There are a lot of ideas circulating about how to increase your personal productivity and success. I have quite a few, including these few:
Curate Your Crew
“You become the average of the people you hang out with.”
“Stay away from people who bring you down; spend more time with people who lift you up.”
You’ve heard this kind of thing before. It’s all true. When you spend time with happy, positive, successful, upbeat people, their world view and attitudes toward work and life tend to transfer. Surprisingly soon, they will grow strong in your heart and soul.
That’s one reason it’s important you pay close attention to the people with whom you surround yourself, and intentionally try to spend more time with the ones who help you improve.
Here’s a simple corollary: it’s beneficial to spend less time with people who criticize you, express too much negativity, or discourage you from accepting challenges, following your passion, or going for personal growth.
The company you keep is not the only factor in your productivity and success, but it’s a big one.
Validate Incoming Information
There’s a lot of spurious information floating around today, especially on the internet. From “flat Earth” theories to notions of effortless shortcuts toward success, you can easily waste a lot of time and energy using incorrect information to guide your work and your life.
That’s why it’s important you cultivate your “critical thinking” skills. As you get sharper at weeding out fallacies from facts, you’ll be able to discern most truths from falsehoods on your own. But even then, it’s always a good idea to validate the worth of the sources from which you get your information.
This is not to say that Encyclopedia Britannica and the New York Times are always right. But they tend to be a lot more trustworthy than a free weekly newspaper focused on local retailers’ advertisements, or ideas and information put forth on social media by people who have no credentials and an axe to grind.
In fact, when it comes to the important situations you face, it’s helpful to do your own research, check with people whose opinions you trust, and make your own judgments about the facts, trends, and best practices.
Keep Learning and Questioning
Although the schools I attended did their best to burn out of me all curiosity and desire to learn, they failed miserably. I never stopped enjoying the process of learning, questioning, exploring new facts and ideas, and – more recently – listening to experts share what they know and what they’re trying to find out.
As a result, I know a ton of stuff, and I learn more every day. Even better, I remember a lot of it. So when I encounter everyday situations, I know what’s going on (mostly), and when people ask me questions, I often have at least the germ of a good answer.
This makes my life very enjoyable for me, because there’s something to learn in almost every experience, and a good deal of satisfaction not feeling bewildered by behaviors, events, and attitudes I encounter.
Confidence Has Value
As you might imagine, I feel relatively confident – not only in everyday situations, but in circumstances I’ve never before encountered. I don’t know in advance how these novel challenges will turn out, but I’m generally willing to face them – within reason – because I feel good about my chances to navigate them – if not successfully – at least adequately.
Fortunately, I don’t feel the need to be right about everything (although I’m pretty adamant that the Earth is round), so I’m perfectly willing to follow others when they are in a better position to lead than I am.
This confidence has value because others – many of whom feel less confident than I do – are often willing to take my advice, follow my lead, allow me to take responsibility, and generally help me accomplish the tasks, projects, and goals I want to pursue.
That’s a satisfying position to occupy in this world, and makes for wonderful opportunities to do the work and live the life I prefer.
If you try them, you may find these approaches to personal productivity and success can do the same for you, too.
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