What if I told you that we all have what it takes to be as successful as Albert Einstein?
When we think about the “greatest genius of the 20th century,” many of us focus on his moment of triumph in bringing light to the theory of relativity – at which point we’ll probably feel a little intimidated and place him straight back onto the pedestal where he currently, rightfully resides.
But what about the man behind the legend?
He was certainly just as human as the rest of us, with his fair share of struggles and setbacks.
He also used a lot of strategies within our reach to propel him to the place of great success that he achieved in his lifetime.
Here are seven practical lessons we can each apply to our lives, in his own words.
1. “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
How many times do you try before you give up? Once? Twice? Ten times? Stay with it a little longer!
Don’t despair from failure. Rather, allow it to teach you something, then apply those lessons and keep failing forward until you finally succeed.
Chase only progress, and never perfection.
2. “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
Never stop learning. Consume as much new information as you possibly can, including what you may think is irrelevant to your current station in life.
That widely varied medley of knowledge is oftentimes what adds up to give you the most creative ideas you’ll ever have!
3. “Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations.”
No matter what you do, you need to ensure that you’re adding value – be it to yourself, or to the next person.
Are you trying to give someone advice? Make sure that you would use it yourself. Better yet, try it, and show them your results!
When you’re acting out of a genuine concern for people and not just doing it for your own benefit, the wording comes easy, the connections form effortlessly, and the benefits accrue endlessly.
Remember, it’s not about pursuing your personal gain but rather presenting a solution to your audience.
4. “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
The main lesson here is to simplify!
When presenting a new idea, start with the most basic explanation, then build up from there.
Most of us unknowingly assume that the people we are interacting with are at the same level of understanding as we are, which creates a very big barrier to communication.
Always have in mind that you’ve spent more time studying or experiencing the subject matter than your listeners, and find ways to bridge that gap to the best of your ability.
This will ensure that people actually understand your message, which is the most important function of communication.
5. “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.”
Have you ever presented what you thought was a brilliant idea and been met with a less than stellar response? Respect that!
Don’t be rigid in your dealings. Always be willing to listen to feedback and change your perspective.
Challenge yourself to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. Sometimes that’s all you need to bring them to your side!
6. “Never memorize something that you can look up.”
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by life’s responsibilities and burn out before we achieve our goals, but there’s a lot we can do to free up our time and simplify our lives.
For example, delegate the tasks you’re not so good at or the ones that you don’t enjoy, and focus on the ones that you’re most efficient at.
Make use of the available technologies to automate the parts of your life that you can.
Ask questions as soon as you get stuck. Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out something on your own if you can simply present the problem to an expert (like Google) and have them point you in the right direction.
Don’t choose the difficult route unless you have to.
7. “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
Devote your time to studying the successful people in whatever you want to do in life. Learn from their mistakes and triumphs, then infuse that knowledge with your own personality and unique life experiences. That is how you create a new idea of your own!
What’s your favorite quote from Albert Einstein, and how can you apply it to your daily life?
Do you often feel like you do not know what you’re doing and that you might get found out and exposed?
Do you look at other people’s achievements and dismiss them as special circumstances that you could never recreate for yourself?
The good news is that you’re not alone, and there’s hope!
What is Impostor Syndrome?
In 1978, clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes coined the term “impostor phenomenon” to describe that feeling of inadequacy that we all tend to feel sometimes.
“Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been found to affect both men and women, in roughly equal numbers.”
How To Deal With Impostor Syndrome.
Be aware of the phenomenon.
Just knowing that this is a real psychological pattern that even the most successful people deal with is enough to help you be kinder to yourself.
Every time you catch yourself having those negative thoughts, take the time to acknowledge them for what they really are — just thoughts — and try to redirect your mind or actions to something more constructive.
Be as honest as you can.
Admit publicly (or to the relevant parties) that you’re not an expert and watch those pesky little thoughts lose their power real quick! After all, you can’t be exposed for something you’ve already owned up to, right?
There’s a lot of value in personal experiences, and some people even consider them to be more reliable than “expert” opinions while evaluating situations – this is exactly why user reviews are so important when you’re trying to buy a new product.
Make room for failure.
Know that even the best fail sometimes, and not getting something right on your first (or fifth) try doesn’t mean you’re an impostor.
Look at how many times the Apple iPhone has been revamped and upgraded, and all these times we were willing to spend our hard earned cash and upgrade with them! Not to mention that Steve Jobs was fired from his own company before he finally came back and made Apple what it is today.
Treat your life like a phone application – a few glitches don’t make your work worthless, and they can always be ironed out in the next version.
Start before you feel ready.
It’s very rare that you’ll feel completely ready to embark on a new experience, so do your research and prepare yourself, but don’t hold out for perfection. You’ll figure everything out as you go along.
The more you put yourself out there, the more confident you will feel going forward.
Keep positive feedback for quick reference.
If all else fails, turn to other people for help! Keep all your favorite compliments that you’ve received handy, and use them to remind yourself that you are worthy and that all of the amazing things you’ve done are as a result of our own hard work.
What have you been avoiding because you convinced yourself that you aren’t good enough?
