Archive for the ‘Habits’ Category

Taking initiative; the art of seizing opportunities.

Personal initiative is a critical differentiator between highly competent people who take charge of their destiny and those who are not. Having initiative goes hand-in-glove with being successful.

Research conducted found that highly initiative people are said to be better able to find a new one if they ever lose their jobs. They are also said to be more likely to offer more suggestions at work and in relationships.

What does it mean to have initiative? A study by researchers interested in high and low initiative people provides a clue.

“In their research, they offered people training in computer skills, which they also video recorded. Afterward, the scientists went back and watched how the most enterprising people behaved and how this differed from those who lacked initiative. The latter group frequently interacted with the trainer. Specifically, they asked—over and over—whether they were using their new skills correctly. They were not merely interested in feedback; they invested in getting reassurance. 

Rather than taking the reigns of their learning, they demanded a disproportionate amount of the instructor’s attention. By contrast, the folks with the highest initiative were more likely to engage in trial and error, if they could solve their problems, and only asked for feedback once they were truly stuck.”

Taking initiative is about being first. It is a willingness to act.

Three critical elements of taking initiative 

1. Taking Action.

People who are high in taking initiative are willing to act. Recall all those times that you considered speaking with a stranger on an elevator or wish you had spoken up when there was a mistake at work. Folks with initiative do something in those situations—they introduce themselves to strangers or speak up about problems.

2. Self-Starter Attitude.

Importantly, the actions taken by people high in taking initiative are self-motivated. These people don’t wait for permission, or for everything to be clearly explained, or for conditions to be completely safe.

3. Seeing Opportunity.

Critically, one of the reasons that people high in taking initiative are self-starters and are willing to act is that they see opportunity. They see opportunity where others overlook it, or worse, where others see threats. 

Where do you stand with taking initiative?

Are you a play-it-safe type of person, or are you bold? 

Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener created an unscientific checklist to help you gauge how you fare about taking initiative. Give yourself a point for each “yes” answer with the idea that the more points, the more initiative:

       _____ When an emergency happens, I rush to help 

       _____ If I get stuck, I try to solve the problem before asking for help

       _____ If I see a problem, I will speak up and let others know

       _____ I have a history of taking the first step in new social relationships

       _____ I rarely regret missed opportunities

       _____ I volunteer for new duties and opportunities at work

       _____ I like to try new things

       _____ I am on the lookout for an opportunity

How did you fare? 

See, here is something I’d like you to keep in mind – we are all a mixed bag of stepping forward and opting out. 

“There are times when we wish to act but—for one reason or another—can not bring ourselves to do so, that’s called procrastination. There are times when we wish to act but do not muster the will (like wanting to meet a stranger but holding back instead) that’s called being reserved. And there are also actions we take without much thought or intention, these are called habits. Initiative, however, occurs when we take action.”

How to increase your  “Initiative Quotient.”

Dr. Robert asserts that initiative can be learned and if you are interested in increasing your “Initiative Quotient,” he suggested that you consider the following exercises:

  • Be First. People spend a lot of time waiting for other people to take the first step or for conditions to be “just right” before taking action. I recommend making a little private competition out of being first. This might mean being the first to smile and say “good morning” to a stranger you pass on the street. It might be that you are the first to volunteer or the first to offer an idea. To do this effectively, use “be first” as a mantra. When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself that you will look for opportunities to be first in a wide range of ways. See what happens. 

 

  • Be Brave. Understand this simple fact: Being brave does not guarantee success. Some gambles pay off, and others don’t. But choosing to take a risk at least puts you in the game. I am not suggesting taking foolish risks but rather permitting yourself to try even though you aren’t sure how it will all work out. 

If you try these for a week,  you will notice changes in your life. Your confidence will improve; you will seize more opportunities and will be well-positioned to become more successful. 

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Cheers

 

Sources:

High-Performance Institute Blog: Taking Initiative: A Key to Success is Seizing the Opportunity

The Mindset That Can Make You Fail in Life.

Do you want to be successful in life? Then, you must understand that having the right mindset is crucial to attaining greatness.

Yes, hard work, effort, and persistence are all important, but not as important as having that underlying belief that you are in control of your destiny.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck uncovers the differences between two core mindsets, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

Dweck examined the two mindsets and discusses why a fixed mindset leads to an unsuccessful and unfulfilling life.

No one wants a horrible and unfulfilling existence, but that is some people’s reality. They are stuck and unable to achieve success because of their fixed mindset.

Hold on, but what is a fixed mindset? How do you identify and break yourself from its shackles?

I’d share a few tips, but first.

