All of your life, you’ve been told that you have to work hard to be successful. But what if sitting quietly with your eyes closed is the fastest way to your success? Sound ridiculous? Read on to learn 3 specific “lazy-techniques” to help you reach your goals.
Because it’s not all hard work.
Yes, you have to take action and “execute” to reach your goals. But you also need to be lazy in order to be successful.
Have you ever read a book that changed your life, or left a movie theater feeling inspired? Have you ever taken a vacation, and returned to work, fully recharged? Success doesn’t come from just hard work alone. It also comes when you step away from your work and shift your thinking.
Is it any coincidence that at the office of Google — one of the most successful companies in the world — there’s a foosball table and a ball pit that would drive any 5-year-old wild? More and more research is showing that taking breaks increases your productivity.
After all, goal-setting and planning are not exactly hard, physical labor, nor do they take long either. No. The battle must be won before you step on the field. And that is the battle within your mind. You must be mentally conditioned for success before it can come into your life.
Don’t believe me? Here are 3 powerful techniques to help you reach your goals. And I swear, you won’t break a sweat doing any one of them.
To intentionally create something you want in your life, you have to first visualize it.
Imagine creating your favorite salad for dinner tonight. What would you put in your salad? Cranberries? Walnuts? Cheese? Now take a sec — seriously — take a sec and create a vivid picture in your mind of exactly what your salad looks like.
Okay, do you see it? Now you can actually bring that salad into reality — because you have a clear picture of what that salad already looks like. It’s much easier and clearer for you now to make that exact salad. And it all started in your mind!
Exactly the same is true for your big goals.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, while he was 18 and stuck in the Austrian Army, had a clear vision of himself winning body building competitions. He would clearly visualize himself winning the Mr. Universe competition, standing on the top podium and looking down at the audience applauding him. By holding this vision firmly in his mind and believing it, he was able to turn his vision into reality.
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe one hundred percent.”
Ya know Pelé, the Brazilian soccer player, arguably the greatest player of all time?
Before every game, he would go into the locker room and take 2 towels. He’d use one towel to lay his head on the bench, and the other towel to cover his eyes. As he lay there in the corner, an hour before the soccer match began, he would imagine himself playing at his best. He would see himself dribbling past defenders and scoring goals. And it looks like the visualization that he did worked out quite well for him...
Or how ‘bout Jim Carrey? Before he was known by anyone in Hollywood, he would drive up to Mulholland Drive, and visualize that he already had the success that he wanted. And this is while he was broke. He’d say to himself,
“I do have these things. They’re out there, I just don’t have a hold of them yet.”
Wanna give it a shot? Follow these steps:
Step 1. Go to a quiet place with no distractions and make yourself comfortable.
Step 2. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax.
Step 3. See yourself having already reached your goal. Create vivid imagery and details, noticing what you see and how you feel.
Step 4. Keep imagining in vivid detail what you’re experiencing through your 5 senses. Make the experience feel real in your mind.
Bonus Tip: Visualization works because it tricks your brain into thinking that it has already had the experience that you want. By imagining how your experience in rich sensory detail, you’ll make it real for your brain. And afterwards, it’ll be easier for you to make it real in your life.
It’s easy to believe that your life is what happens to you.
But contrary to popular belief, you actually create your life in your mind. Yep! It’s not the external circumstances that create your results, but the thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes that create your reality. As life coach guru Tony Robbins says, “It is your decisions, and not your conditions, that determine your destiny.” In fact, the word “de-cide” literally means “to cut away from”. So when you make a decision, you literally cut off all other courses of action.
Think about it for a minute. You don’t just choose your friends, your job, and where you live. What you actually believe is possible in your life, creates the real expectations for what you’re willing to try.
Would Gandhi have been able to drive out the British if he didn’t believe he could? Would Peter Pan be able to fly if he didn’t think it was possible? Would Beyoncé be a superstar if she didn’t believe she had it in her?
Henry Ford, whose impact on our daily lifestyle cannot be overstated, said it best:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
If you believe you can get that job, you’ll go for it. If you’re afraid that the woman across the room won’t like you, you’ll never go over and talk to her.
Want more examples?
Look at the creator of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling. She was rejected twelve times, from twelve separate publishers. And Michael Jordan was actually cut from his high school basketball team. Oprah was told she wasn’t “fit for television”. And Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination.
So how did these ultra-successes reach their goals? They believed. And you can too by using the affirmation technique below.
An affirmation is something you say about yourself. For example, “I am kind”. In this example, this affirmation focuses your mental energy on feeling the kindness within you, so you feel and believe more in your own kindness.
Step 1. Think about who you want to be, and how you want to be.
Step 2. Create a positive statement about it. If you don’t believe it yet, start with, “I am becoming....” For example, “I am becoming more confident every day.”
Step 3. Say your affirmation out loud and feel the truth of it. Feel that you are already becoming more confident today than you were yesterday.
Step 4. Believe it. Try saying it in different ways so that you can feel its truth within you.
Step 5. Repeat it daily.
Bonus Tip: When you say, feel, and believe an affirmation on a daily basis, it starts to become part of how you think about yourself. Affirming creates new beliefs by conditioning your mind as you repeat it over and over. It’s kind of like brainwashing yourself. Try having a life coach help you.
Don’t just do something, sit there!
Meditation. It can seem like the most useless of activities — to just sit there and watch your breathing, in and out, in and out. What could possibly be the value of sitting quietly and doing nothing? Preposterous!
But the scientific evidence of meditation’s health benefits keeps mounting. It will reduce your stress, lower your blood pressure, amp up your immune system, reduce anxiety, and the list goes on. It almost sounds like a miracle pill.
But how can it help you reach your goals?
Aside from the physical health benefits of meditation, there are mental and spiritual benefits as well. It allows you to build your self-awareness, concentrate better, center yourself, and tap into your intuition.
Exhibit A: Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs was known to meditate regularly. In fact, this is when he was able to tap into his intuition, which eventually created multi-billion dollar products such as the iPhone. Crazy to think that ultra-success can happen while you’re just sitting there with your eyes closed, huh?
What about the guy who manages the largest hedge fund in the world? Ray Dalio, who manages $150 billion — billion, with a “B”— meditates twice a day. He attribute his success to meditation. In his own words,
“Meditation, more than any other factor, has been the reason for what success I’ve had.”
Wow. Who else? Well there’s Oprah. Arianna Huffington. The CEOs of LinkedIn and Salesforce. And too many more to list here. You see the potential?
But meditation can often seem confusing and overwhelming for beginners. So check out this nice ‘n easy way to get your feet wet.
Step 1. Go to a quiet place and find a comfortable position, sitting or laying down.
Step 2. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax.
Step 3. Set an alarm for 5 minutes.
Step 4. Direct your mental attention to your breathing, noticing when you naturally breathe in and breathe out.
Step 5. When your mind wanders, notice it with compassion, and return your attention back onto your breathing.
Step 6. Keep “watching” and following your breathing for 5 minutes.
Bonus Tip: If you’re getting frustrated because you keep thinking about dinner or that project due tomorrow, that’s okay. It’s totally normal for your mind to wander, that’s just what it normally does. But now you’re going to train your mind with compassion, by simply noticing that it wandered. And then you’ll gently return your attention back onto your breathing. Simple, but not easy.
Images adapted from segagman (Flickr), Democracy Chronicles (Flickr), Diariocritico de Venezuela (Flickr), Tobias (Flickr). Photo by Celestine Chua (Flickr), Andrés Nieto Porras (Flickr). Image remixed from Pixabay, mcol (Wikimedia), Mametchi99 (Wikipedia), Pixabay.