Success Skills: How To Focus, Set Goals, Be Creative, Communicate & Make Decisions
Success Skills: Focus Skills
Many people have a difficult time focusing on tasks they want to do or are supposed to do.
The problem stems from the fact there is always something better you’d prefer to do.
When you are at work, you would rather be browsing sports news or shopping on your favorite merchant’s website, etc?
You know you need to do some chores around the house, but would rather catch a ballgame or play that new video game.
Distractions have always existed, but they seem to have taken on a whole new life with the internet.
You are now constantly connected and a click away from any type of distraction available.
Searching the internet is your start down the rabbit hole.
You don’t even realize that several hours have passed.
Most problems with focusing center around a lack of goals.
You may have big dreams, but without the proper goals, you will continue to be a dreamer.
If you create obtainable goals that you know will change your life when you reach them, you will have a much better chance of keeping the focus on those goals.
Some people go to opposite extremes and are too focused.
While setting goals and looking at success skills is good, you need to live your life beyond those goals.
You need a bit of play time.
If you are too focused on your work or your goals, you will burn out soon.
Then, you will likely make excuses why you couldn’t reach those goals.
Your focus is about balance.
When you have the right balance between reaching your goals and enjoying your life, you will enjoy both aspects.
It’s a good idea to incorporate some play time into your goals.
This way, you permit yourself to have some fun along the way.
Sometimes, a lack of focus has to do with not living life on your terms.
You need to love what you do, whether it be for your job or at home.
Pick the right activities and make adjustments when they aren’t working.
One guideline is to consider what you daydream about when you are working.
If you have a recurring daydream, this is an indication that is where you should focus your efforts.
These days, you don’t even need to quit your job immediately.
You can work on building the idea you daydream about on the side, and as it grows, you can get to the point where you can tell your company adios!
Success Skills: Goal Setting
Why do people have such a difficult time setting goals? After all, it’s been shown to help people advance their lives.
People should jump at the chance to set goals and get ahead.
But, it is not that simple.
Goals have to do with events well into the future, and most people are not fortunetellers.
One reason people aren’t good at setting goals is it is not something you learn at school.
While some colleges may be altering their courses to include these crucial success skills, it is not a mainstream offering.
It still is not taught as a core function in the lower grades.
That may be where learning it is most beneficial.
When kids are taught something early on, with reinforcement throughout their learning experience, they will be more likely to continue their success skills during adulthood.
How do you proceed with setting goals? Start with what you have already accomplished.
Try to retrace the steps of how you got to your current state.
Did you have to read much about the success skills or accomplishments?
How much time do you feel you committed to making that accomplishment happen?
The next step is to think about your dreams.
Finish the following sentence, “if money were no object, I would…” What was the first thought that popped into your head when finishing that sentence?
Whatever it was, this is a good starting point as to what you want to accomplish in your life.
You can also brainstorm ideas for items you have wanted to accomplish.
When you list out several options, you can choose the ideas that make the most sense for the stage of life you are living.
An aspect of goal setting that trips people up is they think that any plan is final and set in stone.
That’s not true.
Your preferences and life situations are always changing.
What you felt strong about ten years ago you probably don’t even give much thought to today.
Therefore, list your dreams and ideas without thinking that you are required to make them happen.
Conversely, you do need to commit to something.
Otherwise, you will never take your goals seriously.
Once you commit, you can break down your goal into sub-goals or tasks.
Then, you can assign those tasks milestones.
Always include alternatives for when situations do change.
Otherwise, the first task that you don’t accomplish will derail the entire process.
Success Skills: Decision Making Skills
Are you good at making decisions?
Success skills are natural for some people while others struggle to make even the most basic decisions.
While personality types can play a role in one’s ability to make decisions, it’s also a skill that can be learned.
One reason people don’t like to make decisions is they don’t want to be held responsible for the outcomes.
This reluctance is a defense mechanism as others may criticize you if you don’t choose wisely.
It could erode the confidence others have in you regarding your ability to make decisions.
However, you can take steps to reduce it from happening.
One of the main factors in decision making is confidence.
Therefore, building confidence will help you make decisions.
Others will also follow your lead as they will respect your confidence.
When you make decisions with confidence, they have no choice but to recognize your authority.
Decision making requires finding out the right information.
You won’t get far if you start making decisions without information to back them.
You need to be informed when making your decisions which means you have a bit of detective work to do.
You have to get as many of the facts as you can before making most decisions.