Original Research Paper: Clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes
Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/men-suffer-from-impostor-syndrome-2016-1?IR=T
The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/07/11/a-womans-place-ken-auletta
At what point in the morning do you get your “news fix?”
Do you reach for your cellphone right after you open your eyes to quickly browse your notifications and social media feed, or wait until you can get the daily paper – during breakfast, perhaps?
As a responsible adult living in a fast moving world, you need to make being up-to-date with your information a priority, right?
According to a research study by HBR and Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, “individuals who watched just three minutes of negative news in the morning had a whopping 27% greater likelihood of reporting their day as unhappy six to eight hours later.”
Now, let’s be honest. The way that the world is currently brimming with strife, political tensions, economic recessions and natural disasters, it is almost impossible to browse the morning media without landing on a sensationalist headline that’s designed to evoke some sort of fear, anxiety or depression.
So what should we do instead?
In the aforementioned study, a second group of participants watched three minutes of solutions-focused news and stories of resilience to build the belief that our behavior matters. This group was found to be in a much better mood than their counterparts later in the day.
To that effect, it is recommended that you start your day with uplifting information, to remind yourself that you are in control of your own life and there’s a lot that you can do to change situations to your benefit.
Spend a few minutes each morning reminding yourself of all the good and potential available within your grasp, and your interpretation of the day’s events will gravitate towards action and hope, as opposed to despair and helplessness.
Some examples of positive media that you can start your day with are self help books, podcasts, inspiring pinterest boards, gratitude journals and even meditation!
HBR – https://hbr.org/2015/09/consuming-negative-news-can-make-you-less-effective-at-work
Psychology Today – https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/why-we-worry/201206/the-psychological-effects-tv-news
American Psychological Association – http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1976-22463-001
WARNING: Researchers from four top business schools have collaborated to show that in many cases goals do more harm than good.
But, but….goal setting is a part of life, business, success, and happiness, yes?
I set goals. I expect you set goals!
Gurus from every walk of life set goals, and urge us to as well!
So what kind of revolt against the establishment is this?
There must be some good explanation for this startling discovery.
Maybe you’re thinking this research really means something different because we’ve long been told goal setting is a good thing, RIGHT?!
According to these business school researchers, “We argue that the beneficial effects of goal setting have been overstated and that systematic harm caused by goal setting has been largely ignored,” the researchers conclude. Bad “side effects” produced by goal-setting programs include a rise in unethical behavior, over-focus on one area while neglecting other parts of the business, distorted risk preferences, corrosion of organizational culture, and reduced intrinsic motivation.
Their research showed that in many cases goals are not necessarily the best thing to focus on, both in a business situation and for life in general.
The danger is that by setting a goal, the goal itself becomes the desired result… even if it comes at the cost of cutting corners, taking risks, going to extremes, and doing things we normally wouldn’t.
Goals can be COUNTERPRODUCTIVE
Take for example goals on losing weight. How many of us have done some pretty extreme stuff just to get to a certain weight goal by a certain date?
We tend to choose quick-fixes like fasting, cutting out entire categories of food, and deprivation diets, only to yo-yo back to our original weight or higher because we did things that weren’t realistic over the long haul. And we probably drove our friends and family a little crazy in the process.
GOALS CAN BE LIMITING
Goals are supposed to be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) so by definition are trackable and on a timetable.
But using this model means that goals come to an end.
Once the end time has been hit, you’re done whether you failed or succeeded.
However, most important goals shouldn’t come to an end. They serve us better if they become positive habits and lifestyle changes which we want to maintain over time.
‘I want to look skinny for the wedding’, vs ‘I want to live a healthier, fitter life’
‘I want to get a better job this year’ vs ‘I want to continue progressing in my career’
‘I want to spend more time with my family’ vs ‘I want to be the best spouse and parent I can be’
GOALS CAN BE DEMOTIVATING
Yes, the very thing which is meant to inspire us can end up demotivating us!
Because we’re tempted to overestimate what we can achieve and so we set ‘stretch goals’ – which by their very nature are designed to push us to achieve something difficult.
They’re hard work and before long can feel overwhelming and unattainable.
This ends up sapping our motivation and turns into a spiral of feeling like a failure.
Did you know that 92% of people never attain their New Year’s Resolution goals? That’s a lot of failures, giving up, lost motivation and desire to try again.
SO WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
Is the solution to just stop setting goals and replace them with something else?
Maybe even stop setting goals entirely?
The answer is yes, and no!
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Scott Adams (who writes the popular Dilbert cartoon strip and is a big-time entrepreneur and business writer), talks about focusing not on the goal, but the system you need to have in place.
This makes perfect sense.
Whether you call it a system, plan, or strategy, we need to focus on the steps of the journey, not the end goal itself.
And more importantly, this system should endure past the timeline set for the goal itself.
Most goals don’t have a plan for maintaining what you achieved after the end date which is why so many achievements crash and burn beyond that point. However, if you have a system in place, the system endures and your achievement is maintained.
On balance, goals are not inherently ‘bad’, they just need to have the system framework attached so we can avoid the trap of cutting corners and doing “whatever it takes” to hit the goal at all costs.
