On your path to success, you are going to run into some tricky situations. You will have to make impossible choices. You may get blamed for someone else’s mistakes. But no matter what complicated situation you are thrown into, you should always stay true to your values.
This sounds easy, but trust me it isn’t. When competing against others in your field, it’s tempting to lie and cheat your way to the top. You are all chasing the same opportunities and you may have similar dreams. Isn’t it worth lying if it gets you ahead of the pack?
Most people don’t realize that even the smallest of lies can compromise how people see you and how you see yourself. Integrity is an element of success that’s often ignored yet most successful people insists that it plays a crucial role.
Having integrity means adhering to a set of personal values. Think of them like rules to live by. Whether they are moral, social or artistic, your integrity should provide a framework for your actions and choices.
In a way, your values are like goals. They essentially define the type of person you want to become. So, let them guide your decisions. Don’t be worried about missing an opportunity, because you weren’t mean or manipulative enough. No amount of money or opportunity is worth compromising the person you aim to be.
Take this situation. You are in the middle of a test when you realize that you don’t know a single answer. Luckily, you are sitting next to the smartest person in class. You could easily peak over and copy their answers but you have always thought that cheating was wrong.
So, do you cheat or let yourself fail? Cheating is obviously easier- it will get you a better grade and require less work. However, you now know that you are willing to take that shortcut. You will be less likely to put in the hard work next time because your subconscious will lean towards the easier alternative.
This can destroy self-discipline. Your accomplishments will feel less rewarding. Your goals will be less motivating. You will spend less time growing and more time convincing yourself you aren’t a bad person.
On the other hand, failing the test will make your life more difficult. You will have to work harder and longer just to catch up. These negative experiences can help you grow as an individual. They reinforce your goals and improve your work ethic by forcing you to overcome intimidating obstacles.
Failing with your values in mind keeps you align with the person you want to be. Ultimately, that’s the most important aspect of success. It isn’t about getting the best grades or making the most money. It’s not about failing the least number of times. Success is becoming the kind of person that makes you happy.
Also read: 12 Shocking Habits of Successful People
One of the hardest parts of being successful is organizing your busy life. When you start juggling different responsibilities, things can slip through the cracks. That is why successful people like Elon Musk use something called a trigger to make sure they get everything done.
A trigger is basically any type of sound or visual stimulus that reminds you of what you are supposed to be doing. This can be a notification on your phone, an alarm on your watch or physical calendar on the wall.
It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you know what it means. Triggers can serve a wide variety of purposes. First and foremost, they motivate you by providing a concrete start time. By working every time your alarm goes off, you will develop a lasting association. Your brain will feel like working whenever it encounters that specific trigger.
This is a great strategy for chronic procrastinators. If you find yourself slacking off, set an alarm for fifteen minutes from now. This gives your brain time to switch gears so that when the alarm goes off you’ll be ready to go.
Triggers also ensure that you don’t spend too much time on one thing. When you have dozens of items on your to-do list, you can’t afford to spend hours perfecting every tiny detail. If you do, you’ll never get anything done.
In this situation, use triggers to start and stop working. When under time constraints, you might discover that you are more productive and efficient.
Finally, triggers keep you from overworking. When chasing your dreams, it often feels like you should constantly be productive but that isn’t mentally or physically healthy. Your sleep, hobbies and friendships will suffer if you are constantly stressed about the work you didn’t finish.
So, use a trigger to end your workday. This tells you that it is time to relax, and recharge instead of letting your work overwhelm your life.
It’s no secret that establishing a routine is a great way to build motivation and discipline. Routines keep your brain feeling focused while improving your physical health. But what you might not know is that your routine shouldn’t always stay the same.
Well, tiny changes to your daily rituals will stimulate your brain in a new and exciting way. If you drive to work every morning take a different route, or if you go to the gym after work try some new exercises. Even drinking a different flavour protein shake can make a routine feel fresh while offering the same mental and physical benefits.
One of the principal advantages of a routine is that it removes mental clutter. You don’t have to worry about when you will exercise or set goals because it’s all part of a daily ritual. But sometimes routines become too automatic. If we are not careful, we start to forget why we are doing it in the first place.
For example, someone who wanted to lose weight might forget to push themselves at the gym. They stop improving because their routine has become comfortable and easy. Small changes will remind you why your rituals are important. That way, you challenge your body and brain to grow a little bit more every day.
Imagine you are trying to paint for the first time, after buying all the supplies, you sit down one afternoon and take a crack at it thinking how hard can it be? The answer is pretty hard. Your painting doesn’t turn out at all like you wanted.
When we look at the most successful people, it’s hard to imagine them as armatures at anything but at some point; they were as clueless as the rest of us. When they tried something new, they had to start from the ground floor and work their way up. But they made a habit of doing something most people don’t.
When trying something new, successful people spend a few weeks learning and experimenting. If they want to paint they try different styles, materials and subjects. If they want to write poetry, they do research and get feedback from friends.
This gives them the space to fully digest their new hobby. They have time to try, fail and hopefully see little improvements.
Most people never branch out because they don’t make it past the first five minutes. They fail once and decide that it’s not for them.
But more often than not, it isn’t actually the subject they don’t like. They are embarrassed about how bad they are at it. They don’t like the feeling of failure, so they run away.
Successful people know that you are supposed to be terrible. No one expects you to master a new hobby on your first try. So, why do you? You might accidentally skip over your true passion because you are too worried about messing up.
Next time you want to try something new, give yourself two pressure-free weeks. Once you have tried and failed at least a few times, you can decide if you want to quit.
Also read: How to commit yourself to what you want
While affirmations can inject a healthy dose of positivity into your morning, many people have a hard time reaping the benefits. Phrases like “I deserve the best” do supply your conscious mind with confidence however they fail to make an impact on the unconscious where most you’re your worst fears are hiding.
Try this exercise next time you are in front of the mirror. Give yourself a compliment and tell yourself that you are attractive, confident or successful.
You might find yourself cringing after each one. Why? Because you unconsciously believe that it isn’t true. No matter how many times you say it out loud, that isn’t going to change.
Instead you should address your insecurities using interrogative self-talk. In other words, ask yourself hard questions and give even harder answers.
Normally an affirmation would sound something like this: “I will create something great”. While certainly positive, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
Using interrogative self-talk, you might say, “Why won’t I create something great?” now, you are forced to consider the unconscious forces that are holding you back.
Is it because you are afraid of failure? Or maybe you are worried about what people will think. Whatever the answers are, say them out loud.
Not only will it feel good to acknowledge your fears directly, but it will also show you what you need to work on. You might spend years thinking you are not talented when that isn’t the real problem at all.
You can do this simple activity for a few minutes every morning. Slowly but surely, you will start to unravel many of the unconscious fears that have been holding you back.