The Magic of Successful Decisions

Watching the ultimate heroes of the recent world in terms of success. such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Grand Cardone or Richard Branson, we tend to think that they are extraordinary, that they are gifted in some way. Now that is correct and incorrect. It is incorrect to assume that they have some sort of ultimate gift, that they were born this way. They had to go through more hardships than most people in the world. That is why they are where they are right now. It is wrong to assume that they have some fixed characteristic we can’t develop. We talk about this kind of mindset more in-depth in our post about The Mindset for Success. On the flip side, we are correct in the sense that they are extraordinary. More specifically, the way they have learned to think, the thought processes they have developed are their ultimate weapon. In this post, we will look at some of these thought processes. We’ll answer the question, how should I make decisions? How do successful people think through their problems?

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The Why

The #1 reason people who you look up to so much succeed is that they have asked themselves the most important question. Why do I want to succeed? You need to identify the reason why you want to succeed. The most successful people on this planet are successful because they have found a solid reason the want to succeed. Let’s think about the next scenario as an example. Imagine 3 birds sitting on a cable. One of them decides to fly away. How many birds are there now? The answer is 3! The bird decided to fly away, he didn’t take action. Now imagine these 3 birds on a cable again. Suddenly, someone shoots one of them. How many birds are there now? The answer is – none! Why? Because the reason has changed. Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” You need to figure out the destination where you’re heading before you look for your way!!

 

Making Complicated Decisions

We tend to think that making the decisions on our way to success must be something very complicated. Successful people must be super smart right? It’s super complicated to succeed right? Is it actually? If you look at one skill that is in the core of progress that leads to your personal growth, it is seeing the effects of every little decision that you make in the long-term. This might look very complicated at first, but if you think about it in simple terms, it also becomes very straight-forward. The only question you need to focus on is – Where does this decision take me? Is it a step towards my goal or is it a step away from it? Let’s take an example. It’s Friday evening 7pm and you still need to finish your daily reading in order to sustain your habit practice you’ve started a few days ago. However, at the same time your friends called you to go out and have some fun with them. What should you do? This absolutely depends on your goals. You set your goal to create that habit of daily reading. This means that you need to read every day without a break. If you go out with your friends, you can start again. If your goal is long-term personal growth through the habit of reading, then this is the decision you need to make. On the other hand, if your goal was to make more friends or socialize and have fun, the other choice would be correct. How come? This kind of thinking is very important, yet fairly simple. You need to look at the choices you have and evaluate, which choice brings you closer to your goal and which choice takes you further away from it. Then, it logically follows that you take the choice that brings you closer to your goals, whatever it is.

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Application

Applying this kind of thinking is nothing complex, but it matters tremendously and most people do not understand that. It is so simple, yet nobody truly applies this method. The good news is that it is applicable on every little thing you can think of. Should I take a shower today? Since I want to become a successful entrepreneur, that requires me to hold my hygiene and health in check. Thus I shall take a shower. I want to save some money on bills, should I take a shower today? Maybe, I should only wash my face and save some water bills today and take a shower tomorrow (a very naughty but a simple instance). Make use of this method in your life and start making the decisions that will bring you closer to your long-term goals. Yes, long-term goals. Focus on the long-term. Short-term gratification is a trap most people fall into, but I’ll leave that for another post.

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24-Hour Days – A Myth or Reality?

There is a fairly well-known quote stating that “We all have the same 24 hours”, which aims to remind us that there is no time for excuses and that the somebody who got further than you simply used his 24 hours better. It is meant to remind us that excuses won’t take us anywhere closer to where we want to be and that we need to put in the work. However, there are philosophies that counter this ideology. They agree on the fact that physical day has 24 hours and that in order to be healthy and capable of productivity, we need to dedicate some times to sleep and other necessary activities that allow us to be productive. However, they argue that the 24-hours days, or in some cases more precisely, the 8-hours work days are just a consequence of the way we are traditionally taught to think. What does this mean? Are there actually more days in my 24 hours than I thought? Let’s make things clearer and learn how to utilize this way of thinking.Výsledek obrázku pro 24 hours suffering comic

The 8-hour work day myth

A typical work day of an average person in our society has 8 hours. Regardless of whether it is a 9-5 or a 10-6, it has about 8 hours. Have you ever thought about why that is? Let’s consider how our productivity works – I am sure you can relate to this. When you come to your job, you have a certain task. Think about it, could you simply finish that task in the first 3-4 hours with some brakes? The answer is usually something among the lines of: “Yeah I probably could, but I would have to really focus…” What does that mean? Would you rather focus for 3 hours with short brakes and finish your work in half the time, or would you rather spend 8 hours in your office slacking off most of the time? Let’s be honest here, even though you have 8 hours to finish you work, do you actually dedicate all of that time to the task?

