Preparing and planning are severely overrated. Things would never get underway if we spent an inordinate amount of time preparing for them. One last edit round and then I’ll submit my article, let me research some more options before I commit to anyone, one last talk with the investors and I’ll make a great proposal for my start-up…do these situations sound familiar?
“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.”
If you’ve always believed that elaborate preparation guarantees success, it’s time to understand that this formula for success is seriously flawed. Nothing guarantees success. It’s the outcome of many moving parts, many of which are not in our control. I don’t mean to preach that preparing is not essential.
I have been an advocate for proper planning since forever. Many times things fall apart because proper planning and preliminary preparation were skipped or weren’t carried out properly. But, the other side of the coin is that some people get stuck in the planning and preparation stage, trying to perfect everything. It’s prudent to analyze situations, anticipate outcomes, and do the required preparations.
The problem comes when you over-prepare. You may be more than ready to take action, but you perceive the opposite. And the longer you prepare, the more you want to delay taking action unnecessarily. There are a lot of reasons why this happens. One of the major ones is analysis paralysis.
“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.”
-Norman Vincent Peale
The main problem with over-planning is the longer you plan, the longer you’re not in the marketplace. By the time you’re ready to present your ideas or start working, the window of opportunity may have been claimed by someone more proactive. If you find yourself constantly putting off action and fretting too much about preparation, the strategies below can really help you get moving:
1. Face Your Fear of Failure
Let experiences guide you. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Failure is just success turned inside out. These words may sound cliché but can considerably ease your analysis paralysis tendencies. If you find yourself always ending up in the same rut, then you need to learn to overcome your analysis paralysis prone thinking and apply it so that you can finally take some action.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
To quote an analogy, have you ever noticed how birds teach their young ones to fly? They simply push them out of the nest, not once fearing what will happen if the baby injures itself. They rely on experience and instinct, not preparation. Many a times, they fail but that doesn’t stop them from trying again.
Experiential learning strengthens your instincts and over time, you start understanding what will work and what won’t. But this will happen only if you expose yourself to failure. You need to be open to learning maybe even from those you consider under qualified to teach.
2. Follow the 80/20 Rule
Focus on your best assets and use them to create maximum value – this is the core principle behind the 80/20 rule. And it has helped businesses grow their revenues and individuals make the most out of their productive hours.
Identify those 20% requirements that can give 80% of the final output. Work backwards from the product you’ve envisioned and list out all the components that you plan to put into it. Then, drill down upon the essentialities (“must-haves”, must not be more than 20% of total required input) and keep the “good to have” for a later time. If you put together the must-haves you’ll have a fully-functional Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Minimum investment for maximum output- now, that’s productivity. Improvisation can happen later. Don’t let the details bog you down.
3. Get Moving
Have you been putting off something for the longest time, citing under-preparedness as the reason? A task that you don’t particularly enjoy? A meeting you’ve been worried about? Preparation here may be your excuse for escapism.
“There is only one proof of ability – action.”
Take a small step towards your goal. If you fail, try plan B. The best thing about experimenting on a small scale is that you won’t suffer huge losses as you could if your elaborate planning met an adverse end. Adversities also teach us something valuable. Take those teachings and incorporate them in your next steps.
And if your micro step fares well, you’ll feel bolstered to go ahead. Since you’ve already committed to the task, there are lesser chances of a rollback and going forward is the only way out.
Setting internal deadlines can work wonders for people who find themselves spending way too much time preparing than doing. Build urgency into your system, perhaps write down goals or mark on a calendar. And be relentless about these deadlines.
Commitment to action is not something you’ll achieve overnight. You will have to push yourself and fight tendencies to fall back into old patterns. Instead of accepting your inaction, always try to find the cause for it, and learn ways to overcome it.
You need to keep moving forward in order to achieve your dreams and stay true to your visions and that includes finding your shortcomings and tackling them head on so that you don’t blame yourself for not going after what you want.
After all, by taking no action all we do is make sure that we don’t succeed. So, why not use all the planning and preparing and take on the world while you still can?
