The biggest challenge of most high-performers is to focus on their work 100% without getting interrupted in their state of flow all the time by their surrounding or their own thoughts. Overcoming distractions is key to do work we can be proud of, as it will help us get it done in less time and with less frustration. The following productivity hacks are meant to guide you to achieve just that.
Multitasking is the enemy of great work
As employees are drowning in information overload, multitasking became a buzzword and for long it was believed to be a virtue of the best performing members of a team. However, studies have shown that the human brain can only pay attention to one mental task at a time and when we think we do more we are actually just switching our attention rapidly from one task to another.
Everything that interrupts you lessens the strength of your attention and you waste valuable time picking up the threads from where you had left off. Multitasking is the biggest lie of the 21st century and you should eliminate it from your dictionary right away.
Pavlov’s dog and your smartphone
Every time your phone beeps as a new email appears in your inbox your body gets a hit of dopamine and you will feel an irresistible temptation to check what it is. Most of the time you won’t even realize that you interrupted your work because you are so used to reaching for our phone as soon as you receive some news. After you get back to your work-flow it might take minutes to find your focus again and you risk forgetting a valuable idea which was just about to unfold in your mind before you got that message.
In order to prevent this you should put your phone into silence mode and close the tab of your inbox until the task you are working on is complete. We usually don’t even reply to these emails and messages after we read them but they urge us to worry about something unrelated to what we are focusing on. So stop the beeping – nobody gets hurt if you don’t respond to these messages for an hour.
Optimize your level of stimulation
Depending on whether you are an introvert or an extrovert and how alert you are to your surrounding in general, you should rethink the way your working environment is built up. The number of people around you and their temperament, the pace and volume of music that plays, the outside noise and passing lights –these are just some of the things your brain perceives passively around you.
Some people prefer to work in sheer silence while others need some background noise that motivates them to focus on their task even more. Maintaining your attention is a skill you can improve but while you practice you can simply optimize your environment in order to get the best results.
The art of simplicity
Minimalism is not just a style of interior design. It is a new trend in shared and individual working spaces alike where people prefer to eliminate everything from around them that is not strongly related to the very thing they are working on. Family photographs, awards, pile of books and notes all go to the drawer and all that stays on the desk is the device used for working and a notebook with a pen at the very most.
It is incredible how your nearest environment can influence how your mind works. Believe it or not, it will feel extremely liberating to remove all those unnecessary things from your desk and discover the power of simplicity.
Being in the present
No matter how much we change our environment and adjust to the people around us, our thoughts might still wander while we attempt to focus on a mental task. When these moments occur, you can use this simple technique to bring your attention back to the present moment. Find something right next to you that you can examine with your eyes. It may be the pattern of the wooden table or the wrinkles on your own hand. Just observe it until you get back to your awareness of the present moment and then get back to your work.
It might seem odd at first but it will help you focus on the now through your senses instead of time-travelling in your head to past memories and daydreams.
Leadership takes so much more than just a nice sounding title. It is about bringing the best out of people and inviting them to work for a mission you set for your business. We all have good days and not-so-good days at work but our behavior should mirror the traits of a leader at all times. Keep in mind these main differences between a boss and a leader and be your best self!
Leader: Shows example
Many of those who sit in a leader’s chair just give orders and take pride in people following them blindly. However, a real leader shows an example by demonstrating values and the right attitude that others will be excited to acquire. Being a leader takes being a role model and focusing on what you can give to your employees first, rather than the other way round.
You never know if the best idea for a solution comes from the leader board or from a newbie who brings a new perspective to the team. Encourage your team members to speak up at all times and make your workplace as democratic as you can. It will pay off later and it will create a positive working environment.
Boss: Whom people fear
Leader: Whom people respect
Leading by fear is only intimidation and it won’t make talented people stick to you for too long. However, if you gain their respect and appreciate them for their work, they will multiply their efforts to help your business thrive and even if they leave your company they will spread good words about you. It’s up to you how you want to be remembered.
