Genius Takes Time And Extraordinary Effort

Humans differ in brain power. Some get a biological head start, others improve over time. It cannot be stressed enough though that the optimum path towards maximum achievement is always through persistent training.

The brain is adaptable, and consistent practice can create skills that did not exist before…Learning isn’t a way of reaching one’s potential but rather a way of developing it.

You can create your own potential.

A genius brain in action will tackle a problem, quickly find an appropriate set of rules, and derive a solution.

It turns out greatness is within reach if you want it bad enough. “Your calling,” Frederick Buechner famously wrote, “is the place where your deepest joy meets the world’s deepest need.”

“The fact is, intelligence can be increased–and quite dramatically,” writes behavior-analytic psychologist Bryan Roche of the National University of Ireland in Psychology Today.

“Those who claim that IQ is fixed for life are in fact referring to our IQ test scores, which are relatively stable–not to our intelligence levels, which is constantly increasing.”

From Mozart to Bill Gates, genius’s diverse journeys toward peak performance in their respective fields shared a common trait: an unwavering dedication to their crafts and the commitment to developing their skills.

High achievements in all fields require hours of training. This refers to music, chess, sciences, sports and what not. Buckminster Fuller said, “I’m not a genius. I’m just a tremendous bundle of experience.”

David Shenk, author of “The Genius in All of Us, says anyone has the potential for genius or, at the very least, greatness. The key is to let go of the myth that giftedness is innate. “You have to want it, want it so bad you will never give up, so bad that you are ready to sacrifice time, money, sleep, friendships, even your reputation,” he writes.

When you examine closely, even the most extreme examples of history’s creative and innovative minds — Mozart, Newton, Einstein, Picasso — you find more hard-won mastery than gift.

Geniuses are made over time

It took Darwin five years to collect data during his Beagle trip to come up with a vision of the evolutionary process. Yet it took him another 20 years collecting all necessary material, and opinions before mustering the courage to publish “On the origin of species”.

The extraordinary commitment of the young Mozart, under the guidance of his father, produced one of the most prolific and influential composers of the classical era. Mozart had clocked up 3500 hours by the time he was 6 and had studied his chosen profession for 18 years before he wrote his Piano Concerto No 9 at the age of 21.

Top athletes don’t become experts at what they do by simply practicing; they get there through purposeful practice. The differences between expert performers, creatives, and normal professionals reflect a life-long persistence of deliberate, purposeful effort to improve performance.

Tiger Woods started when he was 2 years old. Serena Williams started playing at 3, Venus Williams at 4. They committed to deep, sustained immersion in purposeful practice.

Uncommon achievement requires an uncommon level of grit and a massive amount of faith even when you keep failing. You need a deeper connection to stay on the same path for years.

Anyone can achieve mastery with purposeful practice.

With considerable, specific, and sustained efforts over time, you can do most things you struggle with. You can only turn into the expert you want to become by deliberate, purposeful practice.

Deliberate practice can do miracles to your mind.

Genius requires extraordinary efforts

Geniuses, past and present are normally identified by perseverance, concentration, insane drive, and absolute focus on the one thing they do well. Dedication of an unusual degree is required to achieve mastery.

Einstein had extremely high intelligence but he genuinely loved his pursuit of Relativity. He was constantly curious and willing to consider radical new ideas. He committed a greater percentage of his productive years pursuing the theory of relatively. And it meant everything to him.

“It’s complicated explaining how genius or expertise is created and why it’s so rare,” says Anders Ericsson, the professor of psychology at Florida State University. In his new book, Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise, he says, “abilities gradually deteriorate in the absence of deliberate efforts to improve,”

“But it isn’t magic, and it isn’t born. It happens because some critical things line up so that a person of good intelligence can put in the sustained, focused effort it takes to achieve extraordinary mastery.

Hungarian photographer Brassaï once asked Picasso whether his ideas come to him “by chance or by design,” and Picasso responded: “I don’t have a clue. Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”

Mozart was immersed in a musical culture and practice from early childhood — often cited as a key factor towards his genius. Despite personal challenges, he studied hard under his father to learn the techniques of the established masters including Bach, Handel and Haydn.

He once wrote to a friend about his commitment to music and said: “People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to compositions as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied through many times.”

