Keys To Attaining Success

As the famous contemporary author John C. Maxwell states, “The secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda.” Our everyday choices and actions determine whether or not we will attain success in the future. Success is not something that falls from the sky, nor is it something that we can merely purchase with money. Success is a journey and it requires sacrifice – the sacrifice of one’s time, energy and mind to a cause. It requires consistency, motivation and most importantly, hard work. However, many give up in the middle of their journeys to success, citing numerous reasons and excuses such as “I don’t have time!” or “It’s too difficult! I simply lack the talent to succeed.” With this in mind, is it possible for us, mere mortals from different walks of life, to ever obtain success? The answer is a resounding “YES!!” In this article, I will discuss how each and everyone one of us can achieve success, even though it may seem impossible for many of us. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: Discover and Follow Your Passion

What is it that brings you the most joy and satisfaction? Solving problems? Playing Chess? Writing? The point is, you must discover this passion and feed it. Of course, life is not as simple as it seems. For many adults and teenagers, with so many responsibilities and little time, chasing this passion may seem a rather daunting task. As a result, they will find their passions waning with time and eventually, these inner flames will die out, never to be found again. Meanwhile, many are not willing to give up their current jobs and careers, which they have taken up solely for the sake of financial sustenance, clinging to the belief that their passions will never be profitable or appreciated. The truth is, if you do not find and pursue your passion, you are doomed to suffer all your life. You will find life meaningless and find yourself bombarded by perpetual boredom, and when you finally realise, in hindsight, that you should have followed your passion from the beginning, it would be too late. So, I implore you, unearth your passion and follow it to the end. Learn to give up the limiting beliefs that plaque your mind day and night. Success and money will come in due time, as long as you dedicate your time and effort consistently. However, do note that this necessitates a degree of sacrifice. To illustrate this, let us study what Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, did to pursue his passion and achieve success. When Bill was a teenager, he found himself to love software and programming. He dreamt of a future where every home would have a computer and wanted to be at the forefront of this revolution. When he was 18 years old, he enrolled in Harvard University. However, he realised that it would only hold him back – he wanted very much to start a company of his own. Consequently, he made the most remarkable and astonishing decision of his life, and that was to drop out of Harvard, which in retrospect, would be the pivotal moment of Bill’s life. Now at this point you might be thinking, “Is Bill crazy or something? Harvard is so hard to get in and he’s just throwing it away like that?” First things first, this isn’t telling you to drop out randomly and spontaneously from university. In Bill’s case, he considered and concluded that his passion had to take precedence and that enrolling at Harvard would only hinder his path to success. What I am trying to say is that, you must be ready to make the bold decision to give up everything you have planned to make way for your inner calling. Do not let external factors and fear dictate what you should or should not do. Remember, the willingness to sacrifice anything and everything for one’s passion is what sets successful people apart. I assure you, only by doing so will you be free and contented.

#2: Work Hard And Be Consistent

Once you have identified and locked on to your passion, you must work on it day and night. There is simply no other way. This part of the journey is the hardest and many give up in the middle of this phase. Here, you might not see big improvements and every practice session may feel mundane. You must be careful not to think that you aren’t getting anywhere. The truth is, you are improving everyday, it’s just that you can’t see it! Let’s say everyday you improve by 1%. 1% might not feel a lot, but after 365 days, you would have improved 365%! Of course, your improvements cannot be calculated and even estimated by such crude numbers and percentages, but you get the idea. Everything will seem slow at first, but after much consistent practice, the law of accelerating returns kick in and you will soon find yourself improving much faster. Let me explain what this “law of accelerating returns” means here. In the early stages of learning a skill, your skill level is, of course, low. Due to a lack of knowledge and familiarity with the field, more time is spent on trying to understand the subject at hand and the durations of your practice sessions are limited. At this point in time, trying to practice for a few hours at a time will only result in you becoming burnt out and more confused. However, with daily practice and learning, your knowledge and skill increases and thus you are able to practice for longer durations and with much more focus. With this increased practice, your skill level and knowledge increases much further, and the quality of your practice sessions increases as well. This in turn gives birth to a never ending, exponential cycle of learning and improvement. Now, the aim of this phase is to reach the point where even hours of practice would seem inadequate and effortless. Reaching this sweet spot will allow your creativity to flow in ways you’ve never seen before and it is at this point that you will find mastery. (If you would like to know why you should never give up easily, check out my article here: https://bestofwrite.com/2021/01/14/never-give-up-easily/)

