8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful
There is no one sure way of being successful – success depends on your personal qualities on the field in which you seek it and your definition of success.
That being said, every approach to success incorporates improvement and change, and with those sometimes comes a little bit of discomfort.
On this list, you will find some of the most useful ways in which people who know what they want, go about getting it.
Depending on what kind of person you are, some of these things will seem intimidating.
Some might even seem obvious, but the key will be implementing and adapting this advice to your own personal, professional or even fitness goals!
Getting started is probably the hardest step in the process of achieving your goals. The beginning is always the most uncomfortable part.
Many people don’t even start building their way to success because of that first step.
If you’ve begun your journey, even before implementing all the advice and reaching all your milestones take a moment of reflection to acknowledge what you have done just by starting the journey.
If you found the strength to complete that first step then you will find it again for every step that is ahead of you.
Here are a few ways that might help you get started on that and keep at it:
1) HONESTY IS IMPORTANT, BUT IT DOESN’T WORK IF YOU DON’T START WITH YOURSELF
We all like to think of ourselves ass multifaceted, multitalented individuals, but that simply cannot be true for every aspect of our lives.
So, when choosing the field you wish to pursue success in, you must ask yourself an important question: “Am I suited for this work, or is it just that the idea of it appeals to me?”.
Researchers tasked by the Dutch ministry of education to find out what factors influence success in the academic field found that many of them revolve around choosing a field you are well informed about, well prepared for and personally suited towards.
The more doubts you had about your choice the less likely you will be successful in that field – so ask yourself honestly and do it as soon as you possibly can – Am I cut out for this type of work?
Do I know enough about the field or project I am trying to find success in?
When you have finished with this first step, congratulate yourself! Now that you have found the thing you are actually good at let’s see what else you can do to get ahead!
2) DON’T LET YOURSELF FALL INTO A RUT
As they get older and their lives stop changing quite as often as they used to, people find themselves slipping into autopilot mode, not just in their relationships but also in their work.
Look, routines are great – they allow you to do things faster, in ways you are already familiar with and don’t require all that pesky thinking and stress. Their predictability can be comforting.
Routines are unfortunately also killers of creativity, and to succeed, you need to keep that spark alive! Supermarkets regularly rearrange their item displays in order to make customers step out of their routines, pay more attention to items placed in the aisles and spend more money, thus driving earnings.
Do the same thing to your brain! Research has shown that the biggest driver of dopamine production is a novelty, beating out other studied factors such as rarity and fear!
Mixing up your routine and adding new things to your daily schedule wakes up your brain and makes you produce more of those sweet, sweet motivating hormones.
3) START YOUR DAY EARLY
“Early bird gets the worm” is kind of a played-out expression and waking up early is not an easy thing to get into for most people.
Many of us don’t get into the habit of waking up with the sunrise unless we absolutely have to, and for what might seem like good reasons!
For those working regular hours, all of your personal time is pushed into that slot after work.
As a consequence of that, people tend to push relaxation, planning, socializing, working on personal projects or simply finishing household chores into the evening.
Of course, you want to wake up as late as you possibly can and maybe hit the snooze button a few times while you’re at it!
And for those without conventional hours, waking up early can seem a pointless exercise in self-punishment – why would you need to be awake if nobody is forcing you to?
Those who use their mornings more than their evenings show better productivity and less stress during the day.
Mornings are quiet, filled with natural light and our brains are well-rested meaning that a problem you might have found impossible to solve due to the clearing of the adenosine buildup your body accumulated during the previous day.
Adding a few hours for exercise, a quiet breakfast or early morning planning can make you feel like your day is less oriented around your job, reducing your stress and giving you an advantage over those who start their mornings in a rush to get ready and go to work.
It is true that waking up early means going to bed early, but not all time is created equal.
The morning hours are a source of untapped potential for many people.
4) TAKE YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH SERIOUSLY – NOW!
More than traditional intellect, the factor that impacts your success is emotional intelligence. It’s related to our proficiency in soft skills and ability to communicate with others effectively.
One of the “big five” personality traits that can account for up to 85% of financial success is emotional stability.
This means that you have to take care of your emotional health – set time aside for therapy, self-help or simply conversations with somebody you trust.
This might not seem like uncomfortable advice, but answer this question honestly – how many times have you put aside your emotional wellbeing to get something done?
Is emotional health not the easiest thing to lose sight of when we are swamped with work or under pressure to be productive?
The discomfort with prioritizing emotional wellbeing is tied to longstanding prejudice and these attitudes can be difficult to break.
However, the benefits of paying your emotional health the attention it deserves are obvious; you just need to look at it as an investment – a skill you need to put time into developing.
You will see opportunities to use it a lot more often than you think!
Developing emotional intelligence is a good strategy in your personal and professional life because most people accumulate these skills over time – meaning they end up using them most effectively at the end of their careers.
Investing in emotional development early on and establishing emotional stability gives you an edge.
These skills are widely applicable and versatile; you can use them through as many projects as you wish and in every part of your life.
An important thing to note is that, because of the widely applicable nature of soft skills, they are not likely to be something your employer will invest in developing in you – employers are much more likely to invest in job-specific professional development.
Transferable skills stemming from the development of emotional intelligence are sought after in every workplace but individuals are most often left to themselves to work on obtaining them.
This means that your emotional stability and growth really are in your hands and your hands alone.
5) HELP OTHERS AROUND YOU TO DO BETTER – AND KNOW WHEN TO MOVE ON FROM PEOPLE WHO WON’T
Success doesn’t just have to come from personal improvement; sometimes it involves improving others around us as well.