Often, you won’t get all the facts you need for one reason or another.
In this case, you will need to take a leap of faith and rely on your confidence when making decisions.
That’s an unfortunate part of the process and one that makes people choose wrong directions sometimes.
But, as long as you decide using the information you have available, you can defend your choice.
As part of the decision-making process, consider coming up with alternatives.
List out all possible alternatives based on the current information.
You can rate the alternatives on a scale of your choosing.
This rating can help you when making the decision.
You can choose a star-rating system or a percentage system (0-100), etc.
Another technique people like to use is to list out the pros and the cons.
To do this, take out a blank piece of paper and write a dividing line in the center.
Create the heading “Pros” on the left, and “Cons” on the right.
Then, list out the pros and the cons.
You can use this to guide you with your decision.
Try not to make this process too mechanical as the list may contain several subjective items.
Success Skills: Creativity Skills
Many people don’t think of creativity as a skill.
But, it is, and you can develop it.
Some people will separate creativity from thinking, but others believe it is the same concept.
After all, you need to use your brain to be creative.
Therefore, thinking is involved.
When you sharpen your creative skills, you expand your opportunities in most aspects of your life.
At work, you will be called upon to come up with new ideas that your company use to create products or sell services.
In your personal life, you may help your kids when they are stuck on coming up with ideas for their projects.
You can probably come up with a host of places where creativity comes in handy.
Companies like creativity, but only to a certain point.
Managers may pretend as though they want creative people.
But, often that requires setting them loose in an environment that allows them to come up with new ideas.
That gives the managers less control over their people, and many won’t like that proposition.
While some managers allow for this, most will not.
They become a constraint on the creative process.
If you run your own business, then you can let your creativity run wild.
Of course, even here, you need to strike a balance between coming up with ideas and getting work done.
Your ideas are meaningless unless put into action.
It’s great to have new ideas, but you have to put them in the pipeline to let them take off.
Part of the creative process is to come up with bad ideas.
That sounds counterintuitive, and the thinking behind it is not to deliberately come up with bad ideas.
But, you should allow them to occur.
It’s better to have hundreds of ideas which could yield a few great ideas than it is to try and think the best ideas out of thin air.
Brainstorming sessions nurture the concept of allowing for bad ideas to occur.
The first stage of a brainstorming session has a rule that the participants are not allowed to criticize any presented idea.
The moderator must be vigilant with this rule.
After the first session is complete, the group then revisits each idea, and the critiquing may begin.
Usually, at the end of the session, the group is left with a few ideas that are right for their situation.
There are no hard and fast rules for what makes someone creative.
Mostly, you draw your inspiration from others and rework a new angle into the process.
Success Skills: Communication Skills
The word communication is a general word in its meaning.
It could take on many roles, depending on the use and context.
It also has many formats as its delivery mechanism.
You can listen to music or watch videos, or you can read a book.
Conversations are forms of communications as well.
Because of the general aspects of communication, it’s difficult to imagine formulating it into a skill.
But, it is possible, and many colleges offer majors in communication, which elevates the field.
It’s not necessary to study at a four-year college to enhance your skills of communication.
It takes basic knowledge and some practice.
The biggest success skills you can use to communicate better are related to listening.
People are not natural listeners as they are focused on themselves.
It’s how we are wired.
We will always put ourselves first.
Part of that is a survival mechanism.
But, because of our self-serving nature, listening to others is secondary and requires us to put effort into being better listeners.
To increase your ability to listen to others, the next time you are speaking with someone, repeat back everything they say.
That may be a little unnerving to them, at first.
But, if they look at you with a bewildered look, explain that you are just making sure you understood what they said.
Once they get past the awkwardness, they will welcome the exchange.
The next step towards better communication is to use simple language.
When you want others to understand your meaning, you need to make sure everyone will understand the words.
People have different levels of education.
Therefore, you want to use the lowest common denominator when speaking to everyone.
You should not view this as a means of looking down at others.
Your goal is to make sure you are understood.
Speaking and writing in basic language is the best way to accomplish this.
You must consider the feelings of the people with who you’re communicating.
Even if you are a manager, barking orders at people is one of the least effective ways.
Consider everyone’s opinions and needs.
Keep people engaged in the communication platform.
This way they take ownership in the process.
That is a massive benefit for excellent communication.
You will get more out of people when this happens than merely rattling off commands as if they are robots.
There are some instances, such as the military, where shouting out orders is necessary.
But, these are the exception, not the rule.