Nurturing and following your curiosity can help you discover meaningful work. Passion is not always obvious but curiosity can lead to amazing discoveries. Follow your curiosity and you will be amazed at where that leads you.

In “Beyond Talent”, John C. Maxwell asserts that a person’s natural abilities are overrated and frequently misunderstood. While talent is an undeniable advantage, it accomplishes nothing by itself.

If talent is not paired with the right mindset and decisions, it wastes away and eventually evaporates. Everyone has an area of giftedness — something they do exceptionally well.

However, the pivotal choices you make in life — apart from the natural talent you possess — will set you apart from the masses of people trying to skate by on talent alone.

Colvin argues in Talent is Overrated that deliberate, methodical, and sustained practice is the way to achieve true mastery.

“Deliberate practice is hard. It hurts. But it works. More of it equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance.” Colvin writes.

The biggest difference between you and Picasso or Einstein, or the most creative minds of our time is that they embraced the long road to mastery.

They spent more time in front of a canvas, or guitar, or computer, working away at applying their minds and souls to the one thing they wanted to do. Most of what we think of as natural talent is really just the result of having started practice early.

To build genius, your learning program must be based on the high applicability of newly acquired skills and knowledge.

In short, genius develops over years of daily remolding of your neural connections. Work hard, make it smart and be patient. Stay with problems longer, and you will find your breakthrough.

by Thomas Oppong

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Adopt The 10x Mindset

By Thomas Oppong

There are no absolutes in life. And there are no givens. Everything is up for grabs. Most people dream of accomplishing something extraordinary in life. But life slips by and their most meaningful dreams slide silently to the side while they’re getting everything else done.

Grant Cardone says, “Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses, and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams!”

Operating at an exponentially higher level is exactly what you need to do better and be successful in your endeavors. But everything starts with a decision to aim higher than usual. Only those with the right mindset, attitude and skill can take advantage of the enormous human potential.

You can’t achieve extraordinary results with an ordinary mindset

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”― Michelangelo Buonarroti

Many people are far below their expectations because they have big dreams, incredible ideas, and fantastic goals but put in little or no ACTION.

As you build on your accomplishments and your confidence grows, you will naturally want to aim higher. Now that you’ve got some momentum going, it’s time to double your effort.

Extreme success in your own terms can only be achieved by taking massive action with the 10X rule, a concept made popular by Grant Cardone.

The 10X rule is based on the idea you should figure out what you want to do, goals you want to achieve, and multiply the effort and time you think it’ll take to do by 10.

In his book, 10x Rule, The Only Difference Between Success and FailureGrant provides an awesome blueprint for how you can rise above the status quo to take “massive action” instead of behaving like everybody else and settling for average results.

“The greatest turning point of my life, both professionally and personally, was when I stopped casually waiting for success and instead started to approach it as a duty, obligation and responsibility,” says Cardone.

We have a tendency to underestimate what we can accomplish, and therefore set lower goals and not reach our full potential.

When you apply the 10x rule and mindset to your thinking, and apply it to how you act, you can do more in the shortest possible time. And you will still have time to take care of a lot of other things on your to-do list.

Stay hungry!

The idea of a 10x advantage is to aim ten times higher when you set your goals in business and life. You are probably not thinking big enough about your life’s work, projects, and what you want to achieve in your career.

A 10x mindset or goal means that if you come up short, you’ll still find yourself further along than if you had maintained your life’s current goals, visions and everything else you have planned to achieve.

Christopher Reeve once said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

And it also means that you open yourself up to bigger possibilities for the future that make it increasingly easier to make decisions and take action in the present. You can move and work your goals 10 times faster while being consistent and persistent.

But don’t underestimate how much energy and effort it will take to push things through though. Things could take longer to complete or cost more. Plan for these things you plan to focus on ahcieving more using the 10x rule.

Thinkers and dreamers are the new untouchables

“Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.” — Adolph Monod

We’ve been conditioned to think small, simplify and to expect less and demand less from life. Don’t be subject to the tyranny of “how things have always been done”. Find your true north and push past the default.

For centuries we’ve been trained by the system to stop thinking and do as we are told. But dreamers and thinkers change the world. They don’t follow any logic. It’s hard to replace the dreamers with algorithms.