#3: Replacing Negative Perspectives With Positive Ones

Yes, hard work is important and all, but how do you sustain yourself through this journey? How do you control your emotions? It’s all about your perspective. Ask yourself what failure means to you. Is it the end? Does it mean that you are incapable? The answer to all these questions is a stark NO. Failure just means that you have to work harder. All you have to do is to switch your perspective. Robots and machines do not whine when they experience failure. Failure to them is just a sign that their database is not wide enough and that much more data is needed to increase their success rate. Even machines experience failure on a daily basis, let alone human beings. The only difference is that machines do not attach any emotional significance to failure – they just move on and become better with time. The cycle of learning and failure is the very foundation of learning, even in artificial intelligence. But of course, we are not machines and we are vulnerable to the negative thoughts that come from our very own minds. To overcome this, you have to change your mentality towards the field you are working on. For instance, instead of seeing a Chess match as a battle between two parties, a better way to view it is that Chess is a puzzle battle – the player which solves it the most accurately wins. Failure would not mean that you are better or worse than the other player. It just means that you did not solve the “puzzle” accurately enough! Whether it is you are a Chess player, an athlete, a writer or mathematician, it is essential to learn to work like a machine, celebrate like a human.

Conclusion

Success is no doubt a long journey that requires much sacrifice, hard work and grit. However, it is not impossible to attain. Whenever you experience failure, just be like a clock. Just keep moving.

Meanwhile, are there any other factors of success that I have not mentioned in this article? Do comment your thoughts below!

Further Reading

Here’s Why YOU Should Write

Writing is something we have been doing ever since our childhoods. All we had to do was pick up a pen or pencil and scribble away. Back in our younger days, writing seemed fun, even transcendent. Now, many of us find it a boring to do, even worse so when we don’t have the option to type. Technology has rewired our minds to prefer things that are more efficient, simple and elegant. We hate apps that have an obnoxious design. Meanwhile, tech companies are trying to make their devices and appliances thinner and lighter. Many of us fail to see the value of writing and dismiss it as a mere hobby or an ancient relic of the past. At most, we only write down what we need to get at the supermarket. What’s even funnier is that our vocabulary has gradually degraded overtime. In fact, I encounter many people who know no substitute for the word “happy” when chatting on WhatsApp. So why should we write then, given that technological advances have basically eroded the need for writing? In this article, I shall discuss this topic in greater detail. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: Writing Helps You To Express Your Feelings

Writing is a great way to release stress – a feeling we all know too well. We have become increasingly absorbed with our jobs and commitments, leaving us with little time for reflection. Many of us have become mindless robots, following a set routine – wake up, work, sleep, repeat. To many, the word “tomorrow” is no different to the word “today”. It’s all the same to them. Writing gives you a sense of time, a sense of what you have done in the present day and what you look forward for the next. This helps to break the monotony between days and allows us to better understand our deepest emotions. Often, we ignore these emotions, hiding them. And when they finally explode, our lives take a big hit. In summary, writing is a great way to understand your thoughts, thoughts that disappear and appear throughout the day. By penning them down on paper, you will be able to capture and study them.

#2: It Lets Your Creativity Run Wild

Much like drawing or painting, writing is a way to express your innate creativity. You can write anything you want. Love science fiction? Go ahead and describe the world of your dreams. It could even be something as simple as planning for your team project tomorrow. Point is, your paper (or text file, if you are using a computer or device) is an open canvas awaiting your ideas. Armed with ideas, a vivid imagination and your amazing brain, anything is possible. Meanwhile, writing activates both your left and right brain hemispheres. According to research, students who read and write extensively show greater creative performance than those who do not.

#3: It Improves Your Communication Skills

Those who write regularly are better able to understand their emotions and those of others. In fact, the ability to empathise is an essential skill in the social world. Furthermore, writing enhances your ability to organise and express your thoughts. This also leads to an increased fluency of speech. This will be useful in team projects of any kind, as you will be able to bring your messages across much more easily, thus allowing your subordinates and superiors alike to understand your ideas at a much deeper level.

