Category Archives: Knowledge

Transform Your Words in 4 Steps

By Tony Robbins

In a previous blog post, Change your words, change your life, we talked about how our habitual emotional vocabulary shapes and controls much of our emotional experiences in life – how the labels we put upon our experience become our experience.

Today, let’s take a look at how you can transform the quality of your entire life simply by becoming conscious of what habitual vocabulary you use for negative emotions, and shifting them with words that break your patterns and provide you with new and better emotional choices.

Your assignment is very simple: Below you’ll see my 10-day challenge. I call it “Watch Your TV,” watch your “Transformational Vocabulary.” The labels you attach to your experience can transform the way you feel. Again, it’s not hard to realize that if you habitually take any intense emotion and say it’s “depressing,” it’s going to feel very different than if you say you’re feeling a little “down.” Being enraged by somebody’s reaction is very different than being a bit frustrated by their response. Saying to yourself they utterly rejected you, is quite different than they didn’t agree with your suggestion.

The real secret to transforming your life is to wake up and become conscious of the patterns that are currently unconscious and shaping the way you feel.

Ultimately the way we feel determines the quality of your life. You could have whatever you think life’s dream is—building a billion dollar enterprise or a family that totally loves and adores you—but if every single day you live with the emotions of feeling frustrated and angry, then the quality of your life is called frustration and anger—it has nothing to do with the economic opportunities you have, much less the love you are surrounded by.

The quality of our lives is the quality of our emotions.

The power of Transformational Vocabulary is its simplicity. It provides you with an immediate tool to increase the quality of your life. So here are the four steps to your 10-day challenge:

STEP 1: CHECK YOURSELF

Become conscious of the habitual words you use to describe your unhappy or distressing feelings. Begin to notice the labels you are putting on things.

If you say something like, “I’m so worried about this,” stop yourself and acknowledge that “worry” might be too strong a word. Maybe what you really are is “a little bit concerned.” Monitor your language and make sure your language isn’t exaggerating the intensity of emotions. Or better yet, consciously pick a word that would lower the negative intensity (instead of saying that you are “furious” with someone, describe yourself as being a little “irritated” or “disappointed with their reaction”).

If somebody asks you, “How’s it going?” instead of saying, “Okay,” what would be a word that might put a smile on your face to even say, that would break your own pattern? Like, “You wouldn’t even believe how I’m feeling!” with a smile, to be playful with yourself. Or a simple response like “I’m committed” or “I’m lucky” or “I’m grateful.” And then take a moment to think about what you are grateful for. We often lose sight of what’s beautiful in our life because of a few things that are out of line with our expectations.

My wife Sage is truly a master of this. Her favorite language pattern is when most people would say “S**t” she says, “Sugar doodle,” or when something really brutal happens, she’ll often say “Ooooh Boy.” Her response seems so ridiculous. It’s not that she doesn’t know how difficult things are, but her state of joy is infectious – her language patterns don’t just break her patterns, but mine and everyone’s around her as well. She truly expresses more joy and happiness than anyone I know.

STEP 2: IDENTIFY 3 NEGATIVE WORDS

Write down three words you currently use on a regular basis that intensify your negative feelings or emotions. Maybe you use words like “I’m frustrated,” “I’m depressed,” or “I’m humiliated.” Come up with alternative words that will lower the intensity of those negative emotions. Maybe instead of “depressed” you say you are “a little bit down.”

What would happen if instead of saying you feel “humiliated” you say you are “uncomfortable” with how the situation was dealt with? You can soften emotional intensity even further by using modifiers like “I’m just a bit peeved,” or, “I’m feeling a tad out of sorts.”

STEP 3: FIND 3 POSITIVE WORDS

Write down three words that you use to describe your experience that is somewhat positive. When someone says, “how’s it going?” come up with three alternative words that will amplify and intensify the positive feelings and inspire you. Instead of talking about how things are “all right,” replace those words with “incredible,” “outrageous,” and “spectacular.” What’s a positive word that if you really thought about your whole life, you could say and own congruently?