Can you build something people will look for, will talk about or something we would miss if it were gone. Think about your capacity to think creatively and exponentially. And your your capacity to provide value to others. Start seeing things from a wider and far reaching perspective.

You should start thinking big without reservations. Practice thinking about your future being 10x bigger and better, and you’ll develop a new 10x standard for viewing the world.

You can only contribute more, learn more, become more and stretch yourself and your own abilities beyond their current psychological limitations if you give yourself permission to think beyond the obvious.

Turn mindset into action

The right intentions will only get you so far. You also must act. A 10x mindset radically shifts your thinking, your decision-making, and the actions you take.

Start identifying actions that are blocking your progress toward 10x growth and get rid of them. Focus on doing even better at those things you’re already good at and stop worrying about everything you struggle with.

Tackle every project with the 10X Rule, acting like you have to succeed because your life depends on it.

Before you go…

If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly (my free digest of the best productivity, career and self-improvement posts). Subscribe and get a free copy of my new eBook, “The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results”. Join 23,300+ readers.

What’s the cheapest business to start?

By Erik Tozier

I was grabbing a coffee with a friend the other day and in the coffee shop, we got into a conversation with a gentleman who started telling us about his food truck. He was going on about how they originally took a $50k loan to get the business going, and how he was spending 16 hours a day on the business. I was supportive and respectful, but not how I look to go about my businesses. 16 hours a day at the beginning, maybe 1 hour a day once it’s launched.

Brick and mortar businesses are going out of style. Brick and mortar businesses are expensive as well ($50k for a food truck with no guarantee of success!!) If you want to make it big, you have to leverage your network and the reach of the internet.

I’ll give you a few business ideas that cost less than $200 to start. Most are built around creating content and building an audience. Content creation is a great way to start a business. Essentially, build an audience, then monetize. I will also list a few others.

  • Blog (less than $50 for domain name and 12 months of hosting fees)
    • Start writing unique content on a specific niche and you will build an audience. Over time, you can add ads, affiliate links, products, coaching courses, etc. to your blog. Since you already have an audience, they will be open to buying.
  • Social Media Sites: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook (free)
    • Why not utilize a platform that already has millions of users? You can create an account on any of these platforms and start building a business this way.
    • I watch a lot of YouTube videos and it’s crazy how people can make a living off creating videos.
    • One downside of these platforms is if they change their algorithm or pay-out structure, then you may lose out on views, ad revenue, etc.
  • Consulting or Coaching (Free, but will take time to build a client book and reputation)
    • Are you an expert in a certain field? You can contract for and consult clients for a solid hourly wage. It’s a fun job and if you can communicate well, it would be a solid role for you.
  • Digital Product Creation (think e-book or how-to-guide, Free)
    • Creating a e-book on an area you are passionate about and sell it for a few bucks. The only time you spend is upfront, after that, it’s passive income.

It’s a great strategy these days to leverage the internet’s wide reach. There is so much money in the world right now… we just need to go and get it.

About me

I’m Angie! I was married for 13 years and I have two children from the marriage, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Gabrielle and our son Anthony. My children are karate instructors and I am very proud of them.

I am now 51 and although I was born and raised in Haiti, I now reside in the United States. I went to high school in NYC and my mother wanted my siblings and me to have a better life, so we moved to New Jersey!

My son Anthony Diaz-Cervo has a vlog channel on YouTube where he shares parts of his life, and my daughter has a blog www.fiercelybeautifulblog.com. I wanted my own creative outlet to express myself. With that being said, I originally started blogging for the karate school I had with my then husband, beginning of 1996 as somewhat of a hobby because I simply love to write.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial attitude and love owning something of my own. This blog has become so much more than a hobby to me, I’ve been fortunate enough to pursue this as my growing career, one I have always dreamed of.

I have so many interests; motherhood, parenting, fashion, writing, self-development and so much more which is why I chose my name to use as my blog title. I thought for months, “what kind of title represents me?” and I just couldn’t think of anything more fitting than my own name.

I am a go with the flow type of gal with a passion for creating. I am always looking for fun, exciting opportunities to work with brands and companies to create great content together!

Making Your Life Golden

SABON“>Sabon

By Mark Ford

I have always been a strong opponent of television. But, K and I recently started watching it together. Just a little bit here and there; enough to get me thinking about the way people spend their recreational time.