Human productivity and focus

Most of you went through some kind of education at some point of your lives. Most of you had class schedules or had to memorize some “information” for a test. If you look at your school schedule, did you have 8 hours straight of classes? In your classes, did you actually spent the whole class focused on the materials? I didn’t. When you asked your tutor for revision advice, what was the first thing he told you? Make a schedule, make sure you have the time to rest. What is usually suggested is 30-40 minutes of focused work with 5-10 minute breaks for 90 minutes – try to take a look at your school schedule. Did you have a longer break after every 2nd or 3rd class? There is a reason why the more experienced teachers and tutors allow the students to have such brakes. The reason is the way our brains work! You can’t sustainably focus on a single task for more than 40 minutes without a brake. And if you do, your efficiency, quality of the work you do and the overall productivity starts decreasing!!

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How to handle productivity

So how should we work? What is the best way that allows us to stay focused on our tasks without reducing the amount of work we finish? The answer is fairly simple – spend 40-45 minutes working in a deep focus, take a 10 minute break (go for a walk, close your computer and talk to someone) and make sure you set up your timer so that you can come back exactly after 10 minutes, work for 40-45 minutes in a deep focus mode and then stop and take a longer brake. In order to be fully regenerated, you need to rest for at least an hour or an hour an a half. It is as simple as that! Make the most of your time and stop wasting it, thinking that you’re actually doing something.

 

The 3 days in 1 philosophy

So what does the 24-hour day have to do with anything? It is not the fact that a single day has 24 hours, it is the fact that we tend to think that in 1 day we can finish only a day’s worth of work. What if you learned to think in a way that every day contains 3 more days? What do I mean by that? It is very simple, in order to be as productive as possible and to use your time wisely without burning out, you mentally split your day into 3 days – which can be a metaphor for 3 working periods of time. For instance, when I’m preparing for my exams, I have 3 or sometimes 4 revision lessons in a day. One in the morning (90 minutes), one in the afternoon (90 minutes) and one in the evening (90 minutes). Sometimes, if I have less stuff to do outside of studying (like business meetings, sports activities etc.) I put in another 90 minutes. This gives me 4.5-6 hours of high quality focused work every day. With a proper plan, in these 4-6 hours, I am able to finish what most people do in 2-3 days. Why is that? Focus, planning and understanding how my body works.

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Bottom line

The bottom line is, try to reflect as much as you can and try out different methods. Figure our how your body works and adjust your daily schedule to that. One of the greatest powers a human being can have is understanding himself/herself. There is enough resources out there that can help you in that area, you only need to look. To read further on improving your productivity, check out our 80/20 principle post. To learn about the 10 greatest time wasters, check out our article on this topic.

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Self-management Sequence – 5 Steps To Success

What do I need to do to change? What do I need to start growing and claiming milestones in my life? These are the kinds of questions everyone asks and only a few can get themselves to the correct answer. It is fairly easy to understand some of the steps, but it is very hard to understand that there is a specific set of steps everyone has to follow (or follows unknowingly) in order to change and reach some level of success. Today, we’ll talk exactly about these 5 core steps! Let’s hop into it!


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Disclaimer

This is a success sequence from the book What to Say When You Talk to Yourself written by Shad Helmstetter Ph.D (yes, you’ve figured it out, I am currently reading this book – so I use a lot of concepts from it in the recent posts). For the sequence to work, you need to start at the beginning and finish at the end. Follow the steps in the correct order and it is inevitable that it will work for you.

Step 1 – Programming

Our brain works as a computer. Our belief system is created and controlled entirely by our programming. It is necessary for you to understand where you are at the moment, as most of us have been listening to a lot of “You can’ts” in our childhood and thus it is hard for us to imagine any kind of success taking place in our lives. This needs to change. You need to re-programme your subconscious mind from “I don’t think I can” to “What can stop me other than myself?” This takes regular maintenance of your thoughts, which is described in detail in our recent posts. In short, you need to change the way you talk to yourself in order to make your brain understand that you want to do things differently, and you need to change your environment  in order to ensure that what you’re consuming is helping you in the re-programming phase. To make things clearer, imagine a very simple scenario we all understand. Our brains work like computers – imagine the search tab in YouTube. When you search a specific song loads of times, it will then start appearing at the top of the previously searched videos (which appears before you start typing). However, if you search for a song only once or twice, this song will be somewhere at the bottom of that list (or not at all). This is how computers work, but it is also how our brains work. The more often you think something, the more it is likely to come up again. This works for negative thoughts as well.