STEP 4: PICK TWO “ACCOUNTABILITY” BUDDIES

Get leverage so you follow through. Pick two key people in your life – a close friend and ideally someone you respect that you would not want to disappoint. Pull them aside and explain to them your commitment to replace two or three key words in your vocabulary.

Most importantly, give them permission if they hear you using the old word to ask you if that’s really the word you want to use to explain how you feel. For example: Let them know if you start to say, “John f’n pisses me off,” that you want them to intervene and ask you, “Do you mean John’s behavior frustrates you a bit J?”

I know this sounds ridiculous, but if you are committed, a simple reminder will get you to catch yourself and lower the intensity immediately. It will help you recognize that you have control of your own space in this moment and by simply selecting a different word, you can change the meaning completely. If you do this well, you’ll find yourself smiling while you do it, like an inside joke. But it’s impact is no laughing matter.

Or if you use a phrase like “I’m depressed,” you may want them to ask you, “Hey are you depressed about this, or are you feeling a little bit down?” Are you frustrated or fascinated by how people often respond to things? Making a commitment to make these changes to a dear friend or an important and respected colleague will give you the additional support and incentive to actually follow through and break your own patterns.

By carefully and consciously selecting the words you are attaching to your experiences and doing it for a ten-day period, you’ll find an immediate change in how you feel and this becomes positively addictive. I can tell you for those who have lived this ten-day plan, the experience can be life-changing.

Again, I know it sounds overly simplistic, but if you test it out and are diligent with it for 10 days, you’ll experience a transformation in your emotional patterns – and the emotional patterns we live are what control the quality of our life. You’ll even feel the difference in your body – a lot less pain and a lot more pleasure. Don’t you deserve to have a better quality of life? Plus when you’re in a great state, how do you treat others? The better your state, the more powerful the impact on everyone around you – your businesses, your friends, and your family.

Read the original article HERE.

Richard Branson’s Top 65 Books to Read in a Lifetime

By Richard Branson

Today is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime.

Here’s my top 65 books to read in a lifetime:

1.            Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

2.            Tales of the Unexpected – Roald Dahl

3.            George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl

4.            The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

5.            Oh, The Place You’ll Go – Dr Seuss

6.            Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie

7.            The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling

8.            The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

9.            Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

10.          The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Continue reading Richard Branson’s Top 65 Books to Read in a Lifetime

Grit – Rethinking Simple Explanations for Complicated Problems

By Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D.

Why do some people accomplish more than others of equal intelligence? Dr. Angela Duckworth asked the question and provided a singular answer: grit. Her TED talk on grit has been viewed over 10 million times. Grit, her New York Times best-selling book, has quickly become gospel in classrooms and boardrooms around the globe. In her seminal introduction to the Grit Scale, she offered this definition:

Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.

If you want to uncover something about your own personality, consider which of the following seven statements are true in describing you. Continue reading Grit – Rethinking Simple Explanations for Complicated Problems

Become a Better Listener by Taking Notes

By Sabina Nawaz

Team dynamics can make or break a meeting. Have you ever been in a meeting where people interrupt each other, introduce new ideas when they should be building on the conversation, and repeat someone else’s point just to be heard? These communication issues waste time and energy, and usually lead to more meetings to correct misunderstandings, reiterate decisions, or soothe hurt feelings and interoffice tensions.

But there is one thing you can do that can make a significant difference to improving the quality of time you spend in meetings: Listen. By improving the way you listen and understand others in meetings, you can make that time more productive by reducing repetition and misunderstandings.

YOU AND YOUR TEAM SERIES

If simply listening can solve so many problems, why is it so hard to practice? One reason is we’re listening to interrupt with our ideas or rebuttals. We listen so we can jump in with our perspective. Or we’re worried we’ll forget what we want to say if we listen for too long. We focus on our own communication, rather than listening to understand others.