It made me wonder if the kind of activities we engage in during our down time really makes a difference.

I’ve also pointed out that the more time you spend working, the more successful you’re likely to be – but acknowledge that even the most ambitious and hardest workers need to take at least a few hours out of the day to do something that gives them pleasure.

Something that doesn’t work.

The question then becomes, “What should that ‘something’ be?”

As I said, just about any activity we choose to do can fit into one of three categories. It can:

  • Damage us in some way
  • Improve us somehow
  • Leave us more or less the same

Think of the best choices – the ones that improve you – as Golden.

Think of the neutral choices – the ones that just help you pass the time – as Vaporous.

And think of the worst choices – the ones that hurt you – as Acidic.

It’s up to you how much Gold, Vapor, and Acid you are going to have in your life.

When I think of my own choices – good, bad, and neutral – I notice that they have the following characteristics:

Golden Choices

My best experiences tend to be with activities that are intellectually challenging and emotionally engaging. Because they demand a lot from me, I shy away from them when I am low in energy. But when I do get into them, they build my energy and thus make it easier to continue. When I am through with such an activity, I feel good about myself and content with how I have spent my time.

Vaporous Choices

These activities are easy to slip into and easier, too, to stay involved with. They are the choices we make when we don’t feel like making choices. The time we spend when we don’t much care how we spend our time. Welcome to the Vapor zone, the neutral, happy world of poker and sitcoms and gossip.

When I’m ready for some relaxation, my first impulse is always to choose a Vaporous activity. Having “worked hard all day,” I want something simple and mindless so I can gear down. And most people would probably say the same thing. Getting into the Vapor zone is easy – and staying there is easier still.

The big problem with Vaporous activities – and this is a very big problem for me – is that they leave me feeling enervated instead of energized. And empty. Vaporous activities do for me what Vaporous foods (i.e., comfort foods) do: They fill me up but tire me out.

Acidic Choices

Everybody has vices. At one time or another, I’ve had just about all of them. I have never smoked crack, but I’ve done plenty of other things to destroy, reduce, or disable myself.

Why I do these things, I can only guess. Sometimes I think I need the challenge of surviving self-imposed obstacles. Whatever my reasons, the result of making those choices is generally the same.

I get a dull pleasure that is mixed with a barely discernible level of pain. Even when the pleasure is intense, it is clouded by a foggy brain. It feels like I’m having a great time … but I am not sure. And if the actual experience of Acidic activities is mixed, the feeling afterward is not at all ambivalent. It is bad.

The interesting thing about Acidic options is how attractive they can be. Nobody would argue that they are good choices. We pick them because we are too weak to pick anything else, and we use what little mind we have left to rationalize our self-destruction.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at These 3 Categories

… Continue reading

How to Separate Yourself From the Competition

 


By Dorie Clark @dorieclark

Many entrepreneurs are stymied by the question: how am I actually different from the competition? We know it’s essential to identify a “unique selling proposition,” but in a competitive marketplace where it seems everything’s been done, it can sometimes be hard to articulate your specific value.

That’s why one of the people I profile in my new book Stand Out is television chef Rachael Ray — precisely because, on the surface, she didn’t stand out at all. But as her example shows, one important strategy entrepreneurs can follow is reframing your expertise so that what’s banal in one setting becomes revelatory in another.

In her world — the world of cooking — it’s pretty clear what “expert” means: you run a high-end restaurant, or you’ve been trained at elite cooking schools. Rachael Ray did neither. As Boris Groysberg and Kerry Herman revealed in a fascinating Harvard Business Review case study, she started out as the food buyer for a gourmet market in Albany, N.Y. and began doing “30-minute meal” cooking demonstrations at the store. The store didn’t choose her for the role because of her prodigious talents; it was because no chef in the area would accept the store’s low rates.

She eventually got her big break when someone gave a copy of her cookbook (published by a one-woman press) to a Today Show producer. When a snowstorm prompted a wave of guest cancellations, the producer called up Ray – who, after driving nine hours in the snow, made her first appearance and was an immediate hit, leading to a lucrative contract with the Food Network.

