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Personal Development Life Hacks

What does it take to realize true greatness? To go from good to great in your personal development?

Everybody has their take on what is needed to achieve lofty goals. Skills, focus, passion, and desire are commonly considered some of the most important factors necessary to be successful and personal development.

And yes, those are all extremely helpful in any pursuit of greatness.

Before any of those attributes can drive your vision, there is one important factor that nearly every great achiever has in common. They all have the right MINDSET.

Without the proper outlook and clarity, success isn’t much more than blind luck.  Some would even argue the probability is less than that. Yet, all great athletes, business people, and achievers have a calm confidence that promotes achievement and allows them to be inspirational of the same in others.

So how do you go about it? How do you create a winning mindset that will propel your personal development and move you into the elite?

It’s not as easy as flipping a switch.  Yet, there are steps you can take.  Additionally, there are habits you can integrate and there are processes you can incorporate right away to get your mind into a state of success.

benefits of meditation 1000In your personal development, one extremely valuable tool to improve mindset is meditation. Proven benefits of meditation include the ability to increase focus, clarity, and reduce stress when necessary.

Any entrepreneur worth his/her salt must have these qualities. He or she must have clarity of purpose and direction. Furthermore, they must have the ability to focus at their fullest potential. Finally, they must be able to properly deal with stressful situations – to reduce stress on command when necessary – and overcome challenges.

Likewise, major corporations like Apple, Google, Nike, AOL Time Warner, Deutsche Bank, and more, have begun to promote meditation and mindfulness practices at work. They believe these programs help employees ward off stress, enhance personal development, and increase productivity.

Further, many uber successful entrepreneurs have adopted daily meditation as part of their high powered lifestyle.

For example, business moguls Russell Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, Arianna Huffington, and Rupert Murdoch are among the many that utilize mediation to get their mindset dialed in.

Another poignant example of creating the proper mindset is evidenced by research done by Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy. Amy was made famous in her Ted Talk, one of the most viewed of all time. She is a body language expert.

In a paper published in 2010 by Cuddy and collaborators Dana Carney and Andy Yap, they reported ‘power posing’ can change your life and your hormone levels. Power posing is holding two poses generally associated with power, confidence, and fearlessness (think Superhero).

The study analyzed the differences between people who practiced high-power poses against those who practiced low-power poses.

On one hand, high-power posers experienced elevations in testosterone, decreases in cortisol, and increased feelings of power and tolerance for risk.

On the other hand, low-power posers exhibited the opposite pattern.

Higher levels of testosterone (in both men and women) lead to increased feelings of confidence. Meanwhile, lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress.

A CBS News report noted the following regarding Cuddy’s research:

“Believe it or not, her studies show that if you stand like a superhero privately before going into a stressful situation, there will actually be hormonal changes in your body chemistry that cause you to be more confident and in-command. … Make no mistake, Cuddy’s work is grounded in science.”

be successful with the right mindset to overcome challenges - benefits of meditation to increase focus and reduce stressThe mindset of a champion is something that greatest athletes in sports all have in common. Likewise, it’s a must for the personal development of any person.

The overwhelming majority of elite athletes work with sports psychologists to fine tune their mental games. In elite competition, there are many very good athletes. However, the truly great ones have a mental edge over their competition – they have the mindset of a champion.

Consequently, that is what allows them to perform their best under the most pressure-packed situations. Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Serena Williams are just a few that immediately come to mind.

The iconic basketball coach Jim Valvano used to take a unique, yet genius, approach to helping his players adopt a winner’s mentality.

Valvano would hold a practice, usually right before the NCAA Tournament, in which he and his NC State Wolfpack team would practice cutting down the nets in their gym.

Cutting down the nets is a tradition for the team that ultimately wins the NCAA Championship. However, by cutting down the nets in practice, Jimmy V was able to allow the players to experience winning. Consequently, they begin to feel like a champion – soaking in the celebration.

Having the players visualize greatness reinforced the winning mindset.

In 1983, this vision came to fruition, as Valvano’s Wolfpack won the NCAA Tournament. NC State was a longshot to even be invited to the tournament with a mediocre 17-10 record entering the ACC Tournament. In all likelihood, they would need to win the ACC Tournament to even have a spot in the NCAA Championship field.

And so they did, beating Titans North Carolina and Virginia along the way.

Ultimately, they were heavy underdogs entering the title game against a superior University of Houston team that included NBA Hall of Fame players Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. NC State grinded out a 54-52 victory, and a celebration ensued – Jimmy V and his team cut down the nets.

If you are going to be successful, you must have a mindset of success. If you don’t yet, you must make this an important part of your personal development. Learn from those who are or have been among the elite in their industry and copy some of the habits that promote productivity. You can achieve anything.

Susan Sly is a best selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.



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