Through my work with executive teams, I’ve developed a simple technique that can help anyone listen more effectively in meetings. I call it Margin Notes. You may already take notes during meetings, but unless you’re using them wisely to understand others and plan your response, you may still fall into the same trap of speaking before you think. Margin Notes allows you to think, process information, make connections between points of discussion, and ask effective questions instead of blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. Continue reading Become a Better Listener by Taking Notes

Why even the best feedback can bring out the worst in us!

By Robert Nash

There’s a curious thing about people. All of us are driven in some way or another to achieve – we want to run faster, be more creative, win more awards, cure more illnesses, earn more money. But here’s the thing: if you want to help us reach our individual potentials by pointing out how we’re doing and where we could improve, if you want to offer warm words of wisdom, constructive criticism or “360-degree feedback”, then think again. Most of us would rather not hear it.

Our fragile egos are partly to blame. We all want to meet our own expectations of ourselves, and so being critiqued – or even just the prospect of being critiqued – can present an enormous threat to our self-esteem and positive sense of identity. Yet as decades of psychological theory and research have demonstrated, people have endless cunning tactics at their disposal for remaining positive in the face of criticism.

For this reason, rather than us welcoming feedback with open arms, our first response is often a defensive knee-jerk. These reflexes serve to make us feel better about ourselves and yet, almost paradoxically, they also shine an unflattering spotlight on our insecurities, character flaws, and unpleasant attitudes.

Ignorance is bliss

The art of deflecting feedback requires being adept with selective attention and self-deception techniques. Many people will cautiously fish for compliments, for example, innocently seeking feedback only from supportive allies, and only on matters in which they know they excel. But perhaps the simplest deflection technique is to avoid hearing feedback at all. We observe this “fingers in the ears” reaction within the education system, where students sometimes fail to even collect or look at the advice they receive on their assignments. And in the world of public health, we see that people will go to great lengths to avoid visiting their family doctor, rather than risk being advised to lose weight or stop smoking, or given other unwanted home truths.

Students sometimes fail to even collect or look at the advice they receive on their assignments

Psychological research reveals more about this unhealthy appetite for ignorance. In one study, students watched a bogus educational film about a serious disease called “TAA Deficiency”. In fact, TAA Deficiency is completely fictional, but the students were not told this information; instead, they were asked whether they wished to provide a cheek swab for assessing their risk of developing the disease. Half of the students were told that if they ever developed TAA Deficiency, then the treatment would involve them taking a two-week course of pills. Of this group, 52% agreed to provide the diagnostic cheek swab. The other half of students learned the treatment would involve taking the pills for the rest of their lives. Of this group, only 21% agreed to the swab.

Are people’s fragile egos to blame for an inability to take constructive feedback? (Credit: iStock)

These findings demonstrate a common pattern seen in other studies within and beyond the context of healthcare. That is, people are especially resistant to hearing feedback when they believe it could oblige them to do something difficult or unpleasant.

It’s not me, it’s you…

Although ignorance is bliss, it isn’t always possible to ignore or avoid critical feedback entirely. In many situations, we instead need to find other ways to protect against ego-bruising. One of the other handy tools in our self-deception toolbox is misdirection: focusing attention away from our flaws.

For example, when we hear that we have performed worse than other people, our common reaction is to point to those people’s shortcomings and away from our own. “She may achieve more than me” – you might argue – “but I have more friends, and a better personality too.” It isn’t unusual to exaggerate our own admirable qualities and our rivals’ flaws, of course, but research shows that we do this far more when we learn that our rivals have outperformed us. And although it might sound spiteful, this can be a highly effective way of maintaining and validating our positive self-regard in the face of failure.