Conclusion

Writing is something I would encourage all of my readers to try. Perhaps you could try to write a few lines or keep a personal diary. I hope that you did enjoy this article, and if you did, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!

Here’s Why You Should Read Comics

Comic reading has become a favourite pastime for many people around the world. Due to the fact that comics utilise graphics to convey different stories and messages, it has become a popular and attractive form of entertainment for children, the youth and the elderly. There’s always something for everyone. Love espionage and the world of spies? You have James Bond comics. Love science fiction and Star Wars? Star Wars comics can be bought online and even found in your local library. But is there a good reason as to why you should even read comics in the first place? In this post, I will discuss why you should read comics and how it benefits your health. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: They Are Exciting

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After a long day at work or school, many of us just don’t have the motivation to read anything anymore. Well, don’t worry. Comics are easy to read, as you no longer have to imagine the environment or situation the character(s) is/are in, as in normal books. Comics give you a visual understanding of what is taking place in the story and thus, the number of words you actually have to read decreases. This subsequently requires less brain power. This is the main reason as to why many children prefer comics to normal books during childhoods. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you abandon text-based books totally! Furthermore, the vivid visualisation of story events may evoke a sense of wonderment and excitement, which in comparison to good, old and plain text, may seem 100% less boring.

#2: They Foster Deeper Connections With The Story

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As mentioned before, comics specialise in presenting stories and events in a graphical manner. This helps readers to connect much more deeply with the story as compared to a normal text based book. For example, rather than stating “He was frustrated.”, a comic drawing would probably depict the character with a frown. As humans, we tend to relate more to what we see, such as facial expressions and colour. As such, not only are we able to remember the story and the associated comic drawings much effectively, but we may also find ourselves having a higher degree of appreciation for the story. For those who love colour and pictures, comics are for you!

#3: They Help To Foster A Reading Habit

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For many teenagers and adults alike, starting a reading habit can be difficult and many of us might end up complaining that we have no motivation to read. We’ve become so used to modern forms of entertainment, like television and video gaming, which not only leaves us with little to read, but also results in us becoming more and more dependent on visual forms of entertainment. We then begin to find reading a chore. So, is this a dead end? No! Comics are a great starting point for those looking to pick up a reading habit. This is because comics are easy to read, as they usually utilise less complicated terms and vocabulary. Likewise, the word count is drastically reduced, as all the focus is placed on the comic drawings. Well you might ask, “Hey! But if I keep reading comics, won’t I be learning nothing?” This is, firstly, a temporary measure (you can continue to read comics if you want). Secondly, the main reason as to why you should first read comics before moving on to harder text-based books, is that it helps to install the habit of picking up a piece of reading material every day. Later, when you have gotten used to doing this, you may eventually find that picking up an autobiography or even a textbook requires less willpower. This is because you have already trained your mind to do so earlier.

Which Angry Bird Are You Today?

Yes, you read it correctly. Which Angry Bird do you relate to? Sometimes, trying to express our feelings can be difficult. However, we are able to do so more effectively and easily when we associate them to fictional characters and sometimes, humour. I hope that this post will be a refreshing and rejuvenating one, especially for those who are Angry Bird fans! Before you continue reading, do follow me (so you won’t miss a thing) and subscribe to my newsletter (by entering your email on my website).

#1: Red

Source: Netflix

For those of you who don’t know, Red is the leader of the flock. Irritable, he is very prone to outbursts of rage when provoked. His anger notwithstanding, he is an effective and cunning leader who uses subterfuge to defend his eggs against the pigs, who often use all sorts of contraptions in their attempts to steal the eggs. Meanwhile, he is mainly an unsociable person, who does not enjoy the company of others, mostly due to his troubled childhood. Do you feel angry and annoyed today? Then Red is your bird of choice!