7 Tips to Help You Live Your Day to The Fullest
Most people live their lives worrying about what will happen the next day, the next week, the next month, and so forth. These kinds of thoughts tend to shift the focus from living in the present, thereby, robbing you of the chance of enjoying your day to the fullest. So, if you have such a habit, then you should try out the following tips to make your daily life more simple, happy and comfortable.
1. Do One Fun Task
Life will become unbearable if you are only focused on your job and other serious facets of life. So, ensure that you do at least one fun activity every day. It need not take too much time. Anything from five minutes or an hour of some kind of activity that makes you laugh and puts you in a good mood will be enough to make your day brighter and happier. And, the best time to do it will be in the mornings, right before you set out for work.
For example, you can have a Nintendo Wii console set up at home and play a game for 10 to 15 minutes. The constant jumping around with the controls will not only be a good way to loosen up the stiff muscles, but will also help you have fun. Plus, you will head to work with a very positive mood.
2. Spend Some Time With Your Loved Ones
Human beings are social animals who seek the love of the people they hold dear. If you neglect the instinct to be with your loved ones, you will definitely become emotionally distant and cold as the years pass by. So, if you have been neglecting the company of your family or other important people in your life, try spending some time with them on a daily basis.
If you are married, then you can set aside 30 minutes for watching your favorite TV program or cook dinner together. If you have children, then you can play some games with them for an hour or so. By spending some quality time with loved ones every day, you will make your life joyful.
3. Learn Something New
In order to constantly improve oneself, it is necessary that one learns new things. So, why not learn something new every day? Now, learning does not mean that you need to spend hours and hours pouring yourself into various texts and videos. That will obviously complicate your life unnecessarily. Instead, spend just 20 to 30 minutes a day on learning something new.
And over years, you will have accumulated enough knowledge about a wide range of subjects. Plus, learning new things on a daily basis also gives a big boost to your confidence, helping you do your job with more assurance.
4. Help Someone
When people help someone, they generally tend to feel good about themselves. And, you, too, should try to make it a policy to help someone every day. The very fact that you can become useful to someone in need will definitely put you in a better frame of mind.
So, if you see an old lady struggling with taking the groceries to her car, help her with that. If you see a child crying because he cannot get the basketball that has bounced far away, then help the child recover it. And, if you don’t have the time to involve yourself physically, then you can look for digital options. There are many crowdfunding websites that raise money for various social causes. Search for them and make it a habit to donate a dollar or two every day to a good cause.
5. Finish Your Daily Job Without Postponing It
You need to work daily in order to live. Additionally, you might also be working at a job that you are neither fond of nor attached to. However, this does not mean that you should begin to resent your work and life.
That will make the days stressful and can drive you into depression and to other psychological disorders. So, the best thing you can do is to ensure that you complete all your work for the day. Do nothing more and nothing less. Perform your assigned work perfectly and never postpone it to other days. And, by effectively managing your work, you will have enough time every day to do something else that you like.
The vast majority of urban people have been reported to be stressed due to their daily work schedules. And this stress can prevent you from truly enjoying your free time. As such, it is recommended that you start learning meditation. Implement the meditative techniques in your daily life for 15 to 20 minutes at least.
This will calm down your mind and help you manage the stress in a more efficient manner, enabling you to properly enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life. So, check out the nearest meditation center and plan out your schedule. You will surely develop a calmer outlook towards life and work after only a few weeks of daily meditation.
Finance is one of the biggest worries for most people. It is possible that such thoughts might hijack your entire day and keep you from focusing on other activities properly. As such, it is very important that you learn to manage your finances in an efficient way.
A good way to deal with it is to set out the budget for the current day every morning and follow it strictly. That’s it. You don’t have to worry about anything else. Shift all the long-term financial planning to the weekend when you will have more time on your hands to plan. This will ensure that you don’t worry about money on a daily basis.
To live your life to the fullest, it is important to identify what makes you happy and content. When you know what makes your life feel complete, it becomes easier to find ways to include more of it in your life. No matter how small something is, if it makes you feel good then you should surely work on making it a part of your life.
5 Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose
Many people tend to get confused, often in the middle of their adulthood, as to their purpose in life. And as the quintessential question remains unanswered, the more disturbing life gets. After all, human beings can only be at peace when they do things that are in accordance with their nature and instincts. I am listing out a few questions that can help you figure out your purpose in life.
