Health, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

The Surprising Science Behind Success

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As I mentioned before, Eric Barker’s book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree is definitely worth reading. Most of the book consists of interesting case studies to prove points (importance of networking, believing in yourself, risk-taking, being kind vs. ruthless, perseverance and the company you keep). However, his final chapter does a nice job of wrapping things up tightly.

In a nutshell, here is what he (and tons of research) find:

You must define success for yourself.

There are four quadrants to everlasting happiness:

  • Enjoyment, winning (achievement), feeling significant (to others) and one’s legacy (extending oneself).

Barker recommends creating an actual grid and listing action items for each category. Also, he believes there is value in tracking what you are actually doing against this grid (Netflix marathon would not qualify for “enjoying” – rather, being in the flow of work is true enjoyment).

Lastly, Barker says scheduling your to dos is much more effective than a list!

art, Health, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Habitats & Habits

I feel sorry for my sixth graders.

When I was in sixth grade, the only technologies to distract me were the TV and radio. I received my beloved yellow Sony Walkman years later. But even then, in order to make a mix tape, I had to listen to the radio on my boombox and catch my favorite song, hit “record” and “stop” at just the right time.

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Now, the barrage of sounds and images are relentless. You can hear the voices of your peers night and day from your phone. You can catch your favorite TV or film or YouTuber or musician 24/7. Filters and editing programs make everyone look slim, smooth and shiny. 

And if you’re one of the very few who does not own a phone, you might be ostracized. You are deemed too poor or your parents are too strict. You’re square (do they say that anymore)! Regardless, laptops are ubiquitous. The temptation to enter fantasy land is everywhere

I just completed reading Eric Barker’s “Barking Up the Wrong Tree.” The book is a compelling read, replete with interesting anecdotes and scientific data to back up his various assertions regarding personal success. One of the most important tips he offers is the adage “control your environment.” A closely linked axiom: know thyself

The most successful and productive people practice this. A few examples:

  • disconnect from the internet while working;
  • place cell phone in the other room;
  • never keep junk food in the house;
  • never hit snooze – get right up (!);
  • work before pleasure;

and so on.

I remind my students that “success” – whatever they define it to be – is within their reach. But they must make a commitment to it and do the necessary work.

Now, more than ever, knowing oneself and taking actions to ensure meeting one’s potential might be the most challenging – yet important – task at hand.

 

art, Health, money, motivation, Personal Success, relationships

Ambition – Aspiration – Appetite

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“I love to draw insects and flowers”

Ambition is the strong desire to achieve something.

Aspiration is the hope to achieve something and it also means to draw breath.

Appetite is the natural desire to satisfy a bodily need.

I posit this: that it’s best to work from your appetite when it comes to striving for something. You should literally feel it in your gut and your heart- and allow that to drive your actions. Your body will never steer you wrong.

If your labor is derived from aspiration – the hope with the breath – that is almost as good.

And if you blindly seek your ambition – that desire which originates and stays within your mind –  there is a danger that it’s misguided.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We get more of what we respond to.”

Seth Godin

 

 

motivation, Personal Success, writing

Attitude, Focus and Sweat

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Photo by Rob Mulally

An important skill taught in Driver’s Education courses is to keep one’s eyes where one wants to go (the safe place) and not on obstacles that one wants to avoid. For example, if your car starts to skid out of control, don’t focus on the tree you’re afraid of crashing into, but on the open road. If you focus on the tree, that’s where you’ll end up.

In life, that tree can be a metaphor for the last decades of our lives. We tend to focus on fears such as, “What if I don’t have enough money to retire?”

We live in a youth-centered society. We don’t take care of our elderly very well. So it’s no wonder so many of us fear growing old (despite the fact that it’s inevitable if we don’t die first).

When we choose to stop focusing on aging (and limitations), and start focusing on The Possibilities, fascinating things can happen:

Annie Proulx, this year’s winner of the National Book Award, and author of Brokeback Mountain and The Shipping News, did not start seriously writing until she was 58. (Bigthink)

In the middle of his prolific career as inventor and businessman, Thomas Edison’s plant was burned down by a fire – all of his work was gone. What was his reaction?

“Although I am over 67 years old, I’ll start all over again tomorrow.”

And he did, the very next day. He didn’t even let any of his employees go. Edison and his team made $10 million the very next year. (BusinessInsider)

What are you going to focus on?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CITATIONS

http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/how-the-mind-body-connection-determines-how-you-age

http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-edison-in-the-obstacle-is-the-way-2014-5

money, Personal Success, relationships

Where Does the Ladder Lead?

“Success” in the career realm often means “climbing up the ladder” or obtaining a promotion. If you are interested in this, Eric Barker has data-driven advice:

Network. There are wrong ways and “right ways” to do this. The right way is to offer help to those around you at work – and not just to the well-liked people. If you can forge a strong working relationships with everyone, you’ll be more likely to hear about opportunities and therefore, be able to apply for them faster than others.

And, stating the obvious: If you are helpful to others before you need their help (advice, introductions to others, etc.)  then you won’t be sleazy. In fact, people will want to help you.

If you aren’t interested in climbing the ladder or playing this game, but you’re kind to everyone regardless of your job, you’ve already reached success.

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