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Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

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“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

– Dwayne Johnson

Before we begin talking about why consistency is the key to success, let’s talk about what consistency actually is. Consistency means sticking to a routine and doing it over and over.

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

Consistent behavior will help you achieve what you aim for. Being able to continually do what is required for success, is the ability that everyone strives to learn. We try to develop habits in the hope of being consistent with them.

Now, we are consistent in some things. It might be putting off work, putting off exercise, eating junk food, drinking alcohol, smoking, making wrong choices, not sticking to a routine. See, being consistent is not the exact magic here; being consistent in the right thing is.

“Consistency is found in that work whose whole and detail are suitable to the occasion. It arises from circumstance, custom, and nature.”

– Vitruvius

We are already consistent in keeping a hold on our bad habits; what we need to learn is to turn it around and convert our bad habits into good habits. To experience a life of fullness, you need to learn to be consistent with the efforts you take, not only in your professional life but your personal life as well.

Like everything negative, we need to get negative consistency out of our lives. It is really easy to pick up damaging habits and be consistent with them, but that is what you need to stand up against.

We all make plans; making plans is easy and difficult at the same time. Knowing what you want to do is half the battle won, but this part of the battle is something that everyone does in abundance. Take New Year’s Resolutions for example. Every year you make tons of resolution, but they don’t even last a week before you go back to your old ways.

You have a plan, that’s great. Now, all you need to do is stick with it. Drive yourself to win the other half of the battle. Once you realize being inconsistent is what is stopping you from achieving your goals, you will be tempted to change that, and that is exactly what we want – a willingness to bring about the good change.

Start out by consistently accomplishing small goals before you try to hit it big

For anything to stick, you have to take baby steps. Aiming for a difficult thing is okay, as long as you know it is a long shot. If you think that you are going to decide to bring about a big change and stick with it, it’s likely not going to happen and that is when you fail.

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

For example, let’s say you don’t run. You decide to go running; you set the alarm, pick out your clothes and shoes, research the changes in diet, etc. But, you set your goal to run 10 miles every day. How realistic do you think that is? How do you think you are going to fare? This is you, setting yourself up for failure.

Aim for 10 miles, yes, but don’t start with that. Start with a mile and then go on increasing it until you reach your goal, and then you can set a new goal. Baby steps all the way is the most sensible way to get habitual to something.

It is said that we need 21 days to develop a new habit. So, to try and stretch yourself out for 21 days you can do certain things. When you think of it as just 21 days, it is easier to do it because you can see a deadline, and deadlines drive us. After you start doing whatever it is you want to, do it for a week and then ask yourself questions like how you feel, is this what you envisioned, will it help in the long run, etc. Anything that will remind you why you started doing this.

“Part of courage is simple consistency.”

– Peggy Noonan

Reflection of your progress is important to motivate yourself. Start journaling so that you can log in your thoughts daily about the new habit you are picking up, and you can find out if there are problem areas and immediately solve them.

Doing this gives you a third-eye perspective to your process and progress. You can help yourself to not give up. Setting up a daily routine is one thing, and sticking to it is a whole another thing.

What if you skip a day?

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

Don’t fret much if you skip a day. It is okay! Do not let that pull you down. Start again the next day, make a note of what made you miss that particular day, and try to find a way around so that it doesn’t happen again. Failure isn’t the stop; you just have to start again. Being consistent in your pursuance of consistency is also an important phenomenon. Stick to it, and you will see results!

“I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at time. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and lows.”

– Drew Barrymore

Entrepreneurs

Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

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Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

We live in a digital age. Everything, from socializing, to office work, to shopping is shifting to the online space. The advent of inexpensive (and fast) internet and smartphones has meant that now no matter where you go, you are always connected to the cloud. And, that invariably, you end up turning to this messianic network to satiate your every need.

Smart companies are busy embracing this very change. The workplace of the future is not one of a unified brick-and-mortar structure. Employees can now sit thousands of miles away and still collaborate successfully on a project. This is not just something I’m pulling out of thin air. Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, postulates that if only more organizations embrace the immense power of the internet, they would be able to streamline their operations and ensure a happier and more productive workplace. You can listen to his amazing, thought-provoking and insightful talk in the video given below. 