1. What Have Been Your Longest Desires?
There are some desires that have existed deep within our hearts for a very long time. Knowing what those deepest desires are and learning to accept them is the first stage in identifying ‘the purpose’. Most people generally tend to subdue such desires replacing it with the life of a 9 to 5 employee.
And this can eventually cause one to live an unfulfilled existence since he/she is essentially living a life they do not like. The only way out of such a situation is to bring your deep desires up to the surface and start working on them. This would bring out a profound satisfaction that will begin to transform your everyday life.
For example, if you have been dreaming of becoming a painter since childhood, then you should try joining a few painting classes and hone your talents. If you are busy, sign up for some online classes which can be attended during your free time. As you spend more time on your painting, you’ll feel that you’ve started to enjoy life more since you are no longer suppressing an innate desire.
2. What Hobbies Do You Spend Your Most Time On?
This is an important question to consider. Prepare a list of hobbies on which you spend most of your time. Look at the list and find out your favorite hobby. We can consider this as one of your passions. After all, if you are willing to spend so much time on something, then it must be because you are totally into it, either knowingly or unknowingly.
This will let you know what you should aim for in life, professionally or personally. For example, if you see that you spend most of your time tracking updates about NBA, then you should ideally look for a job of a content producer where you are tasked with posting latest news about the game.
3. What Would You Change If You Were to Die a Year From Now?
Imagine that you will be dying a year from now. What are the things you would want to do within the remaining year? Write them down. Maybe you want to travel to a few places but never had the time or you want to spend the remaining time with your closest family members.
Whatever it may be, look for things which you want to do the most. Those things can be considered as your driving force. Changing your life to adopt it will only enable you to live a happier life. For example, if you think that you will choose to give up all your wealth in the final year so that the needy can have a helping hand, then you should try and include a few charity programs in your life as that’s your purpose.
4. What Will Make You Give Up Your Current Career?
If you have a successful career but are not satisfied, then ask yourself what will make you give up this career. What activity could be so appealing to you that you will be ready to leave the financial safety provided by your career just so you can be a part of that activity? Maybe you work as an investment banker at a major financial company and have always been interested in acting.
Now, ask yourself, if a small acting gig were to come your way with the possibility of larger roles in the future, would you still continue being an investment banker? Or, will you decide that enough is enough, and resign from the job so that you can pursue your dreams? If you have chosen the second option, then it may be good for you to start dedicating yourself in some acting gigs. This will help you balance out the drudgery of being an investment banker.
It doesn’t have to be any major roles. Instead, small roles in a web series will be sufficient. That will give you a good idea as to what is needed to become a full-time actor. And when a good opportunity comes knocking, you can then decide whether to leave the job for good and start living your dream.
5. What Type Of Causes Do You Spend Most Time On?
Most people are obsessed with causes. It can range from personal and community to social and national causes. Knowing which causes you deeply care about will show you what your heart truly wants to do.
For example, suppose that you have a strong feeling about the environment and constantly track all news about environmental damage and protective measures. You might also be very vocal about saving the environment when chatting with friends at a coffee shop or with strangers in Facebook groups. This would indicate that one of the primary focal points in your life is environmental protection. As such, the best thing you can do will be to involve yourself in such causes. This will align your personal drive with your daily life ensuring that you live life exactly the way you want.
While the above questions will help you find out your life’s purpose, be sure to be level-headed when taking any decision. Don’t just blindly go after any desire you have thinking that it will satisfy you. That usually doesn’t work out for anyone! Only seek to fulfil those desires, causes, and drives that you know are fundamental to your identity and which you will always care about; no matter how old you get or the changes in your circumstance.
Top 6 Lies That Are Holding You Back
Many people have certain beliefs or ‘lies’ that hold them back. These lies are so deep-rooted in their psyche that they restrict them from utilizing their full potential, and deny them new experiences and opportunities for personal growth. We will look at six such lies that tend to hold people back.