#2: The Blues

Source: Angry Birds Toons

The Blues are the youngest members of the flock. They love to play pranks on both the pigs and other members of the flock. Naturally playful, they are often seen playing with each other, often to the dismay of Red and the other birds. Also, they possess awesome creative thinking skills and are shown to be very intelligent. In other words, they are resourceful birds who are able to work together to solve problems and design pranks on a grand scale. Feel playful and cheerful today? The blues are your friends!

#3: Chuck

Source: Angry Birds Toons

Both Chuck and The Blues have many qualities in common. Chuck is known to be a playful bird as well and loves to do martial arts. He possesses high levels of natural confidence and isn’t afraid to show off his newly-learnt talents and tricks. He is a supportive friend and would do anything to help his friends. However, his arrogance has occasionally resulted in him being stuck in sticky situations. Nonetheless, he has a great passion for learning and exploring the unknown. Feel confident, curious and energetic? Chuck is your best friend for today!

#4: Bomb

Source: Angry Birds YouTube Channel

It’s no wonder Bomb, Chuck and The Blues are always seen together. Also a fun person, Bomb loves to play games and read comic books. He is seen as an uncle in the eyes of The Blues and is a kind and gentle person at heart. He dislikes tedious tasks and almost always looks for the easiest way out of any problem. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t get the job done, though. Like the Blues, he is a creative and flexible person. The only difference is that he uses his talents to save time and expedite menial tasks. Feel lazy and relaxed today? Bomb is your friend!

#5: Terence

Source: Angry Birds Toons

Terence is a silent bird. He enjoys being by himself, all the while staying away from the other birds. Do you see that facial expression up there? That’s his face 24/7. It never changes. It’s a face of perpetual and infinite boredom. It is because of this that many other members of the flock secretly fear him and are unable to bond with him. Other than this, we know nothing else about terence. Feel grumpy and bored today? Terence is your friend (even though Terence has no friends).

#6: Matilda

Source: Angry Birds Toons

Matilda is seen as the motherly figure of the flock. She is mostly seen caring for the eggs and preparing meals for the birds. She is also a bird of peace and an admirer of nature. Thus, she is also seen in her garden tending to her flowers. She is a terence and tranquil bird most of the time, but her anger can occasionally boil over and when it does, it’s destructive. So, if you feel full of peace today, Matilda is your buddy! If you are also a mother, Matilda can also be your bird of choice!

Conclusion

I hope that this post was a fun one and did help you to reflect on how you felt today. If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles!

The Importance Of Silence

Noise is everywhere. Noise doesn’t just refer to its physical form, but it also refers to its non-physical form, which can be our anxiety, worries, burdens and other negative thoughts. We are pummelled by both physical and non-physical noise as we go about our daily lives. We have decreasingly less time to think for ourselves, to ponder and to reflect. We become too attached to the world and the mind fog that accompanies it. We notice less of the little things of life and become mindless machines. This is why silence is important. Shutting out distractions, taking a break and reflecting are just some of the things you can do to introduce some healthy silence into your life. You might be surprised, but many supposedly beneficial things in the world, such as friendship and money, can take away our capacity for happiness and drain our energy away. In this article, we shall discuss why silence matters in our lives and some ways we can harness its power. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Silence Promotes Concentration

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Silence allows us to give our full attention to a certain task, event or objective. Our brains are not designed to multi-task and we become easily distracted by background noise or certain types of music. Have you ever found yourself unable to focus on a single matter at hand and switching between tasks? A good way to improve your concentration would be to shut out all possible sources of distraction, such as your mobile devices and computer. For those of you who have read my previous articles, you might have read that listening to music can help to increase concentration. Some of you might say, “Hey, that’s contradictory! You just said silence improves focus!” The truth is both are able to improve concentration. However, be careful to music which are not distracting in nature. For example, listening to classical music can help to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. More details can be found at https://bestofwrite.com/2021/01/15/heres-why-you-should-listen-to-classical-music/. These two methods, help to remove mental noise – distracting thoughts which seek to pull our attention away.

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#2: Silence Allows You To See the Bigger Picture

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In the 21st century, we find ourselves moving from one event to another in rapid succession. We become so entrenched in the world’s events and our daily lives that we virtually have no time to step back and reflect. Reflection is a powerful tool in our path towards success and life in general. Every time you get a period of silence, do take the opportunity to think about what you have done for the day. Are you moving towards your goal? What could you do to be more productive? What were the setbacks I faced today? What can I do more for my loved ones? This thinking process helps us to plan forward and improve ourselves daily. This is how you and I can obtain success, step by step, only if we are ready to learn and reflect on what we can do better each day.