Boss: Uses people
Leader: Develops people
The only thing that an employee will appreciate more than a high salary is the opportunity for growth. Investing in the development of your team’s skills should be a priority regardless of your cash flow because what they bring to the table will ultimately predict your future success or failure. Make trainings and learning sessions part of the monthly routine and you will attract people who are driven and future focused, just like you.
Boss: Says I
Leader: Says we
It is a common misconception that leadership is a solitary role. You cannot achieve great results if you operate separately from your team and if you act superior then people won’t have the courage to involve you into their thinking process. When you lead a team, you are still part of that team you just give more guidance to them.
Boss: Takes credit
Leader: Gives Credit
People thrive on appreciation. You could not have achieved success without them so make sure you mention their names as often as possible in front of others and tell a few good words about them. This is the single most efficient way to engage them and to create a happy work environment.
Sometimes things go wrong and it might be the fault of a single person or an entire team tossing responsibility and pointing fingers at each other. Either way, blame is a force of destruction in any company and you need to create an environment where people don’t go stressed out if they make a mistake but rather admit it before a small problem grows big and take responsibility for it, including you. If your team cooperates well then you don’t need to be afraid of facing a dormant issue that was swept under the carpet months ago.
Leaders have the ability to influence people around them with their energy, whether positive or negative. If you look stressed out and tired it will convey a message that people cannot count on you or that you cannot even take care of yourself which is not a favorable judgement… Mindfulness exercises can help you overcome stressful situations and stay positive and powerful so that you can be on the top of your game at all times. At the very least just optimize your sleeping and eating habits and learn how to manage anxiety. Even better if you coach your employees on it too!
Remember, your personality will represent your company for outsiders and your own employees alike so your personal growth should always be a focus. If you are balanced and fulfilled in your work then nothing can really go wrong.
We are living in a rapidly changing world where it is really hard to be original. The immense amount of new ideas and businesses push humanity forward but it also makes it hard for us to keep pace and stand out as an individual. These 5 books will help you question the outdated rules of society and find your own voice while living your life on your own terms.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
After reading this book you will forget about the myth of being simply talented and understand how the combination of hard work and opportunities helped some of the most successful people on Earth achieve their goals in life. Gladwell points out that carrying a cultural heritage and being different can not only be an advantage but it could be the very reason why some people succeed.
Being stubbornly faithful to your identity and embracing the characteristics that make you stand out from your surrounding will make you go a long way. The Outliers will prove this statement with countless intriguing stories from the business world.
The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
This book from 2007 is already considered a classic read, especially among entrepreneurs, as it proposes a fundamentally different approach to work to people who try to succeed in the 9-to-5 world. According to Ferriss, flexible working hours can enhance your productivity in leaps and bounds because it will motivate you to get your work done in less time instead of filling up the entire day with unnecessary to-dos.
With the Four Hour Workweek, you can simplify your life and optimize your earnings to a level where you can make a living from a few hours of super-productive work a week. It’s a must read for entrepreneurs and everyone else who don’t want to follow a 9-to-5 schedule anymore.
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani
This is the latest and most technologically hooked-up book from the entire list from the founder and CEO of Mindvalley who has interviewed many of the most extraordinary minds of our time. He provides a hands-on guide for anyone who feels ready to question the rules of society and build a life on their own terms.
The book takes a holistic approach and talks about the outdated rules in relationships, education, spirituality, work, and so on, and gives you a way to improve all areas of your life at once. You can also get to know the real reasons of happiness and the way we form particular beliefs and habits in our lives if you read all these thought-provoking chapters. You have been warned: Once you read this book, it is like taking the „red pill” and entering the matrix. You will never see the world as the majority of society anymore.
Originals by Adam Grant
How Non-Conformists Move the World – the subheading of this edition sums up the essence of this brilliant book well and after getting to the end of it, you might just feel like to go out and change the world yourself. Adam Grant’s thoughts are surprising and powerful and his stories will show you how to choose the right idea, speak up and act at the right time and the right way, and manage your self-doubts.
All ground-breaking innovations and movements had been criticized or ridiculed at first in history, but with the help of this book you can find the way to create value and let your voice be heard.