What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is a belief that you are in control of your destiny and your ability to learn and improve.

Simple, right. So.

What is a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset is the opposite; it is the belief that individual traits are innate and cannot be changed or developed.

If you think about that for a second, you’d realize that having either of these mindsets all gets down to one’s belief.

In the growth mindset, one believes that intelligence, creativity, and artistic ability can develop over time with practice, hard work, endurance, and a willingness to learn.

Whereas a fixed mind believes that intelligence, creativity, and other abilities does not, or can not change regardless of opportunities for learning and growth.

Honestly, this way of thinking is terrible for anyone, and you must beware of it.

It is the path of failure that you don’t want to tread.

It leads to trouble with self-esteem and personal development, particularly in the face of mistakes and failures.

People with a fixed belief hold themselves in an unchangeable position, where they have to prove themselves always, and where mistakes or failures are unacceptable.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset see mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn and improve themselves. They know that is the only way to progress.

So, this is my point: a fixed mindset will make you out of date and unsuccessful. If you are successful by your terms, don’t let it hinder your greatness.

Read the signs, when you see that you are beginning to settle for less, when you begin to stop seeking knowledge.

When you give up, and not set higher goals. When you stop working out your plans, and not learning new ways of doing things.

Beware, it is the fixed mindset.

Instead, live with a growth mindset by pushing away your fears and inadequacies. Embrace the evolution of your abilities, and go with courage that everything is possible if you commit to growth.

 

How to Beat Procrastination to Stop Hindering Your Growth in Life

Procrastination is a bad habit that hinders personal and professional growth; in fact, it is commonly known to be a thief of time. If you are like me, then cultivating good habit is important to you.

In this article, let us deal with a habit that has kept many people stuck in a life of mediocrity – procrastination – which means to keep delaying or postponing something that must be done because it is either boring or because you just haven’t found the motivation to do it.

I will not deny the fact that sometimes we are too busy to attend to certain things and sometimes, our priorities aid procrastinating of some activities we want ‘to do’.

However, beating the habit of procrastination is as important as achieving one’s goal. An important tip to dealing with procrastination is to understand the reason for doing so and addressing it at the core.

So, What Causes Procrastination?

1. Negative Perfectionism:

This is a way of thinking that is based on unrealistic expectations of oneself. A lot of people are guilty of this because they often set perfect standards for themselves; forgetting that there is nothing called perfect with humans. We all just have to try our best at all times to reach our goals.

How to beat it:

In this case, it helps to understand your ‘perfectionism’ approach to life and set small realistic goals that are easy to achieve. You will be surprised in the end how much you can get done.

2. Fear of the Unknown:

You probably already know this faceless devil called fear of the unknown – we have all met with it at some point in life. We experience fear of the unknown because we do not want to fail (but who has become great in life without a fair share of failure?). Certainly, it is okay to have fears but you must not let them keep you from moving because growth begins when we act, regardless of the inconvenience.

How to beat it:

This is more of a mindset, and it can be beaten only with a counter mindset. Here, keep in mind that fear of the unknown comes with unknown territories. So, if you want to do something you haven’t done before, brace up and wear your ‘warrior-suit’ – because courage is all you need to beat this. Believing that you can do all things will come handy too.

3. Distractions:

Oh, distractions. These are everywhere. Home, office, you name it and there are things competing for your attention everywhere. Your phones, the TV, internet or even your kids. It is becoming more difficult to ignore distractions in the world today which is the more reason to stand up to it if growth matters to you.

How to beat it:

There is no other way to beat distractions than to be disciplined. Discipline, discipline and more discipline is the most reliable way to beat it. Be strong-willed about the things you want to do and ensuring that nothing comes in the way of accomplishing it.

4. Lack of motivation:

Another cause of procrastination that we often think is beyond our control is lack of motivation to start. I have heard over a thousand times that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. To take that step, however, sometimes we need a push and so do every other person in the world. It is therefore not smart to fold our hands in wait for that little spark of motivation before we start doing what we need to do – especially from others.

How to beat it:

Self-motivation is the keyword here. Never wait for people or life to motivate you before you start, instead get out there and find the things that motivate you. For me, I study the biography of great people and listen to their speeches. I read the bible and learn from mentors too (they are a source of external motivation you can rely on), however, you must learn to inspire yourself to start and you will be surprised how much momentum you can gather from taking the first the step.

That’s it, the four main causes of procrastination and how to beat it so that you will stop hindering your growth in life.

I hope you find this helpful enough to start taking to it now because good habits aid personal development and there is really nothing worth living for if we are not growing.