Ray was derided because she lacked the credentials of illustrious peers like Emeril Lagasse or Mario Batali. She acknowledged the criticism, the HBR case study notes, and even warned the Food Network that “I’m not a chef, you’ve been duped.” But that was exactly why they wanted her.

The Food Network was chock full of elite chefs who made beautiful meals but the trouble was, their professionalism and perfection risked making them unrelatable to everyday people. But viewers intuitively felt that if Rachael Ray — a spunky everywoman with no formal credentials — could make a dish work, they could, too. If she were just another neighbor on your block, her ability to make tasty 30-minute meals would be nice, but not earth shattering. But in the context of the Food Network — which had built a brand around celebrity chefs — she was a revelation.

Today, Ray has created an entrepreneurial empire, replete with television shows, endorsement deals and product extensions — and her example holds lessons for all entrepreneurs. Too often, we compare ourselves to the most “qualified” people in our field and are concerned about not having the most prestigious diplomas or formal qualifications. But as Ray shows, those often aren’t necessary, and you don’t need to compete head-to-head on credentials. If you can offer something distinctive in a given context, you can succeed.

Think about who needs your skills or approach but doesn’t typically have access to them. There are 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide, but there may be very few who serve people in your industry or your community and that could be your competitive advantage. And there may be plenty of people with good communication skills but surprisingly few who blend that with an understanding of engineering or technology. The talents that seem banal in one context can lead to breakthroughs in another.

Ask yourself what perceived weakness could become your strength, and if there’s an area where you don’t have credentials or expertise, which could become a selling point. You may not think you have anything unique to offer but as Rachael Ray discovered, changing the context changes everything.

For They Will Inherit the Earth — The Life Project

A person who is “meek” is often thought of as being resigned to their circumstances, even weak, but that really isn’t what is being described here. Those who are “meek” are those who understand that they are dependent upon God, and not upon their own strength or even upon the power of armies, for our […]

via For They Will Inherit the Earth — The Life Project

What You Can Learn From Misty Copeland About Achieving the Impossible

By Catherine Clifford @CatClifford

 

The world of elite, professional ballet is tiny, brutal and exacting. It operates within a long history of well-established traditions to define excellence in the industry. In that world, ballet dancers are long, lean, have delicate waists, small busts, lithe legs and are white.

And then there’s Misty Copeland: 5’2”, curvy, muscular and black.

This week, Copeland, 32, was promoted to the highest rank in one of the premier ballet companies in the world: principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater. Her promotion goes into effect on Aug. 1, according to an announcement from the theater.

Copeland is changing the face of the world of ballet and fueling the dreams of so many young dancers out there. But more than that, she’s an inspiration to anyone trying to overcome barriers or achieve what sometimes feels impossible.

Here are five lessons from her story.

1. It’s never too late to get started.

Copeland, one of six children raised by an itinerant and poor family, took her first ballet class at the ripe-old age of 13. That may sound young, but for a female ballet dancer, taking a first class at 13 is ancient. Men often start training older than professional female ballet dancers, but women who are considering a professional ballet career start training by 6 or 7 years old. (Ideally, you want to start training a woman’s body to move in the lines of ballet before muscles and limbs get too rigid.)

The takeaway: If you’re thinking about making a big move — starting a business, taking up a new hobby — don’t let your age be an excuse. Some of the most successful leaders in history found their purpose later in life.

2. Don’t let money be a barrier.

Professional ballet classes are expensive, and Copeland grew up in a family with a lot of kids and not much money. Her first ballet class was a free class offered on a basketball course at a Boys & Girls Club. She didn’t have a leotard, tights and ballet shoes, so she wore gym shorts, a shirt and socks.

Recognizing her natural talent and grace, the volunteer teacher at the Boys & Girls center brought her into her own ballet school on a full scholarship for the next four years. After that, she was accepted at the San Francisco Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensives on full scholarship. She joined ABT’s Studio Company in September 2000 and the main company as a member of the corps de ballet in April 2001. She was made soloist in August of 2007.

The takeaway: There’s no price on passion. Pursue your dreams, surround yourself with good people and seek the wisdom of mentors.

3. Don’t let precedents determine your future.

Copeland is the star of a viral Under Armour commercial where she is seen dancing while a girl reads a rejection letter from a ballet company. As someone who didn’t fit the typical ballerina mold, she understood feelings of rejection acutely.