Million Dollar Women by Julia Pimsleur
Although this book is addressed to women who try to work their way up in the business world, it is an inspirational piece for all who are committed to building a successful company no matter what it takes. The chapters provide a step-to-step guide from starting small through getting investment all the way up to turning your company into a million-dollar business.
The kind of candor and persistence that reveals itself through the words of Pimsleur will make you want to rewrite your business plan right away and dream bigger than you ever have. It is a truly motivating read and a must-have on the shelf of business women who still doubt that gender differences can stop them from success.
Excessive anxiety makes us age faster, ruins our health and our willpower to do the things we really love. It is the most problematic side-effect of our fast-paced age and so one of the easiest ways to improve our overall well-being is to reduce stress in our everyday lives. It’s time to enjoy every moment and to show your positive side to the people around you!
Playing vs. working
People often divide their life into boxes and separate the time of enjoyment from the time of working. Yet, why couldn’t the two exist at the same time?
„I don’t think of work as work and play as play. It’s all living.” –Richard Branson
Work takes up a significant amount of time of our days and the key to living a fulfilled life is not to wait until the weekend, the holiday, or our retirement but to make our time spent working as enjoyable as we can. Surround yourself with people who make working fun and get creative: no matter what you do for a living you can always find a way to make a game out of it. Make office hours the highlight of your day and you will never hate Monday mornings anymore!
Meditating during the day?
The list of benefits that daily meditation has on our health and self-awareness is endless. No wonder it has become one of the top tools for boosting happiness and productivity among successful people today. Meditation draws the attention to the rhythmic flow of breathing and thus calms the body and the mind at the same time.
This element of meditation, however, can be practiced throughout the day as well. Most of the time when we get confronted by somebody or we hear some stressful news we are not aware of the fact that we get nervous and we rather try to hide even the slightest sign of it in order not to seem weak. Yet, if you get into the habit of self-awareness and we pay attention to your rising heart-rate and the speed of our breath, you can also turn your body back to normal which will calm down your mind as well. It is as simple as taking a few deep breaths and observing your body for a minute. Integrating these micro-meditation practices in your day will significantly decrease your stress level.
Transform your energy
In one of the most popular TED talks given, Kelly McGonigal talks about the fact that stress is only harmful to us if we believe it so. It means that our body reacts almost exactly the same way when we get anxious about something we fear like when we feel excited about something we are looking forward to. There are situations when we need a high level of energy to perform better, like when we give a talk on stage.
If we change our internal chatter to „I am so scared of speaking in front of all these people” to „I am so excited to share my ideas with so many people who came here to listen to me” then our energy will not just be beneficial for our performance but our health as well. It is just a matter of perspective to turn our worries into excitement but it makes a huge difference in managing our stress levels.
Although there are a few situations that make most people stressed, we all react to different situations in our own ways. What makes you irritated may not even get noticed by other people around you, yet in other situations, you get surprised that somebody got so frustrated over an event that would not affect you at all. One of the key reasons for this is that we learn how to react to distinct situations from our parents, relatives, and other people in our immediate environment from an early age.
For example, if your parents used to always get annoyed while driving you might also pick up the habit and get angry at other drivers on the road. It is often our own mental constructs that make us feel uneasy and so the most important thing to remember is not to react immediately. This way you can take a moment to reflect on your own behavior. Many of our emotional reactions are learnt and so we can also unlearn them in order not to waste our energy on things that are not meant to create turmoil in our minds.
If you master these techniques, you will be able to stay calm in even the most disturbing situations and your happiness will be unaffected by the minuscule troubles of the world around you.
We are often unaware of the expressions we use at work, even when the situation requires us to stay professional and confident in a debate or a discussion. The words we say influence how others we work with judge our personality and expertise and so it’s worth paying attention to our communication with them. Here are a few phrases you should eliminate from your dialogue.
It’s not my fault!
You have been in business long enough to know that there is always something that goes wrong. It will be very tempting to blame it on somebody else or the circumstances in the heat of the moment because your instinct tells you that it will make you look better at that certain situation.
