We all want to know the secrets to success, and often get bogged down with questions along the way: What makes the most successful people out there who they are? Why do successful people seem to be superhuman in their capabilities? How is it that I work so hard but am not seeing the results that I want?
As fun as it is to play the guessing game, the secrets to success are closer than you think. They are accessible to all and rooted in habits--you just need to build that habit muscle to tap into their full power.
Consistent meditation has been known to literally change your brain and body--helping you manage stress and stay focused and calm. Mindfulness is a key aspect to resilience, which allows you to confront your everyday goals and challenges without burning out or feeling the need to throw in the towel.
One of the great things about meditation is that you can make it your own, so pick a structure that works for you. There are tons of ways to meditate--I like to create my own mantra and repeat it over and over to clear my mind. Do what excites you and helps keep you motivated.
2. Adopting a growth mindset
Studies have proven that there is a true power that comes with believing that you can improve. Those who have a growth mindset (as opposed to a fixed mindset) know that their talents and abilities are not predetermined. They are able to grow, learn, and reach new heights in their potential. It has been shown that those who have a growth mindset approach their work with increased motivation, positivity, and ability to succeed.
3. Having grit
Though science is unsure of where this comes from, it has been shown that those with grit--what Angela Lee Duckworth describes as a "passion and perseverance for long-term goals"--are more likely to succeed. Success doesn't just come down to IQ; it comes down to how determined you are to achieve your goals in the first place. So focus on finding your true purpose in life. It's easier to foster a sense of grit when you truly believe in what you are doing.
4. Getting enough sleep
This shouldn't be news to most people, but given the poor sleep habits of the average American, it's worth saying again. According to major sleep advocate Arianna Huffington, staying up too late can leave us with the cognitive impairment of a 0.05 percent blood alcohol level. When you don't get enough sleep, your creativity and performance decrease. So the next time you're feeling burned out or facing a ton of work ahead of you, it's worth just going to bed and getting the sleep you need. You'll wake up refreshed and in a much better place to achieve your goals.
5. Focusing on the process, not just the outcome
Look for work experiences and projects that you are genuinely excited to work on. When you enjoy actually doing the work and celebrating the little achievements along the way, your body experiences higher dopamine levels. This leads to increased motivation and energy to get even more done. If you find yourself only enjoying your work when you reach the finish line, it's time to reassess your career and how you approach it.
6. Finding your genius
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist and author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, notes that we are happiest when we are operating in a "state of flow"--when your work is so enjoyable and engrossing that you lose track of time. He goes on to say that you need three things to create flow: a clear goal, feedback on that goal, and the ability to find the sweet spot of challenge. My work has been about understanding how you uncover that sweet spot of challenge. What I have discovered is that it comes from identifying your genius: the kind of thinking that comes naturally to you and is essential for a specific kind of problem solving. Start to pay attention to those moments when you feel "in the zone" or "in flow." What is the thinking that got you there? Identify that, and you have your genius, a key ingredient that is essential for you to be your best at work.
7. Building your confidence
When you're confident, you are comfortable with who you are, your strengths, your weaknesses, and your ability to make the most of them. Confidence helps keep any creeping self-doubts or internal battles at bay, so that you can focus on the work that matters. The key thing to note here is that confidence can't be built by being dependent solely on the approval of others. You need to build up your own sense of self-worth and ensure that what you do is aligned with your own expectations of yourself.