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#3: Silence Promotes Relaxation And A Healthy Mind

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Initially, some of us might find silence to be especially grating. This is indeed because we are so used to feeding our minds with countless distractions and overloading it with information. Consequently, we find ourselves craving for them and become unable to focus for long periods of time. Many of us suffer from short attention spans, as many of us have the bad habit of scrolling through social media and task switching. Silence gives our brain a chance to detox and get a hard restart. In fact, silence has been shown to promote neurogenesis, the production of neurones and improve sleep quality. For those of you who have trouble sleeping, you could try to meditate and take deep breaths at the same time. This should help you to feel calmer and better able to sleep.

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Conclusion

Sometimes, all of us need a break from the outside world. Silence is something that almost always eludes us. We must learn to understand its power and how we can utilise it. I hope that this article was a refreshing one and managed to convince you of the power of silence. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe newsletter if you haven’t done so.

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Should You Read E-books Instead of Physical Books?

Almost everything is done online nowadays. Credit card payments, online shopping, you name it. As the internet and technology dominates our lives, we are given a choice as to whether we should or should not retain our old ways. This is particularly true for reading. Nowadays, even reading is done on our mobile devices and e-readers. Trips to the bookstore are now unnecessary as a click is all that it takes to order our books online, which is delivered instantly to our devices and e-readers. With that in mind, I will be discussing whether we should read e-books instead of physical books. Before you continue reading, do follow me and register for my newsletter so you won’t miss any of my articles.

My Experience

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Two years ago, I got myself the Kindle Paperwhite 4. Before that, I was mainly skeptical of the fact that reading was reduced to just reading a screen. It just felt unreal. To get started, all I had to do was have a stable wifi connection and my collection of e-books would download in the background. Furthermore, e-books usually only occupy about 2-5 MB of storage, which pales in comparison to the mighty 8 GB of storage the Paperwhite possesses. Well, your mobile phones could have higher amounts of storage of up to 256 GB or more, but 8GB is more than enough for an e-reader. This means that you could hold thousands of books on your device without worrying about storage issues. This was very beneficial for a person like me who does not have much space on my bookshelves. Your collection of books are also completely accessible wherever you bring your device, as e-books literally provide you with a portable bookshelf. Finding a book among the thousands of books you have in your collection is as simple as using the search function on your device. Another function that I am most grateful for is the ability to use a pre-installed dictionary together with your e-book. Gone are the days where you have to separately search for the meaning of an unknown word on Google. All you have to do is hold your finger over a word and it’s meaning will pop up right away. All I can say is that e-books have brought me great convenience and provided me with a great reading experience.

So What Does it Mean For You?

If you are like me and have very little bookshelf space, e-books are going to be a huge life-saver. Furthermore, e-books are usually cheaper compared to hardcopy books and may have promotions from time to time on Amazon or other platforms. The instant delivery is also a huge game changer. There’s just no need for a trip to your local bookstore anymore. Reading books in the dark have also become easier as your device provides lighting, so there’s no need to get yourself a portable reading light anymore. Some e-readers also have warm lighting that filter out harmful blue light and make reading in the dark much more enjoyable. One such e-reader is the Kindle Oasis. Do check out my review of the Kindle Oasis at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/11/28/kindle-oasis-a-review/.

However, Physical Books are Fine Too!

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Of course, the choice is ultimately yours. Some of you may be die-hard fans of hardcopy books. To you, nothing beats the smell of good-old paper and the feeling of turning a page. You could also be used to jotting down notes directly on the pages itself and underlining keywords with a pencil. On the other hand, physical books have no need for an internet connection or electricity. Last but not least, many treasure the feeling of ownership an e-reader or e-book cannot provide. So, in conclusion, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends entirely on what you prefer and all you have to do is to follow your heart.

Do comment down below whether you prefer e-books to physical books, or vice versa. Also, if this article was in any way helpful to you, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!