But the truth is: It won’t. Finding the one to blame should never be a focus of a professional discussion. Instead, you should take responsibility for your part and turn the discussion towards solving the problem. Probably the hardest words in the English dictionary are I apologize, but if you can say it without shame you will earn respect and find a good solution much faster. The more determined you seem to clean up the mess the more people will trust you in the future.
I don’t have time for this.
I get it, you are busy and you are pressed for time. It makes you anxious and impatient. But you know, we are all busy and telling how much you have on your plate is not going to convince anyone.
It is not about time but rather about priorities so if you are aware of your freedom of choice it will be much easier for you to decide between yes and no to respond to the person who tries to block time on your calendar. If you want to hear their new ideas but your schedule is full then tell them they have five minutes to convince you or an option to come back next week. If you need to choose between a potential new client and missing an important family dinner again just remember: it’s always a choice you make based on your priorities. Let go of the rest and don’t let time put a pressure on you.
I don’t know/I’m not sure…
Sometimes, you get an unexpected question from a coworker or a client and you suddenly cannot think of anything to respond: that’s when these words might slip out of your mouth and the moment you see the look on their faces across the table you know you shouldn’t have said that.
Saying I don’t know makes you look like you give up or you don’t care enough about your business and it will turn people away. Even if you cannot come up with a perfect answer just tell them you will figure it out, you will let them know by tomorrow or anything that suggests that you will do everything as soon as possible to clear their doubts. If it’s a negotiation with someone who deliberately intends to put you into an uncomfortable situation you can respond with another question or make their question seem unrelated, just don’t wave the white flag with an uncertain response!
I am so tired/hungover/sick.
Complaining in a work environment just spreads negativity and will make you seem like the weak-link. If you really feel unwell you always have a choice to take a day off or work from home but once you enter the office you should give your best even if you slept two hours the night before.
It is essential to take responsibility for all your actions inside and outside of the workplace and to keep all areas in your life under control. Complaining doesn’t fit into professionalism.
Even if it is just a figure of speech, if you beg people to trust you or believe your words it will have the opposite effect. If you show integrity with your everyday efforts and you articulate your statements with unshakable confidence then people will believe you. It’s that simple.
If you notice that people look unsure or puzzled around you, it is better to ask them about their doubts and respond to each one of them with candor. Transparency will bring trust and if you stay true to yourself and your point of view they will believe you without convincing.
When schedules get longer and responsibilities grow bigger it becomes a challenge to take care of family relationships. They are the ones who are there for us at times of overcoming failure and celebrating success and we do the same for them as much as we can. However, sometimes we need to sacrifice some family events, which is alright as long as we pay attention to these significant habits in our homes.
Commit to a few rituals
Each relationship and family have their own rules and customs that support a healthy family life, which might differ completely from your neighbours and friends. Some find it important to have breakfast together or talk about their days over dinner, some go out for a weekly family date no matter what comes up. Maybe it’s just a special kind of greeting or the notes you leave for each other on the fridge. It can be the time spent together or just expressing love in simple ways and paying attention to each other. Even if it takes two seconds before leaving the house in the morning, it can make a lot of difference and help stay close to our loved ones.
These bonds will give a solid foundation to our lives so that we can handle any change. If you have healthy relationships with the ones in your household and the people closest to you then you will have more strength to face conflicts at work and more energy to take risks. Family rituals are one of the best tools to strengthen these connections and the more meaningful and dynamic they are the better they work.
Manage your time attention
You wouldn’t get angry at people who are chasing their dreams and don’t have as much time to spend with you like they used to. But you would get disappointed at someone who sits across the table and checks his phone or stares at something else while you are talking to them. Attention is a simple but very important gift we can give to the ones who mean a lot to us and it doesn’t cost a dime.
Make sure you put away anything that might distract you from the person you are talking to! Lean forward, open up your arms and let your feet rest on the ground: use your body language to show that you are 100% present and you are not going anywhere. It will help you focus as well when your mind starts worrying about a deadline or an unresolved problem. Observe how your spouse, kids, relatives, or close friends look in these moments like you have never seen them before and ask questions that will help them open up about something they might hesitate to tell you.