“Because I was being told you’re not right for this role and you’re not right for that role, I really believed it. I thought that maybe I should leave ABT or join a company where I’m surrounded by other black dancers that look like me,” she told Vogue Italia in 2013. “But for me that is completely giving up, because my goal was always to dance for ABT. That went on for most of my early twenties. It was hard to dig myself out of that hole.”

The takeaway: There will be times in your life where you face failure and rejection. Learn from those moments, but don’t give up.

4. Promote yourself.

Copeland is more active outside the ballet studio than most other elite dancers. She published a bestselling autobiography, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, was on the cover of Time magazine, is the subject of a documentary, keeps an active presence on social media, and the list goes on.

Copeland’s desire to get her story out is to inspire other girls who aren’t built like the typical ballerina. And getting her story out requires her to be a savvy business woman in a tough market.

“It’s important to believe in yourself. Especially when you get to a professional level, you have to be the one that is promoting yourself. There are so many dancers that you are competing against and that you have to stand out with. And if you don’t believe that you are worthy, then no one else will,” Copeland said in an interview in April.  

The takeaway: Identify what it is that makes you or your business special and run with it. Your belief in yourself will help others take notice.

5. Seize the moment.

When Copeland was a soloist, the rank below principal, she was given the opportunity to take the lead role in Firebird, a Russian ballet about a magical bird. It was April of 2012, and she had six stress fractures in her leg at the time, but she went on with the performance without telling her artistic director.

“Any of those times could have been the last times I danced, had my bone completely snapped,” she told 60 Minutes in December 2014. “I was 29 years old and I was really given the biggest role of my career at that point and I felt had I not done this performance and proven myself that I was capable and mature enough to become this character, that I wouldn’t be given the opportunity again.” She says, with a bit of a nervous, relieved laugh, “I think it paid off.”

Indeed, Misty. Indeed.

The takeaway: You aren’t going to get to most elite levels of success by always playing the safe card. Take risks, but be strategic

You Need to Give Up These Toxic Habits If You Want to Be Confident and Successful

Confidence plays a huge role in your success — eliminating these bad habits will immediately boost your self-esteem.

According to a study from the University of Melbourne, individuals that gain high confidence are more likely to earn high wages and be promoted earlier and more frequently.

If you want to be exceptionally successful, you must learn to be your own best cheerleader. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

If you emanate confidence, others will be drawn to you. The sooner you can learn to be confident in the workplace, and drop the habits that are holding you back from doing so, the sooner you will see yourself starting to climb that ladder of success.

The good news is that nobody is naturally born confident — it’s something you learn. There’s also evidence suggesting that many of your common habits, mindsets and behaviors could be dragging down your self-esteem in the present.

Without further ado, here are some common behaviors you should give up in order to be more confident and successful. You’ll be surprised at how much they’re affecting your life:

Stop expecting perfection.

American journalist, activist, author of six best-selling books Maria Shriver once said, “Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect; it makes you feel inadequate.”

Often, we strive for perfection because we seek approval and praise from others. When we obsess over how others perceive us, we are left unhappy, disappointed, and unconfident.

Although you should always aim to do your best work (and you should never be making sloppy mistakes), you can’t expect to take on new challenges without a few slip-ups along the way.

Next time you find yourself in this endless cycle of thinking your best isn’t good enough, take a moment to find gratitude for all you’ve been able to accomplish — and then move on.

Stop slouching.

A great deal of how our mind functions can be influenced by what our body is telling it to do. Not only does our body language send a message to others, but it also sends a message to ourselves.

According to social scientist Amy Cuddy, “power posing” can boost our sense of confidence and directly lead to greater success.

Power posing is when we use our bodies, on purpose and with intent, to create powerful movements that are more spread out and take up more space, creating this message of confidence to ourselves and others. Cuddy found that these movements actually produce more testosterone (the dominance hormone) and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), yielding individuals to take risks and to feel more positive about their abilities to achieve goals.

Stop being lazy with your wardrobe.

This may sound shallow, but remember, this is all about you, not about pleasing others.

You don’t have to be a fashionista to be self-assured (my receipts at T.J. Maxx can attest to that). But dressing like a slob isn’t doing you any favors in the confidence department.

