As high performers, the main objective is to move and evolve at a faster pace in life, all while making your biggest impact in the world. When it comes to being a high performer in your field, it's going to require more than morning routines and the typical productivity hacks that are often mentioned.

To gain the slight edge and ultimately perform at a higher level requires the use of some counter-intuitive habits. These three habits will not only strengthen your mindset but will also prove beneficial to your creativity:

1. Set unrealistic goals

When I gave my coach the goal I was pursuing, I was immediately told to "10x" it--which led to me giving a "deer-in-the-headlights" look.

If you're a high achiever--or you're trying to become one--you can't operate or think as the typical person does. The typical person sets realistic and "smart" goals. However, being realistic isn't in the high achiever's DNA.

Setting unrealistic goals that seem galaxies away from where you currently reside ruthlessly exposes what you lack, which creates a sense of urgency. You learn to take massive action, which inevitably dissipates any procrastination.

I've learned that my unrealistic goals are only unrealistic because I haven't opened myself up to the possibility of them happening. Assess the goal you're chasing, and multiply it until it feels uncomfortable and laughably unrealistic.

Worst case scenario, you shoot for the stars and land on the moon. Some progress is better than no progress.

2. Deliberately add stress and pressure to your life

Stress isn't the villain that society portrays it to be. It only becomes problematic when it's chronic and you feel that you're no longer in control of the situation.

In the proper amounts, stress is essential for personal growth and expansion. When you have upcoming speeches, presentations, or projects coming up, embrace those feelings of stress and discomfort. A 2013 University of California, Berkeley study found that in moderate doses, stress improves your focus, performance, and memory.

Don't run away from stress, lean into it in moderate doses by slightly extending yourself beyond your comfort zone. Turning stress into an ally is a delicate dance. To keep your stress on the positive side of the pendulum, have nurturing social support, exercise consistently, sleep, and approach life with a growth mindset.

3. Set aside time for daydreaming

As adults, daydreaming is often viewed as a waste of time, a productivity drainer, and a childlike behavior.

Daydreaming is anything but a time waster. It's an underutilized tool that helps you solve difficult problems. According to a 2012 Psychological Science study, daydreaming creates space for some much-needed recharging of your working memory, which allows your brain to retain and recall information at a higher level.

Lastly, a 2011 ScienceDirect study says daydreaming is beneficial for your creativity because it provides opportunities for you to generate new ideas. It may sound counter-intuitive, but paying attention to a problem isn't the best way to solve it. Instead, letting your mind wander is a better solution.

Published on: Mar 28, 2018
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