 

When given bad feedback, a natural response is to focus attention away from our flaws (Credit: iStock)

Perhaps the most apt person to discredit when faced with difficult feedback is the person who provides it. As Harvard academics Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen astutely observed in their book Thanks for the Feedback, “When we give feedback, we notice that the receiver isn’t good at receiving it. When we receive feedback, we notice that the giver isn’t good at giving it.” In this spirit, when a critical reviewer recently informed one of us that our research paper would have been “better with more effert” (sic), it was highly tempting to note the critic’s poor spelling, and surmise that they were just incompetent. Who would trust the judgment of someone who can’t even spell? Reacting this way wouldn’t push us to improve the paper, of course, but it would certainly be far easier and would numb the pain.

Discrediting the feedback-giver is not always enough, though, and the next step might be to actively blame them for our failures. In fact, the way we blame feedback-givers can sometimes uncover our most unpalatable of prejudices. In a study conducted at the University of Waterloo in Canada, students reported the grades they had received in various courses, and rated the quality of the teachers who gave them those grades. The results showed that students who performed poorly tended to minimise their loss of face by blaming their teachers: the lower the grades they received, the more they judged the teaching as low-quality. But crucially, unlike their high-performing classmates, the poorly performing students were especially critical of teachers who were female. In their search for ways to discredit their teachers, these students apparently discovered that discriminatory sexist attitudes can be an effective tool of blame.

‘Emotional armour’

It seems that even the most useful feedback can bring out our worst sides. But are these defensive reactions to feedback inevitable, or can we avoid them? It stands to reason that if we could, then we would often be far better equipped to reach our goals. After all, feedback is one of the strongest influences on our development, yet we can only ever benefit from advice that we listen to.

The trouble is that none of our options really seem very appealing: failing to reach our goals makes us feel bad, but so does hearing critique that could help us to achieve those goals. If we are so afraid of damaging our self-esteem, though, then perhaps the solution to this dilemma is to reflect on why we feel so positively about ourselves in the first place. Indeed, research suggests that people are more open to receiving diagnostic medical feedback – such as by getting tested for the fictional TAA Deficiency – if they first think about the positive traits they most value in themselves, and remember past occasions when they demonstrated those traits. This finding fits with the broader, perhaps predictable, picture that people who already experience high self-esteem are generally better than their less-assured counterparts at seeking feedback from others.

Our resistance to feedback could prevent us listening to health advice, like the need to take a long-term medication (Credit: iStock)

So if we want to be more receptive to unwanted news, it might help to put on some emotional armour beforehand, ensuring that our positive self-regard can stay intact regardless of whether the news is ultimately good or bad. In fact, maybe another part of the problem is that we allow ourselves to treat feedback as unwanted in the first place. Classic psychological studies on persuasion show that people can easily trick themselves into thinking they enjoyed an unpleasant task, if they only believe they actively chose to do it. Could something similar work with feedback? Can we convince ourselves to accept advice merely by believing that we chose to receive it?

Some support for this idea comes from American research in which participants estimated the years in which various historical events occurred. The more accurate their answers were, the more money they won. Each participant then answered the same questions for a second time, but not until they were offered feedback about the answers that other people had given. Sometimes this feedback was free, and sometimes it would cost a few dollars from their winnings if they chose to accept it. Unsurprisingly, people were more likely to accept free advice than costly advice. But participants were much more likely to take the feedback on board – by shifting their estimates toward what other people thought – when they had paid for it. In other words, these results suggest that people feel a stronger sense of obligation to act upon advice when they feel they have invested resources in receiving it.

Whichever mental precautions we take, though, reaping the benefits of challenging feedback will always be tough

If we actively seek and invest ourselves in receiving honest feedback, then, and if we bolster our positive identities in anticipation of how bad it might feel, we may find ourselves ready to hear and accept the advice that we most need. Perhaps there are even ways to train ourselves to recognise our knee-jerk reactions whenever we have them, so that we can resist concluding that everyone else, rather than us, is wrong.

Whichever mental precautions we take, though, reaping the benefits of challenging feedback will always be tough. Science may offer advice on how to do this better, but ultimately, we are all free to take it or leave it.

Robert Nash is a psychologist at Aston University, UK. He is @DrRobNash on Twitter.