Studies show that our mental state is linked with our wardrobe — if you wear an outfit associated with successful people, you’ll look, feel, and speak like a successful person. And if you dress like a “hot mess,” you’ll most likely act the part too.

So invest in yourself at the mall — your confidence is worth it. You don’t need to bust your budget at Prada, but you should get that sharp outfit, and even consider implementing a dress code to boost your whole team’s confidence.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” — Theodore Roosevelt

If you are in the habit of comparing yourself to others, and a big majority of us are, it’s time to stop. There will always be someone ahead of you, but the game of life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Whether you are feeling bad because you think your peers are doing better than you, or you are building yourself up based on their failures, both are unproductive and have the potential to be self-destructive. If you feel good about something you’ve done, enjoy it — you don’t need the recognition from others to affirm your accomplishments.

Also keep in mind that your perception of others is likely inaccurate, and the grass is actually sometimes not as green as it appears to be. A study done by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology shows that people are much more likely to display positive emotions than negative. So the next time you think the guy from marketing “has it all,” you may want to consider what he is not showing underneath it all.

Stop dwelling on your failures.

“The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.” — Barbara Corcoran

If you’re waking up every morning thinking about what went wrong the day before, you’re going about your career the wrong way.

Learning from your mistakes is Success 101. But the ultra-successful take it a step further by remembering the lessons and then forgetting the rest. Their philosophy and your new one: the past is the past and it cannot be undone. Learn from it and move on.

Stop letting others influence your self-esteem.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Like many other success stories, Roosevelt realized that she couldn’t choose who was happy with her and who wasn’t (and there were certainly plenty of people pretty unhappy with her).

Although she couldn’t control what people thought of her, she could control the way she thought about herself. Remember, no matter what life throws your way, this is something you can decide daily. So choose to realize your greatness — it’s something ultra successful people do daily. Don’t regret the choice of letting others influence your self-esteem.A baby step you can start today is to leave yourself positive notes daily.

Stop fearing the unknown.

Remember how nervous you were when you first hopped on a bike? That slight slope on the concrete sidewalk felt like a freefall down Mount Everest.

But after time passed and you embraced that “terrifying” new venture, all that discomfort washed away.

The phrase “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for,” is truer than ever for your confidence.

I’m not saying you should take on every crazy risk out there. But by realizing that your discomfort will go away over time, you can easily dive right into the uneasiness of those smart risks.

5 Ways to Keep Your Business Financially Sustainable

By Mark Thomasson

The rule of thumb for every business is that they should never run out of cash. Therefore, all the business transactions you make need to have a clear purpose and a tangible financial backup.

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Due to the dynamic nature of contemporary business, keeping your finances in order is more of a rocky road than a bed of roses. To help business owners run their ventures as successfully as possible, we’ve prepared a set of crucial prerequisites to not only stay afloat but thrive in the marketplace.

1. Bring an Austerity Policy

From one point of view, it’s better for an inexperienced entrepreneur not to succeed to fast. If you have to struggle to make ends meet for some time, you’ll learn to appreciate both your work and your earnings. However, if you’re (un)lucky – depending on the perspective –to achieve your goals quickly, bring these clear austerity measures to keep your budget under control:

  • Allow for only essential purchases. Nothing but essential business items should be bought.
  • Limit recruitment and payroll. Avoid long-term employment contracts. Go for outsourcing and freelancers instead.
  • Benefit from business plan software. Use software tools to make detailed business plans.
  • Reduce overheads. Encourage employees to work from home and rent a smaller office space.

When your budget is reserved only for necessary business transactions, you’ll always have enough assets for your operations.

2. Open Separate Accounts

Using the business budget for personal expenditure is the biggest temptation new business owners face.

Some entrepreneurs make this mistake due to a lack of experience. However, others simply relax and start spending their business assets for private purposes. If you adopt such a lifestyle, you’ll have a wide range of problems. Your business will be in the red and it will take a lot of time to put it back in the black again.

To avoid such a misfortunate outcome, you need to have two separate accounts. One of them should be registered on your company and used solely for business transactions. On the other hand, your personal account will serve your private purposes. As for the amount of money you will take from your company monthly as a salary, study several different options to find the best one for your business’ long-term financial health.

3. Track Your Payments

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