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Archive for the ‘Success’ tag

Success, Ambition, and Morning Routines (Sunday Reads #18)

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Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of (mostly) weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.  I’m posting this on Saturday this time to make sure email subscribers get this on Sunday.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Working Creatively

I found this post on LinkedIn by a fellow Amazonian to be particularly insightful about what the “secret to success” really is.  It’s not clear all of these are learned traits – but there isn’t a single one of them I disagree with.  Being tenacious, constantly observing and analyzing, having high integrity, and being predictable aren’t things you see on lists like these often enough.

Along those lines, the Six Habits of Ambitious People piles on.  One thing both articles have in common: you are the company you keep.

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Written by Mike Torres

August 29th, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Cheat Meals, Bacteria, and Prioritizing Experiences Over Things (Sunday Reads #13)

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Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last two weeks; my family and I were traveling (without opening a laptop!) Next week there won’t be a Sunday Reads either as I will be participating in the StrongFirst Instructor Certification for three full days (Fri, Sat, Sun) – wish me luck!  Sunday Reads will be back the following week (May 3rd).

On Fitness, Nutrition, and Sleep

Greatist asks if cheat meals are hurting your health – or at a minimum being positioned incorrectly as something that is ‘bad for you’, resulting in guilt.  My personal experience is that cheat meals are a gateway drug that eventually opens the door to cheating more often – so I very rarely allow myself to have a complete cheat meal or a cheat day any longer (I’ve had two “cheat” meals since September).

Metabolic slowdown effects are seen when sleep is reduced by only a few hours.  In other words, you don’t need to miss an entire night’s sleep for your metabolism to be affected, all it takes is a few hours missed.

An apple a day doesn’t keep the doctor away based on a new research study.  But I will keep eating one because they’re tasty.

Dan John tackles what it takes to get stronger.  For those who don’t know of Dan, he’s one of the best strength coaches in the industry.  I listen to what Dan has to say.  I love this quote from Brett Jones in the article: “Absolute strength is the glass. Everything else is the liquid inside the glass. The bigger the glass, the more of everything else you can do.”

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Written by Mike Torres

April 19th, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Decision Making, Red Meat, and Immunity (Sunday Reads #6)

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Welcome to Sunday Reads on Refocuser, a collection of weekly links from around the web to help you do incredible things.  These links span topics like creativity, performance, focus, exercise, nutrition, and positivity.  I’m posting this on Saturday this time to make sure email subscribers get this on Sunday.

Join thousands of other readers by subscribing to this blog and email newsletter or by following @Refocuser on Twitter.  If you’re receiving this in your email inbox, spread the love and forward it to a friend.

On Brain Stuff and Careers

The kind of instinctive decision-making advocated in best-selling popular psychology books like ‘Nudge’, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ and ‘Blink’ is not backed up by reliable evidence, a study concludes.  My view is that inaction is almost always worse than wrong action.

What is the #1 predictor of career success?  Having an open network vs. a closed network.  In a closed network you’re surrounded by people with the same ideas and beliefs as yours, while in an open network you’re challenging one another.  So surround yourself with people who don’t think like you do.

A study on musical training “adds to mounting evidence that musical training not only gives young developing brains a cognitive boost, but those neural enhancements extend across the lifespan into old age when the brain needs it most to counteract cognitive decline.”

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Written by Mike Torres

February 7th, 2015 at 8:51 am

Only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

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Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. – Vince Lombardi

Click for photo It’s admittedly hypocritical of me to use the word ‘perfect’ in the title of this post when I’ve written in the past about perfection being overrated.  But the word perfect does actually have a place in personal growth so long as you don’t take it too literally.

True perfection isn’t really the point though.  The big idea is that practicing your craft has to be done with a level of respect for how you’ll perform in reality at all times.  No ifs, ands, or buts.

The only way to achieve your maximum performance potential is to train your body and mind to do so over and over… and over.

Let’s assume for a moment that talent is overrated (just like perfection).  Sure, there are people who are naturally better at certain things than others – they have talent, that’s indisputable – but no one can achieve great heights without lots and lots of practice.  As Malcolm Gladwell said in Outliers, you need 10,000 hours of practice to be great.  Or, really, to even have a chance at being great.

Peter Norvig recognized this pattern as well in “Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years”:

Researchers (Bloom (1985), Bryan & Harter (1899), Hayes (1989), Simmon & Chase (1973)) have shown it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide variety of areas, including chess playing, music composition, telegraph operation, painting, piano playing, swimming, tennis, and research in neuropsychology and topology. The key is deliberative practice: not just doing it again and again, but challenging yourself with a task that is just beyond your current ability, trying it, analyzing your performance while and after doing it, and correcting any mistakes. Then repeat. And repeat again.

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Written by Mike Torres

April 12th, 2010 at 7:07 am

Make Your Training Harder Than The Real Thing

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Click for photo No matter what you want to get better at – no matter what your primary objective is -you should always make your training or practice harder than the real thing actually is.  While this definitely can prepare your body for whatever it is you’re about to undertake, it’s really best used as a way to convince your mind that you’re ready.  This approach is critical to focus because in order to achieve deep and meaningful focus on anything, you can’t have self-doubt permeating your thoughts.  You need to be “in it”; you need to not only know that you’re prepared, but you need to know that you’re the most prepared you can possibly be!

This mentality is pervasive in sports where competitors routinely cite how while their opponents are sleeping, they’re training.  While their opponents are training, they’re training harder.  While their opponents are training harder, they’re training smarter.  They need to out-train, out-think, out-practice, out-sleep, and out-diet their opponents. The important thing is to believe you’re doing this.  Because if you don’t, you won’t believe you can win or succeed when it matters. 

Imagine yourself getting into a boxing ring or starting a race knowing you didn’t train as hard as your opponent.  Or stepping into an important meeting knowing that the person you’re presenting to knows more about the material than you do.  You’re starting off with a serious disadvantage where it matters most.

Naturally this is a mindset that isn’t limited to sports or athletic events.  It’s just as important in the office, in school, in music, or in any pastime where practice or training is essential to long-term success.  Put this thinking to use any time you have an important event that involves preparation of some kind.  It’s a critical component of fear managementthere’s no way to overcome fear of something without having confidence that you’ve done everything you can to prepare.  With research, fear can dissipate and your performance can improve.

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Written by Mike Torres

May 25th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Posted in Fear Management

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