The human brain is an amazing thing. It keeps us breathing, dreaming, and scheming. And, if we train it and treat it right, it may even bring us untold success.
Unfortunately, our brains don’t always work the way we want them to.
Luckily, there are many ways to rewire bad habits, and get those neurons firing along the path to success!
1. Do or Do Not: There Is No “Try”
We all have that friend who always says they’ll “try and make it” to the party. Of course, they never show up! Maybe they’re just too busy.
Or maybe, by using the word “try,” they gave themselves permission to not do something. When someone asks if we’ll have a project completed by Friday, we say “I’ll try” when we already know it won’t be ready until Monday.
By using the word “try,” we’ve already admitted that failure—or worse, inaction—is an option.
While failure isn’t bad per se, giving yourself an out before you even start lowers your chances of success. Next time you’re tempted to say you’ll try, stop yourself. Say you will and avoid making excuses.
2. Don’t Box Yourself In
We are all unique individuals, with unique quirks and traits that make us who we are. However, you should never think of your individuality as a cage—instead, think of it like a platform, something that gives you stability while you reach for the stars.
For example, if you think of yourself as an introvert, standing up in front of a crowd to give a speech might be out of the question. However, if you let go of this limiting view and imagine yourself as a confident public speaker who also has a quiet side, anything is possible.
3. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When you leave your comfort zone, fear and anxiety increase. It can be unpleasant, but the science is clear: comfort makes us lazy. Being in strange, challenging, or unfamiliar circumstances stimulates our brains, making us more productive, more creative, and keeping us at the top of our game.
Of course too much anxiety can be crippling, but there’s no doubt that facing our fears and confronting uncertainty only helps us improve ourselves in the long run.
4. Frame Your Needs to Coincide with the Needs of Others
Society teaches us that we need to consider the needs of others before we consider our own needs. While that’s true, making decisions that are in your own interest can also mean you are doing what’s best for others.
The two things are not always mutually exclusive.
According to life coach Dr John Demartini, it is more a matter of understanding the values of others, then framing your goals to fit those values.
For example, focusing on your career does not always mean neglecting your family. By working hard to achieve a higher income (and better work/life balance!), you can better provide for your family, and give them stability and access to more opportunities, better education, and improved health and well being.
5. Don’t Try to Please Everybody
Ultimately, the course of our lives will be determined by the decisions we make. A desire to please others is an honorable quality. Working to make others happy should never be discouraged.
However, trying to please everyone is a fruitless pursuit. Sometimes, achieving something important means rocking the boat and making a few people upset. Would Martin Luther King Jr. have achieved so much if he compromised to make others happy? Would Steve Jobs have created the iPhone if he tried to avoid upsetting people along the way?
Don’t lose that drive to make people happy, but understand that some things are more important than being liked.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that if you want something done properly, you have to do it yourself. It’s only natural that when your reputation is at stake, you’ll want to check every detail.
But micromanaging is counterproductive in many ways—both for you, and the people you work with.
There is simply no way to achieve success on a large scale without delegating at least some of your work to other people. If you’re used to doing things yourself, it can be hard to let go and trust others.
But without that trust, there is no way to grow and reach your full potential.
7. Don’t Let Your Financial Limitations Hold You Back
Many people make the mistake of thinking they need money or resources to achieve their goals. I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins, and one of his stories really resonates with me. In his teens, a rough family life drove Tony out of his house, and he wound up living in his car. He, like most people, was frustrated at his lack of resources. At that point, he was focused on what he didn’t have instead of what he had.
Once he started to shift his attention to his own skills and knowledge, he realized he had plenty to offer. “The best resource is resourcefulness,” his now-famous saying goes. Recognize that each asset you have, even if it seems minimal, is useful and important.
If you really don’t have money, property, connections, or other things of value, understand the potential of using what you do have as a bartering tool. Offer your knowledge in return for the knowledge or materials of another. Convince others you are a worthwhile investment.
8. Never Settle
When you express frustration that you haven’t achieved your goals in life, people will often tell to be content with what you have.
Of course, you should appreciate all the good things and people in your world. But never let anyone tell you that you can’t have more—or that you’re not capable of achieving your ultimate goal. If we become too comfortable, we can become lazy. We stop working hard, and give up on improving ourselves.
Worst of all, we start to believe that we don’t deserve anything more than we have. Have faith in your own abilities, and never settle for less than you know you deserve.
9. Overcome Doubt by Learning On the Job
Generally, we tend to underestimate our own abilities, while overestimating the abilities of others. But assuming that our peers have a better education, more experience, or a better grasp of the issues can be a trap and lead us to feel helpless in the face of competition.
The best way to become an expert is to jump right in and learn by doing. If the goals and challenges you face seem overwhelming, try breaking them down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Celebrate each victory, and before you know it, you will have accomplished your wildest dreams!
10. Don’t Wait Around for Genius to Strike
No one ever became a millionaire by sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike.
In fact, a lot of businesses have made bucketloads of cash from mediocre ideas and unoriginal products, while there are plenty of clever concepts that flopped, and disappeared into obscurity. The most important thing is to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Don’t worry if your idea isn’t groundbreaking, you can figure out ways to innovate along the way. Remember, you don’t need to be Steve Jobs—you just need to get the job done.
For more tips on rewiring your brain for success, check out my Get Yourself Optimized podcast where you’ll find inspiring interviews with thinkers like Kate Beeders, Mick Ebeling, and Jeffrey Van Dyk.
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