Involve them in other areas of your life
When our work gets too complex we don’t feel like talking about it anymore. You might say, my kids are too young to understand or my parents are too old to relate to what you are going through. Yes, they probably won’t solve the problem your production team is facing or tell you what you should write in that press release you are about to send out. But you are not sitting in a meeting, right?
It is more than enough to tell a simplified version of what is happening in your office and be open about your feelings at work. They will be happy to get a grasp of what’s happening with you during the time you are away and maybe by simplifying the issue you realize that it is not that big of a crisis. Appreciate the time with the ones you can truly be vulnerable with and make sure you know about their secret wishes and deepest worries as well.
After all, that’s what families are for.
Designing the lifestyle we want to live by is just as important as building our career. It directly contributes to our personal fulfilment and it defines our habits from the time we wake up throughout the whole day. Don’t settle for being ordinary! Quit old routines and live the life you always dreamed about!
Build it around a mission
We all seek our quests in life. Something that is bigger than us, something which gives a meaning to every single thing we do. It is more than our list of resolutions and our five-year goals in our careers: It is a purpose that pushes us forward and guides us in the right direction when we are in doubt and when we are making decisions.
If you haven’t found it yet, that’s fine – just keep looking! Gordon Bowker founded Starbucks at the age of 51 and Ariana Huffington started the Huffington Post when she was 54, and both businesses had become great successes driven by their personal missions.
“A ship in harbor is safe— but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd
If you have a purpose that makes you jump out of bed every morning then everything you do in life, even your smallest daily habits will be a product of that belief. Sometimes, you discover that you had been chasing a mission which was not right for you or which was not big enough, and it is completely okay to change directions as long as you feel that you are true to yourself.
Question the rules around you
Most of the things we do day by day on autopilot mode are the same systems we use since our early age. The way we eat, the way we form sentences, even our morning and bedtime rituals… Some of these unsaid rules are taken from our family, from school or the communities that had shaped our thinking at a young age. Maybe we picked them up later and didn’t realize that we got addicted to them. The main problem with this fact is that some of these principles might be fundamentally wrong and we stop questioning them because we don’t even realize we follow them. It just happens automatically.
It is time to get a little analytic over the habits that come naturally to you in your everyday life. Perhaps, you need to stop for a minute after reaching home and instead of reaching for your laptop immediately you could say a few kind words to your family or just sit down with your favorite beverage and reflect on your day. Maybe you should stop being humble when you receive a compliment and just say thank you or change the questions you ask from your friends when you meet them for a coffee. These habits might seem minuscule but if you look at the big picture, we are the direct outcome of the smallest pieces of our lives.
If you are interested in this topic and you are ready for a greater transformation you can read The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani, which will help you redesign your life entirely.
Don’t forget who is in charge
Even if we don’t say it out loud, we often we feel that we need to ask for permission or consider other people’s requirements when we change the person we had always been. Change might be scary and it might seem too hard but when you get there, your new life will seem just as natural as the previous one. Don’t worry about people leaving you or turning against you: the ones who really matter will support you and encourage you throughout your journey.
You are the only person who can set the rules in your life, and challenging others around you will be beneficial for them too, even if they don’t realize it just yet. It is not selfish to do what is best for you and what makes you feel satisfied and fulfilled in life! You can only perform your best and give your contribution to the business you build or the cause you stand up for if you are your best and happiest self.
So get ready to question every rule in your life, seek your quest, and make those small changes that will make all the difference!
As Jim Rohn famously said, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. It is hard to tell which friends will grow with us as time passes and which ones will stagnate and try to stop us from succeeding as well. You might have some frenemies at this moment who seem to be supporting you but in reality make a negative impact on your mood, attitude, or decisions. They might have persisted in your life because you grew up together or because you feel like you owe them, but if they hold you back, it is probably time to say goodbye.
Does success change people?
There are a lot of things you can tolerate in a friend – jealousy is not one of them. True friends will help you get higher even when they feel low and seeing you succeed won’t scare them away. They have a healthy self-esteem and they want to be surrounded with people who grow, just like you, instead of trying to bring them down to their own level.