Of course, there is an art to feedback – the people you’re giving it to need to be in a place where they want to listen and you need to be somebody they want to listen to.
So make sure to know what situation the person you’re talking to is in and make sure you have the practical knowledge needed to give them advice.
When you do find yourself in a situation where your advice or criticism can benefit other people, don’t hold back.
Every person you help is an ally gained and every piece of constructive criticism is a chance for you to analyze and solve a problem while exercising those empathy skills!
Your knowledge doesn’t deplete and your skills don’t lose value when you share them with others.
However, you also need to know when to let it go.
Some people’s flaws can’t be fixed.
This is especially applicable to people who find themselves a part of your life early on, in environments you had no part in choosing – like family or high school.
During the early stages of development, we form bonds with people based on their proximity, not their merit and those bonds can make it hard for us to distance ourselves from people who negatively impact our lives.
Offering help when possible is great, but it is not a mark of personal failure to not be able to fix everybody.
6) MAKE SURE YOU’RE ALWAYS ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Remember how you used to drive your parents insane by asking “But why?” after every explanation they gave you, and causing them a lot of frustration in the process?
Maybe you have even found yourself on the receiving end of this childish torture tactic recently.
Somehow, with age, we are taught to do this less and less, until eventually, we find ourselves not asking very many questions at all.
Although annoying, this childhood habit is in fact very useful and can be a predictor of success and stability.
The reasons this behavior is beneficial in children are also applicable to adults.
Being unsatisfied with an answer and pushing the subject further until you are content is an important part of solving a problem.
It helps us develop critical thinking skills, makes us less susceptible to appeals to unearned authority and less likely to fall for false information.
According to the Right Question Institute, asking questions can be a useful tool in problem solving, because it helps you organize your ideas and refocuses you on the parts of the problem you haven’t worked out yet, instead of keeping you in a loop of rehashing existing information and eventually giving up on a problem out of frustration.
7) PUSH YOURSELF TO YOUR LIMITS
Probably the most universal, obvious piece of advice on this list is to push yourself harder. It is clearly an essential part of any path to progress.
Because of this, useful advice on this subject comes from finding a good way to implement it in everyday life.
Many motivational speakers and life coaches have made careers out of this concept, but it was maybe Josh Sundquist who framed it best with his motto – One More Thing; One More Time. It is an unintimidating way to approach the daunting subject of constant self-improvement.
Talking about the constant effort can sound exhausting, like every inch of progress has to involve moving mountains and overcoming insurmountable odds.
How about reframing it as being about doing one more thing than you had planned on doing; taking one more precaution that necessary; doing one more check; working on a problem one more hour before giving up?
The advice applies to almost any situation and the phrase is catchy – some people even opt to tattoo “1mt 1mt” because the reminder works so well to motivate them.
8) “TRY AGAIN. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER.”
How many of you have recognized the quote from Samuel Beckett?
Here’s a chance to redeem yourselves if you didn’t recognize it.
Yet another quote is on its way:
“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Attributed to Benjamin Franklin and coming from a letter from 1789 addressed to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, this quote basically shows Franklin informing Leroy of establishing of The Constitution.
The idiom often referred to as “death and taxes” could be improved upon by adding the word failure. Failure is as inevitable as death, and perhaps even a little bit more than taxes, after all.
So don’t be afraid of it. Don’t run away from it. Do not allow the fear of failure to stop you from trying. Everybody fails. The most successful people in the world have failed and been rejected more times than they can count!
Treat every failed attempt as a lesson. Analyze what you did wrong, try to separate external factors and internal factors that brought it about and make sure to be kind to yourself. Some things you cannot control.
If a chance is the only reason you failed, then great news – just try again! Make sure to be honest, though – more often than not, failure isn’t simply caused by the absence of luck.
Systematic obstacles are very real and require solutions you, unfortunately, cannot achieve on an individual level.
However, what you can do is get informed, get creative and adapt.
Reorient yourself, reformulate your plan, reach out to others who have dealt with similar issues and prevailed. Ask them for advice, try again. The only time failure wins is if you give up.
The majority of advice mentioned above is universally applicable and uses common sense reasoning. Therefore, you need to use common sense in its implementation as well.
Becoming successful is a process, and very often you can find yourself not even noticing when you get to your goals because of how focused you were on getting there.
Discomfort is not the same thing as overdoing things, so self-restraint and good judgment are key. Never do things all at once because you might not be able to keep at it for extended periods.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is thrilling and rewarding sometimes but it’s not all about enjoyment. Real, substantial change comes through hard, intelligent and purposeful work.
Finding other people who want to work on themselves is always a good way to help yourself achieve success.
Community is important and proximity to other people’s ideas and interpretations of success can provide an opportunity to practice all of the advice given above.
They can challenge your methods, help you modify your approach and serve as a real-life sounding board for all your ideas.
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is made easier many times over by seeing yourself in relation to similarly motivated people around you.
Finally, one of the most important parts of improving yourself is, on one hand, building useful habits so that operating at your optimal level becomes second nature, something you don’t even have to think about, and on the other side setting dynamic goals that keep pushing you as you get more and more successful without keeping you complacent.
Assessing your daily life and your long term goals at the same time is an important balance to have in mind while incorporating all change into one’s life.
It keeps you from seeking gratifying short term solutions that amount to little effect in the long run, while also maintaining the importance of execution over planning.
After all, a good plan without proper follow-through is just a fantasy, isn’t it?
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