1. I Can’t Do It
The biggest lie that limits most people in their life includes just four words – “I Can’t Do It”. This belief alone will shatter anyone’s faith and keep them restricted to a basic lifestyle when they could have achieved much more. This belief exists mostly because of two reasons – either you were fed this belief from a young age or you never developed enough confidence.
Some parents tend to be so overprotective of their children that they actively discourage the kids from trying out certain things. This can slowly creep into the child’s psyche forming the idea that they cannot do certain things.
For example, if a parent always scolds their child when they try to do some physical activity like jumping off the stairs, climbing on the tree, etc.; then inevitably the child will absorb such restrictions as suggestions. And as the child grows, not only will they give up on such physical activities like sports, but may also become averse to it. Simply thinking that they won’t be able to do it would lead them to make such decisions.
If you suffer from this belief, then you must understand that this lack of confidence that ‘I can’t do it’ is what limits your life. The truth of the matter is that until you try out something, you will never know whether you are good at it. As such, holding back from new activities is kind of illogical.
2. People Will Not Like Me If I Do Something Like That
The next biggest belief that can hold someone back is the idea that “people will not like it if I do something like that.” This fear that other people will see your actions with disapproving eyes may have some truth. However, you have to understand that you don’t exist to live your life as per other people’s likes and dislikes.
Plus, there is no guarantee that people might end up disliking you just because you tried out something they are not fond of. Do what you like to do, and maybe people will start to change their opinions and also start liking what you do.
So, take some initiative, find out what your interests are, and try to involve yourself in them without a care of what others might think. At the very least, they will respect you for doing what you believe in and what you like.
3. If I Fail At Something, It Means I’m Not Good At It
If you fail at something, it does not mean that you are not good at it. Instead, it simply means that you just failed at that particular thing. That’s it. If people gave up on their dreams the first time they failed at anything new, then we would still be living in caves.
You only fail when you give up trying. As long as you keep trying, use all the past failures to understand why you failed and make sure never to repeat the errors, you are succeeding. Eventually, you will be able to do what you want. It may take fifty, a hundred, or two hundred attempts but if you stick to your goal with absolute dedication, you have one hundred percent chance of succeeding at it. So, forget this lie about being a failure and give everything you have to the task.
4. It May Be Okay For Them, But Not For Me
Some people also think that there are some things that other people can do but they themselves should not attempt. This is also a big lie that cripples their lives. Such a belief normally stems from harboring a kind of inferiority complex in which a person holds themselves ‘lesser’ than others.
For example, imagine that someone is raised in a very restrictive environment and is rather shy. When such a person starts working together with outgoing extroverts, there is a good chance that they might see others as ‘better’ than themselves. As such, if a situation came where the company was looking for an employee to represent them in an overseas event, then the person might hold themselves back allowing others to take up that opportunity.
5. I’m Not Attractive Enough to Be Loved or Accepted
Every human being wants to be loved. But unfortunately, some people think that they are not good looking enough to be loved or even accepted by others. This is a pretty nasty lie that can keep a person secluded all their lives. It is important to understand and accept that the character of a person matters more than the looks.
If you have a pleasant personality, people will be happy to be your friends. And, if you know how to crack jokes and make people laugh, then looks literally become irrelevant. So, do not reduce yourself to your physical appearance alone. Furthermore, if any such negative belief has made you an introvert, then break through those feelings. Just be comfortable with yourself and start interacting with people. You will soon see that your attitude alone can carry you far ahead in life.
6. Since I Don’t Know How to Do It, I Should Probably Not Try Doing It
Do you think humankind would have progressed if every single person was averse to trying out new things just because they did not know how to do it? No!
So, why do you hold yourself back from trying out new things even though you might not know anything about it? Get out of your comfort zone and try out new things and experiences. Find someone who might know the task you don’t know anything about and learn from their experiences. Then, start doing the task yourself. As long as you keep such a lie away from your life, your mind will always be ready to absorb everything the world has to offer.
One main thing that can fight all these lies is self-confidence. Confidence in yourself is the key to doing what you want to do without caring about the world or your own limitations. It gives you the ability to put yourself out there and chase your dreams. So, what you need to fight these lies is develop self-confidence and you will have the fuel needed to propel yourself forward.
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