Stick to people who are genuinely happy to hear about your success stories and say good things about you behind your back.
Just like any human being, you could also make a mistake once in a while but if your friend chooses you for who you are and not for your status or your bank account, then they should be able to accept your apology. When you’re going through hard times, life will teach you some great lessons and one of the most valuable ones is that you’ll know who is there for you.
It is okay to have people on your contact list only because they are beneficial for your future and who think the same way about you. But they shouldn’t be in your inner circle.
The art of handling distance
If you have moved to another city, state, or country at least once or your schedule is basically a series of business trips then you know how it feels when months pass without meeting people who once were part of your everyday life. You soon start to delay calling them until you have a better network and more time or energy to talk and that moment just goes further and further away. So before the months become years, just give them a 5-minute call before your next flight takes off.
Sometimes distance can come handy when you have to evaluate your relationship with a person but too much might make you strangers to each other. Nevertheless, if you keep in touch once in a while, then meeting again will feel like you never left.
Reactions tell a lot
Negativity is contagious and it is the number one thing that sabotages your growth. It can seem like a good intent of giving an advice or a series of friendly complaints. It might be the hardest decision of all to keep distance from people you have a history with who turn out to prevent you from living as happily and successfully as you possibly can.
However, you can easily spot these people just by saying a neutral statement about something that happened to you or you look forward to. For example, you might say I am flying to Europe and I will have a 12 hours flight. They can react to that by saying “Oh, that’s great! You will finally have some time off! Enjoy your time on board!” or they can say “Uh, that’s horrible, so boring! What are you even going to do for such a long time?”
You decide which one you would want to hear more in your daily conversations. Negative comments can be really subtle as well, but you have to spot them in order to eliminate the unwanted mindset from your most important relationships. Some people intend to change and you can have a positive impact on their lives with just a little effort and they will be grateful for it. Others will run in circles and will be against your growth. Once you spot this pattern, no matter how hard it may seem it is time to say goodbye.
You are the only person who has control over your life, so stay positive, and spend it with people who make you improve!
Only those who dream truly big think beyond their lives on this Earth and wish to leave a legacy that persists beyond them. You don’t need to be the next Albert Einstein in order to be remembered (although, that helps too) but there are a few values you ought to live by.
Give more than you’re asked
People come and go: some will be missed, some will be forgiven, and some will be forgotten. But the one thing that’s sure is that you will always remember the ones who helped you in life. It doesn’t always have to be your money or your time. Sometimes, your knowledge is the biggest gift that you can share with others.
If you want to be grateful to the ones who had moved you up the ladder in your career, give back by mentoring others. Never be possessive about the wisdom you have encountered over the years because you learn the best way by sharing, and thus, others can benefit from it too. The next time they would be asked to recommend somebody for an event or an interview, you will be the first person on their mind because of the impact you left while devoting a little time to their growth.
Don’t complain, fix it!
Most people just complain about the problems they see in the world without ever taking action. Of course, you don’t have to fight global warming and famine alone, and you don’t need to adopt all the homeless people in your city, but you should only complain about the issues that you take action about. You can pick your own cause by asking yourself: What makes me angry in the world? Is it inequality? Is it littering? Is it something that the media has never paid attention to till now?
Once you have your answer it will be much easier to put your frustration into use and take one small step towards fixing it. Educate yourself, be creative, and you will find a way to make things better or at least raise attention to the issue. Who knows, maybe if you lead by example you will start an epidemic that gets further than you thought it ever would.
Integrity above everything
No passion can stand above the value of integrity. Even if you fail a few times or you go against the crowd, when people think back and mention your name you want them to talk about you as the most honest person they knew. There will be temptations on the way when you would know that breaking your principles would get you a high gain, but you have to stay strong.
While staying true to your integrity the first and most important step is to stay true to yourself. We all tell little lies to ourselves once in a while in order to feel better or make others satisfied. You need to discover these hidden clues and separate them from your inner voice so that you can make the right decision.
Dare to be different
Once you got through the trial of self-doubt, it is time to get a little… crazy. No man has ever achieved anything big while following the rules of society. They are just guidelines made by other men who, after all, were no smarter than you.