Personally, I have always been an advocate of the work from anywhere culture. Partly because of the time it saves me (which I can then spend on any one of my myriad other hobbies), and partly because it frees me up to travel the world. 

What does one have to do with the other? Well frankly, the kind of location independence afforded by the advent of Skype has made it possible for anyone to interact with their colleagues no matter where they are. Like I pointed out earlier, not being restricted by a physical office means you can be just about anywhere in the world, and still get work done.

However, there is another facet of this digital revolution which has fascinated me even more. Honestly, it is something which seems to be staring you right in the face, but it is surprising how many people still fail to (or is it a refusal to?) connect the dots and use technology to their advantage. What is this facet I talk about? Well, it is the ability for just about anyone (yes, I mean anyone) to become an entrepreneur.

“But,” you contend, “entrepreneurship isn’t really for me. It takes time and money, and really, where’s the job security in entrepreneurship?”

I would have agreed with you if I myself didn’t know better. For the past many years, I have bet big on online entrepreneurship and reaped great rewards. Frustrated and sensing the endless possibilities afforded by the internet, I quit my regular 9-to-5 job and decided to start my own online business. As an added challenge, I left just about enough money in my savings account to last me one year. The very fact that I’m happier than ever right now bears testament to the fact that, when done well, online entrepreneurship can give you the freedom you deserve.

Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

When you come to think of it, the market hasn’t ever been better for an online business. It is now possible to get your own website started for less than $50/year. And even if you don’t know a single word of coding, you can have your very own, professional-looking front-end, thanks to the power of content management systems like Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. Don’t like the plain vanilla look they offer? One Google search, and hey bingo! Thousands of themes and skins to choose from! Are you into e-commerce? No worries, mate! Payment gateways like PayPal and its ilk have you covered. Don’t have money to invest? That’s alright. Start a free website on Wix.com. Or, just start hawking your wares on Facebook.

My point is that in this day and age, there really is no excuse to not have your own business. You don’t even have to have the next big Facebook killer to be successful as an e-entrepreneur. I know of enough people selling junk jewelry (sourced from their local flea market) on Facebook/eBay/Etsy. And guess what? All of them seem to be doing really well for themselves. How well? Well enough to not have to work for anyone else to earn their living.

Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times

All that you really need to succeed online, in essence, is the will to actually take the plunge and just start something. It really is as easy as that. I’m sure even you have a killer interest you’ve always wanted to exploit. A love for movies perhaps? Or expertise in minting long-form articles your current job has no use for. Or, even an insane desire to turn every song you listen to into a minimalistic poster. Yep, I just gave you three solid ideas for online businesses. Yep, you don’t necessarily have to sell something to be an online entrepreneur. Even Google AdSense revenue from your movie blog counts. Or, commissioned works your Facebook and Behance design pages fetch you.

If you still aren’t really sold on the entire concept and ease of online entrepreneurship, maybe you should actually ask yourself whether you’re actually happy with your day job; whether it fulfils you. If you, like me, happen to be like the majority of the working population, chances are you aren’t really satisfied with what you’re doing. 

Maybe, ok, it manages to pay your bills, but it’s either the rigidity of the corporate world, or a bad boss, or the endless commute to-and-fro, or even the nature of the work itself, which gets to you. And, I also know that much like the majority of the workforce today, you too have a secret desire to be your own boss and just do something for yourself. It’s all about the right day.

The right day, frankly, is on us. We are firmly in the middle of the small and medium enterprise revolution. The parity of opportunity between the big fish and the startup has never been greater. In the coming weeks, I will guide you through the various kinds of online businesses you can start and how to actually go about setting them up. Like me, you too can earn a good living running your own business.
Welcome to the age of the e-entrepreneur. Welcome to the best time in human history to start your own business and be your own boss in the true sense – the good and the bad.

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Quotes

5 Lessons for Communicating Efficiently and Professionally Through Quotes

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5 Lessons for Communicating Efficiently and Professionally Through Quotes

Considering we have been communicating since we were born, by crying and yelling, in the beginning, to get our message across, to slowly learning the words to do the same, you would think, we would have mastered it by the time we reach adulthood. How right yet how wrong that logic is?