Naomi Winstone is a psychologist at the University of Surrey, UK. She tweets as @DocWinstone.

Read the original article HERE

The Dunning-Kruger Effect Helps Explain Why People Resist Hearing Constructive Criticism

By Mark Murphy 

Dan is a senior financial analyst and, in his mind, he’s the best one on the team. But according to his boss, while it’s true that Dan’s financial skills are very good, his emotional intelligence is virtually nonexistent. And Dan’s coworkers would describe him as smart but also narcissistic, abrasive and tone-deaf.

Dan could really benefit from constructive feedback to get his people skills closer to the level of his financial skills. If only Dan had better people skills, his career trajectory and compensation would be much better than they are today. But thus far, Dan’s been impervious to feedback. When his boss recently gave him some constructive criticism about increasing his emotional intelligence, Dan responded:

Oh, puh-leeze! How do you even measure emotional intelligence? What nonsense; you can’t rate my emotional intelligence low because I didn’t smile enough in the staff meeting. And even if it was a real concept, and I did rate low, it’s not relevant to being a great financial analyst. I’m not a social worker, I deal with numbers and data.

If Dan were a perfectly rational and unemotional robot, he’d hear the feedback and alter his behavior. But Dan’s got two problems (beyond his lack of people skills) that are impinging his ability to hear and accept his boss’ criticism.

First, Dan’s suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect. As I previously wrote on Forbes, coined by psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias whereby people who are incompetent at something are both unable to recognize their own incompetence and likely to feel confident that they actually are competent.

And second, Dan is employing a type of defensiveness that Professor Dunning and his colleagues call expedient escape. I recently spoke with Professor Dunning, who now teaches at the University of Michigan, and he told me that many people find the most expedient avenue they can to reject the feedback.

They might question the accuracy of the feedback (e.g. “you can’t rate my emotional intelligence low because I didn’t smile enough in the staff meeting”) or they might challenge the relevance of the feedback (e.g. “emotional intelligence is not relevant to being a great financial analyst”). Either way, as Professor Dunning told me, you’re telling people things that may cause them to question what they believe and there’s a good chance they won’t take it very well.

Let’s take the study in which David Dunning and his colleagues discovered that MBA students greatly overestimate their emotional intelligence. First they were asked to rate how they thought they compared to American adults in general, and then they took an actual test of emotional intelligence.

When Dunning’s team looked at the worst performers, they found that students whose actual tests showed them at the 10th percentile (i.e. they only scored higher than 10% of American adults) had actually thought that their emotional intelligence was going to be around the 72nd percentile. In classic Dunning-Kruger fashion, the worst performers thought they were great and overestimated their emotional intelligence by 62 percentile points!

When these Dunning-Kruger sufferers were then given feedback about their poor results on the emotional intelligence test, they saw the test as less accurate and relevant than those who scored well on the test. They didn’t like the results of the test, so their expedient escape reaction was that the test must be inaccurate and/or irrelevant.

At some level, many leaders know that their employees will resist hearing tough feedback. According to the 166,000 leaders who’ve taken the online test “What’s Your Leadership Style?” around 70% of leaders try to make constructive criticism easier to hear by using compliment sandwiches (a nice compliment, followed by a bit of criticism, followed by another nice compliment). For example, we could say “Dan, your technical skills are really terrific, probably the best on the team, but I’d like you to be more open and sensitive to your colleagues’ feedback when we’re in meetings, because I want everyone to appreciate your technical skills.”

Unfortunately, this technique often backfires horribly for a number of reasons, including that by trying to soften the criticism we often leave wide-open avenues for the employee to escape (i.e. expedient escape). By using the compliment sandwich, we make it incredibly easy for Dan to devalue the importance and relevance of emotional intelligence. In essence, we offered him a ready-made path for expedient escape.