The great figures of history were often criticized, ridiculed, and doubted. They all had a little madness in them that fueled their passion and gave them strength to say no and to trespass the limitations of others who feared change.
Never stop creating
Out of a thousand tries, you might create your masterpiece at Version 989 but your efforts will not be in vain. As long as you keep a balance between your purpose and your relationships, your hard work will pay off and you will have people to celebrate it with when you hit the jackpot.
A legacy doesn’t necessarily have to be achieved by building rocket ships or painting the ceiling of the greatest cathedral. It can be anything that gives people a sense of meaning, beauty, or belonging. Be brave enough to express whatever is inside of your heart even if it’s not profitable or particularly useful to you. The point is that you left a footprint somewhere in the world that gives value to others.
Every parent’s dream is to see their children outperform them and become more successful than they ever imagine. If you are a person with high ambitions then you set the bar high with your own example and will have high expectations for your children too. None of us went to parenting school and finding the right amount of challenge a child can handle in a specific age is not easy. There is no manual for raising a child but teaching them a few values and attitudes early can give them a huge advantage later in life.
The importance of a growth mindset
Appreciating our children is an important part of helping them build a healthy self-esteem but it can be misleading too if we encourage them for a wrong attitude. If we attach specific characteristics to our children like being talented or smart, it might make them feel confident at first but later on, they will start comparing themselves with others and putting themselves on a scale. If they are constantly trying to be better than their peers and they don’t feel they are enough, they won’t have an independent mindset and self-assurance to carry out their own projects as an adult.
To the contrary, if we compliment them for the efforts they made for a good grade or the fact that they tried multiple times to solve a complex problem they will develop an attitude for persistence and constant learning. They will appreciate the results of their hard work and might help others too instead of always competing with them.
Be a parent, not a boss
Parents who don’t give their children the freedom of choice early enough or tell them to do things „because I said so” will raise kids who won’t have confidence to speak up in the room and who fail to keep their lives under their own control. Growing up with these limitations, it will be extremely hard for them to question authoritarian figures and to become leaders in their career.
Every parent is afraid that their children won’t listen to them. But being too controlling or letting them do whatever they want without any guidance can be harmful in the long term, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal right now. No matter how many times your little ones ask Why? you need to be patient enough to answer. After all, successful entrepreneurs are the ones who question every rule set for them.
Let yourself be vulnerable
Many parents tell only their success stories to their kids because they want them to look up to them, however, children learn just as well from mistakes as from bright moments. Don’t create an illusion of a linear story of success! Instead, teach them how they should hold on to their goal without giving up and share your failures and hard moments from your life. They will have more respect for you if they hear the whole story and they will be inspired by your efforts and your honesty.
Involve them early
Never kill the curiosity of your children by telling them they are too small to understand something. You don’t need to tell them how much savings you keep on your bank account or explain to them how to pay their taxes when they can’t even count till hundred, but telling them how many different expenditures and income sources you have will make them feel involved and encourage them to be future focused.
The way you talk about wealth is a huge influence on the money-mindset of your kids. If you attach fear and worry to talking about financial affairs then they will develop an attitude of avoidance and it will be hard for them to manage their future income. Whether they will save desperately or spend carelessly, the way they handle their finances will mirror the attitude they saw in the household they grew up in. You don’t need to be wealthy in order to raise successful children but you need to give them the right way of thinking about money.
Let them be children
As the internet age gets more and more demanding we put ourselves into a constant race and we might make our children feel overwhelmed as well. We create a schedule of extracurricular activities for them that we think will develop the right skills and later we realize that they don’t have any time to play and they are almost as stressed out as we are.
Exposure can have an amazing impact on these tiny humans but we have to let them experiment with whatever they feel like trying. Not everything they do needs to have direct benefits on their abilities: If a sports class or a creative lesson can divert their attention from their phones than it has already done its job.
We are forever learning and we don’t need to know everything better than our children. Dare to share the personal growth lessons with them you just learnt yesterday and listen to what they have to say. They might just teach you something too!