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Step 2 – Beliefs

“Belief” does not require that something is the way we believe it is. It only requires us to believe that it is. Your belief system is ultimately set up by your programming. If you’ve been told that you can’t become an astronaut when you were young numerous times, you will believe that it is impossible for you now. Thus it follows that in order to change your beliefs, you need to change your brain programming. Beliefs are the constants in our minds. They are hard to establish, but also hard to get rid off. Unfortunately, like I said above, most of us need to do the latter. Once you reach the stage where you truly believe (for a longer period of time without any doubts) that you can succeed, that you can apply for that NASA recruitment programme, you can move to the next step. 

Step 3 – Attitude

Attitude is the perspective from which we see our lives. It is also created, controlled or influenced by our beliefs. When you believe you can become an astronaut, your attitude towards your preparations and progress towards that specific goal changes. You will be able to see the shift from “Why even bother” to “Let me figure out a way to make this happen” and even to “I’m doing this!” Be positive – is one of the most frequent tips people hear. But most answers to that usually involve something like “It isn’t as simple as that” or “You can’t just flip a switch and become positive thinking.” And you know what? That is completely right. You can’t do it, unless you have already completed the first two steps!

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Step 4 – Feelings

Every action we take is first filtered through our feelings. How we feel about something will always determine or affect what we do and how well we do it. It is inevitable. You need to learn to love the process. How do you do that? Through your attitude. When you really learn to enjoy growing, seeing the challenges and overcoming them, you will finally stop doubting everything. You will stop holding yourself back, you will be able to leave your comfort zone, which is the only reason you still are where you are. 

Step 5 – Behavior

Your actions need to work for you, not against you. Behavior is what we do, but also what we don’t do. Make sure you understand that inaction is also a behavior you can control. Behavior is the final step of the sequence. Like everyone says, being all ready and knowledgable about success is all nice and well, but action is the differentiator. No action, no behavior leads to no results. However, you can not skip the first four steps if you want to have sustainable success. You can do something unusual, you can take action without going through the sequence, but then there are only 2 ways this can go. Either you end up giving up at some point after some time, or you will have gone through the sequence subconsciously anyways.

There you go. You wanted the single most important advice out there? This is it. Make decisions that will bring you closer to your goals, as opposed to making the decisions that bring you further. AND follow this sequence. Nothing can stop you, if you do that.

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Your Environment Is Killing Your Success!

You’ve heard this many times… “You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.” I personally like to forget the number and focus on the part that says “you spend your time with.” Why is that? Because the number is completely irrelevant. If you spend all your time with a single person, that person will inevitably have the most influence on you. Or will she? In this article, we’ll look at how your environment affects your progress, your thinking and ultimately your success.

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Taking responsibility for your life

In the introduction above, we stressed the importance of you spending your time with the people around you. It is crucial for you to understand that you are responsible for everything that happens in your life. This doesn’t mean that you should blame yourself for everything that has happened in your life before. You need to remind yourself that you are in control of your life. That is why you need to hold yourself accountable for everything that happens to you. You are in control. You are the only person that can change something and your environment that affects you greatly is one of those things only you can change.

The power of your surroundings

Why is my environment so powerful? Why does it influence me so much? This has to do with your subconscious mind and the way it is programmed. There are many ways you can programme your subconscious mind that include your self-talk or for instance your environment. The one feature that underlines this influence is the regularity of anything in your life. Our brain works in a way that allows it to make fast decisions based on your memory from the past events that were similar to the present one. This means that when you encounter something brand new, your brain looks for the closest similar thought you have stored and connects the present thought to it. Furthermore, our brain works on the basis of regularity, which basically means that it works based on the habits it creates. This means that the more you think a certain thought, the more true it becomes. Thus it follows that the more you hear or see something negative, the more negative you will think. This analysis comes from the book called What to Say When You Talk to Yourself written by Shad Helmstetter Ph.D. Now that you see why the environment you live in is so important to your state of mind and to your behaviour, let’s look at how you can improve it so that you think positively, grow and progress towards your goals.

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Setting your surroundings for success

When thinking about how to create a positive and growth supporting environment, you need to think about the ways you perceive the environment around yourself. You are what you consume. We are ultimately affected by our thoughts that are triggered mainly by our vision and hearing. These are the two larger things you can directly affect. First, let’s focus on controlling what you hear. It sounds more than obvious that you need to switch from all the depressing songs about lost love to something more forward-looking that will get you to a more focused and positive state. Further, you need to make sure that you spend more time around people who are forward looking and who like to talk about positives, rather than to brag about negatives. It’s good to regularly listen to positive talks, motivational songs etc. to keep yourself on the track and to support the believer in you. Always tell yourself, you are what you consume. Second, you need to control what you see. This includes the videos you watch, the posts you read, the books you read, the news you skim through, everything that is visual. This can be, again, controlled by you. You need to make sure that you see little of negatives and lots of positives. For instance, you can create posters with positive quotes or your goals (for goal visualisation) that you hang somewhere visible in your room. Stop following these deep-quote pages on Instagram that are relatable, but make you feel terrible about yourself. You are what you consume, so go crazy on seeing and hearing only the stuff that will help you grow.

