Did you shortly experience a state of mind where you stay and don’t even get a clue what you should do next to move forward? If your answer is YES, then you are not alone. According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, conducted back in 2018, 43% of people are waiting for something outside them, to help them achieve success. They have moved from entrepreneurial and energetic thinking to a reactive state of mind and passive waiting for the “next miracle”.
The reactive thinking cost you much – it cost you your sleep, your energy, your motivation, your happiness, it can cost you also your work and happy and healthy life. When you adopt the reactive thinking you start doing things slower, you start to avoid the end result or put it somewhere ahead in time. This on the other side costs your relationship with others, it lowers the level of trust between you and others, generates, distrust, stress, and negativity.
And no one wants all that smashing elements. We want to be happy and successful. Eva Woods in her book How to be happy writes about how to become happier and increase chances to be more productive, satisfied, liked and successful. But Eva Woods’s book is the essence of long research she has made on the topic of productivity and success. Everyone can build it’s happiness and productivity system to help become more motivated, successful and liked. There are many people who write about this, create systems, publish books, deliver podcasts, etc. But still, all their work relies on some systematic principles that have helped them in their specific situation. When trying to generalize them, they often fail, because principles must be universal and applicable in different situations, cultures and times.
I have found 4 principles that work as universal boosters in every situation to help me progress with tasks, projects, and relationships. Here I’m offering them to you, believing that they can help you become more successful and progress delivering person, no matter the position, title or culture you are living in.
Principle 1: Progress motivates action
No matter what goal you have, you need to move it forward. People are most motivated when they see that their goals are achievable. When setting a goal set it so to make it to the end. You don’t need something that can change the whole world, but something that can give you the feeling of moving, of building step by step success. In time you will see it for yourself that when you move, when you progress, you also get more energy and can sustain it for a wider period of time to move ahead.
Principle 2: Small steps make the difference
One often seen mistake with people is that they want to finish everything now and then go resting. According to the American Psychology Association, 48% of people in the US are setting goals to fail. Most of them chose goals who are so challenging that they often lead to failure, burnout and a setback. To avoid this you will need to think big, but act small. Remember that what looks like a small step now is actually a turning point in the right moment. If you are one of the groups of “challenging goals lovers” then you need to learn thinking differently. Start planning a big gal achievement by planning small steps as part of a bigger step. Call this step a milestone and try to reward yourself when you achieve the milestone. But still, during the process of moving ahead of plan moments to recognize the small steps made, by setting up short “informing meetings with yourself”. They will allow you to see how you progress in time and how your small steps build a bigger impact as part of a larger step or milestone.
Principle 3: Turn setbacks to actions
If you are trying to achieve better results then you have definitely got through a setback somewhere in the path. It is that moment when you start thinking that nothing is working and start doubting if it is worth to continue with your work, or just sit and wait for something more meaningful. The setbacks you will experience in such moments can lead to disappointment, low energy, demotivation and even depression. But setbacks are part of life. If they don’t exist then everyone will easily get all the results he/she plans. And when you think practically “Where is the fun in that, to achieve all goals easily”. As easy one goal is to be achieved as lazy you become and less you learn and develop. When you enter a period of setback you need to reorganize yourself to be able to act in a changing environment. That means to start by assessing the situation, see where you are in this situation, gather information to help you reenergize and re-motivate yourself and then start again working on the final goal you’ve set, through the small steps and milestones you have planned. Recovering from a setback is a process that also impacts your motivation (it turns from negative to positive), your level of energy (from low to high) and recalibrates your attitudes, understanding and way of thinking, to help you get the results you want and need.
Principle 4: Practice when it’s easy to assess when it is hard
While people achieve results when they have gained knowledge and experience we cannot expect to be successful in each situation and by any circumstances. Our success is a balanced state of mind and body when we invest a reasonable amount of energy and effort to achieve results we know we can achieve. One of the mistakes people believe is necessary is to make as many mistakes as they can, without carrying out the time, efforts and other resources they have invested, just to draw a line at the end and say “I have finished”. What needs to change is that understanding. Imagine you are a doctor and you will have to operate a human heart. How many tries you can make and how many mistakes are acceptable? You need to start thinking differently. There is nothing wrong with making several tries, but you will need to learn that all these attempts need to be informal and unofficial. You can use a safe environment where you can practice and do as many experiments you think are needed to be sure that you can get the work done when needed. After all the practice and learning make one or two official tries to deliver the best result you can produce. And when you see things are going hard, stop for a while, assess and analyze, practice again and then continue.
Nothing is impossible if you invest enough time to learn. Planning the progress as small, continuous and result-oriented steps with a reasonable amount of time for learning and reflecting is an always winning model that can help you be successful in everything.