As I’ve written elsewhere, you need to close off some of those expedient escape routes. For example, before you launch into a big speech about everything the employee needs to improve, try engaging them with questions. Before we start giving constructive criticism, we could ask Dan “what skills does it take to be a top financial analyst here?” or “if we look at the financial analysts who enjoy the greatest success at this firm, what kinds of technical and people skills do they have?”

Once we’ve gotten Dan thinking about the various attributes required for success (including emotional intelligence), then we could ask him something like “if you discovered that your performance on one of those attributes was lacking, what are some steps you might take to correct that?”

When you’re trying to get someone to alter their behavior, one of your biggest jobs is ensuring that there aren’t expedient escape routes. When we deliver a criticism-laced tirade to an unwilling employee, we’re just begging them to resist, devalue or otherwise reject our feedback. Remember that lots of people have no idea that their performance is subpar (aka the Dunning-Kruger effect). So when we share that reality, be mindful of their natural inclination to resist.

Mark Murphy is the author of Truth At Work: The Science Of Delivering Tough MessagesHiring For Attitude and Hundred Percenters.

Read the original article HERE

Why Becoming A Leader Makes Some People More Unethical

By LYDIA DISHMAN

The higher up the corporate ladder you climb, the more likely you might be to engage in unethical behavior.

That’s the findings of the latest study from Jessica Kennedy, assistant professor of management at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Kennedy says she had a hunch that high-ranking executives had more difficulty accurately perceiving ethical problems, even though previous studies suggested that they had the confidence, influence, and control of resources necessary to put a stop to unethical practices.

To find out if this was true, Kennedy studied archival survey data from more than 11,000 U.S. federal government agency employees. Then separate experiments were conducted in which about 300 participants were randomly assigned high- or low-ranking positions.

The experiments revealed that those who were given a position of high rank were 75% more likely to lie for financial gain. This result indicates that those at the top of the hierarchy are less likely to correct bad behavior, a concept referred to as “principled dissent” in the research.

The experiments also revealed the reason why those with higher rank were more likely to excuse and go along with bad behavior: They identified strongly with their group.

Further, the study says that the more strongly high-ranking individuals identified with being a part of the group they were leading, the likelier they were to view their group’s decision as more ethical—even if it wasn’t. Finally, the research suggests that low-ranking individuals may be better at perceiving and acting against unethical practices.

Read the original article HERE

Our worldview casts a shadow in the words that resonate

By Seth Godin

One reason it’s difficult to understand each other is that behind the words we use are the worldviews, the emotions and the beliefs we have before we even consider what’s being said.

Before we get to right and wrong, good or bad, effective or ineffective, we begin with worldview.

They affect the way we choose a car, engage in a conversation or vote. These cultural and learned worldviews alter the way we see and hear and speak.

Words like: Fairness, change, interference, freedom, responsibility and opportunity trigger different reactions based on worldview. It’s always easier to encourage action based on an existing worldview than it is to change that view.

The columns below don’t line up for everyone (or anyone), but instead highlight different instincts on different axes on how each of us see the world in any given moment…

An all-powerful authority Treat others as you’d
want to be treated
Confidence, results,
right now, right later
Exploration, truth, working toward perfect, always a little wrong
Self-respect,
power, agency, taking space
Role awareness, dignity,
giving space, flexibility
Deserve, entitled, keep Share, distribute, invest
Effects Side effects
Ends and means Means and ends
Getting things done Listening, speaking up
and being heard
Patriotism, nationalism,
the homeland
Community, ecology,
the system
Power, authority, compliance, respect, status Fairness, hope, justice,
connection, healing
Profit-seeking Public utility
Intuitive Informed
Realism, denial Optimism, pessimism
Rewards, incentives,
victory, spoils
Equity, fairness and
the alleviation of suffering
Urgency, triumph,
security, impulse
Self control,
long-term thinking, wisdom
Vengeance Forgiveness
Zero-sum Win-win

Once we understand the landscape that someone sees, we have an easier time using words and images to fill in that landscape, to create a story that they can hear and understand, and, perhaps, we can make change happen.