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Speaking to yourself

Finally, as we have already discussed in our recent post, where we look at how incredibly you can affect your subconscious mind only by thinking specific thoughts regularly, you need to make sure that when the most important person (yes, that’s you) is speaking to yourself, you can hear positivity and support. Make sure you go through that article as well to truly bulletproof your mindset. Learn how to speak to yourself in a way that kicks you in the butt and reminds you that you are in control, you are the winner and that you need to progress and change positively in order to achieve whatever you are aiming for.

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Getting In Control of Your Days

Day in, day out we stress about our productivity, about procrastination, we have mood swings, we simply fail to be consistent with our performance. What’s more important, we fail to sustain our growth, sometimes we even regress. Why does that happen? Why are people so inconsistent with their days? Why are we uncapable of keeping it all together and making high quality decisions throughout our day?

The reason is the amount of decisions we make. An average person makes about 40 thousand decisions every day, most of them unconsciously. When you make them unconsciously, how can you control them then? Step number one – habit creation, which we’ve already covered in one of our recent posts.  Step number two, however builds on the first step. Step number two is your morning and evening routine.

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Why are these two routines so important?

As I have mentioned above, the major issue people absolutey fail to cope with is the amount of decisions they have to make every day, which include the morning and the evening as well. How can you focus on what is important for you when you have to think about all the little things like what to eat, when to work out, whether to first take shower or do your reading? These tiny little decisions not only take away your precious time, but also your space for quality decision making. The two routines are crucial, because they allow you to use your time and focus on the things that need it the most.

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Your morning routine

Your mornings ultimately determine how your day looks like. Your mornings determine whether you finish everything you plan to finish, whether you’ll be grumpy or positive, whether you will have enough energy or not. Your mornings are the fundamental stones of your success. You will not make the most of your day, if you won’t make the most of your morning.

Every morning has its value that you need to learn to capture and utilise. I would personally suggest early mornings because of the great feeling of being awake and productive while everyone still sleeps. But that is purely my personal preference. I know loads of people who can never make this work. Thus it is necessary for you to set up your day based on your personal preferences. The time after you wake up is the time when you are the brightest and the most capable of productivity. From my personal experience, it is also the best time to finish the hardest task of the day. Whether it is a workout, a reading, or a report for your boss, getting the toughest thing out of the table first thing in the morning is the best thing you can do for your day. It will take off the pressure and motivate you for the rest of the day.

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The length of your morning routine can range from 10 minutes to 3 or more hours, it is really up to you. What’s important is that you make it a habit – you repeat it consistently. What this does for you is it helps you save some of the decisions you would have to make in the morning, because you will make them unconsciously, based on your habit. You will be able to fully focus on the tasks ahead of you and you won’t feel stressed or rushed.

Your evening routine

Many, many advisors talk about morning routines. But what they forget about is something that precedes our mornings, our evenings. Your “cool-down” routine or an evening routine, as you may, is a very important part of your day without which your morning routine wouldn’t work properly. Why is that? Let’s speak in terms of your common sense. What happens if you go to sleep late? What happens if you go to sleep and you’re still thinking about that stressful report for tomorrow? Or even worse, what happens if you go to sleep drunk? The short answer is, your next morning will be ruined, which is logically followed by the catastrophic day full of nothing. Your evenings decide how your mornings look like.

It is good to decide when your evening starts, so that you are clear on when your evening routine begins. Evening routines are usually shorter than morning routines. They usually take up to 30 minutes (or more if you’re the kind of person who spends an hour in the washroom). For me personally, it includes washing up, visualizing my goals and writing them down, making a note of what I am grateful for that has happened that day and a short meditation. This createts the needed peace of mind when I go to sleep. I don’t overthink anymore, I rarely have late nights when I can’t fall asleep and most importantly, I am ready to hit it in the morning next day.

When my evening routine begins, I don’t need to think about what to do next. It all hapens automatically, subconsciously. It is a habit of mine that I have created and that  allows me to keep my morning routine working precisely and effectively.

Before you start, write it down!

Writing the routines down is at first necessary, because you have not yet programmed your brain in that way. You need the regularity first, which usually takes from 20-30 days to be put in place. After a while (you’ll know when), you won’t have to think about it anymore, you won’t have to read it anymore, it will just happen.

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Just a side-note, it is better to go to sleep early and finish your marking in the early morning than to stay up late. Don’t be like Amanda (or whatever you’d like to name her) above 🙂

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