So the next time you set a goal, ask yourself these three questions:
- Have I given myself a realistic timeframe to achieve this goal?
- Do I have a system in place to support me to do it the “right” way?
- What are the successes I can celebrate along the way, knowing they’ll offset the inevitable setbacks I’ll have too?
Ready to start hitting your goals? Go get ‘em!
- Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2013/01/02/why-setting-goals-can-do-more-harm-than-good/#3ff4d9ee115a
- Inc. Magazine – https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/science-says-92-percent-of-people-dont-achieve-goals-heres-how-the-other-8-perce.html
- Wall Street Journal – https://www.wsj.com/articles/scott-adams8217-secret-of-success-failure-1381639163?__s=2ng3msdwns9ytyhz8bwb
At Mel Cowen Fitness, we believe that our worth as women isn’t shown by the number on the scale. It’s about personal growth and just plain feeling better about who you are as a woman. Here are just a few testimonials we’ve received from our happy customers.
How I wish that I had a holiday survival guide to get me through the holidays of years past! I don’t know about you but this time of year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is the toughest time of year to get through and still stay on track with my healthy eating plan. One day of bingeing can easily lead into weeks and months of bad habits. But not this year! Because this year, we’re going to get our rears in gear and be PREPARED! Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Did you know that the average adult consumes about 3,000 calories in one Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Holy cow! That’s nearly double what most of us should eat in a day, never mind in one meal. So how do you go about eating smart without feeling deprived? Here are some great tips to keep you on target:
SURVEY THE LAY OF THE LAND: When you arrive at your destination, check out what’s on tap – at the bar and at the table. Ask what’s on the menu and begin to formulate a plan for what you want to eat and drink. Having multiple courses? Let’s break ’em down:
- SOUP: To reduce the number of calories, go for a broth-based soup over a creamy one. Or just skip the soup altogether if you’d prefer to save your calories during a different course.
- SALAD: Just because it’s filled with greens doesn’t necessarily make it healthy. Stick with your non-starchy veggies and limit the added stuff (like eggs, meats, cheese, croutons) and get your dressing on the side.
- APPETIZER: This can be tough because we often think, “Well, it’s just a small bite” but before we know it, we’re 10 bites and hundreds of calories in. Make your (mini) selection and put them on a small plate then WALK AWAY from the table. Instead of dipping chips, dip your veggies.
- MAIN MEAL: Think of the MYPLATE method of filling your plate. Using a 9 inch plate (this is a salad plate, not a buffet plate), fill half of it with your non-starchy veggies first. On 1/4 of the other side of the plate, fill it with starches (potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato souffle, etc.) and the other 1/4 is for your lean protein. Keep in mind that one serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards.
- DESSERT: Yes, we all know that desserts offer very little in nutritive value… but if you’re into sweets like me, you know you ain’t just walking away! Your best bet here is to keep your portions small and savor every single bite. The slower you can eat your dessert, the more time your brain has to register the sweetness of it – which means you’re less likely to overindulge.
- BEVERAGES: If you can muster up the courage, try to stick with water as much as you can. Staying hydrated will reduce your cravings and will help to fill you up faster. Avoid sugary sodas and juices and if you must drink alcohol, go for skinny versions. Check out some low cal options HERE. Light beer, wine or wine spritzers, an ounce of spirits with a splash of calorie-free mixer, or champagne are also lighter options. And never drink on an empty stomach. The less of your wits you have about you, the more likely it is you’ll overindulge.
MASTER YOUR PORTIONS: One of the easiest ways to keep yourself in check is to use the MYPLATE method that I mentioned previously. You’ll be using a smaller plate, so the trick is to not pile your food high! Kinda defeats the purpose that way. There’s no measuring or time consuming thinking involved in this method which makes it perfect for your holiday gathering. Don’t forget, liquid calories count too so limit the number of high calorie beverages you consume and drink water or sparkling water in between. Fill your plate up with the healthiest options first and leave the less healthy choices last when there’s little room left on your plate.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Not only is what you eat and how much you eat important, but so is where you place yourself at the gathering. Hang out near the buffet table and guess what… you’ll be more likely to mindlessly eat. Park yourself next to your healthy friends who are more likely to make good food choices. Get involved in conversation but be aware of how fast you’re eating. Nibble and savor each bite. Pretend it’s foreplay without the sound effects (just making sure you’re still reading!!).
GET ACTIVE: Get your workout in before you head out for the day. Not only will you be more focused and more energized, but you’ll also be able to counterbalance any whoopsies you make at the dinner table. Want to get the whole family involved? Clear a space, pump up the volume, and bust a move on the dance floor! Nobody’s expecting a professional dance routine so just let your crazy fly! (or if you’ve been using Cize or Country Heat – show ’em how it’s done!)
PRACTICE FORGIVENESS: Holidays are a special occasion and yes, you’ll be more likely to overdo it then you would on any other day. So if your day doesn’t go quite as well as you had planned, let it go. Tomorrow is a brand new day to get back at it!
Be safe. Be healthy. Have fun!