Category Archives: Psychology

Where does success come from? To paraphrase Will Durant paraphrasing Aristotle, we are what we repeatedly do. Success, then is not an act but a habit. Too many imagine the accomplishment of their most ambitious goals as a deviation from their normal routines, when such achievement is actually the culmination of what a person does day after day. Do you want to be successful? The surest way to improve the quality of your life and work is to emulate the example of other successful people: Read a lot Practice deliberately Work every day Minimize distractions Take care of your mind and body Obviously, successful types also follow more specialized strategies based on their fields; Olympic athletes train differently than, say, world leaders. But regardless of the scope of your ambitions, you will go much farther by heeding Michael E. Angier’s advice: If you develop the habits of success, you will…

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No matter what else is happening in the world, the Olympics have always commanded attention. If you ever doubt the burning will to exceed all limits inherent in all of us, just look at the dedication these indomitable athletes exemplify. No spectacle captures the world’s imagination on such a grand scale. But we’re not tuning in to catch up on air rifle or luge or any of the other hundreds of sometimes obscure events (race walking… really?) we somehow ignore every other week of the year. No, we thrill to the competition, the effort, and the unquenchable commitment to win. Everyone on the path to their best test scores and grades can learn what being the best really requires from those who have paid the costs and reaped the rewards–including Gold Medals and enshrinement on boxes of Wheaties–of enduring excellence… “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams…

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One of the most influential voices on the power of persistence has been that of Napoleon Hill. The author of classics like Think and Grow Rich delivered quotable quote after quote on what he saw as the root cause of all success: Willpower and desire, when properly combined, make an irresistible pair. Failure cannot cope with persistence. Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel. Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard at it. Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting. Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. But Hill didn’t expect that everyone was born with or naturally developed equal measures of persistence. Instead, he framed persistence is a state of mind that could be cultivated. The first step involves understanding the essential elements of persistence: 1. DEFINITENESS OF PURPOSE Knowing what…

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As another academic year draws to a close, we should all reflect on how much effort, enthusiasm, and endurance is required to succeed in anything. School will end all too soon, but staying strong to the very end–playing to the final whistle, if you will–demands hard work. Here’s some encouragement to keep working! And lest you forget why you are working so hard in the first place, remember this…

“You can only climb as hard as you rest.” Jared Leto shared that kernel of rock climbing wisdom to explain his prodigious productivity. Even a moment’s thought assures us that this concept makes perfect sense. Now consider the average high school student, so buried under so many academic, extracurricular, and social commitments that he can’t even get a good night’s sleep. This avalanche of activities might seem like the only path to success, but overwork all too often impedes real achievement. Not only do people, particularly teens, require lots of sleep for optimal performance, but even breaks make a difference. Margaret L. Schlichting and Alison R. Preston of The University of Texas at Austin found that reflection boosts learning. Their research subjects who used time between learning tasks to reflect on what they had learned previously scored better on tests pertaining to what they learned later, especially where small threads…

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Everyone thinks they can accomplish more by doing more at once. Unfortunately, almost everyone is wrong. Multitasking has been proven time and time again to kill productivity. Basically, switching focus to even a mundane task can double your error rate and lower your measurable IQ. So next time you’re studying for that big test, turn off the music, computer, phone, etc. etc. But if you’ve been insisting all these years that you’re different, you may be right. Studies support the idea that some lucky souls may actually be supertaskers, capable of juggling parallel tasks effectively. According to the research described in On supertaskers and the neural basis of efficient multitasking, some brains manage cognitive load more efficiently than others: Multitasking is mentally taxing and, therefore, should recruit the prefrontal cortex to maintain task goals when coordinating attentional control and managing the cognitive load. To investigate this possibility, we used functional…

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