The Mind: #1 Enemy of Success—How to domesticate it
The mind is our own greatest enemy. Nobody is going to sabotage your chances of being successful more than you yourself. Lack of a good goal, fluctuating motivation, laziness, doubt, procrastination, lack of self-discipline/time/willpower/focus…
Let’s look at the biggest obstacles of the mind and how you can overcome them. If you are somehow able to control these (most won’t), start to celebrate. You’ll make it happen whether your goals are physical strength, getting rich, providing an awesome life to your family, getting a PhD, becoming a powerful CEO or your city’s mayor… or maybe just having a positive impact in the world.
Some people are more prone to this than others, but everyone suffers from it in one way or another. It consists of prioritizing easy stuff over the things that take real energy and effort to complete. These are thing wich are ten times more effective at reaching your goals.
We usually begin with tasks that are within our comfort zone, telling ourselves we’ll get to the real work soon. It brutally delays our success but mentally feels really sweet, do not be fooled by it. Once you get started with the stuff that really counts, it will feel much easier. The laziness is just an illusion.
Another form of it is to never feel like it’s the right time to do a certain thing. We are convinced one day we’ll feel like getting on with it, but that time will never really come. The best moment to do something, in almost all scenarios, is right now. Even if we don’t feel like it.
A famous and very effective technique is the Pomodoro Technique. Mentally, it’s much easier to tell yourself you are going to do 13-25 minutes of work and then stop, as opposed to simply tackling a task head on. You break your workday into several of these and take breaks in between. At least give it a try if you have issues getting started with things. Here’s a breakdown https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
As anyone who’s tried meditation knows, when you attempt not to think of anything or focus on a very specific object or idea, the mind begins to wander after a few seconds. It’s truly difficult for your mind to be totally still and it takes a lot of will and experience.
Very, very few people are successful in more than one area. Specializing (a.k.a. consistency) is an immensely powerful tool, both in the sense of being able to concentrate on a given task AND of you putting all your energy into one goal at a time. If you find yourself thinking about your dreams when you wake up and too before falling asleep, chances are you’ll materialize them sooner or later.
You can also use tools like apps and plugins. There is one for example that blocks your browser from opening social network sites for a given time. We tend to think that our willpower will be enough. However, most often than not that’s truly not the case and we need external limitations. Having a proper work area is known to enhance productivity as well so definitely don’t work in your bedroom if you have a chance.
If you’re affected by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which happens to a good chunk of people, you might want to take medication but I suggest you try to make it into an advantage by learning how your individual mind works and the virtues you possess that others don’t.
Often overrated. A rush of motivation is usually minutes-long. The battle is fought when there is no motivation when there’s no music, when you really don’t feel like doing what you know you are supposed to do.
Having said that, of course it’s essential to feel motivated by something. When you want it as much as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful (quoting Eric Thomas, of course). Watch motivational videos and speeches, hang a picture on your wall that represents your objectives, read your aspirations to yourself every day. Thoughts do become things.
If you think that’s nonsense, I challenge you to give it a shot. The purpose of all of this is so you don’t get lost in everyday’s life and forget how motivated and hungry you felt at the beginning.
Taking breaks is also an important aspect. It can feel like you are wasting time when you force yourself to take a few days off, but you will definitely experience increased motivation and a willingness to get back to work. Your hunger, focus and mental clarity will be fully restored.
If you try to keep going forever in the hopes of reaching maximum productivity, sooner or later it will turn against you and become counterproductive. You’ll burn out like countless people have. Here’s an insightful article about burning out: https://www.helpguide.org/
Exercise can do wonders for your mental state and ability to stay motivated. It gives you a feeling of having done something productive, improves focus (clears up your mind) and is a stress reliever. It can reset your whole thinking about a problem…when you are back you might see everything in a different way.
Here’s an article from the Huffington Post that talks about this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
“The preliminary results? Exercise makes people very happy—only sex makes people happier “
In fact, there is a statistical correlation between being successful and working out.
Alternating weight lifting and aerobic exercise is ideal. You’ll feel strong, resilient, in shape. It’s not about killing yourself in the gym but do try to improve every time you perform an exercise.
If it’s lifting, apply the principle of “progressive overload” (one more rep or extra bit of weight every time you train). If it’s cardio, try to last an extra 30 seconds. It adds up over time!
It doesn’t have to be running. Some of the most rewarding ways to do cardio include: biking, swimming, martial arts, HIIT, a sport of your choice…
Another thing is your diet. Junk food makes you feel more tired, bloated and sleepy. Minimize it and be aware that your blood sugar has a lot to do with how well you can think and how motivated you are. Don’t eat a lot of sugary stuff, as your insulin will spike and cause erratic mental states.
Setting deadlines is one of the most powerful tools to increase productivity. It forces us to push ourselves and get out of our comfort zone. They are not psychologically pleasing though, as we prefer to think we have plenty of time, which is exactly the kind of relaxed mindset you need to get rid of to 10X your productivity and get things done.
Perhaps you are an exception, but most people find themselves studying like a lunatic the day before an exam instead of having spread it out over weeks or months. Imagine if we were able to hack the mind and feel a healthy sense of urgency every day… we could achieve anything!
Like goals, deadlines should be broken down into a hierarchy: Daily, weekly, yearly ones… then reward yourself proportionately.
Last but not least: Keeping accountable to others and not just to yourself is extremely useful. Have a mentor/coach or at least tell someone else about your deadline, it can help a lot as you now have some kind of external commitment and it’s not only you who’ll be disappointed if you don’t complete the task.
Hi, I’m Sergio Rubio. I’m from Spain and I have always been involved in personal development in one way or another. The first day I was old enough to legally start a business I opened an eBay account and began exporting video games to other countries. I also built several decent-sized websites starting at the age of 13, tried professional sports betting, traded the markets, been a salesman for a few online companies, acted as a personal trainer… and most importantly, gone trough enough difficulties and personal obstacles to have a grasp of how our mind behaves and how much power we all really have. I currently have a blog called L&L Reviews