Read the original article HERE

4 Mindset Lessons From The Legends

By 

Great athletes are not born great. They are molded into legends through hard work, experience, and setbacks. Some of the greatest athletes of all time, the rule changers, have qualities that extend beyond talent, genetics, training, nutrition, recovery, and work ethic.
Their success came from something much deeper: mindset. Any athlete who wishes to climb to the top must find inspiration from the greats and adopt these four powerful mindsets.

1. Expect Greatness

Muhammad Ali quote
Legendary athletes knew they were going to be great before anyone else did. They saw it, felt it, and obsessed over it until they finally reached it. They refused to be put down or told they were not good enough.
Before Stan Smith became one of the biggest names in professional tennis, he was rejected from being a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because event organizers felt he was too clumsy. But Smith refused to give in to the naysayers and proved them all wrong, winning Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and eight Davis Cups on his path to becoming the #1 tennis player in the world.
We live in an era where mediocrity is the norm and doing the absolute bare minimum is acceptable. We are consistently judged and expected to adhere to standards that are average at best. No one else expects us to be great; we must expect greatness ourselves.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

Michael Jordan quote
I’ve never known anyone who wasn’t of afraid of failure. Tony Robbins once said that fear is “false evidence appearing real.” Take a look at all of the things you’ve feared in the past. Chances are, most of those fears have never come true.
Babe Ruth, perhaps the most famous slugger of all time in baseball, set a record for career home runs (714) that stood unbroken for almost forty years. But he struck out almost twice as often as he knocked one out of the park (1,330 times, in total). In fact, for decades he held the record for most strikeouts. When asked about this, he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
Failure is not a reason to quit, it’s just feedback. Great athletes look at failure as an opportunity to learn, evolve, and improve.

3. Challenge the Status Quo

Bruce Lee quote
In 1954, the world record time for running the mile was 4:01. It had been stuck there for more than a decade, and many people thought this record was unbreakable. Medical journals reported that it was physiologically impossible for the body to run any faster.
On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister did the impossible: He ran the mile in 3:59.4. Barely a year after Bannister’s world-record accomplishment, someone else ran a mile in under 4 minutes.
When something has never been done before, it doesn’t mean that it will never happen. Great athletes are fueled by the chance to reach seemingly insurmountable goals. When people say that something is physically impossible, a great athlete sets out to prove them wrong.

4. Be The Hardest Working Person You Know

Rich Froning quote
Working hard is relative and can often be a point of debate, except when it comes to the best in the world. The best athletes work and train harder than anyone else. Some might even call them obsessed, but you have to be obsessed to accomplish great things.
Kobe Bryant is said to have once showed up for a high school basketball practice at 5am, not leaving the court until 7pm. To win the CrossFit Games four years in a row, Rich Froning put in training hours that surpassed all of his competition. When Muhammad Ali was asked how many sit ups he did, he said, “I don’t count my sit-ups. I start counting when it hurts and I feel pain, because those are what really count and make you a champion.”
Obsessing about the amount of work you do is a prerequisite for being great. Training smart and taking care of yourself is paramount, but if you want succeed, set the bar high and work hard.

Turn These Mindsets Into Action

These four mindsets can lay the foundation to achieving your greatness. But turning them into actions that will help you realize your potential requires two concrete steps:
  1. Set high expectations and unrealistic goals. Every day, tell yourself how great you’re going to be. Spend 5-10 minutes visualizing your success. It may feel unnatural at first, like you are lying to yourself about your abilities, but be patient and the tide will turn in your direction.
  2. Remember all of the things people (including yourself) say that you can’t do. Make a list and a plan to start attacking them, one at a time.
Achieving excellence comes at a steep price, but you won’t get there at all without the right mindset. If we take our cues from the best of the best, we see their greatness goes beyond physical capacity or mental toughness. If you want to reach the highest level, you will have to expect it of yourself and accept nothing less. Know that you’re going to have to work hard. All of the time. Now get to it.