
There are many reasons you might want to start a YouTube channel, and you need to zero in on the right one. Identifying your core goal or set of goals will help you plan your YouTube journey effectively.
2. Identify the Right Niche for Your Channel
Making videos is a resource-intensive activity. It also needs a rare degree of passion to make videos because you are going to put a truckload of effort into it. So, make sure to zero in on the right niche for your channel, meaning the kind of video content you are going to post. If you are an individual, the content must align with your interest, preferences, skill sets and knowledge.
If you are a business, it must align with your business’s services or domain. Think very carefully whether you will be able to keep making videos about a specific topic, subject or domain regularly. This will help you choose the right ‘content type’ for your channel.
3. Trust Yourself
There are some YouTubers who give up because they think they are not cut out to be successful YouTubers. There is absolutely no doubt, you will be wracked by self-doubt when you start, especially if your videos aren’t finding enough traction. The key here is to have confidence in your ability and pursuing your end goal indefatigably.
Don’t give up because of setbacks; some of the top YouTubers started off slowly and built their audience steadily. When it comes to YouTube, it is important to understand that success won’t come easily or quickly.
4. Be Prepared for Criticism
As a YouTuber, you have the ability to showcase your knowledge and skillsets to the world, but this also sets you up for criticism. There are people who are going to like your videos and there are those who won’t and will go a step further and criticize it through the comments section.
And very often, this criticism isn’t constructive and its only aim is to make fun of you and your video. Can you handle this criticism? You must if you want to be a successful YouTuber. Try developing a thick skin and don’t allow even the most virulent criticism to affect you.
5. Respond to Comments
Make it a habit to respond to comments, irrespective of whether these appreciate or criticize your video. Your response tells your viewer that you care and are prepared to listen to their views. This helps you build a relationship with your viewers who can then turn into channel subscribers. Don’t think YouTube videos are one-way traffic wherein you make a video, a viewer sees it and forgets about it. A video is a means of driving interaction and engagement.
6. Follow other YouTubers
You might have some great content ideas for your channel, but you must also keep track of what other YouTubers are doing. There is always a chance that you will get some inspiration from their videos as to how to make a video more interesting, get the lowdown on audience engagement tactics and find technical aspects as well including camera work, audio etc.
7. Attend Meetups
There are plenty of YouTube meetups, conventions and conferences happening all over the world; it is imperative that you attend YouTube events happening in your region. This way you will be able to meet fellow YouTubers in the region, and who knows, you might also meet YouTubers, you follow and want to emulate. If you get the opportunity to discuss notes or get tips, do so. This will help refine your channel content
8. Keep Measuring Your Performance
Start measuring your YouTube performance from the word go. You need to keep track of various performance metrics to know how well you have done. A metric like ‘views’ is super important but so is ‘watch time’. ouTube judges the performance of your channel on various metrics and uses these to rank your videos in search results. There are plenty of tools that can help you track and measure YouTube performance based on various parameters.
9. Don’t Judge Yourself Too Harshly
Don’t set impossible standards for yourself. You are going to make mistakes and learn from them. No video is perfect and don’t think you can start making amazingly successful videos from day one. So, judge yourself, but don’t go overboard. Don’t compare your work with people who have many years of YouTube experience behind them; this would be counterproductive and play havoc with your confidence levels.
10. Keep at It
If you want to bring out the successful YouTuber in you, you must keep at it. Plan a video publishing schedule and stick to it, irrespective of whether your videos are doing well or not. Remember, once you set cadence, you will get better at your videos, and this will drive more engagement.
A successful YouTuber is no different from a successful person. You need to work hard, learn from mistakes, and more importantly learn from others. And you must make use of all this learning to create better and more more engaging videos.
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
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