When you think about it, communication is one of the first skills we learn. We have been talking and conveying our thoughts for our whole lives, yet, it becomes harder to effectively communicate as we grow up. There’s just something about communications that’s harder than it should be for us.

Of all the skills we develop as leaders and professionals, communicating is one that many people fail in. We frequently miscommunicate, bypass the point, cause an unintended reaction, or avoid a messy discussion altogether. As a result, not communicating holds us back.

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”

-Lee Iacocca

How many times has it happened that you have had a great idea, an obvious solution, known the answer to the question that’s worrying everyone, but haven’t voiced your thoughts? When you have difficulty putting your thoughts across, you choose not to speak at all. While that saves you from discomfort in that particular moment, it only harms you in the long run.

5 Lessons for Communicating Efficiently and Professionally Through Quotes

You might never stand out from your colleagues, even though you have better ideas. You might never be taken seriously because you don’t speak when it is needed. You might miss opportunities because you were too afraid to put in your two cents. Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no.

“Communication is the solvent of all problems and is the foundation for personal development.”

-Peter Shepherd

Following up on the previous quote, when you speak out, you get feedback. When you get feedback, you understand whether your idea is brilliant in reality or just your head. You learn how to implement it or learn where it falls short.

While not speaking out means your ideas will never fail, it also means that you will never learn and you will never grow. Hence, it will stump your personal development. 

Apart from that, it is really a solution for most problems – personal as well as professional. Many times the things that are bothering you can be easily solved with communication. Putting up boundaries, being open to discussion, raising objections, apologizing, a lot rides on words and how you put them. 

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise, you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

-C.S. Lewis

You communicate to be heard, to be understood; so if you use words that aren’t that common while speaking, then you are going to be getting nowhere. Try to keep your dialect as simple as you can when conveying something. Try to think of the least qualified person in the room, if even they can comprehend what you are saying then you are doing great.

5 Lessons for Communicating Efficiently and Professionally Through Quotes

This also applies to exaggeration when we are trying to sell an idea that isn’t great. We might succeed in selling it now, but no one is going to believe it when you actually do have a great idea.

“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

-Sydney J. Harris

This goes hand in hand with not using big words when putting your thoughts across. If it is a meeting with people from different departments, then chances are that not everyone is going to be familiar with the jargon of your sector.

While using jargon and technical mumbo-jumbo will help make you sound intelligent, it won’t help you put your point across. Try to communicate your information by finding a balance between speaking in layman’s terms and including enough to make you sound authoritative.

“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”

-William Butler Yeats

This is more applicable in professional life, even though it has an influence in personal life as well. When you are in meetings or business setting, not everyone is going to have the same expertise as you. While you might think in the terms of statistics, it might mean nothing to the person who thinks in the terms of profit margin. This is where it is important to learn to put your messages in a more understandable dome. If you have ever been into public speaking, then you will know that it helps you with being tactful about what you say, how you say it, and it is received.

5 Lessons for Communicating Efficiently and Professionally Through Quotes

In personal life, you might be able to look at a situation logically being at the outside of its direct impact radius, that does not mean you can put it as it to someone who is clearly in the center of everything. This helps no one, instead, it has the power to ruin, something that could have been easily solved. Sometimes you have to use your knowledge to help you navigate a situation without quoting your knowledge.

Final Thoughts

Communication might not be your strength, but it isn’t something that can’t be developed. Read books about communicating effectively. Basically, sound confident when you speak, try being concise with your words. Think about what you need to put across and mould your words to that. The words you choose should not be based on you but on the listener. Simpler the dialect, better it is perceived – fewer chances of miscommunication and misunderstanding.

When you start reading more, listening to more than just words, and writing down your thoughts – it becomes easier to communicate. To be able to give, you should learn how to receive. Communicating is a skill that is a necessity. You need to be able to put yourself out there to be seen, to be heard, and to be understood.

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Self Improvement

How Commitment and Accountability Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

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How Commitment and Accountability Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

Sticking to your goals is really important if you want to achieve your dreams. It isn’t as easy as saying that you will stay committed though. Not straying from the path is difficult, sometimes the reasons we are sidetracked aren’t even in our control. We keep trying to hold ourselves accountable but fail. We try to say committed but fail. We then give up.

“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.”

-George Whitefield

Many people find holding themselves accountable to be difficult. It is easy to come up with reasons to convince yourself that not doing something is most probably okay. Why do we make excuses in the first place? 

We lie to ourselves, we are scared to experiment with our capabilities, we scared to fail; we have fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, fear of uncertainty; and most importantly, we scared of change. 

Think about what reasons and excuses you often make and you will get some answers. You need to know about yourself – your fears, insecurities, and flaws. You need to know what makes you feel the most under-confident. When you know the trigger, only then will you be able to fight it. Knowing your weak points lets you rise above all fears and achieve self-confidence. 

You must have heard this popular anecdote, it describes what we are talking about really well –

How Commitment and Accountability Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

Five frogs were sitting on a log. Four decided to jump off. How many are left?
Five. Why? Because deciding and doing are not the same. It always seems impossible until it’s done. Cut the crap and just do it. Now, that you have decided to keep working, try finding ways to hold yourself accountable.

A good method to help you stick to your goal is to commit to another individual who will make you accountable for it. For example, imagine that you are an overweight person and wish to shed about 30kgs. You draw up a 6-month diet and exercise plan with monthly targets that define the process. 

The next thing you should do is to get in touch with a very close person, a friend or relative, and share the goal you have set for yourself. For example, you can disclose the plan with your brother coupled with the condition that you will pay 20% of your part-time income to him if you fail to meet the target. The prospect of failing in front of your brother and the loss of your income will act as a good motivation for you to try and meet the set goals. 

Begin With Avoiding Comparisons

How Commitment and Accountability Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

Comparing your progress to others is you being unfair to yourself. You cannot compare your start to someone’s middle and come out happy from that thought. All it will do is take you down. When you start working at something that involves a huge risk, it is easy to look at everything with distrust, it is easy to compare, it is easy to judge. You have to try to think of ways to change your perspective during crises. You have to actively stop yourself from thinking about external things that are completely out of your control.

External roadblocks are easier to pinpoint, but the ones we create ourselves, our mental roadblocks, those are what stop us from succeeding. Living in denial about how you yourself are holding yourself back is not going to help. Instead of doing that, you need to recognize the signs that tell you that it is time to change your mindset for a better standing point.

When you start holding yourself accountable, it becomes easier to not compare your progress with others. Because you know how much effort you have been putting in, and what changes you can make to move faster. When YOU and YOUR GROWTH are what you are focusing on, it becomes easier to not make comparisons and let that bring you down.

Avoid Dwelling on the Past

How Commitment and Accountability Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

You can’t spend your whole life cribbing and blaming the mishappenings of your past. Having a positive outlook is necessary. Every bad experience teaches you a thing or two, let’s focus on that rather than feeling sorry about ourselves. 

So what if you were not appreciated for your work before? That reason is not enough to stop you from trying again. No hard-work goes unrewarded. Failing your commitments can easily break your confidence. You start losing trust in yourself and your promises. This stops you from making further commitments because you know what is going to happen.

This is exactly what you are supposed to fight. Unless you commit to achieving something and learn how to not deter from the path, it will be difficult to work toward something with determination.

Stop allowing your yesterday to ruin your today. Accept what has happened. See every day as a new challenge, a new chapter.

Take Full Responsibility for Failures and Mistakes

How Commitment and Accountability Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams

We have a habit of blaming everyone or everything else instead of ourselves for our own actions. It is easier to not take responsibility. Life is built on our ability to successfully adapt to the changing conditions that life throws our way. 

Courage is admitting your mistakes and taking full ownership of your mistakes – learning from them and growing. This helps you go further – it enables you to make better judgments and keep little problems from growing into big ones. 

Final Thoughts

Focus on solutions and new opportunities whenever you feel stuck. Seek alternate perspectives by asking other people for their opinions, comments, and feedback, but always be the one to take the final decision. Focus on your strengths and use your weaknesses to better yourself. Same thing when it comes to developing a sense of commitment and accountability. 

Stop saying I won’t, I can’t, I’ll do it later, I’ll try, I may do it, tomorrow, day after… NO! DO IT NOW! If you want to get from where you are in life to where you want to be, you need to avoid making excuses and focus on the tasks that are going to get you there. While these qualities will take you where you want to be